It is well known that, from 1536, parishes were expected to possess a growing number of scriptural and liturgical texts: the vernacular Bible, Book of Common Prayer, the Homilies, Erasmus’s Paraphrases and John Jewel’s Works.2 What is less well-known is that parishes were also regularly expected to purchase special liturgies and occasional prayer books. Supplementing the Book of Common Prayer, these were used to conduct special services either to pray for divine assistance

or to offer thanks for divine intervention in a range of events from domestic or foreign battles to earthquakes and outbreaks of plague. In addition, under ‘An acte for publique thankesgiuing’ in 1606, every parish was expected to mark the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. Elizabeth’s Accession Day and Gowrie Day were not official anniversaries, though the former was widely celebrated from the early 1560s well into the seventeenth century.3 Moreover, both the special and annual liturgies stimulated the production of ‘unofficial’ texts – mainly in the form of individual prayers – which some parishes also purchased voluntarily.4