Certain sermons or homilies appointed to be read in churches in the time of Queen Elizabeth of famous memory: and now thought fit to be reprinted by authority from the Kings most Excellent Majesty



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Folio. [386 of 388]pp., lacking the title, preliminary leaves, final text leaf and the final two leaves containing the Thirty-nine articles. Grubby browned and with some paper repairs to the edges of a number of leaves, title-page replaced in 18th-century manuscript "Book of Homilies" (now backed on new thicker paper and with large pieces of the original paper torn away), small portion of the original blank leaves still intact preserving some manuscript ownership notes and pen trials (also backed on thick new paper). 17th-century calf, covers panelled in blind, remains of an early metal loop for a chain still attached to the upper board (rebacked, corners and edges repaired, new endleaves and pastedowns).


[?Oxford: ?Thomas Guy, 1683)

Probably Wing C4091H but there are numerous editions and settings throughout the period.


"Repeated and read again": A much-used copy from a chapel in Cheshire with the hasp for a chain still attached to the upper board.


"Also because, through lack of preachers, in many places of the King's realms and dominions, the people continued in ignorance and blindness, all parsons, vicars, and curates, shall read in their churches every Sunday, one of the homilies which are and shall be set forth, for the same purpose, by the King's authority, in such sort as they shall be appointed to do in the preface of the same" (Foxe).


The Homilies, along with the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer and Foxe's Book of Martrys would have been "set forth" in almost any church in England in this period and the preface (now missing in this copy) states that the book should be read when there is no sermon and that "when the foresaid Book of Homilies is read over...the same be repeated and read again". The words, instructions and sentiments of the Homilies would have been familiar to almost every person in the country. The present copy shows signs of repeated hard usage and the pages lacking at the beginning and end are testament to the fact that it must have been opened and consulted thousands of times. The makeshift manuscript title-page show how it remained a vital text to be preserved, the numerous inscriptions highlight the totemic quality of the book (much like a family Bible) and the remains of an early chain hasp give us a clue to how the book may have been displayed publicly.


Provenance: A fragment of an early flyleaf has been retained with an inscription "I William Wilkinson entered to be clark of Churton heath chappel september 24. 1710". Another flyleaf at the end has numerous pen trials and inscriptions by William Wilkinson and Martha Wilkinson. Churton Heath is a small village near to Bruera in Cheshire. The chapel is most likely St Mary's Church, Bruera which serves a number of the smaller villages in the surrounding area. 


Stock Code: 227650

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