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Edmund Grindal
Archbishop of Canterbury
Enthroned 1576
Reign ended 6 July 1583
Predecessor Matthew Parker
Successor John Whitgift
Personal details
Born c. 1519
St Bees, Cumberland
Died 6 July 1583
Buried Croydon

Edmund Grindal (c. 1519 – 6 July 1583) was an English church leader who successively held the posts of Bishop of London, Archbishop of York and Archbishop of Canterbury.

Contents

Early life to the death of Edward VI

Tradition, also retailed by Grindal's biographer John Strype, had long held that Grindal was born in Hensingham, now a suburb of Whitehaven. However recent scholarship has shown that his birthplace was Cross Hill House, St. Bees, Cumberland. Grindal himself gave a description of his birth place in a letter to Sir William Cecil, Elizabeth I's Secretary of State, "... the house wherein I was born, and the lands pertaining thereto, being a small matter, under twenty shillings rent, but well builded at the charges of my father and brother", which corresponds to Cross Hill House. This has been proven by the discovery of the long-mislaid St. Bees long leases, which have provided the missing link in the chain of ownership back to William Grindal, Edmund's father, a farmer in the village.[1] Edmund Grindal's exact date of birth is uncertain, but is c.1519.

Grindal's birthplace, St Bees

His education started with the monks at the nearby St Bees Priory, which probably influenced his later career in the church. He was educated at Magdalene and Christ's Colleges and then at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated BA and was elected fellow in 1538.[2] Having obtained his MA in 1541, he was ordained deacon in 1544 and was proctor and Lady Margaret preacher in 1548?1549. Probably through the influence of Nicholas Ridley, who had been master of Pembroke Hall, Grindal was selected as one of the Protestant disputants during the visitation of 1549. He had a talent for this work and was often given similar tasks. When Ridley became Bishop of London, he made Grindal one of his chaplains and gave him the precentorship of St Paul's Cathedral. He was soon promoted to be one of King Edward VI's chaplains and prebendary of Westminster, and in October 1552 was one of six to whom the Forty-two articles were submitted for examination before being sanctioned by the Privy Council. According to John Knox, Grindal distinguished himself from most of the court preachers in 1553 by denouncing the worldliness of courtiers and foretelling the evils that would follow the king's death. For this reason, Grindal was not made a bishop, and did not consider himself bound to await the evils which he had foretold.

Mary I and Elizabeth I

On the accession of Mary I, he made his way to Strasbourg. From there he proceeded to Frankfurt, where he tried to settle the disputes between the "Coxians", who regarded the 1552 Prayer Book as the perfection of reform, and the Knoxians, who wanted further simplification. He returned to England in January 1559, after Elizabeth I had come to the throne, was appointed to the committee to revise the liturgy, and was one of the Protestant representatives at the Westminster conference. In July he was also elected Master of Pembroke Hall in succession to the recusant Dr Thomas Young (1514?-1580) and Bishop of London in succession to Edmund Bonner.

Grindal had qualms about vestments and other traces of "popery" as well as about the Erastianism of Elizabeth's ecclesiastical government. Firmly Protestant, he did not mind recommending that a priest "might be put to some torment" (Hatfield manuscripts i. 269); and in October 1562 he wrote to William Cecil, begging to know "if that second Julian, the king of Navarre, is killed; as he intended to preach at St Paul's Cross, and might take occasion to mention God's judgements on him" (Domestic Cal., 1547?1580, p. 209). Nevertheless, he was reluctant to execute judgments on English Puritans, and failed to give Matthew Parker much assistance in rebuilding the shattered fabric of the English Church.

Grindal lacked that firm faith in the supreme importance of uniformity and autocracy which enabled John Whitgift to persecute nonconformists whose theology was identical to his own. London, which was always a difficult see, involved Bishop Sandys in similar troubles when Grindal had gone to York. As it was, although Parker said that Grindal "was not resolute and severe enough for the government of London," his attempts to enforce the use of the surplice evoked angry protests, especially in 1565, when many nonconformists were suspended; and Grindal of his own accord denounced Thomas Cartwright to the Council in 1570. Other anxieties were brought upon him by the burning of his cathedral in 1561, for although Grindal himself is said to have contributed £1200 towards its rebuilding, the laity and even the clergy of his diocese were not generous.

Archbishop

In 1570 Grindal became Archbishop of York, where Puritans were few and coercion would be required mainly for Roman Catholics. His first letter from Cawood to Cecil told that he had not been well received, that the gentry were not "well-affected to godly religion and among the common people many superstitious practices remained." It is admitted by his Anglican critics that he did the work of enforcing uniformity against the Roman Catholics with good-will and considerable tact. He must have given general satisfaction, for even before Parker's death two persons so different as Burghley and Dean Nowell independently recommended Grindal's appointment as his successor, and Edmund Spenser speaks warmly of him in The Shepheardes Calender as the "gentle shepherd Algrind." Burghley wished to conciliate the moderate Puritans and advised Grindal to mitigate the severity which had characterized Parker's treatment of the nonconformists. Despite being appointed to the highest position in the Anglican church, on the 26th of July 1575, there is no actual proof that Grindal ever visited the seat of his see, Canterbury, not even for his consecration.

St. Bees School, Cumbria, the Foundation block. The original Elizabethan school is the range on the left of the quad.

Grindal indeed attempted a reform of the ecclesiastical courts, but his activity was cut short by a disagreement with the queen. Elizabeth wanted Grindal to suppress the "prophesyings" or meetings for discussion which had come into vogue among the Puritan clergy, and she even wanted him to discourage preaching. Grindal remonstrated, claiming some voice for the Church, and in June 1577 was suspended from his jurisdictional, though not his spiritual, functions for disobedience. He stood firm, and in January 1578 Secretary Wilson informed Burghley that the queen wished to have the archbishop deprived. She was dissuaded from this extreme course, but Grindal's sequestration was continued in spite of a petition from Convocation in 1581 for his reinstatement. Elizabeth then suggested that he should resign; he declined to do so, and after apologising to the queen he was reinstated towards the end of 1582. But his infirmities were increasing, and while making preparations for his resignation, he died and was buried in Croydon parish church.

Legacy

He left considerable benefactions to Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, the Queen's College, Oxford, and Christ's College, Cambridge; he also endowed a free school at St Bees, and left money for the poor of St Bees, Canterbury, Lambeth and Croydon.

The most enduring monument to Grindal has proved to be the "free grammar school" which he founded in his native village of St Bees, where he had not been for perhaps forty-five years. The school was to be built, which was done at a cost of £366.3s.4d. and endowed with annual revenues of £50. Nicholas Copland was nominated by Grindal as the first Headmaster.

Only three days before his death Grindal had published statutes for the school, a series of minute and specific regulations which are a noted treasury of information for historians of Tudor education. Although the school was to be sometimes at risk in its early years, a school building had been erected by 1588 and a tradition of learning had begun which has continued without a break for over four centuries.

Grindal also played a part in the establishment of Highgate School in North London, and is credited with having introduced the tamarisk tree to the British Isles.

References

  1. ^ "Archbishop Grindal's Birthplace: Cross Hill, St. Bees Cumbria, By John and Mary Todd. Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society 1999, Vol XCIX.
  2. ^ Edmund Grindal in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  • John Strype (1710), Life and Acts of Edmund Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • "Archbishop Grindal 1519-1583 The struggle for a reformed church" - Patrick Collinson 1979 ISBN 0-224-01703-9
  • Dictionary of National Biography
  • Henry Gough (1855), A General Index to the Publications of the Parker Society. Cambridge
  • Acts of the Privy Council
  • Cal. of Hatfield manuscripts
  • Dixon's History of the Church of England
  • W. H. Frere (1904), History of the English Church, 1558-1625, ed. W. R. W. Stephens and W. Hunt
  • Donald Brownrigg (2005), reprinted facsimile of John Reay's (1869) 'Visitor's Guide to St Bees'.
  • Douglas Sim et al. (current), St Bees History (websites).
  • Archbishop Grindal's birthplace: Cross Hill, St Bees, Cumbria By John Todd and Mary Todd. Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society 1999, Vol XCIX.
  • Cambridge Modern History vol. iii.
  • Gee's Elizabethan Clergy
  • Henry Norbert Birt, The Elizabethan Religious Settlement
  • William Pierce (1909) An Historical Introduction to the Marprelate Tracts. London: Archibald Constable
  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
Academic offices
Preceded by
John Young
Master of Pembroke College
1559-1561
Succeeded by
Matthew Hutton
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Edmund Bonner
Bishop of London
1559–1570
Succeeded by
Edwin Sandys
Preceded by
Thomas Young
Archbishop of York
1570–1576
Preceded by
Matthew Parker
Archbishop of Canterbury
1576–1583
Succeeded by
John Whitgift
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

EDMUND GRINDAL (c. 1519-1583), successively bishop of London, archbishop of York and archbishop of Canterbury, born about 1519, was son of William Grindal, a farmer of Hensingham, in the parish of St Bees, Cumberland. He was educated at Magdalene and Christ's Colleges and then at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. and was elected fellow in 1538. He proceeded M.A. in 1541, was ordained deacon in 1544 and was proctor and Lady Margaret preacher in 1548-1549. Probably through the influence of Ridley, who had been master of Pembroke Hall, Grindal was selected as one of the Protestant disputants during the visitation of 1549. He had a considerable talent for this work and was often employed on similar occasions. When Ridley became bishop of London, he made Grindal one of his chaplains and gave him the precentorship of St Paul's. He was soon promoted to be one of Edward VI.'s chaplains and prebendary of Westminster, and in October 1552 was one of the six divines to whom the Forty-two articles were submitted for examination before being sanctioned by the Privy Council. According to Knox, Grindal distinguished himself from most of the court preachers in 1553 by denouncing the worldliness of the courtiers and foretelling the evils to follow on the king's death.

