14 September 2022


 The "Non-Jurors" were those clerics and laics of the Church of England who, having sworn an oath of allegiance to (the still living) King James VII and II, refused to disregard it by swearing a new oath to the Calvinist intruder William Prince of Orange after he invaded this country in 1688. They were accordingly evicted from their livings but maintained that they remained the true, if persecuted, Church of England for much of the 18th century. Many of them were Jacobites.

Some of them stuck rigidly to the then current Book of Common Prayer; others, more Catholic minded, deemed themselves to have the right to catholicise (often from Eastern sources) their worship. These latter were known as the Usagers.The Usagers issued, in 1720 (NS), their own Prayer Book. Certain features of this (especially its Eucharistic Order) are known and publicly accessible; but I do not know that the whole book is. One copy I have examined is in the 'Sion College' Library, ARC A 35 1b N 73.

A problem arose, of course, with regard to the State Prayers, which could not be used as they stood by those who denied that "King George" was their true Sovereign.

Thus, after the end of the Divine Office, "A prayer for the King's Majesty" included the words " ... behold our most gracious Sovereign Lord King George ...". This, obviously, could not be used by those who regarded the exiled King James VIII and III as their lawful king.

They therefore, changed it to "behold our most gracious Sovereign Lord the King". 

In "A prayer for the Royal Family", the Non-Jurors were able simply to delete the entire list of members of the Hannoverian family, and to pray " ... bless all the Royal Family ... ".

In the 19th and 20th centuries, things were made more complicated by the fact that the de facto sovereign (e.g. Victoria) was often of a different gender than the King Over The Water.

For the minute group who still preserved this ancient loyalty, the same problem remained because the King de jure (Francis of Bavaria, direct heir of the exiled Stuarts) was of the opposite gender from the Queen de facto, Elizabeth, direct descendant of George I of Hannover.

There was faintest, imperceptible, batsqueak echo of this old history last Thursday when Mgr Newton, before Evensong in Warwick Street, announced the news that Queen Elizabeth had died; and that therefore, the officiant would be singing O Lord, save the King.

(After James III and VIII died in 1766, his de jure successor was, of course, the de jure King Charles III, who 'reigned' until his death in 1788. I haven't seen this little historical whimsy mentioned in recent newspapers.)


Joshua said...

After the sad news of Her Majesty's death, a silly rumour spread online to the effect that when, on Sunday, the Governor of Queensland would proclaim the accession of King Charles III, Her Excellency would also announce the consequent renaming of the State to Kingsland. No one seemed to realize that that State hadn't changed its name in 1901 nor reverted to its first title in 1952. Every QC has changed to KC, we shall observe the King's Birthday henceforth, but the State remains Queensland.

(Between 1912 and 1913, there was a proposal to rename the Northern Territory of Australia "Kingsland" in honour of George V, but nothing came of it. Perhaps when His Majesty deigns to travel Down Under to his southern realms?)

Today one hapless Victorian politician managed to name King Arthur as one of the royal forbears of Elizabeth II, in a perfervid outburst of royalist devotion – though he has since corrected that name to the more plausible Alfred; if only he had followed Geoffrey of Monmouth in tracing the blood royal back through Brutus of Troy to Æneas, whose mother was the goddess Aphrodite!

Richard said...

I wonder why you use the word'gender' for people's sex. So unlike you to follow the latest fad.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. In the 19th and 20th centuries, things were made more complicated by the fact that the de facto sovereign (e.g. Victoria) was often of a different gender than the King Over The Water.

People have sex language has gender. God created two sexes, the faithless (Gnostics) speak about many genders.

This may seem a trifling objection but it is not helpful to use the language of our enemies

Expeditus said...

I mentioned it in my recent letter to the Times about possible regnal names. They edited out my suggestion of Philip II as a gesture to the memory of the (then future) king's father.

Pete said...


"God bless the King! God bless the faith's defender!
God bless, no harm in blessing, the Pretender.
But who pretender is, and who is king,
God bless us all, that's quite another thing."

Banshee said...

People have sex, but language has gender. Father was speaking about the vagaries of wording, which necessarily involves a choice between the words "king" and "queen," as well as the gendered language difference between he and she, him and her.

Overcorrection is just as bad as swerving left on purpose.

Will said...

@Richard and Mr Mosque : I took that (perhaps wrongly) to be conscious irony.

Irony can be such a hard thing to judge. (Particularly in a transpontine context. I gather Mr Mosque is a resident of the former colonies; I don’t know about Richard.)

PDLeck said...

I am not sure, Father, why you maintain the idea that the true monarch of the UK should be a descendant of James II. We could equally argue that he would never have been king if Henry Tudor had not overthrown Richard III and argue a Plantagenet monarch should be on the throne. We could venture further back and argue a descendant of Harold II should be monarch as he was killed by the invasion led by William the Conqueror (among less polite names).

One person suggested that the new king could have chosen the regnal name of Philip II. However, as we have never had a previous king called Philip he would have to have been Philip I.

Expeditus said...

Pace PDLeck, Mary Tudor's husband was a joint monarch with his wife and so Philip I!

Joshua said...

PDLeck seems to have forgotten King Philip I, husband of Queen Mary I, who reigned in England alongside her, the Queen regnant, as co-monarch, King regnant, jure uxoris (by right of marriage, granted by Act of Parliament), from 1554 to 1558.

If only Divine Providence had smiled on his holy endeavours to deliver England from heresy, if only the Armada had succeeded, if only he had retaken the English throne in 1588, having deposed its unworthy occupant - he would have been known to a grateful posterity as King Philip the Conqueror. But what never happened cannot now ever be, and we must bow to the Will of God.

Joshua said...

If only Elizabeth I had accepted the offer of marriage that Philip made her after the death of Mary...

Percy said...

Perhaps the very reason Charles III has taken Charles as his regnal name instead of George VII was to put throttle on Bonnie Prince Charlie's pretence?