In 1281 Archbishop Pecham prescribed an outline of Christian doctrine and morals, which parish priests with the cure of souls should expound in the vernacular to their parishioners four times a year. 1 This decree, the Ignorantia Sacerdotum, enumerated the fourteen articles of faith, the ten commandments, the two precepts of the gospel, the seven works of mercy, the seven deadly sins, the seven principal virtues, and the seven sacraments of grace, and was, in fact, a very adequate teaching manual for the parish priest. In 1357 Archbishop Thoresby repeated it for the York Province, and had a vernacular translation made for the profit of lay readers. 2 After that time Ignorantia Sacerdotum was reissued at York Convocation in 1466 and 1518 and was sold in an English version at Oxford in 1520. 3 It bore fruit in sermons like the Quatuor Sermones, which were first printed by Caxton 1483 and by 1500 had gone through eleven editions and been issued by all the notable printers in England. 4 These four sermons in English dealt systematically with all the essentials of Christian faith: the Pater Noster, the seven short petitions, the Ave Maria, the Articles of Faith, the Commandments, each of the sacraments, the deeds of mercy, the virtues and the deadly sins, the pains of hell, the three elements of penance, and the general sentence of excommunication. Wholly without exempla, 94they were comprehensive, concise and lucid; indispensable as a summary of doctrine to the parish priest. They were often printed with, and some might think this an explanation of their popularity, John Myrc's Festial. 1 These sermons for Sundays and feast days throughout the year abound with explanations, often fanciful, and anecdotes, often sensational, and are clearly aimed at a parochial audience; it is all the more significant then that the early printers, with their keen sense of the market and their economic realism, saw fit to print nineteen editions of Myrc's Festial between 1483 and 1532. 2 In more than a few parishes, to judge from this fact and from the extant manuscripts of sermones de sanctis et temporibus, through Advent, Epiphany, Lent and Pentecost, the people would be regaled with homilies much like John Myrc's. There is other evidence too that the clergy were not lost for sermons or disinclined to preach. Certainly Margery Kempe had many occasions for weeping, as was her habit during sermons, and found the parish clergy rather more tolerant of her than the friars. 3 Pews and pulpits had begun to appear in parish churches in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and they became more numerous and opulent in the fifteenth. 4 All those who had preferment and the cure of souls were allowed to preach; chaplains and students were often licensed, as the Bath and Wells registers show, and it seems probable that those whom Owst calls auxiliaries were very frequent preachers. 5 Interesting confirmation of curates preaching comes from Cheshunt, where in 1523 Richard Godd, it was complained, enlivened his accustomed sermons on Sundays and feast-days with many opprobrious words about the stews once kept at Waltham Cross and now at Cheshunt church, presumably the nunnery. 6 The frequency of preaching was noted by Alexander 95Carpenter who wrote that ‘now, in many places, there is greater abundance of preaching of the Word of God than was customary before our time’. 1