1559 Injunctions


The Queen's Chapel

The Ornament Rubric (which permitted a Henrican church aesthetic as per the second year of Edward VI) should be understood in light of the 1559 Prayer Book, where it is first found, alongside the Articles of same era. The Swiss influence on Cranmer’s 1552 liturgy was moderated by Elizabeth’s ‘catholic affections’, and while the 1559 Supremacy Act repealed Marian codes (sic., Romanism), the Queen requested the Prayer Book commission restore early Edwardian ceremony (G.G. Perry, p. 260).

Early Edwardian ceremony would keep England in the Protestant fold yet by forbidding destruction of medieval roods and altars, she would keep her catholic aesthetic. Early Edwardian-Henrican ceremony was not Romanism carte blanche. They were restricted by 1547 and 1538 codes as well as Henry’s Ten Articles (Lutheran inspired). It should be noted Elizabeth’s own chapel was illustrative of the conservative standard she pursued, and Puritans were distraught by her use of crucifix, vestments, and candles. The 1559 Act of Supremacy restored early Edwardian standards, and Elizabeth would strengthen the early Tudor sensibility by adding her own twenty-five items to it.

Elizabethan Injunctions are important because they informed English ceremonial law for nearly two centuries. We must remember Elizabeth was not a Puritan nor were the Carolines Romanists. The English settlement forbade both Radicalism and Romanism. More important than the Ornaments which constitute Anglican aesthetic (e.g., crucifixes, patens, rails, pyxs, candlesticks, garlands, etc.) is the context of their liturgical use. The Injunctions tell how ornaments conform to Articles and Prayer Book. Ornaments continued where they did not transgress key reforms of the CofE—namely the pruning devotions to the saints; regulationg real presence as expressed in communion; and the exhibiting of Holy Orders, particularly bishops, in the church. Such issues were controverted in lights, the position of the table, vestments, and musical instruments.

Lighting.  Unlike the Swiss Reformation, Anglicans refrained from abolishing commemorations of saints yet opposed their cultic abuse. Veneration of saints were consequently regulated, and various codes aimed to end their misuse—i.e., “pilgrimages, relics, or images, lighting of candles, kissing, kneeling, decking the same, or any such superstition” [Art. 2, 3, 23, 35 below]. The 1538/47 Injunction(s) regarding veneration both read, “admonishing their parishioners, that images serve for no other purpose but to be a remembrance, whereby men may be admonished of the holy lives and conversation of them that the said images do represent: which images if they do abuse for any other intent, they commit idolatry in the same” (item 3). The 1549 liturgy similarly provides the praise and example of saints yet avoids direct prayer, “…whose examples, O Lord, and steadfastness in thy faith, and keeping thy holy commandments, grant us to follow”. While this does not abolish saints (their fast/feast days, commemorations, and images are kept), how honor given to which saints was reworked. For example, Thomas Becket’s feast day was banned, and veneration given to saints was clearly set apart from worship.

This implicated use of ornaments, particularly candles. The Injunctions limit candles within the church banning candles before images of saints (such as St. Mary Lady chapels which frequently had four) while allowing only two on the altar. Two altar candles were the minimum subscribed by S. Osmundi, designating Low Mass while four or more candles indicate High. Two candles became canon law under Henry VIII (Item 7, 1538 Injunctions), and in generally limited the number of candles throughout the church, “only the light that commonly goeth across the church by the rood loft, the light before the Sacrament of the altar, and the light about the sepulcher, which for the adorning of the church and divine service shall remain” (ditto). The 1559 Injunctions continued this restriction, saying:

II. Besides this, to the intent that all superstition and hypocrisy crept into divers men’s hearts may vanish away, they shall not set forth or extol the dignity of any images, relics, or miracles; but, declaring the abuse of the same, they shall teach that all goodness, health, and grace ought to be both asked and looked for only of God, as of the very Author and Giver of the same, and of none other.

III. [carried from 1538 Injunction] …and that the works devised by man’s fantasies, besides Scripture (as wandering of pilgrimages, setting up of candles, praying upon beads, or such like superstition), have not only no promise of reward in Scripture for doing of them, but contrariwise great threatenings and maledictions of God, for that they being things tending to idolatry and superstition, which of all other offences God Almighty doth most detest and abhor, for that the same most diminish His honor and glory.

