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Anniversary commemorations in the British Isles


Since the sixteenth century, religious anniversaries to mark great public events have been appointed by the church authorities, sovereign, government or parliament for general observance in the kingdoms of the British Isles (and in one case, in London alone). For a long period, England and Wales had four of these commemorations each year, and Ireland as many as five.


Some of the anniversaries were observed by special services, others as special religious days during which work was suspended.


Full details of these occasions will appear in National Prayers volume 4. A basic list in chronological order of their first observance is:



reconciliation with the papacy

England and Wales, 1556–58


accession of the sovereign

England and Wales, 1561 to the present (with intermissions)

Ireland, 1686 to an uncertain date


James VI and I’s escape from the Gowrie conspiracy

Scotland, 1601–25

England and Wales, 1603–25


discovery of the gunpowder plot, and (from 1689) the start of the 1688 revolution

England and Wales, 1606–1859

Ireland, ? 1606–1859

Scotland, 1606–1690


end of the catholic rising in Ireland

Ireland, 1642–1859

restoration of the monarchy, and (1661–84) birthday of Charles II

England and Wales, 1661–1859

Scotland, 1661–90

Ireland, 1662–1859


execution of Charles I

England and Wales, 1661–1859

Ireland, ?1661–1859


great fire of London

London, 1667–?1859


birthday of the sovereign

Scotland 1685–88


remembrance Sunday

United Kingdom since 1919

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