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iFor f^t ^liUjlication of t!)f ffl5aorfe6 of ttjf dFatl)fre
anlr (iParIp ffisaritfre of tf)f laffornifti






















Memoir ......... i

Fac simile of the Title of the first Edition of Nowell's Cate-
chism ......... i*


Prima Pars. De Lege et Obedientia ..... 7
Secunda Pars. De Evangelio et Fide .... 26

Tertia Pars. De Oratione, et gratiarum Actione . . .64

Quarta Pars. De Sacramentis ..... 83

Vocabula nostratia, et loquendi formse Christianorum proprise, etc, 99

Fac simile of the Title of the first Edition of Norton's Trans-
lation of the Catechism ...... 105

Nowell's Catechism . . . . , . . 113

The First Part. Of the Law and Obedience ... 120

The Second Part. Of the Gospel and Faith . . .141

The Third Part. Of Prayer and Thanksgiving . . 183

The Fom-th Part. Of Sacraments 205

Appexdix ......... 221

Index .......... 231



Alexander Nowell, the son of John Nowell, Esq., of
Whalley, in the county of Lancaster, was born in that parish
sometime in the year 1507 or 1508: educated at Middleton
in the same county, and at the early age of thirteen, was ad-
mitted of Brasen-Nose College, Oxford. Of that society he
afterwards became fellow ; and very late in life (1595) was
for a few months President of the College. In 1543 he was
appointed Master of Westminster School^; and in November,
1551, was made prebendary of Westminster on the death
and in the room of Dr Redmayn, Master of Trinity College,

On the accession of Queen Mary, Nowell was returned
(probably through the influence of the Earl of Devon) as one
of the burgesses to represent the borough of Loo in the par-
liament which met in October 1553. A committee of the
House of Commons, however, declared him to be ineligible to
be a member of that house, because of his "being a preben-
dary of Westminster, and thereby having a voice in the Con-
vocation House." But unless Nowell were the Proctor elected
to represent the Chapter of Westminster in Convocation, he
would not have " a voice in the Convocation House " merely
because he happened to be a prebendary of Westminster.
Considering, therefore, that Dr Tregonwell, a zealous papist,
who was also a prebendary of Westminster, was allowed to
retain his seat in parliament, the ejection of Nowell from that
assembly may be ascribed to his known attachment to the
Reformation 2.

Of this attachment Nowell gave decisive evidence in the
following year : for when the persecuting spirit of Queen Mary

1 Carlisle Grammar Schools, ii. 114.

2 Carte, Hist, of Engl, in 295.

[noel. catec]


had befyun to shew itself, we find him at Strasburgh among
those eminent persons who were exiles for their religion. It
appears that from Strasburgh Nowell removed to Frankfort,
and when the " troubles" arose there, that he at first adhered
to the party who advocated the " new discipline," against
Horn and the strictly episcopalian party. He was, however,
afterwards found among those who enforced the importance of
unity in essentials, and who expressed their willingness to sub-
mit to authority as regarded matters ceremonial. Yet when
the question of rites and ceremonies came to be discussed in
the Convocation of 1562, Nowell, with others, proposed some
relaxation in the rubrics of King Edward Sixth's Service-book,
as regarded the wearing of the surplice, the cross in baptism,
and other like matters, respecting which some ministers had
scruples ^ Afterwards, also, we find him acting as a pacifi-
cator in the proceedings which were taken against Sampson,
Dean of Christ's Church, and Humphry, President of Mag-
dalen College, Oxford, for refusing the habits 2.

When, on the death of Queen Mary, the exiles returned
to England, Nowell was among those who were employed to
carry out Queen Elizabeth's plans for the reformation of reli-
gion. One of the most efficacious of those plans was the
appointing of visitors for different parts of the country, whose
duty it should be to see that such injunctions and ordinances
as were issued by authority respecting religion and ecclesias-
tical affairs were complied with. To Nowell and others were
assigned, in 1559, the visitation of the diocese of Lincoln,
Peterborough, Oxford, and Lichfield 3. Early in the following
year Bishop Grindal collated Nowell to the archdeaconry of
Middlesex, to the rectory of Saltwood (which however he
very soon resigned), and to a stall in the church of Canter-

1 Troubles at Frankfort, pp. 65, 115—135, 189, 190. Lond. 1846.
Strype, Ann. i. i. 1591. Oxf.

2 Strype, Life of Parker, i. 34.^. Oxf.

3 Strype, Ann. i. i. 247.


bury. In the same year he was appointed to a stall in St
Peter's, Westminster, which from being a monastery had been
erected into a collegiate church ; and at the close of the year,
No well was preferred to the deanery of St Paul's*, which he
held till his death.

