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    Deviations of Modern Editions of the 1662 Prayer Book from the Text of the Sealed Books

Deviations of Modern Editions of

the Prayer Book from the Text

of the Sealed Books.


    [Report of the Committee of the Lower House of Convocation of the Province of York. Presented to the House and adopted April 26, 1892.]








This pamphlet summarizes the work of a Commission established to determine if there are significant differences in current (1892) Books of Common Prayer as compared to what was adopted in 1662. The Commission found only a few real deviations from the original 1662 text.

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THIS Committee1 was appointed in 1888 to consider "what deviations are found in the text and punctuation of the present. Book of Common Prayer from the authorized Sealed Books, with a view to their correction," Their report has been delayed until now, by permission of this House of Convocation, in order that collation might be made of the manuscript copy of the Prayer Book signed by the members of the Houses of Convocation, which by being "annexed and joined" to the Act of Uniformity of the 13th and 14th year of Charles II became Statute Law. This was published in facsimile by the Queen's Printer in 1891, and has now been duly collated. The substance of the Report was settled by correspondence — that, from the character of the business, being found the most convenient method; and the Report as now presented was adopted at a meeting held February 22nd. It should be said that Committees with similar object have twice been appointed by the Lower House of Convocation of Canterbury; one, which reported in 1868, to "examine the variations from the Scaled Books which have been introduced by the privileged printers into the Book of Common Prayer," an another, which reported in 1877 and again in 1878, "upon the Punctuation of the Book of Common Prayer." The conclusions to which these Committees came will he referred to in the course of this Report.

In the years 1849-1854 the late Mr. A. J. Stephens, Q.C., published for the Ecclesiastical History Society an edition of the Sealed Book from a collation of eight copies. He states, as the result of his collation of these books with the modern editions of the Prayer Rooks that the variations of the modern reprints from the Sealed Books are to be counted by thousands, or rather tens of thousands; that the three privileged presses have violated the sacred trust that was reposed in them; and that those bodies and printers cannot at the present moment produce a single edition which is in accordance with the Sealed Books. Mr. Stephens lays down that any departure from the orthography of the Sealed Books is illegal; that the punctuation therein found is the only legal punctuation; that the Commissioners appointed to certify these had no right to correct even clerical errors found in the engrossed Book. These statements added to the undoubted facts of the alteration of the rubrics relating to banns of marriage, and that editions very incorrect even in matters of substance had been published in the latter part of the 18th and the early part of the present century, appear to have lent an unpleasant impression on many minds that the modern editions of the Prayer Book are unsatisfactory and unreliable.

It should, however, be remembered that Mr. Stephens was unaware of the existence of the original MSS. of the Convocation Copy and of the Annexed Book, which from about 1819 till 1870 were supposed to be lost.

We possess now, in an exact and easily accessible form, all the recensions of the Prayer Book Text referred to and authorized by the Act of Uniformity. These are—

(1) The Convocation Copy, as it is commonly called. This is a corrected copy of a folio edition of the 1604 Prayer Book, bearing date 1636, with a Psalter and Ordinal of 1639. The alterations and additions are written throughout with a few trifling exceptions by Sancroft's own hand. The alterations are written partly on inserted leaves, partly on the margins and between the lines of the printed edition. This copy was made with the purpose of being sent to the King, and it contains a list of the chief alterations agreed upon (apparently in Dr. Pearson's handwriting) in a convenient form for the King's information. This seems certainly the most authoritative record of the text of the revised Prayer Book as it left the Houses of Convocation, and accepted as such by the Houses of Parliament and the King. It is still preserved in the Library of the House of Lords; a facsimile edition in photozincography was made and published in 1871 by order of the Treasury, at the instance of the Ritual Commission. The text of this Book consists of four parts—

(i) The unaltered portion of the text of the 1604 Prayer Book, as represented by the editions of 1636 and 1639.

(ii) The MS. alterations, additions and omissions from that printed text, as agreed upon by Convocation.

(iii) The Epistles and Gospels, which with the Sentences at the commencement of Morning and Evening Prayer, the Sentences and Lesson in the Burial Service, and the Anthems for Easter Day, are left as in the 1604 Prayer Book, but with marginal directions to the printer to copy the last Translation (1611).

(iv) The Psalter is left as printed in the 1639 edition, without any correction or alteration. It is said in the title page to be "after the Translation of the Great Bible." The Psalms in the Burial Service are also directed in the margin to be taken "from the Service Book."

(2) The Convocation Copy being drawn up in this manner, it was necessary that a formal or "fair copy" should be made, continuous and in extenso, which should be signed by the members of Convocation, and sent by them to the King and the Houses of Parliament.

This "fair copy" is the Annexed Book, with the Epistles and Gospels at length taken from the 1611 version or the Bible, and the Psalter from some reprint, hitherto untraced, of the Great Bible of 1539. It was not taken from the 1539 Book, nor from one of the great editions of 1540, 1541; but it appears to be shown by the titles to the Psalms, which were cancelled, that the edition used was not later than 1580. This MS. is signed by the members of the several Houses of Convocation, and with the Convocation Copy was sent to the King, and forwarded by him to the House of Lords, and by that House to the Commons. It was afterwards attached by strings to the Act of Uniformity, and thereby incorporated with it and made Statute Law. It has now been printed in facsimile by the Queen's Printers and the University of Cambridge.

1 Mr. Prolocutor.
Denn of Carlisle (Dr. Henderson), Convener
Bishop of Beverley (Dr. Crosthwaite).
Bishop of Barrow-in-Furness (Dr. Ware).
Canon Raine, D C. L.
Canon Waite, D.D.
Rev. C. N. Gray.

The Convocation Copy appears to have been written by Sancroft towards the close of the work of revision by Convocation. There are a few corrections in it, made in accordance to the latest revisions, and written by his own hand.

The "Annexed Book" appears not to have been taken direct from the "Convocation Copy," but from some different documents or registers of the work done by the Committee of Bishops and the Houses of Convocation. The earliest part of the record is the uncorrected MS. of the scribe of the book; next in date come corrections in his handwriting from farther revision made before Sancroft's Convocation Copy was begun; lastly, there are the corrections made at the final revision, entered in Sancroft's own hand as he had entered them in the Convocation Copy; after which the two books were taken as identical.

These books passed out of the hands of Convocation on the 20th of December, 1661. It is to be remarked that both were submitted to the King, and sent on by him to the House of Lords, and there is clear evidence that both were before the House when the Revision matter was in debate there. The two books are now together in the Library of the House of Lords.

(3) The next business was to provide for the printing and publication of the new Prayer Book. No doubt it had been intended all along to leave this to the care of Sancroft; accordingly, on March 8th, before the House of Commons had finally accepted the revised Book, Sancroft was appointed to be supervisor of the publication, and Messrs. Scattergood and Dillingham to be correctors of the press. The Act of Uniformity directed that a "true printed copy" of the Annexed Book should be provided at the charges of every Parish Church and Chapelry, Cathedral Church, College and Hall, before the Feast Day of St. Bartholomew in the year 1662. These true printed copies were allowed to be issued by the King's Printers only, to whom Sancroft must have supplied the copy, and whose work must have been corrected by Scatrergood and Dillingham.

The printed edition then is a third authority for the text of the Revised Prayer Book, directly and officially superintended as well as the others by Sancroft, and that deliberately and at comparative leisure, and under no such pressure as that under which the earlier copies were made.

At least five editions of the printed text were issued in 1662 by the King's Printers, four in folio of different sizes and in black letter, and one in small 8vo, in lower case type.

Another edition in small 8vo was printed by the University of Cambridge, but was not allowed to be published until after the Feast of St. Bartholomew. No edition appears to have been printed at Oxford until 1675.


