The Crown’s Style

King Henry VIII and Emperor Maximilian

The English Crown’s title, “King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c.”, somewhat summed Anglican polity before the rise of the Quadrilateral and Lambeth Communion. Lambeth was a devolutionary answer to the crisis of Empire that resulted in creating a number of equally independent churches. Before Lambeth, Anglican churches weren’t based on popular sovereignty but royal Supremacy. This resulted in a communion with degrees and hierarchies– some nearer, some further– in the Church of England. And, because Anglican colonial government likewise centered on establishment, the style marked proximity to an ecclesiastical center. When Lambeth formed in 1887, it’s national character rejected the original regiment based on supremacy (1).

An English Empire: During the early Tudor period, England considered herself an Empire. This had fairly serious ramifications during the course of the Reformation. For instance, the 1536 Articles purposefully side-stepped the Augusta because Henry refused to condescend England’s Majesty to the lower dignity of the Dukes and Marques who led the (Lutheran) Schmalkaldic League. Instead, Henry opted for his own Settlement, distinguishing the English from German church(es) by adopting rather conservative ceremonial, pushing an upper boundary of the Augsburg in expectation the German nobility would fall behind his Imperial majesty. Henry’s greater dignity was something the Elector of Saxony was wary from the start, and it was perhaps a reason why English delegates were preoccupied with rehabilitating Henry’s divorce(s) rather than more pertinent theological points with Germans.

In other words, religious compacts bore implica-tions upon dynastic relations, and, foremost was England’s duty to secure a worthy equity so that both Henry and his Church might be receive honors complimentary of a Christian Emperor rather than vassal or lesser prince. Another implication was England as a final court of appeal among Protestant countries. This latter role of the British Crown being counter-part to the Holy Roman Emperor as an answer to concilarism is covered in more detail in W.B. Patterson’s book, James I and IV: the Reunion of Christendom.

Histories like John Dee’s General and Rare Memorials (1576) owed the English Imperium to ancient times, combining Arthurian with Israelite legend. More popular was Geoffrey Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (1136) crediting unity of the Isle to Brutus’ three sons– two of whom ruled Scotland and Ireland while the eldest received homage in England. This primordial fealty explained the Tudors’ repulsion of the French while Scotland was ruled by the House of Guise, 1543-1558. More solid accounts for English Empire date back to Norman rule. Henry II joined several titles– the Duke of Normandy along with a number of other French possessions– with the English Name.  In 1296 Edward I captured the Stone of Scone, bringing it to London; thereafter, English kings would be crowned upon it. By 1337, Edward III claimed France entirely. Meanwhile, Anglo-Normans steadily increased gains in Wales and Ireland by Crusade, subordinating the remnant of the celtic church to Rome by Plantagenet “Lordship”.

The core of the English Empire was built during the 12-13th centuries, and, although England materially lost France during the 1450’s (with the exception of Calais), the royal style continued as in earlier centuries. Upon Henry’s religious Settlement the style read, “the King of England and of France, defender of the faith, Lord of Ireland, and in earth supreme head of the Church of England”. This was typical of the period, and, with the exception of ‘Defensor’, was the old medieval title carried forward. The 1533 Act in Restraint further admits England has having a status of Empire,

Where by divers sundry old authentic histories and chronicles it is manifestly declared and expressed that this realm of England is an empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one supreme head and king, having the dignity and royal estate of the imperial crown of the same. 

The next year the First Act of Supremacy (1534) explicitly tied the head of church to the imperial crown:

The only supreme head in earth of the Church of England called Anglicana Ecclesia, and shall have and enjoy annexed and united to the imperial crown of this realm. 

This was standard for the period 1532-36. Henry VIII was excommunicated twice by the Papacy (in 1533 and 1538), so the title in Ireland was strengthened to highlight the disenfranchisement of Papal jurisdiction. In 1542 Dublin affirmed Henry VIII as both Lord and King. The style thus became , “the King of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and in earth under Christ, of the Church of England and of Ireland the Supreme Head”, officially received in England in 1544.

What’s interesting about Henry’s style is the idea two  Kingdoms (England and Ireland) were under the same external authority not only in civil but ecclesiastical manners. The bidding prayers given in 1549 BCP reference both ‘the church of England and Ireland’.

The Presbyterian Kirk, however, is curiously absent until the King James is anointed as sovereign of England.  Consequently, injunctions to pray for the Kirk appear in the 1604 canons. However, this charity coincides with the Reform the Scottish Kirk upon Anglican principles. Probably the bitterness of the civil war (and thus rejection of an English liturgy in Scotland) caused the Jacobean injunction to be removed– perhaps demonstrating England’s spent patience with Presbyterianism?

It has been said that Anglicans never sought to unchurch the Reformation for lack of episcopal government, receiving presbyterian and congregationalist ministers (at times) into her Orders, usually for the sake of peace– as upon Charles II’s Restoration (2). A similar spirit influenced the consecration of the Scottish episcopate for 1610– described in Perry’s history as an attempt to avoid insult:

“A fear was expressed by some of the Scotchmen, lest if they were consecraated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Scotch Church should thus be placed in subjection to the English. To avoid this it was determined that neither of the archbishops [York or Canterbury] should take part in the consecration. Bishop Andrews, who was to be one of the consecrators, considered that the Scotch divines should be first ordained deacons and priests. This, which was naturally distasteful to them [the Kirk], was overruled on the grounds advocated by Bancroft– namely, that in old times laymen had been frequently invested with the episcopal character per saltum, and that the higher order contained the power.” p. 382

Nonetheless, the bidding prayers suggest a ranked relationship between the churches of the three Kingdoms. Ireland acknowledged Supremacy in both church and state at a comparatively earlier date than Scotland (in 1542). Between 1543-46 Henry VIII battled to enforce the Treaty of Greenwich which secured Edward VI’s marriage to Mary of Scotland. Henry published A Declaration Considering the Just Causes (1543), quoting precedent for English Lordship in Hibernia, “The Kings of Scots have always acknowledged the Kings of England superior lords of the realm of Scotland, and have done homage and fealty for the same” (p. 2, Mary Stuart). Ironically, the reforms introduced under the Stuart (Scottish) kings were adopted by Ireland whereas Scotland passionately resisted.

