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‘Special worship in the British Empire: from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries’

Hardwick, Joseph; Williamson, Philip

‘Special worship in the British Empire: from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries’ Thumbnail


Joseph Hardwick

Philip Williamson


Across the British empire, public worship was important for sustaining a sense of community and connectedness. This was most evident in special acts of worship, when the peoples of imperial territories, and sometimes of the whole empire, were asked at times of crisis and celebration to join together in special days or prayers of petition or thanksgiving to God. These occasions, ordered by a variety of civil and ecclesiastical authorities, were an enduring feature of all colonial societies from the seventeenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. Although these special acts of worship have considerable potential for deepening our understanding of various themes in the history of the British empire, they have yet to receive sustained analysis from scholars. This article is concerned with the fundamental task of considering why and how special prayers and days of fasting, humiliation, intercession and thanksgiving were appointed across the empire. By focusing on the causes of, and orders for, these occasions, it indicates reasons for the longevity of this practice, as well as its varied and changing purposes.


Hardwick, J., & Williamson, P. (2018). ‘Special worship in the British Empire: from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries’. Studies in Church History, 54, 260-280.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 10, 2017
Online Publication Date May 14, 2018
Publication Date Jun 1, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 21, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 21, 2017
Journal Studies in Church History
Print ISSN 0424-2084
Electronic ISSN 2059-0644
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 54
Pages 260-280


Accepted Journal Article (610 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been published in a revised form in Studies in Church History This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Ecclesiastical History Society 2018.

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