From the Stacks: Nineteenth Century Controversies

FromTheStacks_webMuch time and energy has been spent discussing how the Reformation changed the theology of the Church of England.

Because of a variety of factors this debate was especially active during the nineteenth century when various differing religious factions argued for the priority of their beliefs over those of others. The Sarum College library is rich in primary and secondary sources for those who wish to explore this particular subject in more depth.

Prior to the nineteenth century the great institutions of Britain were parliament and the great universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Membership of parliament was restricted to those who were part of the Established Church. Things were similar at the University of Oxford which acted as the principal seminary for the church.

Then in the early years of the nineteenth century this Church of England monopoly started to be broken. The Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts of 1828 allowed non-Conformists to enter Parliament and the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829 did much the same for members of that religious group, leaving just the Jews excluded. The Representation of the People Act of 1832 changed the electorate and redistributed constituencies, and in the process enfranchised significant numbers of the growing middle classes many of whom were not particularly religious. Suddenly the Church of England – the Established Church – had lost its assurance of Parliamentary protection and this led to an environment of self-examination.

Running parallel, and perhaps mostly responsible for the parliamentary changes, was the process of industrialisation. This had started in the cotton industry in north-west England in the mid 1700s as machines started to replace human craft labour. The development spread quickly to other parts of Britain and to other industries. The population started to grow rapidly, as did affluence, though ironically so did the number of poor. There was a population shift from the countryside into the new industrial centres and with it the growth of urban living along with the horrors of inadequate housing, poor sanitation and low life expectance. Again this caused more self-examination.

Edward Pusey

Especially active in religious self-examination were a group of academics from Oxford who started what became known as the Oxford Movement. Its supporters were known as Puseyites (after Edward Pusey a young Oxford fellow and member of this group) or Tractarians (because of the Tracts that they produced). Through a series of Tracts and other publications the Oxford Movement attempted to redefine the heritage of the Church of England with a shift in emphasis away from Reformed ideas and a renewed emphasis on the church’s foundation, its Christian antiquity and its apostolicity. In addition to the Tracts they also published The Library of the Fathers and the Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology which attempted to define Anglicanism in relation to its past and to stress its continued catholicity. Meanwhile those with more Reformed ideas published a different view which lay greater stress on the Reformation and of links with the protestant churches of continental Europe.

Mark Chapman argues that there were ‘different versions of the Church of England on offer in the nineteenth century.’ [1] One of these views was that the Church of England should be seen as a descendant of the early church that laid emphasis on continuity and the doctrines and beliefs that existed before the schisms and divisions that had split it into separate sects. This despite the existence of the Prayer Book and the Thirty-nine articles that evidenced some form of change which was a reflection, at least in part, of the Reformed ideas which were adopted on the continent. Even where the Reformation was accepted as a past reality, it was often portrayed as a necessary evil that was required in order to resolve some of the worst excesses of the Roman church, but not as something that rejected the past beliefs and traditions. The Martyrs’ Memorial in Oxford stands as a reminder that there were those who did not share these views and who, according to Chapman, believed that ‘the Tractarians were little less than fifth columnists seeking to remove the inheritance of the sixteenth century.’ [2]

Within this process of re-evaluation there were moments when the differences between what became known as the “High” and “Low” church factions, and these differences in opinion often created high-profile incidents. One such incident was what became known as the Gorham Judgment where a Judicial Committee of the Privy Council overturned the decision by the Bishop Phillpotts of Exeter not to institute the Rev. George Gorham to the parish of Bampford Speke because the bishop held his views on baptism to be unorthodox.

George Gorham

Gorham was born at St Neots, educated at Cambridge and ordained in 1811 despite unease by the Bishop of Ely about his views on baptism. In 1846 he was instituted as vicar of St Just in Penwith. Then in 1847 Gorham was recommended for appointment to the parish of Bampford Speke that is just a few miles north of Exeter. During a pre-appointment examination by the bishop it became clear that Gorham’s beliefs on baptism were contrary to those of the bishop who declared them to be Calvinist.

The essence of the difference between Phillpots and Gorham was whether the grace of regeneration was granted in baptism and whether for baptism to be effective the consent of the person being baptised was needed. Was it the solemn voluntary act of a mature person or could it also be effective if it were the baptism of a child who was unable to express any choice in the matter? The bishop held that consent was not needed for the sacrament to be effective whereas Gorham held that it was, and so only adult baptism was appropriate. The matter was further complicated by the relationship between baptism and predestination and the writings of Paul.

Having been rejected by the bishop, Gorham appealed to the ecclesiastical Court of Arches, which rejected his appeal and awarded costs against him. He then appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and after much debate, on 9 March 1850, the court, by a split decision, reversed the Court of Arches ruling, and granted Gorham his institution.

There was anger that a civil court had rules on a church matter and much debate about the rights and wrongs of its judgment. The more reformed part of the church felt relief, while the more catholic element felt the church had moves too far towards Protestantism, and a number of senior churchmen joined the Roman Catholic church.

The library of Sarum College is particularly rich in material on the distinctiveness of the Church of England and on the nineteenth century controversies.

It has copies of two volumes by Erasmus, Des, erasmi roterodami, enchiridion militis christiani. Elusdemque. Oratio de virtute amplectenda of 1624 and Erasmus: Principis Christiani Institutio. Per Aphorismos digesta, Auctore Desiderio Erasmo Roterodamo of 1641. There is also a copy of Cranmer’s 1640 Reformatio legume ecclesiasticarum, ex authoritate primum Regis Henrici 8. Inchoate: deinde per regum edovardum 6. Provecta adauctaque in hunc modum, atq; numc ad pleniorem ipsarum reformationemin lucem edita.

  • Mark Chapman, Anglican Theology (London, 2012)
  • Kenneth A. Locke, The church in Anglican Theology: a historical, theological and ecumenical exploration (Farnham, 2009)
  • William Marshall, Scripture, tradition and reason: a selective view of Anglican theology through the centuries (Dublin, 2010)
  • Robert J. Page, New directions in Anglican theology: a survey from Temple to Robinson (London, 1967)
  • H F Woodhouse, The doctrine of Anglican theology 1547-1603 (London, 1954)
  • Brian Cummings, The book of common prayer: the texts of 1549, 1559 and 1662 (Oxford 2011)
  • Churchman: a quarterly journal of Anglican Theology 1948-93 (incomplete)

[1]  Mark Chapman, Anglican Theology (London, 2012).
[2]  Ibid p. 17.

–  John Elliott
October 2013

Librarylog_spotAnyone can join and access Sarum College Library’s academic theological collection of more than 40,000 books.

Becoming a member is easy too – daily, weekly and annual memberships are available. Visit the about the library page for details or contact us.

Email or telephone 01722 424803

From The Stacks: New Series Uncovers Library Gems

Guide to Library ServicesAn occasional series on the Sarum College Library reveals some of the lesser-known treasures in the 40,000-strong collection, especially in the areas of ecclesiastical and local history

Sarum College has one of the largest theological libraries in southern England which is well-appreciated by our students,” says Jayne Downey, Sarum College Librarian.  “Our collection is less known for its historical volumes, many of which can’t be found anywhere else outside the Bodleian and Cambridge University and which are invaluable to researchers of ecclesiastical history.”

Architectural historian John Elliott, who specialises in church history during the Victorian period, is researching and writing the series.

“I was surprised how much historic material there was in the stacks and how easily I managed to find the primary sources I needed,” Elliott says. “The Sarum College collection is a rare resource.”

From the Stacks has launched with the publication of The Sarum College Library – A Whirlwind Tour, an overview of library holdings to highlight the collection’s main features, and John Jewel: A Key Figure in Defining the Anglican Church. The series will continue with occasional articles on specific themes within the collection.

The launch also includes an article on the Sowter Collection by Jenny Monds, Sarum’s Director of Learning Resources. “This important donation added thousands of books to the library and gave the collection an impressive selection of titles on local and ecclesiastical history  as well as clerical directories that are useful for genealogical research.”

Among Sarum’s special collections are 5,000 antiquarian books,  church music resources and an archive on Christian Socialism.

Anyone can become a member of Sarum College or use the library on a day basis.

The Sarum College Library – A Whirlwind Tour

The library at Sarum College was created in 1860 with the formation of the Salisbury Theological College.

As an initial deposit it received the 274-volume collection of Bishop Walter Kerr Hamilton which mostly comprised nineteenth century pamphlets, tracts, sermons and charges. Over the next century the collection grew. The college merged with the Wells Theological College in 1971, and the library was given a further major boost in 1998 when it inherited several thousand books from the Sowter and Clerical Library that had previously operated from Church House.

The oldest book in the collection is a Bible that was published in 1545. Just two years later the Rituum ecclesiasticorum … was published by the Roman Catholic Church and there is a copy in the library. This provides a real insight into the Roman liturgy at the highest levels. The first part deals with the ceremonies that surrounded the consecration of a Pope, the coronation of emperors, canonization of saints and the creation of cardinals along with the related Canon Law. Then there are detailed instructions regarding the ritual that will accompany any service when the Pope is present and this is followed by the same information for when cardinals are the main religious leaders.

There are seven other volumes that date from before 1600. These include S. Austines manuell, or little booke of the contemplation of Christ, or of Gods worde, whereby the remembraunce of the heauenly desires whiche is falne a sleepe may be quickened vp agayne of 1577.

A 1603 volume by Samuel Harsnett titled A declaration of egregious Popish imposters … is something of a rant against the Roman Catholic practice of calling out devils. Harsnett was Archbishop of York 1628-31, and his book was aimed at the ‘Seduced and disunited Brethren’ who still followed the Roman practices. He concluded that the witching powers ‘have many years since combined and united themselves in the Pope of Rome, and his disciples’ who believe that they can command unclean spirits.

There are 23 volumes in the collection that were published between 1600 and 1649, perhaps the most high-profile are two by Erasmus, one by Thomas Cranmer, a book of 1603 titled A declaration of egregious Popish impostures … and Thomas Fuller’s The historie of the holy warre which was published in 1639.

Several of these volumes are in Latin, including that by Cranmer which outlines the principal changes introduced into the church during the reformation, and is titled Reformatio legume ecclesiasticarum, ex authoritate primum Regis Henrici 8. Inchoate: deinde per regum edovardum 6. Provecta adauctaque in hunc modum, atq; nunc ad pleniorem ipsarum reformationemin lucem edita. (Reformation of the church on the authority of Henry 8 …). The preface cites Greek, Roman and Saxon law, and that of the Roman Catholic Church to justify the beliefs of the Church of England. It is therefore important as an early statement defining what was distinctive about Anglicanism.

Amongst the 13 volumes published between 1650-69 that the library holds is Peter Heylyn’s Ecclesia restaurata: or, the history of the reformation of the Church of England. This was published in 1661, with new editions in 1670 and 1674. It was edited and republished in 1849 by the Rev. J.C. Robertson for the Ecclesiastical History Society. It covers the period from the accession of Edward to completion of the Elizabethan Settlement in 1566.

The volume in the library is the 1661 edition and also contains substantial manuscript notes that were added during the nineteenth century. It is dedicated to Charles II and is important as an exposition of the views of the Laudian school, Laud being the ‘first writer to attempted to estimate the losses as well as the gains of the religious convulsions of the sixteenth century’. The book extends to 545 pages and is concluded by a manuscript page in support of Laud and against Roman Catholicism. Laud ‘cared deeply for the unity of the church, was keen to destroy controversy, opposed the Roman pseudo-Catholic faith but defended true Catholicism. He was ‘slaughtered by the people’.

There is also a copy of the Book of Common Prayer dated 1662, a version in Greek published in the same year, and an 1661 volume entitled The grand debate between the most Reverend the Bishops and the Presbyterian Divines, appointed by His Sacred Majesty, as Commissioners for the review and alteration of the Book of Common Prayer being an exact account of their whole proceedings.

There are ten further books that were published between 1670-79, another 15 between 1680-89 and a massive 28 published between 1690-1699. This is all excellent source material for those wishing to research the ebb and flow of change which occurred as the reformation developed and changed practices and beliefs started to define what was to become unique about the English church.

Of a more recent origin there are eight books on John Jewel who was Bishop of Salisbury and who worked hard to define what was different about Anglicanism. Two are modern, but the other five are all from the nineteenth century and were published between 1833 and 1850.

More modern materials…

If you want something more recent then the library has an extensive collection of modern material including a wide range of journals, some printed and others electronic.

In pride of place amongst the library’s modern collection is a full set of the 60 volumes that comprise the Dictionary of National Biography (often called the DNB). This is the national record of those who have shaped British history and culture, from the Romans to the 21st century. It covers people born in the British Isles, but also includes inhabitants of the USA and Commonwealth countries before independence, many British-born people whose main impact was made overseas, and many who were born elsewhere but whose impact within the United Kingdom was substantial. The Dictionary offers concise, up-to-date biographies written by named, specialist authors. It was published by Oxford University Press in 2004. In total there are just over 58,000 individual biographies, about 67m words and more than 11,000 portraits.

Access to printed volumes is rarely available simply because a full set costs about £1,500. However, thanks to the generosity of a donor, Sarum College has a full 60-volume set and it is available on the open shelves for reference.

So if you need a short biographical introduction this is the place to look. For instance, if you were writing about medieval Salisbury and its affluent merchants you might care to cite John Halle as an example, and a quick look in the DNB will produce the following:

Halle, John (d. 1479), merchant, was possibly the son of Thomas Halle of Salisbury, who was a member of the city’s corporation from 1437 to 1442, during which time he served as custodian of the mace and as mayor’s serjeant. John Halle, a mercer and member of the staple, appears in Salisbury’s ledger as early as 1421. By 1445 he was a member of the common council, and in the same year was appointed an assessor; he was made an auditor in 1447 and rose to the select council in the same year. Subsequently he served as constable of the city, overseer of the city’s wealth, alderman, arbitrator, and delegate of the corporation. He represented Salisbury in four parliaments between 1453 and 1461, and was elected mayor of the city in 1451, 1456, 1464, and 1465. Directly involved in attempts to augment the liberties of the city from 1455 onwards, in 1465 he represented the corporation before the king in its dispute with Richard Beauchamp, bishop of Salisbury (d. 1481). In presenting the city’s petition Halle showed himself ‘right seditious, hasty, willful and of full unworthy disposition’ (Salisbury ledger B, fol. 77r), which resulted in his imprisonment in London. The corporation refused four royal orders to elect a new mayor, though he was replaced as a delegate after the last order. Halle, then released, was re-elected mayor for the fourth time.

By 1469, Edward IV had confirmed episcopal authority over Salisbury, which may explain Halle’s actions in 1470. In September of that year Halle, in his capacity as the mayor’s deputy, received 40 marks to raise forty men—who were to be under his own command—on behalf of the earl of Warwick, now in rebellion against Edward IV. It may be doubted if he did so, since on Easter Sunday (14 April) 1471 the earl of Somerset, acting in the name of Henry VI, presented letters under the great seal authorizing him to raise soldiers in Salisbury. The corporation, on Halle’s advice, complied, and also ordered that the money levied earlier be paid to King Henry. But within a month the Lancastrian cause was ruined and Somerset was dead. The men of Salisbury were probably able to buy their way back into King Edward’s favour. Nevertheless, by 1472 the corporation had relinquished its claims to greater liberty from episcopal control; Halle witnessed the mayor’s oath to the bishop. Despite his earlier animosity towards the bishop, Halle repeatedly represented the corporation in negotiations with Beauchamp between 1474 and 1478. He continued to be a merchant of the staple, and wellnigh dominated the wool trade of Salisbury Plain. Styled ‘esquire’ by 1476, Halle acquired considerable wealth and property, and ranked as the second largest landholder in Salisbury. Some time after 1455 he built a residence, now 15 New Canal, the hall of which was restored in the early twentieth century as the foyer to a cinema. Its stained glass and chimney-piece bear Halle’s merchant mark and arms. At his death, on 14 October 1479, he held property in Salisbury and at Shipton Bellinger, Hampshire. With his wife, Joan, he had two surviving children. Their son William was attainted in 1483 for taking part in Buckingham’s unsuccessful rebellion, but had that sentence reversed in 1485. William’s daughter married Thomas Wriothesley (d. 1534), Garter king of arms under Henry VII. John Halle’s daughter, Chrystian, married Sir Thomas Hungerford, son of Sir Edmund Hungerford and grandson of Walter, first Baron Hungerford of Hungerford (d. 1449).


– John Elliott
February 2013

 For more library titbits, go back to the main From The Stacks page

The Sowter Collection at Sarum College Library

In the late 1990s the library acquired several thousand books from the former Sowter and Clerical library in Church House, Salisbury. Among these were the majority of books that now make up the local history collection at Sarum Library. Other book donations have added to the collection.

As might be expected, a number of these books relate to Salisbury Cathedral. ‘Brown’s series of Strangers’ handbooks no. 1 Salisbury Cathedral’ of 1880; Gleeson White’s guide of 1898; Francis Price’s ‘a Series of particular and useful Observations, made with great diligence and care, upon that admirable structure, the Cathedral-Church of Salisbury’ of 1853; Britton’s ‘History and antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Salisbury…. Including anecdotes of the bishops’ of 1814.’ A useful book for family historians is ‘Copies of the epitaphs in Salisbury Cathedral, cloisters, and cemetery’ by J. Harris, 1825.

Other aids for genealogists are the Crockford Clerical Directory, of which we have a selection starting from 1895. Walker’s Sufferings of the Clergy of 1714, ‘an attempt towards recovering an account of the number and sufferings of the clergy of the Church of England…..etc. who were sequester’d , haras’d etc. in the late Times of the Grand Rebellions’ included a section on Wiltshire. Under this is an account of John Hern, who was imprisoned and lost his living: ‘he died very poor, leaving behind him ten children, and a widow who came afterwards to be Relieved by the Charity of the Corporation for Ministers Widows.’

Those with an interest in ecclesiastical history can find much to occupy them. ‘A new set of diocesan maps’ by James Thos. Law published in 1864; ‘Taxation ecclesiastic Angliae et Walliae’ of 1291, published in 1802. ‘Liber Regis’ by John Bacon, 1786 which gives accounts of all the valuations of all the ecclesiastical benefices in England and Wales, including the value and the amount given in tithes, and the set of ‘Sarum Almanack’ from 1857. These include some rather wonderful adverts, such as the one for ‘Rowlands Macassar oil’ which was reputedly ‘universally known as the only article that can be depended upon for the growth, restoration and for improving and beautifying the human hair . (It was, of course, also renowned for spoiling the backs of chairs, hence the use of ‘antimacassars’.)

There are also plenty of books of interest to the general local historian, such as the ‘popular history of Old and new Sarum’ by T J Northy of 1897. The oldest of these is ‘Antiquitates Sarisburienses: or, the history of antiquities of Old and New Sarum’ of 1777. This includes the ‘Salisbury ballad’ with the ‘learned commentaries of a friend to the author’s memory’. The ballad begins:

Salisbury People give Ear to my Song,
And Attention unto my Ditty,
For it is in the Praise of your River Avon,
Of your Bishop, your Church, and your City

It continues for rather a long time in the same mode! The book also includes a chapter ‘eminent men, natives of Salisbury’. To redress the balance of the above we have a volume from 1882 entitled ‘eminent ladies of Wiltshire history’ by the Revd Canon J E Jackson.

Among the Sowter collection, which dates from 1816, are several boxes of pamphlets. Some of these relate to local disputes and local contributions to national controversies. Others include ‘the indents of lost monumental brasses in Wiltshire’; ‘Recollections of village life on Salisbury Plain’; ‘Incumbents of the Salisbury Churches during the period of the Commonwealth’ and ‘the Close gates of Sarum.’

From the latter we learn that ‘There is no known reference to the construction of the gates; but it is generally supposed that, like the Close wall, they were constructed out of material taken from Old Sarum in accordance with Edward lll’s licence of 1327’. Those of us who think 10.30pm is early to be shut out of the Close can consider ourselves lucky that we didn’t live in Salisbury in 1404, when the gates closed at 7pm, the curfew hour.

The collection is wider than just Salisbury; it includes for instance several books on Wilton; Thomas Cox’s ‘A topographical, ecclesiastical, and natural history of Wiltshire’ from the 1700s; Hutchins’ ‘history of Dorset’ in 4 volumes, from 1861. It also includes a series of Richard Colt Hoare’s ‘the history of modern Wiltshire’ for different areas of the county.

‘Wiltshire notes and queries’, subtitled ‘an illustrated quarterly antiquarian and genealogical magazine’ which we have from vol. 1 1893 to vol. 8 1914/16, is a fascinating read.

– Jenny Monds

For more library titbits, go back to the From the Stacks main page

John Jewel, a key figure in defining the Anglican Church

John JewelJohn Jewel (1522-71) was a leading Protestant reformer who did much to start to define what was unique and different about the English church.

Jewel was born in north Devon and entered Oxford when he was just 13. graduating with a BA in 1540 and an MA in 1545. Three years later he was appointed as a reader in humanity and rhetoric and became involved with the Italian theologian Peter Martyr who had been appointed as a professor at the university. Jewel was ordained around 1551.

Jewel’s radical reforming views caused him to fall from favour during the move back towards Catholicism that accompanied the accession of Queen Mary, and he eventually fled to the continent to escape persecution. He stayed in Frankfurt for a time before joining Peter Martyr in Strasbourg and then Zurich where he developed further his reforming ideas.

After Mary’s death in 1559 Jewel returned to London and was appointed as Bishop of Salisbury in 1560. He was noted for his sermons, his desire to be an active pastor and for his evangelization. He attempted to enforce standards of residency and hospitality among canons, and introduced a preaching rota for the cathedral clergy. He made a serious effort to repair the cathedral fabric.

Jewel was an energetic writer. His most important publication is the Apologia pro Ecclesia Anglicana of 1561. This was a Latin treatise in which Jewel defended the Church of England against the charge of heresy and systematically set forth the basis of its doctrine and practices, highlighting how they differed from the church of Rome.

The Apologia is divided into six parts. There is an explanation of the reasons for writing the book, then a brief summary of the reformed doctrine of the English church which saw Christ as the sole mediator, just the two sacraments of baptism and eucharist, accepted married clergy, and rejected the Bishop of Rome as ‘Lucifer’ and a man who ‘has forsaken the faith and is the forerunner of Antichrist’. The next three parts reject the various charges that had been made against the English church, namely that the Protestants would destroy all civil authority and had broken the unity of the ”true” church.

Jewel became involved in protracted debates with Thomas Harding who had been a prebendary of Salisbury but had lost this office when he refused to take the oath of supremacy on Elizabeth’s accession. Harding had remained loyal to the Pope and lived in exile in Louvain. He published An Answere to Maister Juelles Chalenge, which refuted Jewel’s ideas and Jewel subsequently responded with an equally massive work, A defence of the ‘Apologie of the Churche of England’ (1567). Throughout Jewel contended that the English church had ‘returned again unto the primitive church of the ancient fathers and apostles … [having] searched out of the Holy Bible, which we are sure cannot deceive, one sure form of religion’

Jewel remained unmarried and died at Monkton Fairleigh in 1571 whilst on a visit to the northern part of his diocese.

The Sarum College library has a modern copy of the Apologia plus a four-volume, mid-nineteenth century work by John Ayre that contains a copy of the Apologia and also his A defence. The library also holds a biography on Jewel and various other books that deal with the ideas he proposed.

  • John Jewel, An apology of the Church of England (2002)
  • W M Southgate, John Jewel and the problem of doctrinal authority (1962)
  • John Ayre, The Works of John Jewel 4 vols (1845-50)
  • Charles Webb Le Bas, The Life of Bishop Jewel (1835)
  • Sermons or Homilies (1986) [Book II is credited with mostly containing homilies written by Jewel]
  • T Cooper, An answer in defence of the truth against the apology of private mass to which is prefixed the work answered, entitled an apology of private mass, an anonymous popish treatise against Bishop Jewel (1850)

– John Elliott
February 2013

John Jewel is buried in Salisbury Cathedral, and was the subject of a talk given by Bishop Graham Kings on 27 February 2013, the final in the Cathedral’s Winter Lecture Series.



Anyone can join and access Sarum College Library’s academic theological collection of more than 40,000 books. Becoming a member is easy too – daily, weekly and annual memberships are available.

Visit the about the library page for details or contact us.

Email or telephone 01722 424803.