Project Canterbury

Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology

The Works of the Right Reverend Father in God, John Cosin, Lord Bishop of Durham. Now First Collected.
Volume the Fourth: Miscellaneous Works
Oxford: John Henry Parker.

pp 505-521: Articles of Inquiry, AD 1662

Transcribed by the Revd. Donne E. Puckle, SSC



"You shall swear to inquire with the best diligence that you may, and to make a true answer unto every article of this book now given you in charge, presenting every person of your parish that that done any offence, or omitted any duty therein mentioned. And this you shall do without any favour, or hatred, or fear of discipline: so help you God, and the contents of His holy Gospel."




1. Is there in your parish a Church or Chapel with a tower or steeple adjoined to it, and a Chancel at the east, all well and fairly built, duly kept and maintained, for the honour of God, and for the performance of religious duties?

2. Are the roofs thereof well leaded or slated without? well ceiled within? the windows well glazed? the walls well plastered? the tables of the ten Commandments and other sentences of Scripture well placed? the floors well paved? the seats well framed? and all things so decently ordered, as may well beseem the house of God?

3. How many bells are there in the tower or steeple of your Church of Chapel? have any of them, that formerly belonged to it, or any lead of the roofs of the Church or Chapel, been embezzled and sold away? and, if any such things hath been done, who did it? and who consented to it? and what was the value of the thing so sold or embezzled?

4. Is there a Font of marble, or other stone, decently wrought and covered, set up at the lower part of your Church, for the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism? Is there a partition between your Church and your Chancel, a comely fair Table there, placed at the upper part of it, for the administration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper? Are there two fair and large coverings for it, one of silk-stuff or fine cloth, another of fine linen, with a plate or paten and a cup or chalice of silver, and two fair flagons of pewter or purer metal, belonging to it? Have none of all these things been purloined, destroyed, or made away, by any person whom you can name? and, if they have been taken away, are they again restored, or other such provided in their place?

5. Have you in your Church, or in the Chancel, a convenient seat erected for your Minister, wherein to read the daily Morning and Evening Service, a desk whereat to say the Litany in the midst of the Church, according to the injunctions set forth in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and a pulpit for sermons with a comely cloth before it?

Are you provided of a Bible in the largest volume, and of the last approved translation, and in what year was it printed? Have you two books of Common Prayer set forth by public authority, and are they both also of the largest volume, one for the Minister, and another for the Clerk, to use at the celebration of all divine offices? Have you likewise a book of the Sermons, or Homilies, that were set forth in the time of King Edward VI., and in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, together with the works of Bishop Jewell in defence of the Church of England, which King James commanded to be had in all Churches, and a book of the Constitutions or Canons Ecclesiastical, the books or forms of Divine Service for the fifth of November, the thirtieth of January, and the twenty-ninth of May, and a table of marriages prohibited by the law of God?

6. Have you a large and decent Surplice (one or more) for the Minister to wear at all times of his public ministration in the Church, and another for the Clerk, if he hath heretofore been accustomed to wear it, when he assisteth the Minister? Are not either of their Surplices now grown old and torn? and what are they at this time worth? or, if new have been lately bought, how much did they cost by the yard?

7. Have you, in your vestry, a hood or tippet for the Minister to wear over his Surplice, if he be a graduate? a book of parchment, wherein to register the christenings, marriages, and burials, of your parish? another book of paper, wherein to record the licences of strange Ministers, that are admitted at any time to preach in your Church or Chapel? and a third book, wherein to write down the accounts of the Churchwardens, and to keep an inventory of all things provided, and belonging to your Church? Have you a strong chest, with locks and keys, wherein to keep all these books, and other furniture for Divine Services, in safe custody? And, lastly, have you a box, wherein to put and keep alms for the poor? and a bier with a black herse-cloth for the burial of the dead?



1. Is your Churchyard well and sufficiently fenced? Is it decently kept, without sufferance of any beasts to enter in and annoy it? Hath any person encroached upon it, or made a new door into it out of their own habitation or ground about it?

2. Is the house of your Parson, Vicar, or Curate, well built and kept up (with all out-houses thereunto belonging) in good and sufficient repair?

