Project Canterbury

Herbert Thorndike, 1598-1672
by T.A. Lacey

London: SPCK, 1929.

Appendix II. The Bishop of Lincoln's Bill

BY the courtesy of Mr. F. W. Lascelles I have been enabled to read and transcribe the Bill introduced into the House of Lords by the Bishop of Lincoln, July 1st, 1641, read a second time and committed, and then allowed to drop. It is written in five different hands on twelve sheets. The tenth and eleventh sheets appear to have been written hastily, and the usual statutory style is not maintained. The catchword at the foot of Sheet 9 seems to indicate that they were substituted for something previously written, beginning with the same words. I have inserted some references to sheet and line.


Whereas the Preaching of Gods holy word has of late years been much neglected in severall places, and to the end that Archbishops and Bishops may from henceforth give good examples to others in holy orders, by doing their duties in their owne persons for the better instruction of the People committed to their Charge, His Majestic out of his abundant goodness and Religious Care of the Soules of his People is gratiously pleased, That it be so enacted, And by the Authoritie of the present Parliament, Be it enacted that every Archbishop and Bishop being under the age of Seventy years, and not being hindred by sickness and being within his Diocesse shall from henceforth, from and after the first day of January now next coming, upon every Lords day throughout the yeare, Preach in some one Cathedrall Church, Parish Church, or Publique Chappell, upon paine to forfeit the some of five pounds for every default therein. [Here follow provisions for exacting the fine.]

(i. 21.) And to the intent that the sayd Archbishops and Bishops and all other persons now or at any time hereafter being in holy Orders, may not be hindered to discharge their duties in the Office of the Ministrie by intermeddling with secular Affaires, Be it therfore enacted by the Authoritie aforesaid, That no Archbishop, Bishop, Parson, Vicar, or other Person whatsoever, that hath received or at any time hereafter shall receive any Degree in holy Orders with Cure of Soules, shall at any time from and after the said first day of January, have any Suffrage or Vote or use or execute any power or Authoritie in the Court usually called the Starrchamber, Nor shall have any suffrage or Voice or use or execute any Judiciall powir or Authoritie in any other temporall Court whatsoever. Nor shall be any Justice of Peace, nor use nor execute the office of a Justice of Peace, by virtue or Color of any Statute Commission Charter or otherwise, within the Kingdome of England or Dominion of Wales. [Here follow penalties of forfeiture and incapacity.]

(ii. 9.) And be it likewise further provided and enacted that this Act or any Clause or thing therein conteined shall not extend unto the exercise of any jurisdiction power or Authoritie within eyther of the two Universities or the Liberties thereof. [Here follow exceptions in favour of Peers of the Realm by descent.]

(iii. 15.) Nor unto the exercise of any the power of a Justice of Peace at any time heretofore given by any Act of Parliament to the Deane of Westminster within the Liberties of West. at Saint Martines Le Grand in London. [Sic. Perhaps or or and should be read.]

(iv. i.) And to the end that Apps and Bps within their severall Dioceses may have such Assistance as may hereafter tend and be for the better execution of their said offices and places, Be it therefore enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That within every Shire or County of each severall Diocese within the Kingdome of England and Dominion of Wales there be nominated, in such manner as is hereafter expressed, twelve Ministers being in Holy Orders, and being fitt both in respect of their life and doctrine, to be Assistants to every such Archbishop and Bishop together with the Deane and Chapter of each severall Diocese, in conferring of Holy Orders, and in the exercise and administration of ecclesiasticall Jurisdiction, and for such other purposes as be hereafter declared; And that none of the said Archbishops or Bishops at any time from henceforth shall conferre any Holy Orders upon any person or persons without the presence and approbation of foure of the said Assistants at the least; And that none of the said Archbishops or Bishops, nor any Dean, Archdeacon, Chancellour, Commissarie, Officiall, Surrogate, or other person having or exercising any Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction within any of the Dioceses aforesaid, or within any places of peculiar or exempt Jurisdiction whatsoever, shall pronounce any sentence of Degradation, Deprivation or Suspension against any Minister or other Person in Holy Orders, or any sentence of Excommunication or Absolution of or against any person whatsoever, or shall proceed to the finall sentence of any cause whatsoever depending in any of their severall Courts, or to the Sentence or Taxation of Costs or Charges of suit, or to the making of any request or instance to any Ordinarie or superior Judge to hear or determine any Cause depending before them without the presence and approbation of two, or at the least of one, of the said Assistants next dwelling; And that the said Assistants shall from time to time be nominated or chosen in manner following: That is to say, Before the said first day of Januarie Foure of them by the Kings Majesty his Heirs or Successors, under their Sign manuall; Foure other of them by the order of the Lords in Parliament assembled: And the other Foure by the order of the House of Commons in Parliament assembled: And upon the death or removall of any of the said Assistants out of any of the Shires or Counties in the several Dioceses aforesaid respectively, such other person or persons shall be named in their stead, and to supply their rooms, as by His Majesty His Heirs or Successors shall be nominated and appointed in like manner as is aforesaid, which said Assistants and every of them respectively shall from time to time hereafter give their personall attendance in and for the due Execution of the trust by this Act in them reposed at each publick Ordination within each severall Diocese, and at such other times when any such sentence or any such Taxation of Costs, or any such act for request or instance shall be made as is aforesaid, upon sufficient notice to be given or left at their severall dwelling-houses by the known Apparitor of any such Archbishop or Bishop by the space of Fourteen daies next before any Meeting shall be held for any of the purposes aforesaid. [Forfeits for neglect of the summons here follow.]