During the earlier periods of the Reformation licences to
preach were but very sparingly granted. The persons selected
for that privilege were always men of eminent abilities and
of settled principles. It was to be expected therefore that
Nowell would be very often employed in so important a
service. Accordingly we find him among those appointed to
preach at St Paul's Cross; in the Cathedral; before the
Queen during Lent ; and on other occasions. A specimen of
his preaching is given in the Appendix to this Volume.

In the Convocation which revised the " Articles of Re-
ligion" agreed upon in the reign of King Edward VI.,
Newell was chosen prolocutor, and took an active part in the
proceedings of that assembly. He was soon after employed to
compose a Homily ^ to be added to the Form of Prayer which
was put forth in consequence of the plague which was raging.

Early in the year 1565 we find Nowell engaged in a con-
troversy with Thomas Dorman, who had been fellow of All
Souls' College, Oxford, during the reign of Edward VI., but
went over to popery when Queen Mary came to the throne.
This Dorman had put forth an attack on certain portions of
Bp Jewell's Apology, under the title of " A Proof of certain
Articles in Religion denied by Mr Jewell." He undertook in
his book to prove that the supremacy of the bishop of Rome ;
transubstantiation ; the sacrifice of the mass and communion
under one kind ; were severally held and professed by the
Church of Christ within the first six centuries. It was, how-
ever, to establish his proposition respecting the universal
supremacy of the bishop of Rome that Dorman chiefly laboured ;

4 Strype, Ann. i. i. 306.

5 See Grindars Remains, pp. 95, et seq. Park. Soc. Edit.



and to the refutation of that fable, therefore, " A Reproofe
written by Alexander Nowell of a Booke entituled * A Proofe
of Certain Articles in Religion denied by M. Juell,' " &c., is
directed. Nowell gives as a reason for proceeding no further
in answering Dorman, "because the Bp of Sarum in the
Answer he was preparing to Harding's would sufficiently con-
fute the rest of Dorman's book, for that the latter had written
little or nothing that was not taken from Harding'." Before
the end of the year Dorman put forth " A Disproofe of M.
Nowell's Reproofe," which was followed in 1567 by Nowell's
'* Confutation as well of M. Dorman's last Boke, entituled
* A Disproufe,' &c. as well as of D. Sander his Causes of Tran-
substantiation ;" Nowell having, during 1566, been employed
in writing and publishing the continuation of his Reproof, in
which his object chiefly was to vindicate the supreme autho-
thority of Christian princes in causes ecclesiastical as well as
civil within their own dominions, " by M. Dorman maliciously
oppugned." Nowell's controversy with Saunders arose out of
an attack which the latter had made on an assertion in the
"Reproof of Dorman's Proof," to the effect that "all the papists
put together would never be able to shew cause why the
words 'I am the true Vine' did not prove a transubstantiation
as well as 'This is my body 2.'""

The work, however, which has identified the name of
Nowell with the Church of England, is the Catechism re-
printed in the present Volume. Among the important busi-
ness to be brought under the consideration of the Convocation
which met in 1562, it was advised that "there should be
authorised one perfect Catechism for the bringing up of
the youth in godliness, in the schools of the whole realm ;
which book," it is added, "is well nigh finished by the
industry of the Dean of St Paul's:" and that "the said
Catechism being once approved by the learned in the Convo-

^ Nowell's Confutation, pp. 26, 27.
2 Reproof, &c, p. 103. 2nd Edit.


cation-house, may bo authorised to be taught also by the Uni-
versities, and to the youth wheresoever they be taught their
grammar in any private men's houses^." Accordingly, 5 Feb.,
a committee of the upper house, consisting of Jewell and three
other bishops, was appointed to examine a book called " The
Catechism." On the 3rd March, the prolocutor of the lower
house of Convocation returned to the upper the Catechismus
Puerorum, as having been unanimously approved. Moreover,
in a letter dated June 22, 1563, Nowell writes to Sir W. Cecil,
to the effect that ' whereas the copy of the Catechism which
he had caused to be written out for his Honor, to whom the
book was dedicated, came to the hands of the bishops and
clergy assembled in the late Convocation (that of 1562), and
by reason that certain places were by their judgments altered,
was interlined and blotted, he (Nowell) had caused it to be
copied out again, and had sent it to his honor, not now in his
own name, as afore, hut in the name of the clergy of the Con-
vocation, as their hook, seeing it is hy them approved and

