Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


BOWER, George: England, 1688, Silver, 51 mm
Obv: Bust of Sancroft     GVIL. SANCROFT. ARCHIEPISC. CANTVAR. 1688.
Rev: Medallions of the six imprisoned bishops with the Bishop of London in the center (left to right from top): William Lloyd, Bishop of St. Asaph; Francis Turner, Bishop of Ely; John Lake, Bishop of Chichester; Henry Compton, Bishop of London; Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells; Thomas White, Bishop of Peterborough; and Sir John Trelawney, Bishop of Bristol.
Edge:  SI FRACTUS ILLABATUR ORBIS IMPAUIDOS FERIENT RUINĘ (If the Shattered Universe Were to Fall, the Ruins Would Strike Them Undismayed). (From Horace, Carminvm Liber Tertivs III, 7-8:  see the Latin library)
Signed:  .G B. F.
Ref: M.I. i, 622/37; Eimer 56/288; Fearon 34/139.1; V. Loon III, 339;  Europese Penningen # 2000;  Harding 5;  Weiss BW424

In 1672, Charles II of England joined Louis XIV of France in issuing the Declaration of Indulgence, which suspended all penal laws against Catholic recusants as well as Protestant dissenters who did not adhere to the doctrine of the Church of England. The English Parliament, however, compelled him to withdraw this declaration, putting in its place laws requiring anyone entering public service in England to take the Anglican sacrament.  In 1687, his successor,  the openly Catholic James II, issued a new Declaration of Indulgence which exempted Catholics, Protestants, Unitarians, Jews, Muslims, and people of any or even no faith from penalties which were based on their religious (or non-theist) convictions.  Further, he required his bishops to read this document to the bishops' parishioners. However, William Sancroft, (1617-1693), archbishop of Canterbury, wrote a petition against the reading of the Declaration of Indulgence. This petition was signed by himself and six bishops. For this action they were all imprisoned in the Tower of London. Henry Compton, the Bishop of London, because he opposed the policy of James II was relieved from his positions on the Council table and Deaner of the Chapel Royal and was suspended from the execution of his episcopal office.

This medal commemorates the action taken by William Sancroft and his fellow bishops in refusing to read James II's Declaration of Indulgence.  

LINK to Biography and Portrait of William Sancroft (from Wikipedia)

LINK to the Seven Bishops (from Wikipedia)

LINK to portraits of the Seven Bishops Committed to the Tower in 1688 (from Wikipedia)

LINK to the Declaration of Indulgence of King James II (from the Jacobite Heritage by Noel S. McFerran)

LINK to article on Medallic History of Religious and Racial Intolerance (by Benjamin Weiss)

Link to article Badge of Intolerance (by Benjamin Weiss: from the Numismatist)