« PreviousContinue »
A LIST OF THE CLERGY OF NORFOLK AND THEIR STATUS. 79
upon the social and academical status of the clergy. The democratic element in election and the poverty of the Church produced a class of parish priest, which, if at first pleasing to the masses, eventually lost their respect. The Injunctions? of 1547 state “Whereas many indiscreet persons do at this day uncharitably condemn and abuse Priests and ministers of the Church, because some of them (having small learning) have of long time favoured phansies rather than God's truth: the King's Majesty willeth and chargeth all his loving subjects that from henceforth they shall them charitably and lovingly”; a similar enactment appears in the Articles of Visitation of 1° Eliz., and in the Injunctions of the same year a fuller light is thrown upon the ignorant condition of the clergy, “Forasmuch as in these latter days, many have been made priests, being children and otherwise utterly unlearned, so that they could read to say Mattens or Mass: the Ordinaries shall not admit any such to any Cure or Spiritual Function."
Neale says 3 that Archbishop Parker, when visiting his diocese in 1561, “ found it in a deplorable condition; the major part of the beneficed clergy being mechanics or mass priests in disguise." The evils had been appreciated by Cranmer, but the revolutionary character of the times was not conducive to a steady application to the detailed wants of the various deaneries: the limited time and the following reign of Mary robbed his work of what success might otherwise bave followed, and it was left to Archbishop Parker to secure a higher tone generally throughout the Church.
In the first year of Elizabeth the matter of pluralities was enquired into, “ Whether they or any of them do
' Injunctions given by Edward VI., imprinted at London by Richard Grafton, MDLXVII. ? Liturgical Tracts, 1559.
3 Neale's History of the Puritans, vol. i., p. 103.
keep more Benefices and other Ecclesiastical Promotions than they ought to do.” A considerable latitude had been given to entice scholars back to the Church ranks, and the accompanying abuses had to be checked: two benefices only were allowed, and these to be distant from one another not more than thirty miles.
As a corollary to the plurality of benefices, the churches were often filled with ignorant itinerant preachers, and an important part of Parker's work was to see to the licensing of suitable men.
It is in connection with the above reforms that the following document is of interest. Of the 484 ministers entered 112 were pluralists, but, with two exceptions, Thomas Hoopes and Hugh Castleton, no holding more than two benefices, and, in accordance with the Royal injunctions, these were situated at convenient distances from one another. The same rule applies to those pluralists who were limited to two benefices. Robert Waller, however, held Mildenhall in Suffolk with North Tuddenham, and Thomas Bostocke, Blofield and Egmere, parishes with more than thirty miles between them, though it seems that the church
1 “Non licebit .... plusquam duo Ecclesiastica beneficia obtinere eodem tempore. Neque cuiquam omnino obtinere duo beneficia ; si plusquam viginti sex miliariis distincta sint."— Liber quorundam Canonum disciplina Anglicanæ, 1671.
Quod nemini in posterum facultas sive indulgentia concedetur de pluribus beneficiis simul retinendis, nisi hujusinodi tantum, qui pro eruditione sua & maxime digni & ... ... & quod ejusmodi Beneficia triginta milliarium spatio ad summum non diatent ab invicem."- Articuli pro Clero, 1584.
2 Articles and Injunctions, Liturgical Tracts, 1559.
"Item, whether they have admitted an man to preach in their cures, not being lawfully licensed thereunto, or have been licensed accordingly."
" And that no other be suffered to preach out of his own cure or parish, than such as shall be licensed as is above expressed."
of Egmere was not then desecrated. A more notable exception was that of John Hutchenson who was rector of Redenhall and Tilney, important places, which are separated by a distance of quite fifty miles.
The blank spaces in the record probably mean that a charge, not then vacant, had been promised, and reference to Blometield somewhat supports this idea.? Iu such cases the vicars or rectors have been counted as pluralists in the following analysis.
Of the 198 graduates there were 2 D.D., 3 LL.D., 22 B.D., 108 M.A.,? 59 B.A., 3 LL B., and I Mus.B.; and of the remaining 286 only 4 are mentioned as in any way incapacitated— Thomas Musgrave, Rector of Aylmerton; Dysse,
Dysse, i Pettycanon of Norwich; and William Grenewaye of St. Edmunde's—all three designated as old men; and John Skiminge, who is entered as “not able to preach."
It is not clear, from the following, which preachers were fully licensed to preach in any cure: 3 only are styled "licensed preacher," but 61 are entered as “ preacher,” 24 as “ preacher in his own cure," 13 as “able to preach,” and 5 as “public preacher.” Whatever these entries may mean they point to the fact that the pulpit supplies were being carefully supervised.
It is thus evident that there is little to lament in these matters: either the evils prevalent in the early years of Elizabeth have been over-stated or the work of Archbishop Parker was astonishingly successful.
See Elias Cromeleche, p. 86 infra, and Blomefield, vol. vii., pp. 302 and 463. 2 Robert West occurs as M.A., p. 86, and as B.D., p. 99.
This, con sidered with the blank spaces, most of which are found at the beginning of the record, appears to denote that some months elapsed while the return was being compiled.
13 9 3 9 14 3
6 19 15
1 3 10
1 The Deanery of Toftes or Toftrees does not occur, its parishes being divided between Burnham and Brisley. Yarmouth is not mentioned, but East Dereham is twice, viz., pp. 89 and 100.