Project Canterbury

Articles of Inquiry in the Archdeaconry
Of the East Riding of York

The Works of the Right Reverend Father in God
John Cosin
Lord Bishop of Durham

Volume II
Miscellaneous Works

Oxford: John Henry Parker

Transcribed by Dr. Elizabeth G. Melillo
AD 2000

The Form of Oath
to be given unto the Churchwardens and Swornmen

You shall swear by the holy Name of God that you, and every of you, shall duly consider and diligently inquire of all and every of those Articles given you in charge; and that all affection, favour and hatred, all hope of reward or fear of displeasure set aside, you shall make a full and true answer in writing to every one of them, presenting every such person of or within your parish as hath committed any offence, or omitted any duty mentioned, in any of these Articles, or which are publicly defamed, or vehemently suspected, of any such offence or negligence. Wherein you shall deal faithfully, truly and plainly, neither presenting nor sparing to present any contrary to truth; having in this action the fear of God before your eyes, the danger and peril of your consciences in hiding or altering the truth, with an earnest zeal to maintain God's true religion and virtue, and to suppress wickedness and vice. So help you God, by the contents of His Holy Gospel.

Chapter I
Concerning the Church, the Honour, the Books and Possessions,
Ornaments, and Utensils Thereof

Reparations and keeping clean of churches, &c.

First, whether in the body of your church or chapel, and the chancel thereof, in good reparations, decently kept as well within as without; the roof sufficiently maintained with timber and lead, (or with other materials, where there is no lead at all,) so that it rains not in; the windows well and seemly glazed, without disorderly patching; the floors plain and clean paved; the pews and seats orderly set and well maintained; the walls, floors, pews and all other places clean, and sweet kept, in comely and decent sort, without dust, or any thing that may be either noisome or unseemly for the house of God, as is prescribed in a sermon or homily(1) set forth to that effect, and in the eighty-fifth and eighty-sixth(2) canon?

Is there a partition between the body of the church and the chancel? And if not, when, and by whom, and by what authority was it taken down?

Is the steeple in good repair, and the ancient number of bells still kept without diminishing?

[Are there any new pews erected in places where none were before, or old altered? By whom, and by what authority? And is there any striving or contention for sitting in pews—and by whom(3)?]


2. Whether you have in your church or chapel the whole Bible of the ancient translation called the Bishop's Bible, whereunto the Book of Common Prayer doth refer for Lessons and Psalms, or at least the whole Bible in the largest volume, and of the translation authorised by his late Majesty of blessed memory; the Book of Common Prayer, and other rites and ceremonies of the Church; two Psalters; the book of Homilies; Bishop Jewell's works; the book of Constitutions and Canons; a Register-book of parchment for the ornaments belonging to the Church, for christenings, marriages, and burials, kept in all points according to the canons in that behalf provided; another book wherein strange preachers are to subscribe their names, and the name of the bishop by whom they were licensed, before they be suffered to preach? Are all these books well and fairly bound?


A chest, as well for the safe keeping of the books and ornaments of the church, as the said register; another strong chest, with a hole in the lid for the alms, and with three locks and keys, one for the minister, the other two for the churchwardens?

A table set up of the degrees wherein by law men and women are prohibited to marry?


3. Whether have you a font of stone, with a comely cover, set in the ancient usual place; a little faldstool, or desk, with some decent carpet over it, in the middle aley of the church, whereat the Litany may be said; a lower pulpit to say service in, a higher for preaching, both decently framed and adorned?

Have you a fair and comely table for the holy Communion; and what is it worth to be prized? [i.e., at a valuation.] Is this communion-table placed according to the injunctions?

[Is it not at any time abused by sitting or leaning upon it; by throwing hats on it, writing on it, or otherwise, as is not agreeable to the reverent estimation and holy use thereof(4)?]

Have you a large carpet of silk, or other decent cloth or stuff, continually lying upon it in the time of divine service, with a fair linen cloth at the time of communion; and what might either of them be worth?

Have you a fair chalice or communion-cup of silver, for the wine, with a large cover or paten of silver for the bread, when they are consecrated and delivered by the priest?

Have you a flagon of silver, or good pewter at least, for the wine which is brought to the church, and set upon the communion-table? And are there no common tavern pots, no wicker, stone, or leathern bottles used for that holy purpose?

Have you a comely and a large surplice, and where two ministers are a surplice for each of them, with wide and long sleeve; and what might it cost by the yard, or is now worth? Is it kept clean, and whole, and fair, as it ought to be?

Have you a hearse to carry your dead upon to their graves, if need be?

And, generally, have you all other things which, after the custom of your country or the place where you live, the parishioners are bound to find, maintain, and keep?


4. Be there any new pews or seats erected in your church or chancel, in places where none were before, or old altered, or taken away? By whom, and by what authority?

[And is there any striving or contention for sitting in pews, and by whom(5)?]


5. Whether is your church-yard well fenced with walls, pales, and rails, as hath been accustomed? Is it decently kept, without abuse and noisomeness? If not, whose default is it?


6. Whether is the mansion-house of your parson, vicar, or minister, with all housing thereunto belonging, well and sufficiently repaired? Whether have you any alms-house or church-house in your parish; are they well maintained, and employed to those godly uses whereunto they were intended?

Terrier of glebe and tithes

7. Whether you have a terrier, or ancient true note of all the glebes, grounds, and portions of tithes belonging to your parsonage or vicarage? Was it taken by the view of honest men in your parish? In whose hands is it? Is there a true and perfect copy thereof laid up in the bishop's registry? If none such be made, you the churchwardens and sidemen, together with the parson, vicar, or curate, are to make diligent inquiry of the premises, as they are or have been known by metes, bounds, and inclosures, &c., and to make, subscribe, and bring in the said terrier at the time of this your presentment, or within a time after to be prefixed.


8. Whether is your church full or vacant of an incumbent? If vacant, who receiveth the fruits thereof? And who serveth the cure? And by what authority? And whether is it a parsonage, vicarage, donative, or appropriation(6)?

9. Whether hath there not any part of the said glebe, or other grounds thereunto belonging, been concealed, aliened, exchanged, or by collusion gotten and recovered from the incumbent?

10. Whether be any of the profits, tithes, or other commodities of the church, taken and converted to the use and benefit of patrons, or such as pretend themselves to be so, and by them received and delivered? And how long have they been so detained or taken, to your knowledge?

11. Whether have any bells, ornaments, or other utensils of the church, been aliened?

12. Whether hath any encroached upon the church-yard? Is there any lease, &c.? Have any trees there growing been felled?

1.  Namely, that 'Of repairing and keeping clean of churches.'
2. Canon 85. Ecclesi¾ sart¾ tect¾ conservand¾. Canon 86. Ecclesi¾ de tertio in tertium annun perlustrand¾, et earum defectus regiis commissariis intimandi. Sparrow's Collect, p. 308
3.  Struck through as if for omission; see number 4, p.5
4.  This passage is struck through for omission.
5.  Struck through in the MS
6.  Here the Chapter has originally ended, the remaining queries having been subsequently entered in the margin of the manuscript.

Chapter II

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