A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.
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Eighteenth to twentieth centuries
THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
Eighteenth-century English cathedral clergy have a bad name for torpor, slackness, resistance to change, worldliness, non-residence, and pluralism. At Salisbury such generalizations are not possible. The rules and customs of canonical residence were inherited from the past, and practically no change was made in them. Pluralism had been well established for centuries; most of the canons and prebendaries held at least one benefice with cure of souls outside the cathedral and an indefinite number of prebends at other cathedrals, but this was no more than their predecessors had done in the preceding 300 years. In some ways there was lively activity in the 18th-century close rather than torpor or quiet, and not all this activity was of a secular character.
The charge of torpor was probably most justified in constitutional matters, for there were few important developments and little legislation. The 18th-century bishops and chapter can hardly be blamed for failing to overhaul the mass of medieval statutes and customs. Worse was their failure to maintain the two useful institutions of episcopal visitation and Pentecostal chapters, by which supplementary statutes had been made and abuses corrected since the Reformation. No episcopal visitations were held at the cathedral between Bishop Burnet's visitation of 1697 and that of Bishop John Wordsworth in 1888, and no Pentecostal chapters have been traced between 1670 and 1813 save for an exceptional one in 1740. Nevertheless, some changes and corrections were still made by acts of the residentiary chapter, which met regularly to deal with the administrative business of the cathedral; (fn. 562) and for the more important matters the bishop was occasionally invited to attend either as a Visitor or prebendary. In the mid18th century the chapter several times invited or appealed to Bishop Thomas Sherlock to determine its disputes, or to help in the interpretation and adaptation of ancient statutes. (fn. 563) Quarrelsomeness and divisions within the chapter had not died out with the 17th century, though there was apparently more readiness to. ask for and accept the bishop's advice. In 1740 Joseph Sager, a residentiary canon, was judged before Bishop Sherlock as Visitor in a full Pentecostal chapter for misconduct and for dividing the revenues of the common fund unfairly. (fn. 564) Then, in the following year, the chapter asked the bishop's advice about their election of a new communar. Canon Wynn proposed a residentiary, Canon Whishaw, who was also a prebendary of Winchester cathedral, and the objection was raised that a statute of 1516 said that no canon of Salisbury who was also a residentiary at another cathedral could be communar, because the office required his continuous presence throughout the year. Bishop Sherlock declared that the office of communar no longer required continuous attendance, for its burdens were much lighter. The abolition of obits had removed one of his responsibilities; he no longer had to supervise repairs on the common estates because repairs were now done by the tenants, and payment of commons was now made annually, not quarterly. If Canon Whishaw had to go to Winchester for part of the year, he could exercise his office by deputy during that time. But it was important that all six residentiaries should accept the office in turn. (fn. 565)
This decision is interesting in showing how the dean and chapter were now able to enjoy the fruits of their increasingly prosperous estates with much less effort than in previous centuries. Few attempts were made to raise the reserved rents, but increasingly large fines were received on the renewal of leases. These fines had now become much more valuable than the regular rents. This was recognized in 1813 when an isolated Pentecostal chapter declared that the 20 per cent. tax on the reserved rents of prebends and dignities for the fabric had become both burdensome and ineffectual, and imposed instead a 2½ per cent. tax on all fines for the renewal of leases, which was expected to bring in a considerably larger sum. (fn. 566)
A similar development was apparently taking place on the estates of the vicars choral, though the vicars were anxious to conceal it. Their attitude provides perhaps the most striking example of selfish opposition to change in the 18th-century cathedral. Leases granted by them after 1660 show that the reserved rents of all their estates had been raised in accordance with the award of 1624 to make up the annual stipends of the seven lay vicars to £20 each. (fn. 567) After this the rents were raised no farther, and the vicars choral, whose numbers were apparently reduced to five sometime after 1725, (fn. 568) shared the steadily rising fines. Throughout the 18th century they refused to consider increasing the lay vicars' stipends in any way, although pressed to do so by the chapter. Shortly before 1750 a dispute between the choral and lay vicars was brought before Bishop Sherlock, who decided that legally the lay vicars were only stipendiaries, and that the vicars choral could not be compelled to pay them more than was laid down in the agreement of 1624. (fn. 569) The chapter proposed that until the value of the estates should further increase the fifth choral vicar's place might be left vacant and his stipend used to pay an extra £5 a year to each of the lay vicars. The vicars choral readily agreed to the reduction of their numbers to four, but, on discovering that the reduction had not been registered as permanent in the chapter act book, refused to make the additional payments to the lay vicars and simply divided up the fifth stipend amongst themselves. (fn. 570) In 1793-4 the lay vicars made a last determined effort to assert their claims in formal petitions, first to the vicars choral and then to the dean and chapter. (fn. 571) They declared that they would be satisfied with the promised extra £5 a year arid would cease to press for a share in the fines. In the meantime they employed the chapter clerk to search the muniments in support of their claims. The dean and chapter thought their request very reasonable, but the vicars choral unhesitatingly refused it. (fn. 572) The agreement of 1624 was finally produced, and convinced both chapter and vicars choral that legal right was on the side of the vicars choral to such an extent that the chapter even forbore to insist that the fifth choral vicar's place should be filled. (fn. 573) The attitude of the vicars to this long dispute is illustrated by two contemporary notebooks, one kept by Israel Vanderplank, for many years procurator of the vicars choral, the other by Robert Barret, a lay vicar, who called his account 'A Narrative of the Priest and Lay Vicars'. (fn. 574) Corporate feeling, now well developed among the lay vicars, is illustrated by the agreement of Highmore Skeats, a layman in the church for over 50 years, to join in their petition of 1793 in spite of his advanced age. He advised them about the past, telling them that 'the matter had often been on the carpet but always frustrated', and urged them not to have too high hopes. (fn. 575) Robert Barret wrote of 'the shameful Jesuiticall way of reasoning' of the vicars choral. He also attacked their competence, saying that they were no use in the choir, and totally incapable of singing the anthem or the service. 'Only one attends at a time unless profits are to be had.' (fn. 576) Allowance must be made for Robert Barret's prejudice, but it seems likely that the music and singing were coming to depend increasingly on the lay vicars and choristers. About 60 years later the dean and chapter stated that the four vicars choral then attended the church services a week each in turn, and appointed one of their number to be present on Sunday. (fn. 577)
The history of the choristers suggests quite a different picture of cathedral life. The choir was augmented, salaries were readily increased, new buildings were undertaken, new endowments acquired, and musical education and the grammar school flourished. The revenues began to improve about 1712, and in the following year the chapter decided to increase the number of boys to eight. The salaries of the two senior choristers were raised to £12 a year each, the next two to £10, and the four juniors to £8 each. (fn. 578) The 18thcentury choristers had good music teachers and instructors, drawn chiefly from the organists and lay vicars. They lived mostly at their own homes or in small boarding houses kept by widows in the city or close. On leaving the choir they were given an apprentice fee or money to help with their further education. Their endowment was increased in 1724 when an estate was bought at Tilshead for £900; five-sixths of the revenues from it went to the choristers, and one-sixth to the cathedral library. (fn. 579)
The 18th-century deans and canons included a remarkable variety of men. Among the deans were John Clarke (1728-57), a distinguished mathematician and younger brother of Samuel Clarke, the metaphysician; Thomas Greene (1757-80), son of the Bishop of Norwich, who was said to be artistic and finical, but who was also apparently efficient; and Rowney Nowel (17806), uncle of Lord Wentworth, whose appointment seems to have been mainly due to family and political reasons. (fn. 580) They seem on the whole, however, to have been less distinguished than their predecessors. From 1675 until 1954 no Dean of Salisbury has been promoted to a bishopric, whereas in earlier centuries this was very usual. The canons and prebendaries included many bishops' kinsmen, and others of aristocratic birth, such as Robert Sherard, a residentiary from 1758, who in 1770 succeeded to the Earldom of Harborough. (fn. 581) Much pressure was put on the bishops by the political parties to give prebends to their nominees. Burnet, however, made his own decisions. Among his most interesting appointments were those of Peter Allix, a learned French protestant, to the treasurership, and of several mathematicians and theologians to prebends, including John Craig, author of Theohgiae Christianae Principia Mathematica, a leading exponent of the new attempts to apply the rules of science and reason to theology. (fn. 582) Other canons and prebendaries took part in the theological controversies of the time. Joseph Butler, author of the Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature, one of the most influential books of the century, was prebendary of Yetminster Prima from 1721 to 1738, and John Bampton, founder of the Bampton lectures at Oxford, was a residentiary. Towards the end of the century Charles Daubeny, Archdeacon of Salisbury, defended High Church principles against both protestant dissent and Roman Catholicism in his Guide to the Church. (fn. 583) Particularly in the early 18th century the chapter made efforts to improve the cathedral library. (fn. 584) The catalogue of manuscripts was revised, and Canon Isaac Walton, son of the piscator, and Canon Wyatt between them gave £150 to appoint a librarian. Their gift formed part of the purchase money of the Tilshead estate in 1724, from which a salary of about £7 or £8 a year was henceforth paid to a librarian. (fn. 585) Shortly before this the chapter had tried unsuccessfully to recover some of the cathedral manuscripts which had found their way to the Bodleian Library. (fn. 586) Canons and prebendaries continued to take a lively interest in the cathedral's history and muniments. Several more historical collections, including those of Canon Isaac Walton, were compiled from the muniments and handed down with Drake's collections. The antiquaries, Thomas Tanner and Richard Rawlinson, had permission to work in the muniment room, with the result that many copies of Salisbury documents are now available in their manuscript collections at the Bodleian. (fn. 587) Rawlinson published his History and Antiquities of the Church of Salisbury in 1723, Francis Price, a clerk of the works, his architectural Descriptions of the Cathedral in 1753 and 1774, and William Dodsworth, the cathedral verger, his Guide to Salisbury Cathedral in 1792 and his Historical Account of the Episcopal See and Cathedral Church in 1814. (fn. 588)
Other interests of the cathedral clergy were music and hospitality. Salisbury in the 18th century was at the height of its fame as a centre of music and fashion, and the cathedral clergy and choir played a leading part in the many musical activities. Interest in the cathedral music was shown by the installation of a magnificent new organ in 1710 over the entrance to the choir. (fn. 589) In addition music meetings were held at the canons' houses in the close; concerts were organized in the city by the lay vicars and cathedral organists, and music festivals were held annually in the cathedral from about 1744 until 1787. (fn. 590) All these activities were supported by the gay, intelligent, and fashionable society which had its centre in the cathedral close and which took much interest in the cathedral sermons and services. Large congregations attended on Sundays, on festivals, and in Lent. (fn. 591)
