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A Manual Of Councils Of The Holy Catholic Church -Rev. Edward H. Landon. M.A.

WATERFORD (1158). [Synodus Guaterfordia.] Held about 1158; in which it was ordered that all the English slaves throughout Ireland should be liberated, to avert the Divine wrath. It seems that many of the English had been in the habit of selling their own children to the Irish for slaves, and that not under the pressure of extreme want.—Tom. x. Conc. p. 1183.

Both the date and place of this council are probably incorrect, as the account of it in Labbe exactly coincides with that of the Council of Armagh, in 1171 (which see), and in both the council is said to have been convoked “apud Ardmachiam.”

WESTMINSTER (948). [Concilium Westmonasteriense.] Held September 8th, 948. Turquetel was here made abbot of Croyland, after having refused two bishoprics, which the king had offered him. The act is subscribed by two archbishops, four bishops, and two abbots, one of whom was St Dunstan.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 217.

WESTMINSTER (971). Held in 971. King Edgar here confirmed the privileges granted to the abbey of Glastonbury, reserving, however, to himself and his successors the power of conferring the pastoral staff upon the brother who might be chosen abbot.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 256. This council was confirmed in a Synod at Rome, 971.

WESTMINSTER (1065). Held in 1065, in presence of St Edward the Confessor, who herein granted full immunities to the abbey of Westminster. The charter was subscribed by the king, queen, two archbishops, ten bishops, and five abbots, on the 28th December 1066, the year beginning at Christmas.—Pagi. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 316.

WESTMINSTER (1070). Held about 1070, by Archbishop Lanfranc, in the presence of William I., in which Wulstan, Bishop of Worchester, who alone of the Saxon bishops had withstood William, was deprived, upon the plea of want of learning. When he found that he was to be stripped of his episcopal vestments, he boldly exclaimed to William, “These I owe to a better man than thee, to him will I restore them.” Whereupon, he went to the tomb of Edward the Confessor, who had advanced him to his see, and there taking off his vestments he laid them down, and struck his pastoral staff so deep into the stone, that, as the legend states, no human force could draw it out. This miracle, or his deserved reputation for sanctity, produced a revision of the sentence of deprivation, and he retained his bishopric.—Johnson, Preface to Lanfranc’s Canons at Winchester. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 367. Wharton, Anglia Sacra, vol. ii. p. 225.

WESTMINSTER (1075). A national council was held in the church of St Paul, at London, in the year 1075, Lanfranc of Canterbury presiding. Thomas, Archbishop of York, William of London, Wakelin of Winchester, Herman of Sherbourn, Wulstan of Worcester, Walter of Hereford, Giso of Wells, Remigius of Dorchester (afterwards Lincoln), Herfast of Helman (afterwards Norwich), Stigand of Selsea, Osbourn of Exeter, and Peter of Lichfield, were present; the Bishop of Durham was alone absent, having a canonical excuse, the see of Rochester being at the time vacant. Besides these English bishops, Gosfrid, Bishop of Constance, was present, and having large possessions in England, was permitted to sit with them. Many abbots and other religious also attended. Nine canons, enacted in ancient councils, were renewed.

1. Ordains, in accordance with the decree of Melevi, Braga, and the fourth of Toledo (A.D. 633), that bishops shall take precedence according to the date of their consecration, unless privilege of precedence belongs to their sees by ancient custom. It was also decreed that the Archbishop of York should sit on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s right hand, the Bishop of London on his left; Winchester next to York, but if the Archbishop of York were absent, London should take his place, and the Bishop of Winchester sit on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s left.

2. Orders monks to observe their order, according to the rule of St Benedict and the dialogue of St Gregory; forbids them, under heavy penalties, to have anything of their own.

3. By royal favour, and the authority of the synod, leave was granted to three bishops to remove from villages to cities, viz., Herman from Sherbourn to Salisbury, Stigand from Selsea to Chichester, and Peter from Lichfield to Chester.

4. Orders that no one shall ordain or receive a clerk or monk not belonging to him, without letters commendatory.

5. Permits no one, except the bishops and abbots, to speak in council without the license of the metropolitan.

6. Forbids to marry any one of kin, or any of the kindred of a deceased wife.

7. Forbids simony.

8. Forbids to hang up the bones of dead animals to drive away pestilence from cattle; forbids sorcery, divinations, and other works of the devil.

9. Forbids any bishop, abbot, or clergyman, to sit as judge in a cause implicating the life or limbs of the accused.

These canons were subscribed by fourteen archbishops and bishops, twenty-one abbots, and the Archdeacon of Canterbury.—Johnson’s Ecc. Canons. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 363. Tom. x. Conc. p. 346.

WESTMINSTER (1102). Held in 1102, “in St Peter’s Church, on the west side of London,” i.e., at Westminster. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Gerard, of York, being present, with eleven other bishops, and some abbots. In this synod, three great abbots were deposed for simony; three not yet; consecrated were turned out of their abbeys; and three others deprived for other crimes. Roger (the king’s chancellor) was consecrated to the see of Salisbury, and Roger (the king’s larderer) to Hereford. Twenty-nine canons were published.

1. Forbids bishops to keep secular Courts of Pleas, and to apparel themselves like laymen.

2. Forbids to let archdeaconries to farm.

3. Enacts that archdeacons must be deacons.

4. Enacts that no archdeacon, priest, deacon, or canon, shall marry, or retain his wife, if married. Enacts the same with regard to subdeacons who have married after profession of chastity.

5. Declares that a priest guilty of fornication is not a lawful priest, and forbids him to celebrate mass.

6. Orders that no one be ordained subdeacon, or to any higher order, except he profess chastity.

7. Orders that the sons of priests be not heirs to their fathers’ churches.

8. Orders that no clergyman be a judge in a case of blood.

9. Orders that priests go not to drinking bouts, nor drink to pegs.

10. Orders that their clothes be all of one colour, and their shoes plain.

11. Orders monks or clerks who have forsaken their order, to return, or be excommunicated.

12. Orders that the tonsure of clerks be visible.

13. Orders that tithe be paid to the Church only.

14. Forbids to buy churches or prebends.

15. Forbids to build new chapels, without the bishop’s consent.

16. Forbids to consecrate new churches, until all things necessary for it, and the priest, have been provided.

17. Forbids abbots to create knights; orders them to eat and sleep in the same house with their monks.

18. Forbids monks to enjoin penance except in certain cases.

19. Forbids monks to be godfathers, and nuns godmothers.

20. Forbids monks to hire farms.

21. Forbids monks to accept of the impropriations of churches without the bishop’s consent, and further forbids them to spoil and reduce to poverty those who minister in their parishes.

22. Declares promises of marriage made without witnesses to be null, if either party deny them.

23. Orders that those who have hair be clipped, so that their ears and eyes shall be visible.

24. Forbids those who are related within the seventh degree to marry.

25. Forbids to defraud the priest of his dues, by carrying a corpse for burial to another parish.

26. Forbids to attribute reverence or sanctity to a dead body, or fountain, &c., without the bishop’s authority.

27. Forbids to sell men like beasts, as had hitherto been done in England.

28. Anathematises persons guilty of certain horrible sins of uncleanness.

29. Orders the publication of the above excommunication in all churches every Sunday.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons, A.D. MCII. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 382.

WESTMINSTER (1107). Held in August 1107, upon the subject of investitures. After long disputes between the king Henry I. and Anselm, the king, finding that the pope was against him, assembled all the bishops, abbots, and great men at London, where the dispute was compromised by the two following articles:—

1. That for the future none be invested by the king or any lay hand, in any bishopric or abbey, by delivering the pastoral staff or ring.

2. None elected to any prelacy to be denied consecration on account of homage done to the king.

The king is also said at the same time to have promised in future to deliver vacant bishoprics and abbeys forthwith to the successors; also the dispute between the archbishops of Canterbury and York concerning the primacy was again settled for a time, Giraud of York swearing subjection to Anselm.—Johnson’s Ecc. Can., MCVII. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 386.

WESTMINSTER (1108). Held on May 24th, 1108, by Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas the elect of York and all the bishops of England being present, with the king Henry I. and his barons. Ten canons were published.

1. Forbids priests, deacons, and subdeacons to keep any women in their houses, except such as are nearly related, according to the canon of Nicea.

2. Orders those who have kept or taken women since the prohibition at Westminster (1102), and have celebrated mass, wholly to discard them, so as not to meet with them knowingly in any house.

3. Orders that, if they must speak with them, it shall be out of doors and before two witnesses.

4. Orders such as by two or three lawful witnesses or by public report are accused of transgressing this statute, to clear themselves by other witnesses, or they will be deemed guilty.

5. Such priests as choose to live with women to be deprived, put out of the choir, and pronounced infamous.

6. Excommunicates those who, without leaving their women, celebrate mass, except they reform and give satisfaction within eight days.

7. Makes the above statutes binding upon archdeacons and canons.

8. Archdeacons and deans to swear not to take bribes in order to connive at transgressions of these statutes.

9. Those priests who leave their women, and desire to serve at God’s altar, to have vicars to officiate for them during the forty days of penitence, in which they must desist from the exercise of their office.

10. Orders bishops to take away all the movable effects of such priests, deacons, subdeacons, and canons as shall offend in future, and also their concubines with their goods.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 387. Johnson’s Ecc. Canons, MCVIII.

WESTMINSTER (1126). Held January 13, 1126. Otto, the pope’s nuncio, was present, and read a bull of Honorius, containing the same proposition which the legate had made to the French clergy assembled at Bourges in November, 1225, viz., That in every cathedral church, the pope should nominate to two prebends, and in every monastery to two places. The bishops separated without coming to any decision.—Tom. xi. Conc. p. 303.

WESTMINSTER (1126). Held September 9, 1126, by William Carboil, Archbishop of Canterbury; John de Cremona, legate from Honorius II., presiding. Thurstan, Archbishop of York, and about twenty bishops, forty abbots, and an innumerable assembly of clergy and people were present. Seventeen canons were published.

1. Forbids simony.

2. Forbids to charge anything for chrism, oil, baptism, visiting and anointing the sick, communion, and burial.

3. Forbids to demand cope, carpet, towel, or basin, at the consecration of bishops, or churches, or blessing of abbots.

4. Forbids investiture at the hands of lay persons.

5. Forbids any one to challenge a church or benefice by inheritance; and to appoint a successor. Psalm 83:12, 13, is quoted.

6. Deprives beneficed clerks who refused to be ordained (priests or deacons) in order that they might live more at liberty.

7. Orders that none but priests be made deacons or priors, nor any but deacons, archdeacons.

8. Forbids to ordain any one priest without a title.

9. Forbids, under pain of excommunication, to eject any one from a church to which he has been instituted, without the bishop’s sentence.

10. Forbids bishops to ordain or pass sentence upon any one belonging to the jurisdiction of another bishop.

11. Forbids, under pain of excommunication, to receive an excommunicated person to communion.

12. Forbids any one to hold two dignities in the Church.

13. Forbids priests, deacons, subdeacons, and canons, to dwell in the same house with any woman, except a mother, sister, aunt, or unsuspected woman. Offenders to lose their order.

14. Forbids the practice of usury amongst clerks.

15. Excommunicates sorcerers, &c.

16. Forbids marriage within the seventh degree.

17. Declares that no regard is to be paid to husbands who implead their wives as too near akin to them.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 406. Johnson, Ecc. Canons, A.D. 1126.

WESTMINSTER (1127). Held in 1127, by William Carboil, Archbishop of Canterbury, the pope’s legate, ten English bishops attended, and three Welsh. It is also said that the multitude of clergy and laity of all ranks who flocked to the council was immense, but no mention is made of abbots. The Archbishop of York sent excuses, and the bishops of Durham and Worcester were also absent; the sees of London and Coventry were at the time vacant.

This senate sat three several days, and ten canons were published.

1. Forbids, “by the authority of Peter, prince of the apostles,” and that of the archbishop and bishops assembled, the buying and selling of churches and benefices.

2. Forbids any one to be ordained, or preferred, by means of money.

3. Forbids all demands of money for admitting monks, canons, or nuns.

4. Orders that priests only shall be made deans, and deacons, archdeacons.

5. Forbids priests, deacons, subdeacons, and canons, to live with women not allowed by law. Those that adhered to their concubines or wives to be deprived of their order, dignity, and benefice; if parish priests, to be cast out of the choir, and declared infamous.

6. Requires archdeacons and others whom it concerned, to use all their endeavours to root out this plague from the Church.

7. Orders the expulsion from the parish of the concubines of priests and canons, unless they are lawfully married there. If they be afterwards found faulty, directs that they shall be brought under ecclesiastical discipline, or servitude, at the discretion of the bishop.

8. Forbids, under anathema, any one to hold several archdeaconries in several bishoprics, and directs him to keep to that he first took; forbids priests, abbots, and monks to take anything to farm.

9. Orders the payment of tithe in full. Forbids churches, or tithes, or benefices, to be given or taken without the consent of the bishop.

10. That no abbess or nun use more costly apparel than such as is made of lamb’s or cat’s skins.

Matthew of Paris declares, that the king (Henry I.) eluded all these provisions (to which he had given his consent), by obtaining from the archbishop a promise that he should be entrusted with their execution, whereas, in reality, he executed them only by taking money from the priests as a ransom for their concubines.—Johnson, Ecc. Can., A.D. 1127. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 410.

WESTMINSTER (1136). Held in 1136. The wants of the Church and State were discussed in the presence of King Stephen, who, by a charter then given, made very fair promises to the clergy of the quiet enjoyment of their goods, with the power of disposing of them after their death; he also engaged that vacant sees should be under the guardianship of the clergy, all which promises he soon violated.—Tom. x. Conc. p. 991. Wilkins’ Conc., vol i. p. 412.

WESTMINSTER (1138). Held in 1138, by Alberic, Bishop of Ostia, legate of Pope Innocentius II. during the vacancy of the see of Canterbury, eighteen bishops and about thirty abbots attended, who proceeded to the election of Theobald to the see of Canterbury. Seventeen canons were published.

1. Forbids to demand any price for chrism, oil, baptism, penance, visitation of the sick, espousals, unction, communion, or burial, under pain of excommunication.

2. Orders that the body of Christ be not reserved above eight days, and that it be ordinarily carried to the sick by a priest or deacon only; in case of extreme necessity by anyone, but with the greatest reverence.

3. Forbids to demand a cope, ecclesiastical vestment, or anything else, upon the consecration of bishops and benediction of abbots; also forbids to require a carpet, towel, basin, or anything beyond the canonical procuration upon the dedication of a church.

4. Forbids to demand any extra fees when a bishop not belonging to the diocese consecrates a church.

5. Forbids lay investitures; orders every one, upon investiture by the bishop, to swear on the gospels, that he has not, directly or indirectly, given or promised anything for it, else the donation to be null.

6. Is identical with canon 5, A.D. 1126.

7. Forbids persons ordained by other than their own bishop without letters from him, to exercise their office; reserves the restoration of them to their order to the pope, unless they take a religious habit.

8. Deprives concubinary clerks, and forbids any to hear their mass.

9. Deprives usurious clergymen.

10. Anathematises him that kills, imprisons, or lays hands on a clerk, monk, nun, or other ecclesiastical person. Forbids any but the pope to grant him penance at the last, except in extreme danger of death; denies him burial if he die impenitent.

11. Excommunicates all persons violently taking away the goods of the Church.

12. Forbids anyone to build a church or oratory upon his estate without the bishop’s licence.

13. Forbids the clergy to carry arms, and fight in the wars.

14. Forbids monks after receiving orders, to recede from their former way of living.

15. Forbids nnns, under anathema, to use party-coloured skins or golden rings, and to wreathe their hair.

16. Commands, under anathema, all persons to pay the tithe of all their fruits.

17. Forbids schoolmasters to hire out their schools to be governed by others.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons, A.D. 1138. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 413.


WESTMINSTER (1166). Held in 1166. The bishops of England in this council appealed to the pope from the legatine authority and the sentences of St Thomas of Canterbury, who had fled to France in October 1164.—(See C. CLARENDON and C. NORTHAMPTON.) Tom. x. Conc. p. 447.

WESTMINSTER (1175). Held May 19, 1175, be Richard, the successor of St Thomas à Becket in the see of Canterbury. Eleven English bishops, with the Bishop of St David’s, and four abbots, were present, besides the primate. Henry II. and his son also attended, and gave their consent to the acts of the council. Eighteen canons were published, all of which, except the sixth and ninth, are attributed to some pope or council.

1. Every beneficed priest or clerk in holy orders refusing to put away his mistress after three monitions, to be deprived. All clerks under the rank of subdeacon to keep their wives, unless they separate by mutual consent. Sons not to be instituted into their fathers’ benefices, unless some one succeed between them.

2. Clerks in holy orders not to eat and drink in taverns (unless compelled by the necessities of a journey), under pain of deposition.

3. Clerks in holy orders to take no part in judgments concerning blood, nor to inflict deprivation of any member. Pronounces anathema against the priest who takes the office of sheriff or reeve.

4. Clerks wearing long hair to be clipped by the archdeacon even against their will; not to indulge in any peculiarity in their clothes or shoes.

5. Orders conferred by foreign bishops upon those who despair of obtaining them from their own bishop, are declared null, and such clerks not to be admitted to the exercise of any ecclesiastical function, under pain of anathema; the bishop so conferring orders (if under the jurisdiction of Canterbury) to be suspended from conferring that order till he make due satisfaction.

6. Forbids all secular causes concerning blood and corporal punishment to be tried in churches or churchyards.

7. Forbids to demand anything for orders, chrism, baptism, extreme unction, burial, communion, or the dedication of a church; offerings freely made may be received. The offender to be anathema.

8. No demand to be made for the reception of any monk, canon, or nun, who enters a religious life; the offender to be anathema.

9. Forbids the transfer of a church to another by way of portion, or to take any money from the person presented.

10. Forbids monks and clerks to trade for gain, and laymen to take ecclesiastical benefices to farm.

11. Ecclesiastics not to wear arms, to dress suitably; offenders to be degraded.

12. Vicars who lift themselves up against the parsons, and assume to themselves a parsonage, to be no longer allowed to officiate in the same bishopric.

13. Enjoins that all who refuse to pay tithes be admonished according to the precept of the pope, to yield tithe of grain, wine, fruits of trees, young animals, wool, lamb, butter, cheese, flax, hemp, &c.; offenders to be anathematised. Also in suits between clerks, he that is cast to be condemned in costs.

14. Declares that only ten prefaces are found in the sacred catalogue, viz., 1. For Low Sunday (albis paschalibus); 2. Ascension-day; 3. Pentecost; 4. Christmas-day; 5. The Apparition of our Lord; 6. For the Apostles; 7. For the Holy Trinity; 8. For the cross; 9. For the Lent fast only; 10. For the Blessed Virgin; all further additions forbidden.

15. Forbids to administer the Holy Eucharist sopped.

16. Forbids to consecrate the Holy Eucharist in any chalice not made of gold or silver; forbids the bishop to bless a chalice made of tin.

