A Penance ordered on a Sub-Deacon and his woman in 1303

  • 16 Jan 2012
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Christian teaching was tactitly accepted as the basis of law. The control of the Church over its people and their morals, was complete. The Church not only taught, but punished when it thought necessary. Below are the deatils of a penance ordered in 1303, on a Sub-Deacon and his woman. It comes from the Register of Bishop Geynesburg (Gainsborough), Bishop of Worcester, 1302 to 1307. 1303. 'Order to the dean of the parish of Stratford to enforce Agnes, wife of Richard de Kynton, convicted of adultery and perjury, having lived for ten years and more with Henry de Hatton, sub-deacon, and borne five children in adultery, and by her notorious misdeeds caused great and long-continued scandal among the people, the following penance, that she shall with her hair down, wearing only a short shift, shall be flogged by the said dean on each of the next nine Sundays, before the procession in the parish church of Stratford. 'Order to the dean of the parish church of Stratford to inflict the following penance on Henry de Hatton, sub-deacon, for his adultery with the aforesaid Agnes, wife of Richard de Kynton, That he shall with crown and tonsure fitted for the estate of sub-deacon, in a white surplice, holding a lighted candle of two pound of wax, in the parish church of Stratford, on each of the next seven Sundays, the psalter places before him on the baptismal font, he singing devotely one nocturn from the introit of the Mass to the end. Thirteen of the poor of the parish, men and women on alternate Sundays, shall stand with him and pitifully beseech the Lord for him, when Mass is over; only as much of his goods as shall fitly maintain them for the day to be given to them. And, since his reformation must be affected not only by prayers and alms but also by fasting and adstinence, he shall fast for a year on Tuesday and Thursday, on bread, soup and beer, and on Fridays on bread and water, abstaining from fish, flesh and all that has its origins in flesh'.