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Between the Restoration and the rise of the Oxford Movement, a burgeoning literature of commentaries upon the Book of Common Prayer were produced and circulated in England. This article traces the emergence and development of this little-studied commentary tradition in order to explore the role of the Book of Common Prayer in private devotion. It groups the literature into three primary categories based on genre and function: descriptive, historical and biblical commentaries; devotional commentaries; annotated Books of Common Prayer. I argue that this literature sought not only to defend the prayer book from criticism or inform users of its history and function but to encourage devotional engagement with the prayer book itself. Exploring the devotional strategies that this literary tradition teaches and models deepens our understanding of how the leaders of the Church of England during the long eighteenth century sought to encourage private engagement with the Book of Common Prayer.
It has recently been suggested that the Grafton edition of 1559 was not only the first of that year, but that it was printed even before Parliament sat. But the book not only quotes the Act of Supremacy accurately but its preliminaries also include the whole Act of Uniformity verbatim—and there are several other improbabilities and mistakes in that argument. This chapter also reveals that although every sheet of the 1552 book was duly reprinted in 1559 with the required revisions (each of which is discussed), Grafton had kept a large number of unused sheets from his last edition of 1552. Each of the surviving copies of his Elizabethan edition contains between one and twenty-three sheets recycled from his last Edwardian edition.
The second Edwardian Act of Uniformity required an ordinal (a booklet containing the services for ordaining priests and bishops) to be bound with each folio edition of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer. No ordinal was mentioned in the 1559 Act, but the authorities evidently provided the printers with revisions for it, and each team of printers produced one. Only one copy of Grafton’s survives, and none of the extant copies of the ‘Jugge and Cawood’ ordinal is bound with their first edition of the prayer book. Moreover, unlike the 1552 contents lists, those of 1559 make no mention of an ordinal. The evidence suggests that it was withdrawn at the last minute, to be sold only as a separate item. Curiously, fewer than half the copies include the original sheet BB5:6. One simply lacks it; three have cancels printed in the 1580s by two different printers.
After the four folio editions (intended mainly for the use of the clergy), the printers produced some smaller editions for more general sale. They have survived less well than the larger volumes, and while one octavo is known from a complete copy, neither of the quartos is complete and the other octavo is known only from a small fragment. As in Edward’s reign, the small-format editions were accompanied by a psalter, and the quarto psalters reveal a conflict of ‘copyrights’. The stationer William Seres, a former household servant of Sir William Cecil (Elizabeth’s Principal Secretary) had managed in July to acquire a patent that ostensibly gave him a monopoly of psalters, and the two surviving quarto copies were printed for him rather than the Queen’s Printers. That unintended conflict, however, was soon rectified, and by the time the extant octavo was printed the conflict had been resolved.
The story I have tried to tell in this book is complex in many ways: in the politics of the authorizing Acts of Parliament, in the evolution of the text itself, and in the rivalries and collaborations between the printers of the successive versions of the prayer book. It has therefore often been been necessary to depart from a strict chronological order. In this final chapter I have therefore tried to recapitulate the overall story, and the numerous separate conclusions, as a more continuous narrative.
The Queen’s Printers, Richard Jugge and John Cawood, printed less than one-sixth of the first of the 1559 editions bearing their names. The first London book known to contain the work of more than three different printing houses, it also includes sheets printed by Reyner Wolfe, Edward Whitchurch, Owen Rogers, Thomas Marshe, Richard Payne, and John Kingston. Moreover, at least two of the leaves of the main text are cancels that replace leaves rejected for unknown reasons, each almost certainly introducing revisions neither specified nor permitted by the Act of Uniformity. Three of the printers involved were (like Grafton) not freemen of the Stationers’ Company, and therefore not legally entitled to print at all. One of them (and one of the Stationers) had recently been punished by Star Chamber for printing a piracy of a privileged book.
The year 1559 saw two more ‘Jugge and Cawood’ editions in folio, each printed by five of the original team (Jugge, Cawood, Kingston, Rogers, and Payne). The first of these is known only from a single copy that lacks the preliminaries (discovered during the research for this book); six copies are known of the later of the two. For the most part the relationship between the reprints is clear and straightforward, although a few odd sheets ‘belonging’ to one edition are found in one or more copies of the other. Amid the predictable crop of errors in each reprint, a few readings show that attempts were made to correct errors that were evidently noticed. But the overall trend in accuracy is (predictably) downhill.
In 1561 Elizabeth commanded that the liturgical calendar should be revised, because the Old Testament chapters assigned to each day included many that could profitably be replaced by more edifying ones. Because thousands of 1559 folio editions were already in use, Richard Jugge was commissioned to print cancel calendars that could be inserted to replace the obsolete ones. The revisions did not, however, really implement the queen’s wishes, because although thirty-five chapters were removed from the sequence, the only new insertion was Leviticus 26. More immediately noticeable, however, was a considerable increase in the number of saints’ days and fasts listed in the ‘miscellaneous’ column. Those additions have sometimes been interpreted as a resurgence of Catholic traditions, but it has seldom been noticed that most of them had already been added in the small-format ‘popular’ editions of 1552–53 by those unimpeachable Protestants, Grafton and Whitchurch.
The preliminaries of the Grafton edition and the first from ‘Jugge and Cawood’ show clear signs of cooperation and collaboration. The calendar quire in Grafton’s edition was printed for him by his former apprentice John Kingston; that in the other edition by Reyner Wolfe. In the main preliminary quire John Kingston printed three of the six sheets for Jugge and Cawood, one of which (probably a cancel) also appears in the Grafton edition. His contents list that backs the title-page is also identical in both editions. In the Grafton edition the other side of that sheet (with the almanack and the title-page with Grafton’s imprint) is also Kingston’s work, but Richard Jugge appears to have printed both the almanack and the title-page of ‘his’ edition. The evidence suggests that the two title-pages were printed on the same day.
Outlines Henry VIII’s attempt to impose uniformity on the English liturgy after breaking with Rome, the early careers of the printers Richard Grafton and Edward Whitchurch, and the progress through Parliament of the 1549 Act of Uniformity. Closely examines the printing of their first two 1549 editions of Thomas Cranmer’s Book of the Common Prayer, in which various irregularities show that changes and additions were made to the text while those editions were being printed. Concludes that the accepted assignment of priority to the Whitchurch edition known as STC 16267 is mistaken, and that the only extant copies of the real first edition are a few copies supposedly ‘made up’ and incomplete. Explains the evolution of the official limits on the retail price, and how each printer subcontracted parts of his reprints to other printers.
Briefly recounts the parliamentary history of the 1552 Act of Uniformity, the revision of the communion service, and some common misconceptions about the so-called ‘Black Rubric’. Shows that this time it was Edward Whitchurch who began printing from the manuscript copy while Richard Grafton reprinted the text from Whitchurch’s sheets. Explains that each printer once again subcontracted parts of some of his subsequent editions to other printers, and how each reduced the size of his reprints to reduce his costs once the official limits had been imposed on the retail price.
Bibliographers have been notoriously 'hesitant to deal with liturgies', and this volume bridges an important gap with its authoritative examination of how the Book of Common Prayer came into being. The first edition of 1549, the first Grafton edition of 1552 and the first quarto edition of 1559 are now correctly identified, while Peter W. M. Blayney shows that the first two editions of 1559 were probably finished on the same day. Through relentless scrutiny of the evidence, he reveals that the contents of the 1549 version continued to evolve both during and after the printing of the first edition, and that changes were still being made to the Elizabethan revision weeks after the Act of Uniformity was passed. His bold reconstruction is transformative for the early Anglican liturgy, and thus for the wider history of the Church of England. This major, revisionist work is a remarkable book about a remarkable book.
In November 2020, the Appellate Tribunal (the Tribunal) of the Anglican Church of Australia (ACA) provided its opinion on references as to the constitutionality of diocesan legislation relating to same-sex blessings and marriage. There were two concurrent references about a marriage blessing service intended for use in the Diocese of Wangaratta (the Wangaratta references). There were also two concurrent references about the Clergy Discipline Ordinance 2019 Amending Ordinance 2019 of the Diocese of Newcastle (the Newcastle references).
Chapter 12 challenges the assumption that the ‘Restoration church’ inevitably accompanied the political restoration. It begins by charting the different attempted reformations of 1659-60, from radical Congregationalist proposals to the rapid re-establishment of the 1640s Presbyterian settlement just before the king’s return in 1660. The attempted comprehensive settlements of the following ten months are then carefully analysed with reference to the ‘abortive reformation’ of 1640-41 discussed in Chapter 4, the peace negotiations discussed in Chapter 6, and other past reform initiatives. Analysing the wide range of commentary by puritan divines and more moderate episcopalian writers, it points to elements of possible compromise in areas of doctrine, church government (including the revival of plans for ‘reduced episcopacy’), liturgy and ceremonies, and extemporary prayer, culminating in the remarkable concessions of the Worcester House Declaration of October 1660. Other elements of the abortive reformation of 1640-41 are also observable, such as anti-Laudianism, the robust re-assertion of the Church of England’s links with the foreign Reformed churches, and some notable memorializing of earlier evangelical conformists who had been members of the Williams Committee. It is argued that hindsight has led historians to miss these many continuities with earlier reforming initiatives.
Chapter 4 focuses on the ‘abortive reformation’ – a series of measures proposed and in some cases implemented in the years 1640-41 which aimed at the reform rather than the abolition of episcopacy and the Prayer Book. It initially surveys how Laudian ideas and policies were systematically rejected by senior clergy, not least by the advisory sub-committee under Bishop Williams established by the House of Lords committee investigating religious innovations. De-Laudianization in itself re-formulated the Church of England, but was combined with a readiness to contemplate significant reforms of church government, liturgy and ceremonies. The chapter analyses these reforms proposed by a range of protagonists including the Williams Committee, which addressed some of the objections raised in the puritan Ministers’ Petition and Remonstrance. Episcopal reforms – most notably in the shape of ‘reduced episcopacy’ – show conformists ready to contemplate significant changes to the established church. It is argued that Parliament played a key role in all the envisaged reforms and was already seizing de facto power over the existing ecclesiastical system. Despite the failure of these reforms to be implemented, both sides at the outbreak of war were theoretically committed to this ‘abortive reformation’ in their competition for the ideological middle ground.
Chapter 13 analyses the different forces that worked against the comprehensive religious settlement that was attempted in 1660-61. It begins with a study of conservative elements hostile to any compromise with Presbyterianism, noting their emphasis on the evils of sacrilege, and how the language of ‘restoration’ was often expressed in prophetic rather than conservative terms. It then discusses the Presbyterian opposition to a range of aspects of the new settlement – from the threat of reordination to the repudiation of the Solemn League and Covenant and the stricter imposition of liturgical conformity. While these problems were not insuperable, most puritans could find at least one feature of the new settlement that they considered non-negotiable. The chapter then analyses the settlement itself, and argues that it was not a simple restoration of the pre-war church, or of the Laudian church, but constituted a rather eclectic hybrid of different elements of the Church of England’s earlier identities. Its features could be glossed in different ways, and both the Clarendon Code and the 1667 agitation for a comprehension bill presented themselves as further rationalizations of the intended settlement. It is argued that the principles of the abortive reformation were not conclusively defeated in 1662.
Challenging the assumption that the Elizabethan religious settlement was clear in its content and meaning to contemporaries, Chapter 1 explores the many areas of confusion and ambiguity surrounding the settlement’s formularies. It emphasizes the contested authority of a range of official and semi-official formularies and commentaries, and of past doctrinal and liturgical forms, which potentially pointed in very different theological and ecclesiastical directions. A number of unresolved issues are highlighted relating to church government, liturgy and ceremonies, doctrine, ministerial maintenance, and ecclesiastical law. As a result, the Church of England’s position was inevitably subject to continual negotiation and debate, and to countless proposals for further reform and clarification. It is argued that, as a result, a very broad range of English religious thinkers and activists – from militant high-churchmen to staunchly Calvinist and incipiently Presbyterian puritans – could in the ensuing years seize on some of these threads and claim with some legitimacy to be accomplishing the final clarification and consummation – and indeed the apotheosis – of the earlier Reformations. The Laudian movement would thus constitute just one contested reading of this haphazard corpus of ambiguous ecclesiastical and doctrinal formulations.
It is customary for the 1650s to be portrayed as a time when disenfranchised ‘Anglicans’ heroically maintained their church’s practices and beliefs unchanged. This chapter presents a rather different and ambiguous picture: some episcopalian royalists undoubtedly imitated the actions of puritan separatists in shunning local services, but the image of principled ‘Anglicans’ fleeing into the wilderness is shown to have been a popular trope rather than an accurate account of what was a far more messy and changing picture of partial compliance with the authorities, where preaching rather than Prayer Book usage played the key role in maintaining the episcopalian royalist identity. The second section of the chapter studies how the episcopalians of the 1650s located themselves vis-�is the pre-war church, and identifies a notable range of opinions concerning earlier Reformations, the Elizabethan and Jacobean Churches, and relations with the foreign Reformed Churches. A third section studies the remarkably rich new thinking in episcopalian circles in these years on a whole range of doctrinal, liturgical and ecclesiastical topics, partly reflecting the absence of any agreed arbiters of episcopalian orthodoxy. It is demonstrated that episcopalian divines showed a remarkable readiness to contemplate significant changes to the formularies of the pre-war church.
Abandoning the notion that royalists were the custodians of a stable pre-war church, Chapter 8 explores some of the different trends, tensions and developments evident within royalist religious thinking in this decade. After outlining the official royalist position of support for the reforms of 1640-41, the chapter outlines some of the tensions, ranging from those divines keen to support further reforms to those ex-Laudians deploring the concessions already made. Concerns at the threat posed to episcopacy in peace negotiations led to more emphatic defences of the order as being integral to the royalist cause, and a renewed interest in Convocation. The chapter also traces new emphases in royalist thought that transcended some of the divisions between ex-Laudians and their critics, including moral reform and a providentialism which often echoed parliamentarian language. The royalist experience after defeat in the civil war is examined, tracing forms of resistance to new ministers and to the abolition of feasts such as Christmas, but also noting the ways in which royalists embraced compromise, appealing for toleration on the model of pre-war puritanism and also contemplating forms of limited conformity and liturgical adaptation. It concludes by arguing that royalist religion remained ideologically hybrid and contested.
England's Second Reformation reassesses the religious upheavals of mid-seventeenth-century England, situating them within the broader history of the Church of England and its earlier Reformations. Rather than seeing the Civil War years as a destructive aberration, Anthony Milton demonstrates how they were integral to (and indeed the climax of) the Church of England's early history. All religious groups – parliamentarian and royalist alike – envisaged changes to the pre-war church, and all were forced to adapt their religious ideas and practices in response to the tumultuous events. Similarly, all saw themselves and their preferred reforms as standing in continuity with the Church's earlier history. By viewing this as a revolutionary 'second Reformation', which necessarily involved everyone and forced them to reconsider what the established church was and how its past should be understood, Milton presents a compelling case for rethinking England's religious history.