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Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 97. CORONATION OF HENRY V. SYNOD OF LONDON


Illustration -- Storm at the coronation of Henry V

FTER this Henry the Fourth, reigned Henry the Fifth, his son, who was born at Monmouth in Wales, of whose other virtues, and great victories gotten in France, I have not greatly to intermeddle; especially, seeing the memory of his worthy prowess being sufficiently described in other writers in this our time, may both content the reader and unburden my labour herein; especially seeing these latter troubles and perturbations of the church offer me so much, that scarcely any vacant leisure shall be left to intermeddle with matters profane.

After the coronation then of this new king, which was the ninth day of April, called then Passion Sunday, which was an exceeding stormy day, and so tempestuous, that many did wonder at the portent thereof, not long after the same, a parliament began to be called, and to be holden after the feast of Easter, at Westminster, A. D. 1413. At which time, Thomas Arundel, the archbishop of Canterbury, collected in Paul's church at London a universal synod of all the bishops and clergy of England. In that synod, among other weighty matters and ponderous, it was determined, that the day of St. George, and also of St. Dunstan, should be a double feast, called Duplex festum, in holy church; in holy kitchen, I would say.

And because the order and manner of those pope-holy feasts either yet is not sufficiently known to some rude and gross capacities, or may, peradventure, grow out of use, and be strange and unknown to our posterity hereafter, therefore, to give a little memorandum thereof, by the way, for erudition of times hereafter to come, touching this mystical science of the pope's deep and secret divinity, here is to be noted, that the feasts of the pope's holy mother, catholic church, be divided into sundry members. Like as a plentiful root in a fruitful field riseth up and brancheth into manifold arms, and the arms again do multiply into divers and sundry branches, out of the which, moreover, although no fruit do come, yet both leaves and flowers do bud and blossom in most copious wise, right beautiful to behold: even so this festum, containing a large matter of great variety of days and feasts, groweth in itself, and multiplieth, being thus divided: first, into festum duplex, and into festum simplex; that is, into feast double, and into feast simple. Again, this festum duplex brancheth four-fold wise; to wit, into festum principale duplex, into majus duplex, into minus duplex, and inferius duplex; that is, into principal double, into greater double, into lesser double, and inferior or lower double. Unto these several sorts of feasts, what days were peculiarly assigned, it were too long to recite. For this present purpose it shall suffice to understand, that as unto the principal double feast only belonged eight days in the year, so the majus duplex festum had given unto it by this convocation the day of St. George and of St. Dunstan, as is before remembered: albeit by constitution it was so decreed, yet by custom it was not so used. Item, it is to be noted, that these two feasts, to wit, principale duplex, and majus duplex, did differ, and were known from all other, by four notes: by service in the kitchen, and by service in the church, which were both double; by ringing in the steeple, which was with double peal; by copes in the quire; and by thurifying or censing the altars: for in these two principal and greater double feasts, the seventh, eighth, and ninth lesson must be read with silken copes. Also at the said feasts, in the time of the lessons, the altars in the church must be thurified; that is, smoked with incense, &c. And likewise the minus duplex and inferius duplex had also their peculiar service to them belonging. Secondly, the simplex festum, which is the second arm springing of this division, is thus divided: either having a triple invitory, or a double, or else a single invitory; of the which, moreover, some have three lessons, some have nine, &c.

And thus much, by occasion, for popish feasts; not that I do so much deride them, as I lament, that so much and manifest idolatry in them is committed, to the great dishonour of our Lord God, which is only to be honoured.

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