The drastic dealings of the 18th-century bishops and chapter with their cathedral fabric also help to contradict the idea of the period as being one of slackness and torpor. A description of the church frequently attributed to Daniel Defoe in his Tour of the Whole Island of Britain in the early mid-18th century says that 'the choir had been made to resemble a theatre painted white with golden panels and groups and garlands of roses and other flowers intertwined round the top of the stalls' and that the episcopal throne 'would make a fine theatrical decoration'. (fn. 592) In fact Defoe's opinion was very different. In 1724 he wrote that 'the Painting in the Choir is mean and more like the ordinary Method of common Drawing Room or Tavern painting than that of a Church'; the third edition of his book in 1742 agreed that the church 'now makes a better appearance than it has done'; but in 1748 in the fourth edition he said that it was 'hurt by the paltry old Painting in and over the Choir, and the White washing lately done, wherein they, very stupidly, have everywhere drawn black lines, to imitate Joints of Stone'. (fn. 593) Next, in 1758, the chapter decided to take down the spire and tower of the belfry, and the southern part of the library, on the ground that the whole library was too heavy to be properly supported by the cloisters; in 1762 six bells from the belfry were ordered to be sold, only two being reserved for the church's use. (fn. 594) In 1778 and 1779 the cathedral was closed for nearly two years while the choir was lengthened, the seats in the nave taken away, and pews or closets with galleries over them made on each side of the choir behind the stalls. The object was to make it possible to deliver sermons as well as to hold morning and evening prayers in the choir. Previously the whole congregation had moved from the choir to the nave for the Sunday sermon. The Earl of Radnor now had the inside Hunger ford Chapel moved into the choir to serve as his family pew. (fn. 595) Finally, between 1789 and 1792 the most drastic changes were made, on the initiative of Bishop Shute Barrington, by the fashionable architect, James Wyatt, whose aim was to achieve vistas and light. The 13th-century choir screen was removed; most of the remaining medieval stained glass was broken up and the lead sold; clear glass was put in its place; the Lady Chapel was thrown open to the church and the monuments were moved about. Outside, the Beauchamp and Hungerford chapels and the 13th-century belfry were pulled down. The belfry was now regarded as a useless structure which blocked the view of the cathedral from the High Street gate and gave opportunities for carousal in its ale house. The ground of the churchyard was drained and levelled, the gravestones buried, and for the future the cloister garth was to be the cathedral cemetery. In 1792 George III, his queen, and six princesses attended the reopening of the cathedral and admired the 'improvements'. (fn. 596)
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
In the early 19th century, particularly from about 1815 until 1840, the chapter passed through one of the most dangerous periods of its history, comparable in threats to its existence with those of the Reformation and Commonwealth. The chief cause was the failure of the Established Church to provide for the spiritual needs of the growing industrial towns. Criticism concentrated on the immense and supposedly increasing wealth of the higher clergy, some of it drawn from valuable industrial property, and on the lives of leisure lived by many canons and prebendaries. (fn. 597) Such criticism may have carried less weight against a chapter such as Salisbury, which drew its revenues mainly from agricultural land and tithes in counties little affected by the Industrial Revolution. Nevertheless, feeling rose high against all chapters, and the result was intervention by Parliament in the affairs of the Church. The biggest changes in revenues and organization ever made in the long history of Salisbury chapter were imposed by the Cathedrals Act of 1840. In comparison the Reformation changes appear conservative in the extreme. Yet continuity in cathedral life was maintained. Moreover, the survival of the cathedrals was due not solely to the effectiveness of parliamentary intervention, but largely to reforms and new ideas of the purpose of a cathedral expressed from within. Administrative reforms had already begun in the late Georgian Church, and the influence of the Oxford movement became powerful at the cathedral in the late 1830's.
The first two of the four royal commissions which investigated conditions at the cathedrals in the 19th century were concerned almost solely to discover how large a part of their revenues could reasonably be taken from them to establish new parishes in the industrial towns and to supplement the stipends of the poorer parish clergy. The first commission, inquiring into Ecclesiastical Revenues and Patronage, concluded that the net income of the whole church was under £3,500,000 a year, of which the bishoprics had about £157,000, and the cathedral and collegiate churches about £284,000; the second, investigating Ecclesiastical Duties and Revenues, decided that the most drastic transfers of cathedral property to a central Ecclesiastical Commission could produce only about £134,000 a year for use in the parishes. (fn. 598) Salisbury was among the chapters whose revenues were tending to decrease, because of the agricultural depression. (fn. 599) From being one of the richest English chapters in the Middle Ages it had by 1835 become one of the poorest, at least in the yield of its common fund. On a three-years' average the annual income from Salisbury's common fund was said to be about £3,176 gross or £2,800 net, about £2,000 of the gross income coming from fines, about £800 from reserved rents, about £150 from interest on investments, and the remainder from other small sources. (fn. 600) On a seven-years' average it was rather higher and allowed an annual income of about £556 to the dean and about £500 to each of the six residentiary canons. (fn. 601) Among cathedrals of the Old Foundation, only the common funds of Lichfield and York were smaller than this. (fn. 602) The revenues from the separate estates of dignities and prebends were even more variable and uncertain because leases were fewer and fines paid less often. During the three years ending in 1831 the prebendary of Hurstbourne and Burbage received only £50 a year in rents with a £15 fine, averaging an additional £5 a year; and the prebendary of the 'golden' prebend of Teignton Regis had only his regular income of £248 a year net in rents, tithes, woods, and dividends-with fines of £330 spread over the three years. Yet in the same period the dean had an average annual income of about £2,679. (fn. 603) Among deans of the Old Foundation only those of St. Paul's and of Lincoln had higher incomes, while at Salisbury he was by far the richest member of the chapter. The treasurer, who was also a residentiary, came next with an average of about £1,500 a year; the chancellor and precentor, who were non-resident, had about £1,000 and £750 a year respectively, but this was drawn almost entirely from a few large fines, which would not recur for some time; their regular annual income from reserved rents still amounted for the chancellor to only £27 net, and for the precentor to £62 net. (fn. 604) The same difficulties apply to any attempt to draw conclusions about the revenues of the vicars choral. For the three years their fines averaged £37, and their annual revenues were given as about £437 gross or £243 net, allowing about £60 a year to each of the four vicars in addition to their commons money from the dean and chapter. (fn. 605) In other years, however, the state of the vicars' revenues was doubtless quite different.
The vicars choral were the only class for whom the Commissioners recommended increased stipends, so that they need no longer hold other benefices at a distance from the cathedral. The Commissioners thought, however, that the vicars' corporations should be dissolved and their property surrendered. (fn. 606) These last proposals met with so much opposition that they were eventually dropped from the Cathedrals Act, which declared only that 'minor canons' (a name then considered to be more suitable than Vicars choral') should receive not less than £150 a year and hold no benefices more than 6 miles from the cathedral. For the chapters, drastic confiscations of revenues were ordered. All the separate estates of Salisbury's dignities and prebends were to be transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commission and their patronage to the bishop, subject only to the safeguarding of existing interests. Two of the six residentiary canonries were to be dissolved when their holders died, and their shares in the common fund paid to the Ecclesiastical Commission. The remaining common property was expected to provide annual incomes of about £1,000 for the dean, who was to reside for at least eight months a year, and about £500 for each of the four residentiary canons residing for at least three months a year. The churches belonging to the common fund might still be given by the chapter to its own members, to non-residentiary canons, to minor canons, or to others with at least five years' service in the diocese. The close chapter was to lose its right of electing residentiaries, who were to be nominated by the bishop, while the Crown kept the right of appointing the dean by letters patent. As a concession to those who opposed the abolition of all non-resident canons or prebendaries the bishop was allowed to appoint honorary non-resident canons and dignitaries so long as none of them received any emolument from his office. Lastly, the chapter was required to propose to their visitor for his approval alterations in its statutes to make them consistent with its changed constitution. The altered statutes were then to be submitted to the Ecclesiastical Commission and, if approved, laid before the queen in council. (fn. 607)
The chapter was thus far more firmly subjected to external control by Parliament, Ecclesiastical Commission, and bishop than it had ever been before. Its constitution had been altered and a large part of its revenues confiscated on the recommendation of men with very little knowledge of its history, purpose, or responsibilities. The slackness and conservatism of the early 19th-century chapter, like those of the 18th-century chapter, seem to have been exaggerated by its critics. Throughout the period there were some canons at Salisbury alive to their responsibilities and intere'sted in the needs of the Church, though they did not make any big changes until after the visits of the royal commissioners. The commissioners remarked that the cathedral fabric had been kept in sound repair by the chapter's efforts and contributions, although the fabric revenues had become quite inadequate. (fn. 608) The grammar school had declined after the retirement of Dr. Skinner in 1801, partly owing to an alarming fall in the choristers' revenues, which meant that there was little competition for the post of head master. Throughout the inquiries of the royal commissioners the dean was Hugh Nicholas Pearson, whose special interests were in the spread of Christianity overseas, particularly in India. In 1836 Thomas Burgess was succeeded as bishop by Edward Denison, one of the youngest bishops Salisbury has ever had, a Fellow of Merton, who was strongly influenced by the Oxford Movement. He persuaded Walter Kerr Hamilton, another Fellow of Merton and his curate at St. Peter'sin-the-East, Oxford, to come to Salisbury, where he made him successively a residentiary canon and treasurer in 1841 and precentor in 1843. (fn. 609) Hamilton had been brought up as an evangelical but had gradually come under tractarian influence at Oxford. He had energy, vision, and deep religious conviction. In 1855 he succeeded Denison as bishop. Together they were the outstanding figures in the movement for cathedral reform at Salisbury in the mid-19th century.
Hamilton's appointment as precentor gave him authority to suggest reforms in the cathedral services and choir. He found that Holy Communion was celebrated only on the first Sunday in the month, on great festivals, and on Assize Sundays after the morning service at 10. 30. He introduced an additional celebration on Sundays at 8 a.m. which he nearly always took himself. He revived the daily early morning service; persuaded the dean to arrange for a Sunday afternoon sermon in the choir in the summer months, himself took over from a vicar choral the preaching on festivals, (fn. 610) and ordered that the cathedral music should always be arranged beforehand by the canon in residence and the organist (fn. 611) About 1851, new and more stringent rules of attendance were drawn up for the lay vicars, and fines were imposed for absence. In order to augment the choir three supernumerary laymen were appointed and paid by the chapter. Altogether, by 1854 the dean and chapter were spending £281 a year from their common fund on the supernumeraries and on increasing the seven lay vicars' stipends to £50 or £60 a year each. (fn. 612) The vicars choral had triumphantly maintained their claim to pay the laymen only £20 a year each, and since the investigation of their revenues in 1835 the chapter had ceased to expect them to contribute more. It apparently also forbore to insist on their regular attendance at the choral services, though Canon Hamilton urged that at least two of the four should be required to take a full part in each service. (fn. 613) He was particularly interested in the choristers, and played an important part in the struggle to reform their school in the close. (fn. 614) The choristers' property had now greatly improved in value. It was already bringing in about £530 a year, and the chapter expected it would soon yield about £800 a year. As the revenues rose they proposed gradually to increase the number of choristers to sixteen. (fn. 615)
Both Denison and Hamilton did much to make the cathedral a centre of education for the diocese, (fn. 616) and to restore the fabric. The restoration of the cloisters was begun in Bishop Denison's time; and Bishop Hamilton initiated the restoration of the chapter house in his predecessor's memory. (fn. 617) In 1849 the nave was first opened to the public free of charge between 10.15 a.m. and 4 p.m., and from 1865 visitors were also allowed to see the choir, chapter house, and cloisters for a charge of 6d. payable to the fabric fund. (fn. 618) Since then the throng of visitors to the cathedral has steadily increased.
The progress of the revival at Salisbury is well illustrated in the reports of the royal commission appointed in 1852 to inquire into the state of cathedral and collegiate churches. The dean and chapter's replies about the work then being done were satisfactory, their returns on the historical development of their constitution were the most careful and detailed of any, (fn. 619) and their suggestions for further developments at the cathedral among the most interesting. The returns, compiled by Canon Hamilton with the approval of Henry Parr Hamilton, who had succeeded to the deanery in 1850, entailed much research and helped to reveal how ruthlessly the framers of the 1840 Act had changed the constitution of the cathedral without adequate historical knowledge. The attitude of the Cathedral Commissioners of the 1850's was very different. Their object was to increase the usefulness of the cathedrals, and promote the 'high and holy purposes' for which they had been founded. (fn. 620) Many of the proposals, however, including some by Canon Hamilton in his famous Letter on Cathedral Reform (fn. 621) and in his replies to the Commissioners, had their origin more in ideas of what was thought to be the purpose and work of a cathedral in the early centuries of the Church rather than in the Middle Ages, when it had existed chiefly to provide the constant round of services within its walls. A new idea of the purpose of a cathedral was developed. The object now was to make it the diocesan centre of religious life, education, and music, with the chapter acting as the bishop's council in diocesan work and administration, and the cathedral clergy taking a leading part in ecclesiastical work in the city, directing educational, musical, pastoral, and charitable activities and attending the meetings of the increasing number of church societies. For this Canon Hamilton declared that it would be necessary to enforce constant residence of at least nine months a year on the residentiary canons as well as on the dean and vicars choral, and to forbid them to hold other benefices with their canonries. (fn. 622) It was thought that the biggest breach made in the medieval constitution by the disendowment of the non-resident canons might be partly repaired by bringing them into closer connexion with the cathedral through more frequent meetings of the greater chapter, the revival of the annual Pentecostal chapter, and their regular performance of their annual preaching turns at the cathedral. It was claimed that an active and scholarly body of non-residents could still do valuable work as advisers of the close chapter, while away from the cathedral they would widen its basis and strengthen its links with the diocese. (fn. 623) Most of the nonresident canons were now beneficed clergy of the diocese. Bishop Denison had made a practice of appointing rural deans of the diocese and scholar clergy interested in local ecclesiastical history; among his nominations were William Dansey, author of Horae Decanicae Rurales, and William Palmer, author of Origines Liturgicae, a book which was influential in reviving interest in the history of the liturgy and prayer book. (fn. 624) Other constitutional changes proposed to the Commissioners seemed to favour a greater approximation to the simpler centralized constitutions of cathedrals of the New Foundation. It was urged that the dean should be given greater power over the chapter, that the bishop should have more power and rights at the cathedral, that the minor corporation of vicars choral should be dissolved and its members brought under closer control by the dean and chapter, and that the number of lay vicars should be doubled. (fn. 625)
Obviously all these proposals required more money than had been left to the cathedral by the Act of 1840, and the Commissioners and chapter hoped to obtain more profits from the remaining estates by discontinuing the old system of granting beneficial leases, and by more modern methods of estate management. (fn. 626) A statute of 1851 had given facilities for the voluntary enfranchisement of leasehold estates and the purchase of leasehold rights by the chapters, (fn. 627) but opinion at Salisbury was in favour of vesting all the property for a time in the hands of a central commission, for more profitable management, on condition that the resulting increased revenues should be used for the chapter's purposes and not paid to the Ecclesiastical Commission as was ordered in 1851. (fn. 628) In particular it was thought desirable that the residentiaries should have larger and regular incomes, and the Cathedral Commissioners agreed that if canons were to be expected to reside for nine months a year and to give up their other benefices their income should be raised to £750 and that of the dean to £1,500. (fn. 629)
No legislation resulted from the Commissioners' reports, but they drew attention to the chapter's work and problems. In 1855 a further Order in Council arranged that the annual incomes of the residentiaries should be maintained at £500 by the Ecclesiastical Commission. (fn. 630) Then in 1861 the dean and chapter surrendered the property of the common and fabric funds (apart from their houses in the close) to the Ecclesiastical Commission in return for an annual payment of £4,200, until they should be re-endowed with estates yielding an equivalent regular income, and a lump sum of £10,000 to restore the cathedral fabric. (fn. 631) Shortly afterwards, in 1868, the corporation of vicars choral also surrendered their property to the Commission in return for an annual payment of £960 and a lump sum of £1,200; but it was unable to obtain any promise of future re-endowment with landed property. (fn. 632) In 1875 the dean and chapter were re-endowed with property in Stratfordsub-Castle, Bemerton, Milford, Winterbourne Gunner, Figheldean, Laverstock, Clarendon, and the parish of St. Thomas, Salisbury, which was expected to provide them with a regular income of about £4,700 a year. Of this £3,000 was to be set aside for the stipends of the dean and canons, and the remaining £1,700 with the income from their property in the close, used for the cathedral services and fabric and for other liabilities. Any surplus was to be accumulated for making good deficiencies in subsequent years. (fn. 633)
From 1863 to 1876 the restoration of the cathedral had been proceeding under the direction of Sir Gilbert Scott. The grant of £10,000 from the Ecclesiastical Commission proved completely inadequate. In 20 years over £82,000 was spent on the west front, the Lady Chapel, transepts and choir, and on the installation of heating. Much of the money was raised by subscription and gifts, including a new organ from Miss Chafyn-Grove. (fn. 634)
By the 1880's the big changes and experiments were over and the following period was one of consolidation and of adaptation to changed conditions. Under its scholarly and devout bishops, George Moberly and John Wordsworth, and with learned, able, and vigorous residentiaries such as Dean Boyle, Archdeacon Lear, and Chancellor. Swayne, (fn. 635) the chapter reached a new peak of spiritual prestige. In addition to their cathedral duties, the clergy were taking a leading part in every kind of ecclesiastical activity of the city and diocese. Among the residentiaries in 1884 were two archdeacons of the diocese, the chancellor, who was secretary of the Diocesan Board of Education, and the treasurer, who was secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions. The precentorship was held by the dean, an arrangement favoured by Bishop Moberly, but not by Bishop Wordsworth. (fn. 636) Of the vicars choral, one was vice-principal of the Theological College; another religious instructor of the choristers; the third, cathedral librarian and parish priest of the close, and the fourth curate of Stratford-Sub-Castle. (fn. 637) The expansion of the choir and of other cathedral activities continued. By 1885 there were 18 choristers and 4 supernumerary laymen in addition to the 7 lay vicars. The stipends of the lay vicars had been raised from chapter funds to about £93 and that of the organist to £150 a year. (fn. 638) The chancellor's divinity lectures were revived in 1894. (fn. 639) Careful catalogues were made of the printed books in the cathedral library by S. M. Lakin, the librarian and vicar choral, and of the manuscripts by E. Maunde Thompson of the British Museum; (fn. 640) catalogues of the muniments were soon to be made by the bishop's brother, Canon Christopher Wordsworth. Non-resident canons led the way in the study of local history and liturgy. Canon William Henry Rich Jones published his important Fasti Ecclesiae Sarisberiensis between 1879 and 1883, and his edition of the cathedral statutes in collaboration with Canon Dayman in 1883. Rather later Canon Christopher Wordsworth's immense output of historical and liturgical work encouraged the growing interest in the cathedral's history and in the medieval Use of Salisbury which has continued into the 20th century. In 1888 Bishop Wordsworth held the first visitation of the cathedral since 1697. No corrections were found necessary, though changes were suggested and earnestly discussed. At the end the bishop paid tribute to the whole cathedral body. (fn. 641) A few years earlier the royal commission, appointed in 1879, had commented in similar terms in its final report on the immense change which had taken place generally in the cathedrals since the 1830's and in the feeling with which they were regarded by lay people. Services had been improved and multiplied and attracted public interest in a way which 50 years earlier could scarcely have been anticipated as possible; the origin and idea of cathedrals had been more studied and understood; the capitular body was interested in the whole diocese, and the diocese had claims on the chapter. (fn. 642)
Nevertheless, there were still, as at all periods in the cathedral's history, frictions and jealousies within the cathedral body, and constitutional problems to be solved. The vicars choral were restive and jealous under the chapter's control and resented their description as 'inferior clergy'. The dean and chapter proposed the dissolution of the minor corporation as the only means of giving them proper control over the vicars. (fn. 643) At the same time the non-resident canons felt that the dean was denying them their just privileges as members of the greater chapter. In 1879 29 nonresidents signed a petition to Dean Hamilton for the revival of the annual Pentecostal chapter, according to the recommendations of both dean and chapter and Cathedral Commission in 1854, but the dean refused to consider it. In 1880 a long statement laid before the Cathedral Commission the various ways in which the non-residents thought they should be allowed to take part in the cathedral's work. Their claims received some support within the close chapter from Chancellor Swayne. (fn. 644) Eventually this problem was solved by Bishop Wordsworth after Dean Hamilton's death. At his visitation in 1888 he announced that he wished to experiment in holding Pentecostal chapters, and asked the dean to summon one annually at least until his next visitation. He also proposed a special annual festival for the commemoration of the cathedral's benefactors on the Tuesday after All Saints which he hoped would give further opportunities for meetings of the whole chapter. (fn. 645) Other disagreements within the chapter concerned the choristers' school. Since Canon Hamilton had ceased to direct it, the chapter's policy had been to use the growing revenues from the choristers' fund to increase the number of choristers while discouraging any expansion of the school and forbidding the master to take boarders in addition to the choristers. (fn. 646) Bishop Wordsworth, however, established a new school in the close which largely filled the place of the former cathedral grammar school, and in the 20th century the choristers' school has developed into a preparatory school for the public schools. (fn. 647)
A more intractable problem was that of the cathedral statutes. Its immensity had been realized by the Cathedral Commissioners of the 1850's, who, like earlier would-be legislators for the cathedral, were dismayed by the mass of obsolete and contradictory medieval statutes and customs. They had recommended an extensive remodelling of the statutes of all the cathedrals of the Old Foundation to make them conform with recent legislation and existing custom. (fn. 648) The Commission appointed in 1879 doubted whether it had legal power to make permanent statutes, but by 1884, in cooperation with the dean and chapter, it had prepared a set of draft statutes, consisting of 22 articles, designed to supplement the ancient statutes and customs. (fn. 649) The draft statutes, however, were framed on the supposition that the corporation of vicars choral was dissolved. This was not to be done for another half-century, and the draft statutes, although they found favour with bishop, dean, and chapter, (fn. 650) never became effective. Chapter acts or ordinances were still made by the close chapter for its own government, (fn. 651) but the constitution as a whole remained in many ways unrelated to the statutes.
The most serious problem, however, lay in the chapter's falling income and a long period of increasing financial difficulties, which checked further expansion of the cathedral's work. The communar's accounts for 1878 still showed a surplus of £625 over the chapter's estimated net income of £4,700 a year, (fn. 652) but this had vanished by 1885 when the Cathedral Commissioners published their final report. Then they stated that the recent agricultural depression had seriously affected the chapter's income. The position was in fact more serious than it might have been under the old system of small reserved rents and fines; then it took a very great agricultural depression to affect the value of a fine paid for the renewal of a lease, but now the rack rents were immediately affected. The Commission pointed out that the changes made in the period of prosperity had not resulted in benefits to the chapter. The increased revenue from the surrendered lands had gone to the Ecclesiastical Commission, while the chapter was left to deal with the alarming fall in revenue from those which had been returned to it. (fn. 653) In 1888 the income of each residentiary was not half of the £500 which had been intended when the estates were transferred. (fn. 654) In 1896 an exchange of property was arranged with the Ecclesiastical Commission, but the incomes of dean and canons continued to fall and it was only in 1917 that the Commission eventually agreed to make them up to £1,000 and £500 a year respectively, (fn. 655) and by this time the actual value of the money was drastically reduced. A temporary surplus during the following years had to be paid to the Commission by the terms of the 1917 agreement. (fn. 656) In 1927 a Cathedral Commission of the Church Assembly declared that the chapter's work was cramped by financial anxiety; the canons' incomes were no longer sufficient to maintain the large canonical houses and expenses of residence in the close, and there had been a big increase in the cost of the cathedral services and fabric. (fn. 657) For some time nothing was done. In 1940, however, it was decided to suspend one residentiary canonry and to divide its income among the dean and three remaining residentiaries in order to give the dean £1,200 and the canons £600 a year each. (fn. 658) Between 1944 and 1951 the fourth canonry was temporarily restored through the generosity of an anonymous donor. (fn. 659) Then the number of residentiary canons returned to three, and the Church Commissioners agreed to make up their incomes to £800 a year each and that of the dean to £1,400, (fn. 660) that is, to about the sum suggested as reasonable for them by the Cathedral Commissioners of 100 years earlier.
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Under conditions of increasing financial stringency, and a changing attitude to church attendances, the 20th-century chapter has maintained the work of the cathedral, increased the services, raised the laymen's stipends, reached constitutional decisions, and preserved the cathedral fabric. The influence of Anglo-Catholicism may be seen in the institution in 1915 of a daily communion service, and from 1923 in the wearing of copes by the celebrants for the first time since the Reformation. In 1915 also Sunday evening services were introduced. (fn. 661) By 1926 the annual stipends of the six lay vicars had been raised to £115 each, and that of the organist to £330, while three vicars choral had £340 each. By 1952 the organist had £500, the assistant organist £145, and the six lay vicars £968 between them. (fn. 662) The vicars choral had been reduced from four to three in 1917, when they had agreed to give part of the fourth vicar's stipend to the choristers' school, which was in financial difficulties. (fn. 663) In 1928, however, the chapter sanctioned a scheme for new buildings which allowed the head master to accept boarders in addition to the choristers, and the school again became prosperous and self-supporting. (fn. 664) The most pressing constitutional problems were still the continued existence of the corporation of vicars choral and the need for new statutes. With the passage of the Enabling Act of 1919, it seemed possible that the chapter's solutions for these might become law. In 1926 the Cathedral Commissioners heard the representations of Dr. Stanley Baker, procurator of the vicars choral, on behalf of the corporation, and pronounced that he had advanced no strong arguments for its continuance, whereas the bishop and dean and chapter had both urged its dissolution. (fn. 665) Finally, under the Cathedrals Measure of 1931, the property of the Salisbury vicars choral was transferred to the dean and chapter in 1934 and the corporation dissolved in 1935, along with minor corporations of other English cathedrals, subject to the rights of existing members. This prepared the way for new statutes which were confirmed by the king in 1937. (fn. 666) They provided for not less than two vicars choral to be paid and appointed by the dean and chapter for periods not exceeding ten years in the first instance, with the possibility of reappointment for subsequent periods of not more than five years. Thus the vicars finally lost all the privileges of appointment for life, separate property, and corporate independence, for which their predecessors had fought so hard in the Middle Ages.
These, however, were the biggest changes made in the new statutes, and cannot be described as startling or revolutionary, for they had been advocated by the chapter for over a century and were in any case largely a natural result of the gradual fall in the vicars' numbers since the late 15th century, and of the changed needs of the choir. Other changes illustrate further the adaptation of the cathedral constitution to new needs and conditions, and in most cases merely gave the force of law to practices which had already become customary. The strengthening of the bishop's rights at the cathedral had become desirable when bishops were more often present at their cathedral and when the cathedral was more used for diocesan work. Therefore the bishop was now to have the right, on giving reasonable notice to the dean, to celebrate Holy Communion and to preach in the cathedral when he pleased, and to use any part of the cathedral for synods, visitations, ordinations, confirmations, or other special services; to order the form of these services and to appoint the preachers, so long as the cost did not fall on the chapter's revenues. The dean's greater authority resulted from the reduction in numbers of the cathedral clergy and the greater centralization of the constitution, which again had been proceeding since the Reformation. The new and more exacting rules for canonical residence reflected the more conscientious practice of residence which had developed during the last 60 to 80 years. In future a residentiary canon was forbidden to hold any other benefice with his canonry except with the bishop's consent in writing and was bound to two kinds of annual residence at the cathedral: first his three months' 'close residence', when he was officially 'canon in residence' in charge of the cathedral services; secondly, a further period of five months' 'open residence', when he was to be diligent in attending the services. The rights and privileges of the non-residents, which had been in danger of disappearing altogether, were carefully set out and defined; arrangements were made for paying their expenses when they came to perform their duties at the cathedral; three small prebends had been re-endowed for canons doing religious, educational, or administrative work in the diocese. Phrases or ideas taken from St. Osmund's Institution, Richard Poore's Consuetudinary, and Roger Mortival's Constitutions appeared particularly in the descriptions of the functions and duties of the dignitaries and officers. Moreover, although the new code gave a general view of the whole constitution in 25 chapters logically arranged, it made no claim to completeness. The final paragraph declared that Bishop Osmund's foundation charter and all the ancient statutes and customs were continued and confirmed, unless inconsistent with the present statutes.
