'For a decent order in the Church' : ceremony, culture and conformity in an early Stuart diocese, with particular reference to the See of Westminster
The title of this thesis is taken from the Book of Common Prayer, specifically from the section 'Of Ceremonies: Why some be Abolished and some Retained'. It takes as its premise the theory that arguments over the way in which worship was conducted were more important than doctrinal matters in the religious tensions which arose before the Civil War, focussing attention upon the diocese of Winchester. The thesis is split into three broad sections. The first section deals with the ceremonies of the church, and is split into two chapters. The first of these chapters is based largely around the physical structure of a church, whilst the second is more concerned with the rites and rubrics as laid down in the Book of Common Prayer. The second section, in three chapters, focusses upon the use of the arts in the early Stuart church. The first of these chapters concentrates on the visual arts, and the way in which they were used, particularly with regard to their hierarchical arrangement. The second turns attention to the aural arts, examining the differences, and similarities, in approach taken at the time. The third examines the idea that there was a specific culture which can be associated with Puritanism. The final section focusses upon the defence of hierarchy within the church. The first chapter in this section examines defences of Episcopal government which were produced by clerics who worked in the diocese. The second chapter looks at attempts to induce greater conformity within the diocese, and places this in the context of national events.