15 MAY 1941, Page 14


Sut,—With regard to Sunday theatres and church-attendance, Miss Rose Macaulay's recent contention here that time-tables need not be incompatible is more pertinent than might appear either from a casual reading of her letter or from any replies it has so far elicited.

The question arose more than three centuries ago, when James I and Charles I (Christian monarchs both) had to deplore the decay of the English Sunday by Continental influences. So far had these gone, under the foreign sway of Luther and Calvin, that certain of our more violent lawyers were unwarrantably causing the strict Jewish Sabbath to be proclaimed from Anglican pulpits with the threat of dire penalties for clerical disobedience. Thereupon Charles, and his Primate, William Laud, felt that the new-fangled rot must be stopped, and the Declaration of Spans was issued to the people of England. It ran thus: "be not disturbed, lened, or discouraged from any lawful recrea- tion, such as dancing, either men or women, archery for men, leap- ing, vaulting or any other such harmless recreation, nor for having of May games, Whitsun-ales and morris-dances, so the same be held in due and convenient time without impediment or neglect of Divine service."

- As a consequence, one particular Chief justice named Richardson, who had exceeded his legal power by punishing clergymen for not insisting upon the Calvanistic-Jewish ban, was called before the Church Council and "severely reprimanded." When he emerged he was heard to declare that he had been "almost choked with a pair of lawn-sleeves." May we not ask what has come over our great Anglican tradition? Or must we conclude that our lawn-sleeves have less muscle inside them now than in the good old church-going