Special acts of worship in the
British Isles and the empire
England and Wales
Acts of special worship in England and Wales were normally ordered by authority of the sovereign, exercising, as supreme head (from 1534) or governor (from 1559) of the Church of England, ‘the royal supremacy in matters ecclesiastical’. Only from the 1870s were orders by the crown largely replaced by recommendations from the archbishops.
From the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, many of the occasions in England and Wales were also ordered for Ireland and Scotland, and from 1914 the archbishops commonly acted in consultation with leaders of other churches in England and Wales and in Scotland.
Numerous English (and consequently British) occasions were also observed in imperial territories; these, beginning in 1651, are indicated by symbols within the lists.
To the particular acts of special worship in the lists below should be added the English anniversary commemorations. The first of these was briefly observed during the 1550s, and there has always been as least one since the 1560s. For much of the period from 1660 to 1859, four were observed each year; since 1919 there have been two.
Title page of the form of prayer for diamond jubilee
services 2012 (private collection)