Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Re-Appointment of a Dean

Something historical today. Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931),  by A.C. Saunders. There is a lot of social history in Saunders, which throws up some quirky details that are often overlooked in the history of Jersey.

This chapter looks at something rather topical today, the position of the Dean of Jersey. However, I shouldn't think the Dean is likely today to "enjoin penance" to parties in cases of fornication and adultery, and become involved in civil cases concerning divorces. This was, of course, very much part of the 17th century in Jersey, where those guilty of such misdemeanors might well have to wear a white shroud and confess their sins publically in front of the whole congregation. Excommunication, in particular, was a means of casting people out from the community until they repented.

The Canons of 1623, which have recently been revised are interesting. "It was directed that the Dean shall be a Minister of the Word of God, an M.A. or graduate in the Civil Law at least, must have ability to exercise the said office, be of good life and conversation and zealous and well affected to religion and the service of God. It was also decided that natives of the Island shall be preferred for appointment to the ministry and that no minister, unless in time of vacancy, shall hold two benefices together."

It is notable that the modern Canons also keep this requirement:

"None, either Dean or Minister, shall hold two Rectorial Benefices together."

A note on language. Saunders tells us that "Mr. Vincelais de Haul is excommunicated for contumely.". The word "contumely" is used to refer to insolent or insulting language or treatment. It occurs in Hamlet's soliloquy, "Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely". Michael Quinion in his excellent website "World Wide Words" says:

"The word came into English from Old French contumelie, which in turn derives from Latin contumelia. That seems most likely to be a combination of con-, with, plus tumere, to swell. The link is that the swelling up was with misplaced or ill-judged pride, leading to arrogant behaviour."

The Re-Appointment of a Dean
by A.C. Saunders
We have read in the last chapter the suggestion of the Commissioners that a Dean should be appointed, under the Bishop of Winchester, to take charge of the Ecclesiastical affairs of the Island.
The post had been vacant since 1576, when Jean Pawlet, the Rector of St. Martin died. Jean was a brother of Sir Hugh Pawlet, the Governor, and had been appointed Roman Catholic Dean in 1543, but, at the Reformation, he had continued in office as a Protestant, married a wife and had several children.
Many ministers of the Huguenot creed had fled to Jersey, and some of these were men of great learning and eloquence. Few Jerseymen in those days had the opportunity of acquiring much learning, and only the scions of some few houses were able to proceed to English or French Universities to obtain sufficient knowledge to take Holy Orders, so the French refugees were welcomed in the Island, and, by their eloquence and zeal, they were able to impress the ill-educated Islanders with the realities of the creed for which they had sacrificed their worldly ambitions.
A French minister, Sieur de la Ripandiere, had been appointed to fill the church of St. Helier, and he introduced from that pulpit the teachings of the French Reformers. The eloquence of these ministers drew large congregations from all parts of the Island, and they so impressed the people that few remained faithful to the ancient religion, and those who did so did not dare to express their belief in an open way.
So great was the power of the French Reformers that a petition was sent to Queen Elizabeth asking that this reformed religion might be recognized as the established creed for the Islands, but the Queen, by her order of the 7th August, 1565, directed that the reformed religion, as used in the French chapel in London, might be continued in the Church of St. Helier, but that in the other parish churches the religion as adopted by the English Churches should be followed.
But the Deanery still remained vacant, possibly because the emoluments attached thereto helped to swell the King's Revenue, and gradually the reformed faith spread through-out all the churches and the ministers became more and more powerful as their activities extended. They even joined with their brothers in Guernsey in forming a Synod which met once every two years either in Jersey or Guernsey, then they had a colloquy of ministers and elders in the Island which met four times a year, and lastly a Consistory in each Parish where the minister, elders, and deacons met each Sunday to discuss the conduct of Parish affairs and particularly the doings of the parishioners. This Consistory extended its powers until the private affairs of the individual ceased to be his personal property and eventually aroused so much opposition that after the Commissioners arrived in Jersey in 1617, it was decided that a Dean should be appointed and the teachings in the Churches brought under the direction of the Bishop of Winchester so as to make them similar to those prevailing in the English Churches.
At that time more than half the livings were held by non natives of the Island. Guernseymen were the Rectors of St. Helier, St. Sauveur, St. Martin, Frenchmen occupied the pulpits of St. Clement and St. Mary, and an Italian was in charge of St. Brelade. Reverend Elie Messervy, who had been aided by the States in following his studies at Oxford, had in 1613 been appointed as Rector of St. Peter on the nomination of Sir John Peyton. The local people resented his nomination because he was not a reformed minister and had been ordained by the Bishop of Oxford. Eventually he was appointed and continued as Rector of the Parish until the year 1626.
The King selected Reverend David Bandinel, Rector of St. Brelade, as the new Dean of Jersey. He was the son of an Italian refugee who had fled to Geneva on account of his religion. David had travelled a great deal, and arriving in Jersey in 1601, he had offered his services and was accepted as a preacher by the " Colloque de Jersey," and later became Rector of St. Brelade. He was naturalised as an Englishman on the 2nd August, 1602, but seemed to have got into trouble with his parishioners by cutting down trees in the parish without consulting the Constable or his officers.
He was, however, selected to fill the re-established office of Dean of Jersey, and in a letter to Sir Edward Conway dated 14th December,  1618, he thanked him for having had him nominated " though I am incapable of such a burden." He thought the Governor was against his appointment at first and he said : " I am not displeased as regards myself, for I prefer a private life, and I perceive many difficulties, especially from the Governor, unless he approved the nomination."
But evidently the Governor was satisfied, for, after sending for Bandinel several times, Sir John informed him that he favoured his nomination. On 31st January, 1620, the King nominated Mr. Bandinel as lawful Dean and his jurisdiction was limited to spiritual cases such as preaching of the gospel, administration of the Sacraments, marriage, bastards, wills, and in all cases of fornication and adultery the Dean may enjoin penance and satisfaction to the Church by the parties when convicted by the Civil Magistrate, " and if he (the Magistrate) should neglect his duty, then the Dean may take knowledge of the case." But he is not to deal with civil cases whereby he " must be drawn to neglect of his studies, preaching the Word of God, visiting the sick, etc."
The Dean must have power to institute ministers but may not excommunicate except in cases of contumacy and rebellion, etc., and then only by the advice of his ministers.
Evidently the Bishop of Winchester had something to say about the new appointment and kept the Dean waiting for six months whilst he was taking steps to preserve the rights and privileges of the jurisdiction of his See. But eventually in April, 1620, Sir John Peyton having called a special meeting of the States for the purpose, the Dean presented his patent of office and took the necessary oath.
The meeting was a stormy one, caused in the first place by the Bailiff questioning the right of the Governor to call the meeting, then by the place the Dean should occupy in the Court, and lastly by the Bailiff objecting to the Dean addressing him with his hat on. Mr. Nicholas Fourdain stated that it was the custom in former days for the Dean to sit at the Governor's feet. Several ministers protested that ministers might speak with their hats on in the same way as the Jurats, who never move their hats to the Bailiff at all. Then Samuel de la Place, Rector of St. Mary, and David Bevin, Rector of St. John, protested against the oath taken by Mr. Bandinel, and said they would not recognize him as their superior as the word " Dean " was not found in Holy Scripture, upon which the Dean politely reprimanded them. He was supported by the other ministers in condemning their rashness and presumption, but the Bailiff said that it rested with him and-not anyone else to reprimand speakers when he thought it necessary.
Evidently the Bailiff and Governor were on very bad terms and ready to quarrel over very small affairs, and we hear of Sir Philip Carteret writing on the 23rd May, 1620, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, that on his arrival in Jersey he found " great discontent in many of the people and much dissension between the Bailiff and the Dean."
The Liturgy had been commanded by the King to be used in the Island and the Dean Bandinel was endeavouring to bring it into use in all the churches, but most of the ministers refused to comply with the order and Bandinel had been compelled to suspend one of the Rectors for " unreverend speeches against the Book of Common Prayer."
There was considerable friction between the Bailiff and the Dean about the appointment of Churchwardens and the acts of the Bailiff did not tend to smooth out the difficulties attendant on the introduction of the new Ecclesiastical Government but gave plenty of opportunity for his enemies to find many causes of complaint. These causes were very much magnified, and, notwithstanding his well-known honesty of purpose, the Bailiff allowed, in all his intercourse with the Governor and the Dean, his personal interests to somewhat overshadow his great public work. It was not that he was grasping, for he was always a poor man and had very great difficulty in keeping up the position he occupied, but he appears to have been always on the lookout for trouble whenever any question arose affecting the rights and privileges of his office.
The Governor had now the support of the Dean against Bailiff Herault, and Sir Philip Carteret writing to Secretary Conway from Jersey on the 10th February, 1621, asks his aid as the Bailiff is in great trouble and by his opposition to the Dean " has given great advantage to those who wish him ill " although he is just and honest and has always shown great zeal in the King's cause. Sir Philip intimates that Herault is likely to lease his office of Bailiff and requests that he may be appointed to succeed him.
Evidently the Governor and his friends were able to obtain the suspension of Bailiff Herault, and in March 1622 he petitioned the King and stated that " I have got the copy of the information against me and submit to your pleasure if found guilty. I have been a prisoner eight months, time enough for my enemies to find proofs if I have committed any faults."
On 17th January, 1622, Dean Bandinel, writing to the Secretary, recommends a Spaniard for a benefice in the Island and said he had excellent testimonials, and further stated he was fully cognizant of the affairs in the Island and could give the Secretary instance of the burdens he had to bear " for crosses fail not, Satan being vexed that they try to abolish his reign." He ends his letter by stating that Mr. Vincelais de Haul is excommunicated for contumely.
On 30th June, 1623, certain Canons were established for the Ecclesiastical Government of the Island regulating the Sovereignty of the King, divine worship, baptism, communion, marriage, ministers, the Dean, Churchwardens, Clerks, etc., dues of the Dean and his officers.
It was directed that the Dean shall be a Minister of the Word of God, an M.A. or graduate in the Civil Law at least, must have ability to exercise the said office, be of good life and conversation and zealous and well affected to religion and the service of God. It was also decided that natives of the Island shall be preferred for appointment to the ministry and that no minister, unless in time of vacancy, shall hold two benefices together.
But the people were not satisfied and objected to the charges which they were called upon to pay at the time of the appointment, especially as the office is well paid and they objected to Mr. Bandinel as a foreigner, who had no liking for the Island and as one who had not been chosen by themselves.
As showing the power of the Ecclesiastical Court at that time, one has only to refer to the petition to the Privy Council of James Payn of the Island of Jersey, dated 8th June, 1624. Payn's wife had died, and feeling lonely, he sought another helpmate in the person of Frances Gowpill. Evidently his second matrimonial adventure was not a success, and possibly Frances found that Payn as a suitor and Payn as a husband were two very different persons, so she got a separation from him in the King's Court. The Governor and Bailiff condemned Payn to pay her a yearly allowance and ordered him to be put in prison until it was paid.
Payn therefore appealed to the Dean and complained that his wife misused his goods and abused his children and the Dean tried to reconcile them by ordering them to live together under pain of excommunication. Payn applied to the Council that the Dean's judgment should be carried out and the matter was referred to Sir William Bird and Sir Henry Martin, who decided that the Dean was the proper person to deal with matrimonial cases and that his judgment should hold good.
But the new Dean and the new regulations were not liked by a large proportion of the people and in June, 1623, Sir Philip de Carteret and two others were sent by the Bailiff and Jurats to except against them. The Church was becoming very powerful and people had to walk very warily to avoid coming under the new discipline. Liquor was forbidden to be distributed from taverns on Sundays and yet we know that the morals of the people were not of a very high standard, and regulations had to be made for the proper conduct of " Les Vielles " and the people who followed the favourite pastime of sand-eeling.
In July, 1626, Hugh Hue was Constable of the Parish of St. Mary and he and John de la Rues appear to have been much opposed to the Dean, who had recently appointed his son as Rector of the Parish. They petitioned the Privy Council and complained that the Dean and his son were continually preaching sedition, and on the 3rd July, 1627, an order was sent to the Bailiff and Jurats to have the case looked into. In the meantime the Dean had excommunicated the Constable and his friend John de la Rues.
The Dean complained that Hugh Hue presumes " that all is lawful to him because he is Constable and that he had profaned the Church and Communion table with the blood of a dog which he had stabbed with a knife, whilst his son was preaching, a fact requiring exemplary satisfaction." At that time a plague was ravaging the Island and the Constable took advantage of his powers to forbid the Rector to preach in St. Mary's Church on the second Sunday of July, 1626, expelling the clerks, and causing the Church to be shut up to the great scandal of the whole of the Island, and he had even caused the Dean's wife to be turned out of church on a Sunday with a halberd, notwithstanding that she was resident in the parish, and her son had but recently been instituted Rector. No wonder that Hue and his friend found themselves excommunicated by the Dean for " frequent defamation, disrespect of their minister by detraction, and railings and speeches against him in all company."
But the Dean was becoming very unpopular, and we find that in 1628 Sir Philip de Carteret sent a petition to the House of Commons asking that a Commission might be issued under the Great Seal, to enquire into the conduct of the said Dean towards the petitioner and others.

1 comment:

James said...

It is notable that the modern Canons also keep this requirement:
"None, either Dean or Minister, shall hold two Rectorial Benefices together."

Not the same thing. Current canon law doesn't prevent a minister from being Rector of one parish and vicar of a District Church at the same time (the current Vice-Dean did exactly that some years ago), whereas in 1623 there were only rectorial benefices in Jersey.