Sunday, January 22, 2012

Incense, Wine and Candles

One hundred and thirty five years ago today, on January 22nd 1877, the authorities finally had enough of Arthur Tooth, and put him in prison. Arthur, a priest of the Church of England, had been burning incense and candles in his church. This was illegal as a result of the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 which read in part (section 8):
  1. That in such church any alteration in or addition to the fabric, ornaments, or furniture thereof has been made without lawful authority, or that any decoration forbidden by law has been introduced into such church; or,
  2. That the incumbent has within the preceding twelve months used or permitted to be used in such church or burial ground any unlawful ornament of the minister of the church, or neglected to use any prescribed ornmament or vesture; or,
  3. That the incumbent has within the preceding twelve months failed to observe, or cause to be observed, the directions contained in the Book of Common Prayer relating to the performance, in such church or burial ground, of the services, rites and ceremonies ordered by the said book, or has made or has permitted to be made any unlawful addition to, alteration of, omission from such services, rites and ceremonies.
Arthur was just the first priest imprisoned for ritualism. Sidney Faithorn Green, T. Pelham Dale, Richard William Enraght, and James Bell Cox were all imprisoned for varying stints after Arthur was released. Sidney was imprisoned for twenty months; he must have burned a boatload of incense!

The Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 was repealed on 1 March 1965 through the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measures of 1963 (No. 1)

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