Special acts of worship in the
British Isles and the empire
The Church of Scotland is a presbyterian church, in contrast to the episcopal established churches of England and Ireland, and until 1707 Scotland had its own separate system of government. This affected the styles of special acts of worship: more often than elsewhere in the British Isles, these could be ordered by church assemblies and by parliament as well as by the sovereign or royal council; and as the Church had no prescribed liturgy, for a long period no forms of prayer were published. Such forms for general use were only introduced in 1914.
Until the political union between Scotland and England in 1707, Scottish occasions of special worship were largely independent of those in England; after the union, while separate Scottish occasions continued, a large number were ordered in tandem with those in England and Wales and in Ireland.
From 1788 until the late nineteenth century, some royal orders for special worship in Scotland were unlike those in England and Ireland in that they explicitly applied not just to the established church, but also to the separate Episcopal Church in Scotland.
Scotland had fewer anniversary commemorations than England, and for a shorter period. As these occasions were from the 1660s to the 1680s entangled with the royal government’s imposition of episcopacy on the Church of Scotland and with its persecution of presbyterian protesters, once presbyterian church government was restored in 1690 their religious observance was either abolished or ignored, although some continued as civil observances. See anniversary commemorations.
Proclamation of a general fast, 8 August 1665 (Harvard Library)