The Book of Common Prayer
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Lyver Pysadow Kemyn (1980)
The Book of Common Prayer in Cornish


Cornish is a Celtic language related closely to Welsh and Breton, and more distantly to Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx. Cornish once was the major language of Cornwall, but, beginning around 1300, it experienced a decline in favor of English. This decline was exacerbated in the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549, when the people of Cornwall and Devon rose against the imposition of the English Book of Common Prayer. Cornish finally ceased to be a living language around the late 1700's. However, since about 1900 Cornish has undergone a significant revival. Today it is recognized as a protected language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The primary modern promoter of Cornish is Keskowethyans an Taves Kernewek/the Cornish Language Partnership, founded in 2005.

This liturgy was published by the Diocese of Truro during the episcopate of the Right Reverend Graham Leonard (1921-2010; Truro 1973-1981). It is, as may be seen in the Table of Contents below, by no means a complete BCP translation, but does contain the main public services.

As is common with revived languages, Cornish orthography (spelling) has evolved in recent years. From the date of this pamphlet, one can assume that it was written in Unified Cornish, and not in one of the newer forms introduced since 1980.

This translation is not listed in David Griffiths’s Bibliography of the Book of Common Payer 1549-1999.

We also have PDF scans of booklets containing the Morning and Evening Prayer services. From the Prayers for the monarch and royal family, it appears that the Morning Prayer booklet comes from early in Queen Elizabeth II's reign (1953-56) and Evening Prayer from late in George VI's reign (1947-52). The Evening Prayer booklet apparently is for a specific occasion, but which one is unknown. There is extractable text for both, but this text has not been proofread and undoubtedly contains some errors. Links to these may be found below.



cover, Cornish prayer book


Comendyans Myttynesow py Gwesperow herwyth dewys
    Introduction to Morning & Evening Prayer
Ordenal Myttynesow
    Morning Prayer
Ordenal Gwesperow
    Evening Prayer
Ordenal Comun Sans
    Holy Communion
Ordenal Complyn

Morning Prayer (PDF, ~1955)
Evening Prayer (PDF, ~1950)  

Welcome sign at Truro Cathedral
Welcome sign in Cornish & other languages at Truro Cathedral


Flag of Cornwall
Flag of Cornwall

The BCP text is reproduced online by kind permission of the current Bishop of Truro. Richard Mammana transcribed the text from a 42-page booklet provided by Thomas Rae.

Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld