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

    A New History of
The Book of Common Prayer


A New History of the Book of Common Prayer with a Rationale of its Offices is one of the classics texts concerning the Book of Common Prayer. The book was first published in 1855 under the title A History of the Book of Common Prayer, and authored only by Francis Procter. This came out in a number of editions and printings through 1892. In1901 it was enlarged by Walter Frere and received its current title. This revision had a number of small changes over the years, and was reprinted many times.

The book consists of two parts: Part 1 is a general history of the Book, along with several source documents. Part 2 (“the Rationale”) describes the services themselves.

Walter Frere was a well-known Anglo-Catholic of his day, and the book does reflect some of that viewpoint, although as a whole it is even-handed. Note that there is a certain amount of untranslated Latin in this text; obviously the author assumed that the reader would know Latin.

The text used here was a 1910 reprint of the “Third Impression, with corrections and alterations”. Notes which appear at the bottom of the page (and so numbered) in the original text are here grouped at the end of the chapter and renumbered.



title page


Preface, etc.


I. The Service-books in Pre-Reformation Times
    Additional notes: Lists of Service-books; The arrangement of Service-books

II. The Earlier Stages of Change
    Additional notes: Edwardian Choir-books; The Reformed Primers

III. The First Prayer Book
    Additional note: The Book of Common Prayer Noted

IV. The Second Prayer Book
    Additional note: Influence of Foreigners

V. The Elizabethan Prayer Book
    Additional notes: Versions of the B. C. P.; Musical Services; Books of Private Devotions; A description of the Liturgy; Puritan Substitutes for the B. C. P.; Puritan Editions of the B. C. P.; Abridged Prayer Books

VI. The Prayer Book from the Accession of James I to the Death of Charles I
    Additional note: The Directory

VII. The Prayer Book in the Reign of Charles II
    Additional note: The Work of Revision

VIII. The B. C. P. since the last Revision
    Additional notes: The Nonjurors' Service; The Scottish Liturgy; The Irish Prayer Book; The Prayer Book in the U. S. A.; Notes of certain Occasional Offices


1. Hour Services from the Sarum Breviary
2. The Deacon's Litany of the Liturgy of S. Chrysostom. (In Greek: presented as PDF graphics; 4MB)
3. The Anaphora of the same (Combined with the above)
The Mass according to the Use of Sarum
Celebratio Ordinum (Pre-Reformation English Ordinal)





IX. Introductory Matter, Title, Prefaces, and Kalendar
    Additional notes: Methods of Psalmody; Table of Occurrence

X. Morning and Evening Prayer

XI. The Litany and the Occasional Prayers and Thanksgivings

XII. The Administration of the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion
    Additional notes: Early Testimonies to the Eucharist; Gallican versus Roman; The Scottish and American Liturgies

XIII. The Collects, Episctles, Gospels, and Proper Lessons
    Additional notes: The Collects for the Sundays after Trinity

XIV. The Baptismal Services, with Catechism and Confirmation

XV. The Occasional Services
    Additional notes: The office of the Dead; Prayers to be used at Sea; State Services

XVI. The Ordinal

XVII. Epilogue




Web author: Charles Wohlers U. S. EnglandScotlandIrelandWalesCanadaWorld