The Injunctions of 1559

Henry Gee and W.H. Hardy, eds.,
Documents Illustrative of English Church History (New York, 1896), 417-42.

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned and proofread by Heather Haralson, April 1998.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.

Editors' Introduction: These Injunctions, which would appear to have been drawn up by Cecil and his advisers, were ready in June of 1559 for the visitors to take round. Their basis is the series of Injunctions published under Edward VI in 1547. They follow that series for the most [Page 418] part from 1 to 28. The more important changes are indicated in the notes. The number in the margin refers to the corresponding paragraph in the Edwardine document. The Injunctions of Edward, which have been dropped entirely, are Nos. 6, concerning the occupation of children and servants; 7, concerning the absence of clergy from their cures; 12, concerning the recantation of erroneous teaching about relics, &c.; 20, concerning unauthorized alteration of fasts, &c.; 27, concerning the preaching of dignitaries; 31, concerning sick visitation, &c.; 36, concerning chantry priests; and 37, concerning the omission of the Hours when there is a sermon. Those which follow the first 28, are chiefly new.

The queen's most royal majesty, by the advice of her most honourable council, intending the advancement of the true honour of Almighty God, the suppression of superstition throughout all her highness's realms and dominions, and to plant true religion to the extirpation of all hypocrisy, enormities, and abuses (as to her duty appertaineth), doth minister unto her loving subjects these godly Injunctions hereafter following. All which Injunctions her highness willeth and commandeth her loving subjects obediently to receive, and truly to observe and keep, every man in their offices, degrees, and states, as they will avoid her highness's displeasure, and pains of the same hereafter expressed.

I. The first is, that all deans, archdeacons, parsons, vicars, and all other ecclesiastical persons shall faithfully keep and observe, and as far as in them may lie, shall cause to be observed and kept of other, all and singular laws and statutes made for the restoring to the crown, the ancient jurisdiction over the state ecclesiastical, and abolishing of all foreign power, repugnant to the same[2]. And furthermore, all ecclesiastical persons having cure of souls shall, [Page 419] to the uttermost of their wit, knowledge, and learning, purely and [3] sincerely, and without any colour or dissimu-lation, declare, manifest, and open four times every year at the least, in their sermons and other collations, that all usurped and foreign power [4] having no establishment nor ground by the law of God, is, for [5] most just causes, taken away and abolished; and that therefore no manner of obedience and [6] subjection within her[7] highness's realms and dominions is due unto any such foreign power [8]. And that the queen's [9] power within her [7] realms and dominions is the highest power under God, to whom all men, within the same realms and dominions, by God's laws, owe most loyalty and obedience, afore and above all other powers and potentates in earth.

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 [10] any images, relics, or miracles; but, declaring the abuse of the same [11], 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. Item, that they, the persons above rehearsed, shall preach [12] in their churches, and every other cure they have, one sermon every month [13] of the year at the least, wherein they shall purely and sincerely declare the word of God, and in the same exhort their hearers to the works of faith, as [14] mercy and charity especially prescribed and commanded in Scripture; and that the [14] works devised by [Page 420] man's fantasies, besides Scripture (as wandering of [15] pilgrimages, setting up of candles [16], 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 [17] 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 honour and glory.

IV. Item, that they, the persons above rehearsed, shall preach in their own persons, once in every quarter of the year at the least, one sermon, being licensed especially thereunto, as is specified hereafter; or else shall read some homily prescribed to be used by the queen's authority every Sunday at the least, unless some other preacher sufficiently licensed, as hereafter, chance to come to the parish for the same purpose of preaching [18].

V. Item, that every holy-day through the year, when they have no sermon, they shall immediately after the Gospel openly and plainly recite to their parishioners in the pulpit the Pater noster, the Creed, and the Ten Com-mandments, in English, to the intent that the people may learn the same by heart; exhorting all parents and house holders to teach their children and servants the same, as they are bound by the law of God and conscience to do [19].

