chapter  1
16 Pages

The Structures of Coercion

In the late thirteenth century, Archbishop John Pecham had been so concerned at inadequacy of many of his clergy for the task of instructing their flocks in the rudiments of faith that he had caused the Lambeth Council of 1281 to draw up a scheme of instruction, entitled De informacione simplicium. The main emphasis of De informacione was upon confession and the sacrament of penance, the point at which the clergy and laity most commonly interacted. As a source of Protestant clergy, Oxford was less reliable than Cambridge, but at least those graduates who were of that persuasion were suitably battle-hardened for the conflicts which they would endure in their parishes. Stephen Gardiner was reinstated as chancellor of the Cambridge, a fact which may explain the high priority which Mary gave to the universities in her programme to re-establish the Catholic Church. From the earliest days of her reign, Mary's attitude towards clergy training had been first and foremost disciplinary.