Church Goods in Hertfordshire

John Edwin Cussans

James Parker & Co / 1873


AT the time when Edward VI. nominally ascended the throne, the Church had already been pillaged of its fairest possessions, but there still remained a considerable amount of plate and jewels in the churches throughout England which had hitherto been spared. The old form of religion having been abolished, it is but natural to suppose that the furniture of the Church should have ceased in a great measure to have been regarded with the ancient veneration. Hence we find, as the following pages amply testify, that there were not wanting unscrupulous men who appropriated to their own use many of the most valuable articles which but lately had been employed in the most sacred offices of the Church. Fuller, in his "Church History a," tells us, that" private men's halls were hung with altar-clothes; their tables and beds covered with copes instead of carpets and coverlets: many drank at their daily meals in chalices; and no wonder if, in proportion, it came to the share of their horses to be watered in rich coffins of marble. And, as if laying of hands upon them were sufficient title unto them, seizing on them was generally the price they had paid for them ... some (church ornaments) were utterly embezzled by persons not responsible, more were concealed by par­ ties not detectable, so cunningly they carried their stealth, seeing everyone who had nimmed a church bell did not ring it out for all to hear the sound thereof."

The Lord Protector endeavoured to suppress the plundering by individuals, by sweeping the entire treasures of the Church into the coffers of the State. A Commission, therefore, was issued in the second year of the King's reign, to make an enquiry into the quantity and value of the Church furniture throughout England; the Commissioners, however, seem to have executed their task but imperfectly, for four years later another Commission was appointed for the same purpose, and it was in virtue of this second Commission that the inventories here given were drawn up. The original inventories, signed by the receivers of the respective parishes, are now preserved in the Record Office. The reference to the volume in which they are contained is, Augmentation Office: Miscellaneous, vol. ccccxcvii. ... ...





The book contains the transcripts (with the preliminary repetitive text associated with each) omitted for the parish church surveyed in 1552.


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