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meeting shall be preceded by divine service and a sermon in the church : after which a collection shall be made in support of the schools within the archdeaconry, and a report shall be read publicly upon the state of all the charities recommended by the bishop and superintended by the decanal chapters."
7. That, with the consent of the archbishop, which has been already obtained, the clergy of his peculiars shall be requested to conform to the regulations of the rural deaneries of Chichester, in which they are situated, in the same manner as if they belonged to the diocese, and shall be summoned by the rural dean to attend the meetings accordingly.
8. That the clergy of the city of Chichester, being under peculiar jurisdiction, and the clergy of Brighton, being considerable in number, and conveniently situated for consultation with each other and with the vicar, shall for these purposes be severally placed under the dean of Chichester and the vicar of Brighton, who have been requested to act with respect to their clergy as rural deans in their deaneries, and to make their reports accordingly.
9. Every meeting of the rural deans shall be opened with prayer and closed with a blessing. The prayers recommended are those used by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Case for the Opinion of Dr. Phillimore. The Rev. Thomas Newcome, M.A., is the rector of Shenley, Herts, within the deanery of Berkhampstead, the archdeaconry of Huntingdon, and the bishopric of Lincoln. He has received the following circular from parties newly appointed to the office of rural deans :
“Hemel Hempsted, Jan. 3, 1839. “Dear Sir,--Having been appointed to the office of rural deans, in this deanery, it is our duty to visit your glebe-house and glebe, your church, chancel, and churchyard, and to take an account of the vestments, sacred utensils, and other ecclesiastical matters. We
purpose to be at Shenley for these purposes, if convenient to you, on Friday, the 18th of January instant, at two o'clock; and we shall feel obliged to you to desire that one, at least, of the churchwardens may be in attend
Since an inspection is to take place annually, and is to include an account of every alteration, whether additions or otherwise, it will very greatly assist us, if you will have the goodness to be provided with a terrar of the glebe-house, buildings, and land; as also, with the population of your parish at the last census, and the number which your church is calculated to contain.
“It is also our duty to inspect the licenses of curates, and the appointments of parish clerks, sextons, and other offices. We are, &c.,
“ Jacord Hs Brooke Mountain,
* This regulation is submitted entirely to the consideration of the clergy, as well respecting the time and manner of carrying it into effect, as to its practicability. It is not necessary to the plan, though important, if practicable, to its full development,
Mr. Newcome has not the least objection to any inspection or inquiry; but having regularly attended and obeyed the visitation of his archdeacon at Berkhampstead, and this office of rural dean not having existed before in his time, if it ever did at all in this diocese ; and, it not appearing that the archdeacon has assented to appointments, which abstract from him a long-exercised authority on the subject, he is desirous of your
Whether the bishop of Lincoln has the right to appoint these rural
deans? or, whether the office has by usage or otherwise devolved on the archdeacon, so as to require his assent to such appointment ? And, above all, whether the rector of Shenley is bound canonically, or otherwise, to submit to these new functionaries in the several
matters mentioned in their circular ? I think the bishop of Lincoln has power and authority to appoint rural deans. It is not the creation of a new office, but the revival of an
For rural deans were well known to the ancient ecclesiastical constitution of this country, although the office in latter days fell into desuetude, and even in the century preceding the reformation, was reduced to a shadow and a name.
Dioceses were divided into archdeaconries and rural deaneries. The archdeacons took their titles from the district, which was generally the county, whereas the rural deans were appointed for each hundred.
The functions of archdeacon can in no way be affected by the revival of the office of rural dean. This office is wholly independent of theirs, it is especially characterised by the exercise of the visitatorial power, to which the rural dean is wholly incompetent; his function being that of mere inspection ; and it is expressly laid down by bishop Gibson, vol. ii. p. 972, that rural deans can have no concern in parochial visitations.
Undoubtedly, if we are to judge from the circular letter, the rural deans seem disposed to push their authority to the utmost extent; but still, as long as they confine themselves to mere inspection, I am of opinion, that any interference on their part could not be resisted with effect; and, as their inspection may be of assistance to the bishop in the general administration of the affairs of his diocese, it would, I think, be inexpedient and unadvisable to offer any captious opposition to their proceedings. Doctors' Commons,
JOSEPH PHILLIMORE. Jan. 10, 1839.
* Mr. Newcome does not object to “ inspection," but to annual written queries, and written replies, By possibility he might be helping to erect a new autho. rity, and, thereby, furnish evidence against himself. Let the church warden testify to the incumbent's conduct, and the incumbent to the church warden's, if faulty.
+ This is a mistake. “Hundreds” are a civil not an ecclesiastical division : nor are rural deans “appointed for each hundred." (Ed. C. M.)
The word convOCATION, though in its general meaning it comprehends any meeting convened after an orderly manner, yet, in its particular meaning, it is limited to diocesan, provincial, or national assemblies of
, . . ) The archbishop of Canterbury's clergy, and those of York, assembled each in their own province. The archbishop sat as king; his suffragans sat in the upper house as his peers; the deans, archdeacons, and the proctors of the chapters, represented the burghers; and the two proctors for the clergy, the knights of the shire ; and so this body, instead of being one estate of the realm, as the king designed, became an ecclesiastical parliament, to make laws, and to tax the possessions of the church. (Gilbt. Exch. c. 44.)
In the province of Canterbury there are only two proctors returned for each diocese; in those dioceses where there are several archdeacon ries, two proctors are nominated by the clergy of each archdeaconry, and out of these two are chosen to serve as proctors for the whole diocese ; but in the province of York, two proctors are sent to convocation for each archdeaconry, otherwise the numbers would be so small, as scarcely to deserve the name of a provincial synod. By this means it comes to pass that the parochial clergy have as great an interest in convocation there, as the cathedral clergy; whereas in the province of Canterbury the same house of convocation consisteth of twenty-two deans, (taking in Westminster and Windsor), twenty-four proctors of the chapter, fifty-three archdeacons, in the whole ninety-nine of the cathedral clergy, and there are but at the same time forty-four proctors for the parochial clergy. (Johns. 150; Wake, 34.) If
any member of the convocation, who is a proctor, dies, the archbishop issues his mandate to the bishop of the diocese to elect another ; and this, by virtue of the power inherent in him to summon his suffragan bishops, who being to obey him in all things, lawful and honest, and the clergy their bishop, in like manner, they by that command make an election to supply the place of one of their proctors. (Gilb. Exch. 58, 59.)
Anciently the lower clergy sat in the same house with the bishops ; and in the province of York, the bishops and other clergy do sit in the same house still. (Johns. 149.)
But in the province of Canterbury, they consist of two houses, the upper house, where the archbishop and bishops sit ; and the lower house, where the rest do sit. (4 Inst. 322.)
And as there are two houses of convocation, so there are two prolocutors, one for the bishops of the upper house, chosen by that house; , and another of the lower house, chosen by that house, and presented to the bishops, for their prolocutor. (4 Inst. 323.)
By 25 Hen. VIII. c. 19, called “ the Act of Submission,” it is enacted that the clergy of this realm of England have not only acknowledged,
that the convocation of the said clergy is, always hath been, and ought to be assembled only by the king's writ; but also submitting themselves to the king's majesty, have promised in verbo sacerdotii, that they will never from henceforth presume to attempt, allege, claim, or put in use, enact, promulge, or execute any new canons, constitutions, ordinances, provincial or otherwise, or by whatsoever name they shall be called in the convocation, unless the king's most royal assent and license may to them be had, to make, promulge, and execute the same, and that his majesty do give his most royal assent and authority in that behalf.” (Burnett's Hist. own Times, 1 vol. 35, 3d. c. 384; Godolph. Abr. 99; Ibid. 585.)
It was resolved upon this statute, 1st, That a convocation cannot assemble without the assent of the king. 2nd, That after their assembly, they cannot confer to constitute any canons without the license of the king. 3rd, When they upon conference conclude any canons, yet they cannot execute any of their canons without the royal assent. 4th, That they cannot execute any after the royal assent, but with these four limitations :—that they be not against the prerogative of the king ; nor against the common law ; nor against any statute law; nor against any custom of the realm. All which appeareth by the said statute.
And this, (Coke says,) was but an affirmance of what was before the said statute ; for it was held before, that if a canon be against the law of the land, the bishop ought to obey the commandment of the king, according to the law of the land. (5 Rep. Intr. ; 12 Rep. 72; Godol. Abr. 586.)
The following is the usual form of CITATION to elect proctors for convocation : A. B., clerk, doctor in divinity, archdeacon of the archdeaconry of
founded within the cathedral, and metropolitical church of in To all and singular clerks and literate persons whomsoever throughout the whole archdeaconry aforesaid, especially to C. D., E. F., G. H., and J. K., our literate apparitors, greeting : WHEREAS, we have, with due reverence, received the mandate of the most reverend father in God, by divine providence, lord archbishop of primate of England, * and metropolitan, in these words, by divine providence, lord archbishop of
primate of England, and metropolitan, To our well beloved in Christ, A. B., doctor in divinity, archdeacon of the archdeaconry of — founded within our cathedral and metropolitical church of in
- greeting in the Lord : WHEREAS, we have, with due reverence, received her majesty's writ for summoning the convocation of the prelates and clergy of the whole province of We, therefore, by virtue and force of her said majesty's writ, peremptorily cite you, and by you the whole clergy of your aforesaid archdeaconry, and all and singular others who anciently used to be called, cited, and admonished ; and we will and command that they be cited by you, and that you appear personally or by your lawful proctor ; and that the whole clergy of your said archdeaconry appear by two proctors, rightly elected and lawfully constituted, before us, or our lawful representative, in our chapter house, within the cathe
* As the case may be.
dral and metropolitical church of Saint in
the next ensuing, betwixt the hours of eight and twelve in the forenoon of the same day, with continuation and prorogation of days and places (as occasion shall require), to treat upon such causes as in her said majesty's writ are contained, expressed, and specified, together with us or our lawful representative, and others the prelates and clergy of our province of and to give your and their wholesome advice of and concerning the premises, and to consent to those things which shall there seem expedient, or dissent to such things as shall seem inconvenient; and further to do and receive what the nature and quality of this provincial convocation shall demand and require. And we also intimate to you, and by you to the whole clergy of your said archdeaconry, to whom we would have it intimated by these presents, that neither you nor they are intended to be excused from your and their appearances in the said convocation in the manner aforesaid ; and what you shall do in the premises you shall duly certify us or our lawful representative, on the said day, hours, and place, together with these presents, given at under the seal of our consistory court there, this day of in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and and in the year
our translation.” Therefore we enjoin and command you, jointly and severally, that some of you forthwith peremptorily cite the whole clergy within our archdeaconry of
aforesaid, as well in places exempt as not exempt; and all and singular others, who anciently used to be called, cited, and admonished, whom we also by the tenor of these presents do so cite, that they and every one of them do appear before us or our official or his surrogate, in the judicial place, within the parish church of Saint — in the
instant, at twelve in the forenoon of the same day, to elect and constitute two sufficient proctors to undergo the business of the convocation aforesaid, according to the tenor of the aforesaid mandate of the said most reverend father, on the penalty to which they shall be liable by law, intimating to them by these presents, that in case they do or do not appear at the day, hour, and place aforesaid, we, or our official, or his surrogate, together with the clergy then personally appearing, do intend to proceed to the expediting of the present business, their absence or contumacy in anywise notwithstanding. Given at under the seal of our office, the
in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
To the minister of By virtue of the above, I cite you to appear at the parish church of in
the instant, at twelve o'clock, for the purposes above mentioned. Dated this