(4) Lastly, the Act of Uniformity had enacted that "to the end that true and perfect copies of this Act and of the said book herewith annexed may be safely kept and perpetually preserved for the avoiding of all disputes for the time to come" that before the 25th of December, 1662, all Cathedral and Collegiate Churches should provide themselves with "true and perfect copies," certified under the Great Seal of England, "to be produced and shewed forth in any Court of Record as often as they shall be thereto lawfully required." Similar copies were also to he supplied to the Courts at Westminster and the Tower of London "to be also produced and shewed forth in any Court of Record as need shall require." Commissioners were to be appointed to examine such copies, which they were to compare with the original book annexed to the Act, and to have power to correct and amend in writing any error committed by the printer in the printing of the said book or anything therein contained. After which done, these books having been sealed, were "to be deemed, taken, judged and expounded to be good and available in law to all intents and purposes whatever, and to be accounted as good records as the book itself hereunto annexed."

Accordingly, the Commissioners appointed for this purpose certify under their hands and seals that they have examined and compared each book with the original, and find it a "true and perfect copy." The purpose, then, which these sealed Books were intended to serve, appears to be strictly for use in the Courts of Law. No directions are given that copies were to be supplied to, of that the corrections therein made were to be followed by the privileged printers; and, as a matter of fact, the corrections of the Commissioners were entirely unregarded in the London editions that followed during at least many subsequent years, and in the earliest Oxford editions. It was never intended that the privileged printers should have access to the Sealed Book, or to the two original MSS. They were confined to their own "copy," as furnished by Sancroft under order of Convocation and the correctors of the Press under Sancroft would see that they did not deviate from it. Their business was to supply, in accordance with the copy furnished to them, "true printed copies" for use in the Churches.

The Privileged Printers had to follow the copy supplied by Sancroft, not the Annexed or the Sealed Books.

The Cambridge printers adopted in their final edition the same text as the London printers used. In their second and third editions they introduced a certain number of the corrections of the Sealed Book, which may have been supplied to them by Dr. Crofts, Dean of Norwich, the chief corrector; certainly, therefore, they considered their action In the matter to be unfettered.

Sancroft, then, who is entirely responsible for the first three named texts, had nothing to do with the Sealed Books; at best they can only be regarded as the Annexed Book at second hand; they ceased to have any importance as soon as access to that authoritative book became free (i.e. in 1891). It may further be noticed that there is not an absolute agreement between the several copies (some 30 in number) of the Sealed Books, as prepared by the clerks of the Commissioners.

If any one of these four documents is to be taken as giving the standard text of "true printed copies" of the Prayer Book, as intended by Convocation and Parliament, it must be the edition printed under the care of Sancroft and his assessors. It is true the Annexed Book is the Statutory text, but the printers had no access to it, nor was any regular collation possible until the facsimile edition of 1891 was issued. It is certain that the Annexed Book was never intended in 1662 to be the standard text of the printed copies.

So much importance, however, has naturally been attached to the Sealed Books as being "a true and perfect copy of the Annexed Book," which was supposed to be lost, that it may be as well to add a few remarks as to the character of this text.

The corrections made in the text of the printed copies submitted to the Commissioners are, with one or two trifling exceptions, correctly made from the Annexed Book; but some obvious errors of that book which had been corrected in the printed edition, are restored. e.g. in the Act of Uniformity of Elizabeth 3, 4, "depraving" the said book is altered to "depriving."

Mistakes, too, in the printed text are left uncorrected and corrections are made which are not authorized by the Annexed Book, e.g. the head-lines from the XIIIth to the XXIInd after Trinity are given as "the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity," &c., instead of "The XIII. Sunday after Trinity."

There appear to be only two alterations noted in the punctuation. In the Apostles' Creed at Evensong the printed edition had "and buried, He descended into hell;" for this the Annexed has "and buried. He descended into hell," This is corrected accordingly to correspond in the Sealed Hooks at Evensong, but not at Matins.

As to the orthography, two words only have been found corrected in the body of the Prayer Book. One in the Gospels in Holy Week, "Cyrenian" for Cyrenean and Cirenean; the other in the Psalter, twice "dearling" for "darling."

