Anti-Catholic cartography: the Protestant Historical Map of 1932

Published by the Protestant Truth Society in 1932, this large map (measuring 110x82cm) of the British Isles is a powerful piece of anti-Catholic propaganda. It attests to the longevity of the Protestant legends forged in the sixteenth century by such texts as John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments. The sites at which the Marian martyrs suffered for their faith are marked with the symbol of a red flaming bonfire; also highlighted are the locations at which ‘traitor priests’ were executed. Rectangular boxes of text around the edges identify ‘Rome’s Chief Plotters’, justify the persecutory policies of the Elizabethan regime, and describe the conspiracies and invasion schemes devised by the papacy and Spain. The map is infused with a particular animus against the Jesuits (‘the secret highly educated Political Priests of the Church of Rome’), who are accused of ‘Falsifying our National Annals To-day’. A further cartouche reports the rumour that the Irish Catholic Prime Minister of Australia proposes to do away with English Governor Generals. This remarkable confection of patriotism and prejudice was produced to celebrate the defeat of the revised ‘Romanized’ Prayer Book after it was twice rejected by the House of Commons in 1927 and 1928. Perceived as a ‘papistical’ liturgy that sought to reinstate the doctrine of transubstantiation, its repudiation was celebrated by evangelicals as a further victory in the ongoing struggle to defend the legacy of England’s contested Reformation. AW

The Protestant Historical Map of Britain from Wickliffe to the Defeat of the Romanized Prayer Book AD 1374-1927-1928 (Protestant Truth Society, 1932).


Further Reading

Robert Currie, ‘Power and Principle: The Anglican Prayer Book Controversy, 1927–1930’, Church History, 33 (1964), pp. 192–205.

John Maiden, National Religion and the Prayer Book Controversy 1927–1928 (Woodbridge, 2009).

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