Religion

Poetic History (In memory of William Mark Ormrod, 1957–2020)
David R. Carlson

The article presents a previously unpublished long version of an Anglo-Latin poem on Henry IV’s executions of Archbishop Richard Scrope and others at York in 1405. It is argued that the poem was not part of the well-known hagiography of Scrope that grew quickly up for funding rebuilding programmes at York Minster, also exemplified in the paper; rather, it is a poetic contribution to the contemporary secular historiography of the York Rebellion against the Lancastrian regime, implicating the archbishop in active leadership of it.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
The Testimony of Late Seventeenth-Century Library Auction Catalogues
Lawrence Rabone

In this article on book circulation, I survey twelve English library auction catalogues from the period 1676–97, in order to show how interest in the writings of the Amsterdam rabbi Menasseh ben Israel (1604–57) continued after his death. I do this by identifying the circulation of his works in Puritan personal libraries. I focus particularly on the library auction catalogues of leading Puritans, notably Lazarus Seaman, Thomas Manton, Stephen Charnock and John Owen. I also show that of all Menasseh’s books, De resurrectione mortuorum libri III was the one most frequently owned by Puritan divines. This article demonstrates how books helped to catalyse the boundary-crossing nature of the Jewish–Christian encounter in seventeenth-century England.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Trevor Russell Smith

This article reconsiders the value of ‘shorter’ chronicles written in fourteenth-century England through a case study of the most popular of these, the Cronica bona et compendiosa, which survives in more manuscripts than most of the chronicles frequently used in scholarship. It examines the text’s authorship and narrative to show what it can reveal about history writing and ideas of the past, especially as they relate to medieval readers. It demonstrates the text’s influence on contemporary writers by showing how it was slightly adapted by the important chronicler Henry Knighton, which use has so far gone unnoticed. This article also includes an appendix listing twenty-three ‘shorter’ histories and their manuscripts, nearly all of which have not hitherto been identified.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
A. D. Morrison

The letter collections of Greco-Roman antiquity dwarf in total size all of ancient drama or epic combined, but they have received far less attention than (say) the plays of Euripides or the epics of Homer or Virgil. Although classicists have long realised the crucial importance of the order and arrangement of poems into ‘poetry books’ for the reading and reception both of individual poems and the collection as a whole, the importance of order and arrangement in collections of letters and the consequences for their interpretation have long been neglected. This piece explores some of the most important Greek letter collections, such as the Letters attributed to Plato, and examines some of the key problems in studying and editing collections of such ancient letters.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
An Unpublished Manuscript Illuminated by the Master of the Haarlem Bible
Natalija Ganina and James H. Marrow

This paper analyses an unpublished Dutch-language Book of Hours in the John Rylands Library, focusing on unusual core texts the manuscript contains and distinctive features of its cycle of illumination. The miniatures and the richly painted decoration of the manuscript can be attributed to the Master of the Haarlem Bible and dated c.1450–75. The inserted full-page miniatures include iconographically noteworthy examples, and the placement of some in the volume is anomalous, suggesting that they may not have been planned when the volume was written. Our analyses of distinctive texts and images of the manuscript lead us to offer suggestions about the religious status or affiliations of its patron and to propose possible monastic settings in which it might have been used. We discuss the disparate character of its textual and illustrative components in relation to current reappraisals of the organisation of manuscript production in the Northern Netherlands.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Martin Thompson

This article proposes that Manchester, John Rylands Library, Latin MS 165 was an ‘accessory text’ produced and gifted within the Tudor court and passed down by matrilineal transmission within the influential Fortescue family. It proposes that from the text’s conception, the book of devotions participated in various projects of self-definition, including Henry VII’s campaign for the canonisation of his Lancastrian ancestor, Henry VI. By analysing visual and textual evidence, it posits that later female owners imitated the use of marginal spaces by the book’s original scribe and illuminator. Finally, it traces the book’s ownership back from its acquisition by the John Rylands Library to the viscounts Gage, in whose custody the book underwent a transformation from potentially subversive tool of female devotion to obscure historical artefact.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Abstract only
Joseph Hardwick

This chapter examines how special worship was called and for what reasons. It also explains its longevity. Two broad developments are addressed, both of which bear on two of the key concerns of the book: community and church authority. First, after 1850 special worship in the empire became increasingly fragmented and regionalised. Colonial governments commonly appointed special acts of worship for causes that were specific to their particular colonies, such as droughts and frontier wars. Second, the responsibility for organising and ordering special worship gradually passed from civil to ecclesiastical and other non-state authorities. While the first development – the move towards regional occasions – points to the importance of regional and denominational attachments, the second – the growing visibility of church leaders – suggests the confidence of institutional religion. Though the preponderance of acts of worship called for regional causes indicates that identifications below the level of empires, nations and colonies exerted a powerful pull in the late nineteenth-century empire, developments in communication meant that thanksgivings for royal events, notably coronations and jubilees, were now possible, and could be coordinated at the imperial level by the authorities in church and state in metropolitan Britain. Special worship, then, orientated the inhabitants of empire in several directions, both towards an extended imperial nation, and towards more regional attachments.

in Prayer, providence and empire
Joseph Hardwick

Special worship demonstrates the confidence and authority of institutional churches in nineteenth-century ‘new world’ societies. To evidence this point, the chapter considers how churches responded to, and increasingly initiated, community-wide special occasions of worship. Non-Anglicans and non-established churches observed state days of worship more frequently and readily in settler colonies than they did in Britain, though how churches responded to orders and invitations from states varied considerably, as styles of worship within denominations differed. Indeed, occasions that had once been monopolised by Anglicans took on an ecumenical and multi-denominational character in the colonial world, though this important development, one that reveals much about relationships between churches, occurred at different speeds in Canada, Australia and South Africa. The chapter asks why non-established and ‘nonconformist’ churches were drawn to state-appointed acts of worship; it also considers the encouragement that special worship gave to those who believed the empire could be united by a common national or imperial church: Anglicans in particular felt their church could be the kind of broad-based institution that represented the diversity of a far-flung imperial spiritual community.

in Prayer, providence and empire
Joseph Hardwick

Special worship amplified the communal role of churches and religion: in addition to encouraging and reinforcing denominational identities, fasts, thanksgivings and special prayers could, on occasion, strengthen attachments to alternative ‘we’ and ‘us’ groupings, based on regions and colonies. Special prayers and days nourished a sense of common purpose and shared responsibility among the inhabitants of disparate and diverse colonies and the wider empire. This chapter argues that special worship reflected the complex layers of regional, colonial and imperial denominational identification that developed among the inhabitants of empire. The focus is on how clerical elites articulated these community identifications in their sermons and how understandings of community varied depending on the occasion: though some fasts and thanksgivings orientated colonists towards the mother country and an imperial identity, most occasions were regional events that reminded colonists that their new homes were not Britain and that they, as a community, might be specially favoured and chosen by God. Days of prayer did not make communities; primarily, these occasions reminded individuals that they were social animals, that their lives were bound up with others and that communities shared a past and were recognised by God.

in Prayer, providence and empire
Abstract only
Joseph Hardwick

Colonial special worship in the period between the American Revolution and the Great War displayed considerable diversity and complexity. Multiple strands of special worship coexisted in colonial societies and sometimes such traditions were in tension with one another. Furthermore, special worship might expose the difference between regions and people, and it could inflame sectarian tensions While the conclusion notes these points of contest and divergence, it draws out the convergences in special worship and emphasises unifying themes. Colonial governments, as well as a good proportion of the colonial public, continued to acknowledge that God exercised divine superintendence over nations and the natural world. Such evidence challenges the view that colonies with cosmopolitan populations were ideal locations for the development of post-Enlightenment forms of secularised government. Special worship shows that traditional practices, ideas and institutions played vital roles in the journeys that settler dominions made towards modernity. The conclusion also considers what special worship achieved (for instance in bolstering the confidence and national credentials of an imperial Anglicanism), and the extent to which the traditions discussed in the book evolved in the twentieth century and persist to the present day.

in Prayer, providence and empire