C of E logo The Book of Common Prayer
United States England Scotland Ireland Wales Canada World

    The Book of Common Prayer - 1549





First the bannes must be asked three several Soondayes or holye dayes. in the service tyme, the people beeyng presente, after the accustomed maner.

And if the persones that woulde bee maried dwel in divers parishes, the bannes muste bee asked in bothe parishes, and the Curate of thone [the one] parish shall not solemnize matrimonie betwixt them, withoute a certificate of the bannes beeyng thrise asked from the Curate of thother parishe.

At the daye appointed for Solemnizacion of Matrimonie, the persones to be maried shal come into the bodie of ye churche, with theyr frendes and neighbours. And there the priest shal thus saye.

DEERELY beloved frendes, we are gathered together here in the syght of God, and in the face of his congregacion, to joyne together this man and this woman in holy matrimonie, which is an honorable estate instituted of God in paradise, in the time of mannes innocencie, signifying unto us the misticall union that is betwixte Christe and his Churche: whiche holy estate, Christe adorned and beutified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galile, and is commended of Sainct Paule to be honourable emong all men; and therefore is not to bee enterprised, nor taken in hande unadvisedlye, lightelye, or wantonly, to satisfie mens carnal lustes and appetites, like brute beastes that have no understanding: but reverentely, discretely, advisedly, soberly, and in the feare of God. Duely consideryng the causes for the whiche matrimonie was ordeined. One cause was the procreacion of children, to be brought up in the feare and nurture of the Lord, and prayse of God. Secondly it was ordeined for a remedie agaynst sinne, and to avoide fornicacion, that suche persones as bee maried, might live chastlie in matrimonie, and kepe themselves undefiled membres of Christes bodye. Thirdelye for the mutuall societie, helpe, and coumfort, that the one oughte to have of thother, both in prosperitie and adversitie. Into the whiche holy estate these two persones present: come nowe to be joyned. Therefore if any man can shewe any juste cause why they maie not lawfully be joyned so together: Leat him now speake, or els hereafter for ever hold his peace.

And also speakyng to the persones that shalbe maried, he shall saie.

I REQUIRE and charge you (as you will aunswere at the dreade full daye of judgemente, when the secretes of all hartes shalbee disclosed) that if either of you doe knowe any impedimente, why ye maie not bee lawfully joyned together in matrimonie, that ye confesse it. For be ye wel assured, that so manye as bee coupled together otherwaies then Goddes woord doeth allowe: are not joyned of God, neither is their matrimonie lawful.

At which daye of mariage yf any man doe allege any impediment why they maye not be coupled together in matrimonie; And will be bound, and sureties with hym, to the parties, or els put in a caution to the full value of suche charges as the persones to bee maried dooe susteyne to prove his allegacion: then the Solemnizacion muste bee differred, unto suche tyme as the trueth bee tried. Yf no impedimente bee alleged, then shall the Curate saye unto the man.

N. WILTE thou have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after Goddes ordeinaunce in the holy estate of matrimonie? Wilt thou love her, coumforte her, honor, and kepe her in sickenesse and in health? And forsaking all other kepe thee only to her, so long as you both shall live?

The man shall aunswere,

I will.

Then shall the priest saye to the woman.

N. Wilt thou have this man to thy wedded houseband, to live together after Goddes ordeinaunce, in the holy estate of matrimonie? Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honor, and kepe him in sickenes and in health? And forsaking al other kepe thee onely to him, so long as you bothe shall live?

The woman shall aunswere

I will.


Then shall the Minister say,

Who geveth this woman to be maried to this man?

And the minister receiving the woman at her father or frendes handes: shall cause the man to take the woman by the right hande, and so either to geve their trouth to other: The man first saying.

I N. take thee N. to my wedded wife, to have and to holde from this day forwarde, for better, for wurse, for richer, for poorer, in sickenes, and in health, to love and to cherishe, til death us departe: according to Goddes holy ordeinaunce: And therto I plight thee my trouth.

Then shall they looce theyr handes, and the woman taking again the man by the right hande shall say,

I N. take thee N. to my wedded husbande, to have and to holde from this day forwarde, for better, for woorse, for richer, for poorer, in sickenes. and in health, to love, cherishe, and to obey, till death us departe: accordyng to Goddes holy ordeinaunce: And thereto I geve thee my trouth.

Then shall they agayne looce theyr handes, and the manne shall geve unto the womanne a ring, and other tokens of spousage, as golde or silver, laying the same upon the boke: And the Priest taking the ring shall deliver it unto the man: to put it upon the fowerth finger of the womans left hande. And the man taught by the priest, shall say.

With thys ring I thee wed: Thys golde and silver I thee geve: with my body I thee wurship: and withal my worldly Goodes I thee endowe. In the name of the father, and of the sonne, and of the holy goste. Amen.

Then the man leavyng the ring upon the fowerth finger of the womans lef hande, the minister shal say,

Let us pray.