‘England’ was a term that normally was understood to cover Wales. The annexation of Wales was more factual after Henry legally converted the Welsh marches into English shires 1534-42. By the end of Henry’s reign, English law had fully enfranchised Welsh. The 1547 injunctions are one of the few manuscripts making mention of the Welsh marches, giving Edward VI duties in both “the Marches and Calais”. Thereafter, it is assumed. The Marches were the newly made shires while Calais was the last stronghold of English control in France. Anyway, ‘Calais and the Marches’ are typically understood wherever “England” is spoken of, and early Edwardian injunctions describe their dominions as part of a single English law, each belonging to “one and uniform rite and order in such common prayer”.

The United Kingdom, “&c”: Elizabeth’s  version of Supremacy is sometimes considered more ‘civilized’ or ‘modern’ than Henry’s, namely, by replacing ‘head’ with ‘governor’. However, ‘governor’ might have been used in deference or modesty to the normal male character of Kingship. In either case, the Queen certainly did not surrender the ancient rights repossessed by Henry (e.g., 1529-1534), and in 1558 she inserted  “& c.”, anticipating the re-institution of the Supremacy Act(s). The “&c.” remained part of the royal style until George III dropped it to sooth fears about Hanover.

The edict upon Elizabeth’s deathbed declared this crown, “the Imperial Crown of these Realms aforesaid are now absolutely, wholly, and solely come to the High and Mighty Prince, James the sixth King of Scotland, who is lineally and lawfully descended from the body of Margaret, daughter to the High and Renowned Prince, Henry the seventh King of England” (p. 8, King James).

James anticipated this union while sitting on the Scottish throne, advising his son,  Prince Henry of Wales, to gradually harmonize these people into ‘one Isle of Britain”.

“And since my trust is, that God hath ordained you for more Kingdoms than this (as I have often already said) press by the outward behavior as well of your own person, as of your court, in all indifferent things, to allure piece and piece, the rest of your kingdoms, to follow the fashions of that kingdom of yours, that ye find most civil, easiest to be ruled, and most obedient to the laws: for these outward and indifferent things will serve greatly for allurements [manners and habits of the King] to the people, to embrace and follow virtue. But beware of thrawing or constraining them thereto; letting it be brought on with time, and at leisure; specially by so mixing through alliance and daily conversation, the inhabitants of every kingdom with other, as may with time make them to grow and weld all in one: Which may easily be done betwixt two nations, being both but one Isle of Britaine, and already joined in unity of Religion and language. So that even as in the times of our ancestors, the long wars and many bloody battles betwixt these two countries, bread a natural and hereditary hatred in every of them, against the other: the uniting and welding of them hereafter in one, by all sort of friendship, commerce, and alliance, will by the contrary produce and maintain a natural and inseparable unity of love amongst them. As we have already (praise be to God) a great experience of the good beginning hereof, and of the quenching of the old hate in the hearts of both the people; procured by the means of this long and happy amity, between the Queen my dearest sister and me; which during the whole time of both our Reigns, hath ever been inviolably observed. ” (p. 51, Basilikon Doron)

But Stuart succession raised questions of “primacy” (precedence) between Scotland and England. Was James VI & I a Scottish King who happened to rule an English realm or vice-versa? The King’s tutelage under Presbyterian ministers emboldened English Puritans at Hampton Court. To the chagrin of Puritans, James preferred the English over Scottish form(s) of government. Upon the opening of the Hamptom conference, James contrasted the two regiments:

“For blessed be God’s gracious goodness, who hath brought me into the promised Land, where religion is purely professed, where I sit amongst grave, learned and reverend men, not as before, elsewhere, a king without a state, without honour, without order, where beardless boys would brave us to the face.” (p. 18, King James)

The epistle dedicatory to the Authorized Version begins with the royal name, “The Most High and Might Prince James, by the grace of God,  King of Great Brittaine, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c.”, and this is where we begin to see differentiation among realms, some being more or less proximate to the Crown’s order.  In his first speech to Parliament James conceded: “you [the English] are to be the husband, they [the Scottish] the wife: you conquerors, they as conquered, through not by the sword, but by the sweet and sure bond of love” (Works, p. 164). An ecclesiastical  union was also expected when James renamed the two realms as  “The Kingdom of Great Britain” . But union under hierarchy created questions of polity since England possessed bishops and Scotland obviously did not.  The implications of personal union were such that,

“Either the Kirk would remain sovereign over itself, or it would be comprehended by the jurisdiction of Canterbury…In answering the charge that the Church of England had no sovereignty over the Kirk, English conformists spoke of the Church of “Great Britain”, a phrase that erased the Kirk’s claim to national distinction.” (p. 205,Defining the Jacobean).

The Kirk’s claims of ancient and pure origin butted heads with the apostolic claims belonging to England’s church. Dr. Prior describes the dilemma,

“It is to be remembered that James was King of Scotland before he became King of England, and so when he arrived in London in 1603 he also assumed jurisdiction over the Church of England, while retaining jurisdiction over the Kirk. The problem was an extremely complex one, and has yet to receive the attention it deserves. One perspective that may prove useful for our understanding of the complexity of British ecclesiology is that of doctrinal dispute. For as we have seen at some length, the church of England proclaimed itself the one ‘true’ church, both ancient and reformed. However, an examination of the polemical debates reveals that the Kirk also claimed to exemplify the ‘best reformed’ church and, crucially, a national [and therefore independent] church. In fact, the Union of the Crowns meant the English episcopate would seek to extend its jurisdiction, and English doctrine, over the Scottish Kirk. This policy would be resisted on both political and theological grounds” (p. 204-5).

