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`Every consistent doctrine of predestined grace', wrote Max Weber of Reformation Protestantism, `inevitably implied a radical and ultimate devaluation of all magical, sacramental and institutional distributions of grace'. Weber's distinction between predestination and the sacraments is so simple, so elegant and so convenient that most historians of early modern England have been ready to accept this gift horse without looking too closely into its mouth. Nicholas Tyacke has quoted Weber's words with approval, remarking that `the grace of predestination and the grace of the sacraments were to become rivals for the religious allegiance of English men and women during the early seventeenth century'. The two were fundamentally different, because the doctrine of predestination, communicated through preaching, required an individual response, whereas the sacraments involved `communal and ritualized' forms of religious worship.(1) Debora Shuger has argued that `Reformed spirituality stressed inner regeneration and moral duty and therefore found both ritual magic and the sacrificial economy hollow, albeit dangerously seductive, consolations'.(2)

In the struggle between these two opposing systems of belief, predestination is generally assumed to have triumphed over the sacraments. John Bossy, another historian who takes his bearings from Weber, comments that `among those of the Reformed tradition ... the usual fate of communion was to become a quarterly appendage to the preaching of the word'. Shuger agrees that `in most Reformed churches, the Lord's Supper became an occasional and fairly peripheral affair' and, David Hempton, looking back on the early modern Church of England from the perspective of the eighteenth century, has also concluded that `apathy and Puritan anti-sacramentalism' led to widespread neglect of the communion service.(3) As a result, the secondary literature on the sacraments in early modern England leaves much to be desired. Until recently, Protestant sacramental theology has tended to be characterized in negative terms, `defined first and most importantly', as Charles and Katherine George put it, `by its decisive and unqualified repudiation of the doctrine of transubstantiation', and with little positive content of its own.(4) Sacramental practice has also been treated negatively: opposition to various sacramental ceremonies such as kneeling at communion has received more attention than participation in the sacraments, while popular attitudes to the sacraments have received hardly any investigation at all, perhaps on the assumption that there is nothing to investigate.

But the sacraments had a positive as well as a negative function. Because transubstantiation was widely regarded as the key doctrinal error of the Church of Rome, the adoption of a reformed doctrine of the sacraments was crucial in establishing the Church of England's Protestant identity. Receiving the sacrament of the Lord's Supper became the signifier of orthodoxy, the test of conformity; and, as historians have realized, levels of attendance at communion can thus be used as a rough-and-ready guide to the success of the Reformation. To do so, however, it is necessary to look not just at the statistics of attendance, where these can be reconstructed, but at the whole complex of beliefs and practices surrounding the sacrament. This article will consider some of the evidence concerning popular attitudes to the Lord's Supper in early modern England (principally, though not exclusively, in the period 1590-1640) and will argue that the sacraments need to be placed at the centre of historical debate on the English Reformation.


For most people in early modern England, receiving communion was a rare event. If the requirements of the 1559 Prayer Book and the 1603 Canons had been strictly observed, all adult members of the Church of England would have received communion at least three times a year, including Easter. In practice, however, few people received communion more than once a year, and attempts to enforce the letter of the Prayer Book proved unsuccessful. In 1580, all gentlemen of the Middle Temple were ordered to receive communion three times a year. In 1614 this was replaced by a rule that all were to receive twice a year, followed almost immediately by another, more realistic rule, that all were to receive once a year.(5) The churchwardens of King's Sutton (Oxon.) reported in 1619: `For communicants thrise a yeare we think halfe our parishe is faulty if they shall be presented, we crave advice'. The churchwardens of Cropredy, another Oxfordshire parish, stated that `our minister gyveth the communion thryce in the yere but whether all such persons so often receveth as are above xvj yeres of age we know not'.(6) Few parish officials were as scrupulous as this. The thrice-a-year rule was regularly reiterated in visitation articles, but rarely gave rise to presentments and seems to have been widely disregarded.(7)

Easter was the one occasion in the year when all adults were expected to receive communion: `few, or none, absteine at this time', wrote John Panke in 1604, `which is the least that may be, once in the yeare'.(8) Larger parishes held a series of communion services during Eastertide. The churchwardens' accounts of St Alphage, London Wall, record payments for bread and wine on Palm Sunday, `on mondaie & thursdaie followinge', and on Easter Day 1583. The sprawling suburban parish of St Botolph without Aldgate held no less than sixteen Easter communion services in 1598, beginning three weeks before Easter Day and ending four weeks after, with four separate services on Easter Day itself.(9) Rural parishes were more likely to preserve the older custom of a single communion on Easter Day at which every parishioner was expected to be present. In the Northumberland parish of Allerton, `the Holy Communion is administred but once in the yeare ... which is commonly Easter day', despite the fact that as many as six hundred people received communion at that time and `in regard of there great number doe make such a confusion and noise and thronging that oftentimes the young and old people are carried downe with there crouding'.(10)

The Protestant communion service faced considerable opposition from Roman Catholics. In 1566 a sick woman who wished to receive the sacrament was told by a relative that `there is no virtue therein' (or, in the recollection of another witness, `now it is of no effect') `and it is contrary to God's Word as it is now set forth'.(11) In 1569, a routine inquiry by the Privy Council found two gentlemen in the diocese of Norwich who had not received communion for five years and a third who had not been to church for two years or received communion since the accession of Elizabeth. None, it appears, had been detected by the ecclesiastical authorities, and the Council was sufficiently alarmed to send a stiff letter to Bishop Parkhurst asking him `to let us understand what you can answer to suche a grosse negligence'.(12) The infrequency of communion services made it a great deal easier for non-communicants to slip through the net. In Alexandra Walsham's opinion, Catholics who were prepared to attend church but not to receive communion `may have been just as common at the end of Elizabeth's reign' as at the beginning.(13) In 1593, for example, the Oxford archdeaconry court heard that William Lenthall of Wilcote had `heretofore absented himself from church, but he hath reformed himself thereof, but for the receiving of the Communion he is not yet satisfied in his conscience'.(14) In at least some areas the problem was exacerbated by inefficiency in presenting or detecting non-communicants: as late as 1619, an Essex man was presented to the London consistory court for not coming to church or receiving communion `theis 20 yeares & upwardes'.(15)

However, by the 1590s, attendance at Easter communion was being more strictly enforced in many parishes, particularly in urban areas where population growth forced the pace of administrative reform. In 1595, the parishioners of St Mary Aldermanbury in London agreed, in view of the fact that `diverse of late yeeres have not come to communicate at or neere Easter', to introduce a new system by which every householder was to be issued with a token on payment of their tithes and Easter offerings, and would then surrender the token to the churchwardens when they came to receive communion.(16) Jeremy Boulton has studied the records of two suburban parishes, St Botolph without Aldgate and St Saviour's Southwark, where a token system was in operation. His conclusion is that levels of attendance at Easter communion were extremely high -- 80, even 90 per cent -- and, in large urban parishes like these, could not realistically have been any higher.(17) Smaller urban parishes could have done even better. Thomas Sperin, rector of St Mary Magdalene Milk Street, declared in 1590 that he administered the sacraments `to none but unto such as he knoweth faithful, saying that he knoweth all the parishioners, both men and women to be such, except one houshold'. Patrick Collinson has expressed some incredulity at this claim, but Boulton argues that it is entirely plausible, given that Sperin's parish consisted of only a few dozen householders.(18) In rural parishes, attendance levels may often -- given certain initial conditions such as good parochial administration, geographical compactness and the absence of any strong recusant tradition -- have reached 100 per cent, except for a few defaulters on the margins of village society.(19) At Rudgwick (Sussex) in 1621, all the parishioners received Easter communion except for `one poore old woman'. At Kirklington (Yorks.) in 1624, everyone received communion at Easter except for Jane Robinson, an idiot and cripple, and Giles Burne, `a man both deafe and dumbe from his birthe'. In the parish of All Saints, Shotesham (Norfolk), the rector's account book reveals that only two parishioners failed to receive communion on Easter Day, 1626: one woman who was sick and another who received at a later date.(20)

Clerical commentators were generally disparaging about the behaviour of `the ordinary sort of people' at communion: `they come thither they know not wherefore, and they do there they know not what', wrote William Pemble, complaining that they had no understanding of the use of the sacrament or of the symbolism of the outward elements.(21) Samuel Page deplored `a great fault, which many are guiltie of', namely `to come to a Church, where there is a Communion, and there to heare the word of God, and after to forsake the Congregation even at the Table of the Lord'. He attributed this not to lingering Catholic sympathies, but simply to the lack of any sense of obligation to receive.(22) Pemble claimed that people had to be `compelled by law' to come to communion, `or else the Lords Table is likely to stand unfurnished of guests'.(23) There certainly seems to have been little popular demand for communion services outside Easter. In the parish of St Mary's, Ely (Cambs.), communion was administered twice a year, at Easter and Christmas, but the Easter communion was by far the more popular. By 1609-10, Easter communion had to be staggered over eight days in a period of three weeks and, judging by expenditure on bread and wine, Easter attendance was more than three-and-a-half times Christmas attendance.(24) At Shillington (Beds.), communion was administered four times a year -- at Easter, Whitsun, Michaelmas and Christmas -- but with the same peak in expenditure on bread and wine at Easter.(25) Most people, it seems, saw no reason to receive communion more than once a year. Ian Archer has suggested that there was `a lack of spontaneous enthusiasm for the communion service' in Elizabethan London and that the high levels of attendance at Easter were largely the result of efficient parochial organization.(26) Despite the requirements of the Prayer Book, the communion was frequently omitted at weddings and seems to have been almost invariably omitted at churchings.(27)

Yet most writers agreed that the common people, however inadequate their knowledge, had some regard for the sacrament. John Randall admitted that `ordinary people commonly doe make some kind of preparation, according to their manner, when they come to receive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper'.(28) Their idea of preparation, according to Jeremiah Dyke, was `to put on their best dresse, their finer apparell; and to be a little braver when they come to the Sacrament than at other times'. Having received the sacrament, `they will carry themselves fairely and demurely. If they be tempted by their companions to any irregular cariage, they can answer, Oh fie, by no meanes, I have been to day at the Sacrament, I may not so much forget my selfe'.(29) Even Pemble admitted that people would normally refrain from `worldly businesse' and `uncivill speech' on the day they received.(30) This is compelling evidence of a genuine regard for the sacrament, all the more compelling since it goes against the grain of Pemble, Randall and Dyke's arguments about popular religion. These writers considered that popular attitudes to religious worship were wholly inadequate, yet they were forced to admit that, as Dyke put it, `men have generally an high conceit of the Sacrament, what ever esteeme they have in the meane time of other Ordinances'.(31) This is supported by evidence from the church courts, such as the case of Mary Harris, a parishioner of St Andrew Undershaft and the mother of a bastard child, who was reluctant to do public penance because her offence was `utterly unknowne in the parishe where she nowe dwelleth', but who pleaded, with `teares', to be allowed to do penance in private, on account of `Easter approching at which tyme she desyreth to be a partaker of the sacrament of the Lordes supper'.(32)

Was this a vestige of pre-Reformation attitudes to the sacrament? Some contemporaries certainly thought so: William Sclater declared that `our people' displayed a `reverence of the Sacrament no lesse than superstitious', and the anonymous puritan author of the Survey of the Booke of Common Prayer complained that Prayer Book ceremonies such as kneeling at communion were `very scandalous in confirming simple & popish people in their superstitious opinion of the Sacrament'.(33) Easter communion, after all, was a custom inherited from the medieval church and, while the Reformation altered the theological meaning of the ceremony, it left the social and calendrical functions of the communion service relatively undisturbed. In 1582, when a dispute arose about the payment of Easter offerings by communicants in the parish of Holdenhurst, near Winchester (Hants.), the matter was settled by reference to the `ancient custom' of the parish, unchanged for at least fifty years. In Westmorland in the 1590s, Easter communicants still spoke of having `gotten their rightings', a variation of the pre-Reformation expression `taking one's rights', `a revealing phrase', as Eamon Duffy has remarked, `indicating that to take communion was to claim one's place in the adult community'.(34)

But popular respect for the sacrament cannot simply be attributed to the persistence of Catholicism. William Pemble identified three distinct categories of unworthy receiver. First, there were the ignorant, who received the sacrament because it was the `custome of the Countrey'. Then there were the superstitious, who received the sacrament out of a blind faith in the miraculous power of the consecrated elements. Finally, there were the unreformed, who understood the doctrine of the sacrament and did not treat it superstitiously, but who `use it without any amendment and reformation of life'. Of the three, wrote Pemble, this last was `most to be feared amongst us', since ignorance and superstition were gradually being banished by the light of the gospel.(35) In this third category, Pemble had identified a group of people, with a desire to receive the sacrament, who could not be typecast as either formalists or church papists. We can begin to make sense of this category if we look at the role of the communion service in post-Reformation popular culture.

One aspect of the sacrament that was firmly rooted in popular culture was its function as an instrument of reconciliation. `This is a truth confessed on all hands', wrote Dyke, `that men should bee in charity that come to the Sacrament. And many that have no great care, or make any great conscience of comming with knowledge, faith or repentance, yet will seeme to make some scruple of comming without charity. Yea though many will not abstain for their drunkennes, oathes, &c. yet if there be a breach, and a falling out betweene them, and others, they will by no meanes meddle'. John Dod also observed that it was `a common custome of men, a day or two before they come to the communion, to wrap up many reckonings and foule matters among themselves', though he questioned whether it had any permanent effect.(36) If a dispute could not be settled, then people would often stay away from communion. Visitation records are full of cases like that of Christopher Boreman of South Newton (Oxon.), presented in 1584 for not receiving communion at Easter, who explained that `ther was some controversie in lawe betwene this respondent and two other of his neighboures, and by that meanes he was not in perfyct love and charitie'.(37)

This was said to be a stock excuse with Roman Catholics: John Earle's `character of a church papist' declared that `his maine policy is to shift off the Communion, for which hee is never unfurnisht of a quarrel, and will be sure to be out of Charity at Easter'.(38) In many cases, however, it seems to have been sincere. Richard East of Suncombe (Oxon.) told the archdeacon's court in 1584 `that he did not communicate this laste Easter bycause his conscience was troubled bye the evill speeche of Katherine Ginacre, but doethe not refuse the Lords table upon enie scruple in religion or otherwise'. A married couple presented in 1601 by the churchwardens of St Nicholas Olave for failure to receive communion declared that `there hath byn some unkyndnesse betweene William Angell & his wife & them which they hope wilbe ended shortly and then they will receive'.(39) As in early modern Germany, non-participation in the sacrament was, in the words of David Sabean, `the formal, public recognition of a quarrel', and served to bring private grievances to the attention of the whole community. On the settlement of a quarrel, the receiving of the sacrament could be made the occasion for a public act of reconciliation. Three inhabitants of St Stephen's parish in St Albans (Herts.) received communion on Whitsunday 1586, having promised before the congregation `that they had freely forgiven each other' and would live a Christian life thereafter.(40)

The communion service could also be used to reinforce social distinctions. From the charges against John Vicars, minister of St Mary's, Stamford (Leics.), drawn up between 1628 and the High Commission hearing in 1631, it appears that people came to receive communion in order of social precedence, with `the ordinarie sort of people' receiving last.(41) In 1620, the gentlemen of the Middle Temple complained that the Master of the Temple had given precedence to the members of the Inner Temple by administering communion to them first; it was ruled that in future the sacrament was to be administered simultaneously to the members of the two Inns.(42) Some parishes even used two grades of communion wine, with a better quality wine, such as muscadine, being reserved for the better sort of parishioners. The churchwardens' accounts of St Christopher le Stocks show that both muscadine and malmsey were being used in 1576. At St Alphage, London Wall, in 1581, malmsey was used at the monthly communion service, but smaller quantities of muscadine were used in addition at Easter, Michaelmas and Christmas. On Easter Day, 1598, the parishioners of St Botolph without Aldgate consumed nine gallons of claret `besydes a pynt of malmesey which Mr Robert Dow sent for his owne drinking & his wyves'.(43)

It is impossible to tell whether such customs were a source of social cohesion or of social tension, although it may be significant that the use of two communion wines was becoming less widespread by the early seventeenth century.(44) But the communion service also served as the focus of charitable activity in the parish, in accordance with the Prayer Book rubric which stipulated that the churchwardens were to `gather the devotion of the people, and put the same into the poor men's box'. In the London parish of St Bartholomew Exchange, the vestry agreed in 1602 that the money collected at communion `doth apertayne to the poore' and should not be used to pay for the bread and wine. In a remarkable fusion of the communion service with lay sociability and clerical hospitality, a few rural parishes still retained the old custom by which the minister distributed bread, cheese and beer to the congregation on Easter Sunday.(45) By the early seventeenth century this practice was virtually extinct, but new charitable rituals had grown up to replace it: in the London parish of St Andrew Undershaft, for example, the bequest of Mr Hugh Offley provided 3d. and a loaf of bread to be distributed on the first Sunday of each month to twelve of the poorest inhabitants receiving the communion.(46) In this case, the expression of social hierarchy was also an expression of neighbourliness and social responsibility, and it is reasonable to regard the communion service as a means of reinforcing parochial identity, even though rituals of social differentiation had supplanted those of social integration. The importance of the communion service as a symbol of parochial unity and the social stigma attached to non-participation are expressed by one of the characters in John Panke's Short Admonition by Way of Dialogue (1604), who remarks that he intends to be absent from home at Easter, `because beeing at home amongst the rest of the parish, I would not bee noted of refusall'. John Downame commented that many people came to Easter communion to avoid the `shame of the world' that would otherwise attach to them.(47)


Although most people only received communion at Easter, there were some parishes where the communion was administered more often. At St Botolph without Aldgate, one of the two London parishes studied by Boulton, there were regular monthly communions attended by about fifty people, a very small number compared to attendance at Easter communion, but significant nevertheless. Who attended these monthly celebrations, and why? Boulton suggests that the monthly services were `probably restricted to the better-off householders', or to members of the select vestry which governed the parish.(48) Another school of thought would regard monthly communion as an indication of Arminian sympathies. The arrival of Lancelot Andrewes at St Giles Cripplegate seems to have coincided with a sudden increase in expenditure on bread and wine, from 5 [pounds sterling] or 6 [pounds sterling] per annum in the 1570s to 11 [pounds sterling] or 12 [pounds sterling] in the 1590s, which Kenneth Fincham interprets as a sign of his interest in the `beauty of holiness' and the reverent celebration of the eucharist.(49) There is, however, another possible interpretation of monthly communion, as a custom indicative of godly Protestantism.

Protestants in general were extremely uncomfortable about the practice of receiving communion only once a year. There was, after all, abundant evidence to suggest that it was the practice of the early church to receive the sacrament every week. To John Denison, this decline from communion every week in the early church, to communion every few months in the medieval church, to communion once a year as required by the Council of Trent, was an `evident demonstration' of the `want of zeale & devotion' in the Church of Rome.(50) Richard Preston regarded Easter communion as a custom with popish connotations: `[the papists] hold and say, Easter is the time when the common people should come flocking together to receive the Sacrament; or to speake in their owne phrase, to take their Hushell, or to receive their Maker'.(51) Infrequent communion was simply another device of the papists to keep the laity in ignorance and darkness. Calvin condemned the practice of communicating only once a year as an `invention of the devil' and declared that the sacrament should be offered at least once a week.(52)

The infrequency of communion in the Church of England was therefore a source of acute embarrassment. `A very shame it is', exclaimed William Pemble, `to compare the slacknesse of our daies with the forwardnesse of those primitive times of the Church, in the often celebration of this holy Sacrament. Then it was administered almost every Lords day, now we are fallen from fifty times a yeare, to once, twice, thrice, or for the greatest part to foure times in the yeare'.(53) Various justifications were offered. John Dod argued that the early church had celebrated communion every week because of the risk of persecution and sudden imprisonment: there was therefore no need for the Church of England to follow suit.(54) But most writers admitted that it would be desirable to celebrate communion more frequently, if only it were possible. The reason for not doing so was that people were too ignorant to receive the sacrament properly or too lazy to receive it at all. Richard Greenham explained that in the primitive church the communion `was administred every Lords day', but that `now adaies the ministers may not so doe, for the great ignorance & carnall securitie of people'.(55) This could be used to justify suspending the administration of the sacrament until there had been sufficient preaching and catechizing to ensure adequate knowledge. However, some. ministers saw the communion service as an opportunity to combat popular ignorance more directly, by organizing a programme of religious instruction in preparation for receiving the sacrament. In 1579, the minister of Market Bosworth (Leics.), appointed `a Communion upon Sondaye nexte, and a preparation for the same, upon Frydaye nexte' at which he invited neighbouring ministers to preach, `wherin I wishe the people edifyed and made readie for that Table'. While the preparation sermons were publicly advertised and would have attracted attendance from neighbouring areas, the main focus of the exercise appears to have been parochial.(56)

It followed, therefore, that where the conditions were right -- that is, where there was a preaching minister and a group of godly parishioners -- the communion should be administered more often, preferably every month. John Dod, as we have seen, sought to justify less frequent communions, but he was prepared to support monthly communion in parishes where people were well-instructed and had time for preparation. He was even prepared to allow the godly members of one parish to `goe to some other congregation' where the communion was administered more often, a remark suggestive of a genuine desire for frequent communion among members of the puritan laity. By the early seventeenth century there was a clear trend towards monthly communion, particularly in London parishes. The accounts of St Lawrence Jewry, for example, record payments for bread and wine three times a year, `that is to say at Whitsontide, at Christide & at Easter', in 1609, 1610 and 1611, but by 1619, when John Davenport became curate and lecturer there, the parish had moved over to a pattern of monthly communion. The same trend towards more frequent communion is discernible in some rural parishes, such as Northill (Beds.) where Anthony Hoggett, later suspended for nonconformity, was appointed curate in 1583. With his arrival, quarterly communion at Easter, Whitsun, Michaelmas and Christmas was replaced by monthly communion on the first Sunday of every month.(57) There is no evidence that these monthly services were intended solely for the parish elite. In the London parish of St Andrew Hubbard, John Randall condemned the practice of receiving communion only once a year, as `a prophane thing amongst Christians', and exhorted his hearers to receive the sacrament whenever it was offered: `if we knew the benefite of the Lords Supper, we would not come once a yeere, nor once a month, but everie daie if we could. It is the ignorance of the benefite of it, that makes us come so seldome to it as wee doe'.(58) As rector of St Andrew's for over twenty years until his death in 1622, Randall's own practice was to administer the sacrament every month. Among his parishioners was the young Nehemiah Wallington, whose religious awakening in 1621 was followed in 1624 by a resolution to `resciue the Sacrament once a month if I can conuenently and if I misse then to pay to the poores box one penney'.(59)

It might be supposed that, as far as puritans were concerned, the sacrament was merely an adjunct to the preaching of the word, or even an optional extra, a useful but dispensable part of the godly life. Paul Seaver has remarked that `Wallington's resort to the Sacrament was a major departure from a religious practice otherwise dominated by sermons and prayer, by words and the Word'. While the sacrament may have satisfied a psychological need for a visible expression of the community of the saints, it was preaching, Seaver goes on, that provided Wallington with `spiritual sustenance and guidance in leading a godly life': `Sermons, not sacraments, were the ordinary vehicle of grace'.(60) This distinction between the word and the sacrament is one which Wallington himself would probably not have recognized. It was more common to regard the two as analogous, following the Augustinian commonplace of the sacrament as a `visible word'. Just as the word witnesses of Christ, wrote John Boys, so the sacraments represent Christ: `His word is an audible Sacrament, and his Sacraments are visible words'.(61) In the opinion of Henry Smith, `the Word and the Sacraments are the two breasts wherewith our mother dooth nurse us'.(62) John Randall declared that the word and the sacraments were `in generall of the same nature' and were `joyned together in a neare bond and league by Gods ordinance', so that one could reason from one to the other by analogy. `Therefore', he concluded, `if we must be frequent in the hearing of the Word, then also frequent in the participation of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper'.(63)

This did not, of course, alter the fact that the word was primary, the sacraments secondary. Edward Philips maintained that the word was `more necessarie' than the sacraments, because it `begets and begins faith', whereas `the Sacraments do but confirme it'.(64) The sacraments were, as William Perkins put it, `appendantes' to preaching; or, in the words of Richard Rogers, `helps necessarily adioyned unto the preaching of the word', confirming and ratifying what the word had previously taught.(65) Even the young Lancelot Andrewes taught that `the Sacrament is but appendix verbi, a dependent of the word, and the seale of it'.(66) As a result, puritan ministers frequently instituted a programme of monthly sermons to accompany the monthly communion services. At St Andrew Hubbard, for example, Randall preached and later published a series of sermons on the doctrine of the sacrament, delivered on Sunday afternoons for the benefit of those whose occupations prevented them from attending weekday lectures. The communion sermons at St Katherine Creechurch were delivered on the first Saturday of each month, the day before the administration of the sacrament.(67) At St Mary's, Stamford -- admittedly an extreme case -- John Vicars preached two preparation sermons, on the Friday and Saturday before the monthly communion, and attempted to exclude from the sacrament those who had not been present at the sermons.(68)

Whatever their enemies alleged, however, puritans did not generally believe that the absence of a sermon could affect the validity of the sacrament. Even a radical puritan like Arthur Hildersham believed that the sacraments were valid without the preaching of the word, even though God's ordinance was `in some degree' transgressed, and the comfort of the recipients `greatly hindred', by the lack of a sermon beforehand.(69) Edward Philips agreed that `the want of the word doth not abolish the nature of the action'. Paul Baynes maintained that one could lawfully receive the sacrament at the hands of a nonpreaching minister.(70) The doctrine that `the word is the principall, and the Sacrament is the accessary or the appendices' was not enough to convict Stephen Denison, curate of St Katherine Creechurch, of heterodoxy when he appeared before the Court of High Commission in 1635, although his opponents evidently intended to suggest that Denison held an unacceptably `low' doctrine of the sacraments.(71) It was generally agreed, therefore, that the sacraments had a value and a status quite independent of the word preached.