XXIII. Also, that they shall take away, utterly extinct, and destroy all shrines, coverings of shrines, all tables, candlesticks, trindals, and rolls of wax, pictures, paintings, and all other monuments of feigned miracles, pilgrimages, idolatry, and superstition, so that there remain no memory of the same in walls, glass windows, or elsewhere within their churches and houses; preserving nevertheless, or repairing both the walls and glass windows; and they shall exhort all their parishioners to do the like within their several houses.

XXXV. Item: that no persons keep in their houses any abused images, tables, pictures, paintings, and other monuments of feigned miracles, pilgrimages, idolatry, and superstition.

Musical Instruments. The English Reformation made the liturgy a ‘work of the people’, bringing the entire Church into the call and response not just the clergy. Consequently, vernacular translations of the Mass appeared, and prayer was to be audible. The Injunction ordered liturgy/song to be “plainly understood and perceived”.  Loud instruments like bells and organs that might drown out the voice of the congregation were scrutinized and regulated.

Bells also had implications beyond noise. Typically bells had been used during the consecration rite and were thus connected to the elevation and visual adoration of the elements. Lutherans defended this practice (WA, 54, 122) as necessary to fence off receptionist opinions. Anglicanism however simultaeneously integrated both receptionism and sacramental union (e.g., consubstantation) into her rite. Elizabeth restricted bells to a single chime before the call to worship, the sermon, and the Eucharist prayer. The English Prayer Book from 1552 onwards directs:

…the curate that ministers in every Parish Church or Chapel, being at home, and not being otherwise reasonably letted, shall say [Morning and Evening Prayer] in the Parish Church or Chapel where he ministers, and shall toll a bell thereto, a convenient time before he began, that such as be disposed may come to hear God’s Word, and to pray with him.

In England that often means that the bell is rung for five minutes one half-hour before public service adn then again for five minutes immediately before. (Anglican Catholic, p. 95)

Said chant impacted processions as well. The banning of processions was partly due to dubious litanies which invoked saints or transubstantivist observances like Corpus Christi that ‘parade the sacrament about’. But also processions were considered disorderly by nature where “wanderings about” was deemed disorderly and interruptive to public liturgy.  Remaining in pews allowed better audibility and edification. Outside Rogation Sunday (and the beginning/end of service) processions were generally forbidden.  From the Injunctions:

XVIII. Also, to avoid all contention and strife, which heretofore hath risen among the queen’s majesty’s subjects in sundry places of her realms and dominions, by reason of fond courtesy, and challenging of places in procession; and also that they may the more quietly hear that which is said or sung to their edifying, they shall not from henceforth in any parish church at any time use any procession about the church or churchyard, or other place; but immediately before the time of communion of the Sacrament, the priests with other of the quire shall kneel in the midst of the church, and sing or say plainly and distinctly the Litany, which is set forth in English, with all the suffrages following, to the intent the people may hear and answer; and none other procession or litany to be had or used, but the said Litany in English, adding nothing thereto, but as it is now appointed. And in cathedral or collegiate churches the same shall be done in such places…and all ringing and knolling of bells shall be utterly forborne at that time, except one bell at convenient time to be rung or knolled before the sermon. But yet for retaining of the perambulation of the circuits of parishes, they shall once in the year at the time accustomed, with the curate and substantial men of the parish, walk about their parishes, as they were accustomed, and at their return to the church, make their common prayers.

XLIX. Item, because in divers collegiate and also some parish churches heretofore there have been livings appointed for the maintenance of men and children to use singing in the church, by means whereof the laudable science of music has been had in estimation, and preserved in knowledge; the queen’s majesty neither meaning in any wise the decay of anything that might conveniently tend to the use and continuance of the said science, neither to have the same in any part so abused in the church, that thereby the common prayer should be the worse understanded of the hearers, wills and commands, that first no alterations be made of such assignments of living, as heretofore has been appointed to the use of singing or music in the church, but that the same so remain. And that there be a modest and distinct song so used in all parts of the common prayers in the church, that the same may be as plainly understanded, as if it were read without singing; and yet nevertheless for the comforting of such that delight in music, it may be permitted, that in the beginning, or in the end of common prayers, either at morning or evening, there may be sung an hymn, or suchlike song to the praise of Almighty God, in the best sort of melody and music that may be conveniently devised, having respect that the sentence of the hymn may be understanded and perceived.

