POLITICAL HISTORY practices were not so harmless as their name, had adherents in west Surrey, and these may have been their forerunners. The Brownists were not yet in existence, and the Calvinistic reformers in the Church were not sectaries. Later on in the reign a Baptist is in prison in Southwark. The Surrey suburbs were apparently not so distinctly reforming in opinion as London. A great many people in Southwark and Lambeth must have been dependants upon religious houses and great ecclesiastical establishments, and had suffered by the dissolution and the lessened expenditure of the bishops. Southwark too was notoriously the abode of persons destitute in both purse and character, who took advantage of the conflicting jurisdictions of liberties and manors and of the corpora- tion there to make it a practical sanctuary. The people as a whole were irreligious. The modern zealot, of whatever party, who appeals to the precedents and history of the Reformation period seldom realizes that nine-tenths of the people of England were neither Romanists nor Protestants, as at present understood, but went to church equally under every changing rule. Like Elizabeth herself, More, Cawarden, 1 Copley, Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord Montague and the rest had attended the Communion service under Edward, the Mass under Mary and the Communion service under Elizabeth. In her reign the process began by which the influence of the Jesuits and the seminary priests developed scruples in the minds of men like Copley and others, which turned them into conscientious recusants, refusing to attend the English services and denying the royal supremacy. Also the process began by which the counter influence of the Genevan Bible turned the mass of the next generation of the middle classes into Calvinists. Above all, in her reign, the feeling was created which made adherence to the royal supremacy and support of the ecclesiastical laws a test of patriotism. But recusancy began to make its appearance among the landed gentry. There was plenty of it among that generation in other classes too, but they left less mark on the course of history. The Government was not above taking notice of the absence from church of yeomen and trades- men and of women, though principally of gentlewomen. To do the authorities justice, the prosecutions of the recusants, domiciliary visits to search for concealed priests and for compromising books, seizures of arms and horses, fines and confiscations became more frequent in Surrey as the alarm of possible foreign attack increased. The justices were very active after the date of the St. Bartholomew massacre, when Spain and France were, fortunately erroneously, supposed to be cordially allied for the overthrow of heresy. There was a new spasm of activity when war with Spain was coming on, after the severe recusancy Act 01*23 Elizabeth, from about 1582 till after the defeat of the Armada. About 1594 there is less sign of recusancy in Surrey, but it and the punishment of it did not cease. Here, as elsewhere, though 1 Sir Thomas Cawarden had sat in the Parliament which restored papal supremacy and simul- taneously secured the abbey lands. He quickly got over his difficulties about Wyatt's rising. He was a thorough-going follower of his own interests under every Government. 383
Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/453
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