Henry VIII, the Reign
The Second Royal Injunctions of Henry VIII
In the name of God, Amen. By the authority and commission of the excellent prince Henry, by the grace of God King of England and of France, defender of the faith, lord of Ireland, and in earth Supreme Head under Christ of the Church of England, I, Thomas lord Crumwel,[Cromwell] lord privy seal, Viceregent to the King’s said highness for all his jurisdictions ecclesiastical within his realm, do for the true honour of Almighty God, increase of virtue, and discharge of the King's majesty, give and exhibit unto you—these injunctions following, to be kept, observed, and fulfilled, upon the pains hereafter declared.
1. First, Ye shall truly observe and keep all and singular the King’s Highness’ Injunctions, given unto you heretofore in my name, by his Grace’s authority; not only upon the pains therein expressed, but also in your default now after this second monition continued, upon further punishment to be straitly extended towards you by the King’s Highness’ arbitrement, or his Vice-regent aforesaid.
2. ltem, That ye shall provide on this side the feast of Easter next coming, one book of the whole Bible of the largest volume1 in English, and the same set up in some convenient place within the said church that you have cure of, whereas your parishioners may most commodiously resort to the same and read it, the charge of which book shall be ratably born between you the parson and the parishioners aforesaid, that is to say one half by you, and the other half by them.
3. Item, That ye shall discourage no man privily or apertly from the reading or hearing of the said Bible, but shall expressly provoke, stir, and exhort every person to read the same, as that which is the very lively word of God, that every Christian man is bound to embrace, believe and follow if he look to be saved; admonishing them nevertheless to avoid all contention, altercation therein, and to use an honest sobriety in the inquisition of the true sense of the same, and refer the explanation of obscure places to men of higher judgement in Scripture.
4 Item, That ye shall every Sunday and holy-day through the year, openly and plainly recite to your parishioners, twice or thrice together, or oftener, if need require, one particle or sentence of the Pater Noster, or Creed, in English, to the intent that they may learn the same by heart; and so from day to day to give them one like lesson or sentence of the same, till they have learned the whole Pater Noster and Creed in English, by rote. And as they may be taught every sentence of the same by rote, ye shall expound and declare the understanding of the same unto them, exhorting all parents and householders to teach their children and servants the same, as they are bound in conscience to do. And that done, ye shall declare unto them the Ten Commandments, one by one, every Sunday and holy-day, till they be likewise perfect in the same.
5. Item, That ye shall in confessions every Lent examine every person that comes to confession unto you, whether they can recite the Articles of our Faith, and the Pater Noster in English, and hear them say the same particularly; wherein if they be not perfect, ye shall declare to the same that every Christian person ought to know the same before they should receive the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar; and monish them ibid. to learn the same more perfectly by the next year following, or else, like as they ought not to presume to come to God’s board without perfect knowledge of the same, and if they do, it is to the great peril of their souls; so ye shall declare unto them that ye look for other injunctions from the King’s highness by that time, to stay and repel all such from God’s board, as shall be found ignorant in the premises, whereof ye do thus admonish them, to the intent they should both eschew the peril of their souls, and also the worldly rebuke that they might incur hereafter by the same.
6.Item, That ye shall make, or cause to be made, in the said church, and every other cure ye have, one sermon every quarter of a year at the least, wherein ye shall purely and sincerely declare the very Gospel of Christ, and in the same exhort your hearers to the works of charity, mercy, and faith, specially prescribed and commanded in Scripture, and not to repose their trust and affiance in any other works devised by men’s phantasies besides Scripture; as in wandering to pilgrimages, offering of money, candles, or tapers to images or relics, or kissing or licking the same, saying over a number of beads, not understood or minded on, or in such-like superstition; for the doing whereof, ye not only have no promise of reward in Scripture, but contrariwise, great threats and maledictions of God, as things tending to idolatry and superstition, which of all other offences God Almighty doth most detest and abhor, for that the same diminished most His honour and glory.
7.Item, That such feigned images as ye know of in any of your cures to be so abused with pilgrimages or offerings of anything made thereunto, ye shall, for avoiding that most detestable sin of idolatry, forthwith takedown and delay, and shall suffer from henceforth no candles, tapers, or images of wax to be set afore any image or picture but only the light that commonly goeth across the church by the rood-loft, the light before the sacrament of the altar, and the light about the sepulchre, which for the adorning of the church and divine service ye shall suffer to remain; still admonishing your parishioners, that images serve for none other purpose but as to be books of unlearned men, that can no letters, whereby they might be otherwise admonished of the lives and conversation of them that the said images do represent; which images, if they abuse for any other intent than for such remembrances, they commit idolatry in the same, to the great danger of their souls : and therefore the King’s Highness, graciously tendering the weal of his subjects’ souls, hath in part already, and more will hereafter, travail for the abolishing of such images as might be an occasion of so great an offence to God, and so great a danger to the souls of his loving subjects.
8. Item, That in all such benefices or cures as ye have whereupon ye be not yourselves resident, ye shall appoint such curates in your stead, as both can by their ability, and will also promptly execute these injunctions, and do their duty; otherwise that ye are bound in every behalf accordingly, and may profit their cure, no less with good example of living, than with declaration of the word of God, or else their lack and defaults shall be imputed unto you, who shall straitly answer for the same it they do otherwise.
9. That ye shall admit no man to preach within any your benefices or cures, but such as shall appear unto you to be sufficiently licensed thereunto by the King’s Highness, or his Grace’s authority, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the bishop of this diocese; and such as shall be so licensed, ye shall gladly receive to declare the word of God, without any resistance or contradiction.
10. Item, If ye have heretofore declared to your parishioners anything to the extolling or setting forth of pilgrimages, feigned relics, or images, or any such superstition, ye shall now openly afore the same recant and reprove the same, shewing them (as the truth is) that ye did the same upon no ground of Scripture, but as one being led and seduced by a common error and abuse crept into the church, through the sufferance and avarice of such as felt profit by the same.
11.Item, If ye do or shall know any man within your parish, or elsewhere, that is a letter of the word of God to be read in English or sincerely preached, or of the execution of these Injunctions, or a favourer of the Bishop of Rome’s pretended power, now by the laws of this realm justly rejected and extirpated, ye shall detect and present the same to the King’s Highness, or his honourable Council or to his vice-regent aforesaid, or the justice of peace next adjoining.
12.Item, That you, and every parson, vicar, or curate within this diocese, shall for every church keep one book or register, wherein ye shall write the day and year of every wedding, christening, and burying, made within your parish for your time and so every man succeeding you likewise ; and also there insert every person’s name that shall be so wedded, christened, or 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 you, and the other with the wardens of every such parish wherein the book shall be laid up ; which book ye shall every Sunday take forth, and in the presence of the said wardens, or one of them, write and record in the same all the weddings, christenings, and buryings, 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 on the reparation of the same church.
13. Item, That ye shall once every quarter of a year read these and the other former Injunctions given unto you by the authority of the King’s Highness, openly and deliberately before all your parishioners, to the intent that both you may be the better admonished of your duty, and your said parishioners the more incited to ensue the same for their part.
14. Item, Forasmuch as by a law established every man is bound to pay his tithes; no man shall by colour of duty omitted by their curates, retain their tithes and so redub one wrong with another, or be his own judge, but shall truly pay the same, as hath been accustomed, to their parsons 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’ hands, who upon complaints and due proof thereof shall reform the same accordingly.
15.Item, That no person shall from henceforth alter or change the order and manner of any fasting-day that is commanded and indicted by the Church, nor of any prayer, or Divine Service, otherwise than is specified in the said Injunctions, until such time as the same shall be so ordered and transposed by the King’s Highness’ authority; the eves of such saints, whose holy days be abrogated, only excepted, which shall be declared henceforth to be no fasting days; excepted, also the Commemoration of Thomas Becket, sometime Archbishop of Canterbury which shall be clean omitted, and instead thereof the ferial service used.
16. Item, That the knelling of the Aves after service, and certain other times, which hath been brought in and begun by the pretence of the Bishop of Rome’s pardon, henceforth be left and omitted, lest the people do hereafter trust to have pardon for the saying of their Aves, between the said knelling, as they have done in time past.
17.Item, Where in times past men have used in divers places in their processions to sing Ora pro nobis to so many saints, that they had no time to sing the good suffrages following, as Parce nobis Domine and Libera nos Domine, it must be taught and preached that better it were to omit Ora pro nobis, and to sing the other suffrages.
All Which and singular Injunctions I minister unto you and your successors, by the King’s Highness’ authority to me committed in this part, which I charge and command you by the same authority to observe and keep, upon pain of deprivation, sequestration of the fruits or such other coercion as [to] the King’s Highness, or his Vice-regent for the time being, shall be seen convenient