[Page 421] VI. Also, that they shall provide within three months next after this visitation at the charges of the parish [20], one book of the whole Bible of the largest volume in English; and within one twelve months next after the said visitation, the Paraphrases of Erasmus also in English upon the Gospel, and the same set up in some convenient place within the said church that they have cure of; whereas their parishioners may most commodiously resort unto the same, and read the same, out of the time of common service [20]. The charges of the Paraphrases [21] shall be by the parson or proprietary and parishioners borne by equal portions [22]; and they shall discourage no man [23] from the reading of any part of the Bible, either in Latin or in English, but shall rather [24] exhort every person to read the same with great humility and reverence, as the very lively word of God, and the especial food of man's soul, which all Christian persons are bound to embrace, believe, and follow, if they look to be saved; whereby they may the better know their duties to God, to their sovereign lady the queen [25], and their neighbour; ever gently and charitably exhorting them, and in her [26] majesty's name straitly charging and commanding them, that in the reading thereof, no man to reason or contend, but quietly to hear the reader.

VII. Also, the said ecclesiastical persons shall in no wise at any unlawful time, nor for any other cause, than for their honest necessities, haunt or resort to any taverns or alehouses. And after their meats [27], they shall not give themselves to drinking or riot, spending their time idly by day and [28] by night at dice, cards, or tables playing, or [Page 422] any other unlawful game; but at all times, as they shall have leisure, they shall hear or read somewhat of Holy Scripture, or shall occupy themselves with some other honest study, or [29] exercise; and that they always do the things which appertain to honesty, and endeavour to profit the commonwealth; having always in mind that they ought to excel all other in purity of life, and should be examples [30] to the people to live well and Christianly.

VIII. Also, that they shall admit no man to preach within any their cures, but such as shall appear unto them to be sufficiently licensed thereunto by the queen's majesty, or [31] the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Archbishop of York, in either their provinces [32], or by the bishop of the diocese, or by the queen's majesty's visitors [29]. And such as shall be so licensed, they shall gladly receive to declare the word of God at convenient times, without any resistance or contradiction. 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 [29].

IX. Also, if they do or shall know any man within their parish or elsewhere, that is a letter of the word of God to be read in English, or sincerely preached, or of the execu-tion of these the queen's [33] majesty's Injunctions, or a fautor of any usurped and foreign [34] power, now by the laws of this realm justly rejected and taken away, they shall detect and present the same to the queen's majesty, or to her [35] council, or to the ordinary [29], or to the justice of peace next adjoining.

X. Also, that the parson, vicar, or curate, and parishioners of every parish within this realm, shall in their churches and chapels keep one book or register, wherein they shall [Page 423] write the day and year of every wedding, christening, and burial made within their parish for their time, and so every man succeeding them likewise; and also therein shall write every person's name that shall be so wedded, christened, and buried. And for the safe keeping of the same book, the parish shall be bound to provide of their common charges one sure coffer, with two locks and keys, whereof the one to remain with the parson, vicar, or curate, and the other with the wardens of every parish church or chapel, wherein the said book shall be laid up. Which book they shall every Sunday take forth, and in the pre-sence of the said wardens, or one of them, write and record in the same all the weddings, christenings, and burials, made the whole week before; and that done, to lay up the book in the said coffer as before: and for every time that the same shall be omitted, the party that shall be in the fault thereof shall forfeit to the said church 3s. 4d., to be employed the one half[36] to the poor men's box of that parish, the other half towards the repairing of the church [36],

XI. Furthermore, because the goods of the Church are called the goods of the poor, and at these days nothing is less seen, than the poor to be sustained with the same; all parsons, vicars, pensionaries, prebendaries, and other beneficed men within this deanery, not being resident upon their benefices, which may dispend yearly 20l. or above, either within this deanery, or elsewhere, shall distribute hereafter among their poor parishioners, or other inhabi-tants there, in the presence of the churchwardens, or some other honest man of the parish, the fortieth part of the fruits and revenues of their said benefice [37]; lest they be worthily noted of ingratitude, which reserving so many parts to themselves, cannot vouchsafe to impart the fortieth portion thereof among the poor people of that parish, that is so fruitful and profitable unto them.

[Page 424] XII. And, to the intent that learned men may hereafter spring, the more for the execution of the premises, every parson, vicar, clerk, or beneficed man within this deanery, having yearly to dispend in benefices and other promo-tions of the Church 100l., shall give 3l. 6s. 8d. in [38] exhibition to one scholar in any of the universities [39]; and for as many hundred pounds more as he may dispend, to so many scholars more shall give like exhibition in the University of Oxford or Cambridge, or some grammar school, which, after they have profited in good learning, may be partners of their patron's cure and charge, as well in preach-ing, as otherwise in executing of their offices, or may, when need shall be, otherwise profit the commonweal with their counsel and wisdom.

XIII. Also, that all [40] proprietaries, parsons, vicars, and clerks, having churches, chapels, or mansions within this deanery, shall bestow yearly hereafter upon the same mansions or chancels of their churches, being in decay, the fifth part of that their benefices, till they be fully repaired, and [41] shall always keep and maintain in good estate.

XIV. Also, that the said parsons, vicars, and clerks shall once every quarter of the year read these Injunctions given unto them, openly and deliberately before all their parishioners at one time, or at two several times in one day; to the intent that both they may be the better admonished of their duty, and their said parishioners the more moved to follow the same for their part. XV. Also, forasmuch as by laws [42] established, every man is bound to pay his tithes, no man shall by colour of duty omitted by their curates, detain their tithes and so [43] requite one wrong with another, or be his own judge; but shall truly pay the same, as [44] hath been accustomed, to [Page 425] their parsons, vicars, and curates, without any restraint or diminution; and such lack and default as they can justly find in their parsons and curates, to call for reformation thereof at their ordinaries and other superiors [45], who, upon complaint and due proof thereof, shall reform the same accordingly.

XVI. Also, that every parson, vicar, curate, and stipendiary priest [46], being under the degree of a master of art [47], shall provide and have of his own, within three months after this visitation, the New Testament both in Latin and in English, with paraphrases upon the same [48], conferring the one with the other. And the bishops and other ordinaries by themselves or their officers, in their synods and visita-tions, shall examine the said ecclesiastical persons, how they have profited in the study of Holy Scripture.

XVII. Also, that the vice of damnable despair may be clearly taken away, and that firm belief and steadfast hope may be surely conceived of all their parishioners, being in any danger; they shall learn and have always in a readiness such comfortable places and sentences of Scripture, as do set forth the mercy, benefits, and goodness of Almighty God towards all penitent and believing persons; that they may at all times when necessity shall require, promptly comfort their flock with the lively word of God, which is the only stay of man's conscience [49].

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 [Page 426] 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 [50], 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 [51]. And in cathedral or collegiate churches the same shall be done in such places, and in such sort, as our commissioners in our visitation shall appoint. And in the time of the Litany, of the common prayer [52], of the sermon, and when the priest readeth the Scripture to the parishioners, no manner of persons, without a just and urgent cause, shall use any walking in the church, nor shall [53] depart out of the church; 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 retain-ing 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 [53].

XIX. Provided, that the curate in their said common perambulations, used heretofore in the days of rogations, at certain convenient places shall admonish the people to give thanks to God, in the beholding of God's benefits, for the increase and abundance of His fruits upon the face of the earth, with the saying of the 103rd Psalm, 'Benedic anima mea,' &c. At which time also the same minister shall inculcate these or such sentences: 'Cursed be he, which [Page 427] translateth the bounds and doles of his neighbour.' Or such other order of prayers, as shall be hereafter appointed [54].

XX. Item [55], all the queen's [56] faithful and loving subjects shall from henceforth celebrate and keep their holy day according to God's[57] will and pleasure; that is, in hearing the word of God read and taught, in private and public prayers, in knowledging their offences to God, and amend-ment of the same, in reconciling themselves charitably to their neighbours, where displeasure hath been, in oftentimes receiving the communion of the very Body and Blood of Christ, in visiting of the poor and sick, using all soberness and godly conversation. Yet notwithstanding, all parsons, vicars, and curates shall teach and declare unto their parishioners, that they may with a safe and quiet conscience, after their common prayer in the time of harvest, labour upon the holy and festival days, and save that thing which God hath sent; and if for any scrupulosity or grudge of conscience, men should superstitiously abstain from working upon those days, that then they should grievously offend and displease God.

XXI. Also, forasmuch as variance and contention is a thing that most displeases God, and is most contrary to the blessed communion of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ, curates shall in no wise admit to the receiving thereof any of their cure and flock, which be openly known [Page 428] to live in sin notorious without repentance, or [58] who hath maliciously and openly contended with his neighbour, unless the same do first charitably and openly reconcile himself again, remitting all rancour and malice, whatsoever controversy hath been between them. And nevertheless, their just titles and rights they may charitably prosecute before such as have authority to hear the same.

XXII. Also, that they shall instruct and teach in their cures, that no man ought obstinately and maliciously to break and violate the laudable ceremonies of the Church, commanded by public authority to be observed [59].

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 [58]; and they shall exhort all their parishioners to do the like within their several houses.

XXIV. And that the churchwardens, at the common [Page 429] charge of the parishioners, in every church shall provide a comely and honest pulpit, to be set in a convenient place within the same, and to be there seemly kept [60] for the preaching of God's word.

XXV. Also, they shall provide and have within three months after this visitation, a strong chest with a hole in the upper part thereof, to be provided at the cost and charge of the parish, having three keys, whereof one shall remain in the custody of the parson, vicar, or curate, and the other two in the custody of the churchwardens, or any other two honest men, to be appointed by the parish from year to year; which chest you shall set and fasten in a most convenient place [61], to the intent the parishioners should put into it their oblations and alms for their poor neighbours. And the parson, vicar, and curate shall diligently from time to time, and especially when men make their testaments, call upon, exhort, and move their neighbours to confer and give, as they may well spare, to the said chest: declaring unto them, whereas heretofore they have been diligent to bestow much substance, otherwise than God commanded, upon pardons, pilgrimages, trentals, decking of images, offering of candles, giving to friars, and upon other like blind devotions, they ought at this time to be much more ready to help the poor and needy; knowing that to relieve the poor is a true worshipping of God, required earnestly upon pain of everlasting damnation; and that also whatsoever is given for their comfort, is given to Christ Himself, and so is accepted of Him, that He will mercifully reward the same with everlasting life. The which alms and devotion of the people the keepers of the keys shall at times con-venient take out of the chest, and distribute the same in the presence of the whole parish, or six of them, to be truly and faithfully delivered to their most needy neighbours; and if [Page 430] they be provided for, then to the reparation of highways next adjoining, or to the poor people of such parishes near, as shall be thought best to the said keepers of the keys [62]. And also the money which rise of fraternities, guilds, and other stocks of the Church (except by the queen's [63] majesty's authority it be otherwise appointed) shall be put in the said chest, and converted to the said use; and also the rents of lands, the profit of cattle, and money given or bequeathed to obits and dirges, and [62] to the finding of torches, lights, tapers, and lamps, shall be converted to the said use; saving that it shall be lawful for them to bestow part of the said profits upon the reparation of the said church, if great need require, and whereas the parish is very poor, and not able otherwise to repair the same.

XXVI. Also, to avoid the detestable sin of simony, because buying and selling of benefices is execrable before God, therefore all such persons, as buy any benefices, or come to them by fraud or deceit, shall be deprived of such benefices, and be made unable at any time after to receive any other spiritual promotion; and such as do sell them, or by any colour do bestow them for their own gain and profit, shall lose their right and title of patronage and present-ment for that time, and the gift thereof for that vacation shall appertain to the queen's [63] majesty.

XXVII. Also, because through lack of preachers in many places of the queen's [63] realms and dominions the people continue in ignorance and blindness, all parsons, vicars, and curates shall read in their churches every Sunday one of the Homilies, which are and shall be set forth for the same pur-pose by the queen's [63] authority, in such sort, as they shall be appointed to do in the preface of the same.

XXVIII. Item, whereas many indiscreet persons do at this day uncharitably contemn and abuse priests and minis-ters of the Church, because some of them (having small [Page 431] learning) have of long time favoured fond phantasies rather than God's truth; yet forasmuch as their office and function is appointed of God, the queen 's[64] majesty willeth and chargeth all her [65] loving subjects, that from henceforth they shall use them charitably and reverently for their office and ministration sake, and especially such as labour in the setting forth of God's holy word.

XXIX [66]. Item, although there be no prohibition by the word of God, nor any example of the primitive Church, but that the priests and ministers of the Church may lawfully, for the avoiding of fornication, have an honest and sober wife, and that for the same purpose the same was by Act of Parliament in the time of our dear brother King Edward VI made lawful, whereupon a great number of the clergy of this realm were then married, and so yet continue; yet because there hath grown offence, and some slander to the Church by lack of discreet and sober behaviour in many ministers of the Church, both in choosing of their wives and indiscreet living with them, the remedy whereof is necessary to be sought: it is thought, therefore, very neces-sary that no manner of priest or deacon shall hereafter take to his wife any manner of woman without the advice and allow-ance first had upon good examination by the bishop of the same diocese, and two justices of the peace of the same shire, dwelling next to the place where the same woman hath made her most abode before her marriage; nor without the good will of the parents of the said woman, if she have any living, or two of the next of her kinsfolks, or, for lack of knowledge of such, of her master or mistress, where she serveth. And before he shall be contracted in any place, he shall make a good and certain proof thereof to the minister, or to the congregation assembled for that purpose, [Page 432] which shall be upon some holy day, where divers may be present. And if any shall do otherwise, that then they shall not be permitted to minister either the word or the sacraments of the Church, nor shall be capable of any ecclesias-tical benefice. And for the manner of marriages of any bishops, the same shall be allowed and approved by the metropolitan of the province, and also by such commis-sioners as the queen's majesty shall thereunto appoint. And if any master or dean, or any head of any college, shall purpose to marry, the same shall not be allowed, but by such to whom the visitation of the same doth properly belong, who shall in any wise provide that the same tend not to the hindrance of their house.

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. I Cor. 14 cap.

XXXI. Item, that no man shall wilfully and obstinately defend or maintain any heresies, errors, or false doctrine, contrary to the faith of Christ and His Holy Spirit.

XXXII. Item, that no persons shall use charms, sorceries, [Page 433] enchantments, witchcraft, soothsaying, or any suchlike devilish device, nor shall resort at any time to the same for counsel or help.

XXXIII. Item, that no persons shall, neglecting their own parish church, resort to any other church in time of common prayer or preaching, except it be by the occasion of some extraordinary sermon in some parish of the same town.

XXXIV. Item, that no innholders or alehouse-keepers shall use to sell meat or drink in the time of common prayer, preaching, reading of the Homilies or Scriptures.

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

XXXVI. Item, that no man shall willingly let or disturb the preacher in time of his sermon, or let or discourage any curate or minister to sing or say the divine service now set forth; nor mock or jest at the ministers of such service.

XXXVII. Item, that no man shall talk or reason of the Holy Scriptures rashly or contentiously, nor maintain any false doctrine or error, but shall commune of the same, when occasion is given, reverently, humbly, and in the fear of God, for his comfort and better understanding.

XXXVIII. Item, that no man, woman, or child shall be otherwise occupied in the time of the service, than in quiet attendance to hear, mark, and understand that is read, preached, and ministered.

XXXIX. Item, that every schoolmaster and teacher shall teach the Grammar set forth by King Henry VIII of noble memory, and continued in the time of King Edward VI, and none other.

XL. Item, that no man shall take upon him to teach, but such as shall be allowed by the ordinary, and found meet as [Page 434] well for his learning and dexterity in teaching, as for sober and honest conversation, and also for right understanding of God's true religion.

XLI. Item, that all teachers of children shall stir and move them to the love and due reverence of God's true religion now truly set forth by public authority.

XLII. Item, that they shall accustom their scholars reve-rently to learn such sentences of Scriptures as shall be most expedient to induce them to all godliness.

XLIII. Item, forasmuch as in these latter days many have been made priests, being children, and otherwise utterly unlearned, so that they could read to say Matins or Mass, the ordinaries shall not admit any such to any cure or spiritual function.

XLIV. Every parson, vicar, and curate shall upon every holy day, and every second Sunday in the year, hear and instruct all the youth of the parish for half an hour at the least before evening prayer, in the Ten Commandments, the Articles of the Belief, and in the Lord's Prayer, and diligently examine them, and teach the Catechism set forth in the book of public prayer.

XLV. Item, that the ordinary do exhibit unto our visitors their books, or a true copy of the same, containing the causes why any person was imprisoned, famished, or put to death for religion.

XLVI. Item, that in every parish three or four discreet men, which tender God's glory, and His true religion, shall be appointed by the ordinaries diligently to see that all the parishioners duly resort to their church upon all Sundays and holy days, and there to continue the whole time of the godly service; and all such as shall be found slack or negligent in resorting to the church, having no great nor urgent cause of absence, they shall straitly call upon them, and after due admonition if they amend not, they shall denounce them to the ordinary.

[Page 435] XLVII. Item, that the churchwardens of every parish shall deliver unto our visitors the inventories of vestments, copes, and other ornaments, plate, books, and specially of grails, couchers, legends, processionals, manuals, hymnals, portasses, and such like appertaining to their church.

