James Wayland Joyce.

England's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic online

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Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 74 of 83)
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ster, after the morning sessions of the synod were concluded,
and was there accommodated with the table provided for the
use of the upper house. It was arranged that the pro-
locutor should first deliver his opinion, and that each member
in turn should then speak to the points in question. The last
address was to be made by the proctor for the chapter of West-
minster, the learned ^^ Peter Heylin, who was prepared to
answer any arguments which might be brought against the pro-
posed canon, and might not have been refuted by a previous
speaker. When the prolocutor had taken the several opinions
he declared that the majority by far agreed that the Lord's '
table should be placed where the altar had originally stood, and
that reverences should be made to it on entering and departing
from church. The members of the committee present agreeing
unanimously, at least so far as appeared, to these regulations,
one of the proctors for the diocese of Bristol produced a canon
ready-drawn, suitable, as he thought, for the occasion ; but being
somewhat heady in its style this paper was rejected, and a sub-
committee appointed to prepare a less exceptionable document.
The Archdea- '^^"^ matter arranged the committee fell to
con of Hunting- other busiucss. And all would have passed

don misbehaves ^

himself remark- smootlily cnough, but that tlic archdeacou of
^' Huntingdon, Dr. llichard Oldsworth ", who

arrived behind time and was discontented because the question
of the position of the communion tables had been decided in
his absence, warmly pressed that the debate might be resumed,
in order to give hhn the opportunity of delivering his mind
against the vote which had been passed. The prolocutor, as
might be expected, refused so unreasonable a request ; upon
which the archdeacon lost his temper, and was further unwise
enough to display his warm humours by coarse usage of the




former gentleman. This practice, however, proved unservice-
able enough to the archdeacon's character, for he was sub-
sequently ordered, on complaint of the prolocutor, by the
majority of the lower house to quit that assembly, and was
only restored upon apology after his heats had subsided.

The seventeen Thoso appear to havo been the only skirmishes
conZief iJthe during the operations of the synod, which, on
^>°°'^- the whole, mastered the position in view with

vigour and unanimity. Indeed, the constitutions and canons
of 1640, its chief work, considering the storms and tempests
surrounding, were passed with admii-able quietness and calm
determination, the work, as has been said, proceeding " like "
the first building of the Temple, without the noise of axe and
hammer." Those canons are in number seventeen, and bear
the following titles : —

1. Concerning^ the regal power; 2. for the better keep-
ing of the day of his majesty's most happy inauguration ; 3.
for the suppressing the growth of popery ; 4. against Soci-
nianism ; 5. against sectaries ; 6. an oath enjoined for the
preventing of all innovations in doctrine and government ;
7. a declaration concerning some rites and ceremonies ; 8. of
preaching for conformity ; 9. one book of articles of inquiry to
be used at all parochial visitations ; 10. concerning the conver-
sation of the clergy ; 11. chancellor's patents; 12. chancellors
alone not to censure any of the clergy in sundry cases ; 13. ex-
communication and absolution not to be pronounced but by
a priest ; 14. concerning commutations and the disposing
of them; 15. touching concurrent jurisdiction; 16. concern-
ing licences to marry ; 1 7. against vexatious citations.

The^ draft of these canons was reduced to form by the
29th of May ; and on that day ^ Archbishop Laud, holding a
copy in his hands conjointly with the prolocutor Dr. Richard
Steward, read them aloud to the assembled synod.

^ , To this document * the ^ bishops, with the

Bishop Good- . ^

man subscribes exccptiou of Godfrey Goodman of Gloucester,

y. subscribed their names, the clergy following

their example, and giving their full assent and consent. The

archbishop, however, thinking that the incompliance of the

* The original book of canons, subscribed by the hands of the prelates and
clergy, is now in the paper office MS. — Comp. Hist. iii. 111.

A. D. 1640.
K. Chas. I.

" Cyp. Ang.
ii. 123.

" Cone.
Mag. Brit.
iv. 543.
Comp. Hist,
iii. 111.
Card. Syn.

' Syn. Ang.
Sess. 26.

y Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 541.




A.D. 1640.






^ Fuller.
Ch. Hist,
b. xi. p. 170,
and Nalson's
i. 371.

» Coll. viii.

b Coll. viii.

c Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b. xi. p. 170.

d Coll. viii.


e Syn. Ang.

ii. 53.

f Fuller.
Cli. Hist,
b.xi. p. 170.

8 Coll. viii.

•• Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 54-2.
Svn. Ang.
u. 54.

' Cone.
Mae. Brit
iv. o53.

* Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 553.
> Sees. 2.

Bishop of Gloucester might produce ill effects, for indeed ^ the
bishop had acquainted his grace the day before that he must
decline subscription, became highly offended with that prelate,
and in the presence of the whole synod now assembled in
K. Henry VII.'s chapel said, " My Lord of Gloucester, I
admonish you to subscribe." This admonition the archbishop
repeated thrice in vain, the bishop pleading conscience and
returning a denial. The fact was that this prelate now stood
off on account ^ of the third canon against popery, and though
he afterwards complied and took the oath prescribed by that
canon, yet his conduct in doing so seems somewhat unaccount-
able, for in his last illness he professed ^ himself a member of
the Roman communion. As the archbishop could not at this
time prevail with Goodman to subscribe, the bishops were
severally '^ consulted whether he should be proceeded against.
To this Bishop Davenant, of Salisbury, in some sort demurred.
However, Goodman ^ was suspended ab officio et heneficio by
both houses, although® he did append his subscription at
last, which was, nevertheless, supposed to be with some
latitude of reservation ; and this sentence having been signed
and pronounced by the archbishop the king ordered a com-
mitment. The bishop, being confined in the gate-house,
though reputed ^ for a Romanist, obtained, notwithstanding,
some share of popularity as the only confessor suffering for
an opposition to these canons. His imprisonment, however,
was but short, for having complied fully to all appearance on
the 10th of July ^ following, and having taken the oath enjoined
by the new canon, he recovered his liberty.

The canons above mentioned having been
thus passed in form ^ the synod '' was dissolved
by Archbishop Laud on the 29th of I^Liy, 1640.

On Tuesday the 14th of April, 1640. con-

2. York Sj-nod. , . / , , . \

currently with the last-mentioned assembly, the
northern' provincial synod met at York cathedral, under the
presidency of Archbishop Richard Neile. The first royal
licence to review and enact canons was received, read, and
entered upon the registers ^ on the 5th ' of May, the very day
on which the parliament was dissolved.

* For the fees payable at this time in convocation, see Nalson's Collections,
vol. i. p. 373.

The synod




On the 29tli " of that " month a second clocu-

hecond royal

licence to enact ment of like character was nitroduced, varying

canons received. /. ;i <» • -i .1 i

from the lormer ni the same way as the second
commission lately granted to the sister synod differed from
the first, i. e. the assembly " was empowered to proceed with
ecclesiastical legislation, not merely during " this present parlia-
ment," but " during the royal will and pleasure."

Dr. Wickam ^^- Henry Wickam?, archdeacon of York,
prolocutor. ^y^g elected prolocutor, and the assembly being

thus placed in a position for the due prosecution of synodical
business, the seventeen canons lately concluded in the Canter-
bury Synod were read to the members present by the last-
named gentleman. A subsidy was also i granted to the king,
which was collected, as had been the case in the southern pro-
vince, without any parliamentary sanction, and in conformity
with the"" precedent laid down in the twenty-ninth year of
Q. EHzabeth.

The most important result however of this as-
nonsof I640rat^- scuibly was the establishment of the seventeen
fiedby this synod, ^^j^^j^g abovo mentioned, which were now ^ sanc-
tioned by the northern synod as obligatory throughout that
province, having been* unanimously accepted and signed by
the members, without entering into debates either upon
their matter or form.

The last " session appears to have been held

on the 26th of June, for business connected
with the fees of the proctors and officers of the synod ; and
shortly after the assembly ^ was dissolved.

„ ^, The seventeen canons having thus received

XXII. These- . . " . pi

venteen canons of the full and uidisputablo authority 01 the
ro>V7ette°rs"pa- national Church, expressed by the voice of both
^''"^- provincial synods, were confirmed "^ by the king's

letters patent under the broad seal, on June 18", and on the
80th of that month were published with the royal^ assent affixed,
bearing this title — " Constitutions ^ and canons ecclesiastical,
treated upon hy the Archbishops of Canterhury and York, pre-
sidents of the convocations for the respective provinces of Canter-
lury and York, and the rest of the bishops and clergy of those
provinces, and agreed upon toith the king's majesty s licence in
their several synods begun at London and York m.dc.xl, in the

The synod dis

A. D. 1640.
K. Chas. I.

" Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 553.
" Sess. 3.
o Sess. 3.

P Sess. 4,
June 5.

t Sess. 5,
June 8.

■■ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 553.

s Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b. xi. p. 170.

tColl. viii.

