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The Wizarding Churches of Britain and the Wizengamot: A Brief History - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
The Wizarding Churches of Britain and the Wizengamot: A Brief History
The history of religion within the British Wizarding Community has taken on a renewed importance since the Great Insurrection was put down. 

Partly this is in consequence of the slight but observable revival of religious observance in the wake of war, a common phenomenon enough. Primarily, however, the resurgent importance of the churches, like their previous eclipse, is

a political and constitutional matter.

For most of its existence, the (imperial, that is, union) Wizengamot and its predecessors at Winchester (formerly, at Avebury), at Falkland, at Machynlleth (formerly, at Caerleon), and at Tara of the Kings, included the Lords Spiritual, ex officio, as members. The Moot is in this as in many regards different to its Muggle counterpart at Westminster and that parliament’s predecessors, in that its members have always tended to represent certain interests without regard to geographical constituencies, and no Reform Acts have been felt desirable. Hogwarts School has always had its own members; the University did and now does again; there are members elected by St Mungo’s Hospital, by the various Guilds and Livery Companies, and so on. This was not changed, but was, rather, reaffirmed as well as judiciously reformed, in the post-insurrection Settlement.
It is with that Settlement that, rather to the shock of many, Wizard-born and Muggle-born alike, that the Lords Spiritual reappeared on the benches of the Moot. 
There had been brief periods in the past when all or most of the clergy had been non-jurors in one or another sense, or had withdrawn from the arena wholly: the Peverel – Peverell – Peverill Rebellions, beginning with that of the third William Peverel of Bolsover Castle (the first William Peverel was a half-Saxon bastard of William the Bastard’s – or, ‘the Conqueror’s’ – getting), were one such instance, as were the Gaunt-Swynford-Beaufort feud, the resultant York – Lancaster Wizarding War, and the Whig – Jacobite Blood Struggle, for more on which, see these notes on the Statute of Secrecy 1692.
The Whig – Jacobite Blood Struggle, as an extension of yet another feud within the ruling house, itself caused horrific political upheaval in the Moot, and it was in effect a Rump Wizengamot that sat from 1692 until 1807, when, with the death of Henry 9th and 1st of the House of Stuart, a number of secular members accepted George 4th (‘and 1st’) as his tanist and were reconciled to the Hanoverian Succession. (It has been said that this factor alone, with or without the absence of the clerical estate, was what left the American Wizards independent whether they wished to be or not. As is well known, the Statute of Secrecy, by its mere existence, long stifled the rationalisation of Wizarding borders and governments, which even now do not comport with Muggle bounds and political reality on the ground.)
It was, however, the Statute of Secrecy as such that occasioned the removal of the Lords Spiritual from the Moot, just as it was the Statute of Secrecy that led to the closing of Domdaniel (although its organisational continuity was preserved by the self-perpetuation of the Fellows of Paracelsus as a body corporate) and very nearly put paid to Hogwarts School as well. The clergy, to a Wizard, refused to accept the Statute of Secrecy, on the grounds that it amounted to a capitulation to the ‘pureblood’ extremist faction and was, moreover, an unconscionable abandonment of mutual discourse, aid, and charity as regarded our Muggle neighbours. As a body, they left the Moot, and, as a body, the rump of the Moot declared them as having been deprived of membership in perpetuity.
It came as a shock to even the most historically-learned Wizards and Witches when, hard upon the Great Victory, and immediately upon the new constitutional settlement’s being adopted, the Great Ledger was seen to update itself and summonsing owls were magically despatched with letters patent of election to Wizards whose very existence was largely unknown to the Wizarding World, or to Wizards who were, if they were known, accounted as being of little importance. The shock was redoubled when, at the next sitting, some 102 Wizards appeared at the bar of the Moot in response, and revealed themselves as the long-absent Lords Spiritual of the main religious bodies of Great Britain and Ireland, ranging from the Bishop of Salisbury (and Wizarding Archbishop of Wessex and Primate of All Britain) to the Chief Rabbi. In addition to those who were Muggle clergy, the Wizarding clerics and prelates included Wizards who passed amongst Muggles as farm labourers, physicians, gardeners, dons, solicitors, a Tory MP, writers, journalists, Writers to the Signet, barristers, farmers, fishermen, gentlemen of leisure – amazingly, a few yet remain in the Muggle world – trades union leaders, Naval officers, Army officers, one retired member of the England cricket side and official of the MCC, shopkeepers, bankers, butchers, two Other Ranks, a dispensing chemist, a thatcher, a plumber, and several hereditary peers. All had, in keeping with the traditions of the Cunning Men, lived and made their way amongst and amidst the Muggles, aiding them on the sly and helping to protect them from the worst of the past half-century’s Wizarding disasters and upheavals.
If nothing else, the Wizarding World may congratulate itself upon the strength of its charms and spells. As is true of the appearance that Hogwarts presents to passing Muggles, the churches and cathedrals of Wizard-dom are thought even by the most perceptive Muggles – such poets as Wordsworth, such painters as Turner – to be mere ruin’d choirs where late the sweet birds sang. Fountains, Rievaulx, Cambuskenneth, Tintern, Kirkham, Killone, Lindores, and a thousand others, reveal themselves only to Wizarding eyes in their continued and undiminished splendour, in the same way as in which Dunfermline and Linlithgow, Wallingford and Corfe, are reserved to the wonder and awe of the Wizarding Court.
It will be noted in the following discussion that the metropolitan provinces of the archiepiscopal sees, the diocesan names and boundaries, and the overall geography of the churches’s reaches do not, save by rare happenstance, coincide with those of their Muggle counterparts, and are not cognizant of Muggle national frontiers. This is hardly surprising, given the distinctly different courses taken by Muggle and by Wizarding history in these isles. It is also noteworthy that the Latin designations from which bishops’s official signatures are taken, often preserve, as in amber, an earlier Roman, or Romanised, pre-Roman British, name of their sees, even when those sees are now known by a newer name or have their cathedral in a newer city.
Similarly, again as a result of Wizard-dom’s rather distinctive history, the Celtic Church, in Wizard-dom, has existed in unbroken continuity, and did not participate in, nor did it accede to the decisions of, the Synod of Whitby; it evaded, moreover, the destruction visited upon the Muggle Culdees by the Margaretsons. Equally, it would be fair to state either that none of the four primary Christian churches are by law established, or that, in a sense, all of them are established, in Wizarding law. Certainly the dewars, abbs, and coarbs of the Celtic communion, the bishops of the Anglican Wizarding communion, and the Wizarding prelates of the Roman Catholic Church, with the Regulator of the Wizarding Assembly of the Kirk and with the Chief Rabbi, are all ex officio Lords Spiritual of the Moot. 
It must finally be noted that, as a unique Wizarding dispensation, the exclusively Wizarding branches of the Scots Presbyterian, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Columban Celtic churches are all in communion one with another: their primary differences being ones of usage, of ecclesiastical polity, and, bar the Kirk of Scotland, in their being episcopal churches that are respectively religious and monastic, and celibate save only rarely and for certain orders (the Celtic communion), mostly secular and married (the Anglican-rite Wizarding Church in Britain), and celibate whether secular or monastic (the Roman communion).
In the WizardingChurch in Britain, with the episcopal titles with which the bishops of the several dioceses subscribe themselves, the bishoprics are as follows:
1.     The Archbishop of Wessex and Primate of All Britain is always the Muggle Bp of Sarum (SORVIOD)
4.     The Archbishop of Kilrymont & Falkland (formerly, of St Rule’s) is the Primus of Scotland (REGUL)
5.     The Abbatial Prince-Archbishop of Lindisfarne and Hallam is the Primate of the North, formerly, of the North and the Danelaw (LINDIS)
6.     The Archbishop of Ard-Macha (WCiB) is Primate of all Ireland (ARDMACH)
7.     The Archbishop of Kells is Primate of Ireland (CEANN).

The remaining sees are:
1.     Alnwick (ALNOVIC)
2.     Auckland (VINOV)
3.     Aylesbury (AGLES)
4.     Aylsham (AEGEL)
5.     Barnsley (BERNES)
6.     Beaulieu (BELLOV)
7.     Bedlington (ALAUN)
8.     Bewdley (BELLOVAC)
9.     Birkenhead (MELL)
10.Bodmin & St Ives (DEVENT)
11.Bridgwater (BRUG)
12.Cirencester (CORIN)
13.Colchester (CAMULOD)
14.Crayke (CRECA)
15.Crewkerne & Somerton (LINDIN)
16.Douglas & Ramsey (ATRAQ)
17.Faversham (FAVERS)
18.Framlingham (COMBRET)
19.Grantham (CROCOC)
20.Huntingdon (HUNTEND)
21.Kenilworth (CHINEW)
22.Keswick (CESE)
23.Kingston upon Thames (CIV:REG:TAMENS)
24.Kirklees (VERB)
25.Knutsford (SAL:CORNOV)
26.Leominster (LUGDIO et BRAVON)
27.Malvern (VERTIS)
28.Melton Mowbray with Ashby (AD PONTEM)
29.Newark & Sherwood (SEGEL et NOVUM:ARCH)
31.Ottery St Aldhelm (VINDOC)
32.Oxted (ACSTEDENS)
33.Pendle & Clitheroe (CALAC)
34.Repton (REPTONENS)
35.Rievaulx (RIEVALL)
36.Romsey (RUMS)
37.Rutland (RUTLES)
39.St Neots (DUROVIG)
40.Sandwich (AREN)
41.Shrewsbury & Ludlow (VIROCON)
42.Skipton (VIROS)
43.Springhead (VAGNIAC)
44.Tamworth (DERVEN)
45.Uxbridge (PONT:VUXENS)
46.Wantage & Minal (CUNET)
47.Woburn (MAGIOVIN), and
48.Valletta in Europe (VALLETENS);
1.     Caernarfon (SEGONT)
2.     Cardigan (MORIDUN)
3.     Chepstow & Usk (BURRIUM)
4.     Llangollen (VARIS)
5.     Radnor & Wye (LEVOB); also,
6.     Arbroath (ABIRBROTHOC)
7.     Carrick & the Stewartry (CARS)
8.     Elgin, Dingwall & Wick (ELGEN)
9.     Hogwarts & Tordarroch (SCOLA)
10.Stirling (STRIVEL)
11.Stromness & Yell (ORCAD);
1.     Antrim (AONTR)
2.     Ballymote & Skreen (SKEEN)
3.     Castleconnell & Thomond (THOMS)
4.     Clontarf & Swords (CLONTARF)
5.     Drumcree & Moy (MOY)
6.     Dundonald & Portadown (CASTR:DOMN)
7.     Enniscorthy & Clonmel (CLONMEL)
8.     Enniskillen (ENNISKILLEN)
9.     Gartan (GARTAN)
10.Lifford (LIFFORD)
11.Orrery & Fermoy (ORRERY); and
12.Trim (TROIMS)
In the Wizarding Celtic Church, the Primus is the Coarb of Iona and the provincial metropolitans are the Dewar of St Rule in Scotland, the Dewars of Caerleon and of BardseyIsland in Wales and Cornwall, the Dewars of Glastonbury and of Whithorn in England, and the Dewars of Rathbreasail and of Clonmacnoise in Ireland. The WizardingCelticChurch is monastic and eremitical in organisation and tradition, and many Abbs and Dewars are not in episcopal orders, yet have within their communities a resident bishop who is not the leader of the community. Equally, many Wizarding Culdee bishops have no fixed see, and are, in the old Celtic tradition, episcopi vagantes.
The Wizarding RCs, as a ‘particular Church’ in RC canon law, are in the cure of the Bp of Cerne (Dorset), the Bp of Stoke, the Bp of Prittlewell (Essex), the Bp-Abbot of Melrose, the Bp of Barra, the Bp of Huntingdon, the Bp of Kenfig, the Bp of Ross, the Bp of Kilfenora, the Cardinal Archbishop of Aviemore, the Cardinal Archbishop and Patriarch of Alresford, the Cardinal Archbishop (RC) of Ard-Macha and Louth, and the Cardinal Archbishop of Thurles. These metropolitan Wizarding sees are by canon law cardinal sees, and their incumbents are invariably granted the red hat.
The Wizarding Kirk in Scotland is governed by the Regulator of the Wizarding Assembly, by synods, by presbyteries, and by local kirk sessions. 
Nonconformists have various ad hoc arrangements. There are many Wizarding meetings of the Society of Friends.
The Revd Dr Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, personally coordinates with the Jewish Wizarding Community in all regards, and with Orthodox, Masorti, Reform, and Liberal Jewry alike. In this, he is assisted by the principal figures of the New London Synagogue, of the Sternberg Centre, and of Leo Baeck College. The late Dr David Daiches and his father, the Revd Dr Salis Daiches, were longstanding Muggle-Magical Relations Coordinators for British Jewry, with special ties to Scotland. The Chief Rabbi and both Drs Daiches were Ravenclaws whilst at Hogwarts. Scotland, of course, in stark contrast to England, and indeed uniquely in Europe, has never seen a state persecution of Jews; to the contrary, the Declaration of Arbroath, asserting Scots independence and defying Edward of England and Pope John 22d both, defiantly proclaims, cum non sit Pondus nec distinccio Judei et greci, Scoti aut Anglici.
A quibus Malis innumeris, ipso Juuante qui post uulnera medetur et sanat, liberati sumus per strenuissimum Principem, Regem et Dominum nostrum, Dominum Robertum, qui pro populo et hereditate suis de manibus Inimicorum liberandis quasi alter Machabeus aut Josue labores et tedia, inedias et pericula, leto sustinuit animo:
From these countless evils, with His help who afterwards soothes and heals wounds, we are freed by our tireless leader, king, and master, Lord Robert, who like another Maccabaeus or Joshua, underwent toil and tiredness, hunger and danger with a light spirit in order to free the people and his inheritance from the hands of his enemies;
Hinc est, Reuerende Pater et Domine, quod sanctitatem vestram omni precum instancia genuflexis cordibus exoramus quatinus sincero corde Menteque pia recensentes quod apud eum cuius vices in terris geritis cum non sit Pondus nec distinccio Judei et greci, Scoti aut Anglici:
It is for these reasons, Reverend Father and Lord, that we beg your holiness with humble hearts and every urgent prayer, knowing that you will review everything with a true heart and a saintly mind since before Him in Whose name you reign on Earth there is neither bias nor difference between Jew or Greek, Scot or Angle….
The attitudes of many branches of Islam towards Magic are problematic, particularly for Muggle-born Witches and Wizards from Muslim families. Various Ismaili and Sufi disciplines are more accepting, and are generally found to be the traditional adherences of Wizarding-born British Muslim Witches and Wizards.

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18 comments or Leave a comment
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: March 20th, 2006 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)

"Awesome!" she cried, awestruck...

{genuflecting and making the Sign of the Cross, muttering the incantation in Latin}

You can do that all day, can't you? Now put in something rude about the Jesuits, please?
wemyss From: wemyss Date: March 20th, 2006 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

I have a weakness for backstory.
themolesmother From: themolesmother Date: March 20th, 2006 09:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I have a weakness for backstory.

So do I, and I rely on you to keep feeding it with a rich and varied diet of Wizarding history, folklore, humour and whatever else you have in store for us.

... Wizards who passed amongst Muggles as farm labourers, physicians, gardeners, dons, solicitors, a Tory MP ...

I shall be wandering around the house all day trying to decide which Tory MP.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: March 20th, 2006 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm not telling.

But it isn't Dave bloody Cameron.

So glad you were amused and diverted. Thank you for the kind words.
eagles_rock From: eagles_rock Date: March 20th, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
'Ann Widdecomb is a witch.'

Sorry. Couldn't resist. *is twelve* I have to admire a woman who properly spurns a walnut as a snack. My money was on old Denzil Xavier till I remembered he'd been and gone. Current crop you say?

I love the idea of the cunning clergy appearing out of the Muggle world; this really appeals.

The idea of a Hogwarts letter appearing at the home of hardcore born-again Christians is also problematic. Various sects would react in different ways, and the owl would likely be strangled in a few cases, but the potential fall-out is tremendous.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: March 20th, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

One can imagine the Plymouth Brethren reaction, alas.

And I'm not sayin' which Tory. Nope. Mum's the word. No names, no pack-drill.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: March 21st, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
On the other hand, the Archbishop of Canterbury freely admits to being a druid* - if that isn't a cover for something else, I don't know what is.

*I should add, since this has led to unfortunate misunderstandings, that Welsh druidism is not connected to paganism whether Neo or unconstructed, but rather to the promotion of Welsh poetry, folk music and dance.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: March 21st, 2006 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes, well.

He'd be far better suited to running an Eisteddfod than to presiding ineffectually over the final implosion of the Anglican Communion, wouldn't he.
llassah From: llassah Date: March 21st, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
*cough* Michael Howard! *cough*

Good bit of backstory there
wemyss From: wemyss Date: March 21st, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Not sayin'.

Thank you.

Morally speaking, I'm amazed.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: March 21st, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Does your reticence extend to the retired cricketer (I couldn't possibly guess, but I am fairly sure it isn't Geoff Boycott, though I suppose access to magical healing techiniques might have explained Brian Close's unorthodox close-fielding methods...)

Nice to see Kilrymont featuring under its old name (is the cathedral there or at Dunkeld the episcopal seat? Either way, it suggests that the 'Let's rebuild St Andrews cathedral as a multi-cultural centre' crowd are on a hiding to nothing, and a good thing too.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: March 21st, 2006 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like to think, for no other reason that it works for me, that MacGonnagal is really tremendously Anglo-Catholic.

I see Snape as the 'Justified Sinner' type of perverted Calvinist, who is convinced that he is justified and a tool in the hand of God (and yet occasionally is haunted by a guilty feeling that perhaps he is damned after all). I think this one works very well with what we see of him in canon, actually, though obviously it would be better if he came from Southern Scotland than the North of England...
wemyss From: wemyss Date: March 21st, 2006 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)


I tend to write her as Kirk on the McG side - amusingly, of course, originally an Irish family of no antiquity in Scotland - with Piscie Jacobites on her mither's side. But I'm not wedded to that.

Snape strikes me as unchurched, although possibly from a working-class-Church rather than w-c-Chapel background, nominally, and as the sort of early, I Am a Man of Science freethinker who brandishes Darwin and Huxely at people. But I'm not in a civil partnership with that, either.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: March 22nd, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Minerva?

I wouldn't die in a ditch for my belief on Minerva - of course, I suppose if the Irish side dominiates, she might even be Catholic.

My views on Snape's religiosity comes chiefly from the fact that in HBP he reminds me strongly of Robert Wringham, the unpleasant protagonist of Hogg's 'Memoirs and confessions of a justified sinner', who believes that he is justified and being used as a tool of God to cleanse the Earth of impurity and filth (such as a good, kindly local minister, who is not an extreme Calvinist, and Robert's own some-what loose-living but essentially decent half brother). Of course, his status as chosen instrument allows him to carry out act which the weaker minded find abhorrent and sinful, and he is angered by their horror at his murder. However, eventually he becomes disturbed by what he is doing, concludes that the mysterious companion who has been egging him on, and he took for an angel, is in fact the devil, and kills himself. Hogg leaves it open as to whether or not the companion really is the devil or if he's a projection of Wringham's madness.

It may also have something to do with my irritation at some of the Catholic!Snapes I've come across. Whatever Snape is - and your late 19th C freethinker could work well, too - he doesn't strike me as a man who believes in forgiveness and grace for all who want it. (I imagine him hugging the idea that people everyone tends to think of as 'good', like James Potter and Remus Lupin, are predestined for damnation. Lupin in particular is revealed as such by his intermittently beastly nature, and his appearance of the virtues of charity and humility are merely a work of the devil to decieve those who are not Elect).

Apologies for the lengthy post, particualarly as you have probably read Hogg - but I thought it might help explain my thinking.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: March 22nd, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)


'He was an acute boy, an excellent learner, had ardent and ungovernable passions, and, withal, a sternness of demeanour from which other boys shrunk.'

I can see that.

I see you're no more a fan of those folk than I am.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: March 23rd, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Quite so

No, not a fan at all.

One of these days I shall write a fic called 'Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Potionsmaster', and I shall be lucky to get the proveribiable three men and a dug to read it...
wemyss From: wemyss Date: March 23rd, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)


I'll make one of the three.

I cannot answer for the dog Montmorency.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: March 21st, 2006 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, Muggles can't SEE the cathedral.

THEY call it the ruins round St Rule's tower. The old St A's was just its attendant priory kirk, and made a visible cathedral - or high kirk, according to taste - for Muggles.
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