3. Have you a true note or terrier of all the glebe lands, gardens, orchards, tenements, and portions of tithes, appertaining to your parsonage or vicarage? Is it kept in your vestry, and a copy of it delivered into the Bishop's registry?

4. Is there any alms-house, hospital, or free-school, in your parish? Who was the founder, or is now the patron thereof?



1. Is you Minister, Parson, or Vicar, a Deacon or a Priest, ordained by a Bishop according to the laws of the Church of England?

2. Was he, without any simoniacal compact, promise, or payment, freely presented, instituted, and inducted into his benefice? and did he within two months after his induction publicly read in your Church upon some Sunday or Holiday, in the time of Divine Service, and in the audience of his parishioners, all the thirty-nine Articles of Religion set forth and established in the

Church of England by authority? And did he then profess and publish his assent unto them all, subscribing his name thereunto in the presence of the Churchwardens, and other persons of your parish, who can bear witness of the same? do you not know, or have you not heard, that, in his reading or pretending to read these thirty-nine Articles of Religion, he omitted or skipped over some one or more of them? what Article was it, or what part thereof, that he left unread?

3. Doth he use any other words or from, than what is prescribed in the book of Common Prayer, in the public reading of the daily Morning and Evening Service, and in the Litany, which is to be added to the Morning Service upon Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, weekly, and at all other times when it is appointed by the Bishop; as likewise at the reading of the Communion Service, and the administration of the two Sacraments, (Baptism, and the Lord's Supper,) at the celebration of matrimony, churching of women after child-birth, burying the dead, and pronouncing God's commination against impenitent sinners?

And doth he all these without omission, addition, or alteration of any of them, using all the rites and ceremonies appointed in that book?

4. Doth he always, at the reading or celebrating any Divine Office in your Church or Chapel, constantly wear the Surplice, and other his ecclesiastical habit according to his degree? And doth he never omit it?

5. Doth he diligently instruct the youth of your parish in their Catechism, and visit the sick, as he is directed for the performance of both those offices in the book of Common Prayer?

6. Doth he bid and observe the holidays and fasting days, as they occur from time to time in the whole year?

7. Is he a graduate in either of the Universities of this realm, and to what degree hath he been there admitted?

8. Hath he been licensed by the Bishop, or by one of those Universities, to preach? And doth he constantly preach in your Church or Chapel, or (when he is hindered by sickness, or some other urgent cause,) doth he procure a sermon to be preached by a discreet, able, and approved substitute, every Sunday, besides the anniversary days of Christ's Nativity and His Passion, at the least? And, if there be no such sermon preached, doth he, his substitute, or Curate, read one of the Sermons or Homilies appointed by public authority for such several times and occasions?

9. Doth he, or his Curate, observe the three Rogation days before the feast of our Lord's Ascension, saying the Litany, the ciii. and the civ. Psalm, with the Churchwardens and others that accompany him, in the perambulation of your parish? and, when the perambulation is ended, both he got into the Church with them, and read unto them one of the Sermons set forth and appointed for that purpose?

10. Doth he or his substitute use any other form of prayer before his Sermon or Homily, but what he is directed and enjoined to do by the constitutions of the Church?

11. Doth he preach unfeigned faith, and obedience to God's holy Commandments, submission and loyalty the king and his laws, together with true Christian piety and charity among the people? and doth he not at any time (to your own knowledge, or as you have been told by others that do know it,) preached any false, heretical, seditious, or schismatical doctrine, in his sermons, whereby the people may be led into any sect or faction against the peace and unity of the Church?

12. Is there any lecture preached in your parish? Is he who preacheth it (one or more) allowed so to do by the Bishop? Doth he, before his lecture, read the Public Service of the Church appointed for that day by the book of Common Prayer? At the reading thereof doth he wear a Surplice? When he lectureth, doth he use the ecclesiastical habit appointed for all Ministers of the Church? Doth he administer the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper twice in the year at least, according to the prescript form of the public liturgy? And, lastly, doth he, before the preaching of his lecture, constantly observe the form of prayer which is enjoined him in the fifty-fifth canon of the Ecclesiastical Constitutions?

13. Doth your Minister endeavour to reclaim all popish recusants, and other sectaries, (if there be any such inhabiting within your parish,) to the unity, obedience, and true religion, established in the Church of England? Doth he prepare and present the youth of your parish to be confirmed by the Bishop? Doth he admit any of them to the Holy Communion, or to be contracted in marriage, or to be Godfather or Godmother in the administration of Baptism, before they can give an account of their faith and religion according to the questions and answers contained in the Church Catechism? Hath he admitted any woman to her thanksgiving after child-birth, before she hath done her penance, if her child was born or begotten out of lawful matrimony? Doth he presume to marry any persons in private houses, or such as, being under the age of twenty-one years, have not the consent of their parents, or without the banns first published on three several Sundays or Holidays in your Church, or at any other hours than between 8 and 12 in the forenoon, unless he hath a licence or dispensation to the contrary?

14. Hath your Parson or Vicar any other ecclesiastical benefice, prebend, or dignity? Doth he reside upon his living among you, or how long in the year is h absent from it? Hath he a Curate to assist him in his ministry, and what stipend doth he allow him? Is that Curate an able, learned, and discreet person, admitted by the Bishop to serve in your Church or Chapel? and doth he serve in any other Church but yours?

15. Is your Parson, Vicar, Curate, or Lecturer, a man studious of innocency and sanctity in his life? of a sober, chaste, unblamable, and religious conversation? Doth he refrain from the company of ungodly and vicious persons, such especially as be excommunicated for their disobedience, or pravity, and looseness of life? Is he noted to be a frequenter of taverns or ale-houses? to be an ordinary gamester, or hunter, or a common swearer, or intemperate drinker? a riotous or disorderly person in any kind whatsoever? Doth he wear his hair of a moderate comely length? Is his apparel grave and decent, in fashion and in colour such as is enjoined him by the Canons of the Church? Doth he not employ himself in any mechanical trade or servile labour, unbefitting his sacred office and ministry? And is there any other in your parish, who, having been heretofore ordained a Deacon or Minister, hath relinquished the exercise of the Holy Orders, and now, in the course of his life, beareth himself as one of the Laity, and not as a Minister of God and the Church?

16. Doth your Minister or Curate wilfully refuse or delay the time to baptize any infant that is in danger of death? and, if the child be baptized in private, and doth afterward recover, is it brought into the Church, and the Baptism of it there certified to the congregation, according to the form prescribed in the book of Common Prayer, and the administration of the Sacraments? Is there any child past his infancy, or other person of more years, through your Minister's default, yet remaining unbaptized among you? And doth he, in the administration of that Sacrament, admit any parent to be Godfather or Godmother to their own children?

17. Doth he, in the presence of your Churchwardens, write and record in your register-book the names of all persons baptized, married, and buried, within your parish from time to time, together with the names of their parents? and doth he subscribe his own, and the Churchwardens' or Overseers' names, to every page of that book, yearly transmitting the copy of those christening, marriages, and burials, so subscribed, into the Bishop's registry.



1. Is there in your parish any person, who is commonly known or reputed to be an heretic or schismatic? any papist, presbyterian, familist, anabaptist, independent, quaker, or other sectary, that refuses to come into the public assemblies, prayers, or services of the Church, or that makes profession of any other religion, than what is established in the Church of England? and, if there be any such, what are their names?

2. Is there any person in your parish, who by common fame, report, or vehement suspicion, hath committed adultery, fornication, or incest, or any receiver and harbourer of such incontinent lewd persons in their houses? Are there any common drunkards within your parish, any that be usual swearers, or blasphemers of God's Name, or any that are noted to be railers, unclean and filthy talkers, or any sowers of sedition, faction, and discord, amongst their neighbours?

3. Do any of your parish employ themselves upon the Sundays, or Holidays, in their bodily and ordinary labour? or do they permit their servants so to do? Are any shops kept open, or wares sold? or do any vintners, inn-keepers, or other victuallers, and sellers of beer or ale, suffer any persons to tipple or game in their houses upon those days?

4. Doth every person inhabiting or sojourning within your parish duly resort unto your Church, or Chapel, upon every Sunday and Holiday appointed for Divine Service? Do they then, and there, abide quietly, with reverence, order, and decency, during all the whole time of Common Prayer, preaching, or other service of God there use? And are there among you, that come only to the preaching, and not to the Common Prayers of the Church?

5. Doth every person at his entrance into the Church reverently uncover his head, and so continue all the time of Divine Service and Sermon, until his departure thence? Do they all reverently kneel at the Prayers, and stand up when the Creed is said, and when the Gospel is read, making due reverence when the Name of our Lord Jesus is mentioned? Do then join with the Clerk of the Church in answering at the Psalms, Hymns, and other parts of the service, as is appointed for them?

6. Are there any in your parish, that refuse to send their infant children unto the Sacrament of Christian Baptism in your Church, there to be baptized publicly, unless in case of urgent necessity and danger, when the child may be baptized at home by your own lawful Minister, after the form and rites appointed in the Liturgy? Or do they send their children to be baptized in any other parishes, or after any other form, or by any other Minister abroad? Or do they keep them unbaptized any longer time, after they be born, than the Church alloweth in the rules prescribed for the administration of that Sacrament? And are there any infants or more aged children in your parish, that be yet unbaptized?

7. Doth every householder in your parish cause their children and servants duly to learn their Catechism, and to give an account thereof unto your Minister, as he shall require it of them, openly in the Church upon Sundays and Holidays, as in the book of Common Prayer is appointed? And, when they are well instructed in that Catechism, are they sent or brought to the Bishop, at fit and convenient times, to be confirmed?

8. Is there any person in your parish, who, being sixteen years of age, and well instructed in religion, both not frequently receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, or at least three times in the year, of which Easter is always to be one? Do they leave their common seats, and draw near to the Communion Table, when they are to receive the Sacrament, all decently behaving themselves, and humbly kneeling upon their knees in honour of our blessed Saviour, whose precious Death and Passion is then set forth and remembered by the Church?

9. Doth any in your parish refuse to receive that holy Sacrament from the hands of your own Minister, or repair for it to other parishes and Ministers abroad? Or are there any strangers, not being of your parish, that forsake their own Churches, and usually repair to yours for it?

10. Have you any among you, that be denounced or declared excommunicate for any disobedience or crime committed by them? How long have they been so excommunicated? And do any others of your parish keep society with them, before they be reconciled to God and the Church?

11. Are there any living in your parish, who have been unlawfully married, contrary to the laws of God? or any, that being lawfully separated, and divorced, have been married again, the former husband or wife still living? or any, that being lawfully married, and not separated or divorced by course of law, do yet live asunder, and cohabit not together?

12. Are there any married women in your parish, who refuse, after their safe delivery from the peril of child-birth, to come and make their public thanksgiving to God in your Church, as they are required to do by the book of Common Prayer? And, when they come so to do, do they come decently veiled, and make their offerings according to custom?

13. Are there any belonging to your parish, who refuse to pay their duty for Easter offerings to their Minister? or any that refuse to contribute, and pay, the rate assessed upon them, for the repair of your Church or Chapel, and for the providing of such books, furniture, and ornaments, as be requisite for the performance of all Divine Offices there?

14. Do any refuse to bury their dead according to the rites of the Church of England? And are there any wills or testaments of persons dead in your parish, that be yet unproved before lawful authority? or any goods administered without a due grant from the ordinary? Did any dying in your parish, or elsewhere, leave any legacy to your Church or Chapel, or to the use of poor and needy persons among you, or to any other pious and charitable purposes? What were those legacies, and how have them been bestowed?

15. Is there any hospital, almshouse, or free-school, founded in your parish? And is the same well governed and used, according to the foundation and ordinances thereof?

16. Do you know, or have your heard, of any patron or other person in your parish, having the presentation or gift of any ecclesiastical benefice, who that made gain thereof by presenting a Clerk or Minister to it upon any bargain, either for money, or pension, or lease, reserve of tithes or glebe, or any part thereof, or upon other simoniacal compact whatsoever?

17. Is there no strife an contention among any of your parish for their pews or seats in your Church? And whether they have erected any pews in your Chancel, or elsewhere in the body of your Church or Chapel, without leave and licence from the ordinary?

18. Know you any person or persons, that have presumed to brawl, fight, or strike one another, in your Church, or in your Churchyard? And, if any such be, what are their names?