O ETERNAL God creator and preserver of al mankinde, gever of al spiritual grace, the author of everlasting life: Sende thy blessing upon these thy servauntes, thys manne, and this woman, whome we blesse in thy name, that as Isaac and Rebecca (after bracellets and Jewels of golde geven of thone to thother for tokens of their matrimonie) lived faithfully together; So these persons may surely perfourme and kepe the vowe and covenaunt betwixt them made, wherof this ring geven, and received, is a token and pledge. And may ever remayne in perfite love and peace together; And lyve accordyng to thy lawes; through Jesus Christe our lorde. Amen.

Then shal the prieste joyne theyr ryght handes together, and say.

Those whome god hath joyned together: let no man put a sundre.

Then shall the minister speake unto the people.

FORASMUCHE as N. and N. have consented together in holye wedlocke, and have witnessed the same here before god and this cumpany; And therto have geven and pledged theyr trouth eyther to other, and have declared the same by gevyng and receyvyng golde and sylver, and by joyning of handes: I pronounce that they bee man and wyfe together. In the name of the father, of the sonne, and of the holy gost. Amen.

And the minister shall adde this blessyng.

God the father blesse you. small cross God the sonne kepe you: god the holye gost lighten your understanding: The lorde mercifully with his favour loke upon you, and so fil you with al spiritual benediction, and grace, that you may have remission of your sinnes in this life, and in the worlde to come lyfe everlastyng. Amen.



Matrimony, from a 15h C. Pontifical

Then shal they goe into the quier, and the ministers or clerkes shal saye or syng, this psalme folowyng.

Beati omnes. cxxviii.

BLESSED are al they that feare the lord, and walke in his wayes.
    For thou shalte eate the laboure of thy handes. O wel is thee, and happie shalt thou bee.
    Thy wife shalbee as the fruitful vine, upon the walles of thy house.
    Thy children like the olife braunches rounde about thy table.
    Loe, thus shal the man be blessed, that feareth the lord.
    The lord from out of Sion, shall so blesse thee : that thou shalt see Hierusalem [Jerusalem] in prosperitie, al thy life long.
    Yea that thou shalt see thy childers children : and peace upon Israel.
    Glory to the father, &c.
    As it was in the beginning, &c.

Or els this psalme folowyng.

Deus misereatur nostri. Psalm lxvii.

GOD be merciful unto us, and blesse us, and shew us the lighte of his countenaunce : and bee mercifull unto us.
    That thy waye maye bee knowen upon yearth, thy saving health emong all nacions.
    Leate the people praise thee (o god) yea leate all people prayse thee.
    O leate the nacions rejoyce and bee glad, for thou shalte judge the folke righteously, and governe the nacions upon yearth.
    Leat the people prayse thee (o god) leat al people prayse the.. Then shal the yearth bring foorth her increase : and god, even our owne God, shal geve us his blessyng.
    God shah blesse us, and all the endes of the worlde shall feare hym.
    Glory to the father, &c.
    As it was in the beginning, &c.

The psalme ended, and the maune and woman knelyng afore the aulter: the prieste standyng ot the aulter, and turnyng his face towarde them, shall saye.

    Lorde have mercie upon us.
    Answere. Christe have mercie upon us.
    Minister. Lorde have mercie upon us.
    Our father whiche art in heaven, &c.
    And leade us not into temptacion.
    Answere. But deliver us from evill. Amen.
    Minister. O lorde save thy servaunte, and thy hand-maide.
    Answere. Whiche put theyr truste in the.
    Minister. O lorde sende them helpe from thy holy place.
    Answere. And evermore defende them.
    Minister. Bee unto them a tower of strength.
    Answere. From the face of their enemie.
    Minister. O lorde heare my prayer.
    Answere. And leate my crie come unto the.
    The Minister. Leat us praye.
O GOD of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, blesse these thy servauntes, and sowe the seede of eternal life in their mindes, that whatsoever in thy holy woorde they shall profitablye learne: they may in dede fulfill the same. Looke, O Lord, mercifully upon them from heaven, and blesse them: And as thou diddest sende thy Aungell Raphaell to Thobie [Tobit], and Sara, the daughter of Raguel, to their great comfort; so vouchsafe to send thy blessyng upon these thy servauntes, that thei obeyng thy wil, and alwaye beyng in safetie under thy proteccion: may abyde in thy love unto theyr lyves ende: throughe Jesu Christe our Lorde. Amen.


This prayer folowing shalbe omitted where the woman is past childe byrth.

