Today we highlight a scarce edition of the Book of Common Order, printed in 1561 in Geneva, Switzerland by Zacharie Durand and owned by Katherine Rouse. The book’s extended title is The Forme of Prayers and Ministration of the Sacraments, &c. Sed in the Englishe Church at Geneua & Approued by the Famous and Godlye Learned Man, John Caluin, Whereunto are Also Added the Prayers Which Thei Use There in the French Church. According to Oxford Reference, the Book of Common Order is “directory of worship drawn up by J. Knox in 1556 for the English Protestant congregation in Geneva.” The book, also known as the Order of Geneva or Knox’s Liturgy, was subsequently adopted in 1562 by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and a version is still used in worship today.
Rouse signed the fore edge margin of an interior leaf “Katherine Rouse her Booke” in a hand that appears contemporary to the book.
The book is bound in vellum with a manuscript date “AD 1561” on the front cover and manuscript title “Geneva Prayers” on the spine.
As with most of the women owners featured here, Katherine Rouse has not been identified, but may be related to the Rouses of South Devon who were settled in that area in the sixteenth century.
Source: Book sold by Rainford & Parris Books in April 2020 and now in private ownership. Images used with permission.