Edmund Bonner criticised

Edward VI to Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London [draft corrected by Sir Thomas Smith], 2 August 1549 (SP10/8/36, f63r-64r)

Bonner was a thorn in the side of the Edwardian regime: a conservative but in charge of the most significant diocese in the country (London). Here, he is chided for failing to conduct services according to the Book of Common Prayer, failing to preach, and for failing to exercise pastoral care.

[Please note that text which has been deleted is <bracketed> and words that have been added are shown in italics. This is to see how the document has been edited and helps us to understand the evolving meaning and how language has been used and refined to convey a message].


By the king
To the Reverend father in god, Edmund
Bishop of London

<Right Reverend father in god right trusty and right well beloved, we greet you well, And where> For so much as we are advertised that amongst other disordered of our subjects at this present there be diverse of our City of London and other places with in your diocese which be very negligent & forgetful of their duty to almighty god of whom all good things are to be looked for and do assemble themselves very seldom & [few] times then there were here to for accustomed to come [to] prayer and to the holy communion Being [document damaged] time when it were most needful with [document damaged] and [unclear] to pray to our heavenly father f[document damaged] And our succour where of as we <are> be right sorry [document damaged] <And so much there more that> we do understand that through ye evil example & the slackness of you in <doing [your] duty this of> preaching & Instructing [the] said people to do their duties, this offence [to] god is most generally committed, for where here to for upon all principal feasts & such as [document damaged] called manis duplex [double handed] you yourself are [document damaged] to execute in person…see [document damaged] that we by the advice of our whole parliament have set a most godly & [unclear] order in our church [in/of] England & Ireland. Ye have very seldom [or] <not> never executed upon such or other days / to the contempt of <us> our proceedings & evil example of other  And it is also brought to our knowledge that divers as well in London as in other places of your diocese do frequent & have foreign rites of masses & such as be not allowed by the orders of our realm, & contempteth & forebereth to praise & laud god & pray not

[f. 63v]
[for] his majesty after such rite & ceremony as is in this realm appointed & set out by our authority

Further, that adultery & fornication is maintained & [unclear] very openly & commonly in the said city of London & other places of your Diocese whereby the wrath of god is provoked against our people of the which things you bring here to have admonished [warned against] yet hitherto hath made no redress as to the pastoral office <& the> authority & cure of a bishop doth appertain [concern] where for we, to whom the supreme rule & charge of the church doth appertain [document damaged] from us the [unclear] of [unclear] god by the advice of our most entirely beloved uncle the Lord protector & the rest of our privy council have thought it no less than most bounden duty <to almighty god & this our realm>. Now at this present & immediately to admonish charge & warn you that ye do most directly look unto the premises & see them so reformed that there may appear no [unclear] licence … on that behalf upon such pain as by our laws ecclesiastical & <secular> temporal we may inflict upon you, unto deprivation or otherwise as shall seem to us for the quality of the offence reasonable  <the which> and to the extent you should the better see to the reformation of the said abuses we have thought good to give you this instructions following

[f. 64r]

[This passage should be copied by the clerk after the final sentence on this page]

  1. <And for> to the extent ye may <at thus most dangerous time> look more nearly and better and diligently <unto your charge> to the reformation of them our pleasure is that ye shall abide & keep residence in your house <at London> there as in the city of [unclear] & principal place of your diocese & none other where for a certain time until … ye shall be otherwise licensed <upon> of us

[This passage is marked to go before the previous paragraph]

  1. We have heard also complaints that the St Paul’s Cathedral & other churches of London are of late much neglected as well in reparation of [document damaged] glass as other buildings & ornaments [document damaged] same then they were here to for were that <certain> diverse & many parsons in the city of malice denied payment of their due tithes to their curates whereby the curates are both [unclear] are so well able <not [unclear] & in [unclear] to do their duties <again> the which thing also our will & commandment is ye shall diligently look unto <them of late times ye have done> & so redress as appertains.

[Two pages of instructions of what Bonner should address in his sermons followed]

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