Next month, Boydell Press will publish National Prayers: Special Worship since the Reformation: Volume 1: Special Prayers, Fasts and Thanksgivings in the British Isles, 1533-1688, edited by Natalie Mears, Alasdair Raffe, and Stephen Taylor. The publisher’s description follows.
Since the sixteenth century, the governments and established churches of the British Isles have summoned the nation to special acts of public worship during periods of anxiety and crisis, at times of celebration or for annual commemoration and remembrance. These special prayers, special days of worship and anniversary commemorations were national events, reaching into every parish in England and Wales, in Scotland and in Ireland. They had considerable religious, ecclesiastical, political, ideological, moral and social significance, and they produced important texts: proclamations, council orders, addresses and – in England, Wales and Ireland – prayers or complete liturgies which for specified periods supplemented or replaced the services in the Book of Common Prayer. Many of these acts of special worship and most of the texts have escaped historical notice. National Prayers. Special Worship since the Reformation, in three volumes, provides the edited texts, commentaries and source notes for each of the nearly nine hundred occasions of special worship and for each of the annual commemorations. The first volume, Special Prayers, Fasts and Thanksgivings in the British Isles 1533-1688, has an extended Introduction to the three volumes and a consolidated list of all the occasions of special worship. It contains texts and commentaries which reveal the origins of special occasions of national worship during the Reformation in both England and Scotland, the development of fast days and wartime prayers later in the sixteenth century, and what we know about the origins of special national worship in Ireland. It also shows how special worship became a recurrent focus and expression of religion and political contention during the seventeenth century.