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SYNODS OF WESTMINSTER

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 552 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SYNODS OF

WESTMINSTER  . Under this heading are included certain of the more important ecclesiastical
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councils held within the
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present bounds of
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London . Though the precise locality is occasionally uncertain, the majority of the
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medieval synods assembled in the chapter-house of old St Paul's, or the former
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chapel of St Catherine within the precincts of Westminster Abbey or at
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Lambeth . The councils were of various types, each with a constitutional
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history of its own . Before the reign of
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Edward I., when convocation assumed substantially its present form (see CONVOCATION), there were convened in London various diocesan, provincial,
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national and legatine synods; during the past six centuries, however, the chief ecclesiastical assemblies held there have been convocations of the province of Canterbury . The first really notable council at St Paul's was that of 1075 under the
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presidency of Lanfranc; it renewed ancient regulations, forbade
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simony and permitted three bishops to remove from country places to Salisbury,
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Chichester and Chester respectively . In 1102 a national synod at Westminster under Anselm adopted canons against simony, clerical marriages and
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slavery . The councils of 1126, 1127 and 1138 were legatine, that of 1175 provincial; their canons, chiefly re-enactments, throw
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light on the condition of the clergy at that time . The canons of 1200 are based in large measure on recommendations of the Lateran Council of 1179 . At St Paul's the legatine constitutions of
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Otto were published in a synod of 1237, those of Ottobon in 1268: these were the most important national councils held after the independence of York had been established . A synod at Lambeth in 1281 put forth canons none too welcome to Edward I.; they included a detailed scheme for the religious instruction of the faithful . During the next two centuries the councils devoted much attention to
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heresy: eight propositions concerning the
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body of Christ after his
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death were rejected at St Mary-le-Bow in 1286; the expulsion of the Jews from England was sanctioned by a legatine synod of Westminster in 1291; ten theses of Wiclif's were condemned at the Dominican friary in 1382, and eighteen articles
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drawn from his Trialogus met the same
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fate at St Paul's in 1396; and the doom of
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Sir John Oldcastle was sealed at the latter place in 1413 .

The 14th-

century synods at St Paul's concerned them-selves largely with the
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financial and moral status' of the clergy, and made many quaint regulations regarding their dress and behaviour (1328, 1342, 1343; cf . 1463) . From the time of Edward VI. on, many of the most vital changes in ecclesiastical discipline were adopted in convocations at St Paul's and in the Abbey . To enumerate them would be to give a
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running commentary on the development of the Church of England; among the most important were those of 1547, 1552, 1554, 1562, 1571, 1604, 16o5, 164o and 1661 . In 1852 there was held the first of a series of synods of the newly organized
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Roman Catholic archdiocese of Westminster . For the " Pan-
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Anglican Synods " see LAMBETH CONFERENCES . London, 1853) ; A . P . Stanley,
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Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey (4th and revised ed., London, 1876), 411-413, 495-504; H . H . Milman, Annals of S . Paul's
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Cathedral (2nd ed., London, 1869) .

Full titles under CouxcILS . (W . W .

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