The cathedral's history is an impressive witness to the strength of the foundations laid by St. Osmund and his medieval successors. Throughout the centuries the chapter has shown itself capable of astonishing resilience. Periods of apparent decline have been followed by periods of revival, although at no time has the picture of cathedral life been revealed as entirely black or white. Redeeming features have been found in centuries generally looked on as periods of decline, and disappointing ones in those usually described as prosperous and progressive. The strength of the constitution has largely made possible the successive spiritual revivals, by preserving the organization through periods of decline or inertia until better use could be made of it. At all times the constitution has been found capable of adaptation to changing needs and conditions. In 1954 the whole organization is established on a smaller and much less wealthy scale than ever before. The chapter is far less independent of outside control than it has ever been. Probably its biggest contribution to the Church and society was made in the Middle Ages. Yet in recent years, without any adequate financial means of its own, it has successfully achieved costly repairs to the cathedral fabric which have included the preservation of the tower and spire. Voluntary contributions have come in response to its appeals, not merely from the diocese, but from all parts of the country and from overseas; particularly interesting is the support of the Friends of Salisbury Cathedral, the 20th-century organization which has in part taken the place of the medieval confraternity of the chapter. (fn. 667)
Walter, first dean. (fn. 668)
? Osbert, obit celebrated 22 Feb. (fn. 669)
Robert, died 1111. (fn. 670)
Serlo, occurs 1122. (fn. 671)
Roger, occurs c. 1122-31 to 1139. (fn. 672)
Azo, by 1139 until c. 1145-8. (fn. 673)
Henry de Beaumont, c. 1155, consecrated Bp. of Bayeux 1164. (fn. 676)
Jordan, occurs from 1176 to c. 1193. (fn. 681)
Adam, occurs from 1215, died 1220. (fn. 686)
Master Robert de Wickhampton, occurs from 1259, elected Bp. of Salisbury 1271. (fn. 691)
Peter of Savoy, occurs from 1297 to 1309. (fn. 698)
William Rufati, provided 1309. (fn. 699)
Bertrand de Fargis, provided 1346, died by 26 Feb. 1347. (fn. 702)
Master Nicholas Bildeston, elected 1435, died 1441. (fn. 718)
Master Richard Leyot, elected 1446, died 1449. (fn. 721)
Master John Davison, elected 1473, died 1485. (fn. 726)
Edward Cheyne, D.C.L., D.Can.L., elected 1486, died 1502. (fn. 727)
Master Peter Vannes, occurs from 1536 to 1549. (fn. 738)
Master Thomas Cole, said to have been dean temp. Edw. VI. (fn. 739)
John Younger, D.D., appointed 1705, died 1728. (fn. 770)
The chapter's earliest known seal is the 'old bone seal', which was condemned in 1214. (fn. 771) An impression of it, dating probably from Bishop Jocelin's time (1142-84), is in the Cathedral library at Salisbury. (fn. 772) It is a pointed oval measuring 2¾ × 17/8 in. It shows the Virgin crowned and seated. Both her arms are raised from the elbow. In her right hand is a fleur-de-lis sceptre. The Child is sitting between her knees. The legend, which is imperfect, reads:
In 1214 the dean and chapter made rules for the use of two common seals: (fn. 773)
(1) the greater seal of the dean and chapter, of which several 13th-century impressions survive, including two dating from 1239 and 1266. (fn. 774) It is a pointed oval measuring 3×2 in. It shows the Virgin crowned and seated under a plain trefoiled arch with a star over her head. She holds the Child on her left knee and He is reaching up towards the fleur-de-lis sceptre which she holds in her right hand. The perfect legend, as shown by the several impressions together, is:
The seal of Adam [de Esseby], the chancellor, was used as a counter seal to this seal in 1239. (fn. 775) It is a pointed oval measuring 17/8× 13/8 in., and shows the chancellor sitting on a high-backed chair under a trefoiled and pinnacled canopy and on a foliated bracket. He is reading a book lying on a lectern before him. The legend reads:
(2) the lesser seal ad citaciones. (fn. 776) Probably this was the seal ad peticiones et ad causas, of which several impressions survive from the 13th century and later. (fn. 777) The bronze gilt matrix was in use up to 1936. This seal is practically the same shape and size as the chapter's greater seal, being only slightly narrower: 3× 17/8 in. The subject is the same, but more elaborately executed: the crowned Virgin, with the Child on her left knee, sits on a carved throne, from which spring the slender shafts of a trefoiled canopy with seven pinnacles. The bracket beneath is deeply carved. On one side of the Virgin's head is a new moon and on the other a star. The legend reads:
The common seal of the vicars choral dates probably from the 13th century. (fn. 778) It is a pointed oval, measuring 21/8× 1 9/16; in. It shows the coronation of the Virgin. The corbel in the base, on which the two figures are supported, is ornamented with an elegant flower. The legend reads:
S' COMMUNE VIC'RIOR' ECCL'E SARESBIRIENS' (fn. 779)
Other seals in the British Museum or Cathedral library include the seal of an unidentified 14thcentury dean, an early 15th-century seal of the office of dean, a 17th-century seal of the officiality of the decanal jurisdiction, a 17th-century seal of the communar of the dean and chapter, and several seals of the prebendal jurisdictions and of individual dignitaries and prebendaries.