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    A New History of
The Book of Common Prayer




IT was not until the latter years of the reign of Henry VIII., when the reform movement was beginning to attract more attention in England, that the desire for some reformation of the public services came into prominence,

Abroad for some time previous to this, liturgical innovations and experiments had been going on. Luther had begun in 1523 and published his’ first attempts at liturgical revision1 and so inaugurated a long series of Lutheran ‘Kirchen-Ordnungen,’ which were schemes of service rather than Service-books pure and simple. But similar questions were being raised among the Catholics as well as among the Lutherans, and it is necessary to take special account of two foreign reforms which were not without bearing on the course of events in England. One of these was simply Catholic from beginning to end, while the other marks the transition from Catholicism to Lutheranism.

Previous chapter


Foreign Reforms.

After an abortive attempt to revise the Roman Breviary in the interests of Humanism, Clement VII. entrusted to Francis de Quiñones, a Spanish Franciscan and Cardinal of the Holy Cross, the task of bringing back the Canonical. Hours to their ancient form and removing difficulties and prolixities, with the object of recalling the clergy to their neglected duty of saying the Office. After five or six years, the first text of Quignon’s Breviary was published in 1535 and after six editions had been issued and had stood a hot fire of criticism, a revised form was published in 1537 which enjoyed considerable popularity. The method of reform was drastic: the psalter was rearranged entirely, the lessons were reduced to three, the first from the Old Testament, the second from the New Testament, the third a Saint’s life, a homily or a passage from the Epistles or Acts of the Apostles. Everything was sacrificed to secure continuity in singing the psalter and reading the Bible. The bare simplicity of the first edition was a little relieved in the second text, e.g. by the reinstatement of antiphons; but though the new Breviary was welcomed by busy clergy and did something to recover the private recitation of the Office, its fate was sealed. It savoured too much of the reformed ideas: it had gone too far and too wantonly away from the old paths, and when it began to penetrate into choir and be publicly recited in church, this, which was never intended, gave it its death-blow, and in 1558 a papal rescript decreed that there was no longer any reason for allowing it to be printed.2
Quiñones’ Breviary.
The second step in liturgical reform is that of Hermann von Wied, Prince Archbishop of Cologne, who, after leaning for some time in the direction of reform,3 made a definite move in 1542 towards reformation; on his initiative a scheme was drawn up and submitted, not only to the Landtag at Bonn in that year, but also to the leading German divines of the Lutheran party.4 As the basis of the liturgical revision the authors took the Kirchert-Ordnung drawn up in 1533 mainly by Osiander for Brandenburg and Nürnberg5; and as a result of the work of Martin Butzer (Bucer), with the help of Melancthon6 there was published in 1543 the book best known as Hermann’s Consultation.7 The greater part of the book was doctrinal, but half way through the iscussion of the Sacraments begins, and forms more or less complete are given incidentally for Baptism, Confirmation, The Lord’s Supper, Visitation and Communion of the Sick, Marriage and Burial. The whole movement at once met with great opposition, The Consultation, as a scheme of service, never was in use: a reply entitled Antididagma was issued by the Chapter: Hermann himself was excommunicated in 1546, and though at first supported by the Emperor against the Pope for political purposes, he was deprived in 1547, and lived in retirement until his death, August 15th, 1552.8

These two attempts, abortive though they may seem, were not without their influence on the course of events in England. The reformed Breviary, at any rate in its earlier shape, was before Cranmer, and left its mark upon the Prayer Book; and while some of the’ liturgical forms inserted into the midst of the doctrinal statements which formed the bulk of the Consultation influenced parts of the services of the Holy Communion and of Holy Baptism, the influence of the Antididagma was also great. Thus it is well to notice whatever there was of external influence, which had any effect from abroad, before coming to consider the course of the history of the Prayer Book at home.

Hermann’s Consultation.
The English liturgical reform was preceded by fresh efforts to make the Bible accessible in the mother tongue. On December 19th, 1534, the Convocation petitioned Henry, amongst other things, to make provision for an authorised English version of the Bible9; and in 1536, in a Proclamation for Uniformity in Religion,10 issued shortly after the appearance of Coverdale’s Bible (October, 1535), the King, though maintaining that he is not compelled by God’s Word to set forth the Scripture in English, yet ( of his own liberality and goodness was and is pleased that his said loving subjects should ·have and read the same in convenient places and times.’ In Sept. 1538 Cromwell, as the King’s Vicar-General, issued Injunctions.11 which direct a ’ Bible of the largest volume in English: to be set up in some convenient place in every church, where it might be read, only without noise, or disturbance of any public service, and without any disputation, or exposition,12 they also make special provision that the people shall be taught the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments in English. In 1542 a proposal was laid before the southern Convocation by Cranmer to amend the Service-books and to discontinue the dressing of images and setting up lighted candles before them.13 A new edition of the Sarum Breviary14 was issued at this time bearing the clear marks of the breach with Rome, and. it was further determined that no other Breviary should be used in the province of Canterbury.15 At the meeting of Convocation in 1543, the Archbishop signified that it was the King’s will that there should be a further reformation of the Service-books;16 a committee was appointed for the purpose, and ‘it was ordered also that every Sunday and holy-day throughout the year the curate of every parish church, after the Te Deum and Magnificat, should openly read unto the people one chapter of the New Testament in English without exposition; and when the New Testament was read over, then to begin the Old.’ Thus the first step was taken towards liturgical reformation by introducing the reading of Scripture in English into the public service of the Church: and this was done by the authority of the House of Bishops in Convocation, who had also received the proposal to correct the Service-books. The way was thus prepared for the further substitution of English for Latin in the prayers. The first change in this respect was made in the Litany. This form of petition, used in solemn processions, had been in the hands of the people in their own tongue in the Primer certainly for a hundred and fifty years; but in 1544 circumstances led to the issue of an official version of the Litany in English.

Changes in the Services under Henry VIII.

The English Bible.

The English Litany.



The King had issued a letter on August 20th, 1543, desiring ‘general rogations and processions to be made’ owing to the rain and bad weather; other troubles, such as war and pestilence, were also pressing upon people both at home and abroad. The people responded but slackly, and this slackness was put down partly to the fact ‘that they understode no parte of suche prayers or suffrages as were used to be songe and sayde’: consequently (June 11th, 1544) there were ‘set forthe certayne godly prayers and suffrages in our natyve Englishe tongue’;17 to this ‘Letanie with suffrages to be said or songe in the tyme of the said processyons’ there was prefixed ‘An exhortation unto prayer, thoughte mete by the Kinges Maiestie and his clergy to be read to the people in every church afore processyons.’18 This litany represents the present English Litany in its actual form, with the exception of three clauses of invocation, and very nearly in its present words.19 The work was no doubt done by Cranmer, and was probably his first essay in this direction. All the other parts of divine worship continued to be celebrated according to the several books and uses which have been noticed. It is important, however, to consider the relation of reform to the books of private devotion, and especially to call attention to the King’s Primer, which was issued about the same time as the Litany. This was not by any means the first occasion on which the influence of the reformed views was brought to bear upon the Primer. A popular book of this nature was especially liable to such influences, and as early as 1530 complaints were made of the orthodoxy of certain Primers.20 Four years later a far greater measure of innovation came in with the first edition of Marshall’s Primer, which, while keeping in general to the traditional form, contained no Litany or Dirige (i. e. Mattins·of the Dead), and introduced a new spirit in the various exhortations, expositions, and prayers which it included. The omission of the Litany and Dirige caused so much protest, that in the. second edition in 1535 they were restored, with an explanatory and unconciliatory preface prefixed to each.21 Four years later more official action was taken when, under the authority both of Cranmer as Archbishop and of Cromwell as Vicegerent to the King, Bishop Hilsey’s Primer was issued, which in some respects carried innovation a step in advance of Marshall’s Primer.22 Shortly after this, about the year 1541, the King began to exercise some modifying influence on the Primers, and this led up to the issue, in 1545, of King Henry’s Primer,23 which quickly brought to an end the series of Primers of the old type.24 This included the new form of Litany as issued in the previous year, with revised forms of the Hours of Our Lady and the Services of the Dead, besides other prayers both old and new. Here for the present things rested, both with regard to public and private worship. But meanwhile other changes were being prepared.

The Revised Primers.












and Henry’s Primer.




There is no sign that the committee nominated by Convocation ever set to work, but it is clear that Cranmer, perhaps with Heath and Day, the Bishops of Worcester and Chichester, and others appointed by the King,25 was busying himself with experiments in the reform of the Service-books. His earliest extant Draft follows the lines of Quignon in keeping the ancient seven Hours of prayer and the Latin tongue throughout: it was therefore probably earlier in date than this action of Convocation: it did not touch any services except those of the Hours, and as it never saw the light it had no overt influence upon them.26 Another abortive attempt besides this First Draft was the document known as the Rationale, or explanation of the ceremonies to be used in the Church of England: This dealt with all the old ceremonies, and probably was drawn up by the commission appointed by the King in 1540.27 A second Draft of revised services marks a considerable step forward: the Hours were reduced to two, but Latin was retained throughout except in saying the Lord’s Prayer and in reading the lessons. This second Draft seems to date from the latter years of Henry VIII. or the opening months of Edward VI.28

Experiments in Reform.


Cranmer’s First Draft


The Rationale.



Second Draft.



It is clear also that further experiments in English services were being made. Soon after the publication of the Litany, Cranmer was busying himself with a translation of the Processional as a whole, and after making some experiments with a free hand, both as translator, adapter and reviser, he sent them to the King (with further proposals as to the nature of the musical reform as he conceived it.29 The whole appears to have come to nothing for the moment, though it to some extent foreshadows what was to come.
The Processional
Edward VI. came to the throne on January 28th, 1547, and signs of change were soon evident. Liturgical innovations were carried forward, and Compline was sung in English in the Royal Chapel on April 11th, 154730: there are some traces also of other experiments in English adaptations, not only of the Hours, but also of the Liturgy.31
Changes under Edward VI.
In July, the First Book of Homilies was issued, and thus provision was made for a scriptural instruction of the people, that should be independent of the opinions of the parish priests; and a standard was set for the work of preaching, which, though under great restrictions, was being encouraged everywhere.32 In the following month the Royal Injunctions were issued with the Articles of Enquiry for the Royal Visitation: both these plans were carried out by the Council acting for the Crown, and overriding episcopal authority. The Injunctions were based upon the Cromwellian Injunctions of 1536, but went much further. They demanded that, not only a Bible, but also a copy of the ‘Paraphrasis of Erasmus also in English upon the Gospels’ should be set up in the churches, and further that the clergy should possess these, study them, and be examined in them by the Bishops. Among the new provisions was an order for the reading of one of the homilies every Sunday; and besides the old provision for one chapter of the New Testament to be read at Mattins, and at Evensong one chapter of the Old Testament33 on every Sunday and Holy Day, the custom was now made general that the Epistle and Gospel at High Mass should be read in English. To make room for the chapter of Scripture a further change was directed ‘that when nine lessons should be read in the Church, three of them shall be omitted and left out with their responds; and at Evensong time the responds with all the memories shall be left off for that purpose’: and to make room for the sermon or homily it was ordered that ‘the Prime and Hours shall be omitted.’34 The English Litany was appointed to be said or sung by the priests and other of the choir kneeling in the midst Of the Church immediately before High Mass, and this was to take the place of all the old processions. A new form of Bidding prayer was appended following upon the changes which Henry had already made in this form.35 In the course of the Royal Visitation, further alterations were introduced, e.g. at Winchester Cathedral sequences were abolished: at Lincoln and York no anthems were to be allowed but those of our Lord, and they in English, set to a plain and distinct note, for every syllable one: and the public recitation of the Hours of the Blessed Virgin and of ferial Dirges was also abrogated.36
Homilies and Injunctions.
These innovations were all made without reference to Parliament. or Convocation: a second stage in the development began ‘when these bodies met in the beginning of November, 1547. At the opening Mass on November 4, the Gloria in excelsis, Credo and Agnus were all sung in English,37 and among the earliest business of Convocation was a petition to the upper house from the lower house ‘that the work of the Bishops and others who have been occupied, in accordance with the command of Convocation, in examining, reforming and publishing the Divine Service, may be produced and submitted to the examination of this House,’38 It does not seem to have led to any definite result, nor was Convocation more fortunate in the claim which it made to discuss and settle itself, ‘such matters as concerneth religion.’ On the other hand, at the sixth session (December 2nd), the proposal for communion under both kinds was approved nullo reclamante, and already a bill was on its way through Parliament which included a provision to the same effect,39 so that this change was brought about by consent of Church and State. After this, Parliament and Convocation were prorogued, and the innovations enter upon a third stage, when again they are controlled by secular authority.

Action of Convocation and Parliament


concerning Divine Service


and Communion.





Early in 1548 (if not before the end of 1547) questions were submitted to the Bishops with a view to changes in the Liturgy: their answers show, among other things, some hesitation as to the expediency of saying all the Mass in the vulgar tongue,40 and this no doubt was not without its influence upon the next step taken in liturgical innovation. It was urgent that some provision should be made for the carrying out of the direction for communion in both kinds; the work was entrusted to ‘sundry of his Majesty’s most grave and well-learned prelates and other learned men in the scripture’41. ‘who, after long conference together with deliberate advice, finally agreed upon’ a form; this was issued by Royal proclamation on March 8th, 1548, and further imposed by a letter from the Council to the Bishops dated five days later, and pointing to Eastertide as the time when The Order of Communion should come into use.42

This made no alteration in the Latin Mass except ‘that the English devotions for communicants were inserted in the middle of the service, which in other respects (as was expressly stipulated) went on for the present as before. The English Order comprised the Invitation, longer and shorter Exhortation, Confession, Absolution, Comfortable Words and Prayer of Humble Access in much their present form, together with words of administration for communion in both kinds, similar to the first half of the present words, and ‘The Peace,’ without the blessing annexed to it as at present.43

The Order of Communion.
The Bishops were ordered to direct their clergy to use ‘such good, gentle, and charitable instruction of their simple and unlearned parishioners, that there might be one uniform manner quietly used, in all parts of the realm.’44 However, some of the Bishops were backward in directing the use of the new form; and many parish priests were so far from instructing their parishioners for their good satisfaction in the matter, that they laboured to excite them against it, and declared in their sermons that the real intention of the Government was to lay a tax of half-a-crown upon every marriage, christening, and burial.45 Besides the opposition of the conservative section, the Council had to control the innovations of the reformers, who had already been warned ‘not to bring in new and strange orders everyone in their Church according to their fantasies,’ but were in spite of this not by any means restrained:46 To remedy these disorders, all preaching was forbidden by a proclamation47 (April 24th), except under licence from the King, the Lord Protector, or the Archbishop of Canterbury, and afterwards was more strictly prohibited by another proclamation48 (September 23rd), that the people might be ‘the more ready with thankful obedience to receive a most quiet, godly, and uniform order to be had throughout the realm.’

Its Reception.



Disaffection of the Clergy at it.


Preaching forbidden.




Meanwhile other changes had been made by the Council, which in January abolished the ceremonies of candles on Candlemas, ashes on Ash Wednesday, and palms on Palm Sunday,49 and in the following month first abrogated Holy bread, Holy water, and the service of Creeping to the Cross on Good Friday.50 and then went a stage beyond the Royal Injunctions in abolishing not merely such images as had been abused, but ‘all the images remaining in any Church or Chapel.’51

Further changes.

Abrogation of Ceremonies,


In May further experiments were made: ‘Paul’s choir and divers other parishes in London sung all the service in English, both Mattins, Mass, and Evensong, and kept no Mass without some received the communion with the priest’; and a little later ‘on the 12th day of May King Henry VII.’s anniversary was kept at Westminster, the Mass sung all in English, with the Consecration of the Sacrament also spoken in English, the priest leaving out all the Canon after the Creed (? Qui pridie) save the Paternoster, and then ministering the Communion after the King’s Book.’52

As time went on, these experimental forms of service were given a wider currency,53 On the 4th of September, 1548, the Protector wrote to the Vice-Chancellor and heads of houses of the University of Cambridge to order that for the present ‘you and every of you in your colleges, chapels, or other churches use one uniform order, rite, ceremonies in the Mass, Mattins, and Evensong, and all divine service in the same to be said or sung, such as, is presently used in the King’s Majesty’s Chapel, and none other.’54 The prescribed form accompanied the letter, but it does not appear to be now extant: but it is clear from the description that the Breviary Offices had been already reduced to two, and it seems probable that in other respects besides this the point occupied by the First Prayer Book as to these services had already been practically reached by way of experiment, and that little remained but to complete the work and present it for formal authorisation.

and Vernacular Services.

1 Von ordenung gottis dienst ynn der gemeyne, and the Formula missæ et communionis pro ecclesia Wittembergensi: See Richter, Die Evangelischen Kirchenordnungen, Weimar, 1846.

2 See Batiffol, History of the Roman Breviary, Engl. Trans., pp. 236-248. The first text, Breviarium Romanum nuper reformatum, in quo sacræ scripturæ libri probatæque sanctorum historiæ eleganter beneq. disposita leguntur, has been reprinted by the pains of Dr. Wickham Legg (Cambridge, 1888). A large number of editions of the second text appeared.

3 See his proposal to revise the Breviary by purging out false or doubtful legends. Synod of Cologne (1536), Art. II. cap. vi. Binius Concilia Gen. (Cologne, 1618), IV. ii. 177.

4 Hermann von Wied, von M. Deckers (Köln, 1840) pp. 71 and ff.

5 Richter, l. c., i., 176.

6 ‘Postquam veni Bonnam intellexi episcopum dedisse mandatum, ut forma doctrinæ et rituum proponenda ‘ecc1esiis conscribatur, et quidem ad exemplum Norimbergensis formæ.’ Melancthon, Epist. No. 2706; Opp. V. 112. ‘Scripsi vobis antea Episcopum secuturum esse formam Norimbergensem, eratque ante meum adventum institutus liber ad exemplum Norimbergense scribendus. Retinuit pleraque Osiandri Bucerus ; quosdam articulos auxit, ut est copiosus. Mihi, cum omnia relegissem, attribuit articulos περι πριων υποστασεων de creatione, de peccato originis, de justitia fidei et operum, de ecc1esia, de pœnitentia. In his consumpsi tempus hactenus, et legi de cæremoniis Baptismi et Cœnæ Domini quæ ipse composuit.’ Epist. No. 2707, ibid.

7 This work was first published in German, Von Gottes genaden unser Hermans Ertzbischoffs zu Cöln und Churfursten, &c. , einfaltigs bedencken warauff,’ &c. (Richter, 11. 30). A Latin translation was published at Bonn in 1545, ‘Nostra Hermanni ex gratia dei Archiepiscopi Coloniensis et principis, electoris, &c., Simplex ac pia deliberatio,’ &c, which differs considerably from the German original. An English translation of the Latin work was printed in 1547, entitled, ‘A simple and religious consultation of us Herman by the grace of God archebishop of Colone, and Prince Electour, &c. by what meanes a Christian reformation, and founded in God’s worde, of doctrine, administration of the devine Sacramentes, of Ceremonies, and the hole cure of soules, and other ecclesiastical ministeries, may be begon among men committed to our pastorall charge, until the Lorde graunt a better to be appoynted either by a free and Christian counsayle, general or national, or elles by the states of the Empire of the nation of Germanie, gathered together in the Holye Ghost.’ A second English edition, ‘revised by the translator thereof, and amended in many places,’ was printed in 1548. This edition is that quoted here.

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8 See Ranke’s Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Reformation (Berlin, 1843) iv., 329, and Deckers, pp. 148 and ff.

9 Wilkins, Conc. III. 776.

10 Ibid., III. 810.

11 Wilkins, Concil. III. 815. Burnet iv, 341 (ed. Pocock, Oxford, 1865.)

12 The order is repeated in a Proclamation (6 May, 1541), which fixes the price of the unbound bible at ten shillings, or twelve shillings if ‘well and sufficiently bound, trimmed, and clasped’ (Wilkins, III. 856; Strype, Cranmer, I. 84. See an account of early English translations of the Bible in Bp. Westcott’s History of the English Bible.

13 Reverendissimus egit cum patribus de candelis et candelabris coram imaginibus fixis abolendis, necnon de portiferiis, missalibus, et aliis libris corrigendis et reformandis, ac nominibus Romanorum pontificum et Thomæ Becket diligenlius, ab omnibus presbyteris radendis et abolendis ; atque de quibusdam. vestimentis sericis et aliis ornamentis ipsis statuis appositis; egitgue de Oratione Dominica, Symbolo Apostolorum, et Præceptis Decalogi a plebe in vulgari discendis et recitandis.’ ’ Wilkins, III. 861.

14 .’Portiforium secundum tuum Sarum noviter impressum, et a plurimis purgatum mendis. In quo nomen Romano pontifici falso adscriptum omittitur, una cum aliis quæ Christianissimo nostri Regis statuto repugnant. Excusum , Londini. per Eduardum Whytchurch, 1541.’ See Sarum Breviary (Cambridge Ed.), III. p. xlvi.

15 Wilkins, III, 861, 862. See above p. 21.

16 Ibid. III 863: ‘That all massbooks, antiphoners, [and] portuises in the Church of England should be newly examined, corrected; reformed and castigated from all manner. of mention of the Bishop of Rome’s name, from all apocryphas, feigned legends, superstitious orations, collets• versicles, and responses: and that the names and memories of all saints, which be not mentioned in the Scripture, or authentical doctors, should be abolished.’ ‘It was ordered that the examination and correction of the said books of service should be committed to the bishops of Sarum and Ely, taking to each of them three of the lower house, such as should be appointed for that purpose. But this the lower house released.’ A gentle refusal to have anything to do therein. Strype, Eccles. Mem. I. 376.

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17 Wilkins, Conc. III. 868-870.

18 Printed as an Appendix to Private Prayers of Queen Elizabeth (Parker Society), from a copy dated May 27. An edition with the plainsong and another edition with music in five parts. ‘as used in the King’s Chapel,’ were subsequently printed by Grafton:

19 See below, pp. 414 and ff.

20 Wilk. Conc. III. 733. This has been supposed to refer to Marshall’s Primer, but the reference is probably to some unknown predecessor of Marshall’s book, for this appeared in 1534, and was then denounced in Convocation. See Additional Note, p. 43.

21 This second edition is printed in Burton’s Three Primers put forth in the Reign of Henry VIII. (Oxford, 1834).

22 Printed in Burton, l. c. p. 305.

23 The Primer set forth by the King’s Majesty and his Clergy to be taught, learned and read : and none other to be used throughout all his dominions. Printed in Burton, l. c. p. 437.

24 It was resumed in 1554 under Queen Mary. See for the whole subject Hoskins, Primers.

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25 See Burnet, v. 353 (Pt. II. bk. i. record lxi.) Cranmer’s letter to the King, January 24, 1545/6.

26 This draft was first printed by Gasquet and Bishop: See Edward VI. and the Book if Common Prayer, pp. 16-29, 311-352. The document is there dated as subsequent to the action of Convocation, i.e. between 1543 and 1547.

27 Dixon, History, ii. 229, 311. The document is printed in Collier Hist. v.191-198.

28 Gasquet and Bishop, pp. 30-39; 353-382. The reduction in the number of Hours goes along with the direction to omit Prime and Hours when a sermon was preached, which was given in the 36th of the Royal Injunctions of 1547: compare similar but fuller directions in the Royal Injunctions to Cathedrals issued in September, 1547 (Gasquet and Bishop, pp. 55, 56).

29 ‘In some processions I have altered divers words, in some I have added part, in some taken part away: some I have left out whole either for, by cause the matter appeared to me to be little to purpose or by cause the days be not with us festival days: and Some processions I have added whole because I thought I had better matter for the purpose than was the procession in Latin.’ See below, Additional Note, p. 42.

30 Gasquet and Bishop, p. 58.

31 See Additional Note, p. 42.

32 See Documentary Annals, III. p. 32

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33 The former before Te Deum, the latter after Magnificat. See Royal Injunctions for Lincoln (1548) in Lincoln Cathedral Statutes, ii. 590.

34 For the fullest directions see Linc. Cath. Stat. ii. 593. Cp. Blunt, 12.

35 See the Injunctions, Doc. Ann. II. §§ 7, 20, 21, 23, 32, 36, and p. 21.

36 See Linc. Cath. Stat. ii. 581, 592. Cp. Doc. Ann. XII. especially for vernacular explanations of the ceremonies to be interpolated at Mass.

37 Wriothesley, Chronicle (Camden Soc.), i. 187.

38 So speaks the Latin official Record. A fuller account in a MS. of Cranmer has it thus: ‘That whereas by the commandment of King Henry VIII. certain prelates and other learned men were appointed to alter the service in the Church and to devize other convenient and uniform order therein, who according to the same appointment did make certain books, as they be informed: their request is that the said books may be seen and perused by them for a better expedition of Divine Service to be set forth accordingly.’ Wilk. IV. 15 Cardwell, Synodalia, 419’ See for this Convocation Gasquet and Bishop, pp. 73-78, 449-451, and Strype’s Cranmer, I. 155.

39 Gee and Hardy, Documents, No. LXVII.

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40 Burnet, v, 197 (Pt. II. bk. i. record xxv.), especially Quest. 9.

41 The names are involved in the same uncertainty as besets the names of the compilers of the First Prayer Book. See below, p. 45.

42 The Letter is in Wilk. iv. 31. Doc. Ann. XIV. The Order itself, Wilk. IV. II. or in Liturgies of K. Edward VI. (Parker Soc.) pp. 1-8.

43 See below, pp. 486, 487.

44 Doc. Ann. XIV. For an account of the Latin translations of the ‘Order of Communion,’ and of the First Prayer Book, see p. 116.

45 The people had this notion in Henry’s time, when parish registers were ordered to be kept. This order was renewed in the Injunctions (1547).

46 A Proclamation against them that do innovate: see Doc. Ann. VII. Compare the Proclamation prefixed to ‘The Order of the Communion’ (1548), showing that some enterprised to run before authority: and the Act of Uniformity (1549), stating that, besides the old uses, divers forms and fashions have of late been used in cathedral and parish-churches, concerning Mattins and Evensong, the Holy Communion, and the administration of other sacraments of the Church. Gee and Hardy, Documents, p. 358.

47 Doc. Ann. X*.

48 Ibid. XIII.

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49 Wilk. IV. 22. Doc. Ann. VIII.

50 Doc. Ann. VII.

51 Wilk. IV. 22. Doc. Ann. IX.

52 Wriothesley, Chronicle, II. 2. Cp. Greyfriars Chronicle, p. 55. The passage is not very clear.

53 The Churchwardens’ Accounts of S. Michael’s, Cornhill, for 1548, contain the following entry: (Paid to the Schoolmaster of Paul’s for writing of the Mass in English and the Benedicites, Vs.’ It is also noticeable that ‘eight Sawtters in English’ were bought. Churchwardens’ Accounts (ed. Overall) pp. 67, 68.

54 Quoted by Gasquet and Bishop, p. 147, from C.C.C.C. MS. 106, f. 495.

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SOME traces of the forms of service employed in the King’s Chapel and in other places by way of experiment may be found in some MS. choir books in the British Museum, and the Bodleian Library.

Important evidence of the spirit which guided the revision of the music is to be found in a letter sent from Cranmer to the King six1 months after the publication of the Litany with its music, accompanying some drafts of further translations with music, of which unfortunately no trace can be found. The letter, however, strikes the keynote of such changes as are known to have been made. He writes :—

I have translated into the English Tongue, so well as I could in so short time, certain processions to be used upon festival days.’ Then, after describing the freedom which he has allowed himself as translator, to alter or add to the old rite, he proceeds :— ‘If your grace command some devout and solemn note to be made thereunto, (as is to the procession which your majesty has already set forth in English) I trust it will much excitate, and stir the hearts of all men unto devotion and godliness: But in mine opinion the song, that shall be made thereunto, would not be full of notes, but, as near as may be, for every syllable a note, so that it may be sung distinctly and devoutly: as be in the Mattins and Evensong — Venite, the hymns, Te Deum, Benedictus, Magnificat, Nune Dimittis, and all the psalms and versicles : and in the Mass — Gloria in excelsis, Gloria patri, the Credo, the Preface, the Pater noster, and some of the Sanctus and Agnus. As concerning the Salve festa dies the Latin note, as I think, is sober and distinct enough : Wherefore I have travailed to make the verses in English, and have put the Latin note unto the same. Nevertheless they that be cunning in singing can make a much more solemn note thereto: I made them only for a proof to see how English would do in song. But, by cause mine English verses want the grace and facility that I could wish they had, your majesty may cause some other to make them again, that can do the same in more pleasant English and phrase. As for the sentence, I suppose will serve well enough.’2

The choir books which survive of the early years of Edward VI. contain an adaptation of the old Plain-song of the mass to English words on the lines laid down above, as well as a number of settings for four or five voices, which are characterized in the main by a similar simplicity. They also show that several tentative translations were made and set to music before the version for use in the Prayer Book was settled. In the case of the canticles the versions of the Primers were used, as well as others which have not hitherto been traced to any printed source. There are also two Masses in English which have the Apostles’ Creed instead of the Nicene Creed; this is probably due to the fact that translations of the former but not of the latter were already available in the Primers.3




The Reformed Primers of Henry VIIIth’s reign fall into three groups, the first connected with the name of William Marshall, the second with that of Bishop Hilsey, while the third consists of the King’s Primers.4 Besides reforming the old materials,· they introduced a considerable amount of novelty. Thus Marshall’s book5 contains the offices for the hours of prayer: but a considerable portion of the volume is occupied with an exposition of Psalm li., and a harmony of the Gospel narrative of our Saviour’s Passion. It has also a. doctrinal instruction in the form of a dialogue between a father and his child. It contains the Dirge and Commendations: but with an admonition and warning prefixed against prayer for the dead, and an exposition of the meaning of the Psalms and Lessons read in that service. The book was denounced in Convocation6 when it first appeared.

Hilsey’s book7 published in 1539 was intended to introduce as much doctrinal improvement as the King’s Vicegerent in ecclesiastical matters could venture upon. It has ‘the form of bidding of the beads, by the King’s commandment,’8 and ‘the Abrogation of the Holy-days.’ Many of the psalms, anthems, lessons, and hymns are changed for others of more plain sentence: also a great number of the saints invoked in the Litany are omitted, according to the Injunctions of 1536. Prayer for the dead is retained in the bidding the beads and in the Dirige; but the Lessons of this service are changed for others, declaring the miserable state of man’s life, the condition of the dead, and the general resurrection. It contains ‘an instruction of the manner of hearing of the mass,’ opposing the doctrine of the sacramentaries, The book follows three main divisions-Faith, Prayer (the Hours, with the xv. Oes,9 the vii, and xv. Psalms, and the Litany, &c.), and Works, concluding after passages of Scripture upon the relative duties, with an extract from 2 Pet ii., headed ‘The bishop of Rome with his adherences, destroyers of all estates.’ This with all preceding Primers was superseded in 1545 by ‘The King’s Primer’10 and its Latin counterpart, the Orarium, of 1546.

This was much less pronounced, and contained, besides the Hours, the Penitential Psalms, the Litany, the Dirge and Commendations, and the Psalms and devotions of the Passion, only a short collection of Private Prayers.


1 Or eighteen, the date is uncertain. Oct. 7, 1544 or 1545·

2 Cranmer, Works, II. 412; Collier, v, 206; printed in full from State Papers, I. ii, p. 760.

3 See Journ. Theol. Stud. I. 229 and If.

4 The grouping is only a rough one. The primer of 1540 printed by Grafton and Whitchurche in Latin and English, is drawn partly from Marshall and partly from Hilsey, and between 1536 and 1540 there, were books which partly followed Marshall’s and partly the old Sarum forms.

5 The first known edition is that circa 1534. Its contents are given by Dr. Burton Three Primers, p. 31. A fuller edition was published in 1535. This has been reprinted by Dr. Burton, pp. 1-300. It is entitled ‘A goodly Primer in English, newly corrected and printed, with certain godly Meditations and Prayers added to the same, very necessary and profitable for all them that right assuredly understand not the Latin and Greek Tongues. Cum privilegio regali.’ Hoskins, p. 193.

6 Wilkins, Ill. 769. Dixon, 1. 140. The book, however, was extensively circulated (1534-1539), and was known to Cranmer, who transferred whole sentences from it into The Institution of a Christian Man (1537). Lathbury, Hist. of Prayer-book, p. 4.

7 This was entitled ‘The Manual of Prayers, or the Primer in English, set out at length, whose contents the Reader by the Prologue next after the Kalendar shall soon perceive, and therein shall see briefly the order of the whole Book. Set forth by John, late Bishop of Rochester, at the commandment of the right honourable lord Thomas Crumwell, lord Privy Seal, Vicegerent to the King’s Highness.’ Burton, Three Primers, pp. 305-436. There was also an edition published in the same year in English and Latin. (Hoskins, Primers, No. 142 and p. 233.)

8 This was carefully ordered by Henry, to omit all mention of the Pope, and to teach the people that the king was the supreme head immediately under God of the spiritualty and temporalty of the Church of England.

9 These fifteen meditations on Christ’s Passion, each beginning with ‘O Jesu,’ ‘O blessed Jesu,’ &c., composed and said daily by St. Bridget before the crucifix in St. Paul’s church at Rome were a common feature in the older Primers (p. 19). Marshall rejected them as superstitious, and they were not placed in K. Henry’s Primer (1545). Bishop Hilsey retained them in their usual place, before the vii. Psalms and the Litany, with an admonition prefixed: ‘The xv, prayers following, called commonly the xv, Oes, are set forth in divers Latin primers, with goodly prynted prefaces, promising to the sayers thereof many things both foolish and false, as the deliverance of xv. souls out of purgatory, with other like vanities; yet are the prayers self right, good and virtuous, if they be said without any such superstitious trust or blind confidence.’ Burton, Three Primers, p. 371. We find them again in the time of Q. Elizabeth: see Private Prayers put forth in that Reign (Parker Soc.), and Mr. Clay’s note, p. 507.

10 Burton, Three Primers, pp. 437-526, and see above, p. 33.

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