It will be observed, however, that there is a want of
definiteness in the terms by which the book submitted to Con-
vocation is described. It is called " The Catechism," when
referred to a committee of the upper house ; whilst the book
■approved unanimously by the lower house is " Catechismus
Puerorum." It is remarkable, too, that when Nowell put
forth, in 1570, the Catechism which is here reprinted, he did
not claim for it any synodal authority. He dedicated it indeed
to the Archbishops and Bishops of England, and submitted it to
their judgments ; but it was merely in the hope that the book,
when known to be sanctioned by their high authority, would
become more extensively useful. For these, and other reasons
which might be mentioned, it has not unreasonably been doubted
whether the Catechism approved and allowed by Convocation
were the Catechism contained in the present volume. The

3 Strypc, Ann. 1562, i. i. 473. ^ Strype, Ann. i. i. 526.



following letter, however, from Nowell to Sir W. Cecil, dated
on the day on which this Catechism was first put forth in
print, sets that question at rest : —

After my humble commendations unto your honour. Thes are
to certifie the same that the Latine Catechisme, which aboute seaven
yeres ao'oo I dyd write and dedicate unto your honour in the fyrst
writen copie, is now at the laste putt in printe, by my lords of Can-
terburie and Yorkes appoynctment, and with your honours consent,
as my lord of Canterburie informed me. The occasion of the dedi-
cating of it now unto the byshopps, as men most mete to judge and
allow, or disallow of such matiers, was inforced that about syxe yeres
agoo, it was offred unto them, beinge assembled in Convocation, and
by them allowed, and by the whole cleargie of the Lower Convocation-
Howse subscribed unto, as is to be sene in the coopie remainingo
with me.

Notwithstandinge I sent a copie of it, beinge fare writen ageine,
unto your honour, with whom it remayned above one yeare, and then
was delyvered me ageine by your honour, and withall certen notes of
some lerned man uppon it. Wheruppon it hath ever synse remayned
with me, untyll my lord of Canterburie his grace called for it, after
that I had altered manie places in it, acordinge to the notes which
your honour delyvered unto me, as your honour shall well perceyve,
had yow leysure to compare the saide notes (which I have sent ageine
to your honour, even the verie copie it selfe which your honour de-
lyvered me) with the printed booke, which I have alsoo sent unto
your honour. And after the coopie had remayned a while with my
lord of Canterburie, he demaunded of me whie I dyd not put it in
printe. I tolde his grace that without your honours consent, to whom
I had in the fyrste writen copie dedicated it, I wold not printe it :
and within a fewe dayes after he sending for me ageine, tolde me
that your honour had consented that it shuld be printed, and that it
was to your honour no matier were it dedicated unto the byshopps ;
and soo hym selfe allowinge it to the printe, by the subscription of
his name and my lorde of Yorke doing the like, it came to the printe
at the laste, syx yeres and more after it was fyrst wryten. Whei-of
in case your honour shall have good liking, I shall be verie gladde.
And thus I commend your honour unto AUmightie Godde, who have
yow and all yours in his blessed kepinge. 16 Junii, 1570.

Your honors to commando,


To the right honorable and my singlare
good frend Sir Wyllyam Cecill,
knight, principall secretarie to the
Queene's ma^'^A

1 St-ite Paper Office (Domestic Cor.).


Of this Catechism there were two editions^, or impressions,
printed in 1570 ; and reprints of it appeared in 1571, 1574,
1576 : and perhaps in other intermediate years. An abridg-
ment of the Catechism was also made by Nowell, probably as
early as 1570; and shortly after he put forth a still more
condensed Catechism. We may judge of the high estimation
in which these works were held, when we learn from the
various injunctions, &c. put forth at that time by public
authorities, that no Catechisms were allowed to be used by
clergymen and schoolmasters except one or other of Nowell's^,

With regard to the Catechisms and catechetical documents
that appeared at and about the time of the Reformation, it
is well known that they mainly consisted of an exposition of
the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments.
Although, therefore, the arrangement of the matter was not
always the same, there was, as might be expected, a great
similarity as regarded doctrinal statements, and oftentimes a
verbal agreement between one catechism and another. In
drawing up his Catechism, therefore, Nowell informs the
bishops that he had not scrupled to avail himself of the labours
of others who had preceded him in this department of theo-
logy, both as regarded arrangement and matter. Yet a
cursory comparison of Nowell's Catechism with any other of
those referred to will shew the great superiority of his work.
The Catechisms of Poinet and Calvin are, perhaps, those with
which Nowell's is most frequently and verbally coincident, yet
his will be found to excel both, not less in the full and lucid
exposition of doctrine than in Latinity.

