18 November 2020

Restoration at Ripon Minster

On 18 November 1569, a thousand and a half horsemen gathered in the market place in Ripon, under the Standard of (almost certainly) the Arms of Christ: the Five Wounds of our Redeemer. It had been embroidered by a daughter of 'Old Norton', the Sheriff of Yorkshire, the menfolk of whose family were prominent in events which preceded and followed. 

One of those present had been complicit in plots to rescue the Queen's Majesty of Scotland, who was imprisoned in nearby Bolton Castle. 

The insurgents marched off and took Barnard Castle, and a little later the Old Religion was magnificently restored in Durham Cathedral. But it all ended in tears; Bloody Bess issued orders to "make the examples great in Ripon and Tadcaster", and two Nortons were martyred at Tyburn.

Someone who got off comparatively lightly was Sir Thomas Blackburn, chantry priest at Ripon Minster, records of whom span the period 1540-1570, making him a sort of parallel figure to Duffy's Parson Trickay. He was among those who, at Elizabeth Tudor's accession, carefully stored away in a vault some 49 Catholic liturgical books. He also, together with four other of the Minster's Vicars, hid altar stones and secreted underground a number of English alabaster tablets (including the Resurrection and the Coronation of our Lady) which must have been elements in the reredoses of altars. 

Before the Rising, he  had been in trouble for failing to 'take down' the stone Altars, and admitted to performing Catholic Sacramentals, such as Churchings. He strenuously denied removing objects of idolatry from the Church: his protestations were presumably made with a good conscience, since he had not removed them but carefully buried them! After the Rising, in 1570, he was found guilty of offering the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; and other Catholic liturgical activity. He was fined ten marks (£6 13s 4d) and ordered to do public penance in a white sheet. I wonder how a fine of ten marks would correspond, in real terms, to the fines available to the current regime for those pulicly offering Mass.

Trickay in Devon, Tregear in Cornwall, Blackburn in Yorkshire ... and how many hundreds others ... clerics and laics ... the good men who were not among the martyrs. They just did their best and kept their fingers crossed and hoped for better times. They are a special category who should surely not be forgotten (especially in the Ordinariates).

As S John Henry put it: "It took a long time to do [the Reformation] thoroughly; much time, much thought, much labour, much expense; but at last it was done. ... What a martyrdom to live in it and see the fair form of Truth, moral and material, hacked piecemeal, and every limb and organ carried off, and burned in the fire, or cast into the deep! But at last the work was done. Truth was disposed of and shovelled away ..."

6 comments:

DMG said...

According to the National Archives' calculator

In 2017, £6 13s 4d is worth approximately: £1,588.20

In 1570, you could buy one of the following with £6, 13s & 4d:
Horses: 1
Cows: 5
Wool: 20 stones
Wheat: 7 quarters
Wages: 222 days (skilled tradesman)

Eleanor M said...

Since you raised the question, Father, I did some Hard Sums and came to the conclusion that 10 marks (or of course, all told, 1600 old pence) has the purchasing power of about £1,500 in 2020. (For the sake of interest, Sir Thomas Blackburn could have instead, according to the National Archives, bought a horse, 5 cows, 2-3cwt of wool, or 7 quarters of wheat, or paid a 'skilled tradesman' about 222 days wages).

Inevitably the law is nebulous, so I am not sure if a church would be fined as a place of business(!), or the priest himself fined as an individual. (Or both). For a 'first offence' under the current rules, a business is fined £1,000, rising to as high as £10,000 for subsequent 'offences'. The priest himself would be fined £200, rising to £6,400 for later 'offences' - as would anyone assisting at his Mass.

No mention of white sheets. (Perhaps instead, one coloured in parody of a rainbow, for having practiced such dangerous heresy against the National Health Service?)

One does wonder Who is actually offended by all this, of course...

Richard said...

Where is your moving JHN quote from?

E sapelion said...

I saw a note about a chantry priest who was also required to keep a school. He received a stipend of £11, and also fees of 4d a term from each "scoler he taught to rede", 8d a term from those he taught grammar.

John Patrick said...

Much easier to dispense with the truth nowadays, no shovels or pickaxes required. Here in the US of A, a few clicks on a computer screen and the "Glorious Revolution" of the Democrats succeeds and the rightful heir is deposed. More work admittedly remains to hunt down all those who supported the Trumpites and insure their career possibilities will be ruined. The fake COVID "second wave" where questionable positive test cases increase but death rates continue to decrease (sssh mustn't let that out) keeps the lockdowns in place and the peasant population under control so unlikely to rise up.

Unknown said...

On the hard sums question, I admit that i once taught on the time value of money, mea cuppa. To be fined the equivalent of 222 days wages of a skilled tradesman, using a plumber for example, would equate to the thick part of £30,000.