There appear to be no corrections at all as to the employment of capitals, of brackets, of contractions, mode of printing references, and the like. The importance of these last observations is this, that they show what amount of accuracy in transcription the Commissioners appointed to collate and correct these Sealed Books considered to be required to constitute them in the terms of the Act of Uniformity "true and perfect " copies of the Annexed Book.
Similarly, by comparing the Printed Edition with the Annexed Book, we ascertain what Sancroft and his assessors, acting under the authority of Convocation, considered to be "true printed copies" of the same book.

And, lastly, by comparing the Convocation and the Annexed Books together, we ascertain what Convocation and the King, and the House of Lords at least, considered sufficient to make the latter a sufficient "copy" of the former for all intents and purposes.


These then being the authorities from which the true text of the Prayer Book is to be ascertained, we may proceed to consider the deviations of the modern editions from them.
(1) In orthography and punctuation.

First, as to deviations of minor importance in matters of orthography or of punctuation and typographical expedients generally — as to all such matters the different texts of 1661, 1662, offer no one standard at all; there is no identity, or attempt at identity, between any two of them; nor is any one consistent with itself; for example, where the same prayers occur twice in the early part of the Morning and Evening Service, and in the Litany as repeated after Morning Prayer and in the Ordination Service, there is no identity of stops, capital letters, or spelling. Each editor and transcriber was left to use his own judgment, and it seems plain that neither those who framed the Statutes which speak of a "true printed copy" and of a "true and perfect copy," nor those who superintended the writing or printing of such copies, understood the words to imply a transcript so literally exact as to preserve unerringly the orthography and punctuation of the original document.

The modern editions differ indeed in these respects very considerably from the Annexed Book and from all the 1662 texts; but these again differ almost as much from each other, and much more considerably from the original document of the Convocation Copy; and, in particular, this book itself has four different standards, that of 1636 and 1639 for the unaltered part of the Services from the 1604 Prayer Book, of 1661 for the Epistles and Gospels, that of 1636 as representing 1540 in the Psalter, and that of 1661 (Sancroft's own) for the MS. alterations and additions, and no attempt whatever is made in it to make the results consistent. As a matter of curiosity and not as affording basis for argument, It may be worth while to note the punctuation found in the authoritative texts in some passages to which attention has at various times been drawn.

In the Convocation Copy, as left standing in the printed text of 1604 — "Our Father which art in heaven"; but in Sancroft's MS. — "Our Father, which art &c."
Annexed Book-No comma.
Printed Ed.-Sometimes with, sometimes without the comma.

C. C. in the printed part — "O God the Father of heaven."
    No comma. So Printed Edition.
Annexed Book—No comma in the Morning Service.
    "O God, the Father" &c., in the Ordination.

Annexed and Printed Ed.—"Two other malefactors." No comma.

Annexed Book — "When he had offered one sacrifice for sin for ever, sat down," &c.
Printed Ed. — "When he had offered one sacrifice for sin, for ever sat down," &c.

Annexed Book—" For thy pleasure they are, and were created."
Printed Ed.—No comma.

C. C., Printed part — "The Table at the Communion time having a fair linen cloth upon it," &c.; and so Annexed Book and Printed Ed.

C. C. Printed part, Annexed Book, Printed Ed.— Spiritual grace, given unto us, ordained.

C. C. Printed part — "Write, From henceforth: blessed are the dead."
Annexed Book — " Write from henceforth, Blessed are the dead."
Printed Ed. — "Write; From henceforth blessed are the dead."


The Committee appointed by the Lower House of the Canterbury Convocation in 1871 reported in 1878 that they had examined throughout the punctuation of some modern Prayer Books, and found it on the whole "either agreeing with the Sealed Books collated by Dr. Stephens, or differing in matters of no importance, or altered for the better." A report is appended from Dr. Jebb, a member of the Committee, who, it is stated, had collated every stop in the Oxford Edition of 1866, and Dr. Stephens' reprint of the Sealed Books. His conclusion is that there is no authoritative standard of punctuation, that there are great differences in this edition between the various occurrences of the same passage in points of punctuation; that the different parts of the edition vary very greatly, using sometimes high pointing, sometimes low, and that the several compositors or correctors of the Book used their own judgment. As to the Oxford Edition referred to, he finds that the punctuation now used, as corrected by Dr. Blayney, is admirable and consistent.

As to Orthography, it is well known how utterly regardless of consistency early writers and printers were, and certainly there is no standard of spelling established by any of the authorities for the text of the Prayer Book. All that the modern printers have done is to take one of the several forms of spelling the same word found in the original books, either as actually occurring, or in rare words as justified by analogy. At the same time it may he questioned on philological grounds whether the form which has survived is always the best. Further, the process has hardly been sufficiently carried out. On comparing the spelling of words in the Prayer Book with that adopted in the Bible, there are still a good many words spelt in these books in more ways than one; and some forms corrected in the Prayer Book are left unaltered in the Bible.

Several words, too, have been allowed to drop out of use (compound words have been replaced by simple, or conversely), and many duplicate grammatical forms still survive.

The present Prayer Books may be said to be most accurately printed according to modern usage in spelling. The only qualification which need be made, is that the Bible and the Prayer Book are not invariably consistent with each other.

An examination of the Title Pages and Tables of Contents will lead us to notice some variations of a different and more important character.

(1) All the 1661-2 books commence with the Act of Elizabeth for the Uniformity of Common Prayer; the Printed Editions add the Act of Uniformity of 1662. The ordinary modern editions suppress one or both of these.

(2) The Convocation Copy in a MS. Table or Contents has— "No. 8, Tables and Rules for the Feasts and Fasts throughout the whole year. No. 9, The Kalendar, with the Table of Lessons," the Tables and Rules being expressly directed by Convocation (p. 49, facsimile edition), to be placed before the Calendar. All the printed Editions of 1662 neglected this direction, and transposed the Calendar and Tables. But the Commissioners for the Sealed Books, following the Annexed Book, cancelled the Table of Contents of the printed text before them, and substituted a new leaf with the Table of Contents, as found in the Convocation Copy. They then shifted the leaves containing the Tables to correspond with this arrangement and had a new leaf printed so as to keep the Ornaments rubric immediately before the "Order for Morning Prayer."

(3) No. 19. "The Catechism, with the Order for the Confirmation of Children" has been subdivided in modern editions into—

1. The Catechism.
2. The Order of Confirmation.

(4) All the books end the list of contents with the Ordination Service, except the Cambridge, which adds "A Form of Prayer for the fifth day of November," "A Form of Prayer for the thirtieth day of January," and "A Form of Prayer for the nine and twentieth day of May:" though the printing of the Services for these days at the end of the Prayer Book are authorized by the Convocation Copy, and the Annexed Book in Sancroft's handwriting, and by the correctors of the Sealed Books, with the note, "The Forms of Prayer for the 5th of November, the 30th of January, and for the 29th of May are to be printed at the end of this Book." These forms of service were accepted by Convocation on April 26, 1662, and are given in full in the Printed Editions. They are not an integral part of the Prayer Book and, it is hardly necessary to say, were very different in their original form from what they afterwards became. The printing the Service for the Accession of the reigning monarch as an annexe to the Prayer Book may perhaps be justified by analogy.

The addition in modern books of the Articles of Religion and the Table of Affinity does not appear to be justifiable, except they are printed as an Appendix with separate Title page.


It should also be noted (1) that the Convocation Copy and all the printed editions have separate Title pages for the Psalter, marking it as "after the Translation of the Great Bible." The Annexed Book and the correctors of the Sealed Books cancel this.

(2) All the books of 1661 and 1662 have a separate Title page for the Ordination Service.

Room may here be found for a few incidental notes. There is some trace of discrepancy in the Doxology of the Lord's Prayer — as, "for Thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory," or, "the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory." In the Convocation Copy in the Morning Service the and is omitted by Sancroft; in the Evening Service it was first written in by him, and afterwards cancelled. In the MS. Forms of Prayer for those at Sea it is inserted. In the printed Edition and the Cambridge the "and" is found in the Morning and Evening Services and not in the Service for those at Sea. It is not found in the Annexed Book.

In the modern editions in the Table of Lessons, "Revelation" is substituted for "Apocalypse," "S. James" for "S. Jacob," and "S. Etheldreda" (Abbess of Ely) for "S. Etheldred."

In all the authorities a strong line of demarcation is set after the Absolution in Morning and Evening Prayer: this should be restored.

In the prayer for Parliament, "Dominions" is substituted for "Kingdoms." This is said to have been done in accordance with an Order in Council, dated Jan. 1, 1801, an order made during the abeyance of Convocation.

In the Convocation Copy and in the Annexed Book, in the Lessons Proper for Holy days, there was given for S. Michael —

"Morning — 2nd Lesson: Acts xii. to v. 20.
Evening — Jude v. 6 to v. 16."

But in the Calendar the Lessons were left as appointed in the 1604 book.

"Morning — Mark ii.
Evening — 1 Cor. xiv."

This survived until the new Lectionary of 1871.

There are a few variations between the modern editions of the authorized Presses as e.g.

xvi. Trin.: Gospel
All Saints
Sexagesima Epistle
in journeying
in journeyings
in journeying

As to the text of the Epistles and Gospels, Convocation ordered that they should be printed "after the last Translation." Any question of text, therefore, in this part of the Prayer Book concerns rather the Bible than the Prayer Book. The whole question of the text of the 1611 Translation of the Bible has been exhaustively treated by Mr. Scrivener in the "Cambridge Paragraph Bible." All that the printers of the Prayer Book seem required to do is to copy correctly the text of the 1611 version. Any added words are italicised in the Annexed Book.


With regard to the text of the Psalter, it may be noted that the Convocation left it standing as it was in the 1639 edition of the 1604 Prayer Book, correcting only the Title page by cancelling the names of the printers. The Title page states that the Psalter is "after the Translation of the Great Bible," i.e. the Bible of 1539, or rather "Cranmer's Bible" of 1540, 1541, &c.. In most of the other places where any Psalms are printed in the Prayer Book, they are directed to be printed "after the Translation in the Service Book".

The Commissioners for the Scaled Books made but few alterations in the text of the Psalms before them, and most of these have been unnoticed by subsequent printers. There is not much variation except in matters of orthography and punctuation, between the Psalter in the printed edition of 1662 and the modern reprints. A few words have dropped out of use, as "courage" and "knowledge," for "encourage" and "acknowledge "; "unpatient" Ps. xcix. 1, and "unperfect," Ps. cxxxix. 15, though it is left standing in the Bible. The S. B. correctors had altered "mowes" into "mouths" in Psalm xxxv. 15, from the Annexed Book, but it survived in the printed editions far into the 18th century.

A collation of the modern text with that of the Editions of the Great Bible issued in 1540, 1541, shows a considerable number of noticeable variations between them (about 100). A large number of these had been made before 1604 (about 66), and some 20 more in the Edition of 1662. The rest have grown up since that time.
The following are some of the most noticeable:—

Ps. xviii. 16 (1541), He shall send down from the height to fetch me." Altered before 1662, first to "from the high" then to "from on high."
Ps. xxiv. 10, "Who is this King of glory?"
    Vulgate — "Quis est iste rex gloriæ?"
Ps. xxxiii. 2. "Praise God with harp, singing psalms," etc.
    Before 1662. "Sing psalms," then "Sing praises."
Ps. xxxv. 16. "Making mowes at me."
    Altered in the Annexed Book.
Ps. xxxviii. 10. "The light of mine eyes is gone from me."
Ps. xlix. 4. "Show my dark speech unto the harp."
    Altered before 1662.
Ps. lii. 4. "Thou hast loved ungraciousness more than goodness." Altered before 1662.
Ps. cii. 6. "I am become like a pelican of the wilderness."
    Altered before 1662.
Ps. civ. 21. " The lions—do seek their meat at God."
    Altered in 1662.

In the Alleluia Psalms there are 18 omissions of the initial or final Alleluia, or Praise the Lord.

One well-known error survived till about 1750. Ps. lxviii. 4. "Praise Him in His Name: yea, and rejoice before Him." The 1539 Coverdale has "Jah" correctly; "yea" took its place in Cranmer's Bible, 1540, 1541.

Possibly Ps. lxxii. 6 is a survival of another misprint of the Great Bible — "In the night I commune with my own heart, and search out my spirits" (? spirit); and Ps. lxxxvii. 4, "Behold ye (?yea) the Philistines also."

But the most important variation of the modern text of the Psalter from that of the Great Bible is in the entire disregard of the brackets and small black letter type, which are preserved in the Annexed Book, but not in the printed Editions. A large percentage of these are represented by modern commas on either side of a vocative case; about 70 mark the additions made in the Vulgate, as taken from the LXX., to the Hebrew text.

In all these cases there is a change of type both in the original Great Bible and in the Annexed Book; so that it would certainly seem, as Bishop Westcott has said, to be "in accordance with the purpose of those who first printed it in this form (i. e. with the notation of the Great Bible though imperfectly given) to distinguish all the additions to the Hebrew text noticed in the Great Bible."


The variations then that have been noted hitherto would, it seems clear, have been regarded by the Convocation of 1661-62, by their Registrar and Editor in chief, and by Parliament, with very few exceptions, as matters of entire indifference; they are almost all to be defended by reference to one or other of the authoritative copies of 1661 and 1662.
Chief variations to this point.

The chief exceptions are—
(1) The omission of the Acts of Uniformity, for which there is no early precedent.

(2) The addition of any documents, as the Articles and Tables of Affinity, as integral parts of the Prayer Book. If these are added, It should be distinctly as an Appendix and with separate Title page.

There remain to be noticed other variations of more or less importance.

(1) The various Tables for finding Easter, etc., were added by Act of Parliament in 1751, upon the change being made from old and new style. — [They appear to contain a material error, upon which see Professor de Morgan in Stephens' Edition of the Prayer Book of the Irish Church, vol. i. p. 57.]

(2) The old Table of Lessons has been cancelled, and the new Lectionary of 1871, as approved by Convocation and authorized by Parliament, substituted.

(3) The omission from the Title page of the words inserted in the early part of this century, The United Church of England and Ireland" and the substitution of the words" The Church of England," happens to be only a return to the Title page of 1661, 1662.

(4) The oaths of allegiance and supremacy are no longer administered during the Ordination Service, and have therefore been removed from the text. The Convocation of Canterbury passed a new Canon in conformity with this Act of Parliament in 1865.

(5) The most serious alteration remains — the alteration of the Rubric relating to the Banns of Marriage.


The Rubric of 1661-2, after the Nicene Creed, as then corrected, runs, "Then shall the curate declare unto the people what holy daies or fasting daies are in the week following to be observed; and then also (if occasion be) shall notice be given of the Communion and the Banns of Matrimony published."

And the first Rubric, as then corrected in the Office for Matrimony — " First the Banns of all that are to be married together must be published in the church three several Sundays or Holy daies in the time of Divine Service immediately before the Sentences for the Offertory," etc.

The Modern Books omit the words in italics in the first Rubric, and substitute for the second — " First the Banns of all that are to be married together must be published in the church three several Sundays during the time of Morning Service, or of Evening Service (if there be no Morning Service), immediately after the Second Lesson," etc.

An Act of Parliament was passed in 1753, by which it was enacted that "all Banns of Matrimony shall be published in an audible manner in the Parish Church — upon three Sundays preceding the solemnization of marriage during the time of Morning Service, or of Evening Service if there be no Morning Service in such church upon any of the three Sundays immediately after the Second Lesson; and all other rules prescribed by the said notice concerning the publication of Banns and the solemnization of Matrimony and not hereby altered shall be duly observed." 4 Geo. IV.

The Marriage Act now in force (4 Geo. IV. c. 76, s. 3) enacts that —

All Banns of Matrimony shall be published in an audible manner in the Parish Church, or in some public chapel, etc., upon three Sundays preceding the solemnization of marriage, during the time of Divine Morning Service, or of Evening Service (if there shall be no Morning Service in such church or chapel upon the Sunday upon which such banns shall be so published), immediately after the Second Lesson — and all other rules prescribed by the same rubric concerning the publication of Banns and the solemnization of marriage, and not hereby altered) shall be duly observed."

The alteration in the Rubrics agreed on by the Convocation of 1661-2, as above given, was made by the Delegates of the Oxford Press upon their own interpretation of the Act of 1753, assuming that the words "immediately after the Second Lesson" applied to the notice to be given at the Morning Service as well as to that given at the Evening Service. They appear to have decided to make this change in 1797, but not to have acted on their decision till 1805 — fifty-two years after the passing of the Act.

Mr. Stephens, in his "Book of Common Prayer with notes." vol. ii. p. 451, goes fully into the question, and urges from the last lines of the Act of Parliament above quoted that the object of the Legislature was to provide for the publication of Banns during the Evening Service in churches where there happened to be no Morning Service — for this was the only thing that required a remedy, inasmuch as no provision had been made by Rubric or by any statute for the publication of Banns at Evening Service — that there was necessity for the statute to interfere with the publication at the Morning Service in the accustomed manner and at the part prescribed by the Rubric; and it is quite sufficient for giving full effect to the statute to construe the direction for publishing the Banns after the Second Lesson with reference to the publication at the Evening Service also. That there can be no doubt that where there are two statutes in pari materia (and the rubric is in fact statute law, as it is obligatory by the Act of Uniformity) the rules of law require that the two statutes should be construed together, and that they should be so construed as if possible to give full effect to each, and not to allow either to repeal or annul the other in any respect, unless the latter statute is plainly and necessarily inconsistent and irreconcilable with the former; in which case alone the older is to be considered to be pro tanto repealed by the more recent.

Dr. Phillimore — " Eccles. Law," 761-763-quotes the decision of Baron Alderson," Regina v. Benson, Oxford Summer Assizes, 1856, taking the same view. Dr. Phillimore's own conclusion is that "it seems that the reasoning of Baron Alderson is well founded."

The Rubric proposed by the Convocation of Canterbury for adoption after the Nicene Creed is — "And then also (if occasion be) shall notice be given of the Holy Communion; and Briefs, Citations, and Excommunications, and other Ecclesiastical notices read."

That proposed by the York Convocation — "And then also (if occasion be) shall notice be given of the Communion, and Ecclesiastical notices read."

For the Rubric at the commencement of the Marriage Service, both Convocations agreed on the same new form: —

"First the Banns of all that are to be married together must be published in the church three several Sundays in the time of Divine Service after the Nicene Creed; or else immediately after the Second Lesson of the Morning or Evening Service, as the Ordinary shall appoint; so that they be published when the most number of the people are usually present.



The conclusion then to which the Committee is led is that, with the exception of the alteration of the rubrics regarding banns, and the printing the Table of Affinity and the Articles as integral parts of the Prayer Book, there are no "deviations" to be found in the modern editions, which are not Justified either directly or in principle by the authorized MSS. or by the Printed Edition of the Prayer Book in 1662.

They have no doubt that "the responsible authorities of 1661 and 1662 would have considered the present editions issued by the privileged Printers to be "true printed copies" of the revised Prayer Book within the meaning of the Act of Uniformity. They have suggested a few points which may be worth consideration by the privileged Printers; but the propriety of adopting these is an open question, and they are clear that with the two exceptions above noticed, no unauthorized change of the text whatever affecting the sense has been made, and that if some settlement were come to as to the rubric for the publication of Banns, and a separate Title page were placed before the Table of Affinity and the Articles of Religion, with a corresponding correction or the Table of Contents, the present editions may be unhesitatingly accepted as "true printed copies" of the Prayer Book of 1662, and having far greater uniformity in the minor points of orthography, punctuation, contractions, and the like than was ever contemplated as necessary by the Convocation and Parliament at the time of the Revision.


February 22, 1892.



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