XLVII I. Item, that weekly upon Wednesdays and Fridays, not being holy days, the curate at the accustomed hours of service shall resort to church, and cause warning to be given to the people by knolling of a bell, and say the Litany and 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.

L. Item, because in all alterations, and specially in rites [Page 436] and ceremonies, there happen discords amongst the people, and thereupon slanderous words and railings, whereby charity, the knot of all Christian society, is loosed; the queen's majesty being most desirous of all other earthly things, that her people should live in charity both towards God and man, and therein abound in good works, wills and straitly commands all manner her subjects to forbear all vain and contentious disputations in matters of religion, and not to use in despite or rebuke of any person these convicious words, papist or papistical heretic, schis-matic or sacramentary, or any suchlike words of reproach. But if any manner of person shall deserve the accusation of any such, that first he be charitably admonished thereof; and if that shall not amend him, then to denounce the offender to the ordinary, or to some higher power having authority to correct the same.

LI. Item, because there is a great abuse in the printers of books, which for covetousness chiefly regard not what they print, so they may have gain, whereby ariseth great disorder by publication of unfruitful, vain, and infamous books and papers; the queen's majesty straitly charges and commands, that no manner of person shall print any manner of book or paper, of what sort, nature, or in what language soever it be, except the same be first licensed by her majesty by express words in writing, or by six of her privy council; or be perused and licensed by the archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishop of London, the chancellors of both universities, the bishop being ordinary, and the archdeacon also of the place, where any such shall be printed, or by two of them, whereof the ordinary of the place to be always one. And that the names of such as shall allow the same to be added in the end of every such work, for a testimony of the allowance threof. And because many pamphlets, plays, and ballads be oftentimes printed, wherein regard would be had that nothing therein should be [Page 437] either heretical, seditious, or unseemly for Christian ears; her majesty likewise commands that no manner of person shall enterprise to print any such, except the same be to him licensed by such her majesty's commissioners, or three of them, as be appointed in the city of London to hear and determine divers causes ecclesiastical, tending to the execu-tion of certain statutes made the last Parliament for uniformity of order in religion. And if any shall sell or utter any manner of books or papers, being not licensed as is above-said, that the same party shall be punished by order of the said commissioners, as to the quality of the fault shall be thought meet. And touching all other books of matters of religion, or policy, or governance that have been printed, either on this side the seas or on the other side, because the diversity of them is great, and that there needs good consideration to be had of the particularities thereof, her majesty refers the prohibition or permission thereof to the order which her said commissioners within the city of London shall take and notify. According to the which her majesty straitly commands all manner her subjects, and especially the wardens and company of Stationers, to be obedient.

Provided that these orders do not extend to any profane authors and works in any language, that have been heretofore commonly received or allowed in any the universities or schools, but the same may be printed and used as by good order they were accustomed.

LII. Item, although Almighty God is at all times to be honoured with all manner of reverence that may be devised; yet of all other times, in time of common prayer the same is most to be regarded; therefore it is to be necessarily received, that in time of the Litany, and all other collects and common supplications to Almighty God, all manner of people shall devoutly and humbly kneel upon their knees and give ear thereunto; and that whensoever the name of Jesus shall be in any lesson, sermon, or otherwise in the [Page 438] church pronounced, that due reverence be made of all persons young and old, with lowliness of courtesy and uncovering of heads of the menkind, as thereunto does neces-sarily belong, and heretofore has been accustomed.

LIII. Item, that all ministers and readers of public prayers, chapters, and homilies shall be charged to read leisurely, plainly, and distinctly; and also such as are but mean readers shall peruse over before, once or twice, the chapters and homilies, to the intent they may read to the better understanding of the people, and the more encouragement to godliness.

An admonition to simple men deceived by malicious.

The queen's majesty being informed that in certain places of this realm, sundry of her native subjects, being called to ecclesiastical ministry of the Church, be by sinister persua-sion and perverse construction induced to find some scruple in the form of an oath, which by an Act of the last Parliament is prescribed to be required of divers persons for their recognition of their allegiance to her majesty, which certainly never was ever meant, nor by any equity of words or good sense can be thereof gathered - would that all her loving subjects should understand that nothing was, is, or shall be meant or intended by the same oath to have any other duty, allegiance, or bond required by the same oath, than was acknowledged to be due to the most noble kings of famous memory, King Henry VIII, her majesty's father, or King Edward VI, her majesty's brother.