1. Have you, belonging to your Church or Chapelry, a parish Clerk aged twenty-one years at the least? Is he of honest life and conversation? and sufficient or able to perform his duty in reading, writing, and singing? Is he chosen by your Minister, and doth he duly attend him in all divine services at the Church? Doth he wear a gown, when he so attendeth, and a surplice over it, if heretofore the custom hath been such among you? Are his wages duly paid unto him, or who withholdeth the same from him?

2. Doth he, or your sexton, (if there be any such appointed in your parish,) diligently look to the doors of your Church, that they be locked and opened at due time? And doth he keep your Church or Chapel clean from noisome dust, cobwebs, litter, straw, or any other annoyance? Doth he toll or ring the bells at the due accustomed hours before the beginning of divine service, morning and evening, that the people may be warned to come unto the Church? And, when any person is passing out of this life, doth he, upon notice given him thereof, go and toll a bell, as hath been accustomed, that the neighbours may thereby be warned to recommend the dying person to the grace and favour of God?



1. Is there any Curate of Minister employed under the Parson or Vicar of your parish? Is he admitted and licensed to serve in that office by the Bishop of the diocese? Doth he demean himself soberly, gravely, and religiously, in his place? Doth he instruct the youth of your parish in the Catechism appointed them? Is he diligent in visiting sick persons, examining them in their Christian Faith, exhorting them to works of charity, if they be able to do them, to make restitution where they have done any wrong, to remit all injuries that they have received, and to ask forgiveness of God, and all other whom they have offended?

2. Doth any man in your parish practice physic, or chirurgery, or any woman the office of a midwife, without approbation and lawful licence of the ordinary?

3. Doth any man keep a public or private school in your parish, but such as be allowed thereunto by the Bishop or his Chancellor? Doth he teach his scholars the Catechism of Religion set forth by authority? Doth he cause them upon Sundays and Holidays orderly to repair to your Church or Chapel, and see that they behave themselves there quietly and humbly during the time of divine service and sermon?



1. Are the Churchwardens of your parish yearly and duly chosen by the joint consent of your Minister and parishioners, or one of them by your Minister, and the other by the parishioners?

2. Have the former and last Churchwardens given up their due accounts to the parish, and delivered up to the succeeding Churchwardens the moneys remaining in their hands, together with all other things belonging to your Church or Chapel, by bill indented?

3. Do you, the Churchwardens and Sidemen, take diligent care, and see who of your parishioners be absent from the divine service, and sermon in your Church or Chapel upon Sundays and Holidays? And, if you find any to have absented themselves without a sufficient cause, do you, by warrant from some of the justices of peace, levy of them (by way of distress upon their goods) the sum of twelve pence for every such day of their absence, according to the Act of Parliament in that case provided? And do you distribute the several sums so levied among the poor of your parish, according to the law?

4. Do you note them that come late to Church, after divine service is begun, or depart before it is ended? Do you suffer none to stand idle, or talk together, in the Church porch, during the time of prayers, preaching, or other sacred offices?

5. Do you suffer no misbehavior or disorder to be done by men, women, or servants, or children, in you Church or Chapel? Are you careful, that none of them sit, lean, or lay their hats, upon the Communion Table? Do you permit no minstrels, no morris-dancers, no dogs, hawks, or hounds, to be brought or come into your Church, but set your Sexton to keep them out, that the Congregation, and the Minister performing divine service, or preaching his sermon, may not be disturbed by them?

6. Do you, against the time of every Holy Communion appointed in your Church or Chapel, provide a sufficient quantity of fine white bread, and of good wine, according to the advice and direction given you by your Minister, for the number of Communicants?

7. Do you cause all Preachers (coming from other places to make sermons in your Church or Chapel) to subscribe their names, the same day they preach, in a book provided for that purpose?

8. Have you (the Churchwardens and Sidemen now sworn to give in a true answer unto all these articles of enquiry in all their several titles) has a sufficient time to draw up your presentments, and therein consulted or entreated your Minister for his faithful assistance?

For you know assuredly, that, as the true discharging of your office is the chief means whereby public disorders, sins, and offences in your parish, may be reformed and punished, so, if you wilfully refuse to present such crimes and faults, as either you know to have been committed, or otherwise have heard of them by public fame,—that, in such cases, the Bishop and his officers are to proceed against you in their ecclesiastical courts, as in cases of wilful omission and perjury.


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