18. Act of the Privy Council on the position of the Communion Table at St. Gregory's.

[November 3, 1633. Prynne's Canterbury's Doome, 88. See Hist. of Engl. vii. 310.]

At Whitehall, the third day of November, 1633.

Present, the King's Most Excellent Majesty. Lord Archbishop of Canterbury [William Laud], Lord Keeper [Sir Thomas Coventry], Lord Archbishop of York [Richard Neile], Lord Treasurer [Earl of Portland], Lord Privy Seal [Earl of Manchester], Lord Duke of Lennox, Lord Chamberlain [of the Household, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery], Earl of Bridgwater, Earl of Carlisle, Lord Cottington, Master Treasurer [of the Household, Sir Thomas Edmondes], Master Comptroller [of the Household, Sir Henry Vane], Lord High Chamberlain [Earl of Lindsey], Earl Marshal [Earl of Arundel], Master Secretary Coke, Master Secretary Windebanke.

This day was debated before His Majesty sitting in Council, the question and difference which grew about the removing of the communion table in St. Gregory's church, near the cathedral church of St. Paul, from the middle of the chancel to the upper end, and there placed altar-wise, in such manner as it standeth in the said cathedral and mother church (as also in all other cathedrals and in His Majesty's own chapel), and as it is consonant to the practice of approved antiquity: which removal and placing of it in that sort was done by order from the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's who are ordinaries thereof, as was avowed before His Majesty by Doctor King and Doctor Montfort, two of the prebends there; yet some few of the parishioners, being but five in number, did complain of this act by appeal to the Court of Arches, pretending that the Book of Common Prayer and the 82nd Canon do give permission to place the communion table where it may stand with the most fitness and convenience. Now His Majesty having heard a particular relation made by the counsel of both parties of all the carriage and proceedings in this cause, was pleased to declare his dislike of all innovation and receding from ancient constitutions, grounded upon just and warrantable reasons, especially in matters concerning ecclesiastical order and government, knowing how easily men are drawn to affect novelties, and how soon weak judgments in such cases may be overtaken and abused. And he was also pleased to observe, that if these few parishioners might have their wills, the difference thereby from the foresaid cathedral mother church, by which all other churches depending thereon ought to be guided, would be the more notorious, and give more subject of discourse and disputes that might be spared, by reason of St. Gregory's standing close to the wall thereof. And likewise for so much as concerns the liberty given by the said communion book or canon, for placing the communion table in any church or chapel with most convenience; that liberty is not so to be understood, as if it were ever left to the discretion of the parish, much less to the particular fancy of any humorous person, but to the judgment of the ordinary to whose place and function it doth properly belong to give direction in that point, both for the thing itself, and for the time, when and how long, as he may find cause. Upon which consideration His Majesty declared himself, that he well approved and confirmed the act of the said ordinary, and also gave command that if those few parishioners before mentioned do proceed in their said appeal, then the Dean of the Arches [l] (who was then attending at the hearing of the cause) shall confirm the said order of the aforesaid Dean and Chapter.

[1] Sir Henry Marten.

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