Articles Touching Preachers
and Other Orders for the Church


Gee, Henry, and William John Hardy, ed.,
Documents Illustrative of English Church History
(New York: Macmillan, 1896), 481-4.

Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned and proofread by Heather Haralson, May 1998.
Posted by Raluca Preotu, July 1999.
Proofread and pages added by Jonathan Perry, March 2001.

Editors' Introduction:
WHITGIFT was elected archbishop on August 24, 1583. He was confirmed a month later. The first act of his episcopate was to issue, after consultation with the bishops of the province, the following Articles. They were sent to the bishops October 19, who were required to supply the archbishop with information as to conformity in their dioceses.
[Reg. I. Whitgift, fol. 97 a.]

1. That the laws late made against the recusants be put in more due execution considering the benefit that hath grown unto the Church thereby, where they have been so executed, and the encouragement which they and others do receive by remiss executing thereof.

2. That all preaching, reading, catechizing, and other such like exercises in private places and families, whereunto others do resort, being not of the same family, be utterly inhibited, seeing the same was never permitted as lawful, under any Christian magistrate, but is a manifest sign of schism, and a cause of contention in the Church.

3. That none be permitted to preach, read, or catechize in the church or elsewhere, unless he do, four times in the year at the least, say service, and minister the sacraments, according to the Book of Common Prayer.

4. That all preachers, and others in ecclesiastical orders, do at all times wear and use such kind of apparel as is prescribed unto them by the book of Advertisements and her majesty's Injunctions anno primo.

5. That none be permitted to preach, or interpret the Scriptures, unless he be a priest, or deacon at the least, admitted thereunto according to the laws of this realm.

[Page 482] 6. That none be permitted to preach, read, catechize, minister the sacraments, or to execute any other ecclesiastical function, by what authority soever he be admitted thereunto, unless he consent and subscribe to these Articles following, before the ordinary of the diocese wherein he preacheth, readeth, catechizeth, or ministereth the sacraments, viz.:

(1) That her majesty, under God, hath, and ought to have, the sovereignty and rule over all manner of persons born within her realms, dominions, and countries, of what estate, either ecclesiastical or temporal, soever they be; and that no foreign power, prelate, state, or potentate hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, preeminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within her majesty's said realms, dominions, and countries.

(2) That the Book of Common Prayer, and of ordering bishops, priests, and deacons, containeth nothing in it contrary to the word of God, and that the same may lawfully be used, and that he himself will use the form of the said book prescribed in public prayer and administration of the sacraments, and none other.

(3) That he alloweth the book of Articles of religion, agreed upon by the archbishops and bishops of both provinces, and the whole clergy in the Convocation holden at London in the year of our Lord God 1562, and set forth by her majesty's authority, and that he believeth all the Articles therein contained to be agreeable to the word of God.

7. That from henceforth none be admitted to any orders ecclesiastical, unless he do then presently show to the bishop a true presentation of himself to a benefice then void within the diocese or jurisdiction of the said bishop, or unless he show unto the same bishop a true certificate, where presently he may be placed to serve some cure within the same diocese or jurisdiction, or unless he be placed in some cathedral or collegiate church, or college in Cambridge [Page 483] or Oxford, or unless the said bishop shall then forthwith place him in some vacant benefice or cure.

8. And that no bishop henceforth do admit any into orders, but such as shall be of his own diocese, unless he be of one of the universities, or bring his letters dimissory from the bishop of the diocese, and be of age full twenty-four years, and a graduate of the university, or at the least able in the Latin tongue to yield an account of his faith, according to the Articles of religion agreed upon in Convocation, and that in such sort as that he can note the sentences of Scripture whereupon the truth of the said Articles is grounded, and bring a sufficient testimonial with him of his honest life and conversation, either under the seal of some college in the universities, where he hath remained, or from some justice of the peace, with other honest men of that parish, where he hath made his abode for three years before; and that the bishop, which shall admit any into orders being not in this manner qualified, be by the archbishop, with the assistance of some one other bishop, suspended from admitting any into orders for the space of two years.

9. And that no bishop institute any into a benefice, but such as be of the ability before prescribed: and if the Arches, by double quarrel or otherwise, proceed against the said bishop, for refusal of such as be not of that ability, that the Archbishop of Canterbury, either by his own authority or by means procured from her majesty, may stay such process, that the endeavour of the bishop may take place.

10. That one kind of translation of the Bible be only used in public service, as well in churches as chapels, and that to be the same which is now authorized by the consent of the bishops.

11. That from henceforth there be no commutation of penance, but in rare respects and upon great consideration, and when it shall appear to the bishop himself that that shall be the best way for winning and reforming of the [Page 484] offender, and that the penalty be employed either to the relief of the poor of that parish or to other godly uses, and the same well witnessed and made manifest to the congregation; and yet, if the fault be notorious, that the offender make some satisfaction, either in his own person, with declarations of his repentance openly in the church, or else that the minister of the church openly in the pulpit signify to his people his submission and declaration of his repentance done before the ordinary, and also in token of his repentance what portion of money he hath given to be employed to the uses above named.

As persons of honest, worshipful, and honourable calling may necessarily and reasonably have occasions sometimes to solemnize marriage by licence for the banns asking or for once or twice without any great harm, so for avoiding generally of inconveniences noted in this behalf, it is thought expedient that no dispensations be granted for marriage without banns, but under sufficient and large bonds, with these conditions following:

First, that there shall not afterwards appear any lawful let or impediment by reason of any pre-contract, consanguinity, affinity, or any other lawful means whatsoever.

Secondly, that there be not at that present time of granting such dispensation any suit, plaint, quarrel, or demand moved or depending before any judge, ecclesiastical or temporal, for and concerning any such lawful impediment between such the parties; and

Thirdly, they proceed not to the solemnization of the marriage without the consent of the parents or governors.

Lastly, that the marriage be openly solemnized in the church. The copy of which bond is to be set down and given in charge for every bishop in his diocese to follow; provided that whosoever offendeth against this order be suspended ab executione officii for one half-year.

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