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on Cranmer’s 1552 liturgy was moderated by Elizabeth’s ‘catholic affections’, and while the 1559 Supremacy Act repealed Marian codes (sic., Romanism), the Queen requested the Prayer Book commission restore early Edwardian ceremony (G.G. Perry, p. 260).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.