O MERCIFUL Lord, and heavenly father, by whose gracious gifte mankind is increased: We beseche thee assiste with thy blessing these two persones, that they may both be fruictful in procreacion of children; and also live together so long in godlye love and honestie, that they may see their childers children, unto the thirde and fourth generacion, unto thy prayse and honour: through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.
    O God whiche by thy myghtye power haste made all thinges of naughte, whiche also after other thinges set in order diddeste appoint that out of man (created after thine own image and similitude) woman should take her beginning: and, knitting them together, diddest teache, that it should never be lawful to put a sondre those, whome thou by matrimonie haddeste made one: O god, whiche hast consecrated the state of matrimonie to such an excellent misterie, that in it is signified and represented the spirituall mariage and unitie betwixte Christe and his churche: Loke mercifully upon these thy servaunts, that both this manne may love his wyfe, accordyng to thy woord, (as Christ did love his spouse the churche, who gave himself for it, loving and cherishing it even as his own flesh;) And also that this woman may be loving and amiable to her houseband as Rachel, wise as Rebecca, faithful and obedient as Sara; And in al quietnes, sobrietie, and peace, bee a folower of holy and godhye matrones. O lorde, blesse them bothe, and graunte them to inherite thy everlastyng kyngdome, throughe Jesu Christe our Lorde. Amen.

Then shall the prieste blesse the man and the woman, saiyng

ALMIGHTY god, which at the beginnyng did create oure firste parentes Adam and Eve, and dyd sanctifte and joyne them together in mariage: Powre upon you the rychesse of his grace, sanctifie and small cross blisse you, that ye may please him bothe in bodye and soule; and live together in holy love unto your lives ende. Amen.

Then shalbee sayed after the gospell a sermon, wherein ordinarily (so oft as there is any mariage) thoffice of man and wife shall bee declared according to holy scripture. Or if there be no sermon, the minister shall reade this that foloweth.

AL ye whiche bee maried, or whiche entende to take the holye estate of matrimonie upon you: heare what holye scripture dooeth saye, as touchyng the duetye of housebandes towarde their wives, and wives towarde their housebandes.
    Saincte Paule (in his epistle to the Ephesians the fyfth chapter) doeth geve this commaundement to al maried men.
    Ye housebandes love your wives, even as Christ loved the churche, and hathe geven hymselfe for it, to sanctifie it, purgeyng it in the fountayne of water, throughe the word, that he might make it unto himself, a glorious congregacion, not having spot or wrincle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and blameles. So men are bounde to love their owne wives as their owne bodies: he that loveth his owne wife, loveth himself. For never did any man hate his owne flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the lorde doeth the congregacion, for wee are membres of his bodie, of his fleshe, and of his bones. For this cause shal a man leave father and mother, and shalbe joyned unto his wife, and they two shalbe one fleshe. This mistery is great, but I speake of Christ and of the congregacion. Neverthelesse let every one of you so love his owne wife, even as himselfe.
    Likewise the same Saint Paule (writing to the Colossians) speaketh thus to al menne that be maried: Ye men, love your wives and be not bitter unto them.    Coloss. iii.
    Heare also what saint Peter thapostle of Christ, (which was himselfe a maried man,) sayeth unto al menne that are maried. Ye husbandes, dwel with your wives according to knowledge: Gevyng honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as heyres together of the grace of lyfe, so that your prayers be not hindred.   1 Pet. iii.
    Hitherto ye have heard the duetie of the husbande towarde the wife.
    Nowe lykewise, ye wives, heare and lerne your duetie toward your husbandes, even as it is playnely set furth in holy scripture.
    Saint Paul (in the forenamed epistle to the Ephesians) teacheth you thus: Ye weomen submit yourselves unto your own husbandes as unto the lord: for the husband is the wives head, even as Christ is the head of the church: And he also is the saviour of the whole bodye. Therefore as the Churche, or congregacyon, is subjecte unto Christe: So lykewise let the wives also be in subjeccyon unto theyr owne husbandes in all thynges. Ephes. v.  And agayn he sayeth: Let the wife reverence her husbande. And (in his epistle to the Colossians) Saincte Paule geveth you this short lesson. Ye wives, submit yourselves unto your owne husbandes, as it is conveniente in the Lorde. Coloss. iii.
    Saincte Peter also doeth instructe you very godly, thus saying, Let wives be subject to theyr owne husbandes, so that if any obey not the woorde, they may bee wonne without the woorde, by the conversacyon [=behavior] of the wives; Whyle they beholde your chaste conversacyon, coupled with feare, whose apparell let it not bee outwarde, with broyded heare, and trymmyng about with golde, either in putting on of gorgeous apparell: But leat the hyd [hid] man whiche is in the hearte, be without all corrupcion, so that the spirite be milde and quiete, which is a precious thing in the sight of god. For after this maner (in the olde tyme) did the holy women, which trusted in God, apparell themselves, beeing subjecte to theyr own husbandes: as Sara obeied Abraham calling him lorde, whose daughters ye are made, doing wel, and being not dismaied with any feare. 1 Pet. iii.

The newe maried persones (the same daye of their mariage) must receive the holy communion.



Return to the 1549 Book of Common Prayer

Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld