Prayer Book and Revolution

The Scottish Prayer Book of 1637 was one of the most controversial works printed in early Stuart Britain – when it was first used in Edinburgh’s St Giles Cathedral it famously provoked a riot. Soon, the religious and political tensions between Charles and his subjects led to civil war across the three Stuart kingdoms. In Christ Church we have a copy of the 1632 Prayer Book with annotations from Archbishop William Laud and King Charles (MS 540); this texts sheds important new light on the development of Caroline religious policies and the relationship between the Stuart Churches. In this colloquium, leading historians will discuss the significance of Christ Church MS 540, showing its place in the wider story of the Civil Wars and the development of a distinctive religious identity that would become Anglicanism. It will mark the return of MS 540 from conservation which has been generously supported by the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust.

Speakers include Richard Cust (University of Birmingham), Ken Fincham (University of Kent), Sarah Mortimer (Christ Church, Oxford), and William White (University of Hertfordshire).

There will be a £20 registration fee (free for students/unwaged), which will include refreshments (not including lunch) and the drinks reception after Evensong. The conference will be held in Christ Church Upper Library*, St Aldates, Oxford OX1 1DP.

  • We regret that access to the Upper Library is by a large spiral staircase only, and may cause difficulty for anyone with limited mobility.