Charles I’s copy of the Book of Common Prayer

Inside front cover with inscription
London, 1634 (C.12.82): Inscription ascribing ownership to Charles I

This copy of the Book of Common Prayer belonged to Charles I.  The covers bear the Royal coat of arms.  It is inscribed on the inside cover in a hand contemporary with the times ‘Charles Stuart Rex a book he used to take out of his closett 1648’.

Charles insisted upon religious conformity across the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland.  This went disastrously wrong when the Anglican liturgy and prayer book were forced upon the Scottish Kirk in 1637, resulting in war between the two nations.  In order to finance war against the Scots, Charles was obliged to recall Parliament in 1640, bringing his eleven-year personal rule to an end.  So, this book is significant on two levels.  On a personal level it was his book and he would have used it; on a public level it represents one of the major areas of conflict between Charles and the people, a conflict which ultimately lead to his execution in January 1649.

Title page
Title page

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