Sess. 6.

*■ Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 553.

" Coll. viii.

" Cyp. Ang.
ii. 126.
y Fuller,
Ch. Hist,
b. xi. p. 170.
^ Nalson's
i. 545.
Cone. Mag.
Brit. iv.
543. Card.
Syn. i. 380.





A.D. 1640.






» Comp.
Hist. iii.

•> Comp.

Hist. iii.


c Comp.

Hist. iii.


d Dated

Oct. 6.

e Cvp. Anr'.

ii. 123. ^

f Nalson's
i. 562.

K Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 549.
Card. Syn.
i. 402.

•> Cone.
Mag. Brit,
iv. 549.
Card. Svn.
i. 402, and
Ch. Hist,
b. xi. pp.

I/ear of ike reign of our sovereign lord Charles, hy the grace of
God, king of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, the six-
teenth ; and noio published for the due observation of them hy his
majesty's authority under the great seal of England ^
„ , When these ^ canons were first published

rojjular outcry . n • i i •

against these ca- they Were reccived generally with approbation ;
but after a few weeks some whispers of dissatis-
faction were heard among the disaffected London ministers,
who with the covenanting Scotch and such as were attached
to that party soon raised these whispers to a clamorous
outcry. Sundry meetings having been held on this subject,
the uproar became so general, especially against the oath en-
joined by the sixth canon, that the king, at the suggestion of
Dr. Sanderson, and as it seems even of Archbishop Laud him-
self, determined to suspend the execution of that instrument
until the assembly of the next convocation ''. For this purpose
the royal orders were given through Sir Henry Vane, secre-
tai-y of state ; and moreover, the "^ archbishop sent out circular ^
letters to his suffragans, desiring them to forbear pressing
the obnoxious test. Notwithstanding all these precautions,
the ^ new canons were pelted from press and pulpit, and in-
deed, assailed with volleys of abuse from every side. However,
although they were the special objects of attack, it is not
altogether clear but that the real offence which excited such
violent heats against the convocations and their performances
was their loyalty to their sovereign, and the substantial aid ''
which they had provided, when the parliament had declined to
assist him in his needs.

The sixth ca- It was ^ upon the sixth canou, "for preventing
non specially dis- of all innovations in doctrine and government,"

lilted as contain- • , i • i i «• • i.

ing an &c. in the that the encmics batteries were played ofi with
enjoinet . ^j^^ greatest vigour. And because this was the
chief point of attack, -the oath contained in it, which was to be
taken by all the clergy, is here inserted ^ : — " I, A. B., do swear
that I do approve the doctrine and discipline, or government
established in the Church of England, as containing all things
necessary to salvation : and that I will not endeavour l)y myself
or any other, directly or indirectly, to bring in any popish
doctrine contrary to that which is so established ; nor will I
ever give my consent to alter the government of this Church by


p:nglish synods.


archbishops, bishops, deans, and archdeacons, 'etc.,' as it
stands now estabhshed, and as by riglat it ought to stand, nor
yet ever to subject it to the usurpations and superstitions of the
see of Rome. And all these things I do plainly and sincerely
acknowledge and swear, according to the plain and common
sense and understanding of the same words, without any equi-
vocation, or mental evasion, or secret reservation whatsoever.
And this I do heartily, willingly, and truly, upon the faith of a
Christian. So help me God in Jesus Christ."

The "et cetera" contained' in this oath was assailed with
explosive bursts of clamour and outcry. It was said to be
the " greatest J mystery of iniquity" which modern times had
invented, and to involve in it such " unfathomable depths of
Satan " as that no man could discern the bottom. In fact, it
was urged that swearing a man to an " et cetera " involved a
mysterious latitude of restraint, and that, by thus tying up
the conscience to hidden meanings, the juror was bound by
dark obligations to the acceptance of undiscovered particulars.
This matter ex- ^11 this, howevei', scems to have been but the
plained. Suggestion of party heats, the obnoxious " et

cetera " having had really no reference to the general tenor of
the oath. For we are to observe that the following words had
been previously used in the third canon, viz. — " archbishops and
bishops, deans, archdeacons, all having exempt or peculiar juris-
diction, with their several chancellors, commissaries, and offi-
cials, all persons entrusted with the cure of souls," — when,
therefore, the draft of the sixth canon was made, this unhappy
" et cetera" was inserted after the word "archdeacons" to
avoid tautology. But this was done with ^ the intention of
making the enumeration perfect afterwards, and cutting out
the ill-omened contraction before the final engrossment of the
document. Unfortunately, on account of the pressure of the
times, and the unpopular measure of being obliged to keep up
the guard under Endymion Porter before mentioned, for the
safety of the Canterbury Synod, the king hastened ' the pro-
ceedings in that assembly, and so the correction of the " etc."
in the midst of so much haste was omitted. However, it re-
quired but a small spark at this time to kindle a flame. Thus it
was supplied, and soon the conflagration became general ; for
even the next Canterbury Synod seems not to have escaped

A.D. 1640.
K. Chas.l.

i Coll. viii.

