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Durham House and the Chapels Royal: their liturgical impact on the Church of Scotland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2014

Bryan Spinks*
Affiliation:
Yale Divinity School, 409 Prospect Street, New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, USAbryan.spinks@yale.edu

Abstract

Ever since the laying of the foundation stone of the present Norman building, Durham Cathedral has had an ambiguous relationship with Scotland – some good (the huge contribution of Dean William Whittingham through liturgy, metrical psalms and the Geneva Bible) and some extremely negative (the cathedral served as the prison for the Scottish prisoners after the battle of Dunbar). Amongst the more negative are the liturgical ideals and practices of the Durham House group, more commonly though inaccurately known as ‘Laudians’. The members of the group, which did include William Laud, were the protégés of the bishop of Durham, Richard Neile, and they met in his house in London. He promoted many as prebendaries at Durham Cathedral, and there they developed their liturgical ideals and practices. These ideals were ones which Neile shared with his contemporaries and close friends, Bishops Lancelot Andrewes and John Buckeridge. This article argues that the origin and precedent for these practices were the Chapels Royal with which most of the ‘players’ had affiliation in some way or other. Elizabeth I insisted on liturgical ceremonial and furnishings that supported or matched the grandeur of court ceremonial. It was a style which she hoped would also be adopted in English cathedrals. It was a style of worship which also appealed to James VI and through the Chapels Royal in Scotland he attempted to introduce a similar liturgical style. He also sought to conform the Church of Scotland to the Church of England, both in polity and liturgical text. The policy was continued by Charles I, who attempted to extend it to the Scottish cathedrals. Opponents of this court liturgical style and ‘Englishing’ of the liturgy found it convenient to blame the bishops who were given the task of implementing the liturgical changes rather than attack the source, namely the monarchy. The ultimate outcome was that, rather than the Church of Scotland adopting the 1637 Book of Common Prayer and Durham House ceremonial, it eventually even lost the liturgy which Scottish tradition had ascribed to John Knox, but the lion's share of which was more probably the work of Dean William Whittingham. Instead the Church of Scotland accepted the Directory of Public Worship, itself mainly the work of English divines. It became one of the few Reformed churches that did not have a set form for its public worship.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Scottish Journal of Theology Ltd 2014 

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References

1 Sir Walter Scott, Harold the Dauntless. A Poem (1817), Canto Third.

2 See Donald Matthew, ‘Durham and the Anglo-Norman World’, and Paul Dalton, ‘Scottish Influence on Durham 1066–1214’, in Rollason, David, Harvey, Margaret and Prestwich, Michael (eds), Anglo-Norman Durham (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1994), pp. 122 and 339–52Google Scholar.

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5 Sermon, p. 23.

6 Ibid., pp. 19–20.

7 Ibid. p. 20.

8 Ibid., p. 24.

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22 See the descriptions of services during James's reign, from the swearing in of the Spanish ambassador (with Latin oaths and a Latin Bible) to the baptism of Princess Mary, and the ‘churching’ of Anne of Denmark where, on each occasion, rich copes were worn and elaborate anthems sung. The Old Cheque-Book, pp. 151–2, 167–8 and 170.

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