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

    The Book of Common Prayer - 1559





FIRST, the banes [banns] must be asked thre severall Sondaies or holy daies, in the tyme of service, the people beyng present, after the accustomed maner.
And yf the persons that would be maryed dwell in diverse Paryshes, the banes must be asked in both Parishes and the Curate of the one Paryshe shall not solempnize matrimonye betwyxt them, wythout a certifycate of the banes beyng thryse asked, from the Curate of the other Parysh. At the date appoincted for solempnizacyon of Matrimonye, the persones to be maryed shal come into the body of the Churche, wyth theyr frendes and neighbours. And there the Pryest shall thus saye.

DEARELY beloved frendes, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of his congregacion, to joyne together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is an honorable state, instytuted of God in Paradise, in the time of manes innocencie, signiflyng unto us the mistical union that is betwixt Christ and his Churche: which holy state Christe adourned and beautified with his presence and firste myracle that he wrought in Cana of Galile, and is commended of sainct Paul to be honourable emong all men, and therfore is not to be enterprised, nor taken in hande unadvisedly, lightly or wantonly, to satisfye mennes carnall lustes and appetytes, lyke brute beastes that have no understandyng ; but reverently, discretely, advisedly, soberly, and in the feare of God, duely consideryng the causes for the which matrimony was ordeined. One was the procreation of children, to be brought up in the feare and nurtoure of the Lorde, and praise of God. Secondly, it was ordeined for a remedy agaynste sinne and to avoide fornication, that suche persones as have not the gifte of continencie might mary, and kepe themselves undefiled membres of Christes body. Thirdly, for the mutual societie, helpe, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, bothe in prosperity and adversitye, into the whiche holy state these two persones present, come nowe to be joyned. Therefore if any man can shewe any just cause, why thei may not lawfully be joyned together let hym now speake, or els hereafter for ever holde his peace.

And also speakynge to the persons that shalbe maryed, he shall sale.

I REQUIRE and charge you (as you wil aunswere at the dreadful day of judgement, when the secretes of all hartes shalbe disclosed) that if either of you doe knowe any impedyment, why ye may not be lawfully joyned together in Matrimony, that ye confesse it. For be ye well assured, that so many as be coupled together, otherwyse than Goddes worde doeth allowe, are not joyned together by God, neither is their Matrimonye lawfull.

At whyche day of Maryage, if any man do allege and declare any impediment, why they may not be coupled together in matrymony by Gods law, or the lawes of thys realme, and wyll be bound, and sufficient sureties with him to the parties, or els put in a cautyon to the ful value of suche charges, as the persons to be maryed do susteine to prove hys allegation: then the solempnization must be deferred unto suche tyme as the truthe be tried. If no impedyment be alledged, then shall the curate saye unto the man,

N. WILT thou have thys woman to thy wedded wyfe, to lyve together after Goddes ordynaunce in the holye estate of Matrimony? Wylt thou love her, comforte her, honour, and kepe her, in sickenes, and in healthe? And forsakyng al other, kepe the onely to her, so long as you both shall hve?

The man shall aunswere,

I will.

Then shall the Priest saye to the woman,

N. WILT thou have this man to thy wedded housband, to lyve together after Goddes ordynaunce in the holy estate of matrimony? wilt thou obey hym and serve him, love, honour, and kepe him, in sycknes and in health? And forsakynge al other, kepe the onely to him so long as ye bothe shal live

The woman shall aunswere,

I will.

Then shall the Minister saie,

    Who geveth this woman to be maried unto this man?

And the Minister receivyng the woman at her father or frendes handes, shall cause the man to take the woman by the right hand, and so either to geve their trouth to other, the man first saying.

I N. take the. N. to my wedded wyfe, to have and to hold from thys day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for porer, in sickenes, and in healthe, to love and to cheryshe, tyll death us departe; according to Gods holy ordinaunce, and therto I plight the my trouth.

Then shall they louse their handes, and the woman takyng againe the man by the right hande, shall saie.

I N. take the. N. to my wedded husbande, to have and to holde, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickenes, ad in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us departe, accordynge to godes holy ordinaunce: and therto I geve the my trouth.


Then shall they again louse theyr handes, and the man shal geve unto the woman a ring, laying the same upon the booke, with the accustomed dutie to the Priest and Clerke. And the Priest taking the ryng, shal delyver it unto the man, to put it upon the fourth finger of the womans left hand. And the man taught by the Priest, shal say.

WITH this ring I the wed: with my body I the worship: and with all my worldly goodes, I the endow. In the name of the Father, and of the Sonne, and of the holy Ghost. Amen.

Then the man leavyng the ryng upon the fourth finger of the womans left hande, the Minister shall saye.

