THE PARISH

BESIDES BEING A VILLAGE AND A MANOR, ELTON was one other thing: a parish, a church district. Like village and manor, village and parish did not always coincide. Some villages had more than one church, usually because they included more than one manor. Some parishes, especially in the north of England, included more than one village, indicating that a large estate, with its church, had been fractioned into several villages and hamlets. By the thirteenth century, however, most villages were geographically coterminous with their parishes, so that the village formed a religious as well as a secular community.1

The parish church, like the village, was a medieval invention, the ancient Romans having worshiped at private altars in their own homes. The thousands of Christian churches built in the villages across Europe in the Middle Ages were the product of two different kinds of foundation. Some were planted by the city cathedrals and their subordinate baptisteries, and formed an integral part of the Church establishment. Others were private or “proprietary” churches, built by landowners on their own property, to serve their households and tenants. The landowner might be a wealthy layman, or a monastery, or a bishop. The church was the owner’s personal property, to be sold or bequeathed as he pleased. Its revenues went into his pocket. He appointed the priest, had him ordained, and paid him a salary. With the settlement of Northern Europe, these private-enterprise churches spread. In England they followed a similar development, and given the sanction of Saxon and Danish kings, acquired the important right to perform the sacraments of baptism and burial. The church tower became a village landmark, and the parish priest, who usually had enough Latin to witness and guarantee legal documents, became a valued member of village society.2

It is likely that when Dacus reluctantly sold Elton to Aetheric in 1017 and it came into the possession of Ramsey Abbey, the property included a church. Seventy years later, Domesday Book states that Elton had “a church and a priest,” and in 1178 Pope Alexander III confirmed that “Elton with its church and all pertaining to it” belonged to Ramsey Abbey.3

Of the medieval rectors of Elton, only a few scattered names survive. Thuri Priest was rector in 1160, at the time of the earliest manorial survey; Robert of Dunholm in 1209; Henry of Wingham in mid-thirteenth century; and after 1262 Robert of Hale, a member of a local family whose names occur in the manorial court records.

Meanwhile the arrangement had undergone a change. The lord still appointed the rector (persona in the extents, hence “parson”), but now he bestowed the parish on him as a “living,” from which the appointee received all or most of the revenues. Although he was always a cleric, the rector did not necessarily serve in person, but might live elsewhere, hiring a deputy, usually a vicar, and profiting from the difference between the revenues he collected and the stipend he paid his substitute.4

In general, a class difference existed between the rectors who served in person and those who merely collected the revenues. The former were typically local men, sons of free peasants or craftsmen, sometimes of villeins who had paid a fine to license their training and ordination. The absentee was more apt to be a member of the nobility or gentry, a younger son who had been ordained and drew his income from parish churches rather than tenants’ rents.

Certain absentee rectors held several livings simultaneously. Some of these “pluralists” held only a few parishes and supervised them conscientiously; others held many and neglected them. A notorious example was Bogo de Clare, younger son of an earl, who in 1291 held twenty-four parishes or parts of parishes plus other church sinecures, netting him a princely income of £2,200 a year. Bogo spent more in a year on ginger than he paid a substitute to serve one of his parishes, in which he took little interest. A monk visiting one of Bogo’s livings on Easter Sunday found that in place of the retable (the decorative structure above the high altar), there were only “some dirty old sticks spattered with cow-dung.”5

The Church did not condone such excesses as that of Bogo, whom Archbishop John Pecham called “a robber rather than a rector.”6 Efforts were made to limit the number of benefices a man could hold, and bishops visited their parishes to check on conditions. In 1172 Pope Alexander III decreed that vicars must have adequate job security and must receive a third of their church’s revenues. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) further denounced the custom whereby “patrons of parish churches, and certain other persons who claim the profits for themselves, leave to the priests deputed to the service of them so small a portion that they cannot be rightly sustained,” and pronounced that the rector when not himself residing must see that a vicar was installed, with a guaranteed portion of the revenues.7

By the end of the thirteenth century there were about nine thousand parishes in England, perhaps a quarter of them vicarages. Rich parishes tended to attract men in search of income, leading to vicars in many market towns and large villages, and rectors in small ones.8

The “poor parson” of the Canterbury Tales was the brother of a plowman who had carted “many a load of dung…through the morning dew.” This parson “did not set his benefice to hire/ and leave his sheep encumbered in the mire…/ He was a shepherd and no mercenary.” Despite his peasant background, Chaucer’s parson was “a learned man, a clerk/ who truly knew Christ’s gospel.”9 His colleagues in the country parishes were not all so well versed. Archbishop Pecham charged priests in general with an “ignorance which casts the people into a ditch of error.” Roger Bacon (c. 1214—c. 1294) accused them of reciting “the words of others without knowing in the least what they mean, like parrots and magpies which utter human sounds without understanding what they are saying.” The chronicler Gerald of Wales amused his readers with stories about the ignorance of parish priests: one who could not distinguish between Barnabas and Barabbas; another who, confusing St. Jude with Judas Iscariot, advised his congregation to honor only St. Simon at the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude. Still another could not distinguish between the Latin for the obligations of the two debtors in the parable (Luke 7:41-43), one of whom owed five hundred pence and the other fifty. When his examiner pointed out that if the sums were the same, the story had no meaning, the priest replied that the money must be from different mints, in one case Angevin pennies, in the other sterling.10

Bishops ordaining candidates for the priesthood, or visiting parishes, often found both candidates and ordained clergy illiteratus—unlettered, meaning lacking in Latin and thus ignorant of the Scriptures and the ritual. Laymen were less severe. The dean of Exeter, touring parishes in Devon in 1301, found the parishioners almost universally satisfied with their priests as preachers and teachers.11

Facilities for the education of priests were scarce, and many aspiring novices could only apply to another parish priest for a smattering of Latin, the Mass, and the principal rites. The lucky few who were able to attend cathedral schools, monastic schools, and the universities were more likely to become teachers, Church officials, or secretaries in noble households than parish priests. A priest might, however, occasionally obtain a leave of absence to study theology, canon law, and the Bible.12

The appearance in the thirteenth century of manuals and treatises for the guidance of parish priests marked a new stage of clerical professionalism. One of the most widely circulated was the Oculus Sacerdotis (Eye of the Priest), written by William of Pagula, vicar of Winkfield, Berkshire, in 1314. John Myrc’s vernacular, versified Instructions for Parish Priests, was a free translation of a portion of William of Pagula’s book, intended to inform the reader

How thou shalt thy parish preach
And what thou needest them to teach,
And what thou must thyself be.13

Whether the income of the parish church was collected by a resident or an absentee rector, it came from the same sources. Three kinds of revenue were very ancient in England: plow-alms, soul-scot, and church-scot. The first was a charge on each plowteam, payable at Easter; the second was a mortuary gift to the priest, and the third a charge on all free men, paid at Martinmas, always in kind, usually in grain. These were all relatively small charges. The chief support of the church was the tithe or tenth, familiar in the Old Testament, but only becoming obligatory in the Christian Church in the Middle Ages. Gerald of Wales told a story about a peasant who owed ten stone of wool to a creditor in Pembroke at the time of shearing, and when he found that he had only that amount, sent a tithe of it, one stone, to his church, over the protest of his wife, and the remaining nine to his creditor, asking for extra time to make good the deficiency. But when the creditor weighed the wool, it weighed the full ten stone. By this example, Gerald said, “the wool having been miraculously multiplied like the oil of Elisha, many persons…are either converted to paying those tithes or encouraged in their readiness to pay.”14

Tithes were spelled out in detail in a number of the Ramsey Abbey extents: in Holywell, the rector received from the abbot’s demesne tithes of sheaves from six acres of a field called Bladdicas, including two acres of wheat, one of rye, one of barley, and two of oats; and tithes of sheaves from the peasants in Southfield and “in the field west of the barns at Needingworth”; and “in the name of tithes” from the peasants, a penny per year for each chicken, an obol for a calf or a sheep, a quarter-penny for a kid, “and if they have seven sheep or kids, the rector will have one of them and [make up the difference] in silver, according to the value of a tenth part.” He received a tenth of the milk every day in the year.15 At Warboys the rector was also entitled to a tenth of the wool, linen, pigs, geese, and garden products.16

Tithes were collected as a kind of income tax from the rector’s living. From his spiritual jurisdiction over the villagers he collected voluntary offerings, or oblations, at Mass, on the anniversaries of a parishioner’s death, at weddings and funerals, and from penitents after confession. Offerings might be in kind: the bread for communion, wax and candles, eggs at Easter, cheese at Whitsuntide, fowls at Christmas. At Broughton, at the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary, all the parishioners, free as well as villein, gave as many loaves of bread as they had plow animals, one-third of which went to the church, two-thirds to the paupers of the parish.17

Finally, the rector had the income of his “glebe,” the land pertaining to the church which he held as a free man, owing no labor services or servile dues, and which he cultivated as a husbandman. Traditionally, the glebe was twice the normal holding of a villein, though in practice it varied. In 1279 the rector of the Elton church held a virgate, probably distributed in the fields, and, adjacent to the church, ten more acres and a farmstead.18 Surveys of other Ramsey Abbey villages list the rector’s lands in more detail. At Warboys, he held two virgates of land, a house and a yard, and common pasture “in the wood, the marsh, and other places.”19 The rector of Holywell held a virgate, “half a meadow which is called Priestsholm,” three acres of meadow distributed in “many pieces,” a tenth of the villagers’ meadow, and shares of a pasture and a marsh.20 In Abbot’s Ripton, the rector had a virgate, a parsonage, three houses with tenants, and “common pasture in Westwood.”21

The rector of Elton also rented a piece of land called le Brach. The manorial court took unfavorable notice of certain of his activities, the jurors complaining that he “made pits on the common at Broadmoor,”22 and again that he “dug and made a pit and took away the clay at Gooseholm to the general nuisance.”23 He may have been digging marl for fertilizer or clay to mend his walls. Medieval moralists were occasionally concerned lest the priest’s role as husbandman crowd out his spiritual life, and that “all his study [become] granges, sheep, cattle, and rents, and to gather together gold and silver.”24 Perhaps for this reason the glebe was sometimes farmed out to a layman, who paid rent to the rector and made a profit on the sale of the crops.

Nothing is known about the rectory at Elton in the thirteenth century, but some information has survived about other rectories, a handful of which, built in stone, still stand, though usually much altered. In size and characteristics the medieval parsonage evidently fell roughly between a manor house and a decent peasant house. That at Hale, Lincolnshire, was described as a hall house with two small bedchambers, one for residents and one for visitors, and a separate kitchen, bakehouse, and brewhouse.25 When the monks of Eynsham Abbey built a vicarage in 1268 for a church they had appropriated, they specified construction of oak timbers and a hall twenty-six feet by twenty with a buttery at one end and at the other a chamber and a privy.26 Like any other farmhouse, the rectory or vicarage included barns, pens, and sheds.

Records mention several persons assisting the rector or vicar in his professional work and daily life—chaplain, curate, clerk, page—without disclosing whether these were full- or part-time aides, or how they were compensated. Not infrequently there was also a wife or concubine. Clerical celibacy was a medieval ideal more often expressed than honored. Although two Lateran councils in the twelfth century prescribed it, a modern canon-law authority comments that in the thirteenth century “everyone who entered the clergy made a vow of chastity but almost none observed it.”27 Gerald of Wales states that “nearly all” English priests were married, though other sources indicate that only a minority were.28 Concubinage, usually entirely open, was more common. Robert Manning tells the tale of a woman who lived with a “right amorous priest” for many years and bore him four sons, three of whom became priests, the fourth a scholar. After their father died, the four sons urged the mother to repent her “deadly sin.” The mother, however, declared that she would never repent “while I have you three priests to pray and chant for me and to bring me to bliss.” The mother died “sooner than she willed.” For three nights her sons sat by her body at the wake. On the first, at midnight, to their terror, “the bier began to quake.” On the second night it quaked again and suddenly a devil appeared, seized the corpse, and dragged it toward the door. The sons sprang up, carried it back, and tied it to the bier. On the third night at midnight a whole host of fiends invaded the house and

Took the body and the bier
With loathly cry that all might hear
And bore it forth none knows where,
Without end forevermore.

The scholar son then roamed the world advising women not to become “priests’ mares,” lest they suffer his mother’s fate.29

The Lanercost Chronicle relates a less cautionary story: a vicar’s concubine, learning that the bishop was coming to order her lover to give her up, set out with a basket of cakes, chickens, and eggs, and intercepted the bishop, who asked her where she was going. She replied, “I am taking these gifts to the bishop’s mistress who has lately been brought to bed.” The bishop, properly mortified, continued on his way to call on the vicar, but never mentioned mistresses or concubines.30

The importance of the parish church in the village scheme was permanently underlined by the rebuilding of nearly all of them in stone, a process that began in the late Anglo-Saxon period and was largely completed by the thirteenth century. Many medieval village churches survive today, in whole or, as in the case of Elton’s chancel arch, in part. In the smaller villages, the church often remained a single-cell building with one large room. In larger parishes, as at Elton, the church was often two-cell, the nave, where the congregation gathered, linked by an arched doorway to the chancel, where the altar stood and the liturgy was performed. Sometimes lateral chapels flanked the chancel, and side aisles were added to the nave.31

In 1287 Bishop Quinel of Exeter listed the minimum furnishing of a church: a silver or silver-gilt chalice; a silver or pewter vessel (ciborium) to hold the bread used in Communion; a little box of silver or ivory (pyx) to hold the remainder of the consecrated bread, and another vessel for unconsecrated bread; a pewter chrismatory for the holy oils; a censer and an incense boat (thurible); an osculatorium (an ornament by which the kiss of peace was given); three cruets; and a holy-water vessel. The church must have at least one stone altar, with cloths, canopy, and frontal (front hanging); a stone font that could be locked to prevent the use of baptismal water for witchcraft; and images of the church’s patron saint and of the Virgin Mary. Special candlesticks were provided for Holy Week and Easter, and two great portable crosses served, one for processions and one for visitation of the sick, for which the church also kept a lantern and a hand bell.32 To these requirements a list dictated by Archbishop Winchelsey in 1305 added the Lenten veil, to hang before the high altar, Rogation Day banners for gang week, “the bells with their cords,” and a bier to carry the dead.33 Conspicuously missing were benches, chairs, or pews; the congregation stood, sat on the floor, or brought stools.

The church was supposed to have a set of vestments for festivals and another for regular use. Bishop Quinel recommended a number of books to help the priest: a manual for baptism, marriage, and burial; an ordinal listing the offices to be recited through the church year; a missal with the words and order of the Mass; a collect book containing prayers; a “legend” with lessons from the Scriptures and passages from the lives of the saints; and music books, including a gradual for Mass, a troper for special services, a venitary for the psalms at matins, an antiphoner for the canonical hours, a psalter, and a hymnal. Books and vestments were stored in a church chest.34

The churchyard with its consecrated burial ground was a source of village controversy. In the name of those who lay “awaiting the robe of glory,” priests decried its use for such sacrilegious purposes as “dances and vile and dishonorable games which lead to indecency,” and court trials, “especially those involving bloodshed.” An often-repeated injunction demanded that the churchyard be walled and the walls kept in repair, to ensure that the graves “are not befouled by brute beasts.”35 Robert Manning told the story of a villein of Norfolk who rebuked a knight whose manor “was not far from the church,” for allowing his animals to enter the churchyard, since “as oft befalls,/ Broken were the churchyard walls.” The peasant addressed the knight:

“Lord,” he said, “your beasts go amiss.
Your herd does wrong and your knaves
That let your beasts defile these graves.
Where men’s bones should lie
Beasts should do no villainy.”

The knight’s reply was “somewhat vile”: Why should one respect “such churls’ bones”?

The villein replied:

“The lord that made of earth earls,
Of that same earth made he churls…
Earls, churls, all at one,
Shall none know your from our bones.”

The knight, abashed, repaired the churchyard walls “so that no beast might come thereto to eat or defile.”36

Three services were normally celebrated in the parish church on Sunday: matins, Mass, and evensong. Mass was also said daily, and the priests were supposed to say the canonical hours at three-hour intervals for their own benefit.37 Sunday Mass was the best-attended service. Robert Manning pictured a man lying abed on Sunday morning and hearing the church bells ring, “to holy church men calling,” and preferring to

…lie and sweat
And take the merry morning sleep;
Of matins rich men take no keep.

A devil whispers in his ear, urging him to ignore matins:

“Betimes may you rise
When they do the Mass service.
A Mass is enough for you.”38

Vanity sometimes caused women to be late for Mass, like the lady of Eynsham described by a fourteenth-century preacher, “who took so long over adornment of her hair that she barely arrived at church before the end of Mass.” One day the devil in the form of a giant spider descended on her coiffure. Nothing would dislodge it, neither prayer, exorcism, nor holy water, until it was confronted with the Eucharist. The spider then decamped, and presumably the lady thenceforth arrived at church on time.39

William of Pagula declared that it was hard to get people to church at all: “Anon he will make his excuse and say, ‘I am old or sickly, or the weather is cold and I am feeble.’ Or else he will excuse himself and say thus, ‘I have a great household,’ or else he has some other occupation to do, but for all these excuses, if a man would come and hear him and say, ‘I will give good wages [for going to church],’ then will they take all manner of excuses back and come to the divine service according to their duty.”40

The Mass was said in Latin, with little participation by the congregation, and communion was usually administered only at Easter. Moralists complained that the people chattered, gossiped, and flirted at Mass. John Myrc inveighed against casual worshipers who leaned against a pillar or wall instead of kneeling. When the Gospel was read, they should stand; when it was finished, they should kneel again. When the bell rang at the consecration, they should raise their hands and pray.41

Sermons were infrequent in the thirteenth century. Instead, the priest might devote time to a lesson, instructing the congregation about the Articles of the Faith, the seven deadly sins, or the sacraments, or he might read from a collection of sermons in English, though such books were not yet widely distributed.

The art of preaching, however, was undergoing a revival, led by the mendicant friars, the Dominicans and Franciscans. Arriving in England in the 1220s, these roving brothers preached in the parish church with the permission of the rector, or failing that, in the open air, where their sermons offered a lively alternative to the routine of Sunday services. Illustrated with personal experiences, fables, and entertaining stories, they encouraged the participation of the congregation. A preacher might call out, “Stop that babbling,” to a woman, who did not hesitate to reply, “What about you? You’ve been babbling for the last half hour.” Such exchanges brought laughter, applause, and more friendly heckling.42

When sermons were delivered, either by parish priest or friar, they followed an elaborate formula. The preacher announced his Scriptural text (thema), then commenced with the antethema, usually a prayer and invocation, or “bidding prayer,” like the following (for the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin):

Almighty God, to whose power and goodness infinite all creatures are subject, at the beseeching of thy glorious mother, gracious lady, and of all thy saints, help our feebleness with thy power, our ignorance with thy wisdom, our frailty with thine sufficient goodness, that we may receive here thine help and grace continual, and finally everlasting bliss. To which bliss thou took this blessed lady this day as to her eternal felicity. Amen.43

The theme was then repeated, followed by an introduction which might begin with an “authority,” quoted from the Bible or from a Church Father, or a message for the particular occasion or audience, or an attention-getting “exemplum,” an illustrative story (“Examples move men more than precepts,” advised St. Gregory). The story might be merely “something strange, subtle and curious,” or a terrifying tale about devils, death-bed scenes, and the torments of hell. Sources abounded: fable, chronicle, epic, romance. One story that must have had a particular appeal to peasant women began, “I find in the chronicles that there was once a worthy woman who had hated a poor woman more than seven years.” When the “worthy woman” went to church on Easter Day, the priest refused to give her communion unless she forgave her enemy. The woman reluctantly gave lip service to the act of forgiveness, “for the shame of the world more than for awe of God,” and so that she could have her communion.

Then, when service was done…the neighbors came unto this worthy woman’s house with presents to cheer her, and thanked God highly that they were accorded. But then this wretched woman said, “Do you think I forgave this woman her trespass with my heart as I did with my mouth? Nay! Then I pray God that I never take up this rush at my foot.” Then she stooped down to take it up, and the devil strangled her even there. Wherefore ye that make any love-days [peace agreements] look that they be made without any feigning, and let the heart and the tongue accord in them.44

The body of the sermon was usually divided into three sections: an exposition on three vices, or symbolic meanings of the Trinity, or symbolic features of some familiar object—a castle, a chess game, a flower, the human face.

The sermon ended with a flourish, sometimes a smooth peroration, merely summing up the text and discourse, sometimes, especially if the congregation had dozed, a rousing hellfire diatribe. The priest might compare the agony of a sinner in hell with being rolled a mile in a barrel lined with red-hot nails. Devils were favorite descriptive subjects, with their faces “burned and black.” One devil was so horrible that “a man would not for all the world look on him once.” Hell rang with the “horrible roaring of devils, and weeping, and gnashing of teeth, and wailing of damned men, crying, ‘Woe, woe, woe, how great is this darkness!’” If one of them longed for sweetmeats and drink, he got “no sweetness, nor delicacy, hut fire and brimstone…If one of them would give a thousand pounds for one drop of water, he gets none…There shall be flies that bite their flesh, and their clothing shall be worms…and in short, there are all manner of torments in all the five senses, and above all there is the pain of damnation: pain of privation of the bliss of heaven, which is a pain of all pains…Think on these pains; and I trust to God that they shall steer thee to renounce thy drunken living!”45

Sometimes the closing peroration pictured the Last Judgment and the doom that preceded it: fifteen days of terrible portents, tidal waves and the sea turning to blood, earthquakes, fires, tempests, fading stars, yawning graves, men driven mad by fear, followed by the accounting from which no man could escape, by bribes, or influence, or worldly power, “for if thou shall be found in any deadly sin, though Our Lady and all the saints of heaven pray for thee, they shall not be heard.”46

Or the preacher might close by reminding his congregation of their mortality. “These young people think,” cried one preacher, “that they shall never die, especially before they are old!…They say, ‘I am young yet. When I grow old I will amend.’” Such persons were reminded to “Go to the burials of thy father and mother; and such shalt thou be, be ye ever so fair, ever so wise, ever so strong, ever so gay, ever so light.” Death was the inevitable end, and none too far off. Man’s earthly being was in fact insignificant and not very comely: “What is man but a stinking slime, and after that a sack full of dung, and at the last, meat for worms?”47

Even without sermons, the medieval parishioner was reminded of his fate by the paintings decorating the church walls, only a few of which have survived.* In these murals often over the chancel arch, a symbolic gateway between this world and the next, Christ sat in stern judgment, graves sprang open, and naked sinners tumbled into the gaping mouth of a beast with great pointed fangs, or, chained together, into the claws of demons.

A major function of the parish priest was that of instructing his parishioners. It was up to him to teach the children the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Ave, and the Ten Commandments. William of Pagula recommended that the priest give not only religious instruction but practical advice: telling mothers to nurse their own children, not to let them smother in bed or tie them in their cradles or leave them unattended; advising against usury and magic arts; giving counsel on sexual morality and marriage. Marriage was a topic well worth discussion, William pointed out: a horse, an ass, an ox, or a dog could be tried out before it was bought, but a wife had to be taken on trust. A poor wife was difficult to support; living with a rich one was misery. Was it better to marry a beautiful wife or an ugly one? On the one hand, it was hard to keep a wife that other men were pursuing, on the other it was irksome to have one that no one else wanted; but on balance an ugly wife brought less misery.48

The priest’s instruction of adults came largely through confession, in which he not only examined the penitent’s morals but his religious knowledge:

Believest thou in Father and Son and Holy Ghost…
Three persons in Trinity,
And in God (swear thou to me)?
That God’s son mankind took
In maid Mary (as saith the Book),
And of that maid was born:
Believest thou this?…
And in Christ’s passion
And in His resurrection…?
That He shall come with wounds red
To judge the quick and the dead,
And that we each one…
Shall rise at the day of Doom And be ready when he come…?49

The manuals coached the priest to interrogate the penitent about his 'font-size:10.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman",serif;color:blue; position:relative;top:-3.0pt'>50

The penitent must confess his sins completely and without reservation. If he killed a man, he must say who it was, where, and why. If he “sinned in lechery,” he must not give the name of his partner, but he should tell whether she was married or single, or a nun, where the sin was committed, and how often, and whether it was on a holy day. The penance should fit the sin, light for a light sin, heavy for a heavy, but never too heavy for the penitent to perform, lest he ignore it and be worse off than if he had not gone to confession. “Better a light penance to send a man to purgatory,” wrote John Myrc, “than a too heavy penance to send him to hell.” Even more sagely, a woman’s penance must be such that her husband would not know about it, lest it cause friction between them.51

Above all, the priest must teach by example. His preaching was worth little if he lived an evil life. The sins he was especially warned against indicate those he was most likely to fall into. He should be chaste; he should be true; he should be mild in word and deed. “Drunkenness and gluttony, pride and sloth and envy, all these thou must put away.” The priest must forsake taverns, trading, wrestling and shooting, hawking, hunting, and dancing. “Markets and fairs I thee forbid.” He must wear “honest clothes,” and not knightly “basinet and baldric.” His beard and crown must be shaven. He must be hospitable to rich and poor. And finally,

Turn thine eye that thou not see
The cursed world’s vanity.
Thus this world thou must despise
And holy virtues have in vise [view].52

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