ARTICLES OF VISITATION and ENQUIRY Concerning Matters Ecclesiasticall, according to the Laws and Canons of the Church of ENGLAND, EXHIBITED To the Ministers, Church-Wardens, and Side-men of every Parish within the Diocese of Worcester, By the Right Reverend Father in God, JOHN Lord Bishop of WORCESTER.

LONDON, Printed by J. G. for Richard Royston, Bookseller to His most Sacred Majesty, 1662.


The Tenor of the Oath to be tendered to the Church-Wardens and Side-men of every Parish in the Diocese of VVorcester.

YOu shall Swear, after diligent enquiry, to make a true answer, according to your knowledge, unto the Articles in this Book now given you in Charge; and to present such of your Parish as are Offen­ders therein, contrary to the duty they owe to God and the Laws Ecclesiasticall: and this you shall do, as in the sight of God, uprightly and truly. So help you God.


[Page] [Page 1] ARTICLES Of Visitation and Enquiry, &c.

TITUL. I. Concerning Churches or Chappels, with the Orna­ments and Furniture belonging to them.

I. IS your Church-Fabrick (or Chappel) with all things appertaining to it, kept in good repair within and without, with such cleanlinesse, decency and order, as beco­meth the house dedicated to the Publick Worship and solemn service of God?

II. Hath any part of them, or any thing belonging to them, béen sold or embezelled? when? and by whom?

III. Is there in your Church or Chappel an handsome Font of Stone, standing in a convenient place, with a good cover to it, for the Administration of Baptisme? Is there also a decent Communion-Table, with a fair Carpet of Silk or fine Cloth, also a fine linnen covering to be used at the holy Administration of the Lords Supper? What Cup, Chalice, Patin, or Flagons have you belonging to that Service?

IV. Have you in your Church (or Chappel) a convenient Pew for your Minister to read Divine Service in? Also a Pulpit, with a decent Cloth and Cushion? Have you a [Page 2] large Folio Bible of the last Translation, with two Books of Common-Prayer well bound, one for the Minister, the other for the Clark? Have you the Book of Homilies set forth by Authority; also the Book of Canons, and a Table of allowed deg [...]ée [...] in Marriage?

V. Have you a Register Book of Parchment for all that are Christned, Married, and Buried in your Parish, in which are set down the names of the parties, with the Day, Moneth and Year of each Christning, Marriage, and Bu­rial? Is the transcript of these every year within one moneth after March 25. brought in to the Bishops Registry?

VI. Have you a Paper-Book, in which the names of strangers that Preach or Officiate in your Church or Chappel are set down; and another Book for your Church-wardens accounts.

VII. Have you a fair Surplice and other Ornaments, according to his degrée, for your Minister to use in his Pub­lick Administrations, onely for outward decency, order, and distinction?

VIII. Have you a strong Chest, with Locks and Keys, wherein the Plate and other Vessels, with the Books and Vestments belonging to the Church, may be safely and decently kept? Have you a Bier with a black Herse-cloth for the decent interment of the dead?

TIT. II. Concerning the Church-yard, Houses, Glebes, Tithes or Rents belonging to the Church.

I. IS your Church-yard sufficiently senced with Walls, Rails, or Pales, and decently kept from all annoy­ance and encroachment? Are the trées therein preserved?

II. Is the Mansion-house of your Minister, with all o­ther houses thereto belonging, kept in good repair? Have any of them béen pulled down or defaced? Hath any en­croached upon the Land thereto belonging, or felled the Trées there on growing?

[Page 3] III. Have you a perfect Terrier of all Glebe-lands, Gar­dens, Orchards, and Tenements belonging to your Par­sonage or Vicarage? Also a particular List of such Pensi­ons, Tithes, Rents, Customs, and other yearly Profits within or without your Parish, as belong thereto? Are any of them withheld from your Minister? and by whom?

IV. Have any of the ancient Glebe-lands belonging to your Parsonage or Vicarage béen taken away, or alienated by Lease, Sale, or Exchange, without License from the Ordinary, and the frée consent of the Incumbent? Have any Inclosures béen made in your Parish to the detriment of the Church?

TIT. III. Concerning Ministers.

I. IS your Minister Episcopally Ordained (Deacon or Priest) according to the Laws of the Realm of Eng­land, and the ancient practice of the Church universall, no lesse then of this National Church?

II. Is he defamed or suspected to have obtained his Orders or Benefice by any Simoniacal compact?

III. Hath he béen legally Instituted and Inducted into his Benefice? Did he within two moneths after his Induction publickly read in the Church, upon some Lords-day or other Holy-day, in the time of Divine Ser­vice, the 39. Articles of Religion established in the Church of England? Did he then and there publickly de­clare his assent thereunto?

IV. Hath your Minister béen Licenced to officiate by the Bishop of this Diocese, or either of the two Universities? Doth he being thus Licenced diligently read Divine Service, and Preach every Lords-day, in your Church or Chappel, unlesse hindered by Sicknesse or reasonable absence? and in such cases doth he procure some lawfull Minister to read Prayers, to Preach, and perform other Ministerial duties?

[Page 4] V. Doth your Minister Preach sound Doctrine onely, both for Faith and Manners, tending to the Edifying of people in the knowledge of God and their Saviour Iesus Christ, according to the holy rule of the Scripture, and the obedience of the Gospel? Do you know that he hath at any time within one years space last past preached any False, Heretical, Seditious, Scandalous or Schisma­tical Doctrine, thereby to seduce people to Errour or Fa­ction, to the danger of their Souls, and the disturbance of the Peace of this Church and Kingdom?

VI. Doth your Minister in his Prayer before Sermon devoutly and discréetly commend to the grace of God the Church Catholick here on earth, particularly these British Reformed Churches; also the Kings most Excel­lent Majesty, according to his just and Royal Titles; together with all Estates Ecclesiastical and Civil? Doth he praise God for the faithful, who have overcome this World, and are at rest from their labours? Doth he al­wayes conclude with the Lords Prayer? Doth he in his Prayer or Sermon affect any odde or Fanatick expressi­ons, or excessive length?

VII. Doth your Minister in the Morning and Evening Service, and in the Administration of the Holy Sacra­ments, and in performing of other publick Religious Offi­ces appointed by the Church of England, use the re­spective Forms in the Book of Common Prayer, together with those Rites and Ceremonies which are enjoyned in this Church, and declared to be not any necessary parts of Divine Worship, but onely things of Decency, Order, and Edification, tending to the Peace and Uniformity of the Church?

VIII. Doth your Minister diligently examine in the Church-Catechisme the Youth of your Parish every Lords-day in the afternoon? Doth he also instruct others that are ignorant in the Fundamental points of Christian Religi­on? Doth he prepare and, as occasion is offered, present the Youth so instruct to the Bishop, to be Confirmed by the laying on of his hands, with Prayer and Benediction, [Page 5] in that faith they professe, according to the Primitive practice of the Church of Christ? Doth he endeavour to re­claim all Popish Recusants, and other Sectaries in your Parish, to the true Religion established in the Church of England?

IX. Is your Minister, whether Parson, Vicar, or Cu­rate, conformable in his Doctrine and Life to the holy Rule and great example of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is he a man of a studious, sober, peaceable, unblameable and ex­emplary life, for Piety, Sanctity, Charity, and Indu­stry in his calling? Is he Grave, Modest, and Regular in his outward demeanor, for Haire and Clothes, ac­cording to the Constitutions and Customes of the Church of England? Is his Company, Carriage and Conversa­tion in Word and Déed such as becometh a Minister of the Gospel, who remembers the great account he must give for his own and other mens Souls com­mitted to his charge?

X. Is he ready to visit the Sick, and to perform those Offices to them which are required in the Church of England; al [...]o to Baptise any Infant in danger of Death, when he is desired so to do? Is any Infant or o­ther by his default yet unbaptized in your Parish? Doth he refuse to give the Sacrament to any in your Parish, and for what Cause? or doth he give it to such as are scandalous notorious sinners, or such as are excommuni­cate, or refuse to be reconciled to their Neighbou [...]s?

XI. Doth your Minister Marry any persons in pri­vate Houses, or such as are under Age, not having the consent of their Parents or Guardians? Doth he marry any without Bannes first published three Sun­dayes or Holy-dayes in the Church? Doth he marry at other Houres than betweene eight and twelve in the Forenoone, without having any Licence so to do?

XII. Hath your Minister taken upon him to appoint any publick or private Fasts, Prophecyings, or Religi­ous exercises, without lawfull Authority? Doth he in those that are duly appointed use the Forms prescribed by [Page 6] Authority? Doth he, or any other Minister or Lay-per­son, hold any Conventicle or Religious meetings in private houses within your Parish, for people of severall Families to resort unto, contrary to the Laws and Canons in that case provided?

XIII. Is your Minister constantly Resident among you? And how many wéeks in a year hath he been ab­sent from his Benefice? Hath he any Curate to assist him in his absence or presence? Is that Curate in Holy Orders according to the Church of England? Hath he a Licence from his Bishop to serve the Cure? And doth he carry himself also as an able and discréet Minister, and conformable to the Church of England? What year­ly stipend hath he?

XIV. Is there in your Parish beside the Parson, or Vi­car and Curate, any that Preacheth onely as a Lecturer? Is he in Holy Orders, and conformable to the Church of England, and Licenced by the Bishop of this Diocese? Doth he read Divine Service before his Lecture, and in all things demean himself as is most for the Peace of the Church of England and of your Parish?

XV. Doth your Minister give notice of and duly ob­serve Holy-dayes, Festivals, or Fasts, with other so­lemn times, as Ember and Rogation Weeks, accor­ding as is by the Laws and Canons of this Church ap­pointed?

TIT. IV. Concerning Parishioners.

I. IS there any in your Parish that are reputed Here­ticks or Schismaticks, refusing Communion with the Church of England, or professing any other Religion than what is Established in this Church, seducing others from it, and rayling against it? Are there any convicted Papists, known Anabaptists, Familists, Quakers, and other Separa­tists in your Parish?

[Page 7] II. Is there any person in your Parish that lyeth under any common fame or vehement suspicion of Adultery, Fornication, or Incest? Are there any common Drun­kards, Swearers, or Blasphemers of Gods Name, and his Holy Word? Are any noted for railers, unclean and filthy talkers, or sowers of sedition, or living in discord and contention? Are there any excommunicated by the cen­sures of the Church, and not yet reconciled?

III. Do any of your Parish profane the Lords-day, by neglecting of publick Holy Duties, or by doing the works of their ordinary callings, or by using unlawful Recreati­ons, or permitting their Children and Servants so to do? Do they duly observe other Holy-dayes, Festivals, or Fasts appointed by Authority, for the advancement of piety, charity, and devotion?

IV. Do those that inhabit or sojourn in your Parish duly resort to your Church or Chappel, there to worship God according to the Religion of the Church of England? Do they come thither, and continue there during Divine Ser­vice, Sermons, and other Holy Duties, with that reve­rence, order and decency, befitting humble and devout Christians, as is required by the Laws, Canons, and lau­dable customs of the Church of England?

V. Are there in your Parish any that refuse to have their Infant Children Baptized by your Minister? or do they keep them unbaptized longer than this Church alloweth? Are there any Infants or more aged persons in your Parish not yet Baptized?

VI. Doth every House-holder in your Parish cause their Children, Apprentices and Servants to learn the Church Catechisme, and give account of it to your Minister, as he shall require it in the Church on Sundayes or other Holy-dayes, as is appointed? And when they are therein well instructed, do they take care to have them brought by the Minister to Confirmation, when occasion is offered, by the Bishop, for the increase of all spiritual gifts and graces in them?

VII. Is there any person in your Parish, who being six­téen [Page 8] years of age, and well instructed in Religion, neglecteth or refuseth to receive the Blessed Sacrament of the Lords Supper at least thrée times in one year (of which Easter to be one?) Do all receive this Sacred Mystery with that outward gesture of humility, reverence, and lowly adorati­on, which becomes them to their God and Saviour, méekly knéeling, according to the Order and Custom of the Church of England?

VIII. Are there any of your Parish who do keep familiar Society with them that are excommunicated, so as to coun­tenance them in their sins, or encourage them in their con­tumacy?

IX. Are there any of your Parish who are known or su­spected to be unlawfully marryed, contrary to the Laws of God and this Church? Are there any who having béen lawfully divorced do live together again; or who being lawfully marryed and not divorced, do yet live asunder?

X. Are there any marryed Women in your Parish, who after their safe delivery from Child-birth refuse to make their humble and publick thanksgiving to God for so great a mercy, according to the Rites and Appointment of the Church of England?

XI. Are there any of your Parish who refuse to pay their Easter-Offerings and other Duties to your Minister; or to pay the Rates assessed on them for the repaire and pro­visions of the Church?

XII. Do any among you refuse to bury their dead accor­ding to the Forms and Rites of the Church of England, which are so consonant to the faith, hope, and charity of true Christians, towards those that dye in the peace of the Church? Are there any Wills or Testaments of persons dead in your Parish yet unproved, or any Goods Admini­stred without a legal grant from the Ordinary? Do you know of any Legacies given to your Church, or the poor, or other pious and charitable uses, not yet received by you, or detained from you?

XIII. Do you know or have heard of any in your Pa­rish, who having the presentation of an Ecclesiastical Li­ving, [Page 9] hath made any Simoniacal compact or gain thereby, either in mony, or by reserve of any part of the Tithes or Glebe belonging to that Benefice?

XIV. Have any Pews or Seats been erécted in your Church or Chappel without leave from the Ordinary? Is there any strife or contention about Seats in the Church? Have any occasioned Riot, Clamor, or Fighting in the Church at any time?

TIT. V. Concerning Parish-Clerks and Sextons belonging to the Church.

I. HAve you a Parish-Clerk, who is of a sober life and good report? Is he able for Reading, Writing, and Singing as a Clerk? Is he chosen by your Minister and approved by the Parish? Are his wages duly paid him?

II. Doth he or your Sexton take care of the Church, to kéep it lockt and clean, to open the doors, and to ring the Bells in due time, to call the living to the Worship of God; also to admonish them by tolling of a Passing-Bell of any that are dying, thereby to meditate of their own Deaths, and to commend the others weak condition to the mercy of God?

TIT. VI. Concerning Hospitals and Almes-houses, Schools and School-masters, Physicians, Chirurgeons, and Midwives.

I. WHat Hospital, Almes-house, or Free-school hath béen Founded in your Parish? Are they so orde­red in the Revenue and Vse as the Founders appointed, and the Law of the Land allows?

[Page 10] II. What School-master private or publick is there in your Parish? Is he (or they) Licenced by the Bishop or his Chancellor? Doth he instruct his Scholars in the Ca­techisme and Religion of the Church of England, accor­ding to that Conformity and Order which is established as necessa [...]y for the Publick Peace?

III. Do any in your Parish practise Physick, Chirur­gery or Midwifery, without Licence from the Ordinary?

TIT. VII. Concerning Church-Wardens and Side-men.

I. ARe the Church-wardens of your Parish yearly chosen according to Law, and do they appoint Side-men to assist them for the due ordering of the Church?

II. Have the last Church-wardens given up their ac­counts to those that succéed them, together with all mo­nies and other things belonging to your Church or Chap­pel?

III. Do your Church-wardens and Side-men diligent­ly take notice of their names, who without a sufficient cause are absent from Divine Service and Sermons on the Lords-dayes and other Holy-dayes? Do they by Warrant from the next Iustices levy 12. pence by way of distresse (according to Law) upon their Goods, in case they refuse to pay it, for their wilful and causelesse absence? and is the money so levyed distributed to the poor of your Parish, and kept upon account in a Book?

IV. Do you suffer none to stand idle, or to play, or walk, or talk together, or to behave themselves rudely and unseemly within or without the Church during the time of Gods Holy Worship and Service, to the scandal and disturbance of the Minister and Congregation?

V. Do you provide fine White-Bread and good Wine against every Communion, according to the number of Communicants?

[Page 11] VI. Do you cause all strangers who preach in your Church to enter their names in a Book, and by what Bi­shop they are Licenced to Preach?

VII. Have you taken care to give a true Answer unto these Articles, and to draw up your presentments accor­ding to your Oaths, consulting with your Minister and o­ther Neighbours?

THis you are seriously to consider, That as the faithful discharge of your Offices according to your Oaths and Duties is a special means to re­press, punish, and reform sins, scandals, and disorders in your Parish; also to preserve the honour of Religi­on and the Peace of this Church, to the glory of our God and Saviour (which are the great Uses and Ends of all Church-Government and Discipline:) So if you neglect your Duties herein, you sin a­gainst God, your Consciences, and the Churches Prosperity, being liable, in case of wilful Omission and Perjury, to those Punishments which are by the Law to be inflicted on you for your defaults.

The Ministers of every Parish, are desired to given in the Names of such as having not yet recei­ved the Lords Supper, are by them upon examina­tion judged fit for Confirmation, and so for the Holy Communion.


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