Chantry

Last updated

A chantry may refer to one of two meanings of the term. Firstly, it could mean the prayers and liturgy in the Christian church reserved for the dead as part of the search for atonement for sins committed during their life. [1] It might include the mass and by extension, the endowment left for the purpose of the continuance of prayers and liturgy. It could be called a type of "trust fund" established during the pre-Reformation medieval era in England for the purpose of employing one or more priests to sing a stipulated number of services for the benefit of the soul of a specified deceased person, usually the donor who had established the chantry in his will. There could be a stipulated period of time immediately following her/his death. It was believed such masses might help atone for misdeeds and with mercy enable the soul to be granted eternal peace in the presence of God. Chantries were commonly established in England and were endowed with lands, rents from specified properties and other assets by the donor, usually in his will. The income from these assets maintained the "chantry" priest.

Contents

Alternatively, a chantry chapel is a building on private land or a dedicated area or altar within a parish church or cathedral, set aside or built especially for the performance of the "chantry duties" by the priest. A chantry may occupy a single altar, for example in the side aisle of a church, rather than an enclosed chapel within a larger church, generally dedicated to the donor's favourite saint. Many chantry altars became richly endowed, often with gold furnishings and valuable vestments. Over the centuries, chantries increased in embellishments, often by attracting new donors and chantry priests. Those feoffees who could afford to employ them, in many cases enjoyed great wealth. Sometimes this led to corruption of the consecrated life expected of clergymen. It also led in general to an accumulation of great wealth and power in the Church, beyond the feudal control of the Crown. This evident amassing of assets was one of the pretexts used by King Henry VIII to order the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England. At that time, chantries were abolished and their assets were sold or granted to persons at the discretion of Henry and his son King Edward VI, via the Court of Augmentations. Many Tudor businessmen, such as Thomas Bell (1486–1566) of Gloucester, acquired chantries as financial investments for the afterlife, but yielding income streams in the here and now, derived from chantry rents, or they "unbundled" the chantry assets and sold them on piecemeal at a profit.

Mass for the dead

The Christian practice of prayer and offering mass for the repose of the soul of a deceased person is recorded as early as the 8th century. [2] The most common form was the anniversarium or missa annualis, a mass said annually on the anniversary of a person's death. At the Council of Attigny in 765, about 40 abbots and bishops agreed to say mass and recite the psalms for the repose of the souls of their deceased brethren. Ninth-century France and England have records of numerous such undertakings between monasteries and churches, whereby they would offer prayers for the souls of deceased members of each other's communities. Before the year 1000 in Italy, France and England, parishes extended the benefits of such facilities to the laity. Kings and great magnates asked for prayers for their souls in the monasteries they had founded. [3]

Etymology

The word "chantry" derives, from Old French chanter and from the Latin cantare (to sing). [4] Its mediaeval derivative, cantaria means "licence to sing mass". The French term for this commemorative institution is chapellenie (chaplaincy). [5] The Latin word obiit, used in English as a noun in this connection, means literally "he is dead", from the verb obire, that is, ire "to go" with the prefix ob-, meaning "beyond", giving "to go beyond", hence to "die". [6]

Origin

Current theories (Colvin) locate the origins of the chantry in the rapid expansion of regular monasteries in the 11th century. The abbey of Cluny and its hundreds of daughter houses were central to this. The Cluniac order emphasised an elaborate liturgy as the centre of its common life; it developed an unrivalled liturgy for the dead and offered its benefits to its patrons. By the 1150s, the order had so many demands for multiple masses for the dead that Peter the Venerable placed a moratorium on further endowments. Other monastic orders also benefited from this movement, but similarly became burdened by commemoration. The history of the Cistercian house of Bordesley (Worcestershire), a royal abbey, demonstrates this: in the mid-12th century, it offered the services of two priest monks, presumably to say mass, for the soul of Robert de Stafford; between 1162 and 1173, it offered the services of an additional six monks for the souls of Earl Hugh of Chester and his family. This sort of dedication of prayers towards particular individuals was a step towards the institutional chantry.

Another theory (Crouch) points to the parallel development of communities or colleges of secular priests or canons as an influence on the evolution of the chantry. Such communities were not monastic foundations: although members lived a similar lifestyle to monks they differed in that their monastic rule was relaxed to allow preaching and ministry, beyond the confines of their institution, to the population at large. Like the monasteries, they offered dedicated prayers for the dead. An example is the collegiate church of Marwell (Hampshire), founded by Bishop Henry of Winchester in the early 1160s. The priests of the college were to pray for the souls of the bishops of Winchester and kings of England. Gradually perpetual masses for the dead were delegated to one altar and one secular priest within a greater church.

Henry II of England

The family of King Henry II of England (1154–1189) contributed greatly to religious patronage. Henry II founded at least one daily mass for his soul by his gift of the manor of Lingoed in Gwent to Dore Abbey in Herefordshire; he provided for the services in perpetuity of four monk-priests. In 1183 the king lost his eldest son, Henry the Young King. In 1185 his third son, Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany, died in a tournament near Paris. Henry II commemorated his sons by founding what resembled the classic institutional chantry: he endowed altars and priests at Rouen Cathedral in perpetuity for the soul of the Young Henry. King Philip II of France endowed priests at the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris for the soul of Duke Geoffrey. John, Count of Mortain, the youngest son of Henry II, also created chantry-like foundations: in 1192 he endowed the collegiate church of Bakewell in Derbyshire for the establishment of a prebend at Lichfield Cathedral; the holder was to celebrate mass in perpetuity for John's soul. The concept of the institutional chantry thus developed in the 1180s within English and French royal circles, which were wealthy enough to endow them.

In non-royal society, the first perpetual mass was endowed by Richard FitzReiner, Sheriff of the City of London, in his private chapel within his manor of Broad Colney in Hertfordshire. He established it by the terms of his last testament in 1191, and the chantry was operational in 1212. In close association with the Angevin royal court, Richard may have adopted its religious practice.

Provision in later medieval England

Chantry Chapel of St Mary the Virgin, Wakefield Chantry Bridge.JPG
Chantry Chapel of St Mary the Virgin, Wakefield

Analysis of later medieval wills has shown that the chantry appeared in many forms. A perpetual chantry consisted of one or more priests, in a private free-standing chapel, usually licensed by the local bishop (such as the surviving one at Noseley, Leicestershire) or in an aisle of a greater church. If chantries were in religious communities, they were sometimes headed by a warden or archpriest. Such chantries generally had constitutions directing the terms by which priests might be appointed and how they were to be supervised. The perpetual chantry was the most prestigious and expensive option for the wealthy burgess or nobleman. A lesser option was the endowment of a fixed-term chantry, to fund masses sung by one or two priests at a side altar. Terms ranging from one to ten years were more common than the perpetual variety of chantry.

Abolition of Chantries Acts, 1545 and 1547

William Wyggeston's chantry house, built around 1511, in Leicester: the building housed two priests, who served at a chantry chapel in the nearby St Mary de Castro church. It was sold as a private dwelling after the dissolution of the chantries. Wyggeston's Chantry House, Leicester.jpg
William Wyggeston's chantry house, built around 1511, in Leicester: the building housed two priests, who served at a chantry chapel in the nearby St Mary de Castro church. It was sold as a private dwelling after the dissolution of the chantries.

Following the Reformation in England initiated by King Henry VIII, Parliament passed an Act in 1545 which defined chantries as representing misapplied funds and misappropriated lands. The Act provided that all chantries and their properties would thenceforth belong to the King for as long as he should live. In conjunction with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Act helped to finance the war with France. Because Henry lived for only two years after the Act was passed, few chantries were closed or transferred to him. His young son and successor, King Edward VI, signed a new Act in 1547, which ended 2,374 chantries and guild chapels and seized their assets; it also instituted inquiries to determine all of their possessions. [7]

Although the Act required the money to go to "charitable" ends and the "public good", most of it appears to have gone to friends of the Court. [8] The Crown sold many chantries to private citizens; for example, in 1548 Thomas Bell of Gloucester purchased at least five in his city. The Act provided that the Crown had to guarantee a pension to all chantry priests displaced by its implementation.

An example of the fate of an abolished chantry is St Anne's Chapel in Barnstaple, Devon: its assets were acquired by the Mayor of Barnstaple and others in 1585, some time after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The deed of feoffment dated 1 November 1585 exists in the George Grant Francis collection in Cardiff, summarised as follows: [9]

i) Robert Appley the elder, Robert Cade, Hugh Brasyer and Richard Wetheridge of Barnestaple to: ii) William Plamer, mayor of Barnestaple, Richard Dodderidge, Roger Cade, Symon Monngey, Robert Appley the younger, Robert Pronze (Prouse?), Roger Beaple, George Pyne, gent., Jacob Wescombe, Gilbert Hareys, Robert Marlen, Thomas Mathewe, James Beaple, George Baker, James Downe, William Bayly, John Collybeare, Robert Collybeare and John Knyll of Barnestaple; 1 Chancery and Chapel of St Anne lately dissolved in Barnestaple with 1 house with land belonging to the late Chancery and Chapel; also 1 house and land in Barnestaple which John Littlestone of Barnestaple, merchant and John Buddle, potter granted to (i).

One of the most significant effects of the chantries, and the most significant loss resulting from their suppression, was educational, as chantry priests had provided education. Since they were not ordinaries, neither did they offer public masses, they could serve their communities in other ways. When King Edward VI closed the chantries, priests were displaced who had previously taught the urban poor and rural residents; afterwards such people suffered greatly diminished access to education for their children. [10] Some of the chantries were converted into the grammar schools named after King Edward.

Royal Peculiars were not covered by any of the above Acts of Parliament, so were not abolished. Most declined over time, until the jurisdiction of almost all was abolished in the 19th century. Some royal peculiars survive, including Westminster Abbey and St George's Chapel, Windsor.

Historian A.G. Dickens has concluded:

To Catholic opinion, the problem set by these legal confiscations ... [was] the disappearance of a large clerical society from their midst, the silencing of masses, the rupture of both visible and spiritual ties, which over so many centuries have linked rude provincial men with the great world of the Faith. In taking an essentially religious view of these events, these Englishmen seem to the present writer to have had every justification.... The Edwardian dissolution exerted its profounder effects in the field of religion. In large part it proved destructive, for while it helped to debar a revival of Catholic devotion it clearly contains elements which injured the reputation of Protestantism. [11]

See also

Notes

  1. "Atonement." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  2. Petrisko, Thomas W (2000). Inside purgatory : what history, theology and the mystics tell us about purgatory (2 ed.). McKees Rocks, PA: St. Andrew's Productions. p. 19. ISBN   978-1891903243.
  3. Rosenthal, Joel T (2006). The purchase of paradise : the social function of aristocratic benevolence. Abingdon, England: Routledge. pp. 31–33. ISBN   978-0415413022.
  4. J.R.V. & J.F. Charles Marchant, Cassell's Latin Dictionary, revised edition, 1892
  5. The New Cassell's French Dictionary, ed. Denis Girard, et al., revised edition, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1973, p. 144
  6. Cassell's Latin Dictionary
  7. G. R. Elton, The Tudor Constitution (1960) pp 372, 382-85.
  8. A.G. Dickens, The English Reformation (1964) pp 205-17.
  9. RISW GGF 1/122 Feoffment, dated 1 Nov. 1585; [1 parchment, 4 papers, 3 seals, in English, originally A10 or Box IX/i "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2013-02-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. Foster Watson (1908). English Grammar Schools to 1660 (1968 ed.). Psychology Press. pp. 148–149. ISBN   978-0-7146-1448-9.
  11. A.G. Dickens, The English Reformation (1964) p 217

Related Research Articles

Thirty-nine Articles Doctrinal statement of the Church of England and other Anglican churches

The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion are the historically defining statements of doctrines and practices of the Church of England with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation. The Thirty-nine Articles form part of the Book of Common Prayer used by both the Church of England and the Episcopal Church.

Dissolution of the Monasteries 1536–1541 disbanding of religious residences in England, Wales and Ireland by Henry VIII

The Dissolution of the Monasteries, occasionally referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries, in England, Wales and Ireland, appropriated their income, disposed of their assets, and provided for their former personnel and functions. Although the policy was originally envisaged as increasing the regular income of the Crown, much former monastic property was sold off to fund Henry's military campaigns in the 1540s. He was given the authority to do this in England and Wales by the Act of Supremacy, passed by Parliament in 1534, which made him Supreme Head of the Church in England, thus separating England from Papal authority, and by the First Suppression Act (1535) and the Second Suppression Act (1539).

Tridentine Mass Type of mass in the Roman Catholic Church

The Tridentine Mass, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass or Usus Antiquior, is the Roman Rite Mass of the Catholic Church. It appears in typical editions of the Roman Missal published from 1570 to 1962. Celebrated exclusively in Ecclesiastical Latin, it was the most widely used Eucharistic liturgy in the world from its issuance in 1570 until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI.

Elizabethan Religious Settlement Part of Englands switch to Protestantism

The Elizabethan Religious Settlement is the name given to the religious and political arrangements made for England during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558–1603) that brought the English Reformation to a conclusion. The Settlement shaped the theology and liturgy of the Church of England and was important to the development of Anglicanism as a distinct Christian tradition.

Monk Bretton Priory Grade I listed priory in the United Kingdom

Monk Bretton Priory is a ruined medieval priory located in the village of Lundwood, and close to Monk Bretton, South Yorkshire, England.

Collegiate church church where the daily office of worship is maintained by a college of canons

In Christianity, a collegiate church is a church where the daily office of worship is maintained by a college of canons: a non-monastic or "secular" community of clergy, organised as a self-governing corporate body, which may be presided over by a dean or provost. In its governance and religious observance a collegiate church is similar to a cathedral, although a collegiate church is not the seat of a bishop and has no diocesan responsibilities. Collegiate churches were often supported by extensive lands held by the church, or by tithe income from appropriated benefices. They commonly provide distinct spaces for congregational worship and for the choir offices of their clerical community.

Eucharistic adoration Christian rite

Eucharistic adoration is a Eucharistic practice in the Roman Catholic, Anglo-Catholic and some Lutheran traditions, in which the Blessed Sacrament is adored by the faithful. This practice may occur either when the Eucharist is exposed, or when it is not publicly viewable because it is reserved in a place such as a church tabernacle.

The Liturgical Movement began as a 19th-century movement of scholarship for the reform of worship within the Roman Catholic Church. It has developed over the last century and a half and has affected many other Christian churches, including the Church of England and other churches of the Anglican Communion, and some Protestant churches. A similar reform in the Church of England and Anglican Communion, known as the Oxford Movement, began to change theology and liturgy in the United Kingdom and United States in the mid-nineteenth century. The Liturgical Movement has been one of the major influences on the process of the Ecumenical Movement, in favor of reversing the divisions which began at the Reformation.

Mass in the Catholic Church Central liturgical ritual

Mass in the Catholic Church goes by many names. As fundamentally an action of thanksgiving to God it is called Eucharist, which means thanksgiving. Other terms for it are Lord's Supper, Breaking of Bread, Eucharistic assembly, memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection, holy sacrifice of the Mass, Holy and Divine Liturgy, Sacred Mysteries, Most Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, the holy things, and finally Holy Mass from the sending forth (missio) of the faithful.

Purgatorial societies are Roman Catholic Church associations or confraternities which aim to assist souls in purgatory reach heaven. The Catholic doctrine concerning purgatory, the condition of the poor souls after death, the communion of saints, and the satisfactory value of our good works form the basis of these associations. In the modern Church this role is fulfilled by the Purgatorian Archconfraternity which is run under the auspices of the Transalpine Redemptorists.

Saint Anne's Guild was a medieval religious guild in Dublin, Ireland. It is noteworthy among such guilds for the considerable documentary evidence extant and for having survived as a Roman Catholic lay association until the eighteenth century.

English Reformation 16th-century separation of the Church of England from the Pope of Rome

The English Reformation took place in 16th-century England when the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church. These events were, in part, associated with the wider European Protestant Reformation, a religious and political movement that affected the practice of Christianity in western and central Europe. Causes included the invention of the printing press, increased circulation of the Bible and the transmission of new knowledge and ideas among scholars, the upper and middle classes and readers in general. The phases of the English Reformation, which also covered Wales and Ireland, were largely driven by changes in government policy, to which public opinion gradually accommodated itself.

St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle Church in Windsor, England

St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in England is a chapel built in high-medieval Gothic style. It is both a Royal Peculiar, a church under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch, and the Chapel of the Order of the Garter. It is located in the Lower Ward of the castle. St. George's castle chapel was originally founded in the 14th century by King Edward III and extensively enlarged in the late 15th century. It has been the scene of many royal services, weddings and burials. Windsor, England's premier castle, is the principal residence of the monarch.

Reformation in Ireland

The Reformation in Ireland was a movement for the reform of religious life and institutions that was introduced into Ireland by the English administration at the behest of King Henry VIII of England. His desire for an annulment of his marriage was known as the King's Great Matter. Ultimately Pope Clement VII refused the petition; consequently, in order to give legal effect to his wishes, it became necessary for the King to assert his lordship over the Catholic Church in his realm. In passing the Acts of Supremacy in 1534, the English Parliament confirmed the King's supremacy over the Church in the Kingdom of England. This challenge to Papal supremacy resulted in a breach with the Catholic Church. By 1541, the Irish Parliament had agreed to the change in status of the country from that of a Lordship to that of Kingdom of Ireland.

Music in Medieval Scotland

Music in Medieval Scotland includes all forms of musical production in what is now Scotland between the fifth century and the adoption of the Renaissance in the early sixteenth century. The sources for Scottish Medieval music are extremely limited. There are no major musical manuscripts for Scotland from before the twelfth century. There are occasional indications that there was a flourishing musical culture. Instruments included the cithara, tympanum, and chorus. Visual representations and written sources demonstrate the existence of harps in the Early Middle Ages and bagpipes and pipe organs in the Late Middle Ages. As in Ireland, there were probably filidh in Scotland, who acted as poets, musicians and historians. After this "de-gallicisation" of the Scottish court in the twelfth century, a less highly-regarded order of bards took over the functions of the filidh and they would continue to act in a similar role in the Scottish Highlands and Islands into the eighteenth century.

Hospital chantry

A hospital chantry is a part of a hospital dedicated to prayer.

St Cuthberts Church, Durham Church in Durham, United Kingdom

St Cuthbert's Church is a Roman Catholic parish church in Durham, England. It was opened on 31 May 1827 to replace two previous chapels, one run by the secular clergy and the other by the Jesuits. It is also the home of the Durham University Catholic Chaplaincy and Catholic Society. From 2012 to 2016 the parish was entrusted, along with the chaplaincy, to the Dominican Order, and its congregation has since maintained the Dominicans' influence. The church is a protected building, being part of the Elvet Green Conservation Area. It is named for St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, the 7th century bishop, healer and patron of Northern England.

St Augustines Church, Ramsgate Church in Kent, United Kingdom

For the former monastic community in Ramsgate, please see St Augustine's Abbey, Chilworth.

<i>Book of Common Prayer</i> (1549) Anglican prayer book published in 1549

The 1549 edition of the Book of Common Prayer is the original version of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), variations of which are still in use as the official liturgical book of the Church of England and other Anglican churches. Written during the English Reformation, the prayer book was largely the work of Thomas Cranmer, who borrowed from a large number of other sources. Evidence of Cranmer's Protestant theology can be seen throughout the book; however, the services maintain the traditional forms and sacramental language inherited from medieval Catholic liturgies. Criticised by Protestants for being too traditional, it was replaced by a new and significantly revised edition in 1552.

References

Other languages