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“Laud’s Liturgy”: The Book That Sparked The Scottish Revolt Of

1638 And Helped Precipitate The English Civil War


The Booke of Common Prayer,

and Administration of the Sacraments.

Edinburgh, 1637, 1636. Quarto,

early 19th-century full polished paneled tan calf gilt rebacked with origi-

nal spine laid down.


First edition of the first Scottish Book of Common Prayer.

The violent

reaction to the attempted introduction of the book in 1637 led to its

immediate, if temporary, suspension, and initiated a series of events that

led ultimately to civil war and the downfall of a King.

“In the 1630s events in the Scottish Church moved towards crisis...

Matters came to a head in 1637 with the attempted introduction of a

Scottish Book of Common Prayer… It takes a higher view of church

practice than its English counterpart… Its attempted introduction

at St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh on July 16, 1637 ended in riot, and

the Scottish Council promptly suspended the book” (

Aspects of the

Western Religious Heritage

25). Charles I overrode the Scottish Council,

insisting on enforcement of the Scottish prayer book. His order began

the chain of events that led to his downfall and eventual execution;

in February 1638, Scottish committees which had formed to protest

Laud’s Book of Common Prayer convened to sign the National League

and Covenant, repudiating royal authority in Scotland. Two years lat-

er the English parliament was recalled, and by 1642 the English Civil

War had begun. Without two suppressed leaves of “Certaine Godly

Prayers” ([R7]-[R8]), almost never present. Near-fine.