Four years after the publication of his Catechism, Nowell
was one of the Divines appointed to confer with Campion, in
consequence of a challenge which that Jesuit had given in his
"Ten Reasons in favour of the Roman Church." A Report
of that Conference was afterwards (1583) published.

2 A Copy of each Edition is in the Bodleian.

' Cardwell, Synodalia, i. 128. Grindal's Renifiins, pp, 142, 152.

y\[{ MEMOIR.

From that time until his death, which took place on
13 Feb. 1602, the Dean was frequently occupied in preaching
on great public occasions, and at the funerals of the nobility ;
and of some of his sermons notes taken by contemporaries are
still in existence.

Besides the Catechisms, the only works of importance left
by Nowell are those which have been already mentioned.
Among his acts of pubUc beneficence may be recorded the
founding of a Free Grammar School at Middleton, in Lan-
cashire, and of several scholarships in Brasen-Nose College,
Oxford. Of these and other interesting particulars connected
with this great man, a full account is given in his Life, written
in the early part of the present century, by the Rev. Ralph

Thomas Norton, the translator of Nowell's Catechism, is
generally considered to have been of the profession of the
law, and in later life to have been solicitor to the city of
London. If he be the same person who wrote the letter to
Calvin, which appears among the "Original Letters" pub-
lished by the Parker Society, he had been tutor to the chil-
dren of the Protector Somerset. He is said to have been
a contributor to the Earl of Dorset's "Mirror of Magistrates ;"
and to have assisted that nobleman in the composition of the
tragedy of Gorboduc. "VVarton, however, is of opinion that
the identity of style to be observed throughout the whole
of that play renders it improbable that Norton had any
hand in it. Norton, also, is said to have versified twenty-
seven of the Psalms in the version of Sternhold and Hopkins.
In a copy of that version, printed in 1581, the rendering
of Psalms li. and liii. certainly bears the initials T. N. ;
but to twenty-six others the letter N. only is attached.
Strype speaks of a minister named Thomas Norton, who gave
his advice about the Conference with Campion; who took


notes of that Conference ; and furthermore advised with Whit-
gift respecting the "Admonition to Parliament:" but it is
much more probable that the party thus mentioned by Strype
was the translator of No well's Catechism.

Norton is said to have died about 1584.

It remains to be stated that Norton translated from the
second edition of the Latin which appeared in 1570 : for his
translation which bears that date omits a passage ^ the Latin
of which is found in the edition which appeared June 16,

1570, but is not found in the other Latin edition of that
year. In the reprints of the translation which appeared in

1571, and subsequently, the passage in question occurs.

Aug. 1854.

1 See p. 170, line 2 from the bottom.


fiue prima Inftitutio^ Difcb


Christianae, Latine explicata.

Qui fimul eloquio linguam formare Latino,

Et vera mentem Relligione cupis :
Hie liber, atque labor votum dabit vniis vtriinque,

Commoda fie vno bina labor e feres.



Wolfij, RegicC Maiest. in Latinis

ANNO DOM. M . D . L X X.

Reverendissimis in Chri-


minis, D. Archiepiscopis, Cantuariensi,

et Ehoracensi, aliisque reverendis jjcitribus, Episcopis
* Ecclesise Anglicanse, vigilantissimis fide-

lissimisque pastoribus.

QvuM mente tota in Jianc curam incumhendum, omnemque
adeo operant in primis adhibendam esse existimem, ut pietatis
doctrina, quanta fieri potest sinceritate, pueris, qui sunt Bei-
puhlicce quasi seminaria, tradatur, ne vel teneri ipsorum animi
pravis opinionibus imbuantur, vel db iis, quae recta sunt, discendis
eorum mentes obscuritate nimia avertantur, aut retardentur: pro
ea qua patriam juventutem benevolentia prosequor, statui omni
ope atque opera mild enitendum esse, ut illius pia studia pro-
moverem, et Christiance religionis summam ratione, atque com-
pendio ad puerilem captum non incommodo, dilucide atque expli-
cate proponerem. In quo Catechismo (sic enim nostri vacant)
non putavi minutis interrogatiunculis, brevibusque responsis,
quasi punctis quibusdam, quod proposui, efficienduni esse : neque
satis esse, nudis tantum assertionibus, asseverationibusque uni-
versa breviter simpliciterque affirmare : nisi causas etiam aliquas,
rationesque rerum afferrem, atque subjicerem. Et quo major
fides atque authoritas rebus adjungeretur, testimonia Divina ex
sacris Uteris in margine libri passim notavi, quibus sibi quisque,
vel aliis cum hcerent, satisfacere possit. In hoc etiam Catechismo
curam et diligentiam adhibui, ut incorrupta latini sermonis inte-
gritas, quoad ejus fieri posset, ubique servaretur : ut latinitatem
painter, atque pietatem uno eodem labore pueri nostri addiscere
possent. In pauds tantum quibusdam, vel singulis, vel con-
tinuatis, atque conjunctis verbis, quce fiostra sunt propria, et
Christiance religioni peculiaria, tametsi Ciceronis, et proxima illi
cetate latinis hominibus inaudita, sincerce nostrce potius pietatis,
quam emendaice loquutionis rationem habendam esse existimavi:


