Elizabeth Tyrwhit's Morning and Evening Prayers

In 1574, Christopher Barker published a volume of prayers and poems collected and composed by Elizabeth Tyrwhit, an intimate member of Katherine Parr's circle, governess to the princess Elizabeth, wife of a Tudor court functionary, and a wealthy widow. Later, Tyrwhit's Morning and Evening Prayers was selected by Thomas Bentley to be republished in his 1582 compilation of devotional works, The Monument of Matrones. This volume presents critical, old-spelling editions of both versions of Morning and Evening Prayers. Placing them side by side, Susan Felch discloses that the second version contains nearly a quarter more material that the first, and is organized quite differently. Felch convincingly argues that the additional material and revised arrangement of the longer version are likely copied direct from another, no longer extant authorial version, either printed or manuscript. In the volume's introduction, Felch provides background on Tyrwhit's life and family, including new information unearthed in her research; and sets Tyrwhit's work within the context of sixteenth- century English prayerbooks. Felch here posits that Tyrwhit's reorganization and framing of traditional material indicates her own considerable creativity. The Textual Notes and Appendix A compare the 1574 and 1582 versions and identify the source texts from which Tyrwhit derives her prayers and poems. The edition is completed by an autograph note by Tyrwhit; a discussion of the Tyrwhit family connections, and several versions of the rhymed Hours of the Cross as background to Tyrwhit's rendition entitled, 'An Hymne of the Passion of Christ'.