ID:~UNID Grindal is perhaps best remembered as one of the few men with the courage
to say 'no' to Queen Elizabeth 1.
He was born in St Bees around 1519 and recent research
has identified the house in which he was born, still standing in the village. He
went to Cambridge and there came into the mainstream .of the reformed Protestant
thinking. The reign of Queen Mary saw him in voluntary exile in Germany. He returnad
under Elizabeth to rapid promotion as Bishop of London (1559), Archbishop of York
(1570), and Archbishop of Canterbury (1576).
He was a learned man, a shrewd man, and
a devoted pastor. The issue that brought him into conflict with the Queen was preaching.
At a time when the church was short of good teachers of the faith, highly popular
meetings would be held to which noted churchmen would gather to preach the word,
two or three speaking on the same text. You might say the modern equivalent would
be a Mission, and what's the harm in that. The Queen's advisers, however, saw in
them centres of political disaffection. Grindal was told to give orders for the prophesyings
to be suppressed and refused.
'But surely I cannot marvel enough, how this strange opinion should once enter into
your mind, that it should be good for the Church to have few preachers. Alas, Madam'
is the Scripture more plain in any one thing, than that the gospel of Christ should
be plentifully preached; and that plenty of labourers should be sent into the Lord's
harvest; which, being great and large, standeth in need, not of a few, but many workman'.
'I cannot with a safe conscience and without the offence of the majesty of God give
my assent to the suppressing of the said exercises; much less can I send out any
injunction for the utter and universal subversion of the same'. 'Bear with me, I
beseech you. Madam, if I choose rather to offend your earthly Majesty than to offend
the heavenly majesty of God'. For that he was disgraced, put under house arrest,
stripped of his pow'rs, and nearly forced to resign the Archbishopric. He was a broken
man, ill and blind. But it was still as Archbishop that he died, in 1583.
never forgot the land of his birth, 'that little angle of Copeland, the ignorantest
in religion, and the most oppressed of covetous landlords'. He met 'the first evil
by founding St Bees School and the second by assisting the small tenant farmers to
obtain long leases to give them security of tenure.
Commendation: 6th July.
Patrick Collinson, Archbishop Grindal, 1519 - 7583. (London. 1979).