Presbyterian Question: Protestants abroad hoped Great Britain to be that model for union among Reformed churches. However, unity was predicated upon a single doctrine which England and Scotland did not truly share. The difference was over England’s Settlement which curiously belonged to an earlier period of Reformed theology. It was not the Genevan sort but owed more to Wittenberg and Strasbourg which stood as centers of Reformation in the 1540’s.

The late reign of Henry VIII was the most formative for this part of the Anglican Settlement, etching the main features of England’s doctrine amid evangelical negotiations with Germany. These dialogues continued less formally into the first half of Edward’s reign, mostly between Cranmer and Bucer while the latter held a professorship at Cambridge. Meanwhile, the Scottish Kirk received its fundamental doctrine from the later theology of Bullinger and Calvin.

In the 1560’s Germany had faded from the forefront of Protestancy, allowing an upswing in Calvinist views that were widely adopted in Switzerland upon the 2nd Helvetic Confession. This “late-Swiss’ theology was reactionary toward the earlier Wittenberg Concord, especially after Germans struck peace with the Roman Emperor.

What stands out between the two periods is the dropping of adiaphoral points in the 2nd Helvetic Confession; instead, a strict iconoclasm is adopted. This would prove as divisive in Germany as it would in England upon James I’s ascension. Nonetheless, great hope was vested in the union of crowns. In order to better unify churches, high churchmen implemented a policy of ‘tactical broadness’ or gradually conforming the Kirk so it might be part of a procession of a princely order (p. 23, Basilikon).

This meant Scotland should have a recognizable relation to the 39 articles, Acts of Supremacy, and Prayer Book. Bishop Spottiswoode listed several reforms that the new King wanted in Scotland, in addition to a fixed liturgy, including “A public confession of faith must be formed, agreeing, so near as can be, with the confession of the English Church” (p. xv, Sprott). The high church policy of union contained many of the elements later found in Laud’s ‘disciplinarianism’. When introduced to Scotland, Presbyterians repeatedly refused the reforms sought by Jacobean bishops. These rebuffs occurred at Aberdeen and Perth (1618 & 1621 respectively), signalling the extreme difficulty conformity had in Scotland.

After James abandoned his campaign, his successors, King Charles and Archbishop Laud, unwisely accelerated the earlier program, sparking the Great Rebellion upon an imposition of the 1637 Prayer Book. Though the ‘unionist’ policy in Scotland proved a dismal failure, William III was willing to continue some of its elements, offering the privilege of establishment to the Scottish bishops before turning to the Presbyterian or popular party.

Broad but Ranked: Though Ireland’s Settlement had a tenuous existence among a large Roman Catholic population, it concluded with greater affinity to the English church. The Church of Ireland’s institution began with the pacifying of rebellion by Henry VIII who then introduced plantations in Dublin and Ulster based upon the model of Welsh marches. Elizabeth would follow this policy, and James VI would implement something akin in the highlands. Speaking to his Son, James, as a genuine crusader, said of the highland folk,

“As for the highlands, I shortly comprehend them all in two sorts of people: the one, that dwelleth in our main land that are barbarous for the most part, and yet mixed with some shew of civility: the other, the dwelleth in the isles, and are utterly barbarous, without any sort or shew of civility. For the first sort, put straightly to execution the laws made already by me against their overlords, and the chiefs of the clans, and it will be no difficult to danton them. As for the other sort, follow forth the course that I have intended, in planting Colonies among them of answerable inlands subjects, that within short time may reform and civilize the best inclined among them; rooting out or transporting the barbarous and stubborn sort, and planting civility in their rooms.” (p. 22,Basilikon Doron)

Planting the civility of estates among the answerable subjects was not limited to Scotland. In 1634, Thomas Wentworth and John Bramhall led the push for Irish conformity. Prior to this date, the Irish church perhaps was closer in doctrine to the Scottish. High Churchmen tolerated a certain broadness among late-reformed churches before tightening conformity. Bray’s Records of Convocation describes the change in policy that came about upon Laud’s elevation.

“Unusually for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Laud did not restrict his sights to his own province, or even to England. He was soon embroiled in the internal religious affairs of both Ireland and Scotland, despite the fact he had no knowledge of either country and no authority to act there other than what the King had delegated him. The 1634 Irish convocation was the first public occasion on which the new direction in ecclesiastical affairs became apparent. Arch-bishop Laud was determined to reduce the Church of Ireland to “conformity” with the Church of England which in this case meant that it would have to adopt the 39 Articles and the 1604 English canons as its standard of faith and discipline” (p. 64, Records).

The Dublin convocation managed to avoid absolute conformity to England.  The 1615 Articles subsisted as a subordinate standard. Meanwhile, the injunctions pressed by Wentworth ending up becoming more like the 1566 Advertisements.

But unlike Scotland, Ireland conformed. By 1640 the Irish provincial church was using the same prayer book as in England; it broadly agreed with the 1571 Articles; and Ireland continued episcopacy.  This remained true even after the misfortunes of civil war, and, by 1801, when Ireland finally became part of the United Kingdom (UK), the 39 Articles had been fully received, distinct from Ussher’s 1615.  Ireland proved better stomping grounds for high church policy than Scotland.

1717 BCP cover page. The bottom title says, “Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Lueneburg, Arch-Treasurer and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire”. Other versions say, “England and Scotland, France, Ireland, and Hanover”

If the UK parliament was any indicator, the rank between kingdoms would have been tallied by number of seated Lords ( those peers not in the realm of England proper) : 1) the principality of Wales; 2)  Ireland; 3) Scotland.  This ranking is akin to the Continental “immediacy of right“. Off-the-chart would’ve been France and Hanover since these Kingdoms had no ministerial representation [one was catholic, the other Lutheran] despite their inclusion in the royal title. Though it was suggested for George III to proclaim himself the Emperor of the British Isles, the Hanoverians instead chose a friendlier appellation, “the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c”.

The realms pertaining to the United Kingdom had degrees of self-rule, and, generally speaking, the more liberty each possessed in internal affairs, the less representation they had in the King’s parliament. This rather inverted political relationship also described Anglican-protestant unionism. Otherwise, the principle of Supremacy from which the United Kingdom sprung was the plumb line among Anglican churches prior to the Quadrilateral and Lambeth. A remaining question is the status of overseas colonies that often found themselves lacking provincial bishops, dependent on the diocese of London, and often patiently waiting for the favor of the Crown or privy council.  The dominions were frequently charted to corporations or private persons. When charters expired, the lands might then reverted to the Crown’s original sovereignty.

This is what happened in New England at the end of Charles II’s reign when the Puritan colonies  found themselves restored to royal governorship. This period, 1683-1689, in known as the Dominion of New England. During the Dominion’s short-life, Charles II and James II attempted to superimpose an Anglican establishment over the Puritan.  The Emancipation Acts, which precipitated the 1689 parliamentarian revolution, terminated the convesion of New England into an Anglican establishment. Nonetheless, the Dominion exemplified the older high-church policy of imposing conformity through gradual campaigns of moderation– executed first in Scotland (with wretched results) but somewhat more successfully in Ireland (and Acadia). Unfortunately, Republican intrigue carried the day, and the American colonies left the Crown(3). In hopes of a similar results, Ireland followed suit in 1798. Thus, the late 18th-century saw the start of unionism’s dashing and, with it, the Royal center. By 1948 decolonializaiton and devolution was neigh complete.

Problems of Devolution: Before the modern revolutionary era, colonial churches were simply called the “Church of England” in such-and-such a place (e.g., the Church of England in British North America)However, because common externals were determined by Supremacy, Anglican unity was increasingly defined in democratic terms.  In other words, sovereignty was transferred from the person(ages) of the British household– starting with the King, his royal progeny, to the Bishops,  then other Lords, etc. (see the litany). — to the sovereignty of the individual. Geroge Meriton instructed upon England’s hierarchical mode of governance to the Glasgow Assembly in 1610:

“so it must be in the Church of God, where some are eyes, some are ears, some head, some feet, some must be high, some low, some rule, some obey. This comliness of order is the beauty of God’s Church, for beauty is the daughter of order, the more seen the more admired; and order is the well-spring of disposing of equal and unequal parts.” 

Unfortunately, the ‘individual’ was not actual sort but abstract, rooted in categories of inalienable rights without the context of custom or family. Allegedly, there was nothing between the private mind and liberty, so the sacramental economy of graded grace together with graded freedoms unraveled. What was left was the sovereignty of the equal parts without concrete unity other than “laissez-faire choice”. Thus, the establish church devolved into a voluntary society contra “Royal prerogative” which arose from the earlier model of paterfamilias.

By the mid-19th century, whatever was left of the Restoration was at its tail-end. I don’t wish to be mistaken for extremes, proposing absolutism against constitutionalism, tyranny in exchange for common law, etc. . But at some point between the 18th-19th centuries, Free Monarchy was replaced with a Republican ethos as supremacy shifted from the King to Commons. This flattened the hierarchy which doctors like Cranmer said existed in an a priori. sacred time.

More important, it reshaped the idea of “broad church” as a measurable distance from the King’s regiment to multiple yet falsely equivalent sovereignties. The 1907 Colonial Conference was the manifest end of Anglican Supremacy, confirming in the civil sphere what Lambeth accomplished twenty-years earlier in the religious. In this modern system, “broadness” becomes an “end in itself”. While, in the older view, it was a means, or tactic, for gradual conformity toward the King’s orthodoxy– be it the royal chapel, his body of english injunctions, the archbishopric’s cathedral, the Crown’s university, etc..

Such broadness is not to be mistaken with the licentious broadness too often given in the articles. Instead, it is something wider, occurring when jurisdictions neither exactly conform to 39 articles or prayer book; yet, nonetheless, “Anglican” churches share a common genesis. A “broadness within a broadness” was how discrepancies were handled by high churchmen in the past, keeping the center of the church lawful while dealing with more serious error pastorally. King James’ invitation to the scottish Melvilles to listen to Andrewes’ lecture at St. Paul’s on the importance of an episcopate is an example this ‘pastoral patience’.

Unfortunately, orthodox broadness is no longer found in the center Anglican latitude. It has been displaced, and, at best, it is one among many inchoate sovereignties . Today, AB  Rowan Williams’ Covenant Proposal sees something of a re-emergence of a tiered Anglican communion. Unfortunately, the covenant proposal has few teeth, rightly described as a dead letter by critics.

However, the way back would most likely involve some sort of return to tiered or parallel jurisdictions. ACNA is absolutely rife with these graded networks but institutionalized on an informal level. Another informal extension of the King-in-church might be through an incubation of ‘royal culture’ or ‘ethos of lordship’. A royal culture might aim to create something akin the Crown’s Regalia  suited for church synods rather than the parliaments.

For Anglicans “on the right”, the restoration of certain liturgical or sacramental observances associated with the monarchy, or any similar episcopal prelacy, might fair better. Such might include feasts and votive services for English kings or famous prince-Bishops,’ &c’.

For Anglicans more”on the left” of churchmanship, reasserting the weight of royal seal on the 39 articles as having  normative authority in North American through the adoption of Solemn Declarations might be more persuasive. More can be read about royal names through the history of the British Guineas.

1. Dr. Kevin F. Donlon seems to give defense to the St. Andrew’s Draft of the Anglican covenant which sought stronger juridical bonds between churches. His criticism of Lambeth touches the problem of sovereignty as said in reply to Dr. Poon, “However, if the Primates continue a nation-state theological autonomy as their filter for the leadership they offer, further Anglican fragmentation will occur, and such a model will make it impossible for this or any Archbishop of Canterbury to lead.” (p. 133, The North American Anglican V.III)

2. “Further, if one reads the Articles and the Ordinal together then one will not be able to say on the basis of them (or by direct deduction from the New Testament) that the historic Episcopate is necessary for the full being of the Church. This statement is an Anglo-Catholic doctrine and belongs, I think, to the distinctions between the Episcopate seen as the bene esse (of the well being) or the plene esse (of the fullness of being) or the esse (of the necessary being). Anglicans have held varied doctrines of the relation of the Episcopate to the Church and it is not clear what is being claimed by the English expression, “full being” here. Whatever is claimed it excludes the majority of Anglicans since 1549 who have recognized other Churches (Lutheran, Presbyterian etc) as genuine churches with genuine presbyters, even if lacking the good thing of the Episcopate.”– Dr. Peter Toon,

3. After the Revolution, the American church would maintain its ties with the Church of England in a cultural or ‘voluntaristic’ way. The Convention of 1814 — in a resolution that long time Presiding Bishop William White thought significant enough to call attention to in his Memoirs of the Protestant Episcopal Church (1880) — wrote that “‘the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America’ is the same body heretofore known in these states by the name of ‘the Church of England’; the change of name, though not of religious principle, in doctrine, or in worship, or in discipline, being induced by a characteristic of the Church of England, supposing the independence of Christian Churches, under the different sovereignties, to which, respectively, their allegiances in civil concerns belongs. But that when the severance alluded to took place, and ever since, this Church conceives of herself, as professing and acting on the principles of the Church of England, is evident from the organization of our conventions, and from their subsequent proceedings, as recorded on the journals; to which, accordingly, this convention refers for satisfaction in the premises.” The convoluted syntax of the resolution suggests that the usually verbose Bishop White was the author of the resolution.

  • Prior, Charles. Defining the Jacobean Church. Cambridge (2005) 
  •  Sprott, George  Scottish Liturgies of the Reign of James VI & I. Cambrigde (1846)
  • Stevenson, Joseph Mary Stuart: A Narrative. Edinburg (1886)
  • Stuart, King James. The Political Works of King James. Harvard (1918)
  • Vance, Laurence  King James, His Bible, and its Translators. Vance Publications. (2006)

8 responses to “The Crown’s Style

  1. I would strongly suggest you procure a copy of Andrew Fraser’s new book, ‘The WASP Question,’ in which he deals with all of this, and points out that, historically, from before the Roman Schism of 1054 from the other 4/5ths of Christendom, the construct of Christianity in England as an ethnological, hierarchical, monarchical form of biblical Christianity was not only the norm- it was the only way ‘Church’ was to be done. Universal jurisdiction, adoption of papal/Thomistic scholasticism, and the ‘cult of the individual’ has led us to the fallacy of being ‘the very model of a modern multicultural.’

    In short, apostasy.


  2. Hello Fr. John,
    Thanks for wading through this. I’ll check out Fraser’s book. I have a hard time digesting New Right material– not because I’m left-wing– but because so much of it is neo-pagan, calling itself “traditionalist”, etc.. My hackles go up whenever someone wants to discuss Anglicana but does it from outside Anglican ethos and life. Hopefully, Fraser’s history is instructed from an Orthodox mindset (if not Anglican) rather than a pagan-evolutionary type that Arktos typically advertises. However, I did get a chance to read Fraser’s introduction, and there was no hint of the above. It indeed reads as a lamentation for the diaspora, and I really appreciated his honesty about the American Revolution as a critical turning point. Here’s a salient quote, and I suppose it rings with part of my essay above:

    “The novus ordo seclorum proclaimed at the creation of the American Republic was a major turning point in Anglo-American political and constitutional history; it also sealed the sorry fate of Anglo-Saxon Christendom. Until then, colonial Americans formed the vanguard of the Anglo-Saxon diaspora, thereby laying the biocultural foundation for a trans-Atlantic ethnonation. My argument, following in the footsteps of George Grant and his Loyalist forefathers, is that by renouncing their ancestral allegiance to throne and altar, American revolutionaries committed something worse than a political or constitutional blunder.”

    Republicanism seems to represent a major shift in history, and perhaps related to this is the problem of modern sovereignty. In writing this essay, I sort woke up to some dangers with modern nationalism v. old imperialism. Popular sovereignty and contract theory have done their nasty work in the church. This begins with beliefs regarding the locii of political freedom. Contract theory would start with those inalienable rights belonging to the individual in a fictional state of purine nature which then transfers into constitutional governance according to sound reason. In contrast, divine right would begin with the freedom of God who has declared a divine order upon the earth prior to the fall of man where the King fills an office in temporal affairs, namely, punishing wickedness while acting as a supreme warden in the church. Rather than start with the individual in a state of poetic nature, divine right begins with the order of man as it is willed from heaven, in other words, apportioned headship.

    However, the king properly executed is not a tyrant. He is constrained by 1. the laws of God, and, 2. the oaths which his predecessors or himself have rightly pledged. From #2 we derive a sort of constitutionalism which upholds custom and established rights. Yet, #2 would be those rights established over time with various corporations of society. A ‘corporation’ might be a city, guild, manor, or many divers households. What emerges is a graded society w/ each corporation possessing their own rank and dignity, some with more or less freedom/duty, plus a fairly complex system of formal and informal law backing such.

    Modern nationalism, with its fictional individualism, sweeps this all aside, flattening the graded order into a single “third estate” where everyone is given an equal freedom or lack thereof. To me, this is tyranny because 1. it is based upon a false notion of sovereignty (enshrining fallen man rather than God’s grace) and 2. equality is given without a distinction of precedent, duty, or service, eliminating the possibility of higher freedom.

    In terms of countries, this makes colonies and dominions equal to Kingdom(s) from which they originate, much as a child might be erroneously treated as a peer to his father. The idea of a graded community is lost. I can see how this principle further translates to the citizenry within the modern nation-state or even the particular church; hence, democratic social contractions.

    In contrast, Empire is maintained upon the principle of households or corporations, ranking the heads of each. Both Israel and the primitive church seem to have functioned upon this model. This allowed the incorporation of both local and universal principles since a “household” was predicated upon a subsidiarity authority (of ‘fathers’); nonetheless, each was joined to the whole through mediums of greater ‘heads'(sic., barons, dukes, earls, marques, princes, et al.). This allowed a ranking between kingdoms without their elimination as such. I don’t believe nationalism is capable of this because present-day federalism lacks the corporate, subsidarian character– mostly, a’gradedness’ that permits diversity minus chaos. In the church, this ’empire’ would correspond to ranks of bishops (metropolitans, archbishops, patriarchs, even a ‘pope’) which the old ecclesia had plenty.

    In the old English empire, this ranking resembled Britain’s “peerage” between kingdoms and governors, so the Style indicated a sort of precedence given to churches based upon their conformity to English law (a kind of ecclesiastical lealty). Here, we have the old high churchman’s policy of tactical broadness so that Ireland and Scotland (even New England) might gradually conform into something approximating Whitgift’s three articles. One of the tragedies of the Restoration period that followed was not only the civil war against the Scottish Prayer Book, but the rejection William III’s generous offer for establishment to non-jurors. This is one of those historic mistakes I chalk up along with London’s obstinace to Wesley’s plea for an American bishopric– both having long-term consequences on the high church party’s ability to manage dissent.

    However, refusal of the English Settlement didn’t necessarily break fraternity, and, in this sense, the high church policy had something akin to Cummin’s later involvement with the Evangelical Alliance. This begs a relook at Evangelical Union in general, not only in the 19th, but the 16th & 17th centuries since unionism has its common origin from the diet of Speyer (1529). Consequently, I tend to see Cummin’s and Muhlenberg in a high church light, both the Memorial and 1873 Declaration as an attempt to reverse misfortune(s), reading like the Perth Articles, i.e., a ‘broadness’ within ‘broadness’: starting with the Quadrilateral, supplemented by various Solemn Declarations or other confessions, &c..

    I agree with your assessment of the roman papacy as universal monism and therefore modernist demi-urge. National Catholicism also needs qualification since the term ‘national’sometimes is synonymous with “autonomy” contra Papist universalism. Perhaps the more proper word indicating the reformation of rights would be “estatism”? I don’t want to claim nations or ethnos were invented in the 16th century. Rather, they were re-organized on philosophical bases rather contrary to medieval christendom.

    What I’m proposing at Anglican Rose is how all this translates to a program– without abandoning the High Church platform (articles, bcp, supremacy)– when the Crown has effectively abdicated the Church. For more on this subject, see that section on Anglican Ascendancy where I ground thinking in Reformation state prayers.


  3. fraser

    Fraser’s study on palingenesis

    Hello Fr. John,
    I ordered and read Fraser’s book. My biggest criticism was Fraser’s heavy use of Gauchet’s Disenchantment which too quickly dismissed medieval and early reformation developments by broad stroke generalizations regarding legalism (as if scholasticism cannot exist side-by-side with the magicoreligious). I also believe Henry’s supremacy and the Stuarts’ claim to divine right were more a return to ancient jurisdictions than innovation. Parliamentary supremacy happened against the Crown, so it’s hard to imagine how the Tudors were complicit in such.

    However, these generalizations were problems mainly belonging to the first section of the book. In parts II and III, the book really picked up, using more primary documents, namely, arguing Bolignbroke against Arendt. Bolignbroke and his country party gave me new respect for the early whiggs and the rights claimed by the local gentry, leaving me to ponder about similarities with the old dominion in Virginia. I’m surprised there’s no mention of high church Tories; but the last two chapters were great (and welcomed) plugs for the Anglican church and British monarchy. Fraser overall does a good job, and I appreciate his straightforwardness as well as his relative optimism regarding what he calls the WASP “Long Emergency”. Definitely, this book is something that should be taken seriously as Fraser tries to sound the alarm, offering, in my opinion, some fairly constructive answers against ethnopathology and its links to modern contract theory. Fraser seems to have some other interesting titles mostly critiquing Republicanism:

    The Spirit of the Laws: Republicanism and the Unfinished Project of Modernity (1990)
    Reinventing Aristocracy: The Constitutional Reformation of Corporate Governance (1998)


  4. Is this the end of the nation-state model and a way back to tiered communion? Tract 9 by Philip Turner


  5. This may or may not be germane to the subject, but the question of divine right monarchy might well apply. In former times, most monarchs did operate on a practical sense of divine right—being accountable to God alone. For English speaking Christians, the locus classicus on the subject would be the Political Writings of James I. He only expressed in writing what most other monarchs thought and did.

    In +,



    • Hi Benton,
      I’ve been reading the political writings of James I (finally!). As you say, he posits divine right but not without reference to the Coronation Oath and the greater duty of Kings to serve the commonweal. There is another interpretative framework James frequently makes appeal, and that is the marriage relation between husband and wife. So often we focus on ‘submission’ without recognizing the ‘sacrifice’ required of the husband, or in this case the Crown. Why must submission always equal tyranny? That’s the suspicion of the modern mind, I suspect. A second metaphor he utilizes is the father-son relation.

      What’s interesting about these analogies is their personal nature, each having a pastoral dimension. The ultimate object of both is affecting love and salvation, and this was the final aim of free Christian monarchs. But, it is a hard thing when subjects are taught to hate their civil father or husband, convinced by fanatics like Puritans he was a Papist, etc.. Anyway, James I uses these natural examples of authority (husband, father) to make the difference against tyranny. I will try to add the mitigating quotes soon.


