Trinity Chapel, Lincoln’s Inn. Rendering by Jack McManus.


1. On Thursday, the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord, it being the twenty-second day of the month of May, in the year of our Lord 1623, between the eighth and eleventh hours[2] in the morning of the same day the reverend father Lord George,[3] by divine permission Bishop of London, blessed and prepared for use a chapel within the Inn commonly called Lincoln’s Inn, along the street commonly referred to as Chancery Lane in the suburbs of the City of London, of his own London diocese and jurisdiction, and dedicated it – newly erected, and fittingly and handsomely fitted out – to the everlasting honor and service of God almighty.

2. On this occasion, the method of procedure in this undertaking was as follows:

3. The reverend father in Christ aforesaid, accompanied by many reverend and venerable men, approached the doorway of the chapel to be consecrated, and to him the venerable men[4]Thomas Spenser, Richard Digges, and Egidius Tooker, esquires, owners (together with others) of the aforesaid Inn, and William Ravenscroft, one of the worshipful[5] counselors[6] of the aforementioned Inn, indicated that they had, for the everlasting honor and service of God almighty, and the use of those staying in the aforesaid Inn, seen to the erection and equipment of the said chapel, on their own private grounds and with their own private funds. 

Trinity Chapel, Stained Glass (detail). Image courtesy Lincoln’s Inn.

4. And they yielded their rights in the same, and so in their own names as also in the names of all others having an interest in this area, unanimous in agreement and consent, they granted, gave, and donated the aforesaid chapel to God almighty and to the highest, holy, and indivisible Trinity, and in token of a free donation of this sort, they presented and handed over the keys[7] of the aforesaid chapel to the same reverend, humbly beseeching the said reverend father to declare and consecrate the aforesaid chapel to the everlasting honor and service of God almighty, and the use of those staying in the aforesaid Inn.

5. When these things had been done, the reverend father aforesaid entered the empty (but suitably fitted out) chapel alone, while the assembly of those present stood outside and looked on. And he himself, on the very doorstep to the entrance, spoke and blessed the place in this fashion, to wit:

I was glad when they said unto me: we will go in the house of the Lord.

Peace be within these walls and prosperity within these doors.

Because thou art a house for the Lord our God we will seek to

      do thee good. [8]

I have chosen and sanctified this place that my name may be

      there for ever, and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.[9]

7. Then, moving forward a little, the reverend father, on bent knees and with hands lifted to the sky towards the east, spoke, alone, the following prayer, to wit:

8. O eternal God mighty in power and of incomprehensible Majesty who fillest both heaven and earth with thy glorious presence, and therefore canst not be contained within any the largest circuit, much less within this narrow room, for the consecration whereof we are now assembled.

9.  Notwithstanding because it hath pleased thee to promise thine special presence in that place where two or three shall be gathered together in thy name and for thine honor:  We doe here in all humility and with readiness of heart, wholly devote and dedicate this place this day for ever unto thee (utterly separating it henceforth from all profane and domestical uses or affaires) and are bold to consecrate it to thy service onely, for hearing thy word, celebrating the sacrament of the Lords Supper, and offering up the sacrifices both of prayer and thanksgiving. 

10. And although (miserable wretches as we are) We be altogether unworthy to appoint any earthly thing to so great a Majesty, and the most unfit of all thy Ministers to appear before thee in so honorable a service, Yet we most humbly beseech thee to forget and forgive our manifold sins, and to be present amongst us in this religious action : vouchsafe to accept it graciously at our hands, bless it with happy success,[10] and because thy holy word is here to be preached, and thy holy Sacrament of the Lords Supper here to be administered, Lord give a blessing to thy holy word and Sacrament so oft as thy servants shall be here partakers of them. 

11. And we beseech thee O Lord receive the prayers and supplications of us here assembled at this present, and of all others, who hereafter (entering into this hallowed place) shall call upon thee, and give both them and us grace whensoever we come into this thy place and house of residence, to bring hither clean thoughts, pure hearts, bodies undefiled and minds sanctified, to wash our hands in innocency (good Lord) and then to come to thine Altar, that so we may present unto thee both our souls and bodies as holy temples of thy spirit, within this little temple, to the glory of thy holy name, and accomplishment of our desires, through Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father &c.[11]

12. Then the reverend father aforesaid, turning himself towards the congregation still standing at the doors of the chapel, and himself standing in view of the congregation, consecrated the aforesaid chapel by reading in public a schedule of dedication and consecration, a pronouncement put in writing and at that time extended and handed over to him by his vicar general[12] in spiritual matters, containing the following words, to wit: 

13. In the name of God, Amen.  Since the worshipful and venerable men – counselors[13] and students — in the Inn commonly called Lincoln’s Inn, sited and located, as is well known, beside the lane commonly called Chancery Lane in the suburbs of the city of London, of our London diocese and jurisdiction, induced by pious and religious devotion, have now newly erected, built and constructed this chapel in the aforesaid Inn, containing between the walls of the same, in longitude from east to west, sixty-eight feet or thereabouts, and in latitude, from north to south, forty-one feet or thereabouts, and a certain construction with steps or stairs for access or entrance to the same, upon their own lands and at their own expense for the honor of God and the use of counselors,[14] students, and those staying now and in the future in the same; and have sufficiently and suitably decorated and fitted out the same chapel with altar, pulpit, suitable seats, a bell, and other things necessary to divine worship; and have begged us that we, by our ordained and episcopal authority, on our own behalf and that of our successors, should separate said chapel and other premises from all previous uses, common and profane, whatsoever, and dedicate and consecrate it to sacred and divine uses:

14. We therefore, George, by divine permission Bishop of London, In response to the religious desire of said worshipful and venerable men in this matter [and] favorably assenting to the consecration of this chapel erected anew (as reported before), built, constructed and adorned by the expenditures of the aforesaid worshipful and venerable men, proceeding by our ordained and episcopal authority: We have separated from every common and profane use this chapel, the whole building and the entrance of the same, and steps or stairs of the said chapel, as they exist constructed at present, and other premises connected with the said chapel, and we bear witness through those present that it has been so separated. 

Trinity Chapel, the Chancel. Rendering by Jack McManus.

15. And as well, by our same ordained and episcopal authority, we grant license and right in the Lord, on our own behalf and that of our successors, for divine service to be conducted in the aforesaid chapel, to wit:  recitation of public prayers and the holy liturgy of the Anglican church; the faithful propagation and preaching of the word of God, and the administration of the sacrament of the holy Eucharist, or supper of the Lord, in the same chapel.  And just as to the priest ordained according to the custom and ritual of the Anglican Church, who will serve in the same chapel, we grant full power in the Lord to say divine prayers and do (the other) things aforementioned; so also to the said worshipful and venerable men — counselors[15] and students — and those staying in the aforesaid Inn, (we grant full power) to hear divine prayers in the said chapel and sermons made in the same place, and to participate in other aforementioned observances. 

16. And the same chapel, so far as is in us, and we are able by the law, legislation, statutes, and canons of this kingdom of England, and so far as is permitted us, we consecrate to the honor of God and the sacred uses of the said worshipful and venerable men and others staying in the aforesaid Inn, now and in the future, with the name, for the chapel, of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity in the Inn of Lincoln’s Inn, and we so call and name it and openly and publicly announce, decree, and declare that it has been so assigned, dedicated, consecrated, called and named, and should remain so in future times everlasting.  In addition, we wish this chapel to be secured to every effect of the law with privileges, all and sundry, in that area customary and requisite as applying by law to consecrated chapels.

17. And so far as is in us and by law we are able, we so fortify and establish it through those present — without however any prejudice, and always reserving the right and interest of the parish churches of St Dunstan in the West of London and St Andrew in Holborn of London;[16] and reserving the right and interest also of rectors, vicars, curates and wardens of the aforesaid churches, and of other ministers of the same, as they exist at this time and of all other churches whatsoever in whose parishes the aforesaid Inn or the boundaries of the same or any part thereof are located and situated, reserving their interest, that is in all or any ecclesiastical offerings, donations, payments, fees, revenues, privileges, rights and emoluments, ordinary and extraordinary, owed to the same or customary, respectively, and arising and forthcoming within the precinct or boundaries of the aforesaid Inn to the said churches by law or custom, belonging and pertaining in any way to rectors, vicars, curates, wardens, and other ministers of the same churches, in as ample a manner and form as was owed before this our consecration of this chapel. 

18. Which aforementioned things, all and sundry, as much as is in us and so far as we are able by law, on our own behalf and that of our successors we so decree and establish through the present document.

19. When these things were done, the whole congregation was called together into the chapel, and immediately by the bidding and direction of said reverend father, regular prayers[17] were celebrated in the same place by Master Thomas Wilson,[18] bachelor of sacred Theology, one of the domestic chaplains of the said reverend father.  In the place however of the Psalms[19] there were chosen Psalms 24, 27, and 84 to be read.  And for the first reading: [20]   2Chron: 6;[21] for the second reading John 10, verses 22 to the end.

20. After that collect in the Litany for Bishops and Curates,[22] the following prayer was delivered, to wit:

21. Almighty God which dwellest not in Temples made with hands

as saith the prophet, and yet vouchsafes to accept the devout services of thy poor creatures, allotting special places for divine Offices, promising even there to hear and grant their requests, We humbly beseech thee to accept this our day’s duty and service of dedicating this Chappell to thy great and dreadful name, and fulfill, we pray thee, thy gracious promises that whatsoever prayers in this sacred place shall be made according to thy will, may be favorably accepted and returned with their desired success, to thine eternal glory and our especial comfort in Jesus Christ, to whom, etc.[23]

Trinity Chapel, Looking Westward. Rendering by Jack McManus.

22. That prayer was followed by Psalm 23, which was sung.[24]  After the Psalm, an address by the reverend and venerable man Master John Donne, Professor of sacred Theology, Dean of St Paul’s,who for his theme read from chapter 10 of the Gospel according to John, verses 22 and 23 – in these words:

                  23. And it was at Jerusalem the feast of Dedication, And it

                               was winter. 

                 And Jesus was walking in the Temple in Solomon’s porch.

24. When the address was finished, the said reverend father prepared himself[25] for celebrating the Eucharist, with the worshipful and venerable lords summoned together along with some other counselors[26] of the aforesaid Inn then present in the same place before the altar.

25. The same reverend father standing by the northern part of the table, recited the Decalogue,[27] and for the collect read as follows:

26. Most merciful Saviour, which by thy bodily presence at the feast of Dedication didst approve and honor such devout and religious services as this we have now performed, present thyself also unto us by thy holy spirit, And because that Holiness becometh thy house for ever, Consecrate us, we pray thee, as an holy temple unto thine own self, that thou dwelling in our hearts by faith, we may be cleansed from all carnal and profane affections, and devoutly given to all good works for the glory of thy most holy name, To whom, etc.[28]

27. The aforesaid chaplain read for Epistle: 1st Corinthians [3][29] verse 10; For Gospel: John 2 verses 13 to the end. [30]

28. Then the said reverend father girded himself for the Lord’s supper; those departed[31] who were not to participate, while with the Bishop and the chaplains, the Governors of the Inn, and some others remained, counselors[32] etc.[33] who were to participate etc.[34]

Trinity Chapel, the Chancel. Rendering by Jack McManus.

29. When the communion was completed, however, the said Lord Bishop added this thanksgiving for finale, and in a deep voice pronounced, to wit:

30. Blessed be thy name, O Lord our God for that it pleaseth thee to have thine habitation among men, and to dwell in the assembly of the righteous. Bless we beseech thee this day’s action unto us, prosper thou the work of our hands upon us, Lord prosper those our handy work, bless this house [and family] and the owners thereof into whose minds  thou diddest putt it to have this place consecrated unto thee, Be with them and theirs in their going out and coming in and make them truly thankful unto thy glorious name, who being  so great a God and the Lord of the whole earth, vouchsafeth to accept these poor offerings from sinful men which are themselves but earth and ashes And grant that they and their successors may faithfully serve thee in this place to the comfort of their own souls and the everlasting praise of thy glorious Majesty, through Jesus Christ our Lord and only Savior. [Amen.]

31. When these things were done, with the above named worshipful and venerable lords and some others, counselors[35] of the aforesaid Inn, placed facing the altar, the reverend father Lord Bishop of London aforesaid addressed them in these or similar words, to wit:

32. It was your most earnest desire to have this place consecrated which request you have obtained and therein a double favor both from God that it will please him to accept from simple men such mean offers and to tie his presence by promise to such places as this.  And also from the Church which hath appointed the means for performing thereof, and this request is by me already satisfied and that duty performed. 

33. Now then you must know that this place is become an Anathema, and that in every anathema is both a consecration and an execration, a blessing and curse.  If you shall use it rightly, and to that purpose only for which it is sanctified, it will be an anathema, a blessing to you and to your house and families.  If it be otherwise that you profane it, it will be an Anathema, a curse to you and your house, and posterity. 

34. Therefore I doe here charge you in the name of Almighty God, in whose presence you now appear, and to whose great and glorious name this place is now dedicated that neither Yee by yourselves, or by any permission of others, do or suffer to be done any thing contrary to that is now intended and performed, If ye shall, I doe call the great God of heaven, before whose Altar ye now stand, and this congregation here present, witnesses against the souls of you and Yours at the dreadful day of Judgment. 

35. But my hope is you will not and yet for more assurance, I doe require you to pass me your promises before God and the company not to do or suffer it any way to be profaned. 

36. Then, when the pledge was given by the said worshipful and venerable lords and some others of the aforesaid Inn, to the effect aforesaid, the reverend father aforesaid dismissed the whole congregation with that Apostolic benediction, to wit:

 37. The Peace of God which passeth all understanding, etc. [36]

38. After the chapel was consecrated and all things there were done, the reverend father Lord Bishop of London descended to consecrate the ground assigned for burial.

39. First, before the entrance, action and petition concerning the ground to be consecrated were performed by the lords of the Inn in the same way as the action and petition earlier at the door of the chapel, and to their petitions the reverend fatherLord Bishop ofLondon decreed that the said ground would be consecrated, and then he took possession.

40. Then the said reverend father along with his vicar general in spiritual matters and the lords of the ground and many other persons accompanying him circled the ground to be consecrated, and then he betook himself to a seat prepared for him and fittingly decked out, and in the same place rested himself for a little while.

41. When the noise had settled down the reverend father Lord Bishop of London aforesaid made a prayer before the attending congregation, and then Master Thomas Worrall,[37] bachelor of sacred theology, domestic chaplain of the  said reverend father, read aloud Chapter 23 of Genesis.

Trinity Chapel, the Undercroft. Rendering by Jack McManus.

42. Then the venerable man, Lord Henry Marten,[38] vicar general in spiritual matters of the said reverend father, to the same reverend father presented a schedule or pronouncement of dedication or consecration put in writing, humbly begging on the part of the lords of the aforesaid ground, that it be read and promulgated.  And in response to his petition the same reverend father consecrated the aforesaid ground by reading aloud the aforesaid schedule or pronouncement of dedication and consecration, handed over to him (as stated before) and received through him, with the following  words, to wit:

43. In the Name of God Amen.  Since the worshipful and venerable men — counselors[39] and students — in the Inn commonly called Lincoln’s Inn beside the lane commonly called Chancery Lane in the suburbs of the city of London, of our London diocese and jurisdiction, led by pious and religious devotion, have offered and donated this place or ground, recently belonging to the said worshipful and venerable men by best right, and the passage or access to the eastern boundary of the same, from consideration of piety, and for the burying of the dead,  which very place or ground, for the greater part of the same, located under the arch or vault of the same chapel, and through the outsides of the supports of the same building, bounded by it on both sides, contains from the east part of the same towards the west, seventy six feet, and from the north part of the same towards the south, sixty seven feet, or thereabout, and the passage or access to the western boundary of the same contains in longitude twenty one feet, and in latitude seven feet, or thereabout, and (since they) have begged us that we, with our ordained and episcopal authority, see fit to separate said place or ground and the entrance or access to the western boundary of the same, from all former uses common and profane whatsoever, and convert them to sacred uses:

44. We therefore, George, by divine permission Bishop of London, and agreeing with pleasure to their religious desire in this direction, decree that the place and ground of this sort, and the entrance or access to the western boundary of the same, containing quantities specified above, are to be separated from former and other uses whatsoever, common and profane, for the uses following. 

45. And to the same counselors[40] and students in the aforesaid Inn and those staying in the precinct of the aforesaid Inn, and to their successors, we assign for a cemetery or place of burial of dead bodies in and for the aforesaid Inn, so far as is in us, and we are able by the laws, statutes and canons of this kingdom of England, and by our episcopal authority we dedicate and consecrate and attest to have been thus assigned and consecrated, through the present document.  And we openly and publicly pronounce, decree, and declare that the same should remain thus dedicated and consecrated for future times everlasting. 

46. We want the cemetery, or places of burial, to be secured with the privileges, all and sundry, customary and requisite for cemeteries or consecrated places of this sort, eligible by law, to the full effect of the law, and so far as is in us and we are able by law, we so fortify and stabilize (it) according to the intention of those present.  Without however any prejudice, and saving always the right and interest of the parish churches of Saint Dunstan in the west of London and Saint Andrew in Holborn of London, and of the rectors, vicars, curates, and wardens of the aforesaid churches, and of other ministers of the same existing at the time, and of all other churches whatsoever, and of rectors, vicars, curates, and wardens and other ministers of the same existing at the time, in the parishes of which the aforesaid Inn, or the boundaries of the same, or any part therefrom are sited and  situated, in all and sundry payments, fees, incomes, privileges, rights and emoluments whatsoever for burials, owed or customary to the same churches respectively, and by the reckoning of the aforesaid arising and forthcoming from the precinct or boundaries of the aforesaid Inn, and belonging to the said churches by right or custom in any way, and pertaining to the rectors, vicars, curates, wardens and other ministers of the same churches in so ample a mode and form as was owed to the same, or accustomed to be paid before this our consecration of this chapel and cemetery, or place or ground of this sort now assigned for burial. 

47. Which aforementioned (rights and reservations), all and sundry, so far as is in us and by right we are able, we so decree and establish on our behalf and that of our successors through those present.

48. When this was done the same reverend father made prayers for the blessing of the aforesaid work, praying as follows, to wit:

49. Most merciful Father thou hast bin pleased to teach us in thy Holy words, that the very bodies of thy faithful servants are not made in vain, but that living and dying they have their special uses appointed by thy self.  Thou hast framed them here on earth to be the workmanship of thy hands, and to sound out thy glory, thou hast fashioned them unto the shape of thy own son, that by a spiritual union, they should be as bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh.  Thou hast made them the Temples of the Holy Ghost, that thy sacred spirit may move and work in them those things which by thy mercy are acceptable in thy sight, And when they are to rest with their fathers and to return unto the earth from whence they were taken, thou hast appointed them not for ever to remain there in corruption, but at the day of the general resurrection to come forth of the graves, to be possessed with eternity and to be crowned with immortality. 

      50. Wee cannot therefore but take Knowledge by the examples of thy

                Patriarchs and holy men in all ages, and by that which thy blessed word hath revealed unto us, that it is thy gracious pleasure that when thy

    servants shall by thee be called out of this miserable world, their bodies should be seemly and decently committed unto Christian burial, that in the

        bowels of the earth they may remain in hope of a joyful resurrection.  And

   having for that purpose made choice of this place where we now are,      that it may be a receptacle for the bodies of such of our brethren as thou dost  ordain hither.

                  51. Wee beseech Thee to accept this work of ours, and mercifully to grant

                  that we who be here present may never forget our dissolution from the Tabernacle of this flesh, but that living we may think on death, and dying we may apprehend life, to the everlasting comfort of our souls.  And for those whose bodies are hereafter to be committed to this earth so guide them with thy grace while they are here in this world, that setting Thee evermore before their eyes, and accompting all things vain in comprison of their enjoying of Thee their only God and Savior, they may live in Thy fear and dye in thy faith, and so be made heirs of thy everlasting Kingdome through Jesus Christ our Lord and blessed redeemer.  Amen .

52. And so the reverend father aforesaid dismissed the whole congregation, with that Apostolic benediction, to wit:

53.The peace of God which passeth all understandinge etc. [41]— 

Sternold/Hopkins Translations of Psalm 23[42]

The Lord is onely my support, and he that doth me feede:

 how can I then lacke any thyng, wherof I stand in neede:

He doth me fold in coates most safe, the tender grasse fast by:

and after drives me to the streames, which run most pleasauntly.

And when I feele my selfe neare lost, then doth he me home take:                        5

conductyng me in his right pathes, euen for his owne names sake.

And though I were euen at deathes doore, yet would I feare none ill:

for with thy rod, and shepheardes crooke, I am comforted still.

Thou hast my table richly deckt, in despight of my foe:

thou hast my head with baulme refresht, my cup doth overflo.                  10        

And finally while breath doth last, thy grace shall me defend:

and in the house of God will I, my life for ever spend.


My shepheard is the liuyng Lord, nothyng therfore I neede:

in pastures fayre with waters calme, he set me for to feede:

He did convert and glad my soule, and brought my mynde in frame:

to walke in pathes of righteousnesse, for his most holy name.

Yea though I walke in vale of death, yet will I feare none ill:                                 5

thy rod thy staffe doth comfort me, and thou art with me still.

And in the presence of my foes: my table thou shalt spread:

thou shalt (O Lord) fill full my cup, and eke annoynt my head.

Through all my life thy favour is, so franckly shewed to me:

 that in thy house for euermore, my dwellyng place shall be.                                10

[1] This document consists of a translation into modern English prose of Latin portions of Ms. Archives ref J1a2, in the Archives of Lincoln’s Inn, London,  as well as transcriptions of portions of the document that were written in English. The transcription of the 17th century document has been checked against a 19th century transcription of the document, also to be found in Lincoln’s Inn (Archives ref J1A2/1).  The translation was originally undertaken by Dr. Zola Packman, Assistant Professor of Classical Languages at NC State University, and is based on her transcription of the 17th and 19th century documents. The annotations are the work of Dr. John N. Wall, Professor of English at NC State. We are deeply grateful to Guy Holborn, Librarian at Lincoln’s Inn, for his gracious advice and generous council concerning this document, including several interpretive issues concerning the administrative structure of Lincoln’s Inn in the 17th century.  We are also grateful to Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of Theology at Oxford University for invaluable aid concerning the translation.

[2] The time span referred to here (3 hours) corresponds with generally received estimates as to the length of time needed for the conduct of morning services in the Church of England in the early 17th century. These services included the full performance of Morning Prayer, the Great Litany, sermon, and Holy Communion; we conclude that this line should be interpreted to mean that the Service of Consecration began at 8:00, ran for about 3 hours, and ended about 11:00.

[3] George Montaigne (1569-1628), also sometimes spelled “Mountain” and other variations, was Bishop of London from 1621-1628, when he first became the Bishop of Durham, then the Archbishop of York, and then died before the year was out. Montaigne attended Cambridge University (MA Queen’s College 1593), became a chaplain to James I in 1608, then Dean of Westminster Abbey (1610) and Bishop of Lincoln (1617) before becoming Bishop of London in 1621, the same year Donne became Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

[4] The men listed here were the four most senior benchers of Lincoln’s Inn in 1623. As such, they shared responsibility with the other benchers for the administration of Lincoln’s Inn. Thomas Spenser, or Spencer (1547-1630) was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1564, called to the bar in 1574, and appointed a bencher in 1586; for the Inn, he held various offices including Treasurer (1593-94) and Dean of Chapel (1611-29). He was thus Dean of Chapel while Donne was the Chaplain and Trinity Chapel was being planned and built. Richard Digges (1564-1634) attended Oxford University (BA 1579) and Lincoln’s Inn (beginning in 1581); he was called to the bar in 1589 and became a Bencher of the Inn in 1608. He served as a Member of Parliament (1597-1628) and became a Serjeant at Law in 1623. Egidius Tooker; also known as Giles Tucker (1565-1623) became a student at Lincoln’s Inn in 1581; he was called to the bar in 1589 and became a Bencher in 1608. He served as a Member of Parliament (1601-1614).  William Ravenscroft (1589-1647) attended Oxford (BA 1580 Brasenose College) and began studies at Lincoln’s Inn in 1580. He was called to the bar in 1589, became an Associate of the Bench in 1604 and a Bencher in 1621. He also served as a Member of Parliament in 1586, 1597, and from 1601-28.  In 1623, Tucker, Spencer, and Digges were members of the group of Benchers who legally owned the land and buildings of Lincoln’s Inn, which in the 17th century functioned as an unincorporated association. Ravenscroft had been a one of the legal owners of the Inn at an earlier point in the Inn’s history but was not a member of this group in 1623. Tucker, Spencer, and Digges are functioning here as representatives of the “owners” of the land and the building which they are conveying to the Church of England in the person of Bishop Montaigne who is setting it for a holy purpose in this ceremony. Ravenscroft’s role in this ceremony is more obscure, unless his role is to serve as a representative of the Benchers who are not part of the group who legally own the Inn. “Owners . . . of the Inn” here translates “domini . . . hospitii predicti” because of the role of Tucker, Spencer, and Digges in the legal organization of the Inn. Biographical information for these folks is from Wilfrid R. Prest, The Rise of the Barristers: A Social History of the English Bar 1590-1640 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1986) and The Inns of Court under Elizabeth I and the Early Stuarts 1590-1640 (Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Littlefield, 1972.

[5] “Worshipful” here translates “reverendorum” which carries the sense of “venerable” or “honored,” not in the sense of “ordained,” as it is used above to refer to Bishop Montaigne and his chaplains.

[6] The Latin word here is “jurisconsult,” which recurs several times in this document; its meaning has been a puzzle for interpreters for some time.  While OED gives “lawyer” for jurisconsult,” we have concluded that the best translation is  “counselor,” since there were several different kinds of lawyers in the English legal system, including attorneys, barristers, and counselors, and these folks are in the counselor category.

[7] What the officials of Lincoln’s Inn are doing, in effect, is handing over ownership of the Chapel to the Church of England by transfer of the means of access to the building to its official representative in London.

[8] Paraphrase of Psalm 122, vs. 1, vs. 7, and vs. 9, which read, in the BCP version, “I was glad when they said unto mee: Wee will goe into the house of the Lord. . . . Peace be within thy walles: and plenteousnesse within thy palaces. . . . . . Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God: I will seek to do thee good.”

[9] II Chronicles 7:16

[10] Lines based on BCP texts, especially the General Confession, the Prayer of Humble Access, and the post-communion prayer

[11] The full text of this phrase would be, “through Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.”

[12] Sir Henry Martin, Chancellor of the Diocese of London; see n 34 below. The vicar general of the Diocese of London was a counselor retained by the Diocese to advise the Bishop on legal matters and conduct business in the civil courts on behalf of the Diocese. In the general good spirit of this occasion, Sir Henry and Bishop Montaigne were both made honorary members of Lincoln’s Inn on the 21st of May 1623, the day before the ceremony of consecration.

[13] “Jurisconsults”

[14] “jurisconsults”

[15] “Jurisconsults”

[16] Parish churches had “rights and interests,” including financial interests, regarding people living within the geographical boundaries of their parishes. By consecrating a new worship space for people living in the buildings of Lincoln’s Inn, Bishop Montaigne is in effect creating competition for members with St. Dunstan’s and St. Andrew’s Churches and is here trying to assure them that Trinity Chapel will not deprive them of any rights, especially “offerings, donations, payments, fees.” Controversy over the relationship between Trinity Chapel and these parish churches would recur in later years.

[17] The discussion of readings, below, as well as  the dictates of the regular order of services in the Church of England indicate that “regular prayers” here refers to the performance of  Morning Prayer and the Great Litany which preceded Donne’s sermons and of Holy Communion which followed it.

[18] The Rev. Thomas Wilson (1591?-1660), graduate of Westminster School and Oxford University (Christ Church College), BA (1611), MA (1614), BD (1621-2), Fellow of Merton College, Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral and Prebend of Nesden (from 1623).

[19] The Psalm appointed for Morning Prayer on the 22nd day of the month is Psalm 107, but since this was the Feast of the Ascension, BCP appoints Psalms 8, 15, and 21 to be read instead.

[20] The lessons appointed on the Daily Office calendar for the 22nd day of May would have been 4 Kings 11 (2 Kings 11 in modern nomenclature) and Matthew 20.  Since this was the Feast of the Ascension, however, the First Lesson should have been Deuteronomy 10.

[21] II Chronicles 6.

[22] “That collect in the Litany for Bishops and Curates” refers to the following prayer from the Great Litany:   “Almighty and everlasting God, which only workest great marvels, send down upon our bishops and curates, and all congregations committed to their charge, the healthful spirit of thy grace; and that they may truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing: grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our advocate and mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.” The text here actually reads “in Latinia,” not “in Litania,” and may better be translated “in Latin,” which might refer to the text of this prayer in Liber Precum Publicarum . . . in Ecclesia Anglicana, the Latin translation of the Book of Common Prayer intended for use in university chapels and first published in 1560 (STC 16424) and reprinted before 1623 in 1569, 1572, 1574, 1594, and 1615.  The Liber Precum Publicarium was intended for use in collegiate chapels, especially at Oxford and Cambridge, but perhaps also chapels of the Inns of Court. This reference to prayer in Latin raises the possibility that the rites of Morning Prayer and Holy Communion used at this service of Consecration were also in Latin. The Collect for Bishops and Curates in Latin runs as follows: OMNIPOTENS sempiterne Deus, qui facis mirabilia magna solus, prætende super famulos tuos Pontifices et Ministros, et super cunctas congregationes illis commissas, Spiritum gratiæ sulataris, et ut in veritate tibi complaceant, perpetuum eis rorem tuæ benedictionis infunde, per Advocatus et Mediator nostrum Jesus Christum. Amen.

[23] The full text of this phrase would be, “to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory world without end. Amen.” Presumably, on this occasion, this prayer ended the Great Litany, either taking the place of the collect that customarily ends the Litany (which begins, “Almighty god, which hast geven us grace at this time . . . “) or the final Collect of the Litany was added but since its use was invariable the narrator did not feel it was worth mentioning.

[24] The Psalm was presumably sung in English, either to Anglican Chant (in the Great Bible translation) or in the translation of Sternhold and Hopkins, sung to the tune provided in such editions as STC 2073. Given that Anglican Chant in this period was used primarily by choirs and there is no record of the Chapel at Lincoln’s Inn having a choir (nor is there any indication that the other Psalms read in this service were sung), we believe the setting and translation were those of Sternhold and Hopkins.  For this setting of Psalm 23, see the end of this document.

[25] Preparation for celebrating Holy Communion for Bishop Montaigne would include 1. making sure that the altar had a “fair linen” cloth on it, 2. putting the communion cup and a plate upon the altar together with sufficient wine and bread for the communion, and 3. putting on a cope, as was customary practice in St. Paul’s Cathedral. The text refers to preparation here at the beginning of the rite and also later, after the reading of the Epistle and Gospel, where we are told he “girded himself for the Lord’s supper.”  One would of course like to know what he did and when, though “the reference to “girding” may suggest that this refers to his putting on his cope before reciting the prayer over the elements.

[26] Again, “jurisconsults”

[27] Holy Communion in BCP 1604 begins with a set Collect and the recitation of the Ten Commandments, to each of which the congregation responds, “Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.”

[28] “to whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory, world without end. Amen.” The Collect appointed by the Book of Common Prayer (1604) for Holy Communion on the Feast of the Ascension reads, “GRANT we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten son our Lord to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God world without end. Amen.”

[29] The original text here reads “1st Corinthians verse 10” and is thus missing a record of the chapter of 1st Corinthians from which this reading was taken, beginning at verse 10. We conjecture chapter 3 because Donne refers to 1st Corinthians 3:16 in his sermon for this occasion. He also refers to 1st Corinthians 6 and 9 in the sermon, but in neither of these cases does beginning a reading at verse 10 seem appropriate. We also assume that the Epistle reading begins with the 10th verse of 1 Corinthians 6 and runs to the end of the chapter, since rarely in this, or any other, period do readings for the Epistle consist of a single verse.

[30] The Lessons appointed by the Book of Common Prayer (1604) for the Feast of the Ascension are, for the Epistle, Acts 1: 1-11, and for the Gospel, Mark 16.

[31] According to the Book of Common Prayer, those who wished to receive communion should tell the celebrant prior to the beginning of the Communion service, either “overnight, or else in the morning, afore the beginning of Morning Prayer, or immediately after.” Common practice was for those not intending to receive to leave the church after the prayer “for the whole state of Christ’s Church,” which follows the readings of the Lessons appointed for the day in the Book of Common Prayer. For more information, see most conveniently, The Book of Common Prayer 1559: The Elizabethan Prayer Book, ed. John Booty (Charlottesville: Univ. of Virginia Press, 1976).

[32] “jurisconsults”

[33] presumably the “etc.” here refers “students,” as in previous accounts in this document of those on hand; it could also include members of Bishop Montaigne’s staff as well as other interested parties on hand for the Consecration.

[34] Reference to accustomed actions of  those who remain for the Bishop’s prayer over the bread and wine and the reception of these Communion elements, which would include their gathering in pews surrounding the Communion Table in the Choir area of the Chapel.

[35]“ jurisconsults”

[36] “The Peace of God which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesu Christ our Lord: And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you, and remain with you always. Amen.”

[37] The Rev. Thomas Worrall (1589?-1639), born in Cheshire, graduate of Oxford (Brasenose College BA 1610, MA 1612, BD 1619, DD 1623) and Cambridge (DD 1624), rector of Middleton Stony, Oxfordshire (1620), Rector of St. Botolph’s Bishopgate, in London (1624), Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral (1624), Prebend of Portpool (1624-27) and Prebend Holbourn (1627-1639), rector of Finchley, Middlesex (1626), married Mary, daughter of William Wail (in London, 1624), buried in St. Botolph’s.

[38] Sir Henry Martin (1562-1641), graduate of Oxford (New College, BCL 1587, DCL 1592), knighted 1616, Chancellor to Diocese of London (1617-41), judge of High Court of Admiralty (1617-41), Dean of Arches (1624-34), Judge of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (1624), buried at Longworth, Berkshire. Biographical information concerning Martin is from Brian P. Levak, The Civil Lawyers in England 1603-1641 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1973)

[39] “Jurisconsults”

[40] jurisconsults

[41] The Peace of God which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesu Christ our Lord: And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you, and remain with you always. Amen.

[42] Texts from The vvhole book of Psalmes collected into English meeter by Thomas Sternhold, Iohn Hopkins, and others, conferred with the Hebrew, with apt notes to sing them withall. Set forth and allowed to be sung in all churches, of all the people together, before and after morning and euening prayer, and also before and after sermons: & moreouer in priuate houses for their godly solace and comfort, laying apart all vngodly songs and ballades: which tend onely to the nourishing of vice, and corrupting of youth.   London : G. Miller, 1635). STC 2657.