That event frustrated Grindal's proposed elevation to the episcopal bench and he did not consider himself bound to await the evils which he had foretold. He abandoned his preferments on Mary's accession and made his way to Strassburg. Thence, like so many of the Marian exiles, he proceeded to Frankfurt, where he endeavoured to compose the disputes between the "Coxians" (see Cox, Richard), who regarded the 1552 Prayer Book as the perfection of reform, and the Knoxians, who wanted further simplification. He returned to England in J anuary 1559, was appointed one of the committee to revise the liturgy, and one of the Protestant representatives at the Westminster conference. In July he was also elected Master of Pembroke Hall in succession to the recusant Dr Thomas Young (1514-1580) and Bishop of London in succession to Bonner.

Grindal himself was, however, inclined to be recalcitrant from different motives. He had qualms about vestments and other traces of "popery" as well as about the Erastianism of Elizabeth's ecclesiastical government. His Protestantism was robust enough; he did not mind recommending that a priest "might be put to some torment" (Hatfield MSS. i. 269); and in October 1562 he wrote to Cecil begging to know "if that second Julian, the king of Navarre, is killed; as he intended to preach at St Paul's Cross, and might take occasion to mention God's judgements on him" (Domestic Cal., 1547-1580, p. 209). But he was 10th to execute judgments upon English Puritans, and modern high churchmen complain of his infirmity of purpose, his opportunism and his failure to give Parker adequate assistance in rebuilding the shattered fabric of the English Church. Grindal lacked that firm faith in the supreme importance of uniformity and autocracy which enabled Whitgift to persecute with a clear conscience nonconformists whose theology was indistinguishable from his own. Perhaps he was as wise as his critics; at any rate the rigour which he repudiated hardly brought peace or strength to the Church when practised by his successors, and London, which was always a difficult see, involved Bishop Sandys in similar tronbles when Grindal had gone to York. As it was, although Parker said that Grindal "was not resolute and severe enough for the government of London," his attempts to enforce the use of the surplice evoked angry protests, especially in 1565, when considerable numbers of the nonconformists were suspended; and Grindal of his own motion denounced Cartwright to the Council in 1570. Other anxieties were brought upon him by the burning of his cathedral in 1561, for although Grindal himself is said to have contributed £1 200 towards its rebuilding, the laity of his diocese were niggardly with their subscriptions and even his clergy were not liberal.

In 1570 Grindal was translated to the archbishopric of York, where Puritans were few and coercion would be required mainly for Roman Catholics. His first letter from Cawood to Cecil told that he had not been well received, that the gentry were not "well-affected to godly religion and among the common people many superstitious practices remained." It is admitted by his Anglican critics that he did the work of enforcing uniformity against the Roman Catholics with good-will and considerable tact. He must have given general satisfaction, for even before Parker's death two persons so different as Burghley and Dean Nowell independently recommended Grindal's appointment as his successor, and Spenser speaks warmly of him in the Shepherd's Calendar as the "gentle shepherd Algrind." Burghley wished to conciliate the moderate Puritans and advised Grindal to mitigate the severity which had characterized Parker's treatment of the nonconformists. Grindal indeed attempted a reform of the ecclesiastical courts, but his metropolitical activity was cut short by a conflict with the arbitrary temper of the queen. Elizabeth required Grindal to suppress the "prophesyings" or meetings for discussion which had come into vogue among the Puritan clergy, and she even wanted him to discourage preaching; she would have no doctrine that was not inspired by her authority. Grindal remonstrated, claiming some voice for the Church, and in June 1577 was suspended from his jurisdictional, though not his spiritual, functions for disobedience. He stood firm, and in January 1578 Secretary Wilson informed Burghley that the queen wished to have the archbishop deprived. She was dissuaded from this extreme course, but Grindal's sequestration was continued in spite of a petition from Convocation in 1581 for his reinstatement. Elizabeth then suggested that he should resign; this he declined to do, and after making an apology to the queen he was reinstated towards the end of 1582. But his infirmities were increasing, and while making preparations for his resignation, he died on the 6th of July 1583 and was buried in Croydon parish church. He left considerable benefactions to Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, Queen's College, Oxford, and Christ's College, Cambridge; he also endowed a free school at St Bees, and left money for the poor of St Bees, Canterbury, Lambeth and Croydon.

Strype's Life of Grindal is the principal authority; see also Dict. Nat. Biogr. and, besides the authorities there cited, Gough's General Index to Parker Soc. Publ.; Acts of the Privy Council; Cal. of Hatfield MSS.; Dixon's Hist. of the Church of England; Frere's volume in Stephens' and Hunt's series; Cambridge Mod. Hist. vol. iii.; Gee's Elizabethan Clergy; Birt's Elizabethan Religious Settlement; and Pierce's Introduction to the Marprelate Tracts (1909).

(A. F. P.)


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