The Book of Common Prayer
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    The Book of Common Prayer
of the Church of England (1662)

 

Variations

in the 1662
Book of Common Prayer

 
It may come as a surprise to some, but the 1662 Book of Common Prayer has not remained utterly constant over the years. Besides the obvious changes in the prayers for the King or Queen and their families, a number of other relatively small changes have been made in the past 300+ years. Rubrics have been changed, some services were dropped, the lectionary revised, and even the title was changed for a time. The changes are interesting not only in themselves, but also because they can serve to help date a Prayer Book which has no printed date of publication; Books of Common Prayer printed since about 1860 are undated.

Sources for the variations in the State Prayers came primarily from The State Prayers and other Variations in the Book of Common Prayer, by Frank Streatfeild (1950) and also from David Griffiths' Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer (2002). The basic source for most of the other changes was Lynda Howell's excellent and comprehensive 1662 BCP site. Additional information on the variations came from a number of sources, including prayer books in the author's possession, Blunt's Annotated Book of Common Prayer (1866), a report from the Convocation of York, Deviations of Modern Editions of the Prayer Book from the Text of the Sealed Books (1891), Procter & Frere's New History of the Book of Common Prayer, and Percy Dearmer's Everyman's History of the Prayer Book (1912).

Not all of this information is complete; if you have knowledge of additional changes, or can narrow down the dates or nature of the changes better than I have been able to, I'd love to hear it.

 

 
The State Prayers as they originally appeared, from an edition printed in 1666.

Variations in the State Prayers

The "State Prayers" in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer appear towards the end of both Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. There are two: "A Prayer for the King's Majesty" (or Queen's, as the case may be), and "A Prayer for the Royal Family". Shorter forms of these prayers can also be found in the Litany; the King (or Queen) is also mentioned by name in a number of other places in the Prayer Book.

The individuals prayed for naturally changed over time, as indicated below:

 

Date Prayer for the King / Queen
Prayer for the Royal Family
1662 our most gracious sovereign Lord, King Charles our Gracious Queen Catherine, Mary the Queen Mother, James Duke of York, and all the Royal Family
1669 ... Queen Catherine, James Duke of York, ...
1685 ... King James ... Queen Mary, Catherine the Queen Dowager, and their Royal Highnesses Mary, Princess of Orange, and the Princess Anne of Denmark, ...
1688 ... Queen Mary, Catherine the Queen Dowager, his Royal Highness James the Prince of Wales, and their Royal Highnesses Mary, Princess of Orange, and the Princess Anne of Denmark, ...
1689 our Sovereign Lord and Lady, King William and Queen Mary ... Catherine the Queen Dowager, her Royal Highness Princess Anne of Denmark, ...
1694 ... King William
1702 our most gracious sovereign Lady, Queen Anne ... Catherine the Queen Dowager, