LANCASTER, Thomas The ryght and trew vndersta[n]dynge of the Supper of the Lord and the vse therof faythfully gathered out of ye holy Scriptures worthely to be embrased of all Christen people

London, by Johan Turke [E. Whitechurch? for] Iohan Turke], [1550?]


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. 44 unnumbered leaves. A-E F . Black letter. Title page within fine woodcut architectural border, woodcut floriated initials, “Mary Thorner her book hand and Pen Decem 16, 1711” on verso of last, repeated in blank margin of text and on front cover, Nicolas R. Tath 1842 with the title and author manuscript on upper cover. A few scribbled letters in blank margin of title, offsetting caused by the ink not being dry when folded in the first gathering, title page a little dusty, blank outer upper corner of A2 burnt, minor dust soiling in places. A very good copy, stab bound in an early vellum legal document leaf, a little rubbed and soiled, folding box.

Very rare first and only edition of this staunch Protestant tract on the Eucharist dedicated to Prince Edward the VI, probably published in the early years of his reign, by the future archbishop of Armagh Thomas Lancaster. The controversy surrounding the subject of the Eucharist had been debated in a series of pamphlets since St. Thomas More produced his discourses on the subject from 1530’s until his execution. It was perhaps the most bitterly debated subject in the early Protestant and Catholic rift in Britain. “An enthusiastic protestant, he in June 1551 attended the conference which the lord deputy, Sir James Croft, held at Dublin with George Dowdall, the primate, whose Roman catholic leanings were well known. In 1552 Lancaster was installed in the deanery of Ossory, which he held in commendam with his bishopric. On 2 Feb. 1553 he assisted in the consecration of John Bale as bishop of Ossory, and about the same time published an important statement of his doctrinal position in ‘The Ryght and Trew Understandynge of the Supper of the Lord and the use thereof faythfully gathered out of ye Holy Scriptures,’ London, by Johan Turke, n.d. 8vo. It is dedicated to Edward VI. A copy is in the British Museum. Lancaster’s style of argument resembles Bale’s. … He was a member of the lower house of convocation, and on 5 Feb. 1562-3 was in the minority of fifty-eight who approved of the proposed six formulas committing the English church to ultra-protestant doctrine and practices, as against fifty-nine who opposed the change. In the same year he signed the petition of the lower house of convocation for reform of church discipline.” DNB. Lancaster, was forced into retirement from his post as Bishop of Kildare under Mary, as he was married, but was later made Archbishop of Armagh with the support of Sir William Cecil in 1568.

A most interesting and revealing work as it shows the doctrinal position of the Archbishop at one of the most formative periods in the history of Ireland. A very rare work. STC gives four locations only in the US; at Folger, Huntington, Massachusetts Historical Society and at Yale.

ESTC S108242. STC 15188
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