National Religion and the Prayer Book Controversy, 1927-1928

National Religion and the Prayer Book Controversy, 1927-1928

John Maiden

This study provides new insights into the history of Anglicanism, Nonconformity and ideas of English and British identity between the two world wars.
This is the first full length examination of a defining moment in the history of the Church of England in the twentieth century: the Prayer Book controversy of 1927-28. It argues that conceptions of national religion were influential in the debates surrounding liturgical revision, showing in particular how ideas of Protestant national identity clashed with both liberal Anglican and moderate Anglo-Catholic conceptions of Church and nation. It shows how the Church of England retained a significant position in national life in the interwar period; however, it also argues that the resilience of the anti-Catholic mindset amongst many Anglicans and Free Churchmen meant that the exact nature of the relationship between religion and nation was hotly contested.

This study sets the Prayer Book controversy in the context of early twentieth century British religious history, providing important insights into the history of Anglicanism, Nonconformity and ideas of English and British identity during the period.

JOHN G. MAIDEN is a Research Assistant at the Department of Religious Studies, The Open University.

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Table of Contents

Liturgical Revision and National Religion
Diversity and Discipline: The Church and the Prayer Book
Peace and Order? Anglican Responses to Revision
Church and Nation: Anglicanism, Revision and National Identity
Citizens and Protestants: The Denominations and Revision
Nation and Religion: Revision and Parliament
Change and Continuity: Religion and National Identity in the 1920s


Succeeds in bringing fresh insight. ANGLICAN THEOLOGICAL REVIEW, Winter 2012

It is an excellent monograph, attractively written, and breaks new ground. [...] Those concerned for the place of the Christian faith in public life today would benefit from careful reflection on this stimulating historical study. CROSSWAY

[A] well-written and timely monograph. TWENTIETH CENTURY BRITISH HISTORY

A well researched and coherently argued piece of scholarship. ECCLESIASTICAL LAW JOURNAL

An important contribution to growing revisionist historiography of British religion in the early twentieth century. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES

This is a readable, well-researched and well-argued contribution to the rapidly expanding literature re-centring religion in the history of British national and regional identities over the last two hundred years. ANAPHORA

This well-constructed book most helpfully provides all the details of the varying concepts of what comprised national religion at the time. JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY

Commendable for its insight, especially in recognizing the pivotal role played by the laity within the contemporary political climate. This excellent study helps bring the interplay between national religion and liturgical revision efforts in the twenties into sharp focus. ANGLICAN AND EPISCOPAL HISTORY

John Maiden's monograph fills a gaping lacuna [and is] a useful work on the context of the Prayer Book the Church of England never had. JOURNAL OF THEOLOGICAL STUDIES
Maiden is to be congratulated on a fine piece of research that not only illuminates an episode in English church history but also offers an important contribution to the burgeoning debate about religion and the construal of national identity. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW
Formidably academic in tone, but , none the less, agreeably readable. It is likely to appeal chiefly to those still fascinated by such controversies of the past. THE CHURCH TIMES

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