Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[26 August, 1643.]
Altars abolished.; Communion Tables removed.; Rails taken away.; Chancel ground laid down.; Tapers, Candlesticks, Basons, &c.; Crucifixes, Crosses, Images, Pictures. Superstitious Inscriptions.
The Lords and Commons in Parliament taking into their serious considerations how well pleasing it is to God, and conduceable to the blessed Reformation in his Worship, so much desired by both Houses of Parliament, that all Monuments of Superstition or Idolatry should be removed and demolished, do Ordain, That in all and every the Churches and Chappels, as well Cathedral and Collegiate, as other Churches and Chappels, and other usual places of publique Prayer, authorized by Law within this Realm of England and Dominion of Wales, all Altars and Tables of stone, shall before the First day of November in the Year of our Lord God 1643. be utterly taken away and demolished; and also all Communion Tables removed from the East end of every such Church, Chappel, or place of publique Prayer, and Chancel of the same, and shall be placed in some other fit and convenient place or places of the body of the said Church, Chappel, or other such place of publique Prayer, or of the body of the Chancel of every such Church, Chappel, or other such place of publique Prayer: And that all Rails whatsoever, which have been erected near to, before, or about any Altar or Communion Table, in any of the said Churches or Chappels, or other such place of publique Prayer as aforesaid, shall before the said day be likewise taken away; and the Chancel ground of every such Church or Chappel, or other place of publique Prayer, which hath been within Twenty years last past, raised for any Altar or Communion Table to stand upon, shall before the said day be laid down, and levelled as the same was before the said Twenty years last past, And that all Tapers, Candlesticks and Basons, shall before the said day be removed and taken away from the Communion Table in every such Church, Chappel, or other place of publique Prayer, and neither the same, nor any such like shall be used about the same at any time after the said day: And that all Crucifixes, Crosses, and all Images and Pictures of any one or more Persons of the Trinity, or of the Virgin Mary, and all other Images and Pictures of Saints, or superstitious Inscriptions in or upon all and every the said Churches or Chappels, or other places of publique Prayer, Church-yards, or other places to any the said Churches and Chappels, or other place of publique Prayer, belonging, or in any other open place, shall before the said first day of November be taken away and defaced, and none of the like hereafter permitted in any such Church or Chappel, or other places as aforesaid.
Who shall repair the places, and at whose charge.; Forfeiture for Default; Where Default is, a Justice of Peace shal cause it to be done.
And be it further Ordained, That all and every such removal of the said Altars, Tables of stone, Communion Tables, Tapers, Candlesticks and Basons, Crucifixes and Crosses, Images and Pictures as aforesaid, taking away of the said Rails, levelling of the said Grounds, shall be done and performed, and the Walls, Windows, Grounds, and other places which shall be broken, mpaired or altered by any the means aforesaid, shall be made up and repaired in good and sufficient manner, in all and every of the said Parish-Churches or Chappels, or usual places of publique Prayer belonging to any Parish, by the Churchwarden or Churchwardens of every such Parish for the time being respectively; and in any Cathedral or Collegiate Church or Chappel, by the Dean or Sub-Dean, or other chief Officer of every such Church or Chappel for the time being; and in the Universities, by the several Heads and Governors of every Colledge or Hall respectively; and in the several Innes of Court, by the Benchers and Readers of every of the same respectively, at the cost and charges of all and every such Person or Persons, Body Politique or Corporate, or Parishioners of every Parish respectively, to whom the charge of the repair of any such Church, Chappel, Chancel, or place of publique Prayer, or other part of such Church or Chappel, or place of publique Prayer doth or shall belong. And in case default be made in any of the Premises by any of the Person or Persons thereunto appointed by this Ordinance, from and after the said first day of November, which shall be in the year of our Lord God 1643. That then every such Person or Persons so making default, shall for every such neglect or default by the space of Twenty days, forfeit and lose Forty Shillings to the use of the Poor of the said Parish wherein such default shall be made; or if it be out of any Parish, then to the use of the Poor of such Parish whose Church is or shall be nearest to the Church or Chappel, or other place of publique Prayer, where such default shall be made; and if default shall be made after the first day of December, which shall be in the said year 1643. then any one Justice of the Peace of the County, City, or Town where such default shall be made, upon information thereof to him to be given, shall cause or procure the Premisses to be performed according to the Tenor of this Ordinance at the cost and charges of such Person or Persons, Bodies Politique or Corporate, or Inhabitants in every Parish, who are appointed by this Ordinance to bear the same.
This not to extend to Coats of Arms or Tombs.
Provided, that this Ordinance, or any thing therein contained, shall not extend to any Image, Picture, or Coat of Arms in Glass, Stone, or otherwise, in any Church Chappel, Church-yard, or place of publique Prayer as aforesaid, set up or graven onely for a Monument of any King, Prince, or Nobleman, or other dead Person which hath not been commonly reputed or taken for a Saint: But that all such Images, Pictures, and Coats of Arms may stand and continue in like manner and form, as if this Ordinance had never been made.