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

    The Proposed Book of Common Prayer (1928)
of the Church of England


Title page of the Book to be Annexed to the Prayer Book Measure (1927)After the 1662 Book of Common Prayer was adopted, there were a number of efforts to revise it, the first being in 1689. Around the turn of the previous century, a serious attempt to produce a new Book of Common Prayer gained fruition within the Church of England, largely due to attempts to settle conflicts between Anglo-Catholics (who wished more liturgical freedom than the 1662 Book allowed) and Evangelicals taking place during the latter part of the 19th century, plus social upheavals after World War I. A draft book was issued by the National Assembly in 1923 (often called "N. A. 84"), followed by several counter-proposals from other groups. Those published included texts from the English Church Union (an Anglo-Catholic group), from a liberal "group of clergy", and from the Alcuin Club, a moderate Anglo-Catholic group. These resulted in several drafts in 1927, of which two are presented here: the "Green Book" (cover at right) of 7 Feb. 1927, and the final draft of 29 March 1927.

This revision of the Prayer Book was basically the 1662 Book with additional newer versions of services, the use of which by Congregations was to be purely permissive. As the Church of England is an Established, or State, Church, approval by Parliament was required for this Book. In spite of the fact that this new Prayer Book was approved by wide margins by both the Church of England Convocations and the Church Assembly, it was voted down by Parliament in December, 1927. Revisions were made in the following year, but these were also rejected by Parliament. Much of Parliament's objections concerned the reserved sacrament, which was allowed in this book for the first time. Some of this can be seen in the many changes made between 1927 and 1928 in the Alternative Order for Communion of the Sick. In spite of Parliament's rejection, use of at least some of the revised services in this book was fairly common in subsequent years.

A slightly expanded version of this history, along with the current legal status of the 1928 Proposed Book and a few of the 1928 services, may be found on the Church of England's web site.

We also have here a pamphlet published by the SPCK, The New Prayer Book Explained, which gives both a history of its adoption and descriptions of the differences between it and the 1662 BCP. Additionally, we have The New Prayer Book, by Arthur C. Headlam, Bishop of Gloucester, which has a fuller description of the changes proposed, and the reasons for those changes; and another The New Prayer Book, edited by H. M. Relton, which is a series of eight essays intended as a persuasive for the proposed new Prayer Book.

Title page of 1928 BCPPerhaps because of this experience, the Church of England since that time has made Prayer Book revision through the introduction of "Alternative" Books, keeping the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as its official Prayer Book. Such books were issued in 1980 (the Alternative Service Book) and in 2000 (Common Worship), and became far more widely used than is the official 1662 Book.

Three texts are presented here. The first is an early draft which was submitted to Convocation in February 1927 ("the green book", the cover of which may be seen above). The second is the final 1927 Draft of 29 March, and the third is the revised Prayer Book submitted to Parliament in 1928 and published by the SPCK (title page at right). Differences between these books are indicated in the text. The books are listed in David Griffiths' Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer as 1927/3, 1927/6 and 1928/6, respectively.

We also have the 1923 Draft, the 1927 Final Draft and the 1928 book published by the SPCK available as PDF graphics files (sizes are 33MB, 51MB and 33MB respectively). There is uncorrected text "behind" the graphics.

In the Table of Contents below, items in grey are unchanged from 1662; those in black are new in 1927, or contain revisions to the 1662 text. Those in red, of course, are links to the 1927 / 1928 texts.





1. The Acts for the Uniformity of Common Prayer 5
2. The Preface  (added in 1927 Final Draft) 18
3. Concerning the Service of the Church 19
4. Concerning Ceremonies, why some be abolished, and some retained 21
5. The Order how the Psalter is appointed to be read 22
6. Proper Psalms on certain days 22
7. Table of Proper Psalms for Sundays and Holy-days 24
8. The Order how the rest of Holy Scripture is appointed to be read 25
9. The Calendar (1662), with the Table of Lessons (1871) 26
10. An alternative Table of Lessons 42
11. The Calendar (1927) 60
12. Tables and Rules for the Feasts and Fasts through the whole Year 72
13. The Order for Morning Prayer  81
14. The Order for Evening Prayer 89
15. An Introduction to Morning or Evening Prayer 95
16. An alternative Order for Morning Prayer 98
17. An alternative Order for Evening Prayer 105
18. The Creed of Saint Athanasius 109
19. A Revised Translation of Quicunque Vult 111
20. The Litany 113
21. Occasional Prayers and Thanksgivings 118
22. The Collects, Epistles, and Gospels, to be used at the Ministration of the Holy Communion, throughout the Year 131
23. The Order of the Ministration of the Holy Communion 219
24. An alternative Order of the Administration of Holy Communion 233
25. The Order of Baptism both Publick and Private 250, 260
26. An alternative Order of Publick Baptism 255
27. The Order of Baptism for those of Riper Years 266
28. The Catechism 272
29. The Order of Confirmation 276
30. An alternative Order of Confirmation 278
31. The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony 281
32. An alternative Form of Solemnization of Matrimony 287
33. The Order for the Visitation of the Sick, and the Communion of the Sick 293, 300
34. An alternative Order for the Communion of the Sick 302
35. The Order for the Burial of the Dead 303
36. An Order which may be used for the Burial of a Child 311
37. The Thanksgiving of Women after Child-birth 314
38. A Commination, or denouncing of Godís anger and judgements against Sinners 316
39. The Psalter 320
40. Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea 321
41. The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons 329
42. An Order for Prime 349
43. An Order for Compline 352
44. A Devotion before the celebration of Holy Communion 356
45. The Collects, Epistles, and Gospels for the Lesser Feasts and Fasts 357
46. Forms of Prayer for the Anniversary of the day of Accession of the Reigning Sovereign (moved to just after the Ordinal in 1927 Final Draft) 366
47. The Form and Manner of Making of Deaconesses (removed in 1927 Final Draft) 371
An Exhortation (added in 1927 Final Draft)  
Articles of Religion  
Tables of Kindred and Affinity  
Proposed Rules Concerning Reservation (appears in my copy of the 1927 Final Draft only)


Pagination is that in the Green Book.

Download PDF versions of the 1927 Final Draft and the 1928 Book.


Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld