Dispensations from fasting were, however, given in case of illness.
The voluntary jurisdiction as regards dispensations was kept for the Church.
Dispensations, however, could be easily obtained from Rome, before the reformation of the Church of England, to enable a clerk to hold several ecclesiastical dignities or benefices at the same time, and by the Peterpence, Dispensations, &c. Act 1534, the power to grant such dispensations, which had been exercised previously by the court of Rome, was transferred to the archbishop of Canterbury, certain ecclesiastical persons having been declared by a previous statute (1529) to be entitled to such dispensations.
How severely strict medieval abstinence was may be gauged from the fact that armies and garrisons were sometimes, in default of dispensations, as in the case of the siege of Orleans in 1429, reduced to starvation for want of Lenten food, though in full possession of meat and other supplies.
He obtained the necessary dispensations from Rome for Henrietta Maria's marriage to Charles I., and acted as her chaplain during the first year of her stay in England.