Archbishops Of Canterbury
Edmund Grindal (1519-1583)
Edmund Grindal, Archbishop of York until Parker's death, was Queen Elizabeth's second Archbishop of Canterbury. Their working relationship, however, was
disastrous. Grindal had Puritan sympathies, unlike the Queen, and his attempts to move the Church in a more Puritan direction irritated her. The Queen did not want any changes made to the religious settlement she had established and, amongst other matters, she and Grindal clashed over the issue of "prophesyings". Prophesyings were unauthorised meetings for prayer and preaching. These concerned Elizabeth who felt that the preachers would preach what ever came into their head, not what was sound doctrine. Not only would this undermine her Church, but could also be dangerous, as there was no control over what would be said, or the issues that could arise.
Elizabeth was deeply suspicious of Puritans and their dislike of hierarchy, and was concerned that what began as religious talk could quickly become political. Such preachers, she felt, would also make people discontented with her Church and heighten what was already a very tense religious situation. As well as facing opposition to the Church from Puritans, she also faced a very dangerous opposition from Catholics. Elizabeth believed that all the preachers of the realm should preach according to the regulations of her Church, preach the same message and doctrine, and read from approved books of homilies and prayers. This would unite the country, not divide it.
In 1576, the Queen ordered Grindal to suppress the prophesyings. However, Grindal was very much in favour of them. He believed they were a good way of educating the people into the doctrine of the new faith, and for providing religious instruction, as some places were without ministers. He consulted his bishops over the matter, and finding that ten out of fifteen approved of them, he felt obliged to write to the Queen to tell her that he thought they were a good idea. His letter to her was remarkably bold, as were his further petitions. He told her that although she was the highest authority in the land over political matters, she did not have the same authority over spiritual matters, and that he must put the will of God above his duty to her as sovereign. Elizabeth was outraged at his defiance, and he was suspended from his office in the summer of 1577 until his death in 1583.