Printed on the English Secret Press at Birchley Hall, Lancashire

SECRET PRESS. RECUSANTS. Anderton, James [pseud. John Brereley] (1557-1613)

The lyturgie of the Masse: wherein are treated three principal pointes of faith. 1. That in the Sacrament of the Eucharist are truly and really contained the body and bloud of Christ. 2. That the Masse is a true and proper sacrifice of the body and bloud of Christ, offered to God by preistes. 3. That Communion of the Eucharist to the laity vnder one kind is lawful. The ceremonies also of the Masse now vsed in the Catholicke Church, are al of them deriued from the primitiue Church. By Iohn Brereley preis [sic].

"Printed at Colen": [i.e. Birchley Hall Press, Lancashire: Roger Anderton?], 1620


Quarto: [6], 9-463, 462-468 Collation: [par.]⁴(-[par.]3) A-V⁴ W⁴ X-2V⁴ 2W⁴ 2X-3K⁴ [3L]² (Complete with blank leaves G1 and [3L]².)

Bound in early 20th c. quarter calf and marbled paper boards. The title is very dusty and has a damp stain; the text itself is in beautiful condition aside from a very light intermittent dampstain, with good margins; the paper is of very good quality and has good rattle. Cruciform printer's ornament on verso of title.

A good, complete specimen of a book printed on a secret Catholic press. The press was located at the Anderton family’s own Birchley Hall in Lancashire and was likely operated by James Anderton’s brother, Roger Anderton, after the former’s death. The press produced books, including three by James Anderton himself, from 1613 to 1621, when the press was seized by the English authorities. (The press is number 18 in the list of secret presses in Allison & Rogers)

The “Lyturgie of the Masse”, which examines and asserts the antiquity of the Catholic Mass, was written in late 1612 or early 1613. “The author’s dedicatory epistle to Prince Charles was almost certainly written soon after 5 November 1612 when Charles became heir apparent.”(Allison)

Why was the book not published during James Anderton’s lifetime? According to Allison (“Who is John Brerely?”, Recusant History (1982), No. 16), the answer might lie in the absence of a secret Catholic press in Lancashire after Anderton returned to Lostock. In fact, there was scant output from any Catholic press in England from 1609 to 1614.

“In the ‘Lyturgie of the Masse’, Anderton aimed at showing how the ceremonies of the Catholic mass were derived from the primitive age of the Church, and in general how the ancient is Catholic and the modern Protestant… He followed his method of defending the Catholic and attacking the Protestant position by means of a skillful selection of quotations from the writings of his adversaries.”(Milward)

Allison & Rogers, Catholic Books, #137; Allison & Rogers, Counter-Reformation, #22; Milward, Religious Controversies, no. 676; STC 3607