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PECHAM, entered upon a provincial visitation. He began with the Jews, and wrote to the bishop of London to pull down all The strict their synagogues. The rigour, as some called it, of this partiality of mandate, was abated by the king: and the Jews were bishop's dis- allowed one synagogue in the city: however, the pomp of their service was lessened, and a great many of their ceremonies cut off. To proceed; the archbishop acted with great vigour and impartiality in his visitation, made a thorough inspection into matters, and exerted his discipline upon great numbers of the clergy and laity. For instance; in the first place, he enforced the canons against the pluralists, and made use of his authority against some of the most considerable in the Church. Upon this exception, he refused to confirm Dr. Richard More, and John Kirkey, the king's chaplain, to the sees of Winchester, and Lichfield, and made them both lose the benefit of their elections. And when they had appealed to the pope, he maintained the articles against them, and forced them, at last, to submit to his sentence, and drop the cause. After he had carried his point over these great men, he went on to the inferior clergy, and compelled them all to throw up their pluralities, and be contented with a single benefice. He pressed this part of discipline the closer, to take off an imputation he lay under at the court of Rome; where some of the cardinals had traduced him to the pope, as if he had favoured the misbehaviour of the English clergy too much, and been too gentle in his government against this disorder. To clear. himself of this charge, he not only reduced the clergy to the appointments of the Church; but likewise declared with great vehemence against pluralists, calling them sons of Belial, contemners of the canons, and sacrilegious usurpers of the holy revenues.
Neither did he manage his discipline with less strictness against non-residence. And, which is commendable, he struck at those who were best fortified, and in the highest stations. For instance; the bishop of Lichfield, being a foreigner and unacquainted with the English language, lived commonly out of his diocese: to this prelate the archbishop sent a publick summons to return and reside upon his see, under the penalty of deprivation. And when he came to Lambeth, the archbishop reprimanded him severely, and
told him, that since he had the misfortune not to be qualified to preach to his people, he was rather the more obliged K. of Eng. to dwell among them, and spend his revenue in hospitality, and relieving the poor.
He likewise appeared with great courage and zeal against license and debauchery. For example; when he visited the diocese of Chichester, he imposed three years' penance upon one Roger Ham, a priest convicted of fornication. This penance, which he was sworn to perform, was to consist in prayers, fasting, and pilgrimages; and besides, the profits of his living were sequestered for the use of the poor.
Farther, when he passed through the counties of Dorset A. p. 1284. Debauchery and Wilts, and was informed that one sir Osburn Gifford and licenhad carried off two nuns from the monastery of Wilton, he tiousness proceeded to excommunication against him; neither could he be prevailed on to remit the censure, without these remarkable conditions. First, sir Osburn was obliged never to go into a nunnery, nor so much as converse with any nun. Secondly, he was to be stripped to the waist, three Sundays together in Wilton parish church, and beaten with rods. This discipline was to be publickly repeated both in the market-place, and parish church of Shaftesbury. He had Id. p. 197. likewise a fast of several months enjoined him: was debarred the liberty of wearing a sword, or appearing in the habit of a gentleman. He was also to undergo three years' pilgrimage in the Holy Land. All this penance, he was bound under oath to perform. The archbishop likewise took care to have the nuns returned, and put under discipline.
The next year, at the parliament holden at Westminster, the statute of circumspecte agatis was passed. This act was made to distinguish the jurisdictions, and ascertain the bounds of the spiritual and temporal courts: and is designed for a sort of barrier between the Church and state. The statute runs thus:
The king to his judges sends greeting: "Use your- The statute selves circumspectly in all matters concerning the bishop of specte agaNorwich and his clergy, not punishing them if they hold tis. plea in court Christian of such things as be mere spiritual; that is to wit, of penance enjoined by prelates for deadly In what sin, as fornication, adultery, and such like; for the which, king's prosometimes corporal penance, and sometimes pecuniary, is hibition does
PECHAM, enjoined, especially if a free man be convicted of such things. Abp. Cant. Also, if prelates do punish for leaving the churchyard unclosed, or for that the church is uncovered, or not conveniently decked, in which cases none other penance can be enjoined but pecuniary.
"Item. If a parson demand of his parishioners oblations, or tithes due and accustomed; or if any parson do sue against another parson, for tithes greater or smaller, so that the fourth part of the value of the benefice be not demanded. "Item. If a parson demand mortuaries in places where a mortuary has been used to be given.
"Item. If a prelate of a church, or a patron, demand of a parson a pension due to him, all such demands are to be made in a spiritual court. And for laying violent hands on a clerk, and in cause of defamation, it has been granted already that it shall be tried in a spiritual court; when money is not demanded, but a thing done for punishment of sin, and likewise for breaking an oath. In all cases afore rehearsed, the spiritual judge shall have power to take knowledge, notwithstanding the king's prohibition."
See Records, num. 41.
The interest of the Church being particularly concerned in this statute, I shall give the reader some remarks upon it, and mostly from sir Edward Coke.
First. The authority of this act is questioned; it is styled Nath. Ba- a writing somewhat like a grant of liberties, which before times were in controversy: and this grant (if it may be so called) has, by continuance, usurped the name of a statute, but in its own nature is no other than a writ directed to the 1. 1. p. 234. judges.
Dis. of the
The learned sir Edward Coke takes notice of this objecrity of the tion, and gives it an answer beyond reply; "Though some,"
says he, "have said that this was no statute, but made by the prelates themselves; yet that this is an act of parliament part 2. fol. is proved, not only by our books, but also by an act of par
To proceed to some of the branches of the statute.
[In all matters concerning the bishop of Norwich, &c.]
The bishop of Norwich is here only put for example; but the force and benefit of the statute extends to all the bishops of the realm.
[In court Christian.]
K. of Eng.
The court Christian, as Linwood and sir Edward Coke EDexplain it, is so called, because, as in the secular courts, the WARD I. king's laws sway and decide causes, so in ecclesiastical Remarks courts, the laws of Christ give the measure and direction; upon the for which cause the judges of those courts are divines, as archbishops, bishops, archdeacons, &c.
[Such things as be mere spiritual.]
They are called mere spiritual, for that they have no mixture of the temporalities, and because they are corrections pro salute animæ.
Ibid. fol. 488.
The famous lawyer Britton, who lived about the time of Britton, fol. making this statute, affirms that holy Church has the cog- Matters nizance of pure spirituals: heresies, schisms, holy orders, within the and the like, as sir Edward Coke rightly observes, are mere of the spirispiritual things. In short, all things fundamental to the ual court. government and independent state of the Church, and without which, it can neither subsist upon its divine charter, nor attain the end of its institution: all these things, I say, may be called mere spirituals, and lie within the jurisdiction of the Church. Because all independent societies must have a sufficient power of government and legislation to preserve themselves. Britton, who is supposed to have written before the making of this statute, declares causes matrimonial, and testamentary, bastardy, bigamy, felony of clerks, besides several other things mentioned in this act, to be all within the cognizance of the court Christian.
On the other side it is said that the administration of the goods of a man dying intestate, was granted to ordinaries by the king, and the great men of the realm, and that the probate of testaments belongs to court Christian by the custom of England, and not by common right. This assertion seems sufficiently defensible: for since our Saviour's kingdom is not of this world, the Church can have no authority to bind property, and determine about civil interest; and therefore all jurisdiction of this kind must be conveyed to her by the secular magistrate: however, after such jurisdiction is once vested in her by ancient usage, or the acts of the state, her title stands upon the common foundation of law, and is equally guarded with the rest of the subjects' property.
To go on with the act. [For deadly sin, as, fornication, Adultery,
Coke Inst. ...
2. fol. 488.
PECHAM, adultery, and such like.] Upon these words, sir Edward Abp. Cant. Coke observes, that in ancient time, the king's courts, and Coke ibid. especially the leets, had power to enquire of, and punish fornication and adultery by the name of Letherwite: and, as he adds, it appears often in the Book of Doomsday, that the king had the fines assessed for those offences that were assessed in the king's courts, and could not be inflicted in the court Christian. [And such like.] That is, as Linwood expounds it, incest and other crimes which lie under the head of licentiousness: to which he adds, sacrilege, heresy, simony, perjury, &c. But then, he very justly puts a limitation upon the words, "mortal, and deadly sin,” mentioned in the statute. This, says he, is not to be understood of every mortal sin, but only of such as, in their own nature, are punishable in the ecclesiastical court. For, if the cognizance of every mortal sin belonged to the Church, the jurisdiction of the civil magistrate would be, in a manner, extinguished: for there being injustice, and, by consequence, mortal sin, Linwood de in most law suits, at least on one side: at this rate, almost petenti, lib. every cause might be drawn within the verge of the court 2. tit. 2. p.
[Also, if prelates punish for leaving the churchyard unand church- closed.] The parishioners ought to repair the enclosure of
the churchyard, because the bodies of the more common sort are buried there. This is done out of a regard to the bodies of the dead, to preserve the graves and the church from injury and annoyance. And though this, by common law, is to be done at the charge of the parish, the cognizance Britton. fol. of the failure belongs to the spiritual judge.
[Or for that the church is uncovered, or not conveniently decked.]
2. Cok ibid. fol. 489.
In like manner, the parishioners, by this act, ought to repair the church; for that it is the place where divine service is celebrated, and where the bodies of the parishioners of the best quality are buried; in respect whereof this law does allow the ecclesiastical court to have cognizance thereof, and for the providing of decent ornaments, for the Coke ibid. celebration of divine service.
The clause relating to the church being uncovered, is intended not only of the body of the church, which is parochial; but also of any publick chapel annexed to it: but it