  6. Hi Benton, I’ve finally compiled some quotations from the political works of James I (e.g., Basilikon Doron, True Law, An Apology for the Oath) regarding a subtle constitutionalism in divine right. James identifies his sovereignty as a ‘free monarchy’ rather than the constitutional or absolute kind. I believe the ‘free monarchy’ would probably exist between the two. Anyway, here is a litany of quotes for consideration:

    “For the part of making, and executing of Laws, consider first the true difference betwixt a lawful good King, and an usurping Tyrant, and ye shall the more easily understand your duty herein: for contraria iuxta se posita magis elucescent. The one acknowledgeth himself ordained for his people, having received from God a burden of government, whereof he must be countable: the other thinketh his people ordained for him, a prey to his passions and inordinate appetites, as the fruits of his magnanimity: And therefore, as their ends are directly contrary, so are their whole actions, as means, whereby they press to attain their ends. A good King, thinking his highest honor to consist in the due discharge of his calling, employeth all his study and pains, to procure and maintain, by the making and execution of good Laws, the welfare and peace of his people; and as their natural Father and kindly Master, thinketh his greatest contentment standeth in their prosperity, and his greatest sureity in having their hearts, subjecting his own private affections and appetites to the weal and standing of his Subjects, ever thinking common interest his chiefest particular: where by the contrary, an usurping Tyrant, thinking his greatest honor and felicity to consist in attaining per fas, evel nefas to his ambitious pretences, thinketh never himself sure, but by the dissension and factions among his people, and counterfeiting the Saint while he once creep in credit, will then (by inverting all good Laws to serve only for his unruly private affections) frame the commonweal ever to advance his particular: building his sureity upon his people’s misery: and in the end (as a step-father and an uncouth hireling) make up his own hand upon the ruins of the Republic.” p. 18-19

    However, James does not see legislation normal to Parliament, but nonetheless describes Parliament as the ‘King’s head court’. Of it he says, “therefore hold no Parliaments, but for necessity of new Laws, which would be but seldom: for few Laws and well put in execution, are best in a well ruled commonweal” p. 20

    In True Law, James discusses the nature of a free monarchy:\

    “I have chosen then only to set down in this short Treatise, the true grounds of the mutual duty, and allegiance betwixt a free and absolute Monarchy, and his people…First then, I will set down the true grounds, whereupon I am to build, out of the Scriptures, since Monarchy is the true pattern of Divinity, as I have already said: next, from the fundamental Laws of our own Kingdom, which nearest must concern us: thirdly, from the law of Nature, by divers similitudes drawn out of the same”.

    Of course, it’s the fundamental laws which press the constitutional principle. Of these laws, James begins discourse re: the coronation oath and what composes such,

    “And therefore in the Coronation of our own Kings, as well as of every Christian monarchy they give their Oath, first to maintain the Religion presently professed within their country, according to their laws, whereby it is established, and to punish all those that should press to alter, or disturb the profession thereof; And next to maintain all the lowable and good Laws made by their predecessors: to see them put in execution, and the breakers and violaters thereof, to be punished, according to the tenor of the same: And lastly, to maintain the whole country, and every state therein, in all their ancient privileges and liberties, as well against all foreign enemies, as among themselves: And shortly to procure the weal and flourishing of his people, not only in maintaining and putting into execution the old lowable laws of the country, and by establishing of new (as necessity and evil manners will require) but by all other means possible to foresee and prevent all dangers, fthat are likely to fall upon them, and to maintain concord, wealth, and civility among them, as a loving Father, and careful watchman, cari8ng for them more then for himself, knowing himself to be ordained for them, and they not for him; and therefore countable to that great God, who placed him as his lieutenant over them, upon the peril of his soul to procure the weal of both souls and bodies, as far as in him lieth, of all them that are committed to his charge. And this oath in the Coronation is the clearest, civil, and fundamental law, whereby the Kings office is properly defined.” p. 55.

    James then considers the origin of fundamental law in Scotland and England. After a short discourse on the beginnings of Gentile Kings (where the most virtuous man was raised to kingship for good society), James says Scotland followed the same pattern with the elevation of King Fergus (p. 61) who gave laws to the barbarous Picts prior to any parliament. Therefore, the Scottish common law stems from monarchy,

    “And so it follows of necessity, that the kings were the authors and makers of the laws, and not the laws of the kings” p. 62. Though, in contrast, England was taken by conquest, she also was like a Free monarchy, “And although divers changes have been in other countries of the blood Royal, and kingly house, the kingdom being reft by conquest from one to another, as in our neighbor country in England (which was never in ours) yet the same ground of the kings right over all the land, and subjects thereof remaineth alike in all other free Monarchies, as well as in this: For when the Bastard of Normandy came into England, and made himself king, was it not by force, and with a mighty army? Where he gave the Law, and took none, changed the Laws, inverted the order of government, set down the strangers his followers in many of the old possessors rooms, as this day well appeareth a great part of the Gentlemen in England, being come of the Norman blood, and their old Laws, which to this day they are ruled by, are written in his language, and not in theirs: And yet his successors have with great happiness enjoyed the Crown this day; Whereof the like was also done by all them that conquested them before.” p. 63


    “For albeit it be true that I have at length proved, that the King is above the law, as both the author and giver of strength thereto; yet a good king will not only delight to rule his subjects by teh alw, but even will conform himself in his own actions thereunto, always keeping that ground, that the health of the commonwealth be his chief law: And where he sees the law doubtsome or rigorous, he may interpret or mitigate the same, lest otherwise Summum ius be summa iniuria: And therefore general laws, made publikely in Parliament, may upon known respects to teh King by his authority be mitigated, and suspended upon causes only known to him” p. 63

    Causes known only to him is the ‘mystery of kingship’ or ‘royal prerogative’. On pages 66-67 James debunks theories that vindicate rebellion as such typical aggravates rather than solves trouble. Contract theory is flawed when applied between sovereign and subject given the absence of a neutral third party to judge the guilty law breaker, “I think no man that hath but the smallest entrance into the civil Law, will doubt that of all the Law, either civil or municipal of any nation, a contract cannot be thought broken by the one party, and son the other likewise to be freed thereof: Or else every man man be both party and Judge in his own cause..” p. 68.

