English Anglican Church

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History of the Anglican Communion

The history of the Anglican Communion may be attributed mainly to the worldwide spread of British culture associated with the British Empire. Among other things the Church of England spread around the world, gradually developing autonomy in each region of the world, becoming the communion as it exists today.

Note: the glory and growth of the Anglican Church in the riches of Jesus Christ has been spread abroad by individuals; travelers, Priests [Vicars, Rectors, etc.] and laity but the more modern Anglicanism becomes confined particularly to buildings and secular structures the more irrelevant it becomes.

Separation took Church from the buildings and set it free to be in the minds and hearts of the people

The great Church Separations of Church History have taken Christianity from the confines of the Cathedrals and from the one or two hours of worship each week that was equated within the brick and mortar church buildings
and has set worship free among the land to be a continual worship of God in the great outdoors, in the country, in the streets, in the cities and most importantly of all into the minds and hearts of the people.

After careful consideration regarding the Basic Christian Ministry, where it has been, where it is now and where it is intending to go it seems that we will need a long dedicated look into where the ministry should be going – so for the rest of the year and all of next year the Basic Christian Ministry is going to try to focus on the one topic of Church Separation. Specifically we are going to go back and look at specific areas of Church History [Greek Orthodox and English Anglican] to see where large successful movements have left abusive and domineering church systems and have not only survived but have also thrived. All things considered now is a very opportune time to rapidly flee from the current abusive, out of touch, domineering, Corporation, church as a profit business, secular system. So we are going to spend the next months and the next year taking steps to separate and remove ourselves, our family and our friends from the current modern church as a Corporation system. - God bless everyone! ~ David Anson Brown 9/20/2012

Although Henry VIII broke with the Church of Rome in the 1530s, he strongly resisted thereafter associating the English Church with the Continental Protestant Reformation. Henry's position was however, reversed in the brief reign of his young son Edward VI 1547-1553, when the leaders of the Church of England, especially Thomas Cranmer, actively sought to establish England as the center of evolving Reformed churches. Cranmer's ambitions, however, were not widely shared amongst the bulk of laity and clergy; and accordingly, the return to the religious forms of traditional Roman Catholicism under Queen Mary was widely welcomed.

The Elizabethan Settlement of England again broke with Rome's authority and communion was broken in 1570 with the excommunication of Elizabeth. Although few, if any, concessions were made to the Papacy or to Roman Catholic doctrine, a small number of changes were then made to the Articles of Religion and to the Prayer Book, especially in relation the Real Presence and to the continuation of worship in more traditional forms. Only one of Mary's English and Welsh bishops conformed to the Elizabethan settlement, though all save 300 of the parish clergy subscribed. In Ireland the position was reversed; all bishops save two accepted the Elizabethan Settlement, but the bulk of parish clergy and laity remained loyal to the pope. In the period since 1553, Continental Reformed Protestantism had itself continued to develop, especially in Geneva and Heidelberg, but English divines who wished the Elizabethan church to take part in these developments were to be bitterly disappointed; Elizabeth refused any further change to the forms or structures of religion established in 1559. In particular, Protestant controversialists began to attack the episcopal polity, and the defined liturgy of the Elizabethan Church as incompatible with the true Reformed tradition; and, in response, defenders of the established church began, from the early 17th Century onwards, to claim these specific features as positively desirable, or indeed essential.

Anglicanism in the colonies

The first Anglican service in North America was conducted in California in 1579 by the chaplain accompanying Sir Francis Drake on his voyage around the globe. The first baptisms were held in Roanoke, North Carolina, by the ill-fated Roanoke colony. The continuous presence of Anglicanism in North America, however, begins in 1607 with the founding of Jamestown, Virginia. By 1700 there were more than 100 Anglican parishes in British colonies on the mainland of North America, the largest number in Virginia and Maryland. The American War for Independence resulted in the formation of the first independent national church in the Anglican tradition.

Lambeth Conferences

The conference of Anglican bishops from all parts of the world, instituted by Archbishop Longley in 1867 and known as the Lambeth Conferences, though even for the Anglican Communion they have not the authority of an ecumenical synod and their decisions are rather of the nature of counsels than commands, have done much to promote the harmony and co-operation of the various churches within Anglicanism.

An even more imposing manifestation of this common life was given by the great Pan-Anglican Congress held in London between June 12 and June 24, 1908, which preceded the Lambeth Conference opened on July 5. The idea of this originated with Bishop Montgomery, secretary to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and was endorsed by a resolution of the United Boards of Mission in 1903.

As the result of negotiations and preparations extending over five years, 250 bishops, together with delegates, clerical and lay, from every diocese in the Anglican Communion, met at Lambeth Palace, the opening service of intercession being held in Westminster Abbey. In its general character the meeting was but a church congress on an enlarged scale and the subjects discussed, e.g. the attitude of churchmen towards the question of the marriage laws or that of socialism, followed much the same lines. The conference had no power to decide or to legislate for the church, its main value being in drawing its scattered members closer together, in bringing the newer and more isolated parts into consciousness of their contact with the parent stem, and in opening the eyes of the Church of England to the point of view and the peculiar problems of the daughter-churches.

Bonn Agreement

In 1931 the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholics of the Union of Utrecht enter into full communion in the Bonn Agreement. Both the Old Catholics and the Anglicans agree on several key points:

  1. Each communion recognises the catholicity and independence of the other and maintains its own.
  2. Each communion agrees to permit members of the other communion to participate in the sacraments.
  3. Inter-communion does not require from either communion the acceptance of all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion or liturgical practice characteristic of the other, but implies that each believes the other to hold all the essentials of the Christian faith.

With this new inter-communion cross-episcopal ordinations began, further endorsing the apostolic succession within Anglicanism.

Modern history

Meetings began in 1937 about inter-communion between the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterians. After two years these talks arrived at no concrete conclusion because the Episcopalians insisted on the historic episcopate. The Presbyterians backed out of the talks in 1940.

Source: Wikipedia.org

The Anglican Church Law Canons of 1571 AD

*The following excellent article is reposted in its entirety though without endnotes, footnotes and comments.

A View of the English Reformation and the Elizabethan Settlement: The Canons of 1571 By Robin G. Jordan -- Friday, October 22, 2010


The Canons of 1571, like the Act of Uniformity of 1558-1559, the Book of Common Prayer of 1559, Archbishop Parker’s Advertisements, the Articles of Religion of 1571, and other primary source documents from the reign of Elizabeth I, are windows through which we can view this important phase in the English Reformation. The English Reformation did not conclude with the untimely death of young King Edward VI and the fiery martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. It experienced a temporary hiatus during the bloody reign of Elizabeth’s older half-sister Mary. During her short reign Mary restored the Pope’s authority over the Church of England and returned the English Church to ignorance and superstition. But she could not stamp out the desire in Englishmen’s hearts for a reformed Church and a reformed faith. Elizabeth I is something of enigma. Whatever personal beliefs she may have held and whatever practices she may have permitted in her royal chapel, the Church of England became Protestant and Reformed in faith during her reign. God blessed Elizabeth with a long reign. He spared her from her enemies who wished to drag her from the English throne and install a Catholic monarch upon it. England would prosper under her rule.

The shape the Church of England took during Elizabeth’s reign is often described as the Elizabethan Settlement. The Elizabethan Settlement did not establish the English Church as a via media between Rome and Geneva, as the Tractarians would claim in the nineteenth century. The two poles that the Elizabethan Settlement holds in tension are the Churches of Geneva and Zurich. Both Churches are Protestant and Reformed in faith, as would be the Church of England. Where they differ is in the spheres of church governance and discipline and the relationship of the church to the state. The English adopted the model of Zurich and a number of other Swiss Reformed Churches. In these churches the state governed the church and the church acted as the conscience of the state while in Geneva the church governed the state and was its own conscience.

During Elizabeth’s reign the Articles of Religion of 1571, the confession of faith of the reformed Church of England and historic Anglicanism was adopted by Convocation and Parliament and would receive the royal assent. The first Protestant services were held in North America, using The Book of Common Prayer that she had sanctioned as the supreme governor of the English Church. The Elizabethan Prayer Book, authorized for use in 1559, was essentially Cranmer’s 1552 Reformed liturgy with three or four alterations. While the Declaration on Kneeling was dropped from the 1559 Prayer Book, its teaching was not abandoned by the English Church. The removal of the crucifixes, images, reliquaries, stone altars, and other trappings of Medieval Catholicism begun in the reign of Edward VI was completed in Elizabeth’s reign. Stone altars were replaced with movable wooden communion tables that could be placed in the body of the church for the celebration of the Holy Communion. At the request of Convocation Dean Alexander Newell drew up a reformed Catechism for use in grammar schools and universities, which Convocation would sanction in 1563. The Second Book of Homilies was published in for the use of clergy who were not licensed to preach. Among the requirements for a preaching license Archbishop Matthew Parker would prescribe the systematic study of the New Testament and Swiss Reformer Henry Bullinger’s Decades, a collection of fifty sermons which Bullinger had prepared to teach systematic theology to the laity. These sermons would serve Elizabethan clergy as a textbook on divinity.

The Convocation of Canterbury put forward a new Book of Canons, also known as the Book of Discipline, for the reformed Church of England in the spring of 1571. They were signed, in person or by proxy, by all the *bishops of the Southern province. A copy of the Canons in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge shows that they were also signed by the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of Durham and Chester who may have been acting as proxies for the other bishops of the Northern province. However, they were not signed by the Lower House of the Convocation of York and therefore their placement before that body is questioned.

William Edward Collins argues in his introduction to The Church Historical Society’s 1899 edition of The Canons of 1571 in English and Latin that the [Anglican Church Laws] canons derive their authority from the bishops in synod and not from the advice and consent of the clergy. In any event [unlike the Articles of Religion of 1571, etc.] the Canons never received the royal assent and consequently they possessed no legal force. While the Canons were thus lacking [English Law] legal validity, they were accepted as authoritative in the Province of Canterbury and were acted upon in the dioceses of the Southern province.

Looking through the windows that the Canons of 1571 and other primary source documents from the Elizabethan period is like looking at the English countryside through the different windows of a large, old English country house. Each window gives us a different view of the English countryside. Often what we read in the more recent histories of the Elizabethan Church is one person’s impressions of the countryside as seen from only a few windows. It is not the same thing as taking an unhurried look through each window ourselves and taking in every detail of what we see.

One particular passage from the Canons of 1571 has frequently been taken out of context and used to support the contention that the English Reformers gave much greater weight to the teaching of the Patristic writers than they actually did. But chiefly they shall take heed, that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe, and believe, but that which is agreeable to the doctrine of the old Testament, and the new, and that which the catholic fathers, and ancient Bishops have gathered out of that doctrine.

The English Reformers were certainly well acquainted with the early Church fathers and cited them in their writings. However, they did not read the Patristic writers uncritically as would the seventeenth century Caroline High Churchmen and the nineteenth century Tractarians and their Anglo-Catholic successors. They tried the writings of the early Church fathers by Scripture as they did the later Schoolmen and the sixteenth century Church of Rome. For the English Reformers the rule that had the greatest weight was not the rule of antiquity but the rule of Scripture. They recognized that the Patristic writers were fallible men who at times erred in their understanding and interpretation of Scripture.

What is frequently not mentioned in such arguments is the context of this passage, the passages in the Canons of 1571 that emphasized conformity to the Articles of Religion, including the passage that immediately follows it. And because those articles of Christian religion, agreed upon by the Bishops, in the lawful, and godly convocation, and by their commandment, and authority of our noble princess Elizabeth assembled and holden [= held], undoubtedly are gathered out of the holy books of the old, and new Testament, and in all points agree with the heavenly doctrine contained in them: because also the book of common prayers, and the book of the consecration of Archbishops, Bishops, Ministers and Deacons, contain nothing repugnant to the same doctrine, whosoever shall be sent to teach the people, shall not only in their preaching, but also by subscription confirm the authority, and truth of those articles. He that doth otherwise, or troubleth the people with contrary doctrine, shall be excommunicated.

To help my readers take a look at the Elizabethan Church through the window of the Canons of 1571, I have modernized the spelling and have inserted explanation of certain words in brackets in the text. The text I used comes from The Church Historical Society’s 1899 edition of The Canons of 1571 in English and Latin. I have taken Professor Collins’ footnotes, renumbered them, and converted them into endnotes. I have also included the appendix to The Church Historical Society’s 1899 edition of The Canons of 1571 in English and Latin.

Of Bishops [Pastors]

If here followeth in this book some certain articles of the holy ministry, and of the offices of the Church, fully agreed upon by Matthew Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, and Metropolitan, and all other Bishops of the same Province, which were partly present in person, and partly subscribed by the hands of their Proctors, in a Synod begun at London in the Church of S. Paul the third day of April. 1571.

All Bishops shall diligently teach the Gospel, not only in their Cathedral Churches which they govern, but also indifferently in all the Churches of every of their diocese, where they shall think it most needful.

And principally they shall exhort their people to the reading, & hearing of the holy scriptures, & that they come together in times appointed, every man to his own Church, and that they give ear diligently to the preachers of the Gospel, and that both they do hear reverently the godly prayers which shall be spoken by the minister, and also pray themselves with him, that they may be partakers of that heavenly mysteries, as they be now godly ordained lawfully in our Churches by the authority, and commandment of the whole Realm.

Every Bishop before the Kalends [= first of the month, also spelled ‘calends’] of September next, shall call unto him the public preachers, such as shall be in his own diocese, and shall require again of them, their licenses of preaching, which they have signed with any authentic seal, which they shall retain with themselves, or else abolish. After prudent choice made of them, he shall give new licenses to the whom he shall find able to that great office, in respect of their years, doctrine, judgement, honesty of life, modesty and gravity: and yet so that they first subscribe to the articles of Christian religion, publicly approved in the Synod, and that they make promise willingly to maintain, and defend that doctrine, which is contained in them, as most agreeable to the verity of God’s word.

The Bishop must very diligently consider what manner of men he do admit into his household: for it chanceth sometimes where this foresight is not used, that wicked men, and enemies to the true religion, vitious [= depraved, given to vice, esp. buggery (sodomy), pedastry] men, and corrupt in all their life, yea, and men void of grace be admitted. Whereby the adversary will soon take occasion to speak evil.

The Bishops servants shall so modestly & orderly apparel themselves, in every part of their garments, that they do not offend their brethren whom Paul calleth of the household of faith. The Bishop shall lay his hands on none henceforward, but such as have been trained up in good letters, either in the university, or some other inferior school, or that doth understand the Latin tongue competently, and hath been well exercised in the holy scriptures: nor yet on any, except he be of that lawful age which is appointed by the statute and law: nor except his life & honest behavior, be commended by the testimony of grave and godly men, and such as are well known unto the bishop: nor on any that hath been brought up in husbandry, or some other base and handicraft labor: nor on any, but such as have some title (as they call it) whereby he may live, if by God’s sufferance, he become blind, or fall into grievous sickness of the body, or into a continual & languishing disease: nor except he will exercise the holy ministry within his own diocese: nor at any other time, but when it shall chance, that some place of ministration is void [= empty] in the same diocese. And he shall admit no stranger, nor any that he knoweth not, either to the profits of any benefice [= church living], or to ecclesiastical ministry, except he bring with him that bishop’s letters of commendations, which they call letters dismissory, out of whose diocese he came.

The bishop shall not grant unto any man the next, or second, or third advowson [= right of presentation to benefice], (as they call it) of any prebend [= stipend of canon or member of chapter, land or title providing it] or benefice belonging unto him: for those advowsons are far from good doings and Christian charity: neither shall he ratify and confirm the leases of any profits or revenues of any parsonage, or ecclesiastical benefice, for term of many years, in any wise.

The bishop shall suffer no man to be occupied in the ministration of the church, which calleth him self by the idle name of a reader, not having received imposition of hands.

Every archbishop and bishop shall have in his house, The Holy Bible in the largest volume, as it was lately printed at London, and also that full and perfect history, which is entitled Monuments of Martyrs, and other such like books, fit for the setting forth of religion. These books must be placed either in the hall, or in the great chamber, that they may serve to the use of their servants, and of strangers.

Deans of Cathedral Churches

The very same books, which we spoke of last, every Dean shall cause to be bought, and to be bestowed in his Cathedral church, in such convenient place: that the vicars and peticanons, and other ministers of the church, as also strangers and foreigners may easily come unto them and read thereon.

The Dean, and every chief Residentiary whom they call the dignities of the church, shall buy the same books every one for his own family, and shall lay them in some fit place, either in the hall, or in the chamber.

The Dean & his prebendaries shall preach the word of God diligently, not only in the cathedral church where they live, but in other churches also of the same Diocese, and especially in the same places whence they receive yearly revenues and profits. Which if they do not, they shall be punished according to the discretion of the bishop.

No Dean, nor Archdeacon, nor Residentary, nor master, nor warden, nor head of any college, or cathedral church, neither president, nor Rector, nor any of that order, by what name so ever they be called, shall hereafter wear the Gray Amice, or any other garment which hath been denied with the like superstition. But every one of them shall wear only that linen garment, which is as yet retained by the Queen’s commandment, and also his scholar’s hood, according to every man’s calling, and degree in school.

Every Dean shall be resident in his cathedral church, four times a year at the least. And shall continue there, by the space of a month every time (if he may possible) in preaching the word of God, and keeping good hospitality, except he shall be otherwise letted [= hindered, obstructed] with weighty and urgent causes. Which causes he shall at every such time, declare unto his ordinary. When he is come to his church, he together with his prebendaries resident, shall foresee that the statutes of his church, if they be not contrary to the word of God (as many are) and that the statutes of this realm whatsoever, concerning ecclesiastical order, and all Injunctions, either set forth by the Queen’s Majesty, or enjoined by the bishop in his visitation of the same church, be diligently observed. Moreover the Dean and Residentaries shall endeavor, as much as lieth in the [sic], that the peticanons, or vicars, and other ministers of their church, (lest they live idly, and unprofitably in slothfulness, and give them selves to unlawful gaming,) be constrained to the study of the Holy Scriptures, and that every one of them have the New Testament, not only in Latin, but also in English.

The Deans, and Residentaries shall see that there be no other form observed in singing, or saying prayers, or in the administration of the Sacraments, but only that which is set forth, and prescribed in the book of Common Prayers: neither shall they suffer any stranger to preach unto the people, except the Queen’s Majesty, or the Archbishop of the same Province, or the Bishop of the same Diocese, have granted him license thereunto. And if such a Preacher so allowed, either by the Queen’s Majesty, or by the Archbishop, or Bishop, shall in his sermon publish any doctrine either strange, wicked, or disagreeable with the word of God: or with the Articles of our Religion, agreed upon in the Convocation house (which no doubt are consonant to the Scriptures) or with the book of Common Prayers: the Dean, or the Residents shall as soon as may be, give notice of the same to the Bishop by their letters, subscribed also with some of their hands which heard him preach: that he may determine on the matter, as he shall see good.


Every Archdeacon shall have in his house both the other books, and namely those which are entitled, Monuments of Martyrs.

Every Archdeacon which hath authority to visit, either by common law, or by prescription, shall visit his territory once every year in his own person: and he shall not substitute any to be his Official, but such a one as hath been brought up in the universities, and hath studied the civil law, and is of the full age of xxiiij. years, being able not only in learning, but also in gravity, and modesty to discharge that office.

Archdeacons, and their substitutes (whom they call Officials) shall call the clergy to accompt [= account] in their visitations, how much every one of them hath profited in the study of Scripture, and shall give unto so many of them, as have not taken the degree of a master of Arts upon them in the university, some part of the New Testament to be learned without book, and at the next synod shall compel them to make repetition thereof: and they shall detect unto the Bishop, such as are either stubborn, or negligent herein.

When the visitation is finished, the Archdeacon shall signify unto the Bishop, whom he hath found in every deanery, so furnished with learning and judgement, that they may be thought worthy to instruct the people in sermons, and to rule and govern others. Of these the Bishop may chose some, whom he will have rural Deans.

Archdeacons shall straightly and severely punish all offenders, and not wink at their faults, or suffer any man to escape unpunished, who is known to have offended. Archdeacons shall have a special care, that the monuments of their acts, and doings be faithfully and safely preserved, and shall once every year bring to their Bishop, all the original copies of such testaments, which shall be proved before them the year before, that they may be preserved by the Bishops register. They shall write out the copies of the same testaments to their own use, if they will.

Chancellors, Commissaries, and Officials

Every Chancellor, commissary and official shall be learned in the ecclesiastical and civil laws, which is twenty and six years old, and hath taken some degree in the schools for learning’s sake, and is reasonably well practiced in common pleas, touching whose life & manners, no evil report be heard. Besides, every one of these, either shall be in the ministry, or if he be not, yet shall he be well affected, and zealously bent toward religion, and that he shall openly and freely pretend [= lay claim], and before he enter his office, he shall take an oath of the authority and supremacy of the prince, and also shall subscribe to the articles of religion allowed in the convocation of Bishops.

None of these, neither Chancellor, Commissary, nor official shall proceed in examination of matters unto the sentence of excommunication, but only in causes of instances. In matters of correction, they shall do all other things, which lawfully they may, and are wont to be done.

But the sentence of excommunication they shall leave only to the Bishop, which either he himself shall pronounce, or shall commit the pronouncing thereof to some grave man, which is in the ministry. After that he hath given sentence, he shall also add, for a warning and terror to the people, a certain order of words, which after shall be showed: and also shall cause some like instrument, which shall be used in signifying the excommunication to the people, to be written out, and sent to every minister in their churches, that they may have it in readiness to occupy, if need require. But the penance enjoined, neither Chancellor, Archdeacon, Official, nor Commissary, shall alter. That authority, for many weighty causes is reserved only to the Bishop, or if he shall appoint any other, by special commandment for that purpose.

No ecclesiastical judge, of what place or degree so ever he be, shall absolve any that is excommunicated, at his own house, or otherwise in private houses, but only openly, and in the consistory.

Chancellors, Officials, Commissaries, shall do their endeavour, that all others which are under their jurisdiction, do their duty. Especially, that Parsons, Vicars, and ministers of Churches may painfully [= taking pains to do, taking the trouble to do] be occupied in the scriptures, that they provide them books fit for their degree and profession, that whosoever hath not proceeded master of arts, buy for himself two books of the New Testament, the one translated in Latin, the other in English, that every one of them learn without book, that task of Scriptures which is enjoined him, either by the ordinary ecclesiastical judge, or by some other, whom for his trust & painfulness the bishop will rather choose: that they observe the orders, and customs prescribed in the book of common prayers, as well in reading the holy scripture, and saying of prayers, as in ministration of the sacraments: that they neither diminish, nor add anything, neither of the matter, nor of the manner: that they behave themselves honestly, and walk modestly and comely in sober apparel appointed in the book of advertisements: that, if they have a family, and have no wife, they keep no other woman at their house, but either their mother, sister, or niece by brother or sister: but if they live unmarried, and have no wives, let them not board in any Tavern or Alehouse, but in some honest house in the same parish, where they may live without suspicion: that they play not at dice, cards, or other unlawful games: that they use their bow and shafts only, and that to refresher their minds, modestly, and in due time, that they be not let [= hindered, obstructed] from doing their duty, or study of the holy Scripture.

They shall take heed also, that no Parson, Vicar, or Curate, serve anywhere, either in Chapel, or other place of prayer, or say common service in any private man’s house, except the Bishop grant him license by his own instrument & subscription of his hand: & that no Parson, Vicar, or Curate serve more then one Church or Chapel in one day.

Every minister of the Church, before he enter that holy function, shall subscribe to all articles of Christian religion, which were agreed upon in the convocation, and wheresoever the Bishop shall command, shall declare his conscience to the people, what he thinketh of those articles, and the whole doctrine. And he being once admitted into the holy ministry, shall from thenceforth never depart from it, nor shall use himself as a layman, either in apparel, or in any part of his life.

Every Parson, Vicar, or Curate shall yearly before twenty days after Easter, exhibit to the bishop, or to his Chancellor or Commissary, the names and surnames of his parishioners, as well men as women, (of those I say) -which being fourteen years of age, come not to the holy Communion, (as by the statutes & ecclesiastical laws of this Realm, they are bound) & such as refuse to be examined by the minister of the Church, in learning the Catechism, and articles of Christian religion, and what parents or masters think scorn to send their children or servants to Church, at the times appointed, to hear and learn the same Catechism. They shall suffer none to undertake for an Infant at Baptism, except he have received the Communion, and have been partaker of the holy mysteries, and he shall admit none to the partaking of the sacraments, which hath not learned the Catechism, and articles of the faith.

Every Sunday and holyday, the parsons vicars and curates, shall come to the church so timely, and conveniently in due season, that the parishioners having done their business, may come thither with their children & servants. And there they shall reverently, (as it is fit) and godly say or sing the holy service, so plainly, so manifestly, & distinctly, that the people may hear & understand, what is said or song, & thereof receive comfort and commodity. The like reverence and godliness they shall observe in celebrating the most holy Sacraments, so that they turn not to superstition, or worshipping, or Idolatry. But if that in time of the holy Communion there shall be no sermon, they shall on the book in the pulpit read some one, or other of those homilies, which we have to that end set forth before. In the mean time they shall exhort the people, to come diligently to church, that they may attentively hear that which is read and said, and that all the time thereof, they use themselves reverently and modestly: and least the godly may be offended thorough wantonness and lightness, void of religion, they shall take heed, that young men, especially countrymen, (whose nature is more prone to the contempt of godliness and disorder) neither ring bells, neither walk in the churches nor have idle talk together, nor by laughing, or noise, or unhonest jesting, either let [= hinder, obstruct] the minister, or offend the people.

They shall admonish the people to come oftener to the holy Communion, & that before, they prepare themselves with a perfect mind, as it is fit. And that all may understand, what duty they owe to God, what duty to the prince, whom they ought to love & reverence as the vicar of God, what they owe to the laws, what to the magistrates, what to their brethren, what to the people of God: they shall be ready in the church straight after noon, every Sunday & holy day, & there at the least they shall read two hours, and teach the Catechism, and therein shall instruct, all their flocks of what age or degree so ever, not only maidens and children, but also the elder, if need be. But especially they shall warn young folks, not only men, but also women, that it is provided by the laws, that none of them may either receive the holy Communion, or be married, or undertake for a child in baptism, except before they have learned the principles of Christian religion, and cannot fitly and aptly answer to all the parts of the Catechism.

But if the parsons, vicars, curates, either can not preach, or have not received license to preach of the bishop, yet they shall teach children to read, to write, and know their duty, toward God, toward their parents, and all others: and if they perceive any of them to be of that disposition, that by teaching and instruction they may attain to the knowledge of learning, they shall counsel their parents, to set them to school, that being endowed with learning, they may one day become fit for the holy ministry of the mighty God: but whom they perceive to be duller, and not disposed to learning, to see them set to some other science, or to husbandry.

They shall also warn their parishioners, that for great and weighty causes it was appointed in the convocation by the Reverend father in God, Matthew Archbishop of Canterbury, and the other bishops, that their children marry not, without consent of the parents, and that no young man hath power in himself to marry, before he be xvj. years of age, and no maid before she be xiiij. years old.

Churchwardens and sidemen

Churchwardens according to the custom of every parish, shall be chosen by the consent of their parishioners, and their minister: otherwise they shall not be churchwardens: neither shall they continue any longer then one year in that office, except perhaps they be chosen again. And all churchwardens once every year shall give up just account of such money, as they have received: and also particularly shall shew, what cost they have bestowed in repairing the houses, and for the use of the church. Last of all going out of their offices, they shall truly deliver up to the parishioners, whatsoever money, or other ecclesiastical things shall remain, & be in their hands, that it may be redelivered by them to the next churchwardens.

The churchwardens shall see, that the churches be diligently and well repaired with lead, tile, lime and glass, that neither the minister, nor the people, either in the holy ministry and worshipping of God, or in celebrating the heavenly mysteries, or in receiving and hearing the Communion, be troubled with tempestuous weather. But especially they shall looked unto, that in the meeting of the congregation peace be well kept: and in all visitations of bishops and archdeacons, they shall truly and personally present, and name all those, which rudely behave themselves in the church, or which by untimely ringing of bells, by walking, by talking, or noise shall let [= hinder, obstruct] the minister or preacher.

Churchwardens shall see, that the churches be kept clean and holy, that they be not loathsome to any, either by dust, sand, or any filthiness. They shall also see, that the holy Bibles be in every church in the largest volume, (if it may conveniently be) such as were lately Imprinted at London: that the book of common Prayers, that the holy Homilies, which lately were written against rebellion, be in every church. It is meet that these books be whole and clean, not torn or foul in any wise, lest it breed irksomeness or contempt amongst the people. They shall see, there be a joined handsome table, which may serve for the administration of the holy Communion, and a clean carpet to cover it: a convenient pulpit, whence the heavenly doctrine may be taught. Moreover they shall see, that all sellers, in which wooden crosses stood, and all relics of superstition be clean taken away, that the walls of the churches be new whited [= whitened], and decked with chosen sentences of the holy Scripture, that by the reading and warning thereof, the people may be moved to godliness. Last of all they shall see, that in every church there be a holy font, not a basin, wherein Baptism may be ministered, and it be kept comely and clean.

They shall also warn vintners [= wine-sellers] and victuallers [= food-purveyors], which sell acates, that they receive none into their tavern or alehouse, all that time wherein either is preaching, or common service. If any do contrary, upon contempt or stubbornness, they shall present both him, & them whom he received, personally in the next visitation. If any offend their brethren, either by manifest adultery, or whoredom, or incest, or drunkenness, or much swearing, or bawdry, or usury, or any other uncleanness and wickedness of life, let the churchwardens warn them brotherly and friendly, to amend. Which except they do, they shall personally shew them to the parson, vicar, or curate, that they may be warned more sharply and vehemently of them: and if they continue so still, let them be driven from the holy Communion, till they be reformed. And that all which live unchastely and loosely, be punished by the severity of the laws, according to their deserts. The same churchwardens shall present those adulterers, whoremongers, incestuous, drunkards, swearers, bawds, and usurers in the Bishop’s and Archdeacon’s visitations.

Churchwardens shall suffer no feasts, banquets, suppers, or common drinkings to be kept, in the church, neither the bells to be rung superstitiously, either in the feast of all souls, or the day after all saints, (which day not long since was kept holy for the souls of the dead) neither at any time at all, whereas the custom of ringing, shall seem to incline to superstition. They shall suffer ringing only at those times, which are appointed in the book of advertisements, and to that only use, and after that only order.

It shall not be lawful to keep fairs, and common markets upon the Sunday: neither on that day to put to death, and openly punish offenders condemned by the sentence of the Judge.

They shall not suffer, that any of these light wanderers in markets, and pelting merchants, which carry about, and sell pins, points, and other small trifles, whom they call peddlers, to set out their wares to sale, either in the churchyards, or in the porches of churches, or anywhere else, on holydays or Sundays, whilst any part of the holy ministry is in doing, or any sermon is preached, neither that beggars, or vagabonds, which have no certain dwelling, abide either in the churchyard, or in the church porch, all the time of service or preaching: but shall command them, either to come in, or to depart.

They shall also search and diligently inquire, if any of the parishioners either come not at all to church, or come later or slower, at the times appointed by the laws: and whom they shall find so to offend, they shall amerce [= fine, (loosely) punish] them, according to the appointing of the law. They shall mark whether all & every of the parishioners come so often every year to the holy communion, as the laws & statutes do command: and whether any strangers from other parishes, come more often and commonly to their church, and shall shew their curate of them, lest perhaps he admit them to the Lord’s table amongst others, but shall send them rather to their own curates.

They shall receive no parson, nor vicar, to the ministry of their church, but whom the Bishop shall allow by his institution, and by his mandate shall put in possession of that church. They shall receive no curate, but him that by the letters, and seal of the Bishop is specially appointed for that church. But if the Parson, Vicar, or Curate, behave himself otherwise in his ministry, or that he read ill, darkly, and confusedly, or that he live more loosely, and licentiously than is fit for a man of that calling, and thereby great offence be taken: the churchwardens shall speedily present him to the Bishop, that by and by he may be punished, and amendment of his fault may follow.

And that the Bishop may understand, what sermons are made in every church of his diocese: the churchwardens shall see, that the names of all preachers, which come to them from any other place, be noted in a book, which they shall have ready for that purpose, and that every preacher subscribe his name in that book, and the name of the Bishop, of whom he had license to preach.

Last of all, the churchwardens shall see, that all things be diligently observed, which pertain to their offices, and that are contained in the Queen’s injunctions, and the book of advertisements, and that shall be set forth by the Archbishop or Bishop in every their visitations, for the use of the churches. But if any do rail upon them, or go to law with them, for doing their duty, and detecting of offenders, that also they shall present unto the Bishop, that by his means & travail, they may more easily be delivered from that trouble.


No man shall openly preach in his parish, but being licensed by the Bishop, neither hereafter shall be so bold, as preach out of his own cure & church, except he have obtained license so to preach, either of the Queen’s Majesty, over all her realm: either of the Archbishop, through his province: or of the Bishop, in his diocese. And no license to preach shall hereafter stand in force, but that which hath been obtained after the last day of April, which was in the year, 1571. Preachers shall behave themselves modestly and soberly in all their life.

But chiefly they shall take heed, that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe, and believe, but that which is agreeable to the doctrine of the old Testament, and the new, and that which the catholic fathers, and ancient Bishops have gathered out of that doctrine. And because those articles of Christian religion, agreed upon by the Bishops, in the lawful, and godly convocation, and by their commandment, and authority of our noble princess Elizabeth assembled and holden [= held], undoubtedly are gathered out of the holy books of the old, and new Testament, and in all points agree with the heavenly doctrine contained in them: because also the book of common prayers, and the book of the consecration of Archbishops, Bishops, Ministers and Deacons, contain nothing repugnant to the same doctrine, whosoever shall be sent to teach the people, shall not only in their preaching, but also by subscription confirm the authority, and truth of those articles. He that doth otherwise, or troubleth the people with contrary doctrine, shall be excommunicated.

In preaching they shall wear a very modest and grave garment, which may become, and set forth the minister of God, and such as is prescribed in the book of advertisements. They shall require no money or reward for their preaching, but shall be content with meat and drink, and plain provision, and one night’s lodging.

They shall teach no vain, and old wives opinions, no heresies, nor popish errors, disagreeing from the doctrine and faith of Christ: neither anything at all, whereby the rude people may be stirred up to the desire of novelties, or contention. But they shall always teach that, which may make for edifying, and may unite the hearers in Christian peace and love.


The absence of the shepherd from the Lord’s flock, and that careless negligence, which we do see in many, and forsaking of the ministry, is a thing in it’self to be abhorred and odious to the people, and pernicious to the church of God. Therefore we exhort all pastors of churches, in the Lord Jesus, that forthwith they return everyone to their parishes, and diligently teach the gospel, according to their living to keep house, to help the poor by hospitality, and there to be resident every year no less then lx. days.


It shall be lawful for no man, of what degree, or order so ever he be, to have at one time, any more than two ecclesiastical benefices: neither shall it be lawful for any man at all, to obtain two benefices, if they be distant more than xxvj. miles. Of schoolmasters

It shall not be lawful for any to teach the Latin tongue, or to instruct children, neither openly in the schools, neither privately in any man’s house, but whom the bishop of that dioceses hath allowed, & to whom he hath given license to teach under the seal of his office. And here we except, (for honours sake) the Lords of the Parliament: but the bishop shall allow no schoolmaster, nor accompt [= account] worthy of that office, but whom he shall find in his judgement to be learned, and worthy of that place, and whom he shall see commended by the testimony of godly men, touching his life and manners, and especially his religion.

Schoolmasters shall teach no Grammar, but only that, which the Queen’s majesty hath commanded to be, read in all schools through the whole realm, neither any other Latin Catechism, then that which was set forth, in the year 1570. The which also, that is translated into English, we will have taught unto children, that are ignorant of the Latin tongue.

All other books they shall teach, whereby the fullness and fineness of the Latin & Greek tongue may be learned, & those especially, which profit to the knowledge of Christ and godliness. And once every year they shall signify to the Bishop, what chosen scholars they have of all their number, which are of that aptness & so forward in learning, that there may be good hope, they will become fit, either for the common wealth, or for the holy ministry. By this hope the parents being allured, will more willingly keep them at school.

But chiefly they shall so order and frame the tongues of children, that they may pronounce openly, plainly and distinctly. And as often as any sermon shall be, they shall either send them or bring them to church, that from their childhood they may be brought up in godliness: & lest they should hear it negligently, at their return to school, they shall call and examine every one, what they have learned out of that sermon: and that the minds of children, may be the more stirred up to virtue and diligence, they shall rebuke the idle and sluggish, and shall praise the attentive and diligent.

Patrons and Proprietaries

The Bishop shall earnestly and diligently exhort patrons of benefices, to consider the necessities of the churches and to have before their eyes the last day, and judgement, and the tribunal seat of God. Therefore that they prefer no man to any ecclesiastical living, but him which by doctrine, judgement, godliness, honesty, and innocency of life, is able to bear so heavy a burthen [= burden], that they do nothing therein, but uprightly, incorruptly & truly, & he shall profess that he will use all honest, and lawful means to search out the truth. But if, either in the presentation, or else after he shall perceive any corruption, or simony to be committed any way, either closely, either directly, or indirectly, by him, or any other, either that money, or money’s worth [= service or other thing recognized as the equivalent to money], or that any commodity, or any part of the profits should come unto him: that he then will publish and declare this wicked deed and simony, not only in the cathedral church, but also else where, to his shame and perpetual reproach, & also thrust out that minister, whom he so wickedly presented, not only from the office of a priest, which he unlawfully entered: but also from all ministry, and out of the whole diocese.

Humble petition must be made to the Queen’s majesty, that some way by her leave, and commandment may be found, that the chancels of those churches, may speedily be repaired, which by impropriation are come unto her, and that a yearly stipend may be appointed for serving the cure thereof: for now in many places, both the chancels are foully fallen down, and the ministry of the church is destitute because of the smallness of the stipend.

The Bishop shall see, that a true inventory and (as they call it) a terres , of all the lands, meadows, gardens, orchards, which belong to any parsonage, or vicarage, be taken by the view [= inspection, survey] of honest men, and be laid up in his treasury of evidences, for a perpetual memory thereof.

The Bishop shall not suffer the farmer of any benefice, to have any authority over the minister of God, that he may either admit, or reject him. Neither shall the minister take less, then x. pounds for his stipend.

All matrimonies, which any where are contracted within the degrees of consanguinity, or affinity forbidden in the xviij. of Leviticus, shall be dissolved by the authority of the Bishop: but especially, if any man, his first wife being dead, shall take her sister, to wife: for this degree, by common consent, and judgement of learned men is thought to be forbidden in Leviticus.

It shall not be lawful for any man, to marry within those degrees, which are forbidden in the table written, and published for that end, by the reverend father in God, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The form of the sentence of excommunication

Brethren, because all we which do profess the name of Christ Jesus, are members of one body, & it is meet that one member should feel, and suffer the grief of another member: by reason of mine office I signify unto you, that A. B. is openly accused of adultery, wherein, the report is, that he hath lived wickedly, and filthily, to his shame and infamy, and grievous offence of the church of God: and for that cause he is cited to the bishop’s consistory, that his notorious disorder may some way be punished. And because the foresaid A. B. through guiltiness of his wickedness, hath contemned to appear at the day lawfully named, and stubbornly hath withdrawn himself from Justice, and by his example hath hearted others to the like stubbornness, therefore, this I further warn you, that our bishop, by the name and authority of the most mighty God, hath excommunicated him from all company of the church of God, & hath cut him of as a dead member, from the body of Christ: In this state, & in so great danger of his soul is he at this time. S. Paul being taught by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, commandeth that we eschew the fellowship, & company of such men, lest we be partakers of the same wickedness. Yet, as Christian charity warneth us, because he will not pray for himself, neither understandeth his danger, let us all in his name pray unto God, that once he may acknowledge his misery and filthiness of life, and may repent, and turn unto God. For our God is merciful, and can call them from death, that were fallen.


The Earl of Windsor to Archbishop Parker [Parker MSS. cxiv. 307, C. C. C. Cambridge.]

Right Honorable good Lord may it please your grace to understand that Wheare John Earle Clarke standeth bound to the Queen’s Majesty by recognizances [= bonds, sureties] remaining in your grace’s hand for his abode at Croundall and Bentley and for the rendering of the epistle of St Paul to the Galatians without book, and for his honest and quiet behavior These may be to certify you that his abode hath been and is at this present time at Croundall. And as concerning the epistle the vith day of January last past he rendered to me without book at my house of Bentley. And for his Behavior as I have heard hath been honest and quiet this that I certify you of is nothing but the very truth. Therefore I desire you to consider his poverty and stand his good lord as charity shall move you. Not doubting but he will continue of such good behavior as your grace shall think your favor well bestowed toward him. Thus beseeching almighty God to send your grace long life with increase of honor I leave troubling you any farther at this time.

Written the xxith day of January 1559

Yours to command Thomas Wyndesore

(Endorsed) To the right honorable my Lord of Canterbury's grace give these.

Parker has written at the foot of the letter, “I pray you send me the commission for the oath taking & c. by your next trusty messenger.”

Your M. C. '

and added the endorsement " To my L. of London."

Endnotes [not included]

Source: Anglicans Ablaze

David Anson Brown 07:00, 22 September 2012 (MST)