The Boke of Common Prayer (1560) | The Psalter, or Psalmes of David (1559) | “Certayne Godly Prayers to be vsed for sundry purposes” (1562)
With the split from Rome, King Henry VIII was head of the Church of England, but what sort of church would it be? Extreme Protestants awaited radical transformation away from papist ceremonies and traditions, while much of the clergy and many parishioners were only begrudgingly accepting, or even resisting, change. Archbishop Thomas Cramner recognized the need to standardize the forms of service for daily rituals, Sunday services, and special rites performed by the clergy—as well as the messages delivered in sermons.
The death of Henry VIII and succession of young King Edward VI in 1547 provided the opportunity for change. That year the first edition of Certain Sermons was published, a collection of twelve homilies for “all persones, vicars, curates and all other having spirtuall cure, every Sondaye in the yere, at hygh masse when the people be moste gathered together, to reade and declare to their parishioners, playnly and distinctely, in such ordre as they stande in the boke.” The first Book of Common Prayer to standardize services and rites followed in 1549, but for some powerful voices, the changes did not go far enough in the direction of reform. It was revised in 1552 and then suppressed by Catholic Queen Mary, who rose to power in 1553 upon the death of Edward VI.
After Mary’s death in 1558, Queen Elizabeth took on a religious settlement as her first priority. Her Act of Uniformity restored use of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer with certain changes that revert to the first edition. This third version of the Book of Common Prayer (1559) remained in use for forty-five years. In 1559 Queen Elizabeth also restored use of Certain Sermons, and twenty new homilies were added in 1563 as a second volume.
The present volume includes very early Elizabethan editions of these works together with the Psalter, or Psalmes of David and a short collection of prayers. They are bound in a 17th-century red silk velvet (over pasteboard) binding with metal center- and corner-pieces (one of each lacking) and catchplates (lacking). The Psalter bears the colophon of Richard Grafton, a variant not identified in the Short Title Catalogue.
Chrzanowski 1560c *
STC 16294, Psalter is a variant not described in STC, STC 13650.3