And further, her majesty forbids all manner her sub-jects to give ear or credit to such perverse and malicious persons, which most sinisterly and maliciously labour to notify to her loving subjects, how by the words of the said oath it may be collected, that the kings or queens of this realm, [Page 439] possessors of the crown, may challenge authority and power of ministry of divine offices in the church; wherein her said subjects be much abused by such evil-disposed persons. For certainly her majesty neither does nor ever will challenge any other authority than that was challenged and lately used by the said noble kings of famous memory, King Henry VIII and King Edward VI, which is and was of ancient time due to the imperial crown of this realm; that is, under God to have the sovereignty and rule over all manner persons born within these her realms, dominions, and countries, of what estate, either ecclesiastical or temporal, soever they be, so as no other foreign power shall or ought to have any superiority over them. And if any person that has con-ceived any other sense of the form of the said oath shall accept the same oath with this interpretation, sense, or meaning, her majesty is well pleased to accept every such in that behalf, as her good and obedient subjects, and shall acquit them of all manner penalties contained in the said Act against such as shall peremptorily or obstinately refuse to take the same oath.

For tables in the church.

Whereas her majesty understands that in many and sundry parts of the realm the altars of the churches be removed, and tables placed for administration of the Holy Sacrament, according to the form of the law therefor provided; and in some other places the altars be not yet removed, upon opinion conceived of some other order therein to be taken by her majesty's visitors; in the order whereof, saving for an uniformity, there seems no matter of great moment, so that the Sacrament be duly and reverently ministered; yet for observation of one uniformity through the whole realm, and for the better imitation of the law in that behalf, it is ordered that no altar be taken down, but by oversight of the curate of the church, and the churchwardens [Page 440] , or one of them at the least, wherein no riotous or disordered manner to be used. And that the holy table in every church be decently made, and set in the place where the altar stood, and there commonly covered, as thereto belongs, and as shall be appointed by the visitors, and so to stand, saving when the communion of the Sacrament is to be distributed; at which time the same shall be so placed in good sort within the chancel, as whereby the minister may be more conveniently heard of the communicants in his prayer and ministration, and the communicants also more conveniently and in more number communicate with the said minister. And after the communion done, from time to time the same holy table to be placed where it stood before.

Item, where also it was in the time of King Edward VI used to have the sacramental bread of common fine bread, it is ordered for the more reverence to be given to these holy mysteries, being the sacraments of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ, that the same sacramental bread be made and formed plain, without any figure thereupon, of the same fineness and fashion round, though somewhat bigger in compass and thickness, as the usual bread and water, heretofore named singing cakes, which served for the use of the private Mass.

The form of bidding the prayers to be used generally in this uniform sort.

Ye shall pray for Christ's Holy Catholic Church, that is for the whole congregation of Christian people dispersed throughout the whole world, and especially for the Church of England and Ireland. And herein I require you most specially to pray for the queen's most excellent majesty, our sovereign lady Elizabeth, queen of England, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, and supreme governor of this [Page 441] realm as well in causes ecclesiastical as temporal. You shall also pray for the ministers of God's holy word and sacraments, as well archbishops and bishops, as other pastors and curates. You shall also pray for the queen's most honourable council and for all the nobility of this realm, that all and every of these in their calling, may serve truly and painfully to the glory of God and edifying of His people, remembering the account that they must make. Also ye shall pray for the whole Commons of this realm, that they may live in true faith and fear of God, in humble obedience and brotherly charity one to another. Finally, let us praise God for all those that are departed out of this life in the faith of Christ, and pray unto God that we have grace for to direct our lives after their good example, that after this life we with them may be made partakers of the glorious resurrection in the life ever-lasting.

And this done, show the holy-days and fasting days.

All which and singular Injunctions [67] the queen's majesty ministers unto her clergy and to all other her loving subjects, straitly charging and commanding them to observe and keep the same upon pain of deprivation, sequestration of fruits and benefices, suspension, excommunication, and such other coercion, as to ordinaries, or other having ecclesiastical jurisdiction, whom her majesty has appointed, or shall appoint for the due execution of the same, shall be seen convenient; charging and commanding them to see these Injunctions observed and kept of all persons being under their jurisdiction, as they will answer to her majesty [Page 442] for the contrary. And her highness's pleasure is, that every justice of peace being required, shall assist the ordinaries, and every of them, for the due execution of the said Injunctions.