17. Enjoins all the faithful to be married publicly, by receiving the priest’s benediction; a priest guilty of marrying any parties privately to be suspended for three years.

18. Marriage null without mutual consent; boys and girls not to marry until both parties shall have attained the legal and canonical age.

Roger, Archbishop of York, refused to be present at this council, but by some of his clergy claimed the right of having his cross borne before him in the province of Canterbury; the claim was disallowed, and an appeal made to Rome.

Moreover, in this council the clergy of the diocese of St Asaph desired that their Bishop Godfrey should be restored to them. He had been driven by the fury of the Welsh to seek a maintenance in England, and was appointed guardian of the vacant abbey of Abingdon. He resigned his see, and a successor was appointed.—Johnson’s Ecc. Canons, A.D. 1175. Tom. x. Conc. p. 1461. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 476.

WESTMINSTER (1176). Held in 1176, by Cardinal Hugo or Hugezen, who had been sent from Rome to endeavour to settle the dispute between the archbishops of Canterbury and York; the latter of whom claimed the right of having his cross borne before him in the province of Canterbury. Many prelates and clergy attended; but when Roger of York, upon entering the assembly, perceived that the seat on the right hand of the legate had been assigned to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and that on the left kept for himself, he thrust himself into the lap of the Archbishop of Canterbury; whereupon the servants of the latter and many of the bishops (as Hoveden writes) threw themselves upon the Archbishop of York, and forced him down upon the ground, trampled upon him, and rent his cope; upon which the council broke up in confusion.—Johnson. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 485.

WESTMINSTER (1185). Held in 1185; in which it was declared to be most convenient and proper that the king, instead of going in person to the Holy Land, should remain at home to defend his own country.—Hoveden, quoted by Henry, Hist. of England, book iii. chap. ii. sect. 3. (vol. v. p. 407.)

WESTMINSTER (1200). A national council held in 1200, by Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, in which fifteen canons were published.

1. Orders the priest to say the canon of the mass distinctly, and to rehearse the hours and all the offices plainly, and without clipping the words. Offenders to be suspended.

2. Forbids to celebrate two masses in one day except in case of necessity. When it is done, it directs that nothing be poured into the chalice after the first celebration, but that the least drop be diligently supped out of the chalice, and the fingers sucked and washed; the washings to be drunk by the priest after the second celebration, except a deacon be present to do so at the time. Orders that the Eucharist be kept in a decent pyx, and carried to the sick with cross and candle; care to be taken not to confuse the consecrated and unconsecrated hosts.

3. Orders that baptism and confirmation shall be conferred upon those concerning whom there exists a doubt whether or not they have received them. Forbids fathers, mothers-in-law, and parents to hold the child at the font. Forbids deacons to baptise and give penance, except in case of the priest’s absence, or other necessity. Permits even a father or mother to baptise their child in case of necessity, and orders that all that follows after the immersion, shall be completed subsequently by the priest.

4. Relates to the administration of penance.

5. Renews the decrees of the Council of Lateran, A.D. 1179, which restrict the expenses and retinue of prelates and other ordinaries when in visitation, and declares the design of visitations to be to see to what concerns the cure of souls, and that every church have a silver chalice, decent vestments, and necessary books, utensils, &c.

6. Orders that bishops ordaining any one without a title, shall maintain him till he can make a clerical provision for him.

7. Renews the canon of Lateran, A.D. 1179, which forbids prelates to excommunicate their subjects without canonical warning. Orders the yearly pronunciation of a general excommunication against persons guilty of various specified crimes.

8. Renews canon 7, Lateran, A.D. 1179.

9. Orders the payment of tithe without abatement for wages, &c.; grants to priests the power of excommunicating, before harvest, all withholders of tithe. Orders the tithe of land newly cultivated to be paid to the parish church. Orders detainers of tithe to be anathematised.

10. Forbids to institute any persons to churches not worth more than three marks per annum who will not serve in person. Renews the 11th canon of Lateran, A.D. 1179. Forbids clerks to go to taverns and drinking booths, and so put themselves in the way of being insulted by laymen. Orders all the clergy to use the canonical tonsure and clerical habit, and archdeacons and dignified clergymen copes with sleeves.

11. Forbids marriage under various circumstances; orders that the banns be thrice published, that marriage be celebrated openly in the face of the Church.

12. Orders those who, being suspected of crimes, deny them, to undergo a purgation.

13. Renews the 23rd canon of Lateran, 1179, concerning churches and priests for lepers.

14. Renews canon 9 of Lateran, which forbids the Templars and other fraternities to accept of tithes, churches, &c., without the bishop’s consent.

15. Renews canon 10 of Lateran, 1179, and contains various regulations relating to the dress, &c., of the religious.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 505. Johnson, Ecc. Canons, in ann.

WESTMINSTER (1229). Held about 1229, by Richard Wethershed, Archbishop of Canterbury. Twelve constitutions were published, eleven of which are the same with those published in the Council of Westminster, A.D. 1175. The last refers to the duties of physicians.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons.

WESTMINSTER (1229). Held in 1229, under master Stephen, chaplain and nuncio of the pope, who, sorely to the discomfort of the assembly, demanded on the part of Rome the tenths of all movables belonging to clergy and laity in England, Ireland, and Wales, in order to enable the Roman Pontiff to carry on war against the excommunicated Emperor Frederick. The arguments by which, assuming Rome as the head of all churches, it was asserted that her fall would involve the ruin of the members, was met on the part of the laity by a plain refusal; and the clergy, after three or four days’ deliberation, and no small murmuring, were at length brought to consent from fear of excommunication or an interdict being the consequence of disobedience to the demand.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 622.

WESTMINSTER (1237). Held in the cathedral of St Paul, at London, on the 19th, 21st, and 22nd of November 1237, by Otto or Otho, cardinal deacon, legate from Pope Gregory IX. This assembly was attended, in spite of the dreary season, and a fearful storm, which terrified both legate and council, by all the bishops of England; Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, sitting on the legate’s right hand, and Walter of York on the left, notwithstanding that the latter had renewed the ancient claims of his see.

On the first day the legate himself did not attend, but at the request of the bishops the decrees to be passed were privately submitted to them.

The second day, the legate being present, a prohibition was sent by the king, Henry III., to inhibit the council from enacting anything against his crown and dignity; then the instrument of Otto’s legation was read, as also was a bull for keeping the feasts of St Edward. Moreover, by the pope’s command, the canonisation of St Francis and St Dominic was notified.

The following twenty-nine constitutions were read in the second and third sessions, and approved.

1. Orders the consecration of all cathedral, conventual, and parochial churches, by the diocesan bishop, within two years from the date of their completion; if such places be not so consecrated, no masses to be solemnised in them. No old churches to be pulled down upon any pretence without the bishop’s leave. This decree not to apply to little chapels, &c.

2. Forbids to demand any fee for administering the holy sacraments (of which it enumerates seven); directs that all persons entering upon the cure of souls, or priest’s orders, be chiefly examined upon the subject of the sacraments, and that the archdeacons at every meeting of their deaneries do instruct the priests principally in these matters.

3. Orders that holy baptism be administered on the Sabbath days before Easter-day and Whit-Sunday, as ordered by the canons; and because a popular delusion had gained ground, by which the people were led to think that some danger would happen to their children if they were baptised on those days, viz. Easter-eve, or that of Pentecost, the priests are ordered to dispel this delusion by frequent preaching, and also to learn themselves carefully, and to explain in the vulgar tongue to their parishioners, the form of baptism, in case it should be necessary to baptise any one suddenly without the priest.

4. Orders that priests who demand any fee for penance and the other sacraments shall be deprived.

5. Approves the tenth of Lateran, A.D. 1216, which enacts that bishops shall appoint faithful men in every deanery to act as confessors for the clergy.

6. Forbids to confer orders upon idiots, illegitimates, irregulars, illiterate persons, foreigners, and any without a bonâ fide title; the bishop to make diligent search into these matters, and the names of those which are approved to be set down in writing, and called over at the beginning of ordination, carefully and distinctly; the list itself to be preserved in the bishop’s palace or in the cathedral.

7. Reprobates the practice of farming churches, &c.

8 and 9. Upon the same subject.

10. No one under the rank of priest to be admitted to a vicarage, unless he be a deacon ready for ordination at the next Ember week; orders that he shall resign every other benefice with cure of souls, and swear to reside in person; vicars already instituted to cause themselves to be made priests within the year.

11. Declares that some priests have violently and fraudulently obtained possession of benefices, which they coveted, during the lifetime of the real possessors, either by pretending their death when absent, and so getting themselves appointed to their livings, or by violently turning them out of their benefices, and keeping possession by force of arms, &c.; forbids to confer benefices upon any mere report of the death or cession of an absent man, otherwise the prelate to make good all damage to the real possessor.

12. Orders that no one Church be for the future divided into several parsonages or vicarages, and that such as hitherto have been divided be made whole again, as soon as opportunity offers, unless they were thus ordered of old; in which case the bishop must take care that a proper division be made of the income, &c.; orders also that one be constantly resident upon the church, and faithfully and honestly perform divine service, and administer the sacraments, &c.

13. Forbids to hold several dignities, parsonages, and benefices, without a special dispensation from the apostolic see; confirms the thirteenth of Lateran, A.D. 1179.

14. Orders that bishops compel their clergy to conform to the sixteenth of Lateran, A.D. 1216, in their apparel and the trappings of their horses, so as to wear garments of decent length, and those in holy orders, close capes, especially in the church, and before their prelates, and in assemblies of the clergy; those that have rectories to wear such everywhere in their parishes; bishops to take care that all these things be observed, in the first place, by the clergy about their own persons.

15. Orders that married clergymen retaining their wives or other women be wholly deprived, and forbids to apply any of their goods acquired after their marriage to the use of their children or wives; but orders such to be made over to the churches which they had, or in which they were beneficed; forbids to admit their sons to any benefice.

16. Orders all clerks keeping concubines entirely to forsake them within a month, upon pain of suspension until they have afforded satisfaction; otherwise they are declared ipso jure deprived.

17. Forbids the sons of clerks to succeed to their fathers’ benefices upon their death, without an intermediate successor; orders that all who have already got such benefice be deprived by this statute.

18. Orders the excommunication of all persons sheltering robbers, and keeping them in their houses after three monitions.

19. Approves of the determination arrived at by the abbots of the order of St Benedict in chapter, that according to their rule, all, except the infirm, should abstain from flesh; orders that novices, at the end of their year of probation, shall be compelled, by canonical censures, to make profession; extends this to nuns and canons.

20. Directs archdeacons to visit faithfully, to make enquiry as to the sacred furniture and vestments, the performance of the diurnal and nocturnal services, &c.; forbids them to burden the churches with superfluous expenses; orders them to demand moderate procurations, to take no stranger with them, and to be modest in their retinue, &c.; forbids them to receive money for not visiting or punishing; orders them to be present frequently in the chapters of every deanery, and there diligently to instruct the priests, amongst other things, to live well and to understand the canons of the mass and of baptism.

21. Strictly forbids all prelates, archdeacons, deans, and officials to hinder parties willing to compound their disputes and to be reconciled, from withdrawing from their judicature.

22. Exhorts bishops to do their duty and be a pattern to their flocks, to reside upon their cathedral churches, to celebrate mass decently there, on the principal festivals, and on the Lord’s day, in Lent and Advent; to visit their dioceses, and to consecrate churches; enjoins them to cause the profession which they made at their consecration, to be read to them twice a year—viz., at Advent and the greater Lent.

23. Orders that matrimonial causes be judged by prudent and skilful men, well exercised in such questions; forbids those to whom privilege or custom permits the cognisance of such causes to pass any definite sentence without having first consulted with the bishop of the diocese.

24. Orders that the oath of calumny, in all ecclesiastical causes, and of speaking the truth in spiritual causes, be for the future taken in the kingdom of England, notwithstanding any custom to the contrary whatever.

25. Relates to proctors.

26. Relates to letters of summons; orders that they shall not be served by the party obtaining them, but by an officer of the judge.

27. Forbids all falsification in drawing up sealed instruments; declares such to be forgery, and subjects the offender to the penalties for forgery.

28. Orders archbishops, bishops, and their officials, abbots, priors, deans, archdeacons, and their officials, also rural deans, cathedral chapters, colleges, and convents, to have a seal, with the name of their dignity, office, or college, and their own proper names, engraven on it in plain letters; enjoins them to be very careful in keeping their seals, and very cautious in setting them to any writing.

29. Relates to ecclesiastical judges and their duties.

On the third day, the lord legate solemnly began “Te Deum,” all standing up, and after the Antiphon, “In viam pacis,” the Benedictus, and the Blessing, as Matt. Paris says, all departed with little joy.—Johnson, Ecc. Can., A.D. 1237. Tom. xi. Conc. p. 528. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 647.

WESTMINSTER (1238). Held May 17, 1238. The legate Otto, in this council, demanded satisfaction for an insult committed against him by the university of Oxford, on account of which he had laid the city of Oxford under an interdict, and suspended the university from the exercise of all its functions. Satisfaction having been made by the Archbishop of York and the other bishops present, Otto removed the interdict and the inhibition.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 663.

WESTMINSTER (1255). Rustandus, the papal legate, convened a synod at Westminster in October 1255, at which, with the connivance of the king, who had been promised a share of the profits, it was proposed to lay a heavy tax upon the English clergy, for the use of the Roman Pontiff. Fulk Basset, Bishop of London, warmly opposed the grant, and enlarged upon the avarice of the Roman Court, adding that he would sooner lay down his head upon the block than subject his country to such a yoke. When the king furiously upbraided him, calling him a traitor, he replied, “The king and the pope may force from me my see and my mitre and staff, but they will hardly get from me my sword and helmet.”—Godwin, de Prœs. Angl.


WESTMINSTER (1268). Held April 23rd, 1268, by Othobon, cardinal deacon of St Adrian, legate of the apostolical see, in the cathedral church of St Paul, London; Boniface of Canterbury, and Walter of York, with all the bishops of the English, Welsh, Scotch, and Irish branches of the Church being present. Thirty-six legatine constitutions were published.

1. Urges upon the clergy the importance of frequently preaching upon the duty of bringing infants to holy baptism at the canonical times—viz., on the Sabbaths before the Resurrection and Pentecost, and of disabusing the people of the popular error, that danger would befall their children if baptised on those days: orders parish priests to teach their people the form of baptism.

2. Forbids simony and the extortion of money for administering the sacraments; orders confessors to absolve penitents in these words, “By the authority of which I am possessed, I absolve thee from thy sins;” forbids gaolers to deny prisoners the grace of confession before execution.

3. Relates to the consecration of churches, &c. (See constitution 1, Westminster, 1237.)

4. Declares that the holy synod, abominating the enormities of those clergymen who, forgetting God and their own credit, dare to bear arms and to associate themselves with highwaymen and robbers, and share in their plunder, ordains that all clerks bearing arms be ipso facto excommunicated; and in case they do not make satisfaction at the bishop’s discretion, if beneficed, they be deprived of all preferment; if not beneficed, that they be incapable of holding any preferment for five years.

5. Relates to the dress, &c., of clerks, and confirms the 14th of Westminster, 1237, under Otto. Declares it to be scandalous that a clerk should not be distinguishable from a layman, and continues, “we ordain and strictly charge that no clergyman wear garments ridiculous or remarkable for their shortness, but reaching to below the middle of the leg; their ears visible, and not covered with hair; and that they wear decent crowns, of an approved breadth.… Let them never wear coifs in their churches, and before prelates, or publicly, except in travel. Let all priests, deans, and others having cure of souls, wear close capes, except when journeying, &c.” Offences against this constitution to be visited with suspension. Orders archbishops, bishops, and archdeacons to make diligent inquiry. Orders regulars, when advanced to the episcopate, to continue to wear their monastic dress.

6. Forbids all rectors of churches, perpetual vicars, and priests, to accept of a secular jurisdiction from a secular person. Orders all such as have accepted this to relinquish it within two months; all offenders to be ipso facto suspended from office and benefice.

7. Forbids clergymen to exercise the office of advocates in a secular court in a cause of blood, or any other cause except those allowed by law. Offenders to be suspended.

8. Relates to the continence of the clergy. (See 16th constitution of Westminster, 1237.)

9. Renews the 10th constitution of Westminster, 1237 (which see).

10. Renews and extends the 11th constitution of Westminster, 1237 (which see).

11. Renews and extends the 12th constitution of Westminster, 1237 (which see).

12. Relates to the inviolability of sanctuary, and enacts that if any one do by violence, directly or indirectly, drag away any one that flees to a church, churchyard, or cloister, or prohibit him needful food, or carry or cause to be carried away what others have placed for him, he shall be ipso facto excommunicated; and unless satisfaction be made within the time appointed by the diocesan, his land shall be laid under ecclesiastical interdict. Declares the same penalty against burners and breakers of churches, plunderers of the property of ecclesiastics, &c. Orders the publication of this constitution in all churches.

13. Forbids to hinder the solemnisation of matrimony lawfully contracted in the face of the Church.

14. Relates to the care of last wills and testaments.

15. Orders the revenues of vacant benefices to be disposed of, not to the profit of the prelates to whom they are subject, but according to canon; unless the prelate can in any case plead a right and privilege. Forbids all uncanonical sequestrations, and orders that the prelate making such sequestrations shall be suspended from the use of the Dalmatic tunic and sandals till he shall revoke them.

16. Declares that all permissions to erect private chapels in another man’s parish, shall be accompanied by the clause, “so that it be done without prejudice to the right of another;” and therefore enacts, that the chaplains ministering in such chapels as have been granted, saving the rights of the mother church, shall restore to the rector of that church all oblations, &c., which, but for the erection of the said chapel, would have come to the mother church. Offenders to be suspended until restitution.

17. Orders that all clergymen shall take care to repair decently the houses and other edifices belonging to their benefices. If the incumbent, after a monition from his bishop or archdeacon, neglect for the space of two months to repair, the bishop shall cause what is required to be done out of the revenue of the benefice. Also orders that the chancels of churches shall be repaired by those whose duty it is to do so. Charges all archbishops, and inferior prelates, to keep their own houses, &c., in repair.

18. Forbids to demand procuration without visiting; also forbids bishops and others to make visitations with too large a retinue, so as to burden their clergy. See 20th constitution of Westminster, 1237.

19. Renews the 20th constitution of Westminster, 1237 (which see).

20. Renews the 7th constitution of Westminster, 1237, against farming Church revenues, &c.

21. Renews the 22nd constitution of Westminster, 1237 (which see).

22. Strictly forbids bishops to confer churches subject to them on another bishop, monastery or priory, by right of appropriation, except for very sufficient cause. “Some also,” it is added, “that they may swallow the whole of the profits of a church that used to be under a rector, but is now granted to them, leave it destitute of a vicar; or if they do institute a vicar, leave him but a small portion, insufficient for himself, and for the charges of the living.” Orders that if such impropriators refuse to assign to their vicar a sufficient portion, according to the value of their churches, the diocesan shall thenceforth take care to do it. Orders those that have churches to their own use, to build houses for the reception of the visitors.

23. Relates to the distribution of the effects of persons dying intestate.

24. Enacts that archbishops, bishops, and other ordinaries shall commit causes to none but persons of dignity or office.

25. Renews and extends the 26th constitution of Westminster, 1237 (which see).

26. Renews and extends the 29th constitution of Westminster, 1237 (which see).

27. Renews and extends the 21st constitution of Westminster, 1237 (which see).

28. Orders that when any one is released from sentence of excommunication, suspension, or interdict, some person be commanded to notify the same at proper times and places.

29. Renews and extends the 12th and 13th constitutions of Westminster, A.D. 1237, concerning pluralities and residence.

30. Is directed against the practice of holding vacant churches in commendam, which it most vehemently reprobates; it revokes all existing grants of churches in commendam, unless made for the advantage of the Church; then regulates with what restrictions commendams be granted in future.

31. Enjoins that when the confirmation of an episcopal election is demanded, inquiry shall be made, amongst other things, whether the elect held, before his election, more than one benefice with cure of souls; and whether in that case he was lawfully dispensed with. If the inquiry be unsatisfactory, confirmation of the election to be denied.

32. Is directed against the mock resignations, practised by those who, wishing to obtain a vacant church, and fearing to be defeated on account of already holding more than one benefice, resigned them into the hands of the collators, upon condition that they should be restored to them, if unsuccessful. This constitution forbids to restore them.

33. Forbids any money to be given on account of a presentation.

34. Forbids to hold markets or carry on any business in any churches.

35. Orders that a solemn public procession be made every year on the morrow after the octave of Pentecost, (Trinity Monday), in which all the faithful, both religious and secular, may return thanks to God, and pray for peace, and the restoration of the Holy Land to the worshippers of Christ.

36. Orders all archbishops and bishops to be diligent in defending churches and ecclesiastical persons; charges them to observe the constitutions of the fathers and the Roman pontiffs; and orders that a copy of these constitutions be kept by all archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, exempt and cathedral chapters, and that publication of them be made annually in all provincial and diocesan synods.

Besides these, there are fifteen (or seventeen) other constitutions assigned by some to this council, relating solely to the regulars, but they appear not to have been read in open council; the legatine constitutions evidently end with the injunction for their publication.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons, A.D. 1268. Tom. xi. Conc. p. 525. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. ii. p. 1.


WESTMINSTER (1286). Held April 30, 1286. John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by three bishops and several doctors, condemned various erroneous propositions concerning the body of our Lord after His death—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. ii. p. 123.

WESTMINSTER (1291). Held in 1291, by John Peckham; Bartholomew, Archbishop of Grosseto, the papal legate, being present. A decree was made to banish the Jews. After the departure of the legate some constitutions were made, which he set aside.

WESTMINSTER (1297). Held January 14, 1297, by Robert of Canterbury and his suffragans; who during eight days, deliberated upon the demand made by King Edward, of a subsidy from the clergy, without, however, being able to arrive at any settlement. On the 26th March, the Archbishop convoked another council at St Paul’s, in which two advocates and two preaching friars endeavoured to prove that it was lawful for the clergy to aid the king with their property in time of war, notwithstanding the pope’s prohibition.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. ii. p. 225.

WESTMINSTER (1328). Held on the Friday after the feast of the conversion of St Paul, in the church of St Paul, in London, by Simon Mepham, Archbishop of Canterbury. Nine constitutions were published.

1. Enacts and ordains that the holy day of preparation, in which our Saviour, after being scourged, laid down his precious life upon the cross for the salvation of men, be celebrated as a festival, according to the rites of the Church, in reading with silence, in prayer with fasting, in compunction with tears, and forbids any to attend to their servile work on that day. Exempts the poor from the operation of this law, and enjoins the rich to afford their customary assistance to the poor in tilling their lands, for charity’s sake.

2. Orders the solemn observation of the feast of the conception of the blessed Virgin.

3. Is directed against the violators of ecclesiastical liberty and persons.

4. Sentences to excommunication all who obstruct the testaments or last wills of villains appertinent to lands, and others of a servile condition.

5. Forbids ordinaries to take anything by way of fee for the insinuation of the will of a poor man, whose goods do not exceed one hundred shillings sterling (about £ 23).

6. Repeals a constitution made in a council at Oxford, in which it is forbidden frivolously to appeal from any judicial grievance before definitive sentence.

7. Excommunicates all who directly or indirectly hinder the collection of offerings, tithes, and other church dues; reserves their absolution to the diocesan.

8. Relates to the publication of banns, and confirms the fifty-first chapter of Lateran, A.D. 1216 (by which it is forbidden to marry without publication of banns first made on several solemn days.) Inflicts suspension for three years on all priests present at marriages otherwise contracted. Suspends for one year every priest, regular or secular, present at a marriage solemnised anywhere but in the parish church, unless there be special licence.

9. Inquisitions concerning defects of houses and other things belonging to ecclesiastical benefices, to be made by credible persons, sworn in form of law. The diocesan to see to the expenditure of the sum taxed for the repairs, &c.

In this council also there was a complaint made of the poverty of the university of Oxford, occasioned by litigation in defence of its rights, and a pastoral letter is extant of John Drokenesford, Bishop of Bath and Wells, enjoining a collection for the relief of its necessities, to be made in that as in other dioceses.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons, A.D. 1328. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. ii. pp. 551 and 552.


WESTMINSTER (1342). Held October 1342, by John Stratford, Archbishop of Canterbury. Thirteen constitutions (by some called Extravagants) were published.

1. Suspends from the celebration of Divine service, for the space of one month, any priest celebrating mass in any oratory, chapel, house, or place being unconsecrated, without licence of the diocesan. Restricts the granting of such licences by bishops, to the case of great and noble men dwelling far from the parish church (i.e., more than one mile), or notoriously sick and infirm.

2. Forbids the clerks of archdeacons and officials to receive more than twelve pence for writing letters of inquest, institution, collation, &c.; and more than sixpence for letters upon taking sacred order. Forbids various other fees, such as for sealing letters, to door-keepers, barbers, &c.

3. Orders that archdeacons, their officials, and all such as are bound to induct clerks, be content with moderate charge; i.e., forty pence for the archdeacon, if he induct in person, or two shillings for his official. Suspends offenders from office, and forbids their entrance into the Church until they have made restitution.

4. Complains that the monks of the province having appropriated churches, and eagerly endeavouring to apply their revenues to their own purposes, did not give anything in charity to the poor; and that such conduct tended to make the payers of tithe and ecclesiastical dues not only indevout, but invaders and destroyers, and consequently enacts, that all religious persons having ecclesiastical benefices shall be compelled by the bishops to distribute every year to the poor parishioners a certain portion of their benefices in alms, at the discretion of the bishops, and under pain of sequestration for disobedience.

4. Declares, that though parishioners, by laudable custom, are bound to make and repair at their own cost the bodies, roofs, and steeples of their churches, with the altars, images, and glass windows in them, &c., yet the religious, and others having estates, farms, and rents within the bounds of the several parishes, unjustly refuse to contribute towards such expenses (although such burdens for the most part were taxed in proportion to the farms and estates); enacts that all the religious, having any such estates, rents, &c., in any parish, shall be compelled by the ordinaries, by ecclesiastical censures, to bear their due share of all such burdens.

5. Relates to the fees taken for the insinuation of the will of a deceased person, and letter of acquittance. (See fifth WESTMINSTER, A.D. 1328.)

6. Relates to the irregularities and extortions practised by some archdeacons and other ordinaries upon visitation, declares that they did often exact procurations without ever seeing the inside of the church; that they by contrivance arranged so as to lodge at the houses of the rectors or vicars on the night before the visitation-day, bringing with them cumbersome retinues and dogs for hunting, to the great cost of the incumbents, without, however, in the least abating their demand for procurations in consideration of such expenses; prohibits, under pain of suspension, these and similar abuses on the part of visitors.

7. Enacts that every consistory, session, and chapter, held by the officials of bishops, archdeacons, and other ordinaries shall be held in the most eminent places of the several jurisdictions and deaneries, where victuals may be easily procured, and all expenses paid by their principals; so that the rectors and vicars of rural parishes may not be burdened with the maintenance of such officials in remote places where provisions were dear. Annuls the former law which ordered primary citations to be served upon their parishioners by rectors, vicars, or parish priests; orders that they shall be executed by the officials, deans, apparitors, or other ministers of the ordinary.

8. Relates to the extortions practised by the apparitors of ordinaries; permits only one riding apparitor for every diocese, and one foot-apparitor for every deanery, who shall stay with the rectors and vicars only one day and one night in every quarter. Offenders to be suspended, the deputers from office and benefice, and the persons deputed from their office of apparitor.

9. Forbids to commute corporal penance for money, where the offender has relapsed more than twice.

10. Relates to the purgation of persons defamed for crimes; forbids to appoint a remote spot, and a large number of compurgators.

11. Forbids archdeacons and their officials to receive more than one penny for inserting in the matricula the names of assisting priests [i.e., priests who had neither institution nor licence to serve the cure from the bishop].

12. Is directed against intruders into benefices during the life-time of the incumbents, and those who intrude them; renews the tenth constitution of Westminster, 1268.

13. Forbids to hinder the exercise of their right of patronage by those who have recovered it in the king’s court, provided the benefice be vacant.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons, A.D. 1342. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. ii. p. 696. Tom. xi. Conc. p. 1876.

WESTMINSTER (1343). Held March 20, 1343, in the cathedral of St Paul, by John de Stratford, Archbishop of Canterbury, with eleven of his suffragans, viz., Radulph of London, Roger of Lichfield and Coventry, John of Exeter, Robert of Salisbury, Robert of Chichester, Thomas of Hereford, Radulph of Bath, Simon of Ely, Thomas of Lincoln, Wolstan of Worcester, David of Bangor. The other bishops appeared by their proxies. Sixteen constitutions were published.

1. Excommunicates all malefactors and disturbers of the peace of the Church and the king, and other such unruly persons; reserves the absolution of such to the ordinaries.

2. Declares that beneficed men, and even those in holy orders, despised the tonsure, and let their hair fall down their backs; that they apparelled themselves rather like soldiers than clerks, with an upper “jupon,” short and wide, with long hanging sleeves, not covering the elbows; that they had their hair curled and powdered, and wore caps, with tippets of a wonderful length, and long beards, and rings on their fingers; that they were girt with girdles exceedingly large and costly, and having purses enamelled with figures, and knives hanging like swords; that their shoes were chequered with red and green, and immensely long and variously pinked; moreover, that they had cruppers to their saddles, and baubles like horns on their horses’ necks, and wore fur edging to their cloaks; declares that all offenders in this way be suspended at the end of six months from the time of admonition, except they reform in the interim; provides also against similar excesses in unbeneficed men.

3. Renews and extends the seventh constitution of Westminster, A.D. 1237, and the twentieth of Westminster, A.D. 1268, against letting out churches to laymen to farm.

4. Is directed against the various tricks and acts of roguery, by which tithe-payers tried to elude the payment of their tithe; sentences offenders to excommunication.

5. Declares that a real predial tithe of all ceduous woodlands is to be paid to the mother churches, and defines a ceduous woodland to be that which is kept on purpose to be felled, and which being cut down from the roots grows up again: those who refuse to be compelled by Church censures.

6. Sentences to excommunication all laymen whatsoever who seize or dispose of any oblations made in any church or chapel, &c., under any pretext whatever.

7. Renews and explains the fifteenth constitution of Lambeth, A.D. 1261, against those lords of the fees, who refuse to permit the debts of persons dying intestate to be paid out of their movables, and their goods to be distributed for the use of their wives, children, &c.; also against those who obstruct the free making and execution of wills and testaments, by such as are tenants in villainage, unbetrothed women and others: declares all offenders to be excommunicated.

This constitution regulates many other points relating to wills and testaments, executors, &c.

8. Relates to the wills and testaments of beneficed clerks, and the disposal of their property when they die intestate.

9. Forbids persons in danger of death to give away and alienate all their goods, to the injury of the Church, the king, their creditors, and wives and families; offenders against this statute, both those who give and those who receive, to be excommunicated ipso facto, and the former to be further denied Christian burial.

10. Forbids, under pain of excommunication, to observe night-watches in behalf of the dead, before their burial, on account of the abuses to which these nocturnal meetings gave rise.

11. Declares all persons contracting illegal marriages, and priests wilfully solemnising such marriages, or any marriage between persons not belonging to their own parishes, and all others aiding such marriages, and all those present at them, to be ipso facto excommunicated; explains the eighth constitution of Westminster, A.D. 1328, and states that it includes parochial chapels as well as churches.

12. Pronounces such great men and secular potentates to be involved in a sentence of greater excommunication, as hinder prelates from making enquiry into offences, &c.; also all persons who by tumult, &c., terrify the judges and parties litigant in the ecclesiastical courts, and generally all those who obstruct the ecclesiastical courts and bishops exercising their proper jurisdiction: orders such offenders to be publicly denounced as excommunicated four times a-year, in every parish church in the province.

13. Relates to the case of excommunicated persons, who, having been taken up upon the prelate’s certificate, and lodged in gaol, are unlawfully released, without making satisfaction for their offences, by the king’s writ, upon their giving security to stand to the commands of the Church and to obey the law, which, however, they did not mean to do: orders persons so making their escape from prison, to be publicly denounced as excommunicated in the most solemn manner, with bells tolling and candles lighted, to their greater confusion and shame. Forbids all persons, under pain of being smartly punished, to have any communication with them.

14. Forbids lay persons, under pain of excommunication, to cut down or apply to their own use, or that of the Church itself, or that of others, the trees, or grass, growing in churchyards, without the rectors’ consent.

15. Excommunicates those who violate sequestrations lawfully laid by bishops, or vicars general and officials.

16. Declares to be ipso facto excommunicate all clerks, or lay persons, who directly, or indirectly, fraudulently and maliciously obtain the king’s warrant upon false accusations against innocent persons, whom they wish to injure, and so cause them to be banished, outlawed, &c.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons, A.D. 1343. Tom. xi. Conc. p. 1876.


WESTMINSTER (1382). Held in 1382, by William Courtenay, Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by seven bishops and several doctors and bachelors in theology, and in canon and civil law. Ten “heretical conclusions” of Wiclif were read; viz., First, that in the sacrament of the altar, the substances of the bread and wine remain after consecration. Second, that the accidents cannot remain after the consecration without the substance. Third, that Jesus Christ is not actually and really in His proper corporeal presence in the Eucharist. Fourth, that no priest or bishop in mortal sin may ordain, or consecrate, or baptise. Fifth, that outward confession is not necessary to those who duly repent. Sixth, that no passage can be adduced from the Gospels showing that our Lord instituted the mass. Seventh, that God must obey the devil. Eighth, that if the pope be an impostor, or a wicked man, and consequently a member of the devil, he hath no power over the faithful, except such as he may have received from the emperor. Ninth, that after the death of the present pope, Urban VI., no pope ought to be recognised, but people should live, like the Greeks, according to their own laws. Tenth, that it is contrary to Holy Scripture for ecclesiastical persons to hold temporal possessions.

The council also declared fourteen “Propositions” erroneous, and the archbishop obtained of the king authority to arrest and imprison all persons teaching and maintaining their opinions. The king’s letter is dated July 12.—Tom. xi. Conc. p. 2052. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iii. p. 157.

WESTMINSTER (1396). Held in 1396, at St Paul’s Cathedral, by Thomas Arundel, archbishop, who in it condemned eighteen articles from the trialogus of Wiclif.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iii. p. 229.

WESTMINSTER (1413). Held in September 1413, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, against Sir John Oldcastle, who denied any change in the substance of the bread in the sacrament of the altar, the necessity of confession to a priest, and the duty of reverencing images; and who, moreover, maintained that the pope himself, with the archbishop and prelates, were the head and tail of Antichrist. He was condemned and declared to be a convicted heretic, and, as such, delivered to the secular arm, whilst all his abettors were excommunicated.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iii. p. 353. Tom. xi. Conc. p. 2323.

WESTMINSTER (1415). Held in 1415, by Henry Chicheley, Archbishop of Canterbury. Five fathers were, according to ancient custom, chosen to represent the Anglican Church in the Council of Constance.—Collier, Ch. Hist., vol. i. p. 641.

WESTMINSTER (1416). Held in 1416, by Henry Chicheley, archbishop, in the cathedral church of St Paul. In this synod (or convocation) it was enacted that all bishops of the province and their archdeacons, should, by themselves or by their officials, diligently twice a year at least, make inquiry in every rural deanery after persons suspected of heresy, and cause three or more men of good report, in every deanery or parish, where heretics were supposed to dwell, to swear to give information of any heretics keeping private conventicles, or differing in their life and manners from the generality of the faithful, or having suspected books written in the vulgar tongue; orders archdeacons, commissaries, and diocesans, respectively to take steps against persons so accused; and directs that persons found guilty, but not handed over to the secular court [to be burnt] should be committed to perpetual or temporary imprisonment.

This constitution was published by the archbishop, July 1st, 1416.

Another constitution was made in this convocation, regulating the probate of wills and administration.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons, 1416. Tom. xii. Conc. p. 299. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iii. p. 377.

WESTMINSTER (1430). Held February 20th, 1430, at St Paul’s, by H. Chicheley, archbishop. In this synod (or convocation) a constitution was made, excommunicating all persons using or keeping illegal weights, especially that called “Auncel,” “Scheft,” or “Pounder;” and declares that many persons were in the habit of buying of simple folks their goods by the greater or “Auncel” weights, and selling their own commodities by lesser measure or weight, called “Avoir de poys,” or “Lyggnyg Wyghtys.”—Johnson, Ecc. Canons, 1430. Tom. xii. Conc. p. 439. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iii. p. 517.

WESTMINSTER (1434). Held October 7th, 1434, at St Paul’s, by H. Chicheley, archbishop, in which a form of publishing the articles of the sentence of excommunication in the vulgar tongue was read, and appointed to be declared at high mass, yearly, in every church, on the first Sunday in Lent, on the Sunday after Trinity, and on the first Sunday in Advent.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons, 1434. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iii. p. 523.

WESTMINSTER (1463). Held July 6th, 1463, in St Paul’s, by Thomas Bouchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, the prelates and clergy of the province being there convened. Two constitutions were published.

1. Prohibits, under pain of excommunication, any secular officer to arrest or force out of any sacred place, particularly the Church of St Paul in London (especially while divine service is there celebrated), any person whatever.

2. Declares that although the preachers of God’s word had sufficiently declaimed against the newly-contrived fashions in apparel, yet few, either of clergy or people, had desisted; therefore enacts, that no priest or clerk in holy orders, or beneficed person, do wear publicly any gown or upper garment but what is close before, and without bordering of furs; and that no one but a graduate of some university do wear a cap with a cape [caputium penulatum], nor a double cap, nor a single one with a cornet, nor a short hood, after the manner of prelates and graduates, nor anything gilt on their girdle, sword, dagger, or purse; and that none of the aforesaid, nor any one in the service of a prelate, abbot, dean, &c., do wear ill-contrived garments scandalous to the Church, nor “bolsters” about their shoulders in their doublet, coat, or gown, nor an upper garment so short as not to cover their middle parts, nor shoes monstrously turned up at the toes; orders all offenders to be deprived of the profits of their benefices, if they have any, and if they have none, to be deprived of the exercise of their offices (whether they be clerks or laics), until they reform.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons, A.D. 1463. Tom. xiii. Conc., p. 1419. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iii. p. 585.

WESTMINSTER (1486). Held February 13th, 1486, in St Paul’s, by John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, and his suffragans. One constitution was published; which enacts that every bishop of the province shall cause a service and six masses to be said for the soul of a departed bishop, within a month from the time of their hearing of his death.

On one day during the synod, several doctors, both secular and religious, who were in the habit of preaching God’s word at St Paul’s Cross, appeared before the archbishop and other prelates, and were admonished, for the future, not to preach against the Church or against ecclesiastics before the lay-people. If any spiritual person behaved himself ill and wickedly, the ordinary was to be informed of it; but if the ordinary did not correct such offender, the archbishop was to be appealed to, and finally, if he did not punish the delinquent, then it was the said prelate’s will, that the preachers would declaim against him, and no other person.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iii. p. 618. Tom. xiii. Conc. p. 1466. Johnson, Ecc. Canons.

WESTMINSTER (1547). Held in the Church of St Paul, by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. The questions of repealing the “Six Articles,” made in the previous reign, of restoring the communion in both kinds, and of the celibacy of the clergy, were discussed and settled.—Cardwell, Synodalia, vol. ii. p. 419. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 15.

WESTMINSTER (1552). Held in 1552, by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. Forty-two articles were sanctioned, and published by the king’s authority, 1553, intended to remove the diversity of opinions in the Church in matters of faith.

1. Of faith in the blessed Trinity.

2. Of the incarnation of our Lord.

3. Of the descent of Christ into hell:

“As Christ died and was buried for us, so also it is to be believed that He went down into Hell; for the body lay in the sepulchre until the resurrection, but His Ghost departing from Him, was with the ghosts that were in prison or in hell, and did preach to the same, as the place of St Peter doth testify.”

4. Of the resurrection.

5. Of the sufficiency of the doctrine of Holy Scripture to salvation.

6. That the Old Testament is not to be rejected.

7. That the three creeds are to be received.

8. Of original sin.

9. Of free-will.

10. Of grace.

11. “Justification by only faith in Jesus Christ, in that sense as it is declared in the homily of justification, is a most certain and wholesome doctrine for Christian men.”

12. Of works done before justification.

13. Of works of supererogation.

14. That there is no man without sin but Christ alone.

15. Of sin against the Holy Ghost.

16. “Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is when a man, of malice and stubbornness of mind, doth rail upon the truth of God’s word manifestly perceived, and being enemy thereto, persecuteth the same; and because such be guilty of God’s curse, they entangle themselves with a most grievous and heinous crime, whereupon this kind of sin is called and affirmed of the Lord unpardonable.”

17. Of predestination and election.

18. That eternal salvation is to be obtained only by the name of Christ.

19. “All men are bound to keep the moral commandments of the law.

“The law which was given of God to Moses, although it bind not Christian men as concerning the ceremonies and rites of the same: neither is it required that the civil precepts and order of it should of necessity be received in any common weal; yet no man (be he never so perfect a Christian) is exempt and loose from the obedience of those commandments which are called moral: wherefore they are not to be hearkened unto who affirm that Holy Scripture is given only to the weak, and do boast themselves continually of the Spirit of whom (they say) they have learned such things as they teach, although the same be most evidently repugnant to the Holy Scripture.”

20. Of the Church.

21. Of the authority of the Church.

22. Of the authority of general councils.

23. Of “the doctrine of school authors” concerning purgatory, pardons, &c.

24. That none may minister in the congregation except he be called.

25. “It is most seemly and most agreeable to the Word of God, that, in the congregation, nothing be openly read or spoken in a tongue unknown to the people, the which thing St Paul did forbid, except some were present which should declare the same.”

26. Of the sacraments:

“Our Lord Jesus Christ hath knit together a company of new people, with sacraments most few in number, most easy to be kept, most excellent in signification, as in baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

“The sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon or to be carried about, but that we should rightly use them; and in such only as worthily receive the same they have a wholesome effect and operation, and yet not that of the work wrought [ex opere operato], as some men speak; which word, as it is strange and unknown to Holy Scripture, so it engendereth no godly, but a very superstitious sense. But they that receive the sacraments unworthily, purchase to themselves damnation, as St Paul saith.

“Sacraments ordained by the Word of God be not only, &c.… our faith in Him” [the same with the first paragraph of art. 25, A.D. 1562].

27. That the wickedness of the minister does not take away the effectual operation of God’s ordinances.

28. Of baptism.

29. Of the Lord’s supper.

The same with art. 28, A.D. 1562, as far as the words, “hath given occasion to many superstitions”; it then proceeds thus:—

“Forasmuch as the truth of man’s nature requireth that the body of one and the self-same man cannot be, at one time, in divers places, but must needs be in some one certain place; therefore the body of Christ cannot be present at one time in many and divers places; and because (as the Holy Scripture doth teach) Christ was taken up into heaven, and there shall continue unto the end of the world, a faithful man ought not either to believe or openly to confess the real and bodily presence (as they term it) of Christ’s flesh and blood in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper.”

The sacrament of the Lord’s supper was not commanded by Christ’s ordinances to be kept, carried about, lifted up, nor worshipped.

30. Of the perfect oblation of Christ made upon the cross.

31. That the single state is commanded to no man by God’s word. [The same with art. 32, A.D. 1562, as far as the words “to abstain from marriage.”]

32. That excommunicated persons are to be avoided.

33. Of the traditions of the Church. [The same with art. 34, of 1562, as far as the words “woundeth the conscience of the weak brethren.”]

34. “The homilies of late given and set out by the king’s authority be godly and wholesome, containing doctrine to be received of all men, and therefore are to be read to the people diligently, distinctly, and plainly.”

35. That the book of prayers and ceremonies, and the book of ordering ministers, given to the Church of England by the king’s authority, are godly, and in no point repugnant to Holy Scripture.

36. Of civil magistrates:

“The King of England is supreme head in earth, next under Christ, of the Church of England and Ireland. The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England.

“The civil magistrate is ordained and allowed of God; therefore we must obey him, not only for fear of punishment, but also for conscience sake.

“The civil laws may punish Christian men with death for heinous and grievous offences.

“It is lawful for Christians, at the commandment of the magistrate, to wear weapons, and serve in lawful wars.”

37. That the goods of Christians are not common.

38. That Christian men may take an oath.

39. “The resurrection of the dead is not yet brought to pass.

“The resurrection of the dead is not as yet brought to pass as though it only belonged to the soul, which by the grace of Christ is raised from the death of sin, but is to be looked for at the last day; for then (as Scripture doth most manifestly testify) to all that be dead their own bodies’ flesh and bone shall be restored, that the whole man may (according to his work) have either reward or punishment, as he hath lived virtuously or wickedly.”

40. The souls of them that depart this life do neither die with the bodies nor sleep idly.

“They which say that the souls of such as depart hence do sleep, being without all sense, feeling, or perceiving, until the day of judgment; or affirm that the souls die with the bodies, and at the last day shall be raised up with the same; do utterly dissent from the right belief declared to us in Holy Scripture.

41. Against the heretics called Millenarii.

42. All men shall not be saved at the length.

“They also are worthy of condemnation who endeavour at this time to restore the dangerous opinion, that all men, be they never so ungodly, shall at length be saved, when they have suffered pains for their sins a certain time appointed by God’s justice.—Cardwell, vol. i. pp. 1, 19. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 73.

WESTMINSTER (1553). Held October 6, 1553, at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Bishop of London presiding, in which the restoration of some of the doctrines abandoned in the previous reign were discussed, especially the doctrine of the real presence in the Eucharist, and that of transubstantiation, both of which were assented to by the two houses of convocation, with the exception of some few members of the lower house. The “Catechism,” published in the reign of Edward VI., was condemned; and four questions were framed, to be disputed at Oxford, against Archbishop Cranmer and Bishops Ridley and Latimer.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 425. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 88. Collier, Hist., Pt. 2, Bk. 5. p. 354, fol. ed.

WESTMINSTER (1554). Held in 1554, in obedience to a royal mandate, addressed to the bishops of London, Chichester, Hereford, Bath and Wells, Gloucester, Lincoln, St David’s and Rochester; Edmund, Bishop of London, presiding. It was first summoned to Oxford, and then altered to Westminster. April 5th, eight clerks, by name Weston, Oglethorp, Chedseye, Seton, Cole, Jeffery, Feck nam, and Harpesfeld, were chosen to proceed to Oxford, in order to confer with Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, on certain points of faith; and on the 27th of the same month the account of the examination of the deprived bishops, under the seal of the university, was presented.

On the 30th day of April, one Walter Phillips recanted before the bishops certain views which he had maintained, upon the subjects of the real presence and transubstantiation.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 427. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p 94.

In another convocation, held towards the end of this year, an address was presented from the lower house of convocation to the bishops, in which they petitioned for various things, contained in twenty-eight articles.

Art. 2. Demands that all books, both Latin and English, containing heretical doctrines, should be burnt and destroyed: naming Cranmer’s book against the Sacrament of the Altar, the book of Common Prayer, and the book of Ordering of Ecclesiastical Ministers, as well as suspected translations of Holy Scriptures.

4. Requires the enforcement of the laws made against heretics, Lollards, and false preachers.

5. Requires that the residence of beneficed clergymen be enforced.

7. Prays that her ancient liberties, &c., be restored to the Church, according to the article of the great charta, called “Magna Charta.”

10. Requires the repeal of all statutes made during “the time of the late schism” against the liberties of the Church.

13. That those who do violence to clerks may be punished by the canon law.

14. That beneficed clergymen may be compelled to wear their proper priestly habit.

15. That married priests may be compelled to forsake the women whom they have taken as their wives.

21. That the reparation of chancels be strictly enforced.

24. That such priests as were lately married, and refuse to reconcile themselves to their order, and to be restored to administration, may have some especial animadversions, whereby, as apostates, they may be discerned from others.

25. That religious women who have married may be divorced.

28. That all ecclesiastical persons concerned in the late spoliation of cathedrals, churches, &c., may be compelled to make full restoration.

They also petitioned that bishops and their officials might be permitted without loss or obstruction:—

1. To compel lay impropriators to sustain the burdens of their churches.

2. To increase the stipend of vicars.

3. To compel parishioners to furnish the ornaments and other things necessary for the service of their churches.

4. To compel parishioners to pay the annual stipend to the minister of the church [commonly called the clerk (clericum)], as had been customary before the schism.

5. To compel the restitution of lands and other property belonging to the Church unlawfully occupied or detained.

6. They also prayed that payment of tithe of ceduous wood should be compelled as formerly.

7. That it should be lawful to take, on oath, the answers of those who were brought into a court of law on account of their own personal tithes.

8. That the canons, and other unmarried ministers, in the newly-erected cathedrals, should be compelled to have a common table.

9. That free leave to marry should be granted to those women who had been been of late regarded as the wives of clergymen.

10. That rectors, vicars, and proprietors of churches should be compelled to have a certain number of sermons preached in their churches annually.

11. That the sin of simony, then most prevalent in the Church, should be severely punished.

12. That the same amount in money which was formerly paid by the rector to monasteries should now, in like manner, be paid by the lay impropriator.

13. That priests should not go to taverns and wine-shops, unless for the sake of procuring necessary food.

14. That rectors and vicars should not be permitted to let out their benefices to farm without the bishop’s consent.

15. That bishops should have power to unite small parishes.

16. That in future no fair should be allowed to be held on the greater festivals and on Sundays.

Moreover, in this convocation, viz., on the seventh session, held December 7th, the bishops agreed upon a protest addressed to the king and queen, upon the subject of the state of the Church, in which they entreated their majesties to use their influence with Cardinal Pole, that in dealing with the plunderers of Church property, he would consult the general peace and quiet, and consider rather the salvation of souls than the restoration of the temporalities; at the same time they promised to abide by his decision. They also entreated that the full enjoyment of their proper jurisdiction and ecclesiastical liberty might be restored to them, without which it was impossible for them to discharge their pastoral office.—Cardwell, vol. ii. pp. 429–442. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 94.

WESTMINSTER (1555). Held in October and November 1555, by Cardinal Pole, to whom licence under the great seal was granted for the purpose; the archbishopric of Canterbury being still vacant, Edmund, Bishop of London, presided in the upper house.

In the second session, October 25th, the lower house, having been instructed to do so, elected ten deputies to appear before the bishops, and to hear the causes of assembling the convocation, which the Bishop of Ely declared to be:—

1. The granting of a subsidy to the king and queen, who were in want of money, and who had deserved well of the clergy, by remitting the first-fruits and perpetual tenths, and by freely restoring all livings and benefices which had formerly been the property of monasteries and colleges.

2. The consideration of a plan concocted by Cardinal Pole for disposing of these things.

He further recommended them to select learned men from amongst their body, who might examine the canons of the Church, in order to select from them those which might prove useful, and that new ones might be enacted if it should be necessary.

In the third session, held October 30th, the lower house sent a message to the bishops, to inform them that they had agreed to the subsidy; and to submit to their notice three things, in which they desired their assistance, one of which was, that the law should be abrogated, which enacted that citizens of London refusing to pay tithe should be cited before the Mayor of London, and requiring that such causes should be heard and decided before the ordinary.

An article was also made permitting non-residence, and enumerating the various causes which rendered such a relaxation of the strictness of the canonical sanction necessary.—Cardwell, vol. ii. pp. 442–447. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 120.

WESTMINSTER (1557). Held in January 1557, by Reginald Pole, Archbishop of Canterbury, and cardinal, to consult upon the best means to be adopted for recovering the city of Calais, and upon the defects of the cathedral churches, rectories, vicarages, and the state of the Church generally, within the province of Canterbury. The bishops of London, Rochester, St David’s, Peterborough, and Gloucester, were specially commissioned to consider the question of Church reform; and on the 28th of January, the first mentioned prelate delivered in writing a list of such things as appeared to himself and the other bishops to need reform in their respective dioceses.

In the subsequent session, a subsidy to the queen was unanimously granted, and the following articles agreed upon for the purpose of removing the difficulty experienced in supplying poor benefices:

1. That no priests be taken up to serve the wars.

2. That two small benefices might be held in commendam, and served “alternis vicibus.”

3. That parishioners of chapels annexed might be compelled to attend the parish church during the vacancy of the chapels.

4. That the bishops should receive the Pope’s permission to confer orders at other than the canonical seasons.

The articles of reform, from which the following are taken, were probably those presented to convocation by the Bishop of London and other bishops, as stated above, and by the lower house, which was also enjoined to consider the question, and to deliver the result of their deliberation in writing; whether they were confirmed by the synod is unknown.

Chapter 1 relates to doctrine, and requires that the people should, as far as possible, be instructed by preachers; and that four different kinds of short sermons, in English, should be drawn up for use in those places where preachers could not be had.

The first kind to relate to the Holy Eucharist, penance, auricular confessions, &c.

The second kind to contain expositions upon the articles of faith, the Lord’s prayer, and the like.

The third to contain brief discourses concerning time, and the saints.

The fourth upon the nature, use, &c., of the ceremonies prescribed by the Church; and also, concerning the different virtues and vices.

This chapter also recommends that a short catechism should be drawn up for young people, in Latin and English.

2. Relates to matters connected with prayer. Recommends that the book containing the Hours of the Blessed Virgin, the penitential Psalms, and other pious prayers, be published in Latin and English; also a form for grace, to be said at dinner and supper. Desires that the breviaries and missals should be corrected, and made uniform throughout the kingdom; that the same ceremonial should be observed in every diocese; and that all persons during Divine service should give themselves to prayer, or leave the Church.

3. Refers to the ornaments, vestments, and vessels of the Churches—orders silver chalices, decent thuribles, and a cross with a banner, that the altars be properly ornamented, that there be the books proper for God’s worship, clean corporals and surplices, a crucifix, &c.

Also desires that the vestments, vessels, &c., which had been profaned, should be re-consecrated; that in every church the altar which had been destroyed, should be built up again, and all parts of the church and churchyard properly repaired.

4. Relates to the restoration of ecclesiastical discipline and the reformation of the lives of the clergy.

Requires that in every synod the conduct of rectors, vicars, &c., during the past year should be inquired into; that no priest should keep a suspected woman in his house, nor exercise any trade.

That a bishop, priest, deacon, and subdeacon found guilty of fornication, perjury, or theft, should be punished or deposed; if guilty of drunkenness or gambling, after admonition, should either desist, or be deposed.

That if a priest shall marry, he shall be deposed. That those who, after ordination, had married, but had separated from their wives, should not be permitted to officiate in the same diocese, and if they should be caught but speaking to their wives, they should be canonically punished.

It further requires that the sin of simony should be entirely put a stop to, and forbids patrons to sell livings; prohibits to excommunicate upon trifling grounds.

5. Treats of cathedral and other churches, and allows a plurality of benefices to learned men alone, as a reward for their learning.

6. Treats of the dress proper for the clergy, directs that all the clergy shall wear the proper clerical dress. It also enjoins the bishops to search after those who hid themselves in the woods and other concealed places, in order not to be compelled to attend their parish church on the appointed days.

7. Treats of universities and schools; enjoins that no one shall be admitted to orders who has not spent at least three years in the university, and proceeded to the degree of bachelor.

Then follow chapters referring—

1. To the duties of bishops.

2. To the qualifications to be required in candidates for orders.

3. To the fitness of persons to be admitted to benefices.

4. To the case of curates appointed to supply the places of beneficed men.

5. Relates to the not admitting to benefices by proxy.

6. Relates to the not permitting mere “ex officio” citations before the ordinary.

7. Refers to persons non-resident on the plea of study.

8. To those who left their own benefices to serve others.

9. To preachers.

10. To heretics and heretical books.

11. To clerks convicted of crime.

12. To the dress of the clergy.

13. To those of the clergy who were addicted to field sports.

14. To those of the clergy and religious who had fallen into carnal sins.

15. To simony.

16. To those who were guilty of making agreements with the persons whom they presented to benefices.

17. To the honest conversation of clerks.

18. To schoolmasters.

19. To the inquiry to be made, especially in the universities, after heretics and heretical teaching.

20. Directs that the full number of religious shall be admitted into each monastery.

21. Refers to the education, &c., of the religious.

22. To the reception of apostates and other penitent religious.

23. Declares that letters falsely obtained shall not avail apostate religious.

24. Relates to impropriate churches and hospitals.

25. To the abuses committed in the churches and chapels of the Knights Hospitallers, such as marrying persons without banns, &c.

