Conference conclusions

Extract from notes on the conclusion of the Hampton Court Conference, 18 January 1604 (catalogue ref: SP 14/6 ff.60-61)

The conference was a meeting of bishops and ministers in which James tried to soothe some of the religious divisions of the country. The transcription below shows that they debated – among other things – confirmation, baptism, and the authority of bishops.


[Page one]

A brief note of such matters as were agreed on by his Majesty his Lords of his council & his clergy to be reformed in the government of the Church; on the 18th of January 1603.

His Majesty in an excellent oration reduced all the Points into certain heads [headings]. The first whereof was concerning the Book of Common Prayer, wherein former things were concluded to be amended.

First the Absolution, which contains nothing amiss in the matter, & only quarrelled for the name: therefore hereafter it shall be called the absolution in general remission of sins.

Secondly, the Confirmation, which being showed to be no Sacrament with us, but of very good use for preparing children to the Communion, it was concluded it should remain only with the alteration of the name, that it should be called the Confirmation, or rather the examination of the said children.

Thirdly, the private Baptism now by laymen or women shall be called the Private Baptism by the minister & curate only, & all the questions in that Baptism that insinuate [suggest] it to be done by women taken away.

Fourthly the Apocrypha [biblical writings not accepted as part of canon of Scripture]. that hath any repugnancy to the canonical scripture shall not be said, & other places therein which are other explanations of scripture, or serve best for godliness & manners.


The second head [headline] was for matters of jurisdiction concerning Bishops High Commission.

For Bishops it was concluded that their jurisdiction should be somewhat attenuated; so that they should have either the Dean & chapter, or some grave Ministry in ordination, suspension, degrading, & not to exercise their authority alone…

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