JLS 68

The Hampton Court Conference

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Joint Liturgical Studies 68

This Series of Alcuin/GROW Joint Liturgical Studies has, since its inception in 1987, provided a wide range of titles for students, not least in the field of historical texts. The two major foci have been patristic studies and Anglican ones (both historical and contemporary). The development of the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer (hereafter ‘BCP’) was highlighted in the earlier history of both the Alcuin Club and the Group for Renewal of Worship: the Alcuin Club in Charles Whitaker’s Martin Bucer and the Book of Common Prayer, Timothy Fawcett’s The Liturgy of Comprehension 1689, and Geoffrey Cuming’s The Godly Order and in thematic studies of baptism, marriage, ministry to the sick, burial, and ordination; GROW in my own What did Cranmer think he was Doing? (1976), The End of the Offertory (1978), Eucharistic Liturgies of Edward VI (1983), Background Documents to Liturgical Revision 1547-1549 (1983), and (with Ian Breward’s Introduction) The Westminster Directory (1980). The Joint Editorial Board has added within the present Joint Studies my The Savoy Conference Revisited (no.54, 2002), Mark Dalby’s Anglican Missals (no. 41, 1998) and Donald Gray’s two-volume The Prayer Book Crisis 1927-28 (nos. 60 and 61, 2005 and 2006). Most of these are still in print. While larger reference works and teaching text books (often with authors from those listed above) have also been appearing over these five decades, the niche role of the focussed monograph has continued.

This present Study fills a gap in all the literature listed above. The Hampton Court Conference is celebrated because King James set in hand the vernacular Bible which bears his name; but the 1604 revision of the Elizabethan BCP has never, it seems, been sufficiently interesting in itself or far-reaching enough in its outcome to warrant a special study. The stopping-points in Anglican liturgical history have been Edward VI’s reign, Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity, the Commonwealth Period, and the outcome of Charles II’s Restoration in 1660-1662. So the Conference is a centre-piece of this Study – not, I fear, in its totality, as the accounts are diffuse and the topics are not confined to the BCP.