J Cyp. Ang.
ii. l-_'3.

" Cvp. Ai
ii. 124.

1 Cyy. An]

pt."ii. p. r

Coll. viii.





A.D. 1640.




See of York


n> Cone.
Mac Brit.
iv. 542.

n Cyp. Ang.
lil.. V. p. 7.
Comp. Hist,
iii. 113.

o Sess. 2.
P Cyp. Ang.
lib. V. 8.
Cone. Mag.
Brit, i v., 542.
Fuller, Ch.
Hist. b. xi.
p. 172.
Comp. Hist,
iii. 113.
Coll. viii.

altogether unscathed, and, moreover, some of the hot embers
falling into the parliament house at their ensuing session, put
that assembly very soon in a blaze. But of this as we pro-

xxiiT Can ^^^ ^^^° '^^^^ "' of November, 1640, the Can-
terbury Synod of tcrbury Synod again assembled. The first ill
omen at its meeting was the"* news of the
death of Dr. Eichard Neile, archbishop of the northern pro-
vince. However, notwithstanding these evil tidings, the Can-
terbury Synod proceeded to business.

Dr. Barcrave The mcmbcrs attended divine service in the
preaeber. choir of S. PauPs cathedral, and after the per-

formance of the sacred offices, Dr. Isaac Bargrave, dean of
Canterbury, preached the sermon.

Dr. Steward The choice of the clergy, in electing their
prolocutor. prolocutor, again fell on Dr. Richard Steward,

dean of Chichester, the same gentleman who in the previous
synod had discharged the duties of that office with much

At ° the nextP session, held by continuation at K. Henry
VII.'s chapel, Westminster, after the usual Westminster
protestation of privilege, the new prolocutor was presented,
and then Archbishop Laud, in his opening speech, took
occasion in sad but eloquent terms to bewail the storm
which he saw impending over the Church, and putting the
members of the synod in mind of their duties, he bid them
stand to their respective posts, and maintain the cause of
religion with courage and constancy.

,, „, Mr. Warmistre, however, one of the clerks

Jnr. Warmis-

tre's essay against of the Worccstcr dioccsc, scoms to have dis-
nons lately enact- regarded the archbishop's seasonable advice,
*^ ■ and to have played the part of traitor to the

Church, which one - would think his orders bound him to
defend. For this gentleman moved that the synod should
endeavour, according to the Levitical law, " to cover the pit
which they had opened ;" meaning by this dark metaphor that
they should null the canons made in the last convocation, and
so by giving way to popular clamour close up the apj)roaches
of any danger in that direction. And though this advice was
masked under the appearance of an endeavour to prevent the




assaults of the adverse faction, yet perhaps this comrade was not
altogether true at heart ; and so directed a volley against that
work which he desired himself to see razed. For this proctor
had on previous occasions made himself mischievously busy in
the synod, though his enterprises had come to nought. Nor
was he more successful in his present motion, the clergy being
by no means willing to abandon their former labours and pre-
maturely condemn their own operations. However, as his
long speech which he made on this subject failed to convince
his hearers, he thought fit to publish it, hoping that it might
have better success elsewhere. In this performance he ran
out into some bitter invective against the seventeen canons,
and added some private remonstrances against the proceedings
in the last convocation ; thus appealing from the voice of the
Church to the worst of sanctions — the issues of popularity.
All this vulgar merit notwithstanding, these struggles did not
preserve Mr. Warmistre from sinking ; for when his brethren
of the clergy subsequently fell under sequestration he went to
the bottom with the rest.

^ , , , The choice '^ of preachers for a fast day now

oundry heads /. tvt i i

of synodicai busi- eusuiug, viz. the I7th of November, was made
in the second session of this synod ; and a
question was also raised on the election of proctors in the
diocese of Lincoln. This subject was again introduced in
the seventh"^ session, when a debate arose on the powers
vested in the prolocutor. It turned upon the following four
questions : —

1. Whether if the prolocutor hears any member of the
house to speak any thing which he conceives to be dangerous
he may interrupt him ?