Altars.   Puritans returning from exile reimposed the 1550 Edwardian ordinance that replaced wood tables for altars.  By 1557 an ornamental chaos emerged. Some churches had altars, others tables; some located their tables in sanctuaries, others in the choir or the naïve; some celebrated to the east, others northward, etc..  A table might be anywhere short of the market. Relocation of altars often accompanied removal of rails and roods.

Upon Elizabeth’s ascension altar desecration was prohibited without approval of wardens and curates who were allowed to install wood tables, yet these tables were to be, “decently made, and set in the place where the altar stood”. Returning tables behind the rail restored the greater sacerdotal and holy sense of communion. It also restored ecclesial hierarchy and clerical Holy Orders.

Vestments. The puritan bid to flatten clerical into lay authority made vestments no less controversial than altars in the chancel. The 1559 injunction prescribes vestments, “as were most commonly and orderly received in the latter year of the reign of King Edward VI.”  Edward’s “latter year” means the 1552 Prayer Book which put forth the following words at he beginning of the morning service, “The priest shall wear neither alb, vestment, nor cope—but he shall have and wear surplice only”.  However, Elizabeth continued the wearing of a cope in the Queen’s chapel, and Archbishops of Canterbury during the Tudor reign did the same. The Canons of 1604 confirm this usage allowing the wearing of copes in cathedrals. Copes were thus proper garb for Bishops.  The princely significance of the cope required its holding by one or two acolytes to free the wearer’s arms during manual gestures of consecration and to keep it clear while mounting the steps during the approach to the sanctuary. Eighteenth and nineteenth century debates over vestments were waged over the black, Geneva gown vs. continuation of surplice-only. Not until the Oxford movement would vestments find their way back. Queen Elizabeth’s preference for Henrican style is better revealed in retention of ecclesial garb for deans and academics. Likewise, the 1563 introduction of a Latin BCP for use in university chapels aimed to counter and restrain puritan influence (RPW) amongst seminarians.

XXX. Item, her majesty being desirous to have the prelacy and clergy of this realm to be had as well in outward reverence, as otherwise regarded for the worthiness of their ministries, and thinking it necessary to have them known to the people in all places and assemblies, both in the church and without, and thereby to receive the honour and estima-tion due to the special messengers and ministers of Almighty God, wills and commands that all archbishops and bishops, and all other that be called or admitted to preaching or ministry of the sacraments, or that be admitted into any vocation ecclesiastical, or into any society of learning in either of the universities, or elsewhere, shall use and wear such seemly habits, garments, and such square caps, as were most commonly and orderly received in the latter year of the reign of King Edward VI; not thereby meaning to attribute any holiness or special worthiness to the said garments, but as St. Paul writeth: Omnia decenter et secundum ordinem fiant.

Summary: The Injunctions establish important qualifications for the Ornament rubric which does not simply translate to Sarum ceremony carte blanche. Dearmer’s lists of ornaments do not necessarily indicate contraband. Thus, we must look to the Injunctions. Important differences are: a local option for wood tables or altars but each remaining in their place as determined by medieval custom; vestments specified as surplice and cope; single bell tolls at the beginning and end of worship, the eucharist, and the sermon only; two candles on or above the altar/table (a permanent low mass); no candles or censing for saints (plus a separating of black from red-letter saints); restricting processions to the beginning & end of service as well as once-a-year on Rogation Day (marching the parish bounds); a preference for congregational plain and said chant vs. song, organs, and choirs; the placement of vernacular bibles in the churches for public prayer; and installation of Latin prayer books in some academic and private chapels. The chapel and to some extent cathedral observances would remain reservoirs of catholic ceremony. Parish churches more generally were ‘purified’.

I hope to next study Caroline injunctions, then the low church 18th and 19th centuries, considering how each impacted ritualism, distilling what is common.

22 responses to “1559 Injunctions

  1. I’m pretty sure that the first Puritan v. [whatever we’re going to call the catholic or conservative or high side of Anglicanism] ruckus was over vestments. I think some bishop-elect refused to wear a chasuble, etc., to his ordination. It was in this context that the word “Puritan” was coined.

    The only garlands I’ve ever seen in Anglican churches were Christmas decorations. I’m not a fan of such messy and (therefore) distracting decorations, but I am a fan of the scent of evergreens, though I’m much more a fan of the scent of incense.

    I didn’t know there was a Latin BCP as early as 1563. The one with which I’m familiar is from the nineteenth century.

    Ian Robinson, a philologist doing excellent and serious research and writing on the history of the BCP, argues that Cranmer used a period in the middle of the Prayer of Consecration, rather than a semi-colon, because the period more accurately represented the full vocal stop made at the Elevation of the Host with the ringing of the bells. He has a note that the Elevation can take over 60 seconds in some churches. As a linguist, he thinks the sense of the Prayer is better expressed with a semi-colon. Even as it is, it is one of the longest sentences in the English language in regular use.

    It is very interesting that those Injunctions on Anglican Chant sound very similar to our 1940 Hymnal’s description of the same. I wonder, however, if Elizabeth followed her own rules. Byrd composed intricate Mass settings in Latin, and I’m not sure his English Great Service has such “a modest and distinct song…that the same may be as plainly understanded, as if it were read without singing.” Thanks for the excuse to listen to sacred music from 16th-century England!

    Those Anglican choirs of men and boys are still held in such high esteem in England that in the past few years when girls insisted on singing, too, all-female choirs were formed, rather than making the venerable choirs co-ed.


    • Hello Rebekah,

      Were you looking for bunny pictures? 🙂 What you said is very interesting. Do you know if Cranmer’s punctuation (the ‘period’) belongs to the 49 or 52 BCP? Or both? That would be important, especially since you said Cranmer’s own eucharistic theology metamorphed during the late Henrican to early Edwardian reign?


  2. I was half-expecting to find bunny pictures, but that wasn’t the reason I came back.

    Our brothers at justus (http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/) provide resources suggesting Cranmer employed a period in both the 1549 and 1552 BCPs. That looks like a sixteenth-century printing of the 1549, which, if we’re parsing periods and semi-colons, is a great resource. I note they also have the 16th-century Latin BCP, so you’re spared an e-mail requesting a link to that.

    Under the gun at the defense of my senior thesis on the 1549 and 1552 BCPs 8 years ago, I said that I thought Cranmer heavily revised the Prayer Book to reflect his own more developed understanding of the Eucharist. I did not do much reading of Cranmer’s non-liturgical writings in preparing my thesis or its defense, however. (The thesis was for English, not Bible class.) I still have not read enough by Cranmer to confidently determine whether the 1549 was always an interim measure or the 1552 reflected a serious theological development.


    • The 1552 revision was not Cranmer’s work. And he did not approve of it until he realized that such disapproval might cost him his head.


      • Hello Lee and Death,

        What Act or Decree in 1541 ‘standardized’ the liturgy in favor of Sarum? I keep asking for references not only to verify but I’d like to read up on it myself.


  3. I haven’t listened to all I own, but I did concentrate on Byrd, Tallis, and Gibbons over the past few days. Gibbons is the most ornate. Byrd was simpler than I remember, in both his English and Latin settings. Some of my Tallis (The CD is subtitled “Music for a Reformed Church.”) is as simple as the chanted Propers we hear and sing at Sunday Mass. Some of it is so ornate I had to listen to it several times, very carefully, to determine whether it was in English or Latin (or, I suppose, French, Italian, German, etc.). I imagine the ornate pieces were for the beginning and end of services, while some of the simple pieces (Venite, 10 Commandments, Benedictus, Easter Collect, Christmas Collect) were certainly intended for liturgical use during regular services.


    • Hi Rebekah,

      Though I have no benefit of listening to the compositions of Tallis, Byrd, or Gibbons, I find interesting how elements of high church carried forward through the royal chapel and cathedrals. The idea of Anglican beauty is preserved here against Puritan starkness. For me this is the difference between fast and feast days, and I hate to place these “emphases” against one another. In doing so, we loose the fullness of our own catholic Anglican faith. For the latter 16th century, the crown was a reservoir for church conservatism, and hopefully this gives us some appreciation of earlier supremacy acts. The fact that Elizabeth did require Latin bibles and prayer books in university chapels perhaps was (I am guessing) a counterweight to the often Calvinist influence of academics in such places as Cambridge. Even Oxford was under Calvinist deans for a time, and I do not think this changed until Hooker’s arrival. ? But, yes, the cathedral music composed under Elizabeth is another testimony to a high church deposit and intent even during the CofE’s relatively ‘calvinist period’. Also, the expression of Anglicanism under Elizabeth was incredibly formative, so I try not to take these practices (either Reformed or catholic) lightly.


