The Life of JOHN STOW. xxij

The Life of JOHN STOW.

Altar; a Confutation of a Book called, A Defence of the true and Catholick Doctrine, &c. against the late Archbishop of Canterbury. All by the same Author. The Displaying of Protestants, by Miles Huggerd: A Brief Shew of false Wares, by Rastal: The Copy of a Challenge, taken out of the Confutation of Mr. Juell's Sermon: The Tryal of the Supremacy: Wherein is set forth the Unity of Christ's Church; and that there ought to be one Head, Bishop, &c. These Popish Books, with divers more, which have been taken Notice of, besides a Mass-Book, were found in his House; a Catalogue whereof was taken, and sent to the Bishop; and he, according to Order, sent it to the Council: Whence we may conclude which Way Stow stood inclined.

And, perhaps, being a Lover of Antiquity, and the old Religious Buildings and Monuments, he was the more prejudiced against the Reformed Religion, because of that Havock and Destruction those that pretended to it, made of them in his Days.

And I suspect his Religion to be the Ground of the Troubles he underwent, either in the Ecclesiastical Commission Court, or Star-chamber, when his own Servant and Brother were his main Accusers, and laid many dangerous Things to his Charge; but falsly, as we have told before.

His Religion the Ground of his Troubles.

And, indeed, it might render him the less affected to the Religion in his Time reformed, while he took notice, how ignorantly, nay, ridiculously, some that professed it, and preached it, shewed their Zeal for it. One of these was the Curate of Cree-Church (in which Parish Stow then lived) commonly called Sir Stephen) who in a Sermon before no less an Auditory than at St. Pauls, inveighed fervently against a long Maypole, called a Shaft, in the next Parish to his, named thence St. Andrew Undershaft; and calling it an Idol: Which so stirred up the Devotion of many of the Hearers (since all Idols were to be taken away by Order from above) that many of them in the Afternoon went and with Violence pulled it down from the Place where it hung upon Hooks; and then sawed it into divers Pieces, each Housholder taking his Piece, as much as hung over his Door or Stall; and afterwards burnt it: This Sermon Stow heard, (as he tells us himself) and saw the Effect of it.

A Preacher at St. Pauls inveighs against the Shaft in St. Andrews Parish.

The same Preacher taking occasion from that Church's Name, viz. Undershaft, as superstitiously given to it, Stow observed another Instance of his Zeal, in giving his Judgment, that the Names of Churches might be altered; nay, and that the Names of the Days in the Week might be changed; and that Fridays and Saturdays should be no more Fish Days; but the Fish Days to be on other Days of the Week. And further, that as for Lent, it should be kept any other time, than between Shrovetide and Easter. Another Practice of this Sir Stephen was, that he would oftentimes go out of the Pulpit into the Church-yard, and get up into a high Elm that grew there, and preach to the People from thence; and then go into the Church, and say or sing the English Service, not at the Altar, as was usual, but upon a Tomb towards the North.

A Curate of Creechurch's ignorant Zeal.

And further, Stow was an Eye Witness of the Mischief of the hot misguided Zeal of this Preacher, who was the Cause of the wrongful putting to Death of one by Martial Law, in all Probability innocent; executed before his Door within Aldgate, as a Traitor, and concerned in a Rebellion; who protested his Innocency upon the Gallows, in Stow's own Hearing. Such Principles and Practices as these, in such a Man of the Reformed Religion, might create some Prejudice in Stow against it.

But he seemed at length to have a good Opinion of the Doctrine of the Church of England: For in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, he hath somewhere this Expression, That Doctrine is more pure now, than it was in the Monkish World: But whether he spake it Ironically, or in earnest, I do not dispute.

Stow calls the present Doctrine Pure.

But whatever Respect he might secretly have for the old Religion, he could not endure Priests that were vitious and unchast; and was for severe Punishment to be laid upon them; and that by the Secular Hand, without staying for Justice from the Ordinary, or their Spiritual Superior, on Pretence of their Privilege of Exemption from the Temporal Magistrate: And he blamed them for their Covetousness and Partiality in pecuniary Commutations. Thus in a certain Place of his Survey, he praised the City for their exemplary Punishment of Fornication, tho' they took the Office sometimes out of the Hand of the Bishops, who claimed the Cognizance thereof to belong to them: Shewing, how they put both lewd Women, and Priests too, into the Prison, called the Tun in Cornhill, who were guilty in that respect. And he praised a certain Way, anciently used in the City for Punishment of light Females, by causing their Heads to be shaven, after the manner of Thieves, and to be led about the City with Trumpets and Pipes sounding before them, that their Persons might be the more known. "Nor did they (addeth he) spare an unclean Priest a whit the more because of his Office, but used such as hardly; saying, that they abhorred the Negligence of their Prelates, and detested their Avarice; that for Money, omitted the Punishment limited by Law; and permitted those they found guilty, to live favourably by their Fines: Wherefore they would themselves, they said, purge the City from such Filthiness, lest through God's Vengeance, either Pestilence of Sword might happen to them; or that the Earth should swallow them up."

Hated Immorality in Priests.

And elsewhere he speaketh of the Punishment of a Chauntry Priest, as his just Deserts, in St. Michael's Cornhill, that had Twenty Nobles a Year, as the Salary of his Chauntry; who was too familiar with a Shopkeeper's Wife there; a Woman too that seemed the holiest among a Con-

A loose Priest exemplary Punishment.

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