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A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 17

For the correspondence with Cole see I


(London, 1709-1731; Oxford,

1824), ed. of 1824, I, pt. i, 128. The sermon therefore was preached after that disputation. It may be further inferred that it was preached before Jewel's controversy with Cole in March, 1560. The words, "For at the last disputation ... you know which party gave over and would not meddle," were hardly written after Cole accepted Jewel's challenge. It was on the second Sunday before Easter (March 17), 1560, that Jewel delivered at court the discourse in which he challenged dispute on four points of church doctrine. On the next day Henry Cole addressed him a letter in which he asked him why he "yesterday in the Court and at all other times at Paul's Cross" offered rather to "dispute in these four points than in the chief matters that lie in question betwixt the Church of Rome and the Protestants." In replying to Cole on the 20th of March Jewel wrote that he stood only upon the negative and again mentioned his offer. On the 31st of March he repeated his challenge upon the four points, and upon this occasion went very much into detail in supporting them. Now, in the sermon which we are trying to date, the sermon in which allusion is made to the prevalence of witches, the four points are briefly named. It may be reasonably conjectured that this sermon anticipated the elaboration of the four points as well as the challenging sermon of March 17. It is as certain that it was delivered after Jewel's return to London from his visitation in the west country. On November 2, 1559, he wrote
to Peter Martyr: "I have at last returned to London, with a body worn out by a most fatiguing journey." See _Zurich Letters_, I (Parker Soc., Cambridge, 1842), 44. It is interesting and significant that he adds: "We found in all places votive relics of saints, nails with which the infatuated people dreamed that Christ had been pierced, and I know not what small fragments of the sacred cross. The number of witches and sorceresses had everywhere become enormous." Jewel was consecrated Bishop of Salisbury in the following January, having been nominated in the summer of 1559 just before his western visitation. The sermon in which he alluded to witches may have been preached at any time after he returned from the west, November 2, and before March 17. It would be entirely natural that in a court sermon delivered by the newly appointed bishop of Salisbury the prevalence of witchcraft should be mentioned. It does not seem a rash guess that the sermon was preached soon after his return, perhaps in December, when the impression of what he had seen in the west was still fresh in his memory. But it is not necessary to make this supposition. Though the discourse was delivered some time after March 15, 1559, when the first bill "against Conjurations, Prophecies, etc.," was brought before the Commons (see _Journal of the House of Commons_, I, 57), it is not unreasonable to believe that there was some connection between the discourse and the fortunes of this bill. That connection seems the more probable on a careful reading of the Commons Journals for the first sessions of Elizabeth's Parliament. It is evident that the Elizabethan legislators were working in close cooperation with the ecclesiastical authorities. Jewel's sermon may be found in his _Works_ (ed. for the Parker Soc., Cambridge, 1845-1850), II, 1025-1034. (For the correspondence with Cole see I, 26 ff.)

For assistance in dating this sermon the writer wishes to express his special obligation to Professor Burr.

[23] Strype, _Annals of the Reformation_, I, pt. i, 11. He may, indeed, mean to ascribe it, not to the sermon, but to the evils alleged by the sermon.


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