[1] The Edwardine Injunctions of 1547 may be seen in Cardwell's "Documentary Annals" i. p.4.

[2] as well for the abolishing and extirpation of the Bishop of Rome, his pretensed and usurped power and jurisdiction, as for the establish-ment and confirmation of the king's authority, jurisdiction, and supremacy of the Church of England and Ireland.

[3] Om.

[4] the Bishop of Rome's usurped power and jurisdiction.

[5] was of.

[6] or.

[7] his.

[8] him.

[9] king's.

[10] Om.

[11] for any superstition or lucre; nor allure the people by any enticements to the pilgrimage of any saint or image; but, reproving the same.

[12] make or cause to be made.

[13] quarter.

[14] Om.

[15] to.

[16] offering of money, candles or tapers to relics, or images, or kissing and licking of the same.

[17] be.

[18] This Injunction is new, and in the place of one which required the removal of all images, and the tapers or candles usually set before them, but expressly allowed 'two lights upon the high altar before the sacrament, which, for the signification that Christ is the very true light of the world, they shall suffer to remain still.' It appears however from the Injunctions of 1549 (No.3), and the subsequent Injunctions of Bishop Ridley, 1550 (No.2), that the permission had in the meantime been withdrawn.

[19] Verbatim.

[20] Om.

[21] which books.

[22] rateably borne between the parson and approprietary and parishioners aforesaid, that is to say the one half by the parson or proprietary, and the other half by the parishioners.

[23] authorized and licensed thereto.

[24] comfort and.

[25] lord the king.

[26] his.

[27] dinner or supper.

[28] or.

[29] Om.

[30] an example.

[31] king's majesty the lord protector's grace.

[32] his province.

[33] king's.

[34] the Bishop of Rome's pretensed.

[35] king or.

[36] Om.

[37] benefices.

[38] competent.

[39] Om.

[40] the.

[41] the same so repaired.

[42] a law.

[43] redub and.

[44] he.

[45] hands.

[46] chantry priest and stipendiary.

[47] Bachelor of Divinity.

[48] the Paraphrase upon the same of Erasmus.

[49] Condensed from 23 Ed. VI.

[50] high Mass.

[51] our commissaries in our visitation shall appoint.

[52] Mass.

[53] Om.

[54] New.

[55] Ed. VI adds, 'Like as the people be commonly occupied the work-day, with bodily labour, for their bodily sustenance, so was the holy day at the first beginning godly instituted and ordained, that the people should that day give themselves wholly to God. And whereas in our time, God is more offended than pleased, more dishonoured than honoured upon the holy day, because of idleness, pride, drunkenness, quarrelling and brawling, which are most used in such days, people nevertheless persuading themselves sufficiently to honour God on that day, if they hear Mass and service, though they understand nothing to their edifying: therefore.'

[56] king's.

[57] holy.

[58] Om.

[59] Ed. VI adds, 'by the king commanded to be observed, and as yet not abrogated. And on the other side, that whosoever doth superstitiously abuse them, doth the same to the great peril and danger of his soul's health: as in casting holy water upon his bed, upon images, and other dead things, or bearing about him holy bread, or St. John's Gospel, or making of crosses of wood upon Palm Sunday, in time of reading of the Passion, or keeping of private holy days, as bakers, brewers, smiths, shoemakers, and such other do; or ringing of holy bells; or blessing with the holy candle, to the intent thereby to be discharged of the burden of sin, or to drive away devils, or to put away dreams and phantasies, or in putting trust and confidence of health and salvation in the same ceremonies, when they be only ordained, instituted, and made, to put us in remembrance of the benefits which we have received by Christ. And if he use them for any other purpose, he grievously offendeth God.'

[60] to be set in a convenient place within the same.

[61] near unto the high altar.

[62] Om.

[63] king's.

[64] king's.

[65] his.

[66] From this point the Injunctions are either new, or re-enactments of customs and regulations later than 1547.

[67] The archbishops and bishops afterwards drew up 'Interpretations and further Considerations' of these Injunctions for the better direction of the clergy, which may be seen collated with the text of the Injunctions here given in Cardwell's Documentary Annals, i. 203-209.

[Transcr. from contemporary print at British Museum, 5155, a. 14 (I).]

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Return to Hanover College Department of History
Please send comments to: