Jewell Close is on Bishopdown, very close to the London Road to the north east of Salisbury, England.
It is named after John Jewell, who was the Bishop of Salisbury from 1559 until his death in 1571. Bishop Jewell is most famous for his ‘Apology of the Church of England’.
Life of John Jewell, Bishop of Salisbury
John Jewell was born in Buden, near Ilfracombe, in Devon. He was educated by his uncle, and then at Merton College in Oxford.
At Oxford he fell under the influence of the protestant Pietro Martire Vermigli, known as Peter Martyr, who had been appointed to the Chair of Divinity by Edward VI.
In 1553, Jewell wrote a message of congratulations to Mary on her becoming Queen. Shortly afterwards he signed a series of articles endorsing Catholicism.
Despite this he still felt himself to be at risk under Queen Mary, and in 1555 he fled to Frankfurt, where he joined other English Protestants in exile.
On Mary’s death and Elizabeth’s accession, Jewell returned to England.
In 1559, Jewell participated in a debate between 16 Catholics and 16 Protestants which was held by Queen Elizabeth. He was then made responsible for ‘securing, in the West of England, conformity with the newly-arranged Church service’.
In 1560 Jewell was consecrated as Bishop of Salisbury
In 1562, he published Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae, which was translated back into English as ‘The Apology of the Church of England’.
I should perhaps declare an opinion – I’m not keen on the Apology. To me, in the early part of the 21st Century, it seems, in parts, to be nasty and sectarian.
There’s a very good summary on the Church Society website which takes a different point of view – I would recommend you read that if you’re at all interested in Bishop Jewell.
Bishop Jewell’s Apology
Anyway, bearing in mind that I don’t really have a Wikipedia-style ‘neutral point of view’, here’s my summary of what Bishop Jewell says in the Apology.
The book is divided into six parts.
The first is a defence of the Church of England against charges of heresy. Jewell describes how early Christians and Christ Himself were described as heretics and were persecuted. He argues that the Church of England is true to scripture and the teachings of the early Christians and that the Catholic Church is, in fact, heretic.
Wherefore, if we be heretics, and they (as they would fain be called) be Catholics, why do they not, as they see the fathers, which were Catholic men, have always done? Why do they not convince and master us by the Divine Scriptures? Why do they not call us again to be tried by them? Why do they not lay before us how we have gone away from Christ, from the Prophets, from the Apostles, and from the holy fathers?
The second part states the main tenets of the Anglican and broader Protestant position – the Trinity and the view that ‘that the Bishop of Rome hath no more jurisdiction over the Church of God than the rest of the patriarchs’, going so far as to write:
we believe that he [the Pope] doth give unto himself….a presumptuous, a profane, a sacrilegious, and an antichristian name: that he is also the king of pride, that he is Lucifer, which preferreth himself before his brethren: that he hath forsaken the faith, and is the forerunner of Antichrist.
In the third part, Jewell seeks to distinguish the new Anglicanism from other Protestant groups which he sees as being in error. He says
Indeed, we grant that certain new and very strange sects, as the Anabaptists, Libertines, Menonians, and Zuenckfeldians, have been stirring in the world ever since the Gospel did first spring. But the world seeth now right well, thanks be given to our God, that we neither have bred, nor taught, nor kept up these monsters.
He continues to discuss disagreements within the Catholic Church, especially over transubstantiation – whether the Communion bread and wine actually becomes the bread and the body of Christ.
In the fourth part of the Apology, Bishop Jewell attacks the Catholic Church. He alludes to the story of the female Pope Joan and criticises the church for failing to excommunicate a ‘great and foul number of harlots, fornicators, adulterers’.
He is, I think, referring to the Pope in the following passage:
I trust he hath not yet forgotten that there be many thousands of common harlots in Rome; and that himself doth gather yearly of the same harlots upon, a thirty thousand ducats, by the way of an annual pension. Neither can he forget, how himself doth maintain openly brothel houses, and by a most filthy lucre doth filthily and lewdly serve his own lust.
He then claims that the Church of England is the true church – that it is line with scripture and the teachings of the early Christians.
In part five, Bishop Jewell attempts to demonstrate that ‘the ancient doctors and the holy fathers’ are with him rather than with the Catholic church. He quote Saint Augustine worrying about the ‘multitude of ceremonies’ and Cyprian, Epiphanius and Hierom on priests being married.
For we, following the example of Christ, of the Apostles, and the Holy fathers, give the people the Holy Communion, whole and perfect; but these men, contrary to all the fathers, to all the Apostles, and contrary to Christ Himself, do sever the Sacraments, and pluck away the one part from the people, and that with most notorious sacrilege, as Gelasius termeth it.
In the last part of the Apology Jewell addresses the argument that the Anglicans should abide by the decisions of the Catholic church’s General Council. Jewell argues:
If Christ had meant to do so from the beginning, as that He would preach or teach nothing without the bishop’s consent, but refer all His doctrine over to Annas and Caiaphas, where should now have been the Christian faith?
The Politics of The Apology
The Apology is a book of religion, but of course, whatever the intention of the author, it had a political purpose. Monarchy had to have, perhaps it still has to have, a spiritual basis.
The Church of England had been founded to allow Henry VIII to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. Of course, he would later have Anne killed by accusing her of adultery and witchcraft.
The monarch needed the Church to have a solid theological basis. If the church only existed through the will of the King, then the King could derive no legitimacy from the Church.
Bishop Jewell’s Empty Vessels
To finish on a more amusing note, Jewell is credited with this rather good proverb:
Vessels never give so great a sound as when they are empty.