This Canon’s Seal’d

…well forg’d, not made of lead. Give fire, O noe ’twill break and strike vs dead. Hollar’s satirical broadside from 1640 on the Laudian Canons which attempted to enshrine in canon law what William Laud and Charles I thought was the way ahead for the Church of England. Their ideas of government by bishops, service by the prayerbook and an attempt to reestablish a more aesthetic form of worship proved deeply unpopular and led not only to the execution of Laud, but was also one of the main causes of conflict in the 1640s.

Here the good Archbishop attempts to distribute an oath, presumably to legitimise the canons, by firing it out of a cannon. See where they went with the pun? Sadly the cannon is not up to the job and explodes as the ball leaves the barrel.

This Canon's Sealed

Several clerics are clustered around the cannon. Firstly the Archbishop of Canterbury in his square canterbury cap, rochet and chimere of an Anglican bishop, as well as a nice ruff pushed up by his standing collar. On his left a cleric in standard outdoor garb, doublet, breeches, open cloak, falling band and hat.

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Here are two more academic clerics, the guy on the left in what looks like a university gown and hood and on the right in a preaching or geneva gown. These two are often said to be puritans, but I can see nothing here that wouldn’t have been worn by an episcopalian churchman. As in the case of the armies, there was little to distinguish either side at first glance.

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Three bishops stand in the foreground. They have been identified as Matthew Wren, Bishop of  Ely, Thomas Morton, Bishop of Durham and John Williams, Archbishop of York. Wren and Morton are wearing gowns and Williams what looks like a fur lined tippet. All in regulation square caps.

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