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INTRODUCTION TO THE CORONATION ORDER OF
KING WILLIAM AND QUEEN MARY. ·
The book from which the order for the coronation of William and Mary has been edited is MS. L. 19. in the Heralds' College. It is a folio volume, the covers 8 inches broad by 12 inches high. The greater number of the leaves contained in the book are in inches high, but some of the papers vary in size.
It is bound in modern half vellum, with marbled paper sides : there is this lettering in black Roman capitals on the back : Coronations. Charles 2nd. James 2nd. William and Mary. As this lettering indicates, the volume contains matter, written or printed, which bears upon the coronations of these sovereigns.
The collection begins with three blank leaves, followed by a series of papers, written and printed, dealing with the coronation of King Charles II. An engraving representing coronation is among them. The tracts belonging to the coronation of King James II. begin with a leaf which would be blank if there were not written on it in a modern hand, underlined : K. James the Second. This set of tracts, besides a printed order of the procession, contains the Coronation Service“ prepared by Dr. WiHm Sancroft Ld Arch BP of Canterbury.”
The third set of papers belongs to the coronation of William and Mary. It also begins with a leaf blank, except that there is written on it : King William and Queen Mary, in the same modern hand as K. James the Second's introductory leaf, and underlined like his. Many of these papers have no liturgical interest. But after two documents which bear upon the office of the heralds, there are four leaves of paper on three of which is written the Report concerning the coronation, from the minutes of the Privy Council, printed below. These leaves before binding had been folded in four. Immediately after this Report comes The Order and Manner of the Coronation, written on fourteen leaves of paper, the last of which is blank.
Both these tracts are written in ordinary cursive handwriting, excepting that the e is a corruption of a court hand e, common at the time at which the book was written.
The water mark of the paper on which the report is written is a shield displaying, as Mr. Everard Green has kindly informed me, the arms of Amsterdam; this shield is supported by two lions, and surmounted by a crown. The paper on which the order of the Coronation is written has a water mark of a shield on which there is a
fleur de lys surmounted by a French crown: beneath the shield are the initials H. G. G. in Roman capitals.
It may be noticed that a correcting hand in red has passed over this document, making important alterations.
In the Library of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth there is also a manuscript of the order used at the coronation of William and Mary. (No. 1077.) It is neatly written in red and black, the rubrics being in red, and it is bound in gilt morocco. It was apparently prepared for use at the coronation. It begins with the service in the Abbey, not with Mattins, like the Heralds' manuscript. An examination of the text showed no marked differences from that of the Heralds'.
In the British Museum are two copies of the Processus factus of William and Mary. (Lansdowne MSS. 281 and 282.) They both contain a short account in Latin of the coronation service differing in places from that printed in this volume. From the point of view of this Society, which is mainly liturgical, it has not been thought advisable to print these manuscripts.
The coronation order of Liber regalis goes back to a manuscript written as early as the beginning of the fourteenth century, and many of the forms of Liber regalis can be traced back earlier still. Queen Elizabeth was the last of the English sovereigns to be crowned and anointed with the Latin forms. At the coronation of King James I. an order was used which is little else than a version into English of Liber regalis, the book used under the Tudor and Plantagenet dynasties. This order continued in use at the coronations of King Charles I. and King Charles II. and thus the medieval order, with but few changes, lasted beyond the middle of the seventeenth century. But the accession of James II. brought with it a complication : the sovereign had changed his religion ; and to this change there can be little doubt that we owe the grave departures from the old forms that may be noticed in the order for his coronation. For most of the coronation orders of Christian princes that have come down to us are associated with a celebration of the Lord's Supper, and at this celebration it is clearly the intention of the order that the new King shall communicate. But at a rite celebrated by the clergy of the Church of England it was impossible that a Roman Catholic could communicate. Even for the reception of unction at their hands it was deemed advisable afterwards to procure absolution from the Roman Court. Thus changes in the order were necessary : the first and most important was to omit the celebration of the Eucharist, and to conceal this, the only motive for change, the plea was put forward that the coronation order was over long. Dr. Sancroft, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was accordingly
i Dr. Sancroft has copied into the cover of MS. L. 14. of St. John's College, Cambridge, something to this effect from Haerlemse Courant, dated Rome, December 16. 1685: “Aen seecker prins is Absolutie gesonden, van dat hij sig door een Onrooms Bischop heeft laten salven.”
directed to abridge the coronation order, keeping to essentials. A great deal more than this was done. The order was positively rewritten; but from Sandford's book it is not easy, at once to detect this process ; for in a number of cases only the first words of the prayers are given ; and these first words are in many instances so like the beginnings of the prayers in King Charles I.'s and King James I.'s orders that many may have thought that the whole of the prayer following was substantially the same. For an example, we may compare below the prayer for the blessing of the sword in the order for Charles I. with that for James II.
Hear our prayers, we beseech Hear our prayers we beseech thee ( Lord, and vouchsafe by thee O Lord, and by the right the right hand of thy Majesty to hand of thy Majesty vouchsafe to bless and sanctify this sword, bless and sanctify this thy servant wherewith this thy servant Charles James our King who is now to be desireth to be girt that it may be girt with this sword : that he may a defence and protection of not bear it in vain but use it as Churches, widows, orphans, and the minister of God, for the all the servants of God against punishment of evil doers and for the savage cruelty of pagans and the protection and encouragement infidels; and that it may be a fear of all that do well. Through and terror to all those who lie in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. wait to do mischief. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.3
At the beginning of the prayer it may be noticed that the words of the order of Charles I. “ bless and sanctify this sword” are changed in the order of James II. into “ bless and sanctify this thy servant," an important change, it is true, but the only change found in the first words as given by Sandford, so that it might be thought that the remainder of the prayer is the same. But on looking at the manuscripts it is found that the whole of the prayer after the ending of the first words has been remade, and that nothing but the beginning remains of the original, which was a word for word translation of Exaudi quaesumus of Liber regalis. And this new prayer passes on, with the
1 F. Sandford, History of the Coronation of . . . James II. in the Savoy 1687. p. 4. The service might have been considerably abridged by the postponement of the fealty and homage of the lords to the following day : for which there is the precedent of the coronation of Richard I. (Gesta Regis Henrici Secundi Benedicti Abbatis, Rolls series, 1867. ed. W. Stubbs, vol. ii. p. 84.)
3 Besides the liturgical and ceremonial changes of this coronation, it may be noticed that the ancient riding from the Tower to Westminster, done before Charles II.'s coronation, was not carried out at this; and it appears to have been discontinued ever since.
3 British Museum, Harl. 5222. fo. 31. See also Chr. Wordsworth, Manner of the Coronation of King Chai les the first, H.B.S. 1892. pp. 36. and 130.
4 St. John's College Cambridge, MS. L. 14. p. 37. See also below, notes, p. 147. 5 Sandford, op. cit. p. 93.