    Thus, the matter is left to God as judge, “God must first give sentence upon the King that breaketh, before the people can think themselves freed of their oath” ditto. By the people the remitting of punishment of the King to God, James says God be,

    “the sorest and sharpest schoolmaster that can be devised… for the further a king is preferred by God above all other ranks and degrees of men, and the higher that his seat is above theirs, the greater is his obligation to his maker. And therefore in case he forget himself (his unthankfulness being in the same measure of height) the sadder and sharper will his correction be; and according to the greatness of the height he is in, the weight of his fall will recompense the same: for the further that any person is obliged to God, his offence becomes and grows so much the greater, then it would be in any other” p. 70

    I’d probably hesitate equating free and absolute monarchies. The latter is closer to tyranny while the former set ordinary and self-imposed limits given from natural, moral, and fundamental law. That said, McIlwain avoids sketching the longer precedent of common law and parliament, leaving a second book written by himself instead: The High Court of Parliament (1910) which covers the influence of the coronation oath. I personally am favorable to a more constitutional system without the permanent self-summons of parliament. Following our maxim: The best government is that which governs least ?


  7. Though critical of erastianism, the Rev. Robert Ingram suspected Lambeth as a cover for British Imperial domination. There’s truth to this accusation, but should the trend alarm if it is squared by a confessional Anglicanism and is a first stepped forward to a graded communion? Ingram’s suspicion about Lambeth perhaps borders hysteria, yet his suspicion notices Lambeth’s potential be be Imperial (likely, a reason why the Windsor Process collapsed). The following is from his 1959 book entitled Lambeth and Unity, starting p. 13-14:

    “The deliberations of the House of Bishops of the American Church are frankly presented as requiring the background of Lambeth to be understood. The official actions of the Spiritual rulers of the American church are frankly said to have been determined by a previous caucus with bishops of the Church of England. Moreover, it was possible for one bishop to report to some clergy that, although he deplored the fact, it must be admitted that the conference was completely dominated by British bishops. He made it clear he meant bishops of the British Isles, and did not include those from Dominions or overseas territories of the British Empire.”

    “If church polity and authority are unimportant, then perhaps one can view this domination of the American Church by the English Church without a qualm. But if the question of authority in its religious form is the first and last issue of life, then we must pause before this issue, over which men have been willing to die heretofore. Even though today the Queen is accepted in England without much unrest as the unqualified head of the Church of England; and although Parliament is accepted as the governing body of the Church in England; it is not true that Royal Supremacy is accepted by all English speaking peoples as the true and righteous settlement of affairs of Christ among men. Certainly even among those who accept government control of the Church on principle (Erastianism or Caesaro-Papism) it would be difficult to explain a system under which the Queen of England could be accepted as the ultimate ecclesiastical authority for Americans.”

    “It is poor explanation to say the Queen did not preside at Lambeth, and that the invitation was extended, not by the Queen, but by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The fact remains that Canterbury is the Queen’s minister; he may well be the Primate of All England; but he is so at the appointment and sufferance of Her Royal Majesty, and his authority is severely limited by the Crown and Parliament. .. The Queen did receive the Lords Spiritual at Lambeth as an official act, and every British bishop present was appointed by the Crown. The fact that the British agree to their ecclesiastical system, and presumably like it, in no way alters the fact that it is precisely the system which Americans have resisted from the beginning of their history”

    Ingram continues,

    p. 15 “One must raise an eyebrow at the whole affair. The Church of England denies that any bishop has any authority of any kind over any other bishop. To be sure this clear cut Episcopal limitation is colored by the fact that English bishops are not allowed to accept leadership of the Bishop of Rome. But it also presupposes the fact that while no bishop has such authority, the British Crown has. But if Canterbury has no authority, what does it mean that he can summon a meeting of bishops from English speaking communities all over the world? Is there no authority attached to the power to convene? Reasonable me have ever seen in the power to convene a decisive power, a real authority is given to Canterbury by accepting his invitation to come across the seas to Lambeth Palace for a serious and deep fellowship of study about immediate and current affairs is to deny all authority. It is to make a farce of reality and to pretend that what is, is not. But he who ‘receives me, receives Him who sent me.’ He who accepts Canterbury as convening authority accepts the British Crown who names Canterbury. The principle is universal [as is the reverse: He who accepts the British Crown also accepts Canterbury as the convening authority for Lambeth?]”

    and lastly,

    p. 16-17, “The movement of the Great Reformation had come full circle. The freedom and independence of the Church from temporal government control was restored as a fundamental concept of Western Christianity. While German Lutheran princes and the House of Tudor had demolished this concept and established the ancient Imperial Byzantine Caesaro-Papism, their settlement was by no means final. Both Roman Catholics and Calvinists resisted heroically. It has been aptly said that Calvinism was the only ecclesiastical system to emerge from the Reformation independent of worldly government control. Whether or not this is so, it was the Calvinists of England and the Continent who colonized the shores of the New World and established there a new society in which they hoped to keep forever independent the spiritual and temporal powers. While the Presbyterians and Independents in England tried to wrest control from the Crown only to give it to Parliament, their brethren in America managed to form a government that kept the Church free and independent altogether. The balance of the two powers as known for centuries in Europe was restored in the New World.”

    “Who would deny that the distinguishing common religious principle of the United States is to preserve the separateness and independence of Church and State? The complaint in America against Roman Catholicism is usually centered on the Catholic doctrine of temporal connection with certain church affairs. The resistance to Royal or governmental domination of the Church has been passionate and determined from the start. That resistance made martyrs in England, and fired the Calvinists preachers of America. It is beside the point here to discuss particular failures of the Calvinist system to accomplish this mission in England or America: the point is Americans have ever recognized the crucial importance of the issue and have agreed that independence of the Church from the government is an end of supreme importance . For American clergy to reenter passively into the ecclesiastical wing of the British society which openly acknowledges Royal Supremacy is, if not a betrayal of the first magnitude, a revolution at the very foundation of the social order”.

    It might be noted the 1801 articles say nothing contrary either against erastianism or royal supremacy. Our articles are silent. Ingram is likely speaking about a cultural consensus that emerged in the American church. Further along, Ingram describes this native dislike for Erastianism as ‘the settled customs and political realities’ of the United States, which I think more accurate.


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