Tuesday, August 2, 2011


ADVERTISEMENTS, i.e. Official Notices. This name, though used of various public notices given by authority, is now usually connected with the celebrated regulations described in the twenty-fourth Canon as “the Advertisements (admonitions) published anno 7 Eliz.” That description, however, was in exact, as the Advertisements were not, in fact, “published” until March 1566, whereas the “seventh year of Elizabeth” ended on November 16, 1565. The explanation is that the legal force of the Advertisements depended entirely on the Queen’s Letter directing the Primate and his fellow “Commissioners under the great seal for causes ecclesiastical” (in other words, the episcopal members of the High Commission, who formed a quorum for such matters), to publish “Orders or Injunctions” for carrying out the Queen’s disciplinary plans. A long time necessarily intervened, because the Commissioners were directed first to inquire into the existing “varieties” and irregularities then common in Divine service, and after tabulating the returns to lay down such rules as would force the clergy to a more careful observance of uniformity. The Royal Letter is dated January 24, 1565 (New Style), and the title of the Advertisements when published described them as “by virtue of the Queen s Majesty’s letters commanding the same the 25th day of January in the seventh year of the reign.” Thus the date of the Royal authority was the only date specified, because that alone fulfilled the requirements of the provisoes at the end of Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity which had authorised the Queen to take “other Order” as to ornaments, and to “ordain and publish further ceremonies” besides those prescribed in the Prayer Book. “There was no particular form required by statute or by law in which the Queen was to take order, and it was competent for her Majesty to do so by means of a Royal Letter addressed to the Metropolitan. The Advertisements were issued by the prelates as orders prepared under the Queen’s authority” (Judgment of the Privy Council in Ridsdale v. Clifton). As, however, the object of the Queen was to secure uniformity, only a very small part of the orders relate to any proposed changes; the only material alteration being that in Cathedrals copes were, for the first time, directed to be worn by the celebrant and by his two assistants. It was at one time thought that the dress of the clergy was simplified by these orders; but no hint of such a change is to be gleaned from any contemporary writer, and the mistake was due to overlooking the fact that the ornaments rubric of 1552, which ordered the surplice to be worn at Holy Communion, was re-enacted by Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity, whereas the printed rubrics, substituted in 1559 for those of the Second Prayer Book, were mere illegalities and were treated as such, being never once acted upon or recognised by the authorities in Church and State. The Advertisements, therefore, which contradicted the rubrics of 1549, were nevertheless enforcements of the legally re-enacted rubric of 1552-59, and at the same time were the “publishing further orders” as regards cope-wearing in Cathedrals. This last alteration was partially confirmed by the Canons of 1603-4, but only as to the five “principal Feast Days” which have “proper Prefaces” (viz. Christmas, Easter, Ascension Day, Whitsunday, and Trinity Sunday), the events commemorated on those days being further honoured by requiring the most eminent dignitary in residence to be the celebrant. The disputed questions as to the date and legal warrant of the Advertisements are discussed exhaustively in Tomlinson, On the Prayer Book;and the section of the Advertisements relating to ritual is given in Miller’s Guide to Ecclesiastical Law. See ORNAMENTS RUBRIC, VESTMENTS, COPE. [J. T. Tomlinson]

The contents of the Advertisements, so far as they are material, are as follows:--

“In the ministration of the Holy Communion in cathedral and collegiate churches, the principal minister shall wear a cope, with gospeller and epistoller agreeably; and at all other prayers to be said at the Communion Table to use no copes but surplices.

“That the dean and prebendaries wear a surplice with a silk hood in the choir; and when they preach to use their hoods.

Item.--That every minister saying any public prayers, or ministering the sacraments, or other rites of the Church shall wear a comely surplice with sleeves to be provided at the charge of the parish.”

The importance of the Advertisements depends upon the view taken of the celebrated 25th section of Queen Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity (1559) (see ORNAMENTS RUBBIC). The theory of the Privy Council was that the effect of this section was to cancel for the time the Ornaments Rubric of 1552 (which required the surplice only), and to provisionally restore the use in church of the Mass vestments of 1549. On this supposition they found it necessary to hold that “other order” had been taken under section 25, and they consider that this was done by means of the Advertisements in 1566. The difficulty of this solution is, that it leaves seven years during which the Mass vestments were compulsory and the surplice illegal, and no evidence can be produced to prove what is obviously so contrary to the facts. The other construction of the 25th section (that of Mr. J. T. Tomlinson and others) is, that this section had nothing whatever to do with the wearing of vestments in church, but simply had for its object the retention of the illegal Mass vestments until “other order” was taken as to their sale or disposal.

This view certainly harmonises law and fact, and under it the Advertisements become merely a directive and administrative enforcement of the Ornaments Rubric of 1552, with a “further Order” under the 26th section for the wearing of copes in cathedrals and collegiate churches. It will thus be seen that, according to the Ridsdale judgment, the Advertisements lowered the ritual standard, while on Mr. Tomlinson’s view they raised it. The latter view is alone consistent with contemporary evidence and facts. In any case, the royal authority of the Advertisements is undoubted. For details see Tomlinson, On the Prayer Book, ch. iv. ,and article by B. Whitehead in Churchman, for February 1899, and see ORNAMENTS RUBRIC. [Benjamin Whitehead]

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