      • Last thought: Another example of intent was Elizabeth’s arresting of altar desecration. Preserving the chancels as under Edward’s early reign definitively included choir screens in the sanctuary. Of course this applied mostly to large churches/cathedrals who could afford choirs. I would think choirs for cathedrals, or a combination of choir and congregational song, were lawful especially since their ornaments were explicitly preserved. Organs, after much puritan protest, were also rescued. However, the injunctions required congregational song to be audible, thus neither the organ nor other instruments drown out the ‘sung Word’, the greater intent being not merely ‘beauty’ but edification and Godly response. Common prayers and praises of the Church were not limited to the ordained or vowed.


  4. I guess I’d better bring the Gibbons and Byrd, too.

    I’m not sure we can characterize Oxbridge as Calvinist or high or Roman from the second decade of the sixteenth century through the Restoration. Certainly some colleges had clear positions at some times during that tumultuous period. But the next college over might have taken a more go-with-Parliament’s-flow approach, while the college next to that clearly took the opposite position of the first college (insofar as there are “opposites” among orthodox Christians).

    Which is not, of course, to deny that for even 300 years a committed English-speaking Calvinist aspired above all to a PhD from Westminster, Cambridge.


    • Thank you for the Music CD’s. Tallis and Byrd were great! Byrd’s compositions are interesting: sung in Latin but noninstrumental. Tallis was in vernacular but non-instrumental as well. Definately shows the influence of congregational singing and plainsong, but Tallis and Byrd represent the finest of such. Thank you very much, Rebekah! It really helped me get an idea of the high church singing for Elizabethan worship.


  5. Excellent exposition of the Ornaments Rubric (“OR”). But, if I may, I’d like to emphasize point already made in the post.

    The OR allows only for English Use, not for the wholesale adoption of Roman ceremonial and ornamentation. For example, the English season color sequences, which affects vestments and alter dressings, etc., are discrete from that or Rome — Advent blue and Lenten array (ashen or unbleached linen), not purple leap to mind. Same with two candles, not the “junkyard six.” Thus, while Anglicanism is decidedly Catholic in its worship as adjudge by its constitutional formularies, it is not Roman. In fact, what passes for Anglo-Catholic liturgics and ceremonial was, strictly speaking, illegal in England until 1965, though the enforcement of prohibitions were been notorious lax (both against Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals) except under the Archbishopric of Laud.


    • Advent blue and Lenten array (ashen or unbleached linen), not purple leap to mind.

      Interesting! I remember something in the Parson’s Handbook that discussed this, chapter 2 On Colour, Vestments, and Ornaments. After a long discussion on different texts used at immediately prior to the Reformation, Dearmer says,

      Here is the colour-sequence ordered in the latest Pontificals, those of London and Canterbury (1406-26, and 1414-43). The principal variants of other dioceses are given in brackets. — Advent, violet or purple: Christmas, white: St. Stephen, red: St. John Evan., white; H. Innocents, violet (Exeter, and all others, red): Circumcision, white: Epiphany, white: Ep. oct. to Septuagesima, green:Septuagesima to Passion Sunday, [79] violet or purple: ‘according to some churches’ the use of violet is allowed by the Pontificals to stop on Passion Sunday. (Passion Sunday to Easter Eve, Salisbury, Lichfield, Wells, red.) Palm Sunday, violet or purple (Exeter, violet or red): Maundy Thurs. white (Exeter, white or red): Good Friday, black (Exeter, violet or red): Eastertide, white: Rogations, violet or purple: Ascensiontide, white: Whitsuntide, red: Trinity, white (Exeter, green or white): Trinity to Advent, green (Salisbury and Wells, red): Feasts of B.V.M., Nativ. John Bap., Michaelmas, white: St. Mary Mag., yellow: All Saints, white (Exeter, red and white, or all colours): Apostles, Martyrs, Evangelists, red (all the English sequences have red for Evangelists as against the Roman white): Confessors, yellow (Exeter, yellow or green, Wells, blue and green, Salisbury, yellow; none have white): Requiem, black (Exeter, black and violet).

      Does Percy later qualify this?


  6. P.S.,

    I realize that what I am saying implies that, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as “Anglican Rose.” Nevertheless, an overly strict application of the Ornaments Rubric would imply a liturgical fundamentalism foreign to the English mind. Just don’t let me catch you changing the name of the blog to “English Missal.”


  7. Sorry, but you are mistaken about the use of vestments in the Queens chapel. The use of the chasuble, the dalmatic and the tunicle was continued through her reign and into that of James I. There is a museum in France which contains a chasuble from one of Elizabeth’s Chapels Royal which from the fabric was made in the 1590s. It later had appliqued upon it the Scot’s royal arms which would indicate that it remained in use after James became king. It had been given to the French ambassador who arranged the marriage of the French princess to Charles I.

    Also, in the later part of Elizabeth’s reign she received a visit from a nephew of the then pope. His letters to his wife from this period are still extant and he tells her that the liturgy in the chapel royal was more splendid than that of the pope. This was also the judgment of Daniel Neale, the Puritan historian.


    • Hello Lee,

      While the royal chapels were certainly reservoirs of catholic conservationism, how constitutionally authoritative are they? I agree these facts are very interesting and shed light upon royal intent and continuity to the catholic (medieval past) of practice, but what weight do we give it vis-a-vis more explicit formulas, injunctions, or even authorized homilies? In the Preface BCP it says (paraphrase) Common prayer was instituted (and such things as the Articles) for the “quieting of controversy”. When faced with practice that may be, to some degree, ‘divergent’ from the norm, how do we responsibly handle it?

      Nonetheless, these facts are fascinating, and I certainly stand corrected. Please continue shedding more light on the subject as it is very important and valued. While I was aware of Catholic predisposition of James and Charles I, I was not that aware of Elizabeth.



  8. Charles,

    As a matter of practice (de facto), most C of E parishes failed to even live up to the minimal liturgical standards of Archbishop Parkers pleading advertisements or, in the other extreme, follow Roman dictates.

    But, as a matter of law (de jure), the minority approach of QEI, Cosin, Andrewes and Herbert, and contemporary Prayer-Book Catholics is closer to the formularies of the English Religious Settlement. Indeed, the BCP and the Ornaments rubric require no less than what the Royal Chapels once promised.

    In sum, the Caroline Divines were called “Churchmen” for a reason: they conformed to the rubrics and principles of the established Church of England. In contrast, Puritans, were not considered Churchmen at all — not even “Low Churchmen,” as this term was first used to describe the advent of Liberal Churchman (not Evangelicals, who were neither Liberal or Churchmen) following the Glorious Revolution.


    • Hi Death,

      I agree, and especially after reading Nicholas’ article on icons, the injunctions weren’t necessarily permanent disciplines within the Church. They existed until they served their purpose to extirpate ‘superstition’ or abject ‘error’. In some ways, the injunctions regulation of vestments served to hinder puritans from going to further extremes, e.g., the geneva gown route. In agreement with Lee, it was the best that could be done at the time, and the same is true of the advertisements. I do think ‘intent’ needs to be weighed with the ‘letter of the law’. In regards to the the Elizabethan settlement (via media), while formative, it definitely envisioned Henrican worship alongside Reformed doctrine. I kind of see the Injunctions as plugging the dike against Puritan extremism rather than dogmatically compelling England into surplice-onlyism. Elizabeth’s intention was implemented or demonstrated in the Royal Chapels. Divines like Laud get a bum rap as they were only administering the canons of the Church. But in doing so they were resisting a powerful wave of puritan enthusiasm. While perhaps I am still chewing cud on the seventh ecumenical council, I do think England’s injunctions are a mutable and now look at 16th century canon in ‘conservative terms’, giving notice to the royal chapels as model of correct administration vs. radicalism.


  9. Chapelmouse,

    I take issue with your statement, “…the Elizabethan settlement…envisioned Henrican worship alongside Reformed doctrine.”

    Capital “R” reformed, means within the Calvinist school. And despite the numerous scholars who parrot the view that the doctrinal standards of the Elizabethan Settlement fall within the Reformed camp, I do not think that is at all true. Rather, for instance the Articles of Religion, when read as a whole, especially in the Latin, actually reject the new Protestant scholasticism of the Continental Reformation and instead envision a return to the Augustinian Synthesis of the pre-Schism west, before all scholastic Roman addition.

    Thus, the Elizabethan Settlement standards were a moderately pruned recension of Old Sarum (the BCP & the Ornaments Rubric) plus a return to well established First Millennium religious standards. The Continental Reformation was only embraced to the extent that it did that, which is to say, not very much. So, I think that “Catholic and Restored,” not “Catholic and Reformed” is a more accurate description of the official English Reformation.


    • Dear Death,

      I can agree with most of what you said, but I believe the following is an arguable point, “Thus, the Elizabethan Settlement standards were a moderately pruned recension of Old Sarum (the BCP & the Ornaments Rubric) plus a return to well established First Millennium religious standards. The Continental Reformation was only embraced to the extent that it did that, which is to say, not very much”.