itaque in contextu quidem orationis ea non mutavi. Verum ne
qui latine et pure loqul volunt, quicqvam vel hac in parte desi-
derarent, ubi a communi more verborum latinorum discessum
fuerit, et quibus ea vocabidis, atqiie loquendi formis posse expli-
cari putem, in fine lihri commonstravi. Quod autem orationis
generefuso, atque profluente potius, quam exili atquejejuno utor
in Jioc CatecJiismo, doctissimorum ex veteribus judicium, con-
siliumque in eo swn sequutus : qui quum ^ihertatem quidem
orationis cetate, styloque facile depasci posse putent, siccitatem
ejus puerilibus ingeniis, non minus quam teneris plantis soli
sterilitatem, noxiam esse arbitrantur. Quam etiam ob causam
hctissimos verborum, sententiarumque fioscidos undique decerptos,
maxime ex Ciceronis Jiortulis, transttdi atque inserui in hunc
Catecliismum, illis tanquam st^Mis quibusdam orationem notans
atque illwninans. Nam ut de tota religione pure et emendate,
ita de quibusdam etiam capitibus copiose splendideque putavi
dicendum esse: ut permagni res momenti atque ponderis, ver-
borum, sententiarumque floribus conspersoi, puerilibus sensib^is
blandientes, et quasi odorum suavitates afflantes, illorum animos
iUaberentur jucundius, facilius perciperentur, ac semel memonis,
liectoribusque juventntis insidentes, hcerentesque penitus, et quasi
infixce perpetuo retinerentur atque custodirentur. Non defuturos
ergo arbitror, qui lenitatem et cequabilitatem orationis alicubi
requiret, et desiderabunt : ut quibus unus orationis sonus, idemque
perpetuo stylus placebit. Quod si querentur etiam libellum, dum
ea quce paucis cognosci possent, pluribus sunt verbis amplificata,
justum modum magnitudinemque excessisse: cogitent omnia pueris
quam apertissime planissimeque esse explicanda : qui quum in
scJiolis tam midtos annos sedere soliti sint, fere ut latine tantum
loqui discerent, id eos c.onsequi ex pietatis Christiance libris ne
invideant, quod ex ijoetarum profanis, fictisque, et interdum
impiis, atque impuris fabulis doceri antea solebant. Sed et ipsis
brevitatis amatoribus statui morem gerere, eundemque hunc Cate-
cliismum edere exiguo libello, quam jjotest fieri brevissime, ita
arctatum, ut arctius fere astringi non poterit, in quo magna
parvis, longa brevibus, lata angustis, midta paucis permutata
reperient: ut quibus hie liber, id productione longior, non pla-
cebit, libellus ille ut contractione brevior, non displiceat. Verum
cum in Catechismis fere omnibus ea Christiance religionis capita
cxplicentur, qucn Symbolo Apostolorum, Decalogo, et Oratione


Dominica continentur, non est in illis, tit sane nee esse potest,
usque adeo magna in tradendi ratione varietas. Quid enim pie
et utiliter de prceeipuis nostrce reh'gionis capitibus excogitari
potest, quod ah aliquihus, ac scepe quidem a multis illorum, qui
eadem antea tractarunt, dictum jam non fuerit. Et qui Deca-
logum, Symholum Apostolorum, et Orationem Dominicam inter-
pretandum sumserit, eundem, quern in ipsis rebus Invenerit or-
dinem, nisi perturbare permiscereque omnia velit, necessario sequi
oportet. Alii quidem prima loco de lege, secundo de fide trac-
tarunt : alii, ne similes per omnia viderentur, contrarium in Jiis
ordinem, quod sane pertenue discrimen est, sunt sequuti. Nam
de Oratione, et Sacramentis post legem, atque fidem omnes fere
tractarunt. Alium ergo ordinem instituere, qui non sit jam ab
aliquo prceoccupatus, nemo certe, nisi omnem omnino ordinem
velit invertere, ullo modo potest. Hcec mild hoc loco putavi esse
commemoranda, quod existimem non defuturos, qui et eadem me,

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