The value of the sacraments lay in their use as means to confirm and strengthen the assurance of one's salvation. In the view of Thomas Bedford, the word was the principal means of faith, but the sacraments were the principal means of assurance: `What we heare wee do believe, but what wee see, we know'.(72) John Panke insisted that assurance must be grounded on the sacraments, not merely upon a `bare assent to heare the word of God preached'. There could be `no apparent assurance' without receiving the sacraments. This doctrine had a powerful effect on puritans preoccupied with the quest for assurance. Richard Norwood was in his early twenties and in a state of religious flux, having experienced conversion followed by relapse, when he heard a sermon preached by Edward Topsell, curate of St Botolph's Aldersgate, `before the sacrament of the Lord's supper, wherein he treated of the certainty of salvation, that those which were truly converted and did once rightly partake of the Lord's supper could never totally fall away. Which point having scarce heard before, or not marked, and though I could not certainly believe it, yet I was partly persuaded that it was so'.(73) This did not mean that, having received the Lord's Supper once, one need never do so again. Since assurance could easily be lost, it was necessary to receive the sacrament as often as possible. As John Preston explained, `the very repetition, the very renewing the covenant, the very doing it over againe' was a means to `increase our willingnesse to take and receive Christ' and make our union with him `more full and perfect'. The godly Mrs Katherine Brettergh received communion monthly and, when she was troubled by despair during her final illness, her minister Edward Aspinall reminded her of `her frequenting of Sermons, and often receiving the most comfortable repast of the holie Communion', in order to strengthen her assurance.(74)

Rather than an optional extra, the regular receiving of the sacrament was the linchpin of the godly life. It functioned as a source of spiritual and emotional sustenance, `for the time of Receiving is not a time of moody and melancholy passion', as Theophilus Field was at pains to point out in his treatise on the subject, `but a time of mirth and joy in the Lord ... Our dutie then is to Rejoyce'. The communicant should offer thanks and praise to God, `saying, O my God, thou art good and true! O my soule, thou art blessed and happy!'(75) Richard Rogers's diary shows how `the joyfulnes in the holy communion' could be used as an antidote to the sense of personal unworthiness which the process of self-examination, repentance and humiliation tended to provoke. `I have much been uncheerful', he recorded on 28 September 1589, `yet now by occasion of a communion I brak through these bondes, & setting my selfe to teach & prepare my family, as my selfe also, I received grace to recover my strength & courage, & am this morning in good ease, having made peace betwixt the lord & my soule'.(76) For a later generation of puritans, the sacrament represented an even more potent means of emotional release. Samuel Rogers described himself as `broken to pieces with joy; drunk with comfort' at the receiving of the sacrament.(77) `Never any thing moved my affections as that did', wrote Isaac Archer after receiving the sacrament, `in so much as I could not forbeare weeping at the receiving of it'.(78) Margaret Spufford has reminded us of the importance of the Lord's Supper to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dissenters, but it is important to realize that this sacrament-centred spirituality was present in puritanism from the very beginning, and, through its dissemination in sermons and printed texts, permeated the Church of England long before seventeenth-century sacramental theology was rediscovered by the Oxford Movement, or the sacramental hymns of Watts, Doddridge and Wesley were reappropriated by nineteenth-century Anglicanism.(79)

Nevertheless, it is sometimes assumed that puritanism must have been lacking an important dimension of sacramental worship, because of its rejection of any mental imagery or any visual contemplation of the sacrament. Margaret Aston has argued that the Protestant condemnation of religious images spread to internal, as well as external, pictures, out of a fear of `idols of the mind'.(80) Malcolm Smuts has made a similar point: `Most puritans tried to avoid relying on images, even in their religious meditations ... The words of the Bible and sermons, rather than visual imagery, dominated their concept of faith. The Catholic church, by contrast, encouraged believers to develop their powers of visual imagination as an aid to piety'.(81) However, the Protestant prohibition of mental images was not unqualified. Perkins permitted the use of `internall images rightly conceived', and it is clear that mental images of Christ's Passion, used in the context of sacramental devotion, fell into that category. As T. B. Bozeman has remarked, `it was of the very essence of puritan conceptions of the communion that it should generate visualization'.(82)

Some puritan authors warned against an over-reliance on the visual. `Christ hath not instituted this Sacrament for a fashion in his Church to touch, and feele, and see, as we gaze upon pictures in the windowes', declared Henry Smith; the virtue of the sacrament resided not in the outward sign but in the thing signified.(83) Others, however, maintained that the act of receiving the sacrament was also an act of seeing. `We are to marke what is done in the holy ministration', declared the Essex minister John Smith, `not to sit in a browne studie, as a number doe, but to fixe our eyes upon the Sacramentall signes'.(84) Richard Stock criticized those who followed the communion service in their prayer books instead of watching the actions of the minister at the communion table.(85) The fact that the sacrament could be touched, tasted and seen gave it a power of physical suggestiveness which even the preaching of the word lacked: the death of Christ was described `more lively' in the sacrament than in the word, wrote John Randall; and his merits, wrote John Denison, `offered more plainely, for divers senses are made as so many windowes to convey this saving grace into our soules'.(86)

Other writers encouraged the use of vivid mental imagery to establish the connection between the sign and the thing signified. `When thou seest the Bread broken, and the Wine powred forth', wrote William Pemble, `thinke on Christ tome and rent in his precious body with stripes and wounds'. When receiving the elements, `throw thy selfe into his armes stretched out on the Crosse to embrace thee ... put thine hands & thy fingers into his side, and the print of the nailes, and cry out with that blessed Apostle in the highest degree of all possible rejoycing, MY LORD AND MY GOD'.(87) The invitation to form a mental image of the Passion was made quite explicit by Richard Sibbes: `[when] thou seest the Bread broken, and the Wine poured forth, this should stirre thee up to bee in the same estate, as if thou wert upon Golgotha, at the place whereupon he was crucified, crying with a loud voyce, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? as if thou sawest him sweate water and blood'.(88) George Webbe advised the communicant to meditate on Christ crucified, `as if with thine owne eyes thou diddest then behold his body nayled to the Crosse'.(89) The act of seeing thus became an act of imagining as well.


There were significant differences between Protestant and popular attitudes to the sacrament. For those who received the sacrament only once a year, Easter communion was an occasion for settling disputes and reaffirming one's membership of the parish community, and, as Eamon Duffy has written of the late medieval period, `it was emphatically a communal rather than an individualistic action'. Protestant theology, on the other hand, tended to emphasize the individual aspect of the rite. At the communion table, wrote Theophilus Field, `(shutting out of my minde all other cogitations) I am so to settle my selfe, as if None were there present, but God the Father, and God the Sonne, and I my selfe'.(90) John Bossy has suggested that an emphasis on more frequent reception of the sacrament might have undermined the social functions of Easter communion. Because the whole adult population would (in theory) be present, `an annual reception, occurring at Easter after the asceticisms of Lent, was a more plausible embodiment of the unity of Christians than the more frequent and more devout communions of the Counter-Reformation' -- or, for that matter, of the Reformed tradition in English Protestantism.(91) We may, therefore, be dealing with two fundamentally different understandings of the communion service, focused on the same ceremony yet having little else in common.

However, Protestant and popular regard for the sacrament might also have overlapped and reinforced each other. The relationship between puritanism and popular culture has been characterized by Peter Lake as one of `dialogue' and `negotiation' rather than mutual antipathy. He and other historians have been looking for possible points of contact between the two, such as fear of popery, belief in providentialism and forms of cheap print such as the murder pamphlet.(92) Could the sacrament have provided another such point of contact? One occasion when it did was observed by the Jesuit, William Weston, from the window of his prison cell in Wisbech, when over a thousand people gathered `on a large level stretch of ground within the precincts of the prison' to hear sermons and receive the sacrament. `In the first few hours there were three or four sermons, one after the other, and the remainder of their devotions. They then went to communion, which they would receive from their minister, not on their knees or standing up, but walking about, so that it could be called in a true sense a Passover'. Weston's description is reminiscent of the festal communions that became a feature of Scottish Presbyterianism in the 1620s, attended by vast crowds and transforming the Reformed communion service into what Leigh Eric Schmidt has called `a popular sacramental festival'.(93)

Such occasions were much rarer in England, where the ministers who organized them would have risked heavy episcopal censure. It is significant that the Wisbech communion took place within the precincts of the prison, presumably under the protection of the prison governor. By the seventeenth century, most puritan ministers seem to have grown reconciled to working within the parochial system.(94) Yet the parish communion service might still have possessed some of the characteristics of a popular festival, an occasion when the bonds of community and sociability could be reinforced. The puritan emphasis on personal union with Christ did not cause them to neglect the charitable and communal dimensions of the communion service. `This Sacrament signifieth not onely our union with Christ our head by faith', wrote Thomas Taylor, `but our communion also with the members by love'.(95) Before receiving the sacrament, a man had to `examine his charity' to make sure that he sought peace with his neighbours and forgave his enemies. Hildersham agreed that no one could be worthy to receive without having first sought `reconciliation with all such as hee hath been at variance with'.(96) Whether, in the event of a quarrel with a neighbour, one should receive the sacrament or not was, according to Randall, a case of conscience which many people put to their minister, `and it is a captious question to him: For if he say, Come, then it hardens them in their mallice: If he say, Forbeare, then he hardens them in their profanesse'.(97)

Handbooks for communicants devote a good deal of space to this practical pastoral problem. Richard Preston maintained that people should not refrain from communion simply `because they are fallen out with their neighbour'. But he insisted upon self-examination before receiving the sacrament to find out `whether we be reconciled to our neighbour and brethren'. If not, the intending communicant must forgive them their offences and must be `readie and willing ... to make amends for any wrong or iniurie done against them', while avoiding any contentious or railing words.(98) The puritan tradition attached great importance to the minister's role as peacemaker, reconciling quarrelsome members of his flock, as is clear from the biographies of godly divines like Richard Greenham and William Whateley. The communion service provided an opportunity for ministers to exercise that role, with exclusion from communion being used as a final sanction. Among the Lancashire quarter sessions records is a letter from a local minister, Gilbert Nelson, recounting his efforts to make peace between two of his parishioners before admitting them to Easter communion in 1633: `I laboured to the utmost of my power in reconciliation amongst them before they were admitted to the blessed sacrament of the Lords Supper; and prevailed soe farr with the partie which rashly had given that scandall, that her Teares seem'd to testifie her sorrow for her offence ... And with the parties offended; that they openly professed in the Assembly that (notwithstanding that Controversie) they were in charity & sufficient Motives (on both sides) for me (who cannot judge of mens harts, but by such outward signes) to admitt them to the Communion'. Only when these informal attempts at mediation appeared to have broken down did Nelson suggest that the matter should be referred to the justices of the peace.(99)

But could the threat of exclusion from communion have developed into a system of closed communion, in which parishioners were required to reach high standards of religious knowledge or even to produce evidence of their own effectual calling before being admitted to the communion table? If so, then, as Ian Archer has written, it would be strong evidence of `the divisive impact of puritan ideology and practices on parish life'.(100) The Prayer Book required the minister to exclude anyone living in `open and notorious evil' and any persons `betwixt whom he perceiveth malice and hatred to reign', but it is clear that some puritan ministers would have liked to have gone considerably further. Hildersham had no doubt that `a man is not to receive this Sacrament, except after triall hee finde himselfe to be in the estate of grace'.(101) To urge this duty upon communicants was one thing; to enforce it in practice, or even attempt to do so, was quite another. Puritan writers paint a vivid picture of the laity flooding in to receive communion while the clergy vainly attempted to hold them back: people `will by no meanes be kept from receiving this sacrament', complains one; `by no meanes may they be perswaded to forbeare till better fitted', adds another.(102) John Dod agreed that this put the minister in a difficult position, `for thrust them from the table he cannot'. But Dod advised ministers to subject unworthy communicants to `the shame of departing from the table without the sacrament: all the congregation looking on them, and the minister passing by them'. This, as he admitted, would provoke hostility and would probably end with the minister being called to account in the church courts, but `howsoever thence may arise persecution: yett a good conscience must be respected above all'.(103)

There were a few attempts before 1640 to introduce closed communions into English parishes. William Seridge, the Elizabethan rector of East Hanningfield (Essex), was repeatedly cited to the archdeacon's court for barring large numbers of his parishioners (on one occasion, as many as nineteen) from the communion table. But few puritan ministers followed his example and, had they tried to do so, they would almost certainly have found it unenforceable. As John Downame remarked, it was difficult for a minister to exclude profane persons from communion `unless by course of law they stand convicted of some heinous crime'. Seridge's parishioners were simply licensed by the court to receive the sacrament in a neighbouring parish. In the 1630s, Samuel Fairclough, rector of Kedington (Suffolk), introduced a strict rule of admission to the sacrament, requiring all communicants to make a public declaration of their faith, in order `to hinder the intruding, or approaching of the visibly prophane unto the Table of the Lord'. Again, however, this was an exceptional case, made possible by the support and protection of the patron of the living, Sir Nathaniel Barnardiston, and does not seem to have been paralleled elsewhere in the county. When William Warmington, vicar of Launcells (Cornwall), tried to bar two dozen of his parishioners from Easter communion in 1639, he was quickly forced to back down. According to subsequent court proceedings, he `did at first putt some of them back from the Communion, perswadinge them that they should be better instructed before they should be admitted to the Sacrament, but afterwardes did administer the Communion unto them'.(104)

Attempts to impose minimum standards of religious knowledge were fraught with difficulty: the Survey of the Booke of Common Prayer pinpointed one of the flaws of the Prayer Book when it enquired whether `a Minister should keep from the Communion such as can not say the Catechisme, though they be confirmed'.(105) Although the Prayer Book stipulated that children were not to be admitted to communion until they had been duly catechized and confirmed, it made no provision for adults who might already be confirmed or, at any rate, accustomed to receive the sacrament, but whose religious knowledge might be unsatisfactory. None the less, some ministers did make a determined effort to enforce the Prayer Book rubric and also to exclude any parishioners who were unable to repeat the catechism. In 1590, a dismal procession of people from the parish of Epping (Essex) filed through the London consistory court to explain why they had not received communion at Easter: John Baker had been `sent back' from the communion table `for absenting him selfe from the cathechisme'; George Masby, Stephen Masby and Edward Burman had also been turned away for lack of preparation; Agnes and Francis Foster had been turned away because of a quarrel with a neighbour; and Richard Greygoose stated that `he hath offered himself therunto & Mr Heron wolde not receive him, and now he confessed that one John Hynde and he hath ben at variance but he beareth him no malice as he said'. This last is particularly interesting, because it suggests a difference of opinion between minister and parishioner over the type of neighbourly dispute which could warrant exclusion from communion.(106)

As John Dod indicated, a strict interpretation of the Prayer Book rubric was likely to be resented. Cornelius Burges, rector of Watford (Herts.), stressed that he was merely obeying `the order enjoyned in the book of Common Prayer established by the Law of this Realme for all to observe, although the negligence of some, & the corrupt glosses of others hath caused it to be asleep without due execution'. Yet `many people', he complained, `find great fault with their ministers for being any thing dilligent in this particular. Many there are who think & wilbee ready to say, our minister is very busy & strict sure, I never knew the like in any place where I have lived, I have knowne a good many ministers in my dales as good as hee, & yet they never made half so much adoe about any bodies receaving of the communion'.(107) In 1594, a group of parishioners from Lamberhurst (Kent) presented a petition to the JPs at Maidstone quarter sessions, complaining that their vicar, Thomas Harris, `putteth men and women from the Communion in respecte of his owne private quarrells althoughe som of them have ben promised to be admitted Yet at the vearye action with disgrace they have been rejected'. This is one of a combination of charges against Harris, including nonconformity (not wearing the surplice) and antisocial behaviour (impounding his neighbours' cattle), which suggest that exclusion from communion was one of the offences against charity typically associated with puritanism in the minds of its opponents.(108)

Many puritan ministers, however, were aware of the gravity of excluding anyone from communion and reluctant to do so except in the most extreme cases. Arthur Dent believed that `ignorant and simple men' should be admitted to the sacrament as long as they showed some `tractableness to know God'.(109) John Dod agreed that when there was `little difference of knowledg between divers personns' it was hard to admit some and exclude others. Ignorant people, he suggested, `showlld be admitted uppon promise of greater dilligence'.(110) And, in many cases, the minimum acceptable degree of knowledge was set fairly low. Edward Fenton's So Shorte a Catechisme, That Whosoever Cannot, or Wil Not Learne, Are Not in Any Wise to be Admitted to the Lords Supper covered the fall of man, the redemption by Christ and the necessity of faith. It described the sacraments as `seales and pledges' of salvation, but without tackling the doctrine of assurance; it drew a simple parallel between the outward receiving of the elements and the inward receiving of Christ; and it limited self-examination before receiving the sacrament to three questions: do I have faith? do I repent of my sins? have I reconciled myself to my neighbours?(111) There is one case, from Oxfordshire, of a parishioner being excluded from communion for being unable to recite his catechism from memory, even though he was able to read it.(112) More typical, though, were the Sussex parishioners turned away from communion `because they could say none of the Ten Commandments'; and, in the last resort, communicants who lacked even this level of knowledge might still be admitted.(113) Richard Greenham told the more ignorant members of his flock that `he would not wish them to come, but if they came, he would not utterly denie them if they lay in no sinne'.(114)

Moreover, there is clear evidence that, in some cases, parishioners actually expected their minister to apply the sanction of exclusion from communion. The churchwardens of Westhampnet (Sussex) presented their minister to the archdeacon's court in 1625 `for that he hath admitted one Robert Taylor to the Holy Communion, being an open contender, and having sued many of his neighbors for matters of small valew, to our great hurt and hindrances, and will not reconcile himself, though it hath bin sought by some of the parrish'.(115) The Herefordshire minister, Anthony Lapthorne, caused `great offence' to his parishioners by his negligence in examining communicants. On Easter Day, 1634, he gave the bread at the communion to one Robert Cope, `without laying any thing to his charge, but when he came to deliver him the Cupp he asked him whether he were not sorry for his not comeing to his Church as his Neighbors doe, & he sayed yea, & soe delivered the wyne to him'.(116) In the light of these cases it is entirely plausible to suggest that, in some circumstances, parishioners may have welcomed a puritan minister who used the communion service as a way of policing the moral boundaries of the parish. In the twenty-one years of Richard Greenham's ministry at Dry Drayton (Cambs.), from 1570 to 1591, there were remarkably few ecclesiastical court cases (and, significantly, no defamation cases) involving members of the parish, suggesting that disputes were being settled informally. Eric Carlson has attributed this to two factors: Greenham's own pastoral activities and the social control exercised by the parish oligarchy.(117)

Judith Maltby has suggested that the hostility of puritan ministers to the practice of private communion may have alienated them from their conformist parishioners.(118) Communion for the sick was enjoined by the Prayer Book and permitted by the 1604 Canons in case of necessity, but some authors strongly disapproved of it: Stephen Denison declared that only `ignorant persons' desired the sacrament on their deathbed; and Edward Elton stated categorically that as the sacrament was `a publicke seale of the covenant of grace', it was not to be administered to people `on their death-beds in private', however much they might desire it.(119) This, though, was an extreme view: Elton's prohibition of private communion was among the doctrines officially condemned when his book was burnt at Paul's Cross in 1625. Most authors were prepared to allow private communion, though with certain caveats: Randall cautioned ministers to perform it `verie sparingly, and never but when urgent occasion requires', while Hildersham believed that `a sufficient company of the faithfull' should be present as well as the sick person.(120) Interestingly, Thomas Morton was prepared to countenance the reservation of the sacrament for delivery to the sick, as permitted in the 1549 Prayer Book but cancelled in 1552, on the grounds that it was `not to be called a change, but a continuance of the first ordination in the sacramentall use'.(121) In practice, however, ministers seem to have consecrated the elements at the sick person's bedside, rather than using pre-consecrated elements. At St Botolph without Aldgate in April 1598, a private communion was held at the house of John Darcie `being sick' (as it turned out, on his deathbed). Darcie, his wife and a maidservant received communion, with Darcie himself providing the bread and wine.(122)

Private communion was not administered solely in cases of sickness. One common reason for wishing to receive the sacrament in private was fear of arrest for debt. When William Pickard was presented to the London consistory court for failing to receive communion at Easter, the court was informed that `he is a pore man indetted to divers, he keepes his howse and sayethe he dares not com to the Churche to doe his dutie for feare of being arrested'. Pickard's fears were not unreasonable, as other cases show. When Henry Stint came to receive communion in the parish church of Farnham (Surrey), on Whitsunday 1579, he was arrested by the town bailiff as soon as he stepped out of the chancel into the body of the church. The bailiff, Ralph Bainbrigg, later explained that `he feared yf he had not taken him then he could not afterwardes have him at all, he and his freindes had suche shiftes to hyde him out of sight as he & they had done before'.(123) In such cases the church courts usually permitted the debtor to receive the sacrament privately, recognizing that the sacrament had a legal as well as a religious function in releasing the communicant from the penalties of recusancy. In 1621, the vicar of Westham (Middx) certified on behalf of one of his parishioners that she `dares not go abroad for feare of arestes' and the judge ordered him to administer the sacrament to her in her own house.(124) Cases like these suggest that private communions were fairly common events, fulfilling a recognized social role to which puritan ministers would not necessarily have objected.

Puritans may have been prepared to tolerate some of the popular customs surrounding the sacrament, but we must also take into account the deep-seated hostility to popular culture expressed by many puritan writers. Robert Bolton had little sympathy with those who sought to make a `reconciliation with their neighbour' before receiving communion, not because he disapproved of the custom, but because he saw it as `an ordinary deceit among many ignorant men' who were more interested in the petty quarrels between themselves than in `the great difference and fearfull breach betwixt God and their owne consciences'.(125) Puritan ministers measured the success of their efforts not as historians have tried to measure it, by levels of attendance at Easter communion, but by the number of people coming to communion without due preparation, or by the prevalence of drunkenness, swearing and other vices. In Elizabethan Westmorland, villagers would `goe for good fellowship to the taverne or alehouse' immediately after receiving the sacrament; in Jacobean London, `men-servants & Maid-servants' would receive the sacrament in the morning, then go out to the suburbs `to drinke, & walke in the fieldes' in the afternoon.(126) To the puritan onlooker, these leisure activities were evidence of popular contempt for the communion service. To the historian, they simply reveal the incompatibility of puritan and popular attitudes to Sabbath-day recreations. Richard Leake was appalled by `the grievous and monsterous prophanation of this holy Sacrament' by his Westmorland parishioners. Not until John Aubrey compiled his Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme did their behaviour receive more sympathetic treatment from an elite observer of popular culture. `At Danby Wisk in the North-Riding of Yorkshire', noted Aubrey, `it is the custom for the Parishioners after receiving the Sacrament, to goe from the Church directly to the Ale Hous and there drink together as a testimony of charity and friendship'. This custom, he speculated, might derive from the love-feasts of the primitive church, `where all the Congregation met and feasted, after they had received the Communion together ... and all eate together, for the encrease of mutuall love'.(127)

Even so, popular notions of `good fellowship' had certain affinities with the puritan preference for sitting, rather than kneeling, to receive communion. The justification for sitting was that the communicants were guests at the Lord's table and should therefore adopt an appropriate `table-gesture' to express their `equall and fellowlike condition' with each other and with Christ himself. Many writers who did not openly advocate sitting nevertheless adopted the metaphors associated with it. Samuel Page declared that Christ desired his followers to show `good fellowship' by coming to his table, and imagined him saying, as a host to his guests: `Come eate (my friends) drinke, and make merry, and much good may it doe your soules'. It is easy to see how this could have encouraged communicants to equate the taking of the communion cup with the formalized `drinkings', to pledge a health or settle an agreement, which they would have encountered in the alehouse. Anti-puritan polemicists described puritans seated around the communion table and passing the cup from hand to hand, `one drinking as it were to another, like good fellows'.(128) It was an equation not entirely without precedent in the Prayer Book itself, which required newly married couples to receive the communion as a way of affirming their vows,(129) but it was one that rarely existed in popular culture. To an outsider, after all, sitting at communion might seem every bit as irreverent as drinking on the Sabbath. `It is well knowne', remarked Thomas Paybody, `that ignorant people are highly offended at sitting as a gesture (in their judgment) of great unreverence'.(130)

The relationship between puritanism and popular culture may thus appear to have been one of mutual misapprehension. But the relationship was more complex, and puritan attitudes more diverse, than these examples may suggest. While William Sclater complained that people respected the sacrament too much and `other Ordinances' too little, other writers evinced a willingness to meet popular respect for the sacrament halfway. John Panke felt that anti-popery had led English Protestants to extremes: `Our dislike of them by whom to much heretofore hath bin attributed unto the sacrament; is growen to an error on the contrary hand, that nowe from the sacraments too much is derogated'.(131) Stephen Denison suggested that if the clergy celebrated communion more frequently, they would be able to capitalize on popular respect for the sacrament and use it as a means of promoting moral reformation: `For if they [the people] knew a necessity of frequent receiving, surely then they would endeavour to keepe themselves in a better temper, that so they might bee alwayes fit to partake of the Sacrament'. And there is evidence from spiritual autobiographies that people may have been drawn towards puritanism by a sense of the importance of the sacrament. Arthur Wodenoth was an apprentice in London in his mid-teens when `the drawing on of Easter, when both custome and iniunction prompt to the Communion', and the recollection of `a dangerous fitt of sickness which had befallen mee the yeare before', led him into fears of `the unworthy receaving of the Sacrament' and thence to a serious consideration of religious matters.(132) Richard Norwood's conversion narrative, quoted earlier, shows that the possibility of using the sacrament as a means of assurance had great appeal.

Meanwhile, Protestant sacramental theology was reaching a wider audience through the medium of cheap print. Christopher Sutton's Godly Meditations upon the Most Holy Sacrament of the Lords Supper, first published in 1601, was a translation of an Italian Jesuit work, Luca Pinelli's Meditationi brevi del sanctissimo sacramento, revised and expurgated for a Protestant readership. Sutton explained that his book was designed to fill a gap in the market by providing a practical guide to the intending communicant: `Witty discourses, in matter of controversie, now a long time, no lesse learned, then large wee have had in our English tongue, about the holy Eucharist: but all this while wee have not much extant, appertaining to the substance thereof, to wit, touching our Christian preparation unto the same, and our Christian participation of the same'.(133) Sutton was not the only writer to be concerned at the apparent lack of Protestant practical divinity: two years later, in 1603, Richard Rogers expressed similar anxiety about the shortage of books `for the certaine and daily devotion of a christian'.(134) The fifty years from 1590 to 1640 witnessed an explosion of cheap religious publications intended to meet this need. A number of works on the sacrament, such as Henry Smith's A Treatise of the Lords Supper and Thomas Tymme's A Silver Watch-Bell, were deliberately aimed at a popular audience, while more general works like Lewis Bayly's The Practice of Piety, one of the religious best-sellers of the century, also offered guidance on the receiving of the sacrament, with forms of prayer for the communicant to use before and after receiving.

These little books incorporate many of the themes we have been considering. Tymme was keen to encourage frequent receiving, advising those who refrained from communion, `for feare of communicating (as they say) unworthily', that their sins did not debar them from the sacrament. Rather, our sins `ought to cause us to come the sooner', to encourage us to lay hold on Christ with greater eagerness.(135) Bayly and Sutton also emphasized the need for frequent receiving (once a month, according to Bayly) and for reconciliation with neighbours before doing so.(136) The doctrine of assurance also received much attention. Tymme declared that there could be `no better meanes ... to be assured of the forgivenesse of thy sins, and consequently of thy salvation' than the worthy receiving of the sacrament with due preparation beforehand.(137) In revising Pinelli's text, Sutton added a new passage inviting the reader to consider `that here the distressed either in bodie or mind, may apply unto himselfe in particular, the merits of Christs passion, and raise up himselfe by a comfortable participation of this holy Mystery'.(138) Henry Smith provided readers with five heads of self-examination before communion: they were to determine whether they had faith, not only to believe that Christ died, but that he died for them; whether they were in charity; whether they repented of their sins; whether they resolved not to sin again; and whether they were willing to suffer and die for Christ. `Here is a good note for a man to exsamen hemselfe', commented an early reader in the margin of the copy now in the Cambridge University Library.(139)

Whether these authors can individually be described as `puritan' is a less fruitful and arguably a less important question than whether their books can generically be so described. Individually, there are significant differences between them. All deal with the doctrine of assurance to some extent, but Bayly goes well beyond the others in emphasizing the need for `a particular application' of the Gospel promises `unto a mans owne Soule' and a consequent assurance `that Christ & all his mercies do belong unto him as well as to any other', as conditions for the worthy receiving of the sacrament. While Tymme invited everyone to come to communion as long as they repented of their sins, Bayly was, in effect, advising people to withhold themselves from the sacrament if they were unable to satisfy this far more stringent set of conditions. Smith -- writing twenty years earlier than Bayly, at a time when the doctrine of assurance was less developed -- merely advised the reader to receive the sacrament `with an assured faith' that Christ died for him, and did not elaborate. Yet all these books were appealing to the same market of lay readers anxious to receive the sacrament worthily and to prepare for it properly. The genre of practical divinity, to which these books belong, may not have been exclusively puritan, but it was a genre to which puritanism undoubtedly made a major contribution. The circulation of these books through the medium of cheap print thus enabled puritan and popular attitudes to the sacrament to converge.


It is generally assumed that after the Reformation, the sacraments were neglected in England until the Laudian revival of the 1630s. According to Conrad Russell, a `stress on the sacraments rather than preaching' can only be found among `a lonely and often submerged group' in Elizabethan England, isolated from `mainstream Protestantism'.(140) According to Kenneth Fincham, the Laudians introduced `a different vision of the ministerial office' because of `the great weight placed on prayer and the sacraments rather than preaching'.(141) And Peter Lake has declared that Laudianism `played up the role of prayer, public worship, and the sacraments at the expense of preaching'.(142) This view, as I have already suggested, is fundamentally mistaken in associating puritanism with preaching, Laudianism with the sacraments, as if these were two different forms of religion. But it is worth considering whether Laudians could have outflanked puritans by appealing more directly to popular culture.

In certain respects, Laudian and popular attitudes to the sacrament were not dissimilar. Robert Shelford declared that `where men are able' they ought to receive communion fasting, a custom which most puritan writers were prepared to tolerate but which was generally regarded as indifferent and potentially conducive to superstition.(143) Shelford's enthusiastic recommendation might well have appealed to the large number of people who, according to Daniel Featley in 1638, `receive always fasting before'.(144) Similarly, Edward Kellett approved the use of wafer bread, which was officially discouraged but still had popular support in conservative areas of the country. As late as 1593, a small but vociferous minority of parishioners in the diocese of Salisbury `wolde not otherwise receave, then in wafer Cakes'.(145) On the ill-fated diplomatic mission to Spain in 1622-3 by the future Charles I and the duke of Buckingham, the royal party received communion in the form of wafer bread in order to appeal to Roman Catholic spectators (`all which is to litle purpose', as a news-writer, John Chamberlain, sardonically remarked, `for the Spaniards will not vouchsafe the hearing nor looking on').(146)

By endorsing these customs, Laudians might have been able to tap a vein of popular conservatism that puritanism had failed to reach. But even in the 1630s, there was no official attempt to promote the more frequent receiving of communion. In March 1635 the King issued an order `that all his servantes should receave the Communion three tymes in the yeare', but while this was an improvement on annual communion, it was no more than the minimum canonical requirement, and the main purpose of the order seems to have been to detect recusants rather than to encourage people to receive more often.(147) Writing to Bishop James Wedderburn in April 1636 `about the communion in the Chapel Royal', Archbishop Laud stated that there should be `a full communion at all solemne times as is appointed', but that `because men do not always fit themselves as they ought for that great and holy work, therefore his Majesty will be satisfied, if every one that is required to communicate there, do solemnly and conformably perform that action once a year at least'.(148) Even godly Laudian laymen like Lord Scudamore, who received communion every month, were communicating no more often than their puritan counterparts.(149)

Some Laudians, who appear to have adopted Bishop John Overall's view that justifying grace could be lost, were cautiously experimenting with new forms of sacramental theology. Kellett maintained that if a man came to communion with `hearty Contrition and Repentance' he could `be Justified' by receiving the sacrament. Shelford hinted at the same doctrine when he declared that the sacraments `make us acceptable before God'.(150) Laudian writers tended to insist on repentance, rather than assurance, as the one necessary precondition for receiving the sacrament. `Beloved; it is no great matter that god asketh', pleaded one preacher in a communion sermon at Whitehall in 1633, `it is but Wash and be cleane; it is but Judg thy self and thou shalt not be Judged'.(151) Yet the theology underlying these remarks was rarely exposed in public. In the official rhetoric of the 1630s, receiving communion was not presented as a means of obtaining justifying grace, but as a means of preserving unity and avoiding schism. In a Paul's Cross sermon of 1637, Henry Vertue declared that the Lord's Supper was `the common Sacrament of our spirituall nourishment' and thus a reminder of `the incomparable nearnesse that is betweene Christians'. In 1639, George Downham described it as `the Sacrament of Peace, and a Seale of our union and communion with Christ our Head, and with one another; where you are able to eat of the same spirituall meat, where you are all to drink of the same spirituall drink: when then should you be friends and at peace among your selves, if not now?'(152) These increasingly desperate appeals for unity are a distinctive feature of the late 1630s. But while preachers appealed to popular respect for the sacraments as a motive for conformity, they conspicuously side-stepped the opportunity to promote a new theology of sacramental grace.

What Russell, Fincham, Lake and others would regard as evidence of Laudian sacramentalism, other historians would regard as evidence of Anglicanism, expressed at an academic level by a theological via media and at a parochial level by popular allegiance to the Prayer Book. However, these two schools of thought share a common conceptual flaw. The proponents of Anglicanism, like the proponents of Laudianism, have constructed their argument on a false dichotomy between the word and the sacraments. J. J. Scarisbrick's characterization of Anglicanism as a `more sacramental' religion is defined in opposition to the `Spartan diet of sermons and psalms' which he associates with puritanism. `Perhaps', writes Christopher Haigh, `we have heard too much of "sermon-gadding" by the godly, and should be more sensitive to "sacrament-gadding" by the rest!'(153) Once it is appreciated that an interest in the sacraments could co-exist with an interest in preaching, then the evidence for an Anglican via media begins to melt away.

Peter White cites the example of Richard Johnson, an inhabitant of St Lawrence's, Reading (Berks.), who died in 1630 and left 15 [pounds sterling] to the parish to buy a pulpit cloth, a rail for the communion table and `a silver flagen and two bread plates of silver' for the communion service. This, White argues, is a case of `spontaneous lay initiative in the improvement of church furnishings', and Johnson was a member of a religious via media, `innocent of any preference of churchmanship'.(154) Other, similar cases prompt a rather different conclusion. In 1612, Henry Sivedall, a London draper, presented a communion cup to the parish of St Martin's Ludgate, explaining that `by reason that the Comunicantes of the said parish were many, and that there was but one Communion Cup', the parish had previously been forced to borrow a second cup, to his `great greife and towche of conscience'. Yet the same Henry Sivedall later left money for an annual cycle of three sermons on the anniversaries of Queen Elizabeth's coronation, the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot.(155) In 1617, Richard Fishborne was one of two London merchants who, `out of their great zeale to Pyetie and Religion', presented two silver flagons to the parish of St Bartholomew Exchange for use at the communion service. Yet the same Richard Fishborne later left money to establish a Friday evening lecture in the parish and another lecture in his native Huntingdon, incurring the displeasure of Archbishop Laud because the trustees had power to dismiss the lecturer without consulting the diocesan bishop.(156) It should not surprise us to find a deep attachment to the sacraments accompanied by a strong commitment to the preaching ministry. Lettice, Viscountess Falkland wrote that she was constant in her attendance `at Sermons and Catechisings, and at the holy Sacrament of our most blessed Lords body and blood'. She lamented that as she could receive the sacrament `but once a month', so she could hear sermons `but once a week' and was unable to attend weekday lectures.(157) We should be wary of any definition of Anglicanism that places the sacrament at the centre and sermons on the periphery; however, once we acknowledge the centrality of preaching, it is difficult to say where Anglicanism begins and puritanism ends.

Historians have all too often assumed that it is unexpected, even suspiciously unorthodox, to find a member of the late sixteenth- or early seventeenth-century Church of England expressing a regard for the sacraments. Confronted with evidence of sacramental piety, they are thus at a loss to explain it. Pauline Croft has remarked on Robert Cecil's `deep concern for the sacraments of baptism and the eucharist', as spelt out in his will, and has commented that `it strikes what can only have been a consciously non-Calvinist note'.(158) Similarly, Linda Pollock is perplexed to find a godly gentlewoman like Lady Grace Mildmay making use of visual meditations on the sacrament. Was Lady Mildmay `Arminian' in her `stress on the importance of the sacraments vis-a-vis preaching'? Or was she `Anglican' in her `more mystical approach to the sacraments'?(159) This perplexity has led to the construction of a series of false categories -- English Arminianism, parish Anglicanism, and so forth -- to accommodate these various form of sacramental piety. The main problem with such categories is that they create an artificial division between puritanism and the sacraments. This is not to suggest that all sacramental piety must necessarily be puritan, but rather that there were such strong affinities between the two that they cannot sensibly be considered in isolation. William Lamont once remarked on the parallels between Laud's private diary and puritan spiritual autobiographies: his aim was not to argue, perversely, that Laud was really a puritan, but to point out the absurdity of restricting a cultural phenomenon as diverse and widely diffused as puritanism to a small group of godly zealots. As historians have increasingly come to realize, a broad definition of puritanism is preferable to a narrow one. Such a broad definition can comfortably accommodate, without necessarily subsuming, all of the sacramental piety that we now think of as `Anglican' or `Arminian'.

Rather than regarding puritans and Laudians as competitors for popular allegiance -- `rival evangelisms', to borrow Scarisbrick's term -- one should think of them as engaged in a joint campaign to promote higher standards of religious knowledge and observance. Laudian complaints about the profanation of the sacrament by `rude neglect, & careles impenitence' echo puritan complaints about insufficient preparation for receiving communion. Yet neither puritans nor Laudians fully succeeded in persuading those who, in William Pemble's words, `observe it of fashion, by course of law, and custome of the Countrey', to regard the sacrament as a religious necessity. `How many thousands are there', lamented a Leeds preacher in 1633, `that only of meere custome and not out of any conscience of the dutie toward god come to the communion'.(160) During the 1640s, when parish officials were no longer able to discipline non-communicants in the church courts, levels of attendance at Easter communion in the parish of St Saviour's, Southwark, slumped to below 50 per cent. John Morrill's article, `The Church in England, 1642-1649', is usually interpreted as demonstrating popular attachment to traditional sacramental worship, yet Morrill's study of churchwardens' accounts found 20 per cent of parishes where expenditure on bread and wine fell dramatically during the 1640s, and a further 38 per cent which appear to have held no communion services at all between 1646 and 1650.(161)

These statistics are not necessarily indicative of lay disregard for the sacrament. They may, as Morrill suggests, result from the introduction of closed communions in many parishes, or they may reflect the situation encountered by John Bryan as vicar of Holy Cross, Shrewsbury (Salop.), in the mid-1650s, where the people wanted to receive communion but Bryan was unable to administer it to them because he had no assisting elders. Whatever the explanation, however, this was clearly a major disruption to the established pattern of Easter communion and may have precipitated a long-term decline in religious observance. In his study of the Restoration Church of England, John Spurr has drawn attention to several churchmen who found their parishioners `strangely averse to the liturgy and sacrament of the Lord's Supper' or `generally very awkward to the sacrament'. While many people were willing to receive the sacrament when urged to do so by their ministers, there is remarkably little evidence of spontaneous lay demand.(162) In some areas, the celebration of the sacrament appears to have dwindled away almost to nothing. When Edward Bowerman became vicar of Caddington (Beds.) in 1691, he found only ten regular communicants in a parish of several hundred people. Writing to Bishop Tenison, he described some of his parishioners' excuses for not receiving. One, who `said, that he would as soon drink the Devils health, as receive the sacrament', was clearly profoundly alienated from the established church. Others, who `said, that it was time enough, and when they saw it convenient they would receive it', seem to have been merely indifferent. Some had dim memories of clerical warnings about unworthy receiving, saying `that the sacrament did nothing but damn People; that it was impossible to receive it worthily and those that received it otherwise did damn themselves', while others regarded the sacrament as socially exclusive, saying `that it was fit only for Gentlefolks and Schollards not for Poor folks to take it'. The communion service had, quite simply, ceased to be an important event in most people's lives, and the resulting pattern of non-attendance was self-perpetuating. `I was often told', Bowerman reported dispiritedly, `that there was no need of receiving the sacrament, because several good People never receiv'd it'.(163)

Much remains to be discovered about the process by which the Lord's Supper lost its hold on popular imagination. However, the withdrawal of puritans from the Anglican church after 1660 left the sacramental tradition in the Church of England permanently impoverished. Dissenters continued the puritan custom of monthly communion services and may well, as Spurr has recently argued, have had a richer sacramental life than their Anglican counterparts.(164) This is not to suggest that Anglican clergy took no interest in the sacraments, or that their parishioners did not want to participate in the communion service, but simply that clerical and lay attitudes to the sacrament no longer reinforced each other as they had done before the Civil War. More specifically, the Caddington evidence suggests that ministers set their standards too high and, in their efforts to encourage their flocks to prepare more carefully for receiving the sacrament, ended up by discouraging them from receiving it at all. Protestant teaching may have succeeded only too well, reinforcing popular respect for the sacrament in a way that its authors neither intended nor desired, and that proved to be pastorally self-defeating.

(*) An earlier version of this article was delivered in 1994 at the Early Modern Religious History seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, London. I am very grateful to Nicholas Cranfield, Kenneth Fincham, Ian Green, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Frederick Shriver and Nicholas Tyacke for their helpful comments on that occasion. I would also like to thank Eric Carlson, Patrick Collinson, Sean Hughes, Christopher Marsh, Alison Shell and Margaret Spufford for their comments on a later draft.

(1) Nicholas Tyacke, Anti-Calvinists: The Rise of English Armianism, c.1590-1640 (Oxford, 1987), 10, 202, 246.

(2) Debora Shuger, The Renaissance Bible: Scholarship, Sacrifice, and Subjectivity (London, 1994), 163.

(3) John Bossy, `The Mass as a Social Institution, 1200-1700', Past and Present, no. 100 (Aug. 1983), 60; Shuger, Renaissance Bible; David Hempton, Religion and Political Culture in Britain and Ireland: From the Glorious Revolution to the Decline of Empire (Cambridge, 1996), 10. The only mention of the sacraments in the 760 pages of Richard L. Greaves, Society and Religion in Elizabethan England (Minneapolis, 1981), is a reference to puritan `fear of sacramentalism' (81).

(4) Charles and Katherine George, The Protestant Mind of the English Reformation, 1570-1640 (Princeton, 1961), 348.

(5) A Calendar of the Middle Temple Records, ed. C. H. Hopwood (London, 1903), 22, 43.

(6) The Churchwardens' Presentments in the Oxfordshire Peculiars of Dorchester, Thame and Banbury, ed. Sidney A. Peyton (Oxfordshire Rec. Soc., x, Oxford, 1928), 293, 244. Similar complaints of `few going to communion outside of Eastertide' were made by Lutheran officials in sixteenth-century Germany: see Bruce Tolley, Pastors and Parishioners in Wurttemberg during the Late Reformation, 1581-1621 (Stanford, 1995), 81.

(7) See the references cited in the indexes to W. P. M. Kennedy, Elizabethan Episcopal Administration, 3 vols. (Alcuin Club Collections, xxv-xxvii, London, 1924); Visitation Articles and Injunctions of the Early Stuart Church, ed. Kenneth Fincham, 2 vols. (Church of England Rec. Soc., Woodbridge, 1994-8).

(8) John Panke, A Short Admonition by Way of Dialogue (Oxford, 1604, STC 19172), [A7.sup.v].

(9) Guildhall Library, London, MS 1432/3, fo. 9, St Alphage, London Wall, churchwardens' accounts, 1580-1631; MS 9234/7, St Botolph without Aldgate, parish clerk's memorandum book.

(10) The Acts of the High Commission Court within the Diocese of Durham, ed. W. H. D. Longstaffe (Surtees Soc., xxxiv, Durham, 1858), 7.

(11) Winchester Consistory Court Depositions, 1561-1602, ed. Arthur J. Willis (Winchester, 1960), 45.

(12) Privy Council to Bishop John Parkhurst, London, 31 Oct. 1569: Public Record Office, London (hereafter PRO), E135/25/31.

(13) Alexandra Walsham, Church Papists: Catholicism, Conformity and Confessional Polemic in Early Modern England (Woodbridge, 1993), 86.

(14) VCH Oxfordshire, ii, 44.

(15) Greater London Record Office (hereafter GLRO), DL/C/621, 65, London consistory court, office act book, 1618-20.

(16) Guildhall Lib., MS 3570/1, fo. 42, St Mary Aldermanbury, vestry minute-book, 1569-1609. The earliest surviving English communion token is dated 1657, but tokens were being used extensively long before this: see H. J. A.

Copinger, `Communion Tokens Used in England, Wales and the Channel Islands', Numis. Chron., 7th ser., iv (1964), 321.

(17) J. P. Boulton, `The Limits of Formal Religion: The Administration of Holy Communion in Late Elizabethan and Early Stuart London', London Jl, x (1984). The churchwardens of St Botolph's were also conscientious in presenting noncommunicants: see GLRO, DL/C/303, 154, 183, London consistory court, office act book, 1601-2, where they are even said to `have presented som for not receyvinge the Communion who hathe receyved'.

(18) The Writings of John Greenwood, 1587-1590, ed. Leland H. Carlson (London, 1962), 185; Patrick Collinson, The Religion of Protestants: The Church in English Society, 1559-1625 (Oxford, 1982), 210-11.

(19) In Cogenhoe (Northants.), only 50 per cent of adults took communion on Easter Day, 1612, which seems a startlingly low figure (although Peter Laslett regards it as remarkably high); however, the figure for Easter Day alone may not represent the full extent of Easter communion: Peter Laslett, The World We Have Lost, 2nd edn (London, 1971), 76.

(20) Churchwardens' Presentments (17th Century), pt 1, Archdeaconry of Chichester, ed. Hilda Johnstone (Sussex Rec. Soc., xlix, Lewes, 1949), 10; Michael Chadwick, `Early Churchwardens' Presentments in the Archdeaconry of Richmond', Yorks. Archaeol. Jl, xl (1959-62), 660; Norfolk Record Office, Norwich, FEL 915, fo. 45ff., account book of George Hancock, rector of Shotesham, 1610-28.

(21) William Pemble, An Introduction to the Worthy Receiving the Sacrament of the Lords Supper (London, 1629, STC 19580), [C1.sup.r].

(22) Samuel Page, Nine Sermons (London, 1630, STC 19088.7), [E3.sup.r].

(23) Pemble, Introduction to the Worthy, [B3.sup.r]. William Perkins criticized `drowsie protestants and lukewarme gospellers' for `commonly neglecting or despising the assemblies where the word is preached: and seldome frequenting the Lords table unles it be at Easter': William Perkins, A Discourse of Conscience (Cambridge, 1596, STC 19696), [A7.sup.r].

(24) Cambridgeshire Record Office, Cambridge, P68/5/1, St Mary's. Ely, churchwardens' accounts.

(25) Elizabethan Churchwardens' Accounts, ed. J. E. Farmiloe and Rosita Nixseaman (Pubns Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc., xxxiii, Streatley, 1953), 107.

(26) Ian Archer, The Pursuit of Stability: Social Relations in Elizabethan London (Cambridge, 1991), 91.

(27) On weddings, see John Aubrey, Three Prose Works, ed. John Buchanan-Brown (Fontwell, 1972), 185; T. M. Fallow, `Some Elizabethan Visitations of the Churches Belonging to the Peculiar of the Dean of York', Yorks. Archaeol. Jl, xviii (1905), 205. On churchings, see A Survey of the Booke of Common Prayer (Middelburg, 1606, STC 16450), [K3.sup.r]. Fincham records only one set of Jacobean visitation articles (Bishop Miles Smith's for the diocese of Gloucester, 1622) which enquires about communion at weddings, and none which enquires about communion at churchings: Visitation Articles and Injunctions, ed. Fincham, i, 205.

(28) John Randall, Three and Twentie Sermons: or, Catechisticall Lectures upon the Sacrament of the Lords Supper (London, 1630, STC 20682), [2M3.sup.v].

(29) Jeremiah Dyke, A Worthy Communicant: or, A Treatise, Shewing the Due Order of Receiving the Lords Supper (London, 1636, STC 7429), [D4.sup.v], [2O3.sup.v].

(30) Pemble, Introduction to the Worthy, [C1.sup.r]. Richard Leake similarly remarked of his Westmorland parishioners that some would `abstaine in outward appearance from their wonted course of sinne' on the day they received: Richard Leake, Foure Sermons (London, 1599, STC 15342), [D8.sup.r].

(31) Dyke, Worthy Communicant, [C6.sup.r]. John Boys also commented that, while baptism was poorly attended, communion was `a little more regarded': John Boys, Works (London, 1622, STC 3452), [4K5.sup.v]. On lay demand for the sacrament, see also Judith Maltby, Prayer Book and People in Elizabethan and Early Stuart England (Cambridge, 1998), 46-52.

(32) GLRO, DL/C/620, 192, London consistory court, office act book, 1618-20.

(33) William Sclater, An Exposition with Notes upon the First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians (London, 1627, STC 21835), [202.sup.r]; A Survey of the Booke of Common Prayer, [E5.sup.r].

(34) Winchester Consistory Court Depositions, ed. Willis, 23; Leake, Foure Sermons, [D7.sup.v]; Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580 (New Haven, 1992), 94. The 1549 Prayer Book also refers to `Sacramentes and Rightes'.

(35) Pemble, Introduction to the Worthy, [D3.sup.r]-[E1.sup.r].

(36) John Dod and Robert Cleaver, A Plaine and Familiar Exposition of the Ten Commandements (London, 1604, STC 6968), [2C7.sup.r]. See also Donald A. Spaeth, `Common Prayer? Popular Observance of the Anglican Liturgy in Restoration Wiltshire', in Susan Wright (ed.), Parish, Church and People: Local Studies in Lay Religion, 1350-1750 (London, 1988).

(37) The Archdeacon's Court: Liber Actorum, 1584, transcr, and ed. E. R. Brinkworth (Oxfordshire Rec. Soc., xxiii-xxiv, Oxford, 1942-6), i, 122.

(38.) John Earle, Micro-Cosmographie, 7th edn (London, 1638, STC 7445), [C6.sup.r]. In 1581, a Hampshire man who had not received communion for three years claimed to be `out of charity': Winchester Consistory Court Depositions, ed. Willis, 45. Christopher Sutton remarked that, among the common excuses for not receiving communion more frequently, some `pretend they are not, and cannot be in perfect charitie': Christopher Sutton, Godly Meditations upon the Most Holy Sacrament of the Lords Supper, 6th edn (London, 1630, STC 23494), [F4.sup.r].

(39) Archdeacon's Court: Liber Actorum, 1584, transcr, and ed. Brinkworth, i, 29; GLRO, DL/303, 174, London consistory court, office act book, 1601-2.

(40) David Sabean, Power in the Blood: Popular Culture and Village Discourse in Early Modern Germany (Cambridge, 1984), 47; Robert Peters, Oculus Episcopi: Administration in the Archdeaconry of St Albans, 1580-1625 (Manchester, 1963), 71.

(41) PRO, SP 16/119/52, calendared in Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, 1628-9, 363. This custom seems to have survived until the nineteenth century, when it came under attack from the Tractarians: see the novel by C. M. Davies, A Tractarian Love Story (London, 1861), 23, for an interesting side-light on the practice.

(42) Calendar of the Middle Temple Records, ed. Hopwood, 49.

(43) Accomptes of the Churchwardens of the Paryshe of St Christofer's in London, 1575-1662, ed. Edwin Freshfield (London, 1885), 4; Guildhall Lib., MSS 1432/3, 9234/7. See also J. C. Cox, Churchwardens' Accounts (London, 1913), 96.

(44) At St Alphage, for example, the use of two communion wines had lapsed by 1589, when muscadine was being used at all services. Not all parishes permitted communicants to provide their own wine: a Buckinghamshire man was presented in 1635 for attempting `to free himself from the Common charge of the Communion' by `bringing his own peculier wyne in a shepherds lether bottle'. But the churchwardens of St Botolph's do not seem to have objected to the practice and Edward Bowerman, writing in 1692, recorded the case of a Bedfordshire man who `used to take [communion] by himself in brown bread & smal beer'. More research needs to be done into this custom. See Churchwardens' Presentments in the Oxfordshire Peculiars of Dorchester, Thame and Banbury, ed. Peyton, lvii; Lambeth Palace Library, London, MS 933/9.

(45) The Vestry Minute Books of the Parish of St Bartholomew Exchange in the City of London, 1567-1676, ed. Edwin Freshfield (London, 1890), 47. In the 1650s, John Ward noted that, whereas the Dutch churches had a weekly collection for the poor, `wee in England give only att the Sacrament': Diary of the Rev. John Ward, ed. Charles Severne (London, 1839), 151. For examples of clerical hospitality on Easter Day, see Churchwardens' Presentments (17th Century), pt 1, Archdeaconry of Chichester, ed. Johnstone, 68, for the parish of Storrington, Sussex; PRO, SP 16/362/57, for the parish of Clungunford, Salop.

(46) Guildhall Lib., MS 4115, St Andrew Undershaft, churchwardens' remembrancer for receipts and payments.

(47) Panke, Short Admonition by Way of Dialogue, [A7.sup.v]; John Downame, A Treatise Tending to Direct the Weak Christian: How He May Rightly Celebrate the Sacrament of the Lords Supper (London, 1645), [N2.sup.r].

(48) Boulton, `Limits of Formal Religion', 140.

(49) British Library, London (hereafter Brit. Lib.), Add. MS 12,222, St Giles, Cripplegate, churchwardens' accounts, 1570-1607; Kenneth Fincham, Prelate as Pastor: The Episcopate of James I (Oxford, 1990), 140 n. 136.

(50) John Denison, The Heavenly Banquet: or, The Doctrine of the Lords Supper, 2nd edn (London, 1631, STC 6589), [M4.sup.v].

(51) Richard Preston, The Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper (London, 1621, STC 20283), [M7.sup.r]. Preston was minister of Rushden, Northamptonshire. See also A Survey of the Booke of Common Prayer, [F2.sup.r].

(52) John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia, 1960), 1424-5 (IV.17.46).

(53) Pemble, Introduction to the Worthy, [B2.sup.v]. See also Herbert Westfaling, A Treatise of Reformation in Religion (London, 1582, STC 25285), [2B1.sup.r], sidenote: `Our negligence in resorting to the Lordes table geueth the aduersary great aduantage against us'.

(54) John Dod, `Dod's Droppings: or, Passadges of Mr Dods ... as They Were at Severall Times Gathered from his Mouth': Dr Williams's Library, London, MS 28.2. This collection of John Dod's casuistry seems to have circulated widely; there are other manuscript copies at Yale and at Jesus College, Cambridge.

(55) Richard Greenham, Works, 5th edn (London, 1612, STC 12318), [P1.sup.r]. On Greenham's pastoral theology, see also Kenneth L. Parker and Eric J. Carlson (eds.), Practical Divinity: The Works and Life of Richard Greenham (Aldershot, forthcoming 1998); also below, n. 117. I am grateful to Eric Carlson for his advice on the textual transmission of Greenham's sermons and table-talk.

(56) Dr Ad[oniram?] Squire to Anthony Gilby, 30 Sept. 1579: Cambridge University Library, MS Mm. 1.43, 436-7.

(57) Guildhall Lib., MS 2593/1, fos. 177, 186, 193, St Lawrence Jewry, churchwardens' accounts; Letters of John Davenport, ed. Isobel Calder (New Haven, 1937), 13; Elizabethan Churchwardens' Accounts, ed. Farmiloe and Nixseaman. Ronald Hutton has argued that the custom of `festival communions' at Easter, Christmas, Whitsun and other major feasts was in decline from the 1560s to the 1580s and then experienced a revival from the 1590s to the 1630s; however, he fails to appreciate that Easter communion was the norm virtually everywhere and makes no attempt to relate festival communions to the overall frequency of communion: Ronald Hutton, The Rise and Fall of Merry England (Oxford, 1994), 120-1, 176-7.

(58) Randall, Three and Twentie Sermons, [2B1.sup.v], [M3.sup.r]. See also Edward Elton, Gods Holy Mind (London, 1625, STC 7619), [H7.sup.r]: we are to receive the sacrament `so often as it is administred in that Congregation whereof we are members'.

(59) Guildhall Lib., MS 204, 35ff., Nehemiah Wallington, `A Record of the Mercies of God'. Another of Wallington's notebooks consists of a spiritual journal recording `the fruit and bennifeet that (through the mercy of God) I gaine by the Sacrament': Brit. Lib., Add. MS 40,883.

(60) Paul Seaver, Wallington's World: A Puritan Artisan in Seventeenth-Century London (London, 1985), 35-7. Peter Lake describes the sacraments in similar terms (though with a sharper sense of their importance), as `a crucial means of raising godly self-consciousness': Peter Lake, Anglicans and Puritans? Presbyterianism and English Conformist Thought from Whitgift to Hooker (London, 1988), 181.

(61) Boys, Works, [4A5.sup.r].

(62) Henry Smith, A Preparative to Mariage ... Whereunto is Annexed a Treatise of the Lords Supper (London, 1591, STC 22687), [sup.2][A2.sup.r].

(63) Randall, Three and Twentie Sermons, [F3.sup.r], [2M4.sup.v].

(64) Edward Philips, Certaine Godly and Learned Sermons (London, 1605, STC 19853), [K3.sup.r].

(65) William Perkins, A Golden Chaine (Cambridge, 1591, STC 19658), [K3.sup.r]; Richard Rogers, Seven Treatises (London, 1603, STC 21215), [X1.sup.r].

(66) Lancelot Andrewes, The Moral Law Expounded (London, 1642), [M2.sup.v].

(67) Stephen Denison, The Doctrine of Both the Sacraments: To Wit, Baptisme, and the Supper of the Lord, 3rd edn (London, 1634, STC 6602), [A4.sup.v].

(68) Reports of Cases in the Courts of Star Chamber and High Commission, ed. Samuel Rawson Gardiner (Camden Soc., xxxix, London, 1886), 204.

(69) Arthur Hildersham, The Doctrine of Communicating Worthily in the Lords Supper (1633), in William Bradshaw, A Preparation to the Receiving of the Sacrament (London, 1634, STC 3515), [O1.sup.r]. This resembles Cartwright's position in the Admonition Controversy: see The Works of John Whitgift, D.D., ed. John Ayre, 3 vols. (Parker Soc., xl, Cambridge, 1851-3), iii, 22-3.

(70) Philips, Certaine Godly and Learned Sermons, [L4.sup.v]; Paul Baynes, Christian Letters (London, 1628, STC 1631), [I7.sup.r].

(71) PRO, SP 16/261, fos. 282-4.

(72) Thomas Bedford, A Treatise of the Sacraments (London, 1639, STC 1790), [B7.sup.v].

(73) Richard Norwood, Journal, ed. W. F. Craven and W. B. Hayward (New York, 1945), 59.

(74) John Preston, Three Sermons upon the Sacrament of the Lords Supper (Oxford, 1631, STC 20280.3), [H2.sup.r]; William Harrison, Deaths Advantage Little Regarded, 2nd edn (London, 1605, STC 12867), [L8.sup.r], [O5.sup.r.]

(75) Theophilus Field, A Christians Preparation to the Worthy Receiving of the Blessed Sacrament of the Lords Supper (London, 1622, STC 10860), [F4.sup.v], [F7.sup.v].

(76) Dr Williams's Lib., MS 61.13, fos. [20.sup.v], [30.sup.r]. These passages are not printed in M. M. Knappen's edition, Two Elizabethan Puritan Diaries (Chicago, 1933).

(77) Quoted by Tom Webster, `Writing to Redundancy: Approaches to Spiritual Journals and Early Modern Spirituality', Hist. Jl, xxxix (1996), 52.

(78) Two East Anglian Diaries, 1641-1729: Isaac Archer and William Coe, ed. Matthew Storey (Suffolk Rec. Soc., xxxvi, Woodbridge, 1994), 80.

(79) Margaret Spufford, `The Importance of Religion in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries', in Margaret Spufford (ed.), The World of Rural Dissenters, 1520-1725 (Cambridge, 1995), 86-102.

(80) Margaret Aston, England's Iconoclasts (Oxford, 1988), i, 464-5.

(81) R. Malcolm Smuts, Court Culture and the Origins of a Royalist Tradition in Early Stuart England (Philadelphia, 1987), 229.

(82) William Perkins, A Warning against the Idolatrie of the Last Times (Cambridge, 1601, STC 19763.5), [E7.sup.r], quoted in Aston, England's Iconoclasts, i, 453; T. D. Bozeman, To Live Ancient Lives: The Primitivist Dimension in Puritanism (London, 1988), 44.

(83) Smith, Preparative to Mariage, [sup.2][A2.sup.v].

(84) John Smith, Essex Dove, 2nd edn (London, 1633, STC 22790), [K1.sup.v]; see also Hildersham, Doctrine of Communicating Worthily in the Lords Supper, in Bradshaw, Preparation to the Receiving of the Sacrament, [Q11.sup.r].

(85) Brit. Lib., Egerton MS 2,877, fo. [46.sup.v], Richard Stock, sermon on Christmas Day, 1606.

(86) Denison, Heavenly Banquet, [P8.sup.r]; Randall, Three and Twentie Sermons, [F3.sup.r], [2Y3.sup.r].

(87) Pemble, Introduction to the Worthy, [B1.sup.v].

(88) Richard Sibbes et al., The Saints Cordials (London, 1629, STC 22503), [Aa6.sup.v].

(89) Richard Rogers et al., A Garden of Spiritual Flowers (London, 1625, STC 21210), [G7.sup.v].

(90) Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 93; Field, Christians Preparation, [F2.sup.r].

(91) Bossy, `The Mass as a Social Institution', 53.

(92) Peter Lake, `Popular Form, Puritan Content? Two Puritan Appropriations of the Murder Pamphlet from Mid-Seventeenth-Century London', in A. Fletcher and P. Roberts (eds.), Religion, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain: Essays in Honour of Patrick Collinson (Cambridge, 1994).

(93) William Weston: The Autobiography of an Elizabethan, trans. Philip Caraman (London, 1955), 164-5; Leigh Eric Schmidt, Holy Fairs: Scottish Communions and American Revivals in the Early Modern Period (Princeton, 1989), 31. I am grateful to Patrick Collinson for drawing my attention to this material. See also his `Elizabethan and Jacobean Puritanism as Forms of Popular Religious Culture', in Christopher Durston and Jacqueline Eales (eds.), The Culture of English Puritanism, 1560-1700 (London, 1996).

(94) See, for example, Downame, Treatise Tending to Direct the Weak Christian, [M8.sup.r].

(95) Thomas Taylor, Three Treatises (London, 1633, STC 23856), [L6.sup.r].

(96) Hildersham, Doctrine of Communicating Worthily in the Lords Supper, in Bradshaw, Preparation to the Receiving of the Sacrament, [P9.sup.r].

(97) Randall, Three and Twentie Sermons, [O4.sup.r].

(98) Richard Preston, The Duties of Communicants (London, 1621, STC 20284), [C3.sup.r], [D2.sup.v]-[5.sup.v], [L8.sup.r]. Preston's stress on the charitable function of the communion service reveals the same rhetoric of neighbourliness at work: `iustly may they bee blamed, that depart the Congregation, & give nothing to the poore'.

(99) Patrick Collinson, `Shepherds, Sheepdogs, and Hirelings: The Pastoral Ministry in Post-Reformation England', in W. J. Sheils and D. Wood (eds.), Studies in Church Hist., xxvi (1989), 215-16; Gilbert Nelson, rector of Tatham (Lancs.) to the Justices of the Peace, 23 Apr. 1633: Lancashire Record Office, Preston, QSB 1/116/35. For other cases of parishioners refused admission to Easter communion, see Margaret Steig, Laud's Laboratory: The Diocese of Bath and Wells in the Seventeenth Century (London, 1982), 178, for quarrelling with minister; Martin Ingram, Church Courts, Sex and Marriage in England, 1570-1640 (Cambridge, 1987), 254, for adultery.

(100) Archer, Pursuit of Stability, 90.

(101) Hildersham, Doctrine of Communicating Worthily in the Lords Supper, in Bradshaw, Preparation to the Receiving of the Sacrament, [H9.sup.v].

(102) Ibid, [O11.sup.v]; Dyke, Worthy Communicant, [C7.sup.v].

(103) Dod, `Dod's Droppings: or, Passadges of Mr Dods', 149-50.

(104) Patrick Collinson, The Elizabethan Puritan Movement (London, 1967), 349-50; Downame, Treatise Tending to Direct the Weak Christian, [C8.sup.r]; Samuel Clarke, The Lives of Sundry Eminent Persons in this Later Age (London, 1683), [Zl.sup.r]; Devonshire Record Office, Exeter, Diocesan Records, CC 178 (Complaints against the Clergy) / Launcells.

(105) Survey of the Booke of Common Prayer, [Il.sup.v]. On catechizing and admission to communion, see Patricia Caldwell, The Puritan Conversion Narrative: The Beginnings of American Expression (Cambridge, 1983), 49; Ian Green, The Christian's ABC: Catechisms and Catechizing in England, c. 1530-1740 (Oxford, 1996), 34-8; Susan Wright, `Confirmation, Catechism and Communion: The Role of the Young in the Post-Reformation Church', in Wright (ed.), Parish, Church and People.

(106) Guildhall Lib., MS 9064/13, 62-4, London archdeaconry court, liber correctionum, 1588-93.

(107) Cornelius Burges, sermons: Cambridge Univ. Lib., Add. MS 6165, 29.

(108) Records of Maidstone: Being Selections from Documents in the Possession of the Corporation (Maidstone, 1926), 261-2.

(109) Arthur Dent, A Pastime for Parents: or, A Recreation to Passe Away the Time: Containing the Most Principall Grounds of Christian Religion, 2nd edn (London, 1609, STC 6624), [G8.sup.v].

(110) Dod, `Dod's Droppings: or, Passadges of Mr Dods', 154.

(111) Edward Fenton, So Shorte a Catechisme (London, 1626, STC 10788), [A3.sup.v].

(112) Archdeacon's Court: Liber Actorum, 1584, transcr, and ed. Brinkworth, ii, 159. In the case in question, Richard Turland was refused communion in his home parish of Bloxham and went to communion in the neighbouring parish of King's Sutton instead. He was dismissed.

(113) Churchwardens' Presentments (17th Century), pt 1, Archdeaconry of Chichester, ed. Johnstone, 34.

(114) Greenham, Works, [3Y4.sup.v]. In the parish of St Mary's, Reading, all those intending to receive communion at Easter were required to come to the minister's study, on the day before the communion service, to be instructed on `theire duties towardes Almightie god'. Here, again, the emphasis appears to have been on instruction and exhortation, rather than on examination and exclusion from communion. See The Churchwardens' Accounts of the Parish of St Mary's, Reading, Berkshire, 1550-1662, ed. F. N. A. and A. G. Garry (Reading, 1893), 105.

(115) Churchwardens' Presentments (17th Century), pt 1, Archdeaconry of Chichester, ed. Johnstone, 116.

(116) PRO, SP 16/261, fo. [83.sup.r], High Commission act book.

(117) Eric Carlson, Marriage and the English Reformation (Oxford, 1994), 158-63. See also Collinson, `Shepherds, Sheepdogs, and Hirelings', 200. According to later Anglican interpretations of the Prayer Book rubric, a minister was deemed to be acting `for the protection of the whole community' when he barred someone from communion, and, for this reason, was not entitled to do so unless their sin was a cause of offence to other members of the congregation. Anglican canon law on this point is lucidly summarized by Rupert Bursell, Liturgy, Order and the Law (Oxford, 1996), 244.

(118) Judith Maltby, "`By this Book": Parishioners, the Prayer Book and the Established Church', in Kenneth Fincham (ed.), The Early Stuart Church, 1603-1642 (London, 1993), 122. Canon 71 (1604) permitted ministers to `preach, or administer the holy communion' in private houses in case of necessity.

(119) Denison, Doctrine of Both the Sacraments, [R5.sup.v]-[6.sup.v]. Denison argued that the sick should endeavour to come, or be brought, to communion; if they could not, God would accept the will for the deed. See also Elton, Gods Holy Mind, [H7.sup.v].

(120) Randall, Three and Twentie Sermons, [2F4.sup.v]; Hildersham, Doctrine of Communicating Worthily in the Lords Supper, in Bradshaw, Preparation to the Receiving of the Sacrament, [N6.sup.r].

(121) Thomas Morton, A Catholike Appeale for Protestants (London, 1609, STC 18176), [O2.sup.r]. This may have been one of the passages for which John Overall was responsible: see Anthony Milton, Catholic and Reformed (Cambridge, 1995), 233 n. 26. For evidence of possible Laudian interest in the reservation of the sacrament, see PRO, SP 16/229/119, notes on the administration of the sacrament.

(122) Guildhall Lib., MS 9234/7, St Botolph without Aldgate, clerk's memorandum book, 25 Apr. 1598. Darcie's funeral was held on 6 May.

(123) GLRO, DL/C/303, 117, London consistory court, office act book, 1601-2; PRO, C24/134.

(124) GLRO, DL/C/325, 10, London consistory court, office act book, 1621-4.

(125) Robert Bolton, A Three-Fold Treatise (London, 1634, STC 3255), [C3.sup.r].

(126) Leake, Foure Sermons, [D7.sup.v], cited by Collinson, Religion of Protestants, 214; Cambridge Univ. Lib., Add. MS 3117, fo. [14.sup.r], sermon notebook of Robert Saxby.

(127) Leake, Foure Sermons, [D5.sup.v]; Aubrey, Three Prose Works, ed. Buchanan-Brown, 141-2.

(128) Samuel Hieron, A Dispute upon the Question of Kneeling in the Acte of Receiving the Sacramentall Bread and Wine (Amsterdam, 1608, STC 13395), [D3.sup.v]; Page, Nine Sermons, [D4.sup.r], [F4.sup.r]; Brit. Lib., Harleian MS 7,033, fo. 98.

(129) Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (London, 1978), 50.

(130) Thomas Paybody, A Iust Apologie for the Gesture of Kneeling by the Act of Receiving the Lords Supper (London, 1629, STC 19488), [2D6.sup.v].

(131) Sclater, Exposition with Notes upon the First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians, [2O2.sup.r]; Panke, Short Admonition by Way of Dialogue, [D2.sup.r].

(132) `Expressions of Mr Arthur Wodenoth', in Camden Miscellany, x (Camden Soc., 3rd ser., iv, London, 1902), 120-2.

(133) Sutton, Godly Meditations upon the Most Holy Sacrament, [A4.sup.v], slightly revised from the first edition (London, 1601, STC 23491), which speaks of `not much extant appertayning to the substance of the misterie it selfe, and our Christian devotion towardes the same'; Luca Pinelli, Meditationi brevi del sanctissimo sacramento (Naples, 1598), repr. in his Opere spirituali (Venice, 1608). The first English translation, Briefe Meditations of the Most Holy Sacrament, ed. Henry Garnet (c. 1600, STC 19937), was intended for Roman Catholic readers; however, Sutton's book was an independent translation, not an adaptation of an existing English version.

(134) Rogers, Seven Treatises, [A6.sup.r].

(135) Thomas Tymme, A Silver Watch-Bell ... Whereunto is Adjoyned a Treatise of the Holy Sacrament of the Lords Supper, 18th edn (London, 1638, STC 24433), [R6.sup.v].

(136) Sutton stated that one should receive `often' but omitted Pinelli's exhortation to receive the sacrament every week: Sutton, Godly Meditations upon the Most Holy Sacrament, [P6.sup.r].

(137) Tymme, Silver Watch-Bell, [P2.sup.v].

(138) Sutton, Godly Meditations upon the Most Holy Sacrament, [O5.sup.v].

(139) Smith, Preparative to Marriage, [2.sup][G7.sup.v]; Henry Smith, A Treatise of the Lords Supper: Cambridge Univ. Lib., Syn. 8.59.83.

(140) Conrad Russell, The Causes of the English Civil War (Oxford, 1990), 93.

(141) Fincham, Prelate as Pastor, 235.

(142) Peter Lake, `The Impact of Early Modern Protestantism', Jl Brit. Studies, xxviii (1989).

(143) Robert Shelford, Five Pious and Learned Discourses (Cambridge, 1635, STC 22400), [E1.sup.r]. Elnathan Parr regarded fasting communion as an indifferent ceremony, originating in the early church, unlike Edward Kellett, who based it on conciliar rather than apostolic authority: Elnathan Parr, Works (London, 1632, STC 19311), [3I4.sup.v] (iii. 104); Edward Kellett, Tricoenium Christi in Nocte Proditionis Suae (London, 1641), [3I5.sup.r]. Stephen Denison emphasized that it was lawful to eat and drink before receiving the sacrament, `in case of weakenesse, or necessitie', but seems to have approved of fasting before communion in normal circumstances: Denison, Doctrine of Both the Sacraments, [R9.sup.v]. Fasting communion was also the received custom in the Scottish church: G. B. Burnet, The Holy Communion in the Reformed Church of Scotland, 1560-1960 (Edinburgh, 1960), 52; G. Donaldson, The Making of the Scottish Prayer Book of 1637 (Edinburgh, 1954), 18.

(144) Daniel Featley, Stricturae in Lyndomastigem (1638), in Humphrey Lynde, A Case for the Spectacles (London, 1638, STC 17101), [sup.2][I2.sup.v].

(145) Bishop John Coldwell to Archbishop Whitgift, 12 May 1593: Lambeth Palace Lib., MS 2,004 (Fairhurst Papers), fo. 8.

(146) The Letters of John Chamberlain, ed. N. E. McClure, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1939), ii, 487.

(147) Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Carte 77, fos. 406-8, newsletter, 21 Mar. 1635. Thomas Bedford was probably reflecting official policy when he declared that while every Christian ought to receive the sacrament three times a year, `because it is so ordained by the Church', precisely how often to communicate `is left to the discretion of his own conscience': Bedford, Treatise of the Sacraments, [G8.sup.v].

(148) `Archbishop Laud to Bishop James Wedderburn, 20 Apr. 1636', in The Works of the Most Reverend Father in God, William Laud, D. D., ed. William Scott and James Bliss, 7 vols. in 9 (Oxford, 1857-60), vi, 455.

(149) Ian Atherton, `Viscount Scudamore's "Laudianism": The Religious Practices of the First Viscount Scudamore', Hist. Jl, xxxiv (1991). The evidence of Scudamore's monthly communions is taken from Brit. Lib., Add. MS 11,689 (Scudamore Papers), fos. 51-2.

(150) Kellett, Tricoenium Christi, [3C2.sup.v]; Shelford, Five Pious and Learned Discourses, [K1.sup.v] Thomas Jackson maintained that the effect of receiving the sacrament worthily could be described as `justification', though not in an active sense (as an act of God), but in a passive sense (as `an Effect wrought in our soules by the spirit of Christ'): Thomas Jackson, An Exact Collection of the Works (1654), [2M3.sup.r].

(151) A. K[emp], `A Sermon Preached to the Kings Houshold att Whitehall on their Communion Day': Bodleian Lib., Rawlinson MS E. 149, 69.

(152) Henry Vertue, A Plea for Peace (London, 1637, STC 24691), [C3.sup.v]; George Downham, An Apostolicall Injunction for Unity and Peace (London, 1639, STC 7108), [F3.sup.r].

(153) J. J. Scarisbrick, The Reformation and the English People (Oxford, 1984), 187; Christopher Haigh, `The Church of England, the Catholics, and the People', in Christopher Haigh (ed.), The Reign of Elizabeth I (London, 1984), 218, cited with approval by Maltby, `"By this Book": Parishioners, the Prayer Book and the Established Church', 266 n. 11.

(154) Peter White, `The Via Media in the Early Stuart Church', in Fincham (ed.), Early Stuart Church, 211.

(155) Guildhall Lib., MS 1311/1, pt 1, fos. 101, 109-11, St Martin's Ludgate, vestry minute book.

(156) Vestry Minute Books of the Parish of St Bartholomew Exchange, ed. Freshfield, 77; Paul Seaver, The Puritan Lectureships (Stanford, 1970), 95, 143.

(157) John Duncon (ed.), The Returnes of Spiritual Comfort and Grief in a Devout Soul (London, 1648), [B1.sup.v].

(158) Pauline Croft, `The Religion of Robert Cecil', Hist. Jl, xxxiv (1991), 791.

(159) Linda Pollock, With Faith and Physic: The Life of a Tudor Gentlewoman (London, 1993), 67.

(160) York Minster Library, Add. MS 572, 243, notes on sermons preached in and around Leeds, 1633-5.

(161) John Morrill, `The Church in England, 1642-1649', in his The Nature of the English Revolution (London, 1993), 165-7.

(162) Calendar of the Correspondence of Richard Baxter, ed. N. H. Keeble and Geoffrey F. Nuttall, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1991), i, 230; John Spurr, The Restoration Church of England, 1646-1689 (New Haven, 1991), 360-6.

(163) Edward Bowerman to Bishop Tenison, 17 Dec. 1692: Lambeth Palace Lib., MS 933/9; Donald Spaeth regards this, somewhat bizarrely, as evidence of orthodox Prayer Book Anglicanism: Spaeth, `Common Prayer?', 135-7.

(164) John Spurt, `Religion in Restoration England', in Lionel K. J. Glassey (ed.), The Reigns of Charles II and James VII & II (London, 1997), 113-14.

Arnold Hunt

University of Durham
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