2. Whether if any speak impertinently ?

3. If any one fall into vain repetitions of what was spoken
of and satisfied before 1

4. Whether he may order that one only should speak at
one time ?

These questions having been referred to the upper house
were all answered in the affirmative, as indeed was most
reasonable, with a salvo, however, as regarded the authority
of that branch of the synod ; and the matter of the Lincoln
proctors having been also decided in this session, the assembly

A. D. 1640.
K. Chas. I.

1 Cone.
Mag. Br
iv. 542.

' Dec. 2.




» Cyp. Aug.
lib. V. p. 1]

' Conip.
Hist. iii.

" Echard's
Hist, of
Eng.iii. 194.

* Echard's
Hist, of
Eng.iii. 188.

" Com p.

Hist. iii.


" Nov. 3.

y Echard,

Hist. Eng.

iii. 1.06, 197.

Nal son's


i. 678. Coll.

viii. 190 et


' Nal son's


i. 564.

was continued. Some hitch, however, having subsequently
occurred in this last business, it was again brought upon the
board on the 27th of January, 1641 n.s. ; and finally con-
cluded to the satisfaction of all parties in the session held on
the 3rd of February following. A continuation then took
place to the 9th of that month.

This synod end- The remaining acts of this synod are lost
sions'Tf c*iuach ^uiid the coufusions in Church and State which
and State. j^q^^ prevailed. For on account of Archbishop ^

Laud's committal by the commons to the care of JSIaxwell,
usher of the black rod, on the 18th of December, 1 640, the
meetings of the upper ' house of convocation were discon-
tinued ; and as for the lower house it by degrees also dwindled
away. Thus the southern provincial synod was silenced, and
parliament assumed the reins of authority in the management
of ecclesiastical discipline, and in the dii*ection of matters of
faith. How ill that assembly succeeded in improving those
synodical functions, the darkest pages of our national records
afford to posterity their melancholy testimonies.

XXIV p- r ^° ^^ back a step in point of time, even

ment of Nov. bcforc the meeting of the long parliament on
the 3rd of November", 1610, that party to
whom such disastrous results may be subsequently traced in
our national history became somewhat vociferous. Among
the leaders were Mr. Pym and Mr. Hampden. Language of
ominous character was now made use of. Some took leave to
say " that their "■' party was then strong enough to pull the
king"'s crown from his head, but the gospel would not suffer
them."" However, as soon as the voice of the Church was
silenced and the clergy were deprived, the malcontents were
not long in fulfilling their traitorous threats. Shortly ''' after the
meeting of parliament ^ Mr. Pym>', Sir iJ. Rudyard, Mr. liag-
shaw. Sir J. Holland, Lord Digby, Sir J. Culpeper, Mr. Har-
bottle Grimstone, and others launched their bolts at the
Church with uncommon fury. We have no space here to
follow their ramblings or consider in detail their extravagant
flourishes of rhetoric, which likened the Pope of Home ^ to
Herod and Archbishop Laud to Pontius Pilate, and dashed
off other figures of speech equally di.screditable to the skill
and the design of their authors. Suffice it to say that some




of these gentlemen indulged in the last excesses of coarseness
and satire, and dealt more generally in raillery and abuse than
in learning and logic. Sir Edward Deering fetched a remark-
ably wide compass in his course of attack, and finding at last a
haven for his spleen in a furious assault upon the character of
Archbishop Laud, he concluded his harangue in these words —
"that^ before the year run round he hoped his grace would
have either more grace or no grace at all, for our manifold
griefs do fill a mighty and vast circumference, yet so that from
every part our lines of sorrow do lead to him and point to him
as the centre from which our miseries in this Church, and
many of them in the commonwealth, do flow."

House of Com- The most popular onslaught, however, in the
^ctrof the' kte House of Commons was directed against the
provincial S3 nods, acts of the provincial synods held during the
last summer, comprising the benevolence to the king, the
seventeen canons, and the oath before considei-ed ^^ contained
in the sixth of those canons. And here Lord Digby, Sir ^ John
Oulpeper, and Mr. Grimstone marched forth in determined
array to challenge the force of those documents. The sub-

Online LibraryJames Wayland JoyceEngland's sacred synods : a constitutional history of the convocations of the clergy, from the earliest records of Christianity in Britain to the date of the promulgation of the present Book of common prayer; including a list of all councils, ecclesiastical as well as civil, held in England, in whic → online text (page 74 of 83)