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o .uTriERN BKANCn,

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA,

LIBRARY,

tLOS ANGELES. CALIF.



A BOOK ABOUT THE CLERGY.



VOL. I.



A BOOK ABOUT THE CLEEGY.



BY



JOHN COEDY JEAFFRESON,

B.A. OXON.

AUTHOR OV

"A BOOK ABOUT DOCTORS," "A BOOK ABOUT LAWYERS,"

&c. &c.



IN TWO VOLUMES.
VOL. 1.



Btm\h Qitmi



LONDON :
HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS,

13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.

1870.

The Right of Translation is reserved.

C 9 O <-i \

O w 'J .g 4



LONDON:

Strangewats and Walden, Printeks,
Castle St. Leicester Sq.



V-



c



PREFACE.



<\^



^



T^YELV£ years have passed since difficulties, encountered

in a course of reading, determined me to endeavour to

supply a want of English literature by writing a book

that should commemorate the usages and characteristics

of the followers of Divinity, Law, and Physic in past

times of English story, — a book that, without arrogat-

^ ing to itself the dignity of history, should be useful to

^ historians, and, whilst affording diversion to all readers

^ of general literature, should be of special service to

artists bent on illustrating the life of our ancestors with

pen or pencil. For the accomplishment of this under-

iri takmg I had made considerable preparations, when I

^ altered my plan on seeing that it would be impossible

a to deal effectively with the affau-s of the three learned

^ professions in a single work of dimensions that would



vi Preface.

raise no obstacles to its attainment of popularity.
Adhering to my original purpose, whilst relinquishing
my first design for its achievement, I decided to produce
three distinct works : — each of which should be complete
in itself and altogether independent of the other two,
whilst the three should together form an historic survey
of the social progress and development of the three
faculties.

To give effect to this project I began upon the
profession with which my early training and personal
associations rendered me most familiar, and in 1860
produced my memoir of medical men and their ways
under a title that has been adapted by several writers
to various well-known publications. After a lapse of
seven years I published my history of legal usages, —
the second instalment of a task that is completed by
the volumes which I now lay before the world.

JOHN CORDY JEAFFRESON.



43 Springfield Road,

8. John's Wood, K W.



CONTENTS



OF



THE FIRST VOLUME.



PART I.— WYCLTFFE'S ENGLAND.

CHAP. PAGE

I. THE PIONEERS 1

II. THE MONASTERY 13

III. GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE 27

IV. CLERICAL PREPONDERANCE 42

V. POLITICAL DIVISIONS 53

VI. DONS AND SIRS 67

VII. CLERICAL MORALS 84

VIII. MONEY AND LEARNING 98

IX. THE POOR AND THE RICH 110

X. THE BEGGAR PRIESTS 120

XI. LOLLARD Y : MANNERS AND SOCIAL ASPECTS . . . . 137

XII. LOLLARD Y : TENETS AND POLITICS 153



viii Contents.



PART IL— PERSECUTION.

CHAP. PAGE

I. THE ANIMUS OF PEUSECUTION 171

II. THE LAW OF HERESY 180

III. FIKE AND SHRINE 198

IV. THE STAKE 210

V. SECONDARY PUNISHMENTS AND DEGRADATION .... 227

VI. THE DEATH OF PERSECUTION 237



PART TIL— CLERICAL WOMEN.

1. CLERICAL WIVES IN PRB-ELIZABETHAN TIMES .... 247

II. CLERICAL WIVES IN ELIZABETH'S REIGN 256

III. CLERICAL WIVES IN THE TIMES OF JAMES THE FIRST,

CHARLES THE FIRST, AND THE COMMONWEALTH . 272

IV. CLERICAL WIVES, TEMP. CHARLES II. AND JAMES II. . 287
V. LIFE INSURANCE 299

VI. Elizabeth's twelfth injunction 315

VII. THE MODERN CLERICAL HOME 321

PART IV.— OLD WAYS AND NEW FASHIONS.

I. god's HOUSE THE PEOPLE'S HOME ....... 336

II. CHURCH PLAYS AND CHURCH ALES 347



PART L-WYCLIFFE'S ENGLAND.



CHAPTER I.

THE PIONEERS.



FOE the educated mind, there is no more delightful pastime,
or profitable exercise, than to meditate on those separate
communities of religious persons, whose toilsome and pious
labours were largely instrumental in reclaiming the British
islands from primeval wildness, and converting their earlier
inhabitants from Pagan superstition ; and who, discharging at
the same time the functions of the colonist and the missionary,
were the founders of institutions that took deep root in the
social system of our semi-barbarous ancestors, and through
centuries of convulsion and change were of inestimable service
to mankind as schools of civilisation and fountains of the true
faith.

To realise the intellectual, moral, and material conditions
under which these remote benefactors of our species achieved
their fruitful work, is a task attended with many difficulties,
arising from the fewness and inadequacy of the records, which
aie the only written memorials of their virtues and performances.
But in the absence of fuller and worthier histories, we may well
be thankful for the meagre chronicles which, at wide and irre-
gular intervals, throw faint gleams of light athwart the other-
wise unbroken gloom which covers these saintly actors from
our reverential observation. For by the aid of those infrequent
and uncertain lights something may surely be discerned of the
simplicity and fervour, the mild submissiveness and superb

VOL. I. B



A Book about Clergy.



daring-, the exquisite tenderness and almost superhuman
strength, that distinguislied them from the inferior natures, for
whose temporal advantage and eternal salvation they laboured
with unselfish zeal and invincible resoluteness. And when this
insight has been gained into the sources of their influence over
tlieir contemporaries, it is possible, though arduous for us — by
a judicious and vigorous exercise of reason and imagination —
to bring ourselves face to face, as it were, with the men and
women of British or Anglo-Saxon race, who embraced Chris-
tianity in the earlier stages of its long war of numerous con-
flicts with the paganism of the Celtic and Teutonic tribes, and
who, having thus adopted the faith of the Cross, retired in com-
panies to the fastnesses of the forests, or the desolate spots of
the thinly-populated land, in order that, whilst complying with
the precepts of the gospel, they might contribute directly, and
with effectiveness, to the conversion of that Pagan world from
which they had withdrawn themselves for a time.

Conspicuous in the churches that furnished martyrs to the
agents of Diocletian's persecution, and perished under the in-
cursions of the Grerman immigrants, these communities of
Christian believers were still more numerous and powerful in
the churches founded by. those Celtic missionaries, who repaid
the wrongs inflicted on their race by endowing its persecutors
with the blessings of conversion to the one true religion. In
times prior to the creation of parishes they sent forth the priests,
who, upon the second overthrow of Pagan superstition in Albion,
ministered to the spiritual needs of the scattered congregations ;
and growing in number and importance as Christianity gained
more general acceptance amongst the Saxon peoples, they
entered upon the dawn of their greatness, when they wit-
nessed the completion of that parochial system which owed
its origin to their priests, and continues to this day a grand
memorial of their care for the interests of religion m every
quarter of the land.

It should, however, be borne in mind that these ancient
communities of religious persons in the Celtic and early Anglo-
Saxon churches differed widely in several important particulars
from the monasteries of later times. Until the tenth century,
when Dunstan's zeal and irresistible will, etfectinir the work



P<irt I. — Wijcliffes England.



which Wilfrid was powerless to accomplish some three hundred
3'ears earlier, firmly planted the Benedictine system in the
polity of the English Church, the monasteries of our remote
ancestors were not so mucli colleges of ecclesiastics as associa-
tions of believers, who found it to be for their convenience and
edification to dwell within a common home. We liave called
them communities of religious persons, but we should more
exactly designate their constitution and functions by calling
them associations of religious families ; for they afforded shelter
to the young and old of both sexes, to parents with young
children in their arms, to widows and virgins. Comprising a
clerical element, sufiicient for the spiritual needs of its members,
and tlie due instruction of its dependent churches, a Saxon
monastery of the pre-Dunstan period consisted chiefly of lay-
members, a considerable proportion of whom were females.

Nor was woman's presence a source of embarrassment, or an
occasion of scandal, in these colonies of austere ascetics, in days
when no edict of the Church imposed celibacy on her clergy,
and social opinion had not yet discerned in marriage such a
savour of sinfulness as rendered its estate incompatible with the
sanctity of the priestly office. Frequently the feminine element,
both in numbers and capacity, preponderated over the male in
the British and Saxon monasteries, which not seldom obeyed the
supreme control of the opulent and royal ladies, to whose muni-
ficence they owed their existence. The pious princess, who
converted her residence into a refuge from worldly temptations
for enthusiastic devotees, enjoyed a natural right to regulate the
life of the guests who accepted her hospitality ; and if she
possessed the intelligence and energy to govern a numerous
household, she soon came to exercise the functions of a religious
superior by discharging efficiently the duties of a hostess. It
was thus that the Deirian princess — whose beneficent career
has given rise to so many unworthy jests — established her right
to rule the monasteries, in which priests and bishops received
instruction from her lips, and in the most famous of which she
fostered the sacred genius of the cowherd, Ceadmon, whose
rhythmical translations of the Bible stories charmed the ears
and illuminated the minds of the rude Northumbrian converts.
Thus also the Princess Ebba became the spiritual directress, as



A Book about Clergy.



well as the temporal guardian, of her disciples at Coldingham.
And whilst these Northumbrian ladies were thus spending their
sulj.stance and lives in the service of the Church, Queen Ethel-
dreda, after escaping fj-om her husband's detested importunities,
established in East Anglia the monastery in which slie emulated
the virtues and services of her aunt, the Abbess Hilda.

Whilst he meditates upon the incidents which must have
attended the plantation of tliose early communities, the scholar
of the nineteenth century surrounds himself with visions that
strengthen wliilst they delight the mind from which they have
emanated. Looking down upon the minster of his native city
from an eminence, that commands an uninterrupted view of the
landscape, of which the antique tower is the central object, he
gradually loses sight of all the marks which man's incessant
industry has put upon the familiar country. No longer darkened
by the factories that defile its waters whilst they utilise its
force, the river flows clear and bright between banks, whose
majestic trees throw dark shadows on its still and glassy surface.
The ripening corn-fields, the green meadows, and pleasant
homesteads of a hundred farms disappear, and are replaced by
grand breadths of the virgin forest, that clothes the unoccupied
valley and distant hills with every variety of greenness, and
every diversity of curving lines. Far away, where the blue
haze thickening the atmosphere deprives the outlines of their
fineness, is just discernible the peak from whose summit may
be seen, on the other side of a stretch of morass and moorland,
the stronghold of the thane, whose goodwill to the Christian
faith has recently borne fruit, in a grant of uncleared forest, to
a band of religious enthusiasts, whom he has graciously em-
powered to live in the fastnesses of the conceded wilderness, —
earning heaven by their prayers, whilst they enrich the earth
by their labour.

And now, floating slowly with the river's steady current,
there comes to the dreamer's vision a large, rude raft, similar
in make to the smaller of those unwieldy floats, which, growing
with the stream's width and the progress of their seaward
course, move slowly down the Ehine from the interior of Europe
to the ports, where they are broken up and sold for the benefit
of the workmen, whose not unskilful labour felled their massive



Part I. — Wijcliffes England.



timbers in the forest, knit their cumbrous parts into monstrous
floors, and then navigated tliem to the spot appointed for tlieir
destruction.

Just as each of those Rhine-rafts is seen to bear its com-
pany of workers, so the float of our scholar's vision bears a
freight of passengers, whose hands made the vessel on which
they are slowly gliding to their toil.

Perhaps the whole crew numbers fifty souls ; and as they
draw nearer to his point of observation, the dreamer observes
them looking eagerly to the bank on which they are about to
alight.

Amongst them are faces of every age, from the furrowed
visage of the veteran, marked by the scars of battle, to the
smooth cheek of the blue-eyed boy, who has embraced the
sacred life with the fierce fervour of youthful enthusiasm.
Beside men, whose garb and tonsure indicate their priestly
rank, stand laymen, whose various pursuits have fitted them to
endure the toil and hardships of settlers in the forest. Some
of them have learnt in the courts of princes the emptiness of
earthly honour ; some are simple craftsmen, who from their
earliest years have sustained themselves by the labour of their
hands ; and whilst most of them are endowed with natures that,
under any circumstances, would preserve them from the com-
mission of heinous offences, there are others, whose peni-
tential air betokens the secret anguish of remorse for crimes
known only to themselves and God. A brotherhood of rude
creatures, in all of whom there is perhaps less of earthly learn-
ing than is possessed by any clever twelve-years' lad of our own
tim.e, who has had the training of a village school ; and of them
all, the one least familiar with the learning of books is the
broad-shouldered, beetle-browed monk, whom they have made
their chief — in unconstrained homage to his thorough good-
ness and proved devotion to the rules by which they have con-
sented to regulate their lives. Such are the men who leap
from the raft to the river's bank, bearing in their hearts the
vital truths of the gospel story, and in their hands the few im-
plements that will enable them to make a clearing and raise a
Christian temple in the silent wood. Nor must notice be
omitted of the patient women, who are sharers in the under-



A Book about Clergy.



taking, and contribute to the plaintive sweetness of the choral
strains with wliich tlie voyagers celebrate the close of their
journey before the upraised cross.*

Then scenes follow each other in quick succession ; scenes
that, after the wont of dreamland's visions, compress the
labours and events of years, generations, centuries, into hours,
minutes, seconds.

Whilst the forest still resounds with the axes that lay its
trees upon the ground, there rises from the soil a timbered
church, whose roof is thatched witli rushes. Dwellings spring
up around it ; and ere the colonists have reaped their first crop
of grain, a town has been called into existence by the incessant
industry of workers, who do and suffer for the love of God all
that the backwoodsmen of this nineteenth century achieve and
endure in American fastnesses for the sake of worldly gain.
Each succeeding year witnesses a large extension of the settle-
ment, and fresh arrivals of devotees, who are received into the
community as soon as the abbot has satisfied himself that they
have left the world because they are not of it, and desire
nothing on this side of the grave but hard fare, hard toil, and
the means of spiritual edification. No wonder that the work
prospers; for what agents can be more fit for such an enter-
prise than men who prefer solitude to any kind of social re-
creation, and have learnt to delight in every privation that
tends to deaden the sensual appetites by which Satan lures
sinners to destruction ? And whilst these pioneers of monas-
ticism are thankful for the physical rigours of a lot that exacts
from them continuous bodily exertion in return for the bare
means of sustenance, they deem themselves no less fortunate
with respect to all those details of conventual discipline, against

* Oswald of Nortbumbria bas tbe reputation of baving erected tbe first cross
that ever stood ia tbis countrj'. ' Tbe first cross and ahar,' says Foxe. on tbe
authority of Bede and tbe ' Polychron.,' 'within tbis realm, was first set up in
tbe north parts of Hevenfield, upon tbe occasion of Oswald, king of Nortbum-
land, fighting against Cadwalla, where he, in tbe same place, set up the sign of
tbe Cross, kneeling and praying there for victory.' Crosses became general
throughout the country in the Anglo-Saxon period. ' A cross,' says the Count
de Montalembert of tbis period, ' raised in tbe middle of a field, was enough to
satisfy tbe devotion of the thane, bis ploughman, and shepherds. They ga-
thered round it for public and daily prayer.'



Part I. — Wycliffe's England.



which unregenerate natures would rebel as vexatious insults to
personal dignity, and unendurable encroachments on personal
freedom. Instead of fretting* at the restraints of its minute
provisions for their daily conduct, they derive a deliglitful sense
of spiritual security from a system which assigns a special duty
to each of their wakeful hours, and allows them no periods of
leisure, when, through want of occupation, they might become
an easy prey to diabolical influences.

Spent in the painful discharge of duties, to many of which
we attach notions of servility and degradation, the daily life of
these laborious zealots presents us with spectacles that are apt
to rouse a momentary sense of amusement, when they are put
in sharp contrast against the ways and styles of ecclesiastical
persons in more civilised and luxurious times. All our concep-
tions of the dignity and sacredness of the priestly office, and all
our conventional notions of the clerical character, are so rudely
disturbed by what is known of the humble industry of these
earlier monks, that trivial minds are less disposed to admiration
than merriment, when for the fir-st time they are told how in
the remoter periods of our ecclesiastical history bishops were
habitual wielders of the woodman's axe and the ditcher's spade,
whilst their clergy felt no shame in following the plough-tail,
and performing the work of artisans or farm-servants. Nor
can it be denied that some of the stories of monastic humility
and diligence possess a grotesqueness which palliates, though it
may not justify, the mirth which they stir in flippant minds.
Even students, averse to jocosity, find it difficult to refrain
from smiling at the thought of St. David — that prolific parent
and wise ruler of monastic settlements — guiding the plough-
share, which his disciples draw through the clayey glebe. But
inquirers, less ready to discern what is ludicrous in human
action than eager to ascertain the sentiment which inspires it,
dismiss their inclination to laugh over this strange spectacle of
saintly zeal and clerical submissiveness, when they reflect how
the scene, — to those who accept the legend as veritable history,
— exemplifies the piety and fine devotion of the men who,
having a righteous aim in view, were restrained by no vain
care for their dignity from adopting the means by which it
could be most readily achieved, and who were nothing loth to



A Book cibout Clergy.



work like beasts of the field in the service of a Divine Master,
who for their sakes had lowered Himself to the nature and con-
dition of a man.

Thus it is with our dreamer's monks, whose axes are con-
tinually lowerinjj^ the monarchs of the forest, whose spades are
incessantly widening the tracts of cultivated ground, whose
hammers are heard, far and near, from early dawn to late
evening, and whose industry is covering the adjacent country
with peaceful homesteads and churches, whilst it rebuilds and
enlarges the central town.

The scenes follow each other more rapidly, and each new
scene is a panorama of changes and improvements.

Three centuries of time have barely passed since the first
settlers came down the river on their heavily-laden raft ; and
the wooden church — the earliest architectural achievement of
the pioneers — has been replaced by a stone cathedral, whose mas-
sive tower, visible from the distant hills, summons worshippers
by sound of bell, and mingles its clamorous music with the
terrifying uproar of the thunderstorm.* In accordance with
the larger proportions of the new cathedral, the spaces, that in
old time encircled the wooden church, have broadened into
ample courts and picturesque thoroughfares. Ecclesiastical
reform has also effected material changes in the monastery,
investing its occupants with a strictly ecclesiastical character,

* Noticing this superstitious use of church-bells, in connexion with the many
accidents that occurred from lightning to religious buildings in days when arti-
ficial lightning-conductors were unknown, Thomas Fuller, in ' The Church His-
tory of Britain,' observes, — 'Only we will add, that such frequent firing of
abbey-churches by lightning confuteth the proud motto, commonly written on
the bells of their steejiles, wherein each bell entitled itself to a sixfold efficacy: —

" 1. Funera plango Men's deaths I tell

By doleful knell.

2. Fulgura ) ^ Light and thunder
Fulniina \J'^'J" I break asunder.

3. Sabbata pango On Sabbath all

To church I call.

4. Excito lentos The sleepy head

I raise from bed.

5. Disslpo veiitos The A\ands so fierce

I do disperse.

0. Paco cruentos Men's cruel rage

I do assuage." '



Part I. — Wi/cUjfcs England.



drawing a broad line between tlie religious residents of the
abbey, and the laity dwelling in the outer town, assigning
separate residences to the two sexes of religious persons, and
establishing scores of petty regulations, which tend to the
aggrandisement of the clerical element of the community, whilst
they manifestly weaken that sentiment of close, familiar fellow-
ship, which used to knit all the inhabitants of the place into
one compact family. In fact, the settlement of less than three-
score religious persons has grown into a populous town, with an
abbot for its ruler, residences for its clergy, a grand cathedral
for its monastic celebrations, a parochial system for the instruc-
tion of its laity, a college for its nuns, and buoyant trades for
the support of its increasing populace.

The life of the monastery has become less trying to monks
of slender frame and delicate constitution than it was in the
earlier years of its existence ; but this change arises from the
fact that the brethren are less frequently called upon to endure
the rigours of a variable climate without adequate defence
against the severity of winterly seasons, and is in no way due to
any relaxation of the rules of their order. For though they
have attained the fulness of such opulence and power as the age



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