(v. 14.) Unlesse the said Offender shall have such reasonable excuse for his said default as shall be allowed by the said Archbishop or by the Bishop of the same Diocese and the then-other Assistants respectively, or the greater number of them, within three months after any such default. [Voidance of Acts done otherwise, and penalties for so acting here follow.]

(vi. i.) And that from henceforth such persons may be preferred to be Archbishops and Bishops which shall be of the best integrity of life, soundness of doctrine, and fitness of government, Be it therefore enacted by authoritie of this present Parliament, That upon everie avoidance of anie of the Archbishops or Bishops aforesaid at anie time hereafter to be made, The Deane and Chapter of each severall diocese respectively and the said Assistants of all the Shires and Counties within the said diocese, so to be named as is aforesaid, or the greater number of the said Deane and Chapter and Assistants then living within twentie daies next after everie such avoidance, shall by a writing under their hands and sealles recomend and present to his Majestie, his heires or successors, the names of three persons in holy Orders within the same or any other of the said diocesses, whome in their judgement they shall hold fit and worthie for so great a function. And that thereupon his Majestie his heires or Successors shall and may be pleased by his or their Letters Patents under the great Seall of England to nominate one of the said three persons to be Archbishop or Bishop of the Sea to respectively being void. And if the same be a Bishoprick which shall be so void, that then the nomination by his Majestie his heires or Successors to be as aforesaid made, shall be made to the Archbishopp of the Province within which the Sea of the said Bishoprick shall happen to be. And if it shall be an Archbishoprick which shall be so void, That then everie such nomination shall be made to the other Archbishopp, or in his Vacancie to foure such Bishopps within this Realme of England as shall be thereunto appointed by his Majestie his heires or Successors, And that with all convenient speed after everie such nomination to be made as is aforesaid the said Archbishop or four Bishops to whom the same shall be made as is aforesaid shall Invest and consecrate the said person so nominated to the said Archbishoprick or Bishoprick so being void. And that everie person hereafter being so nominated as aforesaid to any Archbishoprick or Bishoprick and so invested and consecrated and suing their temporalties out of the hands of his Majestie his Heires or Successors and taking their oath and making their Homage as in such case is now accustomed, shall and may from thenceforth be Installed and have and take their restitution out of the hands of his Majestie his Heires or Successors of all the possessions rents and profitts belonging to the said Arch-bishoprick or Bishoprick whereunto they shall be so nominated as is aforesaid. And shall bee from thenceforth inhabled fullie and to all intents and purposes to doe execute and perform all and everie thing or things in this present Act provided and declared to bee done by everie such Archbishopp and Bishopp respectively and in such manner as in and by this present Act is expressed limited and appointed. And allso to doe all such other thing or things as any Archbishopp or Bishopp of the same Sea might lawfully doe before the making of this present Act. And if the said Deane Chapter and Assistants shall deferr or delaie such their nomination and presentment of the names of the said three persons longer than by the space of twentie daies next after the avoidance of any such Archbishoprick or Bishoprick as is aforesaid, That then upon everie such default the King's Majestic his Heires or Successors at their libertie and pleasure shall and maie nominate and present any such person as they shall think fitt, as if this present Act has not been made, Anything herein to the contrary notwithstanding. [Follows a heavy fine imposed on the Dean, Chapter, and Assistants in default, the proceeds to be partly devoted to the buying in of impropriations provided for below.]

(viii. i.) And to the intent that the Revenues of Deanes and Chapters, and of all Cathedrall and Collegiate Churches may bee better employed for the good of the Church, and the advancement of Religion, and that the Deanes, Canons, Pras-bendaryes, and Residentiarys may not themselves live idly during the time of their Residencyes, but spend their tymes for the instructing of the people, well orderinge of the Church, and good example of other Ministers. Bee it further enacted, that all Deanes and Chapters or Residentiarys and Prsebendaryes in Cathedrall or Collegiate Churches, that hold any Living or Livings with Cure of Soules, shall so dispose of their tyme of Residency in the said Cathedrall or Collegiate Churches, as that they shall not severally or respectively spend more tyme in theire said Residencie, then 60 daies in one yeare, all Locall Statutes of the said Churches to the contrary notwithstanding. And that they shall likewise preach, or provide to be preached two sermons upon every Lords day, the one in the Forenoone and the other in the Afternoone, and one upon every Holy day, and one Lecture upon every Wednesday, for which they shall pay to the Lecturer 100 markes per annum att the least, in every one of the said Cathedrall and Collegiate Churches, upon payne and penalty of 100£ to the Kinge upon every default, and to be suspended from the profitt of their places for one whole yeare, and the profitt of that yeare to bee employed to rayes the stock for the poore of that Citty or Towne where such Cathedrall or Collegiate Church is situate. [Here follow rules for the appropriation of fines on renewal of leases to Commissioners appointed by Parliament for the buying of Impropriations.]

(viii. 32.) And bee itt further enacted that every Impropriation or parsonage or viccaridge or portion of Tythes now impropriate shall by due Course of Law, upon the purchase thereof, bee made disappropriate, and annexed to the Church, and made prassentative for ever, without any License of Mort-mayne to be obteyned for the same. [Here follow provisions for the patronage of such disappropriate benefices.]

(ix. 19.) Bee it likewise enacted that every Residentiary, or Canon of any Cathedrall or Collegiate Church that hath a Living with Cure of Soules shall pay unto his Curate that preacheth or officiates that Cure att or upon that Living, for his hire or his wages (over and besides his ordinary entertaynment for the other parte of the yeare) a proportion of the moiety of the value of that Benefice, bee it more or lesse for that tyme of the yeare, wherein such Prabendary, Residentiary, or Cannon lyveth att the Cathedrall Church and is non-resident from his parsonage or viccaridge. And that every Parson or Viccar that hath two or more Livings with Cure of Soules shall mayn-teine upon that Living, on which he doth not reside, an able Minister and preacher that shall preach twice every Lords day and shall pay unto him for his entertaynment a full moiety of the proffitts of the said Benefice for the tyme he doth not reside thereon, First Fruits, Tenths, and Subsydies being first deducted.

(x. i.) And for the better regulating of Ecclesiasticall Courts, which bee now an extreme grievance and vexation to the Common people of England, Bee it enacted, that no Citation shall att any tyme hereafter yssue forth against any of the King's Subjects, without the Articles and Libell bee first left in Court ready to be shewed and delivered to the party Cited, under paine of suspention ab officio et beneficio in both the Judge and Register; And that no Cawse hereafter bee proceeded in against any of the King's subjects ex officio mero, Butt both the Judge and Register shal bee lyable to pay the Costes and doble dammages to the party so proceeded against, in Case the Cawse bee not Confessed, or proved against him. And further that none of the Kings Subjects hereafter bee putt to accuse themselves by or upon theire owne Oaths in any Criminall Cawse whatsoever in any of the said Courts Ecclesiastical!, unlesse itt bee voluntarily taken by them to cleare themselves from the Same, thereby to satisfie the Church or Congregation; And that the Defendant being Cited shall answeare within twenty dayes after the day assigned for his Appearance, and the Agent and Defendant shall examyn all their wittnesses in that Cawse, which they meane to produce upon the Articles, Libell, and Interrogatoryes, or otherprooffes and evidences within fower Moneths then next following, or els the Defendant to be Dismist, and have Costs payed unto him, her, or them, for theire unjust vexation And to avoyd that dilatorye and vexatious Course yett in use, Itt is further enacted that no Exceptions bee admitted against Wittnesses, but either for som matters appearing of Record in one of the Kings Courts, or for som matters proved against or Confessed by the party produced in som Ecclesiastical! Court before that tyme, whereby ytt shall appeare that such witnesse is a party interested in the Cawse or a person to whose testimony credit is not to be given; And that Cawses in this Court may com to a speedier end than heretofore, Bee itt further enacted, that if any Cawse bee protracted, so that it bee not ended within one Twelvemoneth after the first beginning of the suite, then att the end of the yeare the Defendant shalbee Dismissed with his Costs, to be payed, the one halfe by the Plaintiffe, but the other by the Judge and the Proctor for the Agent or Plaintiff in that Court, unlesse they shall shew unto the Bishop of the Diocese, with the attestation of one or more of the Assistants, that the Defendant did wilfully hinder the same, In which Case the Bishop with two or more Assistants shall order according to reason and justice; And to avoyd the excessive numbers of Proctors and Apparitors in Courts Ecclesiasticall Bee it further enacted that the Bishopps and Six of their Assistants shall name the number and allso the choise of the Proctors and Apparitors in their severall Diocesses respectively that are to plead and pursue in all the severall Ecclesiasticall Courts now in this Kingdom, and that no Judge, Proctor or Register shall suffer anie Suitor Plaintiff or Defendant to goe upon trust for their fees in anie cause of Instance under paine of suspention from their places for one yeare for everie time so offending. And that the Proctor shall have no fee allowed him at the taxation but for those daies only wherein he doth plead or defend actually, and not for desiring continuance of daies. And whereas there are now by reason of unnecessary Appealles 4 or 5 Instances or processes in all or most causes and proceedings Ecclesiasticall to the great vexation and burdening of the Plaintiff and Defendant, and the apparent wrong and scandall of all inferior judicatures, Bishops and Episcopall Jurisdiction, Bee it enacted that from henceforth there shall bee from the first Ecclesiasticall Judge in the cause, bee hee Deane, Archdeacon, Prebendarie, Officiall, Commissarie, Chancellor or of any other title whatsoever, assisted as is before required, but two Appeales only, one to the Bishopp of the Diocese, who shall not heare the same otherwise then accompanied with six of the said Assistants at the least so to be nominated as aforesaid, and then from the Bishopp so assisted to the Kings Majesties Delegates only and immediately. Amongst the which the Archbishopps of Canterbury and of Yorke, with respect to the causes arising from their severall Provinces shall bee allwaies in everie Commission, and of the Quorum in ferenda sententia, in all causes wherein the Appeall lieth not from their owne sentence And all other Appealles from the severall Dioceses to the Arches or Audience to be from henceforth utterly abolished as an intolerable vexation to the subjects and altogether unnecessary, and the Courts of Arches and Audience nowe by virtue of this Acte utterly supprest and made void as concerning Appealles from inferior Courts And the Lord Keeper for the time being is hereby required to be verie carefull what persons he doth nominate for Judges Delegates in this High and Supreme Court in causes Ecclesiasticall, which care hath heretofore been much neglected.

(xii. i.) Lastly because the Church of England hath now lived under no certaine Ecclesiasticall Lawes, but in an Interim only from the 25 of Hen. 8. to this present, by reason that the persons for the purging of the Ecclesiasticall Lawes, and the squaring of them to thee Common Lawes of the Realme have never as yet mett together, Be it enacted, by the Authoritie aforesaid that 16 persons to be named, 6 by the Kings Majestie, 5 by the House of the Lords, and 5 by the House of Commons respectively understanding in both the Lawes doe presently meete and taking the Forme begunn by Doctor Haddon into their consideration, reduce by their generall Assent, or by the Assent of the major part of them, all the Canon Lawes of use and practice within this Kingdom into as short a body and Digest in the English tongue, as well can be, so as they may be understood as well by the Bishopps, Deanes, Archdeacons, and Prebendaries, as also by the rest of the Kings Liege People, and may be more ascertained in matter and forme, and receive the allowance of the King and the Parliament.

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