      I think we sometimes underestimate the influence of Reformed thought: Bullinger’s Decades were popularly used for catechesis during QEI’s reign; Bucer had a definitive impact against Gardiner on the 1549 bcp revision; Calvin drew the 42 articles from the Lutheran 13 and earlier 10; the Marian exiles in Frankfurt and Geneva returning to England, bringing the ‘strangers’ with them; the influence of Scots; the appointment of continental divines to Cambridge and universities; etc.. I think the correspondence between the continent and the isles, whether welcomed or filtered, was significant. That being said, I don’t think there was any ‘slavish’ mimicking of the continental Reformers. Puritanism was constantly blocked and obstructed, perhaps in one part because it was recognized as ‘innovation’, but also because it was disruptive, threatening revolution. In so far as both Anglicans and Calvinists attempted a re-appropriation of the patristic, perhaps there was cross-pollination and resonance, but I would say the Anglican certainly was more successful than either Lutheran or Calvinist in ‘ressourcement’. However, none spoke in isolation with respect to contemporaries, and often confessions and treatises were part of ongoing dialogues. When using ‘reformed’, I am likely using it in a inaccurate sense, so forgive my confusion, but, I mean by ‘reformers’ both Lutheran and Calvinist. But you are right. Maybe ‘protestant’ or ‘new learning’ would be better? I tend to see the Lutherans alongside Anglicans being much more honest regarding patristic tradition than Calvinists.


      • Don’t get me wrong — Continental influence was strong in England both outside the Established Church and also among supposed Churchmen, who had ascribed to the 39 Articles. But, this influence was not licit. As E.J. Bicknell demonstrates perhaps better than any other scholar, the 39 Articles simply are not a Reformed Confession — not even the Articles on Justification and Works or the Article on Predestination. Rather, the moderate Puritans that somewhat conformed to the Established Church simply ignored both the official liturgical and doctrinal standards while attempted to procure Reformed alternatives.

        The Puritans never succeeded in changing the official doctrinal standards, save during the Interregnum, but were tolerated, initially out of politic necessity, and after the (in)Glorious Revolution due to a growing “laxity” or compression movement among Churchmen. Moreover, after the (in)Glorious Revolution revisionist constructions of the Articles began to abound purporting to show a harmony between them and Westminster and Wittenburg. Though commonly swallowed as true by both Evangelicals Anglo-Catholics, these works are spurious.


  10. I must strongly second Death Bredon’s statement as to the doctrinal standard of the Elizabethan settlement. In both the canon of 1571 and a very famous letter of Elizabeth to the emperor the standard set was the Old Testament and the New as interpreted by the “earliest bishops and Catholic fathers.” In the mind of Elizabeth, reform meant a return to the doctrine and practice of the sub-apostolic Church. What is either forgotten or ignored is that Rome was in another of her periods of wild innovation in which the the ceremonial that had been common to most of the West for the last thousand years was being displaced by inventions of the papal master of ceremonies. It was also in a period of extreme decadence and sexual immorality. And what Elizabeth and the English church wanted was a return to the Church as it was left by the apostles.


    • I agree entirely with Lee — QEI was sincere in her purpose or reform by restoration, not innovation.

      Indeed, thanks to the Greeks schools to this day established in Great Britian by the first great Archbishop or Canterbury, St. Theodore of Tarsus, the early English Reformers such as Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer were very much able to understand from the Greek Fathers that the medieval Roman accretions such as transubstantiation and the doctrines merits, works, indulgences, and purgatory were spurious.

      Unfortunately, however, due to the breach of conversation caused by the Norman Invasion, British learning about the Greek Fathers was confined largely to books, and the thus the English Reformers were not sufficiently fluent, or not confidently conversant in matters Patristic to created a Confessional document in the English idiom expressing the full substance of their aspirations. Indeed, had the Reformations been sufficiently confident of Church history, they might well have just gone ahead an issued an English language edition of St. John Damascene’s Exact Exposition as the catechism of the English Church.

      Instead, caution prevailed, and the Articles dispel the plain error of Rome and Radical Protestantism, while largely staying within the scope of scriptural language, and being arranged in such away as to betray a whiff of the Augustinian Synthesis, which actually postdates the the first five centuries targeted by the Elizabethan Settlement, but was the standard pre-Schism doctrinal patrimony of Normanized England.


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