THE FIRST EJECTED SCANDALOUS PRIEST

or severall Charge exhibited in Parliament against Edward Finch Vicar of Christs Church in London, and Brother to Sir John Finch, late Lord Keeper, now a Fugitive for Fear of this present Parliament, 1641 …

London, Sould by R. Harford …1641

Small 4to., pp. [2], 14, with a large woodcut on the title-page of ‘Ed. Finch his Perambulations’, walking about the parish in a surplice, looking out from an alehouse window, and, with two comrades, following a carriage of women ‘away for Hamersmith’ for a debauched afternoon (the text explains these images); fore-edge lightly dampstained throughout; else a good copy, modern leather binding.

£750

Approximately:
US $966€850

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or severall Charge exhibited in Parliament against Edward Finch Vicar of Christs Church in London, and Brother to Sir John Finch, late Lord Keeper, now a Fugitive for Fear of this present Parliament, 1641 …

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First edition. The royalist divine Edward Finch became vicar of Christ Church, Newgate, in 1630. Ten years later a number of his parishioners petitioned the Long Parliament for his removal because of popish practices, preaching in a surplice, placing the communion table altar-wise, and hindering the delivery of sermons on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. He persistently neglected his duties, exacted ‘unjust and excessive Fees for Burials’, frequented taverns and alehouses, and kept company with lewd women. Called to give the Sacrament to a dying parishioner he was so drunk that ‘he was not able to pronounce the Lords Prayer’.

The petition brought Finch to the attention of the puritan lawyer John White, M.P. for Southwark, afterwards nicknamed ‘Century’ White for his polemic A First Century of Scandalous, Malignant Priests. As chairman of the Grand Committee for Religion White investigated the charges and reported to the House, which resolved that Finch was unfit to hold a benefice. Walker’s Sufferings of the Clergy refers to Finch as the first of the clergy to be ejected from their livings during the parliamentary campaign to replace suspect priests with a learned, preaching ministry (Walker Revised, p. 47). Finch died in 1642 but not before publishing An Answer to the Articles in his own defence.

Wing E 2157.

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