26. To dilapidations.—Cardwell, vol. ii. pp. 448–489. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 155.

WESTMINSTER (1558). Held in January 1558, during the vacancy of the see of Canterbury; the bishops of London, Worcester, Coventry and Lichfield, acting as commissioners. On the 27th January, the mass of the Holy Spirit having been said in the choir of St Paul’s, they adjourned to the chapter-house, where the objects for which the synod had been convoked were declared.

On the last day of February the six articles following were read, which had been drawn up in the lower house, and which the bishops promised to present to the house of lords on the following day.

In the exordium, they declare that they profess from the heart the faith embodied in the following articles:

1. That in the sacrament of the altar, by virtue of the word of Christ being duly pronounced by the priest, the natural body of Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, is really present under the species of bread and wine, and his natural Blood also.

2. That after consecration the substance of bread and wine do not remain, nor any other substance but that of God and man.

3. That in the mass the very Body and Blood of Christ is offered as a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead.

4. That to the apostle St Peter and to his legitimate successors in the apostolic see, as Christ’s vicars, is given the supreme power of feeding and ruling the Church of Christ on earth.

5. That the authority to discuss and define in matters relating to the faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical discipline, belongs solely to the pastors of the church, and not to laymen.

6. Entreats the bishops to notify this declaration of their faith to the higher powers.

In a subsequent session the Bishop of London informed the prolocutor and other clergy of the lower house, that he had presented the above articles to the lord chancellor, who, it appeared, received them favourably, but made no answer.

In a session held March 10, the Bishop of London informed the lower house, that all their articles, except the fifth, had received the approbation of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.—Cardwell, vol. ii. pp. 490–494. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 179.

WESTMINSTER (1559). Convocation, in which the Prayer-Book of Elizabeth was authorised. (See document discovered by Mr Pryce in MS. Book.—Chris. Rem., Oct. 1867, p. 374.)

WESTMINSTER (1562). Held on the 12th January 1562, Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, presiding. The first session was held in the chapter-house of St Paul’s Cathedral, but nothing of interest passed.

The second session was held on the following day. The archbishop, in his cope, being met at the south door of the cathedral by the dean, canons, and others of the clergy in surplices, was conducted to the sacristy, whence he proceeded, accompanied by all the bishops of the province, habited in their proper vestments, to the choir, when the Litany was sung in English, and a Latin sermon preached by William Daye, Provost of Eton. After which a psalm in English having been chanted, the holy communion was celebrated by Edmund Grindal, Lord Bishop of London; which being ended, the archbishop proceeded to the chapter-house and took his seat, surrounded by his suffragans, viz., Edmund, London; Robert, Winchester; William, Chichester; John, Hereford; Richard, Ely; Edwin, Worcester; Roland, Bangor; Nicholas, Lincoln; John, Salisbury; Richard, St David’s; Edmund, Rochester; Gilbert, Bath and Wells; Thomas, Coventry and Lichfield; William, Exeter; John, Norwich; Edmund, Peterborough; Thomas, St Asaph; Richard, Gloucester, and Commendatory of Bristol.

The archbishop then addressed the fathers and clergy present, pointing out to them how great an opportunity was now offered to them of reforming what needed correction in the Church of England, since the queen herself and the chief persons of the realm were inclined towards it.

In the following session the archbishop and seventeen bishops being present, the Litany and the other customary collects having been said in Latin by the archbishop himself, the election of Alexander Nowell, Dean of St Paul’s, to be prolocutor of the lower house, was unanimously approved. After which the archbishop requested the fathers to consider with themselves what things in their respective dioceses appeared to them to need reform, to declare them in the next session.

The next session was held in King Henry VII.’s chapel at Westminster. The same bishops were present, and the same prayers said as in the previous session. A discussion upon certain articles of faith took place; and the prolocutor of the lower house informed the bishops that certain members of that house had brought forward papers concerning those matters which, in their judgment, needed reform; which, by common consent, were referred to a committee of learned members of their house for consideration. He also declared that the articles drawn up in the Synod of London, tem. Edward VI., had been referred to a committee of the lower house for their consideration and correction, and that their opinion would be delivered in a future session. All of which was approved.

In the fifth session, held at Westminster, the discussion concerning the faith, mentioned in the last session, was resumed.

In the sixth session, held at St Paul’s, and in the seventh and eighth, held at Westminster, the archbishop and bishops held secret discussions.

In the ninth session, the archbishops and bishops being present as before, the Thirty-nine “Articles of Religion” were unanimously subscribed by the bishops, and sent thence down to the lower house.

In the tenth session, held at Westminster, the bishops held a secret conference.

The eleventh session was held in the chapter-house of St Paul’s; Edmund, Bishop of London, Robert of Winchester, Edwin of Worcester, and Nicholas of Lincoln, were appointed a commission to act for the archbishop, who was absent, and to devise a plan of reform in discipline. The Bishops of Salisbury, Lichfield and Coventry, St David’s, and Exeter, were unanimously appointed to form a committee to examine “The Catechism.” After which the prolocutor of the lower house appeared, and exhibited the book of the Thirty-nine Articles, which had been sent down to the lower house for approval, and which had been examined and subscribed by many of its members; he requested that those who had not already signed, should be compelled to do so. Whereupon the fathers unanimously agreed that the names of those who had not subscribed should be brought before them in the following session.

In the following session the same book of articles was produced by the prolocutor, and as some of the members of the lower house still refused to subscribe it, the bishops desired that their names should in the next session be specified.

In the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth sessions, nothing requiring notice was transacted.

In the seventeenth session, held at St Paul’s, the archbishop and other bishops were present; six articles of inquiry were delivered to the prolocutor of the lower house, to which they were required to send their answer in writing; these articles were the following:—

1. Whether if the writ de melius inquirendo were issued out upon the estates of the clergy, the queen would find her account in that enquiry?

2. Whether some benefices rateable, were not less than they were already valued?

3. They were to enquire into dilapidations, &c., and by whom they were done.

4. They were also to report how they had been used in levying arrearages of tenths and subsidies.

5. How many benefices they find that are charged with pensions of religious persons?

6. To certify how many benefices were vacant in every diocese.

In the following session, held at Westminster, the question of a subsidy to the queen was discussed, and it was unanimously agreed to grant it; which resolution was also agreed to by the lower house in the following session.

In the next session, at St Paul’s, the prolocutor and ten members of the lower house, viz., George Carewe, Dean of Windsor; Pedder, Dean of Worcester; Salisbury, Dean of Norwich; Latimer, Dean of Peterborough; Cottrel, Archdeacon of Dorset; Kennall, Archdeacon of Exeter; Chaundler, Archdeacon of Salisbury; Walker, Archdeacon of Stafford; Hewett, precentor of St David’s; and Levar, Archdeacon of Coventry; in the name of their house, presented to the bishops a book on the subject of discipline, which was referred to the Bishops of London, Winchester, Chichester, Hereford, and Ely, for examination.

In the twenty-first session, at Westminster, the prolocutor declared that the lower house desired to add certain other chapters to the book of discipline, which they had presented in the last session, and leave was granted to them.

In the next session, at Westminster, the lower house sent up to the bishops for their inspection and approval, the book entitled “Catechismus puerorum,” written by Dean Newell, which they had unanimously approved.

In the twenty-third session, held at St Paul’s, the lower house sent up to the bishops for their consideration, the book on discipline, mentioned before, with the additional chapters.

In the twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth, and twenty-sixth sessions, secret conferences were held by the bishop.

In the twenty-seventh session, William of Chichester was appointed commissioner for the archbishop to act in his absence.

During the eight following sessions nothing requiring notice was done; and on the 14th day of April 1563, in the thirty-sixth session, held at Westminster, the royal brief proroguing the convocation was read.

In this council the Second Book of Homilies was sanctioned.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 495. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 232.

WESTMINSTER (1571). Held April 3, 1571, in St Paul’s cathedral, by Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, who presided. After the Litany had been chanted, Dr Whitgift preached a Latin sermon upon the institution and authority of ecclesiastical synods, the enemies of the Church; viz., the Puritans and Papists, the use of church vestments and ornaments, &c.

In the next session, held April 7, the prolocutor of the lower house, John Aylmer, having been elected, the archbishop directed that such members of that house as had not yet signed the thirty-nine articles of the Synod of Westminster, 1562, should at once do so, on pain of being entirely excluded from the house.

In the third session, April 20, a subsidy to the queen was unanimously granted, and Richard Cheney, Bishop of Gloucester, formally excommunicated for wilfully absenting himself, without just cause, from the first and second sessions of the synod. The execution of this sentence was in the next session entrusted to the Archdeacon of Gloucester, who, with royal pursuivant, was directed to publish it in the cathedral of Gloucester.

In the fifth session, held May 4th (the day after the bill for confirming the articles by statute had been sent up by the House of Commons to the Lords), it was ordered “that when the Book of Articles touching doctrine shall be fully agreed upon, that then the same shall be put in print by the appointment of my lord of Sarum, and a price rated for the same to be sold. Item, that the same being printed, every bishop to have a convenient number thereof to be published in their synods throughout their several dioceses, and to be read in every parish church four times every year.”

On the 12th of May, the sentence of excommunication against the Bishop of Gloucester was temporarily removed, Anthony Higgins appearing as proctor for the absent bishop, and pleading his sickness.

On the 30th of May, the convocation was dissolved.

In this synod a Book of Canons of Discipline was published, which received the unanimous consent of the bishops, but not that of the lower house, nor did it ever receive the royal assent.

Chapter 1. Of bishops: directs that they shall diligently preach the gospel, not only in their own cathedral, but in such churches of their respective dioceses as may be most expedient; that they shall call all public preachers before them and take from them their licenses to preach, and carefully select from amongst them those to whom fresh licenses shall be given, who shall subscribe the thirty-nine articles.

That they shall be careful in the choice of the persons to be admitted into their service.

That their domestics shall dress modestly, &c.

That they shall not ordain any except he have been well instructed either at a university, or at school, or be sufficiently well-versed in Latin or divinity, and be of the proper age, of good report, and not brought up to agriculture or any common and sedentary craft. That the said person to be ordained shall be provided with a title; that bishops should suffer none who by an idle name called themselves readers, and had not received imposition of hands.

That every archbishop and bishop shall provide himself at home with a very large copy of the Holy Bible, the Book of Martyrs, and other like books, which shall be placed in the hall or eating room for the use of their domestics and of strangers.

Chapter 2. Of the deans of cathedral churches; directs that they shall also provide themselves with the above-mentioned books, to be placed in their cathedrals for the use of the vicars, minor canons, and other ministers, as well as of strangers.

That deans and prebendaries shall diligently teach God’s word.

That no dean, archdeacon, residentiary, &c., &c., shall in future wear the dress commonly called the Greek cloak (Graium amicium); that in their churches they shall wear the linen vestment, still retained by royal authority, together with the hood of their degrees.

That every dean shall reside at least four months in the year.

That they shall take care that no other form than that prescribed by the Book of Common Prayer be used in singing or saying prayers, and in the administration of the holy communion, and that no strange clerk be permitted to preach without license (facultatem) from the king, the archbishop, or the diocesan.

Chapter 3. Of archdeacons. Directs the same thing concerning the books as above.

That they shall visit their province in person annually.

That they shall call their clergy to account as to how far they have advanced in the study of Holy Scripture, and if any of them have not attained to the degree of M.A. in either university, they shall appoint them some portion of the New Testament to be got by heart and repeated at the next synod.

That they shall make a report of their visitation to the bishop.

That they shall annually carry to the bishop all the original copies of wills proved before them in the preceding year.

Chapter 4. Of chancellors, commissaries, officials. Directs that they shall not in any cause proceed so far as to pronounce sentence of excommunication, which shall be done by the bishop or some fit person in holy orders by him appointed. A form of excommunication is given.

That they shall do their utmost that all persons within their jurisdiction do their duty. And first, they shall see that rectors, vicars, &c., employ themselves in the study of divinity, and that they buy proper books. That those who are not masters of arts buy copies of the New Testament in Latin and English, and learn by heart such passages out of each as shall be selected by some one of the bishop’s appointing. That they observe the rules and rites commanded by the Book of Common Prayer, both in reading and praying, and also in the administration of the sacraments, without leaving out or adding anything either in matter or form. That they live and dress decently and properly, do not frequent taverns, &c., nor play at dice, nor cards, nor any other improper games, but recreate themselves with archery in moderation and at proper times.

That no minister perform service anywhere without the bishop’s authority, nor at more than one church in the same day.

That every minister before exercising his function do subscribe the thirty-nine articles.

Orders that rectors, &c., shall annually present to the bishop or his official the names of those above fourteen who do not communicate, and forbids any one but a communicant to act as sponsor for a child.

That the Sacred Mystery shall be reverently, devoutly, clearly, and distinctly celebrated on all Sundays and holy days, so that the people may hear and understand and receive consolation and advantage, and that when there is no sermon a homily shall be read, and that care shall be taken that the young men who are most inclined to neglect religion shall not disturb the service by pulling the bells, walking about the church, talking, laughing, and uttering scurrilous jests.

That the people be warned to communicate frequently, and to prepare themselves beforehand, and in order that all may learn their duty, the minister shall on all Sundays and holy days come to church, and for two hours at least teach the catechism, and read to adults as well as boys and girls.

Chapter 5. Of Churchwardens, &c. Directs that they be elected annually according to the custom of each parish by the parishioners and minister; shall give in their accounts when they quit the office; present all offenders to the ordinary; keep their churches in repair and clean; provide a large Bible, Prayer-book, and Book of Homilies, together with the Homilies lately written against Rebellion, a communion table made of pieces of wood joined, a clean carpet to cover it, and a pulpit and “sacred font.” Orders that all roodlofts shall be removed; that no feastings, &c., be allowed in churches; that the bells be not superstitiously rung, either on the eve of All Souls, or on the day after the Feast of All Saints. That pedlars, &c., be not allowed to vend their goods in churchyards or porches, nor anywhere else on festivals and Sundays whilst service is being celebrated.

Directs further, that churchwardens shall observe whether parishioners attend church and communion, that they shall note down in a book the names of preachers and send it to the bishop.

Chapter 6. Of preachers. No one to preach without license to do so from the sovereign, archbishop, or bishop. Preachers to be careful that they teach nothing in their sermons, as a matter of faith, which is not agreeable to Holy Scripture and the old fathers and bishops. That whilst preaching they shall wear a sober and decent dress, such as is ordered in the “advertisements” of 1564; to receive no money for preaching, but to be content with food and one night’s lodging.

Chapter 7. Of Residence. Exhorts all pastors to reside sixty days in each year.

Chapter 8. Of pluralities. Forbids to hold more than two benefices at once, and allows that only when they amount to less than a certain sum.

9. Of schoolmasters:

Directs that no one shall act as schoolmaster or private tutor without the bishop’s license; that the bishop, before granting his license, shall enquire concerning his orthodoxy, good conduct, &c. Schoolmasters to teach no grammar except that set forth by royal authority, and to use no catechism but that of 1570; to acquaint the bishop every year with the names of their most promising pupils.

10. Of patrons and proprietors:

Directs bishops seriously to exhort patrons of benefices to have the wants of the Church, and the fear of God, and of the last judgment before their eyes, that if any sort of simoniacal bargain hath been made by them, directly or indirectly, with the person presented, their wicked conduct shall be published and notified both in the cathedral church and elsewhere; and the priest so presented shall be removed, not only from such benefice, but from every ecclesiastical ministration, and from the diocese.

That the queen be humbly petitioned to allow the dilapidated chancels of her churches to be repaired, and fit stipends allowed for ministers to serve in them.

That bishops take care that correct terriers of the lands, &c., belonging to rectories, &c, be made, and copies kept in their archives.

That the procurator of benefices shall have no power to admit or dismiss the minister; that the latter shall not take less than £10 as his annual stipend.

That bishops shall have power to dissolve all marriages contracted within the limits forbidden in Levit. 18, especially marriage contracted with the sister of a deceased wife.

That no marriage be contracted contrary to the tables set forth by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Signed by the two archbishops and twenty bishops, either with their own hands or by proxy.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 263.

WESTMINSTER (1572). Held May 9th, 1572, at St Paul’s, by Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, who opened the proceedings with a Latin speech, in which, after detailing the causes which led to the convocation of the synod, he exhorted the members of the lower house to avoid quarrelling and disputes, and to carry on their discussions with moderation and prudence, and further, to choose from their body some learned, grave, and fit men, who might consider what was requisite to be reformed in the Church.

No business of any importance was transacted notwithstanding.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 532. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 270.

WESTMINSTER (1575). Held February 10th, at St Paul’s, Edmund, Bishop of London, presiding, in virtue of a commission, the see of Canterbury being vacant; but in the second session, held February 17th, Edmund Grindal, the newly made Archbishop of Canterbury, presided, and directed the prolocutor, and other members of the lower house, to take into their consideration the subject of ecclesiastical reform; and on the 17th of March, in a session held at Westminster, fifteen articles, touching “the admission of apt and fit persons to the ministry, and the establishing of good order in the Church,” were unanimously agreed to and subscribed by the fathers.

1. That none be hereafter made deacon or minister without testimonials of his honest life, and consent to the “Articles of Religion” (A.D. 1562); and he must be able to give account of his faith in Latin: Deacons to be, at least, twenty-three years of age, and to be one full year in deacon’s orders before admission to the priesthood.

Holy orders to be conferred only on a Sunday or holy day, and after the form appointed by the book, entitled “The Form and Manner of making and consecrating bishops, priests, and deacons.”

2. Bishops not to ordain men from other dioceses without letter dimissory.

3. Unlearned ministers already made not to be hereafter admitted to any cure or benefice.

4. Diligent search to be made after such as have forged letters of orders, that they may be deposed or set aside.

5. Bishops to certify the names of such counterfeit ministers to one another.

6. None to be admitted to holy orders without a title.

7. None to be admitted to any cure of souls, except he be qualified according to article 1, nor to any dignity or benefice of the yearly value of £30 or upwards, in the queen’s books, unless he be a doctor in some faculty, or a B.D. at least, or an allowed preacher.

8. All licenses to preach granted by archbishops or bishops within the province, before February 8, 1575, to be void.

9. Bishops to take care that preachers within their dioceses preach sound doctrine, and exhort to repentance, amendment of life, and liberal almsgiving; none to preach unless he be a deacon at least.

10. Bishops to see that the catechism be taught in every parish church, and the homilies read in order on every Sunday and holy day when there is no sermon.

11. Directs that bishops shall see that parsons, &c., have copies of the New Testament in Latin and English or Welsh, and shall daily confer one chapter of the same, &c. [See the direction for the same thing, Chapters 3 and 4 of the Book of Discipline, in the Synod of Westminster, A.D. 1571.]

12. Directs that since doubt hath arisen by what persons private baptism is to be ministered, “it is now by the said archbishop and bishops expounded and resolved, and every of them doth expound and resolve, that the said private baptism, in case of necessity, is only to be ministered by a lawful minister or deacon, called to be present for that purpose, and by none other.” This exposition to be published in every parish church in the province.

13. No commutation of penance into a pecuniary mulct to be ordinarily allowed.

14. Archdeacons and other ordinaries to call before them and examine all persons presented for offences, and to punish those who shall be found guilty.

15. Allows marriages to be celebrated at all times of the year, provided the banns have been first published in church, during service, on three several Sundays or holy days.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 539, and vol. 1. p. 183. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 284.

WESTMINSTER (1580). Held 17th of January 1580, at St Paul’s; the Bishop of London, presiding as locum tenens for Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was sequestered and confined.

In the first session, a humble address to the queen, in favour of the archbishop, was drawn up by Toby Matthew, dean of Christ Church.

In the third session, the heresies broached by a new sect, called “The Family of Love,” were brought before the synod, but nothing definite determined.

On the 2nd of March, the Bishop of London dissolved the council.—Cardwell, vol. ii. pp. 541, 543. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 292.

WESTMINSTER (1584). Held November 24th, 1584, in the cathedral church of St Paul, and afterwards adjourned to Westminster; Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, was not present; but a commission was issued to certain prelates and others to act in his place.

In the eighth session, a priest, named John Hilton, was charged with divers errors, heresies, and blasphemies; and another man, named Shoveller, with ministering, not being in holy orders. In the following session Hilton confessed his guilt, declaring that he had, in a sermon preached at St Martin-in-the-Fields, uttered horrible blasphemies against Christ, and declared himself to be a heathen; after this confession, and an abjuration of all his errors made, the synod enjoined him a penance—viz., never again to hold or teach such blasphemies, to attend on the preacher at Paul’s Cross on the following Sunday, with a faggot on his shoulder, to recant his heresies in St Martin’s church during sermon, and never to preach or exercise the ministry again without the archbishop’s special leave.

In the eleventh session seven articles were agreed upon by both houses, which received the royal assent.

1. That fit persons shall be admitted into holy orders and ecclesiastical benefices. The qualifications were a presentation to a benefice, and that the candidate should be twenty-four years of age, and a graduate of Oxford or Cambridge, or capable of giving an account of his faith in Latin, agreeable to the articles, testimonials, &c. Bishops offending to be suspended from ordination for a year.

2. That, ordinarily, no pecuniary commutation of penance shall be permitted.

3. That caution be used in granting dispensations for marriages without publication of banns.

4. That sentences of excommunication be pronounced by an archbishop, bishop, dean, &c., or at least by one in holy orders.

5. Against pluralities.

6. Of fees to be taken by ecclesiastical officers and their servants.

7. That bishops make diligent enquiry concerning the clergy of their diocese; amongst other matters, the time when, and person by whom, they were admitted to holy orders, were to be enquired. This convocation sat till the 21st May, which was about seven weeks after the prorogation of Parliament.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 552, and vol. i. p. 139. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 315.

WESTMINSTER (1586). Held October 16, 1586, at St Paul’s, and adjourned to Westminster in the third session, held in November. Nothing of interest passed in the first twelve sessions; in the thirteenth, held December 2nd, the Archbishop of Canterbury (Whitgift) presented eight “orders for the better increase of learning in the inferior ministers, and for more diligent preaching and catechising.” In the same session two schedules were brought from the lower house, one of which contained a complaint of disorderly proceedings in the diocese of Norwich. Amongst the heads of the complaint were the following:—

1. That the canons were not observed.

2. That unworthy persons were ordained and instituted.

3. That penances were improperly commuted.

5. Excommunications denounced for trifles.

6. That no care was taken of the poor; and orderly preachers were discouraged, while disorderly ones were preferred.

The other schedule referred to the Suffolk archdeaconry particularly, and complained that—

1. The communion-book was not at all, or only in part, used and observed.

2. The wearing of the surplice was refused.

3. Holy days were not observed.

4. The communion was received by many sitting, and those who conformed to the Church were called “time-servers.”

5. Stipendiary preachers and curates were mutinous and disorderly.

6. Questmen were faulty in not presenting.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 559. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 320.

WESTMINSTER (1588). Held in November 1588. In the twelfth session the archbishop admonished the beneficed clergy, that they should reside upon their livings, and earnestly entreated the lower house to unite with the bishops in affording the means of subsistence to two Romish priests named Tyrrell and Tydder, who had recanted at Paul’s Cross in December in this year. In the fifteenth session, held March 19th, the archbishop introduced certain “orders,” to be observed throughout the province; they are six in number, and refer to the residence of beneficed clergymen, to immoral and incompetent clerks, &c. On the second of April the synod was dissolved.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 570. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 335.

WESTMINSTER (1597). Held October 25th, 1597, at St Paul’s, Archbishop Whitgift presiding. Twenty-nine sessions were held, in which twelve chapters or ecclesiastical constitutions were drawn up and received the royal assent.

1. That fit and proper persons should be admitted to holy orders and ecclesiastical benefices.

2. Restricts the granting of faculties for holding more than one benefice to learned men, holding the degree of M.A., and good preachers.

3. Orders that canons and prebendaries having benefices with cure of souls, shall not absent themselves from such benefices on plea of their cathedral duties beyond the necessary time, but shall study at home and take care of their parishioners, and support the poor.

4. Orders that the dean and canons shall, in their turn, preach in their cathedral.

5. Of caution to be used in granting dispensations of banns.

6. That sentences of divorce are not to be rashly pronounced.

7. Of excommunications.

8. That the ordinaries take care that recusants and excommunicated persons be publicly denounced, both in their parish church and in the cathedral of the diocese.

9. That ordinarily no pecuniary commutation of penance be allowed.

10. Of fees.

11. That the number of apparitors be restricted.

12. Of church registers; orders their safe custody; that the royal injunctions in this matter be carefully observed; that the register shall be made of parchment, and provided at the cost of the parishioners; that the names of persons christened, married, or buried, during the week, together with the respective dates, be read out distinctly by the minister on Sunday, after morning or evening prayer, to prevent fraud and errors; that both minister and churchwardens should sign their names at the bottom of each page; that the registers should be kept in a chest with three locks; that a copy be transmitted annually to the register of the bishop within a month after Easter.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 579; vol. i. p. 147. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 352.

WESTMINSTER (1604). Convoked by King James I. to meet in St Paul’s cathedral, on the 20th of March 1604. The see of Canterbury being vacant, Richard Bancroft, Bishop of London, was commissioned to preside. Nothing was done until the fifth session, held April 13, when the Bishop of London ordered the royal license to be read, empowering the synod to draw up a code of canons. In the same session a deputation was sent to the speaker and other members of the house of commons, to answer certain charges preferred against the clergy, and to declare the complaints urged by the clergy against the laity. This, however, was subsequently referred to the upper house of parliament.

In the eleventh session, held May 2, the president delivered to the prolocutor of the lower house a book of canons, to be read and deliberated upon. The same day, three clerks, by name Egerton, Fleetwood, and Wotten, presented a petition to the lower house for a reformation of the Anglican liturgy; the Bishop of London, however, with the other prelates, admonished them to obey, and declare their assent to the liturgy as established, and appointed them the approaching feast of St John Baptist on which to do so. In subsequent sessions the thirty-nine articles of 1562 were sent down by the king for the approval and subscription of the synod. Much debating took place as to the use of the sign of the cross in holy baptism (canon 30). Complaint was made by the prolocutor of a breach of privilege committed by two persons named Harrington and Walker, in serving two subpœnas upon him; they were punished, and sued for pardon.

In the twenty-fourth session, the book entitled “Limbomastix” was submitted to the council; this was a book by an anonymous author, pretending to show that “Christ descended not in soul to hell to deliver the fathers from thence;” it was dedicated to the parliament, and called upon that body to reform the doctrine and discipline of the Church.

In a subsequent session, the book of canons, known as the canons of 1604, which had been discussed through the previous sessions, was read and confirmed. These canons being in number one hundred and forty-one, were collected by Bishop Bancroft out of the articles, injunctions, and synodal acts published in the reigns of Edward VI. and Elizabeth.

This new code was confirmed by the king’s letters patent under the great seal, but its authority over the laity was warmly disputed, both in parliament and elsewhere. It seems to have been decided by the judges, that without the sanction of the legislature these canons are inoperative, except in the case of the clergy.

On the 6th March 1606, the clergy of the province of York met in synod, and confirmed the canons agreed upon in this Council of Westminster.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 583; vol. i. pp. 163–329. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 378.

WESTMINSTER (1605). Held in November 1605, under Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury. In the sixth session the archbishop produced the royal license, empowering the synod to proceed to the enactment of ecclesiastical canons. In consequence, forty-six canons (commonly known as those of Bishop Overall’s Convocation Book) were drawn up, and in a session held in the following year unanimously approved by both houses. The Royal assent, however, was never given, for the king, not liking that the convocation should enter upon the discussion of political matters, desired that it might never be brought before him for assent. Thus the matter dropped, but Archbishop Bancroft in after years published the book. The original book consists of three parts, two of them containing the canons and preparatory statements of facts and reasons; the third giving similar statements in connection with the history of the papacy, thirteen in number, but not followed by any corresponding canons.

2. Denies that civil power and authority is derived from the people; affirms it to be God’s ordinance.

3. Affirms that Adam and Eve after their fall, and all their posterity, are unable by their natural power to please God; that salvation cannot be had without faith in Christ.

4. Affirms that the Son of God, having from the first a Church on earth, did not leave mankind until the flood without priests and priestly authority.

5. Affirms the truth of the general deluge, and that all nations are descended from one of the sons of Noah.

6. Denies that the civil authority which Noah possessed after the flood was given unto him by his sons and nephews, and did not proceed from God.

7. Denies that the priestly power possessed by Noah after the flood, and by Shem, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was conferred upon them by their children and nephews, and did not proceed from God.

8. Affirms that those of Noah’s posterity who altered the manner or form of civil or ecclesiastical government so appointed by God, by framing for themselves a new kind of government or worship, did evil.

9. Affirms that the uniting of the children of Jacob into one nation, and the severing of the civil and ecclesiastical functions from Reuben the first-born, was not made by themselves.

10. Denies that the Israelites in Egypt were left by God destitute of such directions and instructions as were necessary for their civil or ecclesiastical estate, and that the people took upon them the appointing of heads of tribes, &c.

11. Affirms that the people of Israel were delivered out of Egypt by God’s direction and power alone, and not by their own; that they could not lawfully have left Egypt without Pharaoh’s leave, except God had specially warranted it; denies that Moses and Joshua were chosen by the people.

12. Denies that the tribe of Levi, or Aaron and his posterity, were chosen to their offices by the people.

13. Affirms that God raised up judges to rule the Israelites after Joshua’s death, without the consent of the people thereto; denies that the behaviour [factum] of the Sichemites may be imitated by Christians.

14. Denies that the people had any power in themselves to set up a king over them when they were so earnest with Samuel to make them a king, and that David was not as truly called to the kingdom by God Himself, as Aaron to the priesthood.

15. Affirms that the kings in the Old Testament were as strictly bound to observe God’s laws as were Moses and the judges, and that they had authority by the example of Moses, &c., to appoint governors under them, without their government becoming therefore aristocratical, instead of truly monarchical.

16. Affirms that it was not more lawful in those times for subjects, for any cause, to bear arms against, or depose or kill their princes, than it would have been for children to have rebelled against or murdered their parents.

17. Denies that the calling of Moses, Aaron, Joshua, or any of the judges and kings, received any essential virtue or strength from the people, and affirms that the latter were bound to obey the heir apparent as their lawful king on the death of his predecessor.

18. Affirms that the priests in the Old Testament were subject to the civil authority and laws.

19. Denies that Adonijah was ever lawful king of the Israelites on account of the anointing of Abiathar, and that the anointing of Solomon by Zadoc conferred upon him any additional interest in his father’s throne which he had not before by the ordinance of God and by his father’s will; asserts that Zadoc was bound to anoint him at the command of David.

20. Affirms that kings and governors of Israel were as much bound to bring up their subjects in the true doctrine, as they were by the law of nature to make them keep the moral law; and that being so bound they had equal authority to compel all their subjects to observe the said laws as well of grace as of nature; that the institution of the priesthood did not prejudice the authority of kings and fathers to bring up their subjects and children in the fear of God, any more than grace did abrogate the commandment and the obedience of the law.

21. Affirms that godly princes in the Old Testament did exercise their authority in ecclesiastical matters.

22. Denies that Urijah was bound to build the altar as Ahaz commanded, and that the priests did wrong in rebuking King Uzziah; denies that they might lawfully have used violence against him, either in preventing him from burning incense, or compelling him, as a leper, to live apart; and that he was deprived of his kingdom either by the stroke of God in sending leprosy upon him, or by his so dwelling in a house apart; and that any priest before or after that time did forcibly resist or depose any of the kings of Israel or Judah, although many of them were idolaters.

23. Denies that the example of Jehoiada, or anything else in the Old Testament, gave any authority to the high priest to dispute or determine whether the children of the kings of Judah should be kept from the crown, or deposed on account of their fathers having been idolaters.

24. Affirms that all the priests in the Old Testament were bound to obey God’s directions, delivered unto them even by prophets of the tribe of Levi; and that the said priests might not punish false prophets, because they had maliciously persecuted some that were true.

25. Affirms that the true prophets did well in rebuking sharply their sovereigns, but that their example did not justify other men in doing so; that no one, without God’s express command, might design or anoint other than the lawful successors to be kings, or do violence to the king’s person.

26. Denies that the passage in Jeremiah 1:10, gave any authority to the high priests to give away kingdoms, or to depose their kings, however guilty.

27. Denies the murder of Eglon by Ehud gave any authority to subjects to murder their kings; and that the high priests and priests might have encouraged others, pretending God’s command, to kill their kings, however wicked, or however much they judged it for the good of the, kingdom or Church; affirms that a man to be held justified in doing so, must first prove as clearly that God gave him authority to do it, as it is clear that God commanded Ehud.

28. Affirms that they do wickedly who shake off the yoke of obedience to their sovereigns, and set up a government for themselves; and that the fact of God having used such rebellions, &c., to work out His good purposes, by no means mitigates their wickedness. Affirms that governments begun by rebellion, when settled, are to be held as of God, and to be obeyed.

29. Affirms that the kings of Persia, after the Jewish restoration, being still, by God’s appointment, rulers of the people, could not rightly be resisted. Affirms that Zerobabel and Nehemiah were lawful princes, although not elected by the people; and that the priests would have sinned grievously in not submitting to their rule in ecclesiastical causes.

30. Denies that the high priests, subsequent to the time of Zerobabel and Nehemiah, did lawfully bear the sway which they did, and that Jaddus, the high priest, did amiss in swearing obedience to Darius, &c.

31. Affirms that the Jews became the lawful subjects of Alexander, and could not lawfully bear arms against him; that they were bound to pray for, and to be faithful to the successive kings and kingdoms under whose subjection they lived.

32. Denies that the people were bound to obey the high priests, when they commanded things repugnant to the law of God.

33. Affirms that having submitted to the Roman government, they were bound thenceforth to obey it, and to pay tribute to, and to pray for, Cæsar, &c.

34. Denies that it was lawful for any to move the people to sedition, on account of anything done by the civil power which they liked not, and to refuse the oaths and taxes required by the Romans.

35. Affirms the Son of God to be the governor of all the world, and that all earthly governors are appointed and upheld by Him. Denies that He ever, after Adam’s and Noah’s time, committed the government of the world to any one man.

36. Affirms that the merits of Christ’s death, then to come, were sufficient to save all true believers under the old dispensation; that there was then a Catholic Church, that many Gentiles were always members of it, that Christ was the sole head of it; that Noah did not appoint any man to be the visible head of the Catholic Church; that the high priest amongst the Jews had no more authority over the Catholic Church than David had over the universal kingdom of God.

The abridgment of the canons of the first book, given above, will afford some idea of their nature; the ten canons contained in the second book, carrying on the same argument under the New Testament, are far too long for insertion in a work like the present, and from their form incapable of abridgment.

In the twelfth session a person called Cartwright, who had killed a clergyman, and received the king’s pardon, sought pardon and absolution of the bishops; on account of some informality, his case was postponed.—Cardwell, vol. i. p. 330, vol. ii. p. 586.—See also Bp. Overall’s “Convocation Book.”

WESTMINSTER (1623). In a convocation held in February 1623, under George Abbot, archbishop, a complaint was brought in by the College of Physicians against ministers exercising physic; it was ruled that no minister may practise physic except in his own parish, and then for charity only.

In this same synod the archbishop complained of the irregular conduct of the clergy.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 592. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 467.

WESTMINSTER (1640). Held at St Paul’s, on the 14th day of April 1640, by William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, who, habited in his cope and other pontifical vestments, and accompanied by his officials, was met at the north door of the cathedral by the dean and canons residentiary, and other ministers in their surplices, and conducted into the choir, the bishops of the province, in the customary vestments, accompanying him. After “Te Deum” had been sung in English, a sermon was preached by Thomas Turner, D.D., canon residentiary, who took for his text St Matthew 10:16.

A hymn having been chanted, the archbishop proceeded from the choir to the chapter-house, and took his seat, accompanied by the following bishops:—William of London, Walter of Winchester, John of Salisbury, Robert of Coventry and Lichfield, Godfrey of Gloucester, Joseph of Exeter, John of St Asaph, William of Bath and Wells, John of Oxford, George of Hereford, Matthew of Ely, Robert of Bristol, William of Bangor, John of Rochester, Brian of Chichester, John of Peterborough, Morgan of Llandaff.

After which the royal brief was read, and the clergy of the lower house instructed to elect their prolocutor.

The second session was held in Henry VII.’s chapel at Westminster; the archbishop and bishops being present as before. After prayer had been said, the election of Richard Steward, Dean of Chichester, as prolocutor of the lower house, was approved; and a letter from the king, under the great seal, read, authorising the synod to proceed to the enactment of certain constitutions relating to ecclesiastical matters, true religion, and the good of the Anglican Church.

In the third session a large subsidy to the king was proposed, and unanimously agreed to. Two chapters concerning the suppression of the Jesuits, priests, and others belonging to the Roman Church, were drawn up, and delivered to the prolocutor for consideration in the lower house.

In the fourth session Godfrey of Gloucester and John of Oxford were commissioned to act for the archbishop in his absence.

In the following session a synodical act was made, forbidding any member of the convocation, under severe penalties, to make any disclosures out of the house concerning the proposed ecclesiastical canons. A form of prayer to Almighty God, in behalf of the parliament, which, at the king’s command, had been drawn up by Dr Bray and Dr Oliver, was read, and ordered to be used in convocation daily, immediately before the blessing.

In the four sessions following nothing worthy of notice took place.

In the tenth session, after some conversation amongst the bishops about the insecurity of the times, and the tumultuous and violent conduct of the lower orders in London and the neighbourhood, the king’s license under the great seal was read, renewing the authority which he had granted to them to draw up and enact canons and constitutions concerning ecclesiastical matters; after which the lower house, having been recommended by the archbishop to appoint a committee out of their own body for the framing and consideration of such constitutions, returned the names of fourteen persons whom they had elected for that purpose. The archbishop also proposed that a pontifical or book of ecclesiastical rites, for the use of the Anglican Church, should be drawn up, containing, besides the form of confirmation, and of consecrating bishops and ordering of priests and deacons, already in force, the form and manner of his majesty’s coronation, another form for the consecration of churches and churchyards, and a third for reconciling such penitents as either had done open penance, or who had turned Mahometans; this design, however, came to nothing.

In the following session Sir Henry Vane, knight, appeared with a message from the king, and having been seated on the archbishop’s left hand, he declared the king’s will that they should proceed as quickly as possible to the enactment of such canons and constitutions as the present wants of the Church required, and that none of them should leave the synod until all their business was finished.

On Saturday, May 16 (session twelve), the prolocutor brought up to the bishops certain canons which had been agreed upon in the lower house; after which the archbishop discoursed upon the injury done to the poorer clergy by those who deprived them of the oblations and fees for churching women, marrying, and burying, and also upon the great injury done to the clergy by the laity electing parish clerks and guardians, who disturbed and opposed them, to their great prejudice and wrong; whereupon, by a vote of the house, it was agreed to signify the matter to the king’s attorney-general, and to request him to apply some remedy. A benevolence to the king was also agreed to by both houses.

In the six following sessions the synod was employed in the consideration of the canons proposed. In the nineteenth session, Godfrey, Bishop of Gloucester, declared that he should refuse his consent to the canons proposed to be enacted, on the plea that the synod itself was unlawful. After this, the houses were employed through three sessions in framing the canons, and in the twenty-third session (May 27th) the archbishop informed both houses that the canons agreed upon in the sacred synod had been read before the king and before the privy council, and unanimously approved, and that his majesty had commissioned him to express his thanks to both houses for the great pains and labour which they had bestowed upon the work. Other canons were subsequently proposed and agreed to, and in the last session, held May 29th, the whole book, containing seventeen chapters of canons, was produced and read aloud by the archbishop, after which it was subscribed by him and all the other bishops (with the exception of the Bishop of Gloucester), and by all the members of the lower house. The Bishop of Gloucester was then thrice required by the archbishop to subscribe, and having each time refused to do so, it was decreed by the majority of prelates that he should, for his contumacy and disobedience, be deprived, whereupon he offered to sign, and in fact did so, but still refused to declare that he had signed voluntarily and without equivocation. Sentence of suspension was then passed upon him by the unanimous vote of both houses.

1. Concerning the regal power.

Enacts that every parson, vicar, curate, or preacher, shall, under pain of suspension, on four Sundays in each year, at morning prayer, read certain explanations of the regal power, to the effect:—

(1) That the sacred order of kings is of Divine right, that a supreme power is given by God in Scripture to kings to rule all persons civil and ecclesiastical.

(2) That the care of God’s Church is committed to kings in the Scripture.

(3) That the power to call and dissolve national and provincial councils within their own territories is the true right of princes.

(4) That it is treason against God and the prince for any other to set up any independent co-active power, either papal or popular, within the prince’s territory.

(5) That subjects who resist their natural prince by force resist God’s ordinance, and shall receive damnation.

(6) That as tribute is due from subjects to their prince, so those subjects have not only possession of, but a true and just title to, all their goods and estates; that as it is the duty of subjects to supply their king, so is it his duty to defend them in their property.

Forbids, under pain of excommunication, all persons to preach or teach anything contrary to the tenor of these explanations.

2. For the better keeping of the day of his majesty’s most happy inauguration.

Orders all persons to keep the morning of the said day in coming diligently to church, and that due inquiry be made by bishops and others as to how the day is observed, in order that offenders may be punished.

3. For suppressing the growth of popery.

Orders all ecclesiastical persons, bishops, &c., having exempt or peculiar jurisdiction, and all officials, and others having the cure of souls, to confer privately with the parties, and by Church censures, &c., to reduce those who are misled into popish superstition to the Church of England.

Such private conferences to be performed by the bishop himself, or by some one or more persons of his appointment.

The said ecclesiastical persons to inform themselves of all persons, above the age of twelve years, in every parish, who do not come to church, or receive the Holy Eucharist, and who say or hear mass.

Ministers, churchwardens, &c., to present all such persons.

If neither private conferences nor Church censures will avail with such offenders, their names shall be certified by the bishop of the diocese unto the justices of assize.

Marriages, burials, and christenings of recusants, celebrated otherwise than according to the form of the Church of England, to be declared by churchwardens and others at visitations.

Diligent enquiry to be made as to who are employed as schoolmasters of the children of recusants. Churchwardens to give upon oath the names of those who send their children to be brought up abroad.

4. Against Socinianism.

Forbids anyone to print, sell, or buy any book containing Socinian doctrines upon pain of excommunication, and orders all ordinaries to signify the names of offenders to the metropolitan, in order to be by him delivered to the king’s attorney-general, that proceedings may be taken against them.

No preacher to vent such doctrine in a sermon, under pain of excommunication, and for a second offence deprivation. No university student or person in holy orders, except graduates in divinity, to have any Socinian book in his possession; all books so found to be burned; diligent inquiry to be made after offenders.

5. Against sectaries.

Declares that all the enactments of the canon against popish recusants shall, as far as they are applicable, stand in full force against all Anabaptists, Brownists, Separatists, Familists, and other sects.

That the clauses in the canons against Socinianism, referring to Socinian books, shall stand in full force against all books devised against the discipline and government of the Church of England.

Orders all church and chapel wardens and quest men to present at visitations the names of those disaffected persons who neglected the prayers of the church, and came in for sermon only, thinking thereby to avoid the penalties enacted against such as wholly absented themselves.

6. An oath enjoined for the preventing of all innovations in doctrine and government.

Declares that all archbishops, bishops, and all other priests and deacons shall, to secure them against suspicion of popery or other superstition, take the oath which it prescribes.

Offenders after three months’ delay granted them, if they continue obstinate, to be deprived.

Orders that the following shall be compelled to take the prescribed oath—viz., all masters of arts, bachelors and doctors in divinity, law, or physic, all licensed practitioners of physic, all registrars, proctors, and schoolmasters, all graduates of foreign universities who come to be incorporated into an English university, and all persons about to be ordained or licensed to preach or serve any cure.

7. A declaration concerning some rites and ceremonies.

Declares the standing of the communion table sideways under the East window of every chancel or chapel, to be in its own nature indifferent, and that therefore no religion is to be placed therein, or scruple to be made thereof.

That although at the Reformation all popish altars were demolished, yet it was ordered by Queen Elizabeth’s injunction, that the holy tables should stand where the altars stood, and that, accordingly, they have been so continued in the royal chapels, most cathedrals, and some parish churches, that all churches and chapels should conform to the example of the cathedral mother churches in this particular, saving always the general liberty left to the bishop by law during the time of administration of the holy communion. Declares that this situation of the holy table does not imply that it is or ought to be esteemed a true and proper altar, whereon Christ is again really sacrificed; but it is, and may be, by us called an altar in that sense in which the primitive Church called it an altar.

Orders that in order to prevent profane abuses of the communion table, it shall be railed in.

Orders that at the words “draw near,” &c., all communicants shall with all humble reverence approach the holy table.

Recommends to all good and well affected members of the Church, that they do reverence and obeisance both at their coming in and going out of the church, chancel, or chapel, according to the custom of the primitive Church and the Church of England in the reign of Elizabeth.

8. Of preaching for conformity.

Orders all preachers, under pain of suspension, to instruct the people in their sermons twice a year at least, that the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England are lawful and commendable, and to be submitted to.

9. One Book of Articles of inquiry to be used at all parochial visitations.

Declares that the synod had caused a summary or collection of visitatory articles (out of the rubrics of the service book and the canons and warrantable rules of the Church), to be made and deposited in the records of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and that no bishop or other ordinary shall, under pain of suspension, cause to be printed, or otherwise to be given in charge to the churchwardens or others which shall be sworn to make presentments, any other articles or forms of inquiry upon oath, than such as shall be approved by his metropolitan.

10. Concerning the conversation of the clergy.

Charges all clergymen carefully to abstain from all excess and disorder, and that by their Christian and religious conversation they shine forth as lights to others in all godliness and honesty.

Requires all to whom the government of the clergy is committed, to set themselves to countenance godliness, and diligently to labour to reform their clergy where they require it.

11. Chancellor’s patents.

Forbids bishops to grant any patent to any chancellor, commissary, or official, for longer than the life of the grantee, nor otherwise than with the reservation to himself and his successors of the power to execute the said place, either alone or with the chancellor, if the bishop shall please to do so; forbids, under the heaviest censures, to take any reward for such places.

12. Chancellors alone not to censure any of the clergy in sundry cases.

All cases involving suspension or any higher censure to be heard by the bishop or by his chancellor, together with two grave, dignified, or beneficed ministers of the diocese.

13. Excommunication and absolution not to be pronounced but by a priest.

No excommunications or absolutions to be valid, unless pronounced by the bishop, or by some priest appointed by the bishop; such sentence of absolution to be pronounced either in open consistory, or, at least, in a church or chapel, the penitent humbly craving it on his knees.

14. Concerning commutations and the disposing of them.

No chancellor or other to commute penance without the bishop’s privity; or if by himself, he shall render strict account of the moneys received, which shall be applied to charitable and public uses.

15. Touching concurrent jurisdiction.

That in places wherein there is concurrent jurisdiction, no executor be cited into any court or office for the space of ten days after the death of the testator.

16. Concerning licenses to marry.

No license shall be granted by any ordinary to any parties, except one of the parties have been living in the jurisdiction of the said ordinary for one month immediately before the license be desired.

17. Against vexatious citations.

No citations grounded only upon pretence of a breach of law, and not upon presentment or other just ground, shall issue out of any ecclesiastical court, except under certain specified circumstances, and except in cases of grievous crime, such as schism, incontinence, misbehaviour in Church, &c.

These canons were ratified by the king under the great seal, June 30th, 1640, and therefore have the same force with the canons of 1604. It is true that an attempt was made at the time to set aside their authority, upon the plea that convocation could not lawfully continue its session after the dissolution of parliament, which took place on the 5th of May; but the opinion of all the judges taken at the time was unanimously in favour of the legality of their proceeding, as appears by the following document:—

“The convocation being called by the king’s writ under the great seal, doth continue until it be dissolved by writ or commission under the great seal notwithstanding the parliament be dissolved.

“14th May, 1640.

              “Jo. Finch.

“C. S. H. Manchester.

“John Bramston.

“Edward Littleton.

“Ralphe Whitfield.

“Jo. Bankes.

“Ro. Heath.”


An act of parliament, passed in the thirteenth year of Charles II., leaves to these canons their full canonical authority, whilst it provides that nothing contained in that statute shall give them the force of an act of parliament.

The acts of this convocation were unanimously confirmed by the Synod of York.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 593, vol. i. p. 380. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 538.

WESTMINSTER (1661). Held at St Paul’s, May 8th, 1661, by William Juxon, Archbishop of Canterbury; Gilbert, Bishop of London, acting as his locum tenens. After the customary solemnities, and a sermon, by Thomas Pierce, D.D., the bishops left the choir and assembled in the chapter-house of the cathedral, viz., Gilbert of London, Matthew of Ely, William of Bath and Wells, Robert of Oxford, John of Rochester, Henry of Chichester, George of Worcester, Homfrey of Salisbury, Benjamin of Peterborough, Edward of Norwich, Nicholas of Hereford, and William of Gloucester. The archbishop’s letter and the royal brief were then read, and the lower house declared that they had elected Henry Fearne, D.D., to be their prolocutor.

In the second session, held at Westminster, the same bishops being present, with the exception of Nicholas, Bishop of Hereford, together with the Bishops of St Asaph and St David’s; the Bishops of Ely, Oxford, Peterborough, and Salisbury, together with eight members of the lower house, were commissioned to draw up a form of prayer to be used annually on the anniversary of the king’s birthday, and of his happy restoration to his kingdom; also the Bishops of Rochester, Chichester, Worcester, and Norwich, together with eight members of the lower house, were commissioned to prepare a form of prayer to be used on the 30th day of January.

In the following session the Bishop of Ely delivered the form of prayer for the king’s birthday and restoration; after which the Bishops of Salisbury, Peterborough, and St Asaph, together with six clerks of the lower house, were appointed to draw up a form for the baptism of adults.

In the seventh session the form for adult baptism was presented by the Bishop of Salisbury, and unanimously approved.

In the following session, the royal license, under the great seal, was presented by Richard Aldworth, esquire, empowering the convocation to correct and amend existing canons, and to enact fresh ones; subsequently the attorney-general’s proclamation, addressed to the bishops, concerning a fast to be observed on the 12th of the month, was read, and four bishops appointed to draw up the requisite form of prayer.

In the tenth session the king’s letters patent were read, authorising the convocation, or the greater part of them, (the Bishop of London, or Ely, or Bath and Wells, always to be one,) to propose, confer, treat, debate, &c., upon the exposition or alteration of any existing canon, and to make new canons; upon which twelve bishops, and twenty-four members of the lower house were chosen to proceed with the business, to meet at the Savoy twice a-week until it was completed. At the same time the convocation of the province of York was called to take part in the revision of the canons.

In the eleventh session the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of Durham and Chester were present; six bishops were nominated to draw up a book of visitation articles, and the Bishops of Durham, Carlisle, and Chester were requested to assist them.

In the twenty-fifth session, the king’s letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, under his private seal, was read, granting to the convocation liberty and authority to enter upon a revision of the book of common prayer, whereupon the Bishops of Durham, Ely, Oxford, Rochester, Salisbury, Worcester, Lincoln, and Gloucester, were unanimously chosen to revise the Prayer Book, which revision occupied the following twenty-three sessions; and in the forty-eighth session, held December 20th, the revised prayer book having been already approved and subscribed by the primate, was unanimously received and subscribed by the bishops and members of the lower house.

In the following sessions the revision of the canons was continued, and certain alterations made in the book of common prayer by the parliament were submitted to the consideration of the synod and revised; also a book of visitation articles, drawn up by the Bishop of Durham, was presented and unanimously received, and referred to the primate. Dr Sancroft was appointed to superintend, and Messrs Scattergood and Dillingham to correct, the printing of the book of common prayer.

The Bishop of London, in the seventieth session, announced to both houses that the revised copy of the prayer book had been graciously received by the House of Lords, and that the lord chancellor, in his own name, and in that of the whole house, had testified his thanks to the bishops and members of the lower house of convocation, for the great care and pains which they had bestowed upon the work.

In the seventy-eighth session it was enacted, that no ordination should be held by any bishop except at the four Ember seasons. In that held on the 26th of April, John Earle, Dean of Westminster, and John Peirson, D.D., were appointed to translate the revised book of common prayer into the Latin tongue. Nothing especially requiring notice was transacted in the following sessions, except, that in the one hundred and fortieth session, the president charged all the prelates present to use all diligence that every rector, vicar, and minister in their respective dioceses, should, in their surplices, read prayers according to the order described in the revised copy of the book of common prayer, without any omission in any part of it.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 631. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 570.

A form of consecration of churches was drawn up in this Synod, but neither authorised nor published.—Stavely, p. 118.

WESTMINSTER (1710). Held November 25th, 1710, under Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury. The heads of business to be transacted, by the queen’s direction, were as follows:—

1. To draw up a representation of the state of religion in the country, with a regard to the late excessive growth of infidelity and heresy.

2. To regulate matters concerning excommunication.

3. To prepare a form for the visitation of prisoners, and for admiting converts from the Church of Rome.

4. To establish rural deans where they were not, and increase their efficiency where they already exist.

5. To make provision for more exact terriers.

6. To consider the regulation of licenses for marriage.

But the most important matter treated of in this synod was that of whiston, whose book, entitled “An Historical Preface to Primitive Christianity,” and dedicated to the archbishop and convocation, was (March 16th) formally presented by the lower house to the notice of the prelates, declaring, that in their judgment, it contained assertions opposed to the fundamental articles of the Christian religion, and praying the bishops to consider in what manner the synod ought to proceed on the occasion.

On the 19th of March the bishops came to the resolution that some notice should be taken of the book, and submitted the matter to the Archbishop of Canterbury for consideration, who, in April, addressed a letter to the house, expressing some doubt about the extent of the power possessed by convocation in such a matter. Accordingly, on the 22nd of April, a humble address was sent by the bishops to the queen, setting forth, that whereas William Whiston, a presbyter of the Church of England, who had been expelled in the preceding October from the University of Cambridge for teaching erroneous doctrines, had since advanced certain damnable and blasphemous assertions against the doctrine and worship of the ever-blessed Trinity, defaming the whole Athanasian creed, the convocation were anxious to call him before them, in order to his amendment or correction. That they, nevertheless, were hindered in so doing from some doubt concerning their power so to act, and that they consequently entreated her majesty to lay the case before the judges for their opinion how far the convocation would be justified, in law, in proceeding to examine and condemn such tenets as are declared to be heresy by the laws, together with the maintainers of them.

The opinions of the twelve judges appear to have been divided, eight of them, together with the attorney and solicitor-general (Northey and Raymond), decided that the convocation possessed by law the necessary powers, whilst four of them gave a contrary opinion. Notwithstanding this want of unanimity, the queen declared to the synod that there was no doubt of their jurisdiction, and directed them to proceed in the matter, which they did, and shortly published their judgment, in which they set forth certain passages out of Whiston’s writings; and having declared them to contain false and heretical assertions injurious to our Saviour and the Holy Spirit, repugnant to Holy Scripture, and contrary to the decrees of the two first general councils, and to the Liturgy and articles of the Anglican Church, they earnestly beseech all Christian people to take heed how they give ear to such false teaching.

They moreover notice the assertion made by Whiston concerning the “apostolical constitutions,” which he pretended to be a part of the canon of Scripture, and even superior to the received Epistles of the Apostles, and they declare his assertion to be highly absurd and impious.

This censure was presented to the queen, but the royal assent was never given to it, and Whiston thus escaped without any synodical censure. On the 12th of June 1711, the synod was prorogued.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 724. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 638.

WESTMINSTER (1711). Held in December 1711, in which a declaration was proposed to be made, setting forth the irregularity of lay-baptism, but declaring the validity of all baptism in or with water in the name of the blessed Trinity. Sharp, Archbishop of York, refused to sign it, and it was sent with the signatures of Archbishop Tenison and most of the bishops of his province to the members of the lower house, who would not so much as take it into consideration.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 770, note.

WESTMINSTER (1714). Held in 1714, in which (June 2) a petition was sent by the lower house to the bishops, in which they most earnestly beseech their lordships to take into consideration a book entitled “The Scriptural Doctrine of the Trinity,” by Dr Samuel Clarke. The bishops having requested them to forward to them such passages as they considered to be heretical, on the 23rd of June the lower house sent up a list of passages extracted from Dr Clarke’s book. On the 2nd July, Clarke put in a declaration in defence, in which he professes to believe in the co-eternity of the Son and Holy Spirit with the Father, and expresses sorrow for the offence his book had given, declaring at the same time his purpose never to write again on the subject of the blessed Trinity. With this declaration the bishops professed themselves to be satisfied, and ceased all further proceedings against him.

In this convocation a form was drawn up “for admitting converts from the Church of Rome;” also an exhortation was agreed upon, to be read in Church to persons about to be excommunicated.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 785. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 657.

WESTMINSTER (1715). Held in March 1715, under Archbishop Tenison. A form of consecrating churches, chapels, and churchyards, was drawn up, but never confirmed.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 816. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 668.

WESTMINSTER (1717). Held in 1717, under William Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury.

On the 3rd of May, a representation was made by the lower house to the archbishop and bishops about the sermon of Hoadley, Bishop of Bangor, on the kingdom of Christ, in which they declare the tendency of the doctrines and positions contained in the said sermon to be:—

1. To subvert all government and discipline in the Church of Christ.

2. To impugn the regal supremacy in causes ecclesiastical.

They then proceed to give extracts from the sermon, with remarks upon them at some length.

Before the representation could be brought before the bishops, the king (George I.) thought fit to prorogue the convocation by special order, and until the year 1850 it was not allowed to enter upon any business. It now however is regularly convened at the opening of each session of Parliament.—Cardwell, vol. ii. p. 828. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. iv. p. 672.

WESTMINSTER (1888). Held at Lambeth Palace in July 1888, Edward Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury, presiding. Two hundred and nine summons were issued, and there were present one hundred and forty-five archbishops, bishops, and metropolitans of the Holy Catholic Church in full communion with the Church of England, representing the various parts of the British empire.

The conference sat from the 4th of July to the 28th, and published the results of their deliberations in an encyclical letter early in August.

This letter dealt with the following subjects:—

1. Of temperance: it signifies the disapproval of the use of other liquid than true wine, diluted or undiluted, in the celebration of the communion, as an unauthorised departure from the custom of the Church, for “highly valuable as we believe total abstinence to be as a means to an end, we desire to discountenance the language which condemns the use of wine as wrong in itself.”

2. Of purity.

3. Of the sanctity of marriage: churchmen cannot admit divorce as justifiable, or possible, except for fornication or adultery, nor can they condone the marriage of the guilty party during the lifetime of the other, but admitting that there always has been a difference of opinion in the Church as to whether our Lord’s words apply equally to the innocent party, the council orders that the Sacraments or other privileges of the Church shall not be in any case refused to the innocent party if he or she be married again.

4. Of polygamy. By eighty-three votes to twenty-one the council decided that a man so offending shall not be admitted to baptism, but (by fifty-four to thirty-four) the wives in a similar case were to be received. A certain latitude of discretion was permitted to the bishop of the diocese in such cases.

5. Of the observance of Sunday.

6. Of socialism. “To study schemes for redressing the social balance, to welcome the good that may be found in the aims and operations of any, and to devise methods whether by legislation or social combinations, or in any other way for a peaceful solution of the problems without injustice or violence, is one of the noblest pursuits which can engage those who strive to follow in the footsteps of Christ.”

7. Of emigrants.

8. Of definite teaching of the faith.

9. Of mutual relations.

10. Of home reunion. As a basis of reunion of following four essentials were suggested.

(a) That Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation.

(b) That the Apostles’ Creed, as the baptismal symbol, and the Nicene Creed, as a statement of the Christian faith, are sufficient.

(c) The necessity for the two Sacraments.

(d) The historic episcopate.

11. Of the relation of the Church of England to the Church of Scandinavia.

12. To the old Catholics.

The old Catholics of Germany (and the Christian Catholic Church, Switzerland) were admitted to be in communion with the Anglican Church, but those of Austria, Holland, and other parts of the Continent were not so fully received.

13. To the Eastern churches.

14. Of authoritative standards.

The archbishop was empowered to take counsel with such persons as he might see fit to consult, with a view of ascertaining the desirability of revising the English version of the Nicene Creed and the Quicunque Vult.

New missionary churches were not considered entirely bound by the thirty-nine articles in their existing shape, but no departure whatever from the doctrine and custom of the Catholic Church was to be tolerated in one seeking ordination in such a community.

The Bishop of Sydney, Dr Barry, is reported to have proposed to the Council that it should recognise, “in spite of what we must conceive as an irregularity, the ministerial character of those ordained in non-episcopal communion.” This suggestion, however, if ever it were seriously intended to lead to any Catholic recognition, was decisively negatived.

On the last day of the conference the assembled bishops attended a service in St Paul’s Cathedral. The precedence upon this occasion was noticeable.

Next after the Archbishops of Canterbury (Benson) and York (Thomson), the Bishop of London (Temple), as diocesan, was ranked, and after him the Archbishops of Armagh (Knox), and Dublin (Plunket); then the metropolitans according to seniority of consecration, viz.:—the Bishops of Guiana (Austin), Fredericton (Medley), Rupertsland (Machray), Brechin, primus of Scotland (Jermyn), Capetown (Jones), Calcutta (Johnson), and Sydney (Barry). Then followed the Bishops of Durham and Winchester, and after them the other prelates, English or colonial, in order of consecration, Bishop Perry being the senior.

The council was then formally dissolved.

WEXFORD (1240). [Concilium Wexfordiense.] Held in 1240, by the Bishop of Ferns, in which it was ruled how the debts of deceased curates should be paid. Clerks were forbidden to follow any kind of secular business. The infringers of ecclesiastical liberties, intruders into benefices, incendiaries, poisoners, false witnesses, &c., were excommunicated. Curates were forbidden to excommunicate their parishioners without the bishop’s sanction.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 681. Mansi, Supp., tom. ii. col. 1065.

WHITBY (or STRENECHAL) (664). [Concilium Pharense.] Held in 664. This was properly a conference between the English and Scottish bishops on the subject of the celebration of Easter. There were present on the English side Agilbert, a Frenchman, Bishop of Dorchester, with his presbyter, Agatho; Wilfred, a young Northumbrian priest, who had studied at Rome; Romanus, who had before contended the point with Finan, late Bishop of Lindisfarne; and an old deacon, James, whom Paulinus had left thirty years before. On the Scottish side were Colman, Bishop of Lindisfarne; and Cedda, Bishop of York, who acted as interpreter. Oswy, King of Northumbria, was also present, who opened the proceedings, and desired Colman to explain the nature and origin of the rites which his Church had so long practised. The Scots alleged the example of St John, Wilfred that of St Peter, and concluded his address in the following terms: “But for you (Colman) and your adherents, if, after having heard the decrees of the apostolic see, yea, of the whole Church, and these, too, confirmed by Scripture, you refuse to obey them, you certainly are guilty of sin. For, allowing your fathers to have been holy men, is their small handful in a corner of a remote island, to be compared to the Church of Christ over the whole earth? And great as that Columba of yours may have been, is he to be preferred to the blessed prince of the apostles, to whom the Lord said: ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it: and to thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven?’ ” This fortunate quotation from Holy Scripture determined the king in favour of the Roman custom; he, as he said, fearing to contradict one who held the keys of heaven, and might peradventure refuse to open to him when he knocked.

In this council, moreover, the affair of the tonsure was discussed, the Roman fashion differing from that in use amongst the Scots, which the former pretended had been derived from Simon Magus.—Tom. vi. Conc. p. 491. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 37.

WINCHESTER (856). [Concilium Wintoniense.] Held in 856, in the presence of three kings. It was enacted, that in future the tenth part of all lands should belong to the Church, free of all burdens, as an indemnification for the losses sustained by the incursion of the Normans who had ravaged England.—Tom. viii. Conc. p. 243. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 184.

WINCHESTER (965). St Dunstan, by command of King Edgar, convened a synod hither in 965, at which a constitution was drawn up for the observance of the Regulars, taken from the rule of St Benedict and former British monastic customs and rules. It was called Regularis Concordia Anglicæ Nationis.

WINCHESTER (968). Held by St Dunstan of Canterbury in 968, King Edgar presiding, where Dunstan and his party brought charges against the married clergy, and a decision made against them. The ridiculous story of the crucifix which spoke and determined the decision of the council is the invention of a much later age.

WINCHESTER (975). Held in 975, by St Dunstan, in consequence of the disturbances raised by certain clerks, whom he had deprived of their churches on account of marriage and scandalous life. The well-known incident of the image of our crucified Saviour having decided in favour of the monks, is said to have occurred in this council. The clerks were condemned, and implored the intercession of the young King Edward, who entreated Dunstan to re-establish them, but in vain.—Tom. ix. Conc. p. 721. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 261.

WINCHESTER (1021). Held in 1021, under King Canute, to confirm the exemption of the abbey of St Edmund.—Tom. ix. Conc. p. 843. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 297.

WINCHESTER (1070). Held on the octave of Easter, 1070, in the presence of William the Conqueror. The three legates of Rome, Hermenfride, Bishop of Syon, and the cardinals, John and Peter, presided. Stigand of Canterbury was deposed, (1) for having retained the Bishopric of Winchester together with the Archbishopric of Canterbury; (2) for having worn the pall of his predecessor Robert, until the pope sent him a new one; and (3) for having received the pall from the anti-pope, Benedict X. Agelmar, Bishop of the East Angles, and several abbots were also deposed. Walfred, Bishop of Worcester, claimed from William certain lands belonging to his bishopric which the latter had withheld, and the claim was allowed. Thirteen canons were published.

1. Concerning the coming in of bishops and abbots by simoniacal heresy.

2. Of ordaining men promiscuously, and by means of money.

3. Of the life and conversation of such men.

4. That bishops should celebrate councils twice a year.

5. That bishops ordain archdeacons and other ministers of the sacred order in their own churches.

6. That bishops have free power in their dioceses over the clergy and laity.

7. That bishops and priests invite laymen to penance.

8. Of apostatising clerks and monks.

9. That bishops have their sees ascertained, and that none conspire against the prince.

10. That laymen pay tithes, as it is written.

11. That none invade the goods of the Church.

12. That no clerk shall bear secular arms.

13. That clerks and monks be duly reverenced, let him that does otherwise be anathema.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons in ann. Tom. ix. Conc. p. 1202. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 322. Ang. Sacr., vol. i. p. 5.

WINCHESTER (1071). Held probably in 1071, by Archbishop Lanfranc. Sixteen canons were published, the heads only of which remain to us.

1. That no one be allowed to preside over two bishoprics.

2. That no one be ordained by means of simoniacal heresy.

3. That foreign clergymen be not received without letters commendatory.

4. That ordinations be performed at the certain seasons.

5. Of altars, that they be of stone.

6. That the sacrifice be not of beer, or water alone, but of wines mixed with water only.

7. Of baptism, that it be celebrated at Easter or Whitsuntide only, except there be danger of death.

8. That masses be not celebrated in churches before they have been consecrated.

9. That the corpses of the dead be not buried in churches.

10. That the bells be not tolled at celebrating in the time of the Secret (Secretum Missæ).

11. That bishops only give penance for gross sins.

12. That monks who have thrown off their habit, be admitted neither into the army, nor into any convent of clerks, but be esteemed excommunicated.

13. That every bishop celebrate a synod once a year.

14. That tithes be paid by all.

15. That clergymen observe continence, or desist from their office.

16. That chalices be not of wax or wood.

It was probably resolved in this council that an institution of penance for the soldiers of William of Normandy, left by the legate Hermenfride, should be executed. It is in thirteen heads.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons, 1078. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 365.

WINCHESTER (1072). Convoked by William the Conqueror, and held in 1072; fifteen bishops were present, with Hubert, the Roman legate, and many abbots and barons. The dispute between the Archbishops of Canterbury and York was examined with care, and it was established both from ecclesiastical history and by popular tradition, that from the time of St Augustine till the last one hundred and forty years, the primacy of the see of Canterbury over the whole of Great Britain had been recognised; that the Archbishop of Canterbury had often held ordinations and synods in the very city of York itself. At the following Whitsuntide it was also decided in a synod. held at Windsor, that the see of York was subject to that of Canterbury.—Tom. ix. Conc. p. 1211. (Anglicanum.) Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 324.

WINCHESTER (1076). Held in 1076, by Archbishop Lanfranc, who made a speech, still extant, in which he endeavoured to prove that the primacy of England and Ireland belonged to Canterbury. Six canons were published.

1. Forbids canons to have wives. Enacts that such priests, as live in castles and villages, be not forced to dismiss their wives if they have them. Forbids such as have no wives to marry, and bishops to ordain in future any who do not declare that they have no wife.

2. Forbids to receive a clerk or monk without letters from his bishop.

3. Forbids the clergy to pay any service for his benefice but what he paid in the time of King Edward.

4. Laymen accused of any crime, to be excommunicated after the third summons to appear before the bishop, if they refuse.

5. Declares a marriage made without the priest’s benediction, to be a state of fornication.

6. Forbids all supplantation of churches.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons. Tom. x. Conc. p. 351. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 367.

WINCHESTER (1139). Held August 29, 1139, under Archbishop Theodore, against King Stephen, who had seized upon certain houses belonging to the churches of Salisbury and Lincoln, and thrown the two prelates into prison. Stephen himself was cited to appear before the council. Henry, Bishop of Winchester, the pope’s legate, complained of the injury done to the cause of religion by those who plundered the property of the Church upon the plea of the ill conduct of the bishops. He required that the king should begin by re-establishing the injured bishops, who, by the common law, were incapacitated from pleading on account of their seizure. The king sent a warning to the bishops, that none of them should have the boldness to make complaint to Rome against him. Upon this, the council broke up without settling anything, for the king refused to submit to the judgment of the prelates, and the latter did not think it advisable to employ ecclesiastical censures against him upon their own responsibility, and surrounded as they were by his power.—Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 419. Tom. x. Conc. p. 1014.

WINDSOR (1070). [Concilium Windoriense, or Windleshorense.] Held on Whitsunday 1070, in which Agelric, Bishop of the South Saxons, was deprived, and committed to prison at Marlborough; no crime was imputed to him, and the sole object of the proceeding seems to have been to make room for a Norman. Several abbots were in like manner deposed at the same time.—Johnson, Ecc. Canons. Tom. ix. Conc. p. 1203.

WINDSOR (1114). Held in 1114, April 26; in which Ralph, Bishop of Rochester, was elected to the see of Canterbury, vacant during the five preceding years. Some of those present at the council opposed the election of Ralph on the ground that since the time of Archbishop St Augustine none but regulars had been appointed to the see, with one exception, viz., Archbishop Stigand, whom the pope deposed. They proposed the Abbot of Abingdon.—Tom. x. Conc. p. 793.

WIRTZBURG (1287). [Concilium Herbipolense.] Held March 18, 1287, in the presence of the Emperor Rudolph, by the legate, John, Bishop of Tusculum, assisted by four archbishops, viz., those of Mayence, Cologne, Saltzburg, and Vienna, some of their suffragans, and many abbots. Forty-two canons were published.

The first five relate to the moral conduct and manner of life of clerks. Enjoins them not to frequent taverns, nor play with dice, and to dress according to their calling.

7. Forbids to celebrate two masses in one day, except in a case of necessity.

8. Orders that the Body of our Lord shall be carried with proper solemnity to the sick, and to women near the time of their delivery.

10. Forbids to hold two vicarages.

14. Orders those who have received investiture at the hands of laymen, to resign their benefices into the bishop’s hands, to whom the collation properly belongs.

15. Forbids any fee for the nuptial benediction and for funerals.

28. Forbids to fortify a church without the bishop’s consent.

29. Forbids to excommunicate wives or mothers on account of their deceased husband’s or children’s debts, except they have succeeded to their property.—Tom. xi. Conc. p. 1318.

WORCESTER (601). [Concilium Wigorniense.] See OAK, AUGUSTIN.

WORCESTER (1240). Held July 26, 1240, by the Bishop Walter of Chanteloup. Fifty-nine constitutions were published, which, amongst other things, enjoin to baptise conditionally in doubtful cases, but always with trine immersion. Forbids to celebrate mass before having said prime, to plight troth except when fasting, and to observe any particular day or month for marriage. It is also ordered that any person desiring to confess to any other than his own priest, shall first modestly ask permission of the latter.—Tom. xi. Conc. p. 572. Wilkins’ Conc., vol. i. p. 665.

WORMS (829). [Concilium Vormatiense.] Held in 829. Several regulations were published, one of which condemns the ordeal by cold water: a treatise written by Agobard against these practices is still extant.—Tom. vii. Conc. p. 1669.

WORMS (868). Held May 16, 868, in the presence of Louis of Germany, to which all the bishops of his kingdom were cited. Having drawn up a confession of faith, in which the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and Son was clearly stated, the Council proceeded to publish forty-four canons.

1. Forbids to administer holy baptism except at Easter and Whitsuntide, unless in a case of necessity.

2. Orders that the chrism be consecrated by the bishop only.

3. Forbids bishops to exact any fee or present for the consecration of a church; also forbids them to consecrate any church except there be a writing under the hand of the founder, confirming the foundation, and signifying what endowment he has given.

4. Forbids to offer upon the altar for the eucharist anything save bread, and wine mixed with water. States that wine and water should be used, “quia videmus in aqua populum intelligi, in vino vero ostendi sanguinem Christi,” and thus, by the union of the water with the wine, the union of Christ with His Church.

5. Approves the regulations of St Gregory, upon the subject of single and trine immersion.

6. Gives to the bishop, and not to the founders, the disposal of the revenues of new churches.

7. Orders that all offerings and revenues belonging to a church be divided into four portions; one for the bishop, the second for the clerks serving the church (according to their zeal and diligence), the third for the poor, and the fourth to the fabric.

9. Orders the celibacy of the clergy.

13, 14. Forbid excommunication, without weighty and sufficient cause, and declares that the bishop so excommunicating without sufficient cause, shall be deprived of the communion of the neighbouring bishops.

15. Enacts that when a robbery shall have been committed in any monastery, the thief being unknown, the abbot or some other priest shall celebrate mass, at which all the inmates shall attend, in order by this to prove severally their innocence.

16. Excommunicates bishops who refuse to attend synods, or who retire before the conclusion of business.

17. Orders bishops keeping sporting dogs, or birds, to be suspended for three months; a priest, two; and a deacon, one.

19. Excommunicates and suspends priests who refuse to obey their bishop.

22. Forbids those who, having been in their infancy offered by their parents to some monastery, for the service of God, and who have been accordingly brought up to the regular life, when they come to the age of puberty, to renounce that life, and return into the world.

26. Declares that a man who has murdered a priest shall neither eat meat nor drink wine, but fast on every day, except festivals, till the evening; that he shall never carry arms, never go except on foot, nor enter a church for the space of five years; after which he may enter the church, but shall still not be received to communion. At the expiration of ten years he may be received, but shall fast three times a-week to his life’s end.

28. Orders that a madman who has killed any one shall be put to a light penance should he ever recover his senses.

31. Orders that the Holy Eucharist be given to lepers.—Tom. viii. Conc. p. 941.

WORMS (1076). Held in 1076, at which the Emperor Henry declared that Gregory 7th ought not to be regarded as pope.

WORMS (1122). Held 8th September 1122. The emperor, in the assembly, renounced his claim to confer investiture by the ring and staff, and the pope confirmed to him the right of conferring the regalia by the sceptre.—Tom. x. Conc. p. 889.

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