O ETERNALL God, creatoure and preserver of all mankynd, giver of all spirytuall grace, the aucthour of everlastyng life: send thy blessyng upon these thy servauntes, thys man and this woman, whom we blesse in thy name, that as Isaac and Rebecca lyved faithfully together: So these persons may surely performe and kepe the vow and covenaunt betwixte them made, wherof this ring geven, and received, is a token and pledge, and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according unto thy lawes, thorough Jesus Christ our Lorde. Amen.

Then thai the Priest joyne their right handes together and say.

    Those whome God hath joyned together, let no man put a sonder.

Then shall the Minister speak unto the people.

FOR asmuche as .N. and .N. have consented together in holy wedlocke, and have witnessed the same before God, and thys company, and therto have given and pledged, their trouth eyther to other, and have declared the same by gevyyng and receivyng of a ryng, and by joynyng of handes I pronounce that thei be man and wife together. In the name of the father, of the sonne and of the holy Ghost. Amen.

And the Minister shal adde this blessyng.

GOD the Father, God the Sonne, God the holy Ghost, blesse, preserve, and kepe you, the Lorde mercifully wyth his favour loke upon you, and so fil you with al spiritual benediction, and grace, that you may so lyve together in thys life, that in the world to come, you may have life everlastyng. Amen.

Then the Ministers or Clerckes goyng to the Lordes table, shall saie, or syng this Psalme folowyng Beati omnes.


BLESSED are all they that feare the Lorde, and walke in his waies.
    For thou shalt eate the labour of thy handes, O wel is the, and happy shalt thou be.
    Thy wife shalbe as the fruitfull vine upon the walles of thy house.
    Thy children like the olive braunches rounde about thy table.
    Lo thus shall the man be blessed: that feareth the lorde.
    The Lorde from out of Sion shal blesse the: that thou shalt see Hierusalem in prosperitie, al thy life long:
    Yea, that thou shalt see thy childrens children, and peace upon Israel.
    Glory be to the. &c.
    As it was. &c.

Psal. cxxviii.

Or elles this Psaime folowyng Deus misereatur.

GOD be mercifull unto us and blesse us: and shewe us the lyght of his countenaunce, and be merciful unto us.
    That thy waie maie be knowen upon the earth: thy savyng healthe among al nacions.
    Let the people prayse the (O God) yea, let all the people praise the.
    O let the nacions rejoyce and be glad, for thou shalt judge the folke ryghteously, and governe the nacions upon the earth.
    Let the people praise the (O God) lette all the people praise the.
    Then shall the earthe bryng furthe her encrease, and God, even our God, shal geve us his blessyng.
    God shall blesse us, and al the endes of the worlde shall feare him.
    Glory be to the Father. &c.
    As it was in the be. &c.

 The Psaime ended, and the man and the woman knelyng afore the Lordes table: The Priest standyng at the Table, and turnyng hys face towarde them, shal saie,

    Lorde have mercie upon us.
    Aunswere. Christe have mercie upon us.
    Minister. Lorde have mercie upon us.

    And leade us not into temptation.
    Aunswere. But deliver us from evil. Amen.
    Minister. O Lorde, save thy servaunt, and thy handmaide.
    Aunswere. Whyche put their trust in the.
    Minister. O Lorde sende them helpe from thy holy place.
    Aunswere. And evermore defende them.
    Minister. Be unto them a towre of strength.
    Aunswere. From the face of their enemie.
    Minister. O Lorde heare our praier.
    Aunswere. And let our crie come unto the.

The Minister.

 O GOD of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, blesse these thy servauntes, and sowe the sede of eternal life in their mindes, that whatsoever in thy holy worde they shal profitably learne, they may in dede fulfil the same. Loke, O Lorde mercifully upon theim from heaven, and blesse them. And as thou diddest send thy blessing upon Abraham and Sara to their greate comforte: so vouchesaufe to sende thy blessing upon these thy servauntes, that they obeiyng thy will, and alway beyng in saufetie under thy protection, may abide in thy love unto their lives ende, throughe Jesu Christe our Lorde. Amen.

This prayer next folowyng shal be omitted where the woman is past chide birth.

 O MERCIFULL Lorde, and heavenly Father, by whose gracious gifte mankynde is encreased, we beseche the assiste with thy blessyng these two persones, that they may bothe be fruitefull in procreation of children, also live together so long in godly love and honestie, that they may see their childers children, unto the thirde and fourthe generacion unto thy praise and honour: through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.

O GOD whiche by thy mightie power hast made all thinges of naught, which also after other thinges set in ordre, diddest appoinct that out of man (created after thyne owne ymage and similitude) woman should take her beginning, and knitting them together, diddest teache that it shoulde never be lawfull to put a sonder those, whome thou by matrimonie haddest made one: O God which haste consecrated the state of matrimonie to suche an excellent misterie, that in it is signified and represented the spiritual mariage and unitie betwixte Chniste and his Churche: Loke mercifully upon these thy servauntes, that both this man may love his wife, accordyng to thy worde (as Christe did love his spouse the Churche, who gave himselfe for it, lovyng and cherishing it, even as his owne fleshe). And also that this woman may be lovyng and amiable to her housband as Rachel, wise as Rebecca, faithfull and obedient as Sara, and in all quietnes, sobrietie, and peace, be a folower of holy and Godly matrones, O Lorde blesse them bothe, and graunt them to enherite thy everlastyng kyngdome: throughe Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.

Then shall the Priest saye,

ALMIGHTIE God, which, at the beginnyng did create our firste parentes Adam and Eve, and did sanctifie and joyne them together in mariage, powre upon you the richesse of his grace, sanctifie, and blesse you, that ye may please hym both in body and soule, and live together in holy love, unto your lives ende. Amen.

Then shal begyn the Communion, and after the Gospel shalbe saied a Sermon, wherin ordinarily (so oft as there is any mariage) thoffice of a man and wife shalbe declared, accordyng to holy Scripture, or if there be no sermon, the Minister shal reade this that foloweth.

AL ye which be maried, on whiche entend to take the holy estate of Matrimonie upon you: heare what holy scripture doth say, as touching the dutie of housbandes towarde their wives, and wives toward their housbandes.
    Saincte Paul (in his Epistle to the Ephesians, the v Chapiter) doeth geve this commaundement to all maried men.
    Ye housbandes love your wives, even as Christ loved the Churche, and hath geven hymselfe for it, to sanctifie it, purgyng it in the fountaine of water, throughe the worde, that he might make it unto hym selfe a glorious congregacion, not havyng spot or wrincle, or any suche thyng, but that it shoulde be holy and blameles. So men are bounde to love their owne wyves, as their owne bodies. He that loveth his owne wife loveth hym selfe. For never did any man hate his owne fleshe, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Londe doeth the congregacion, for we are membres of his body: of his flesh and of hys bones.
    For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shalbe joined unto his wife, and thei two shalbe one flesh. This mistery is great, but I speake of Christe and of the congregacion. Neverthelesse, let every one of you so love his owne wyfe, even as hym selfe.


Psal. lxvii.

    Likewise the same sainct Paule (wrytyng to the Collossians) speaketh thus to all men that be maried. Ye men, love your wyves, and be not bitter unto them.
Collos iii.

    Heare also what saincte Peter Thaposthe of Christe, whiche was him selfe a maried man (saith unto al men) that are maried. Ye housbandes, dwel with your wyves according to knowledge. Gevynge honour unto the wyfe as unto the weaker vessell, and as heires together of the grace of lyfe, so that your praiers be not hyndred.

Hetherto ye have hearde the dutie of the housbande toward the wyfe.

Now likewise ye wyves heare and learne your dutie towarde your housbandes, even as it is plainely sette furth in holy scripture.

i. Pet. iii.
    Saincte Paule (in the forenamed Epistle to the Ephesians) teacheth you thus: Ye women, submit youre selfes unto youre owne housbandes as unto the Lorde: for the housbande is the wyves headde, even as Christe is the headde of the Churche. And he is also the savioure of the whole bodye. Therefore as the Churche or congregacion, is subjecte unto Christe. So likewyse lette the wyves also be in subjection unto their owne housbandes in al thinges. And againe he sayeth : Let the wife reverence her housbande. And (in his Epistle to the Collossians) Sayncte Paule geveth you thys shorte lesson, Ye wyves submitte youre selves unto youre own housbandes, as it is convenient in the Lorde.

Ephe. v.




Col. iii.

    Saincte Peter also doeth instructe you verye godly, thus saiynge, Let wyves be subject to their owne housbandes, so that if anye obey not the woorde, they may be wonne withoute the woorde, by the conversacion [=behavior] of the wyves, whyle they beholde your chaste conversacion coupled with feare, whose apparell let it not be outward, with broided [braided] haire and trymmyng about with golde, eyther in puttinge on of gorgeous apparell, but let the hidde manne whiche is in the harte, be without all corruption, so that the spirite be milde and quiete, whiche is a precious thynge in the sighte of God. For after thys maner (in the olde tyme) did the holy women whiche trusted in God apparell them selves, beynge subject to their owne housbandes, as Sara obeyed Abraham callyng hym Lorde; whose daughters ye are made, doynge well, and beyinge not dismayde with any feare.

The newe maried persones (the same day of their mariage) must receyve the holy Communion.

i. Pet. iii.


Return to the 1559 Book of Common Prayer

Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld