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EDWARD CHAMBER LA Y N E. The social position of the English Estab
lished Clergy, in 1669, A.D.
(Anglia Notitia, or the Present State of England. ist Ed. 1669.) PRESENT, the revenues of the English Clergy are generally very small and insufficient : above a third of the best benefices of England, having been anciently, by the Pope's grant, appropriated to
monasteries, were on their dissolution, made Lay fees; besides what hath been taken by secret and indirect means, through corrupt compositions and compacts and customs in many other parishes. And also many estates being wholly exempt from paying tithes, as the lands that belonged to the Cistercian Monks, and to the Knights Templars and Hospitallers.
And those benefices that are free from these things are yet (besides First Fruits and Tenths to the King, and Procurations to the Bishop) taxed towards the charges of their respective parishes, and towards the public charges of the nation, above and beyond the proportion of the Laity.
The Bishoprics of England have been also since the latter of Henry VIII.'s reign, to the coming in of King James, most miserably robbed and spoiled of the greatest part of their lands and revenues.
So that, at this day (1669), a mean gentleman of £200 from land yearly, will not change his worldly estate and condition with divers Bishops : and an Attorney, a shopkeeper, a common artisan will hardly change theirs, with the ordinary Pastors of the Church.
Some few Bishoprics do yet retain a competency. Amongst which, the Bishopric of Durham is accounted one of the chief: the yearly revenues whereof, before the late troubles [i.e., the Civil Wars] were above £6,000 (=£25,000 now]: of which by the late Act for abolishing Tenures in capite (1660), was lost about £2,000 yearly.
244 CLERGY THOUGHT THE REFUSE OF NATION.[
Out of this revenue, a yearly pension of £800 is paid to the Crown, ever since the reign of Queen ELIZABETH; who promised, in lieu thereof, so much in Impropriations: which was never performed.
Above £340 yearly is paid to several officers of the County Palatine of Durham.
The Assizes and Sessions, also, are duly kept in the Bishop's House, at the sole charges of the Bishop.
Also the several expenses for keeping in repair certain banks of rivers in that Bishopric, and of several Houses belonging to the Bishopric.
Moreover, the yearly Tenths, public taxes, the charges of going to and waiting at Parliament, being deducted; there will remain, in ordinary years, to the Bishop to keep hospitality, which must be great, and to provide for those of his family, but about £1,500 [= £4,500 now] yearly.
The like might be said of some other principal Bishoprics.
The great diminution of the revenues of the Clergy, and the little care of augmenting and defending the patrimony of the Church, is the great reproach and shame of the English Reformation; and will, one day, prove the ruin of Church and State.
“It is the last trick," saith St. GREGORY, “that the Devil hath in this world. When he cannot bring the Word and Sacraments into disgrace by errors and heresies; he invents this project, to bring the Clergy into contempt and low esteem.”
As it is now in England, where they are accounted by many, the Dross and Refuse of the nation. Men think it a stain to their blood to place their sons in that function; and women are ashamed to marry with any of them. ÞÞ. 383–389.
It hath been observed, even by strangers, that the iniquity of the present Times in England is such, that the English Clergy are not only hated by the Romanists on the one side, and maligned by the Presbyterians on the other ...; but also that, of all the Christian Clergy of Europe, whether Romish, Lutheran, or Calvinistic, none are so little respected, beloved, obeyed, or rewarded, as the present pious, learned, loyal Clergy of England; even by those who have always professed themselves of that Communion.
GROUNDS & OCCASIONS
R E L I G I ON
LONDON, Printed by W. Godbid for N. BROOKE at the
Angel in Cornhill. 1670.
This work is dated August 8, 1670. ANTHONY À Wood in his life (Ath. O.ron. I. lxx. Ed. 1813), gives the following account of our Author.
February 9 (1672) A. W. went to London, and the next day he was kindly receiv'd by Sir LIOLIN JENKYNS, in his apartment in Exeter house in the Strand, within the city of Westminster.
Sunday 11 (Feb. 1672, Sir Liolin Jenkyns took with him, in the morning, over the water to Lambeth, A. Wood, and after prayers, he conducted him up to the dining rome, where archb. Sheldon received him, and gave him his blessing. There then dined among the company, JOHN ECHARD, the author of The Contempt of the Clergy, who sate at the lower end of the table between the archbishop's two chaplayns Samuel Parker and THOMAS THOMKINS, being the first time that the said ECHARD was introduced into the said archbishop's company. After dinner, the archbishop went into his withdrawing roome, and ECHARD with the chaplaynes and Ralph Snow to their lodgings to drink and smoak.
JOHN EACHARD, S.T.P., was appointed Master of Catherine Hall, Cambridge, in 1675.)
CAN very easily fancy that many, upon the very first sight of the title, will presently imagine that the Author does either want the Great Tithes, lying
under the pressure of some pitiful vicarage; or that he is much out of humour, and dissatisfied with the present condition of affairs; or, lastly, that he writes to no purpose at all, there having been an abundance of unprofitable advisers in this kind.
As to my being under some low Church dispensation ; you may know, I write not out of a pinching necessity, or out of any rising design. You may please to believe that, although I have a most solemn reverence for the Clergy in general, and especially for that of England ; yet, for my own part, I must confess to you, I am not of that holy employment; and have as little thought of being Dean or Bishop, as they that think so, have hopes of being all Lord Keepers.
Nor less mistaken will they be, that shall judge me in the least discontented, or any ways disposed to disturb the peace of the present settled Church: for, in good truth, I have neither lost King's, nor Bishop's lands, that should incline me to a surly and quarrelsome complaining; as many be, who would have been glad enough to see His Majesty restored, and would have endured Bishops daintily well, had they lost no money by their coming in.
I am not, I will assure you, any of those Occasional Writers, that, missing preferment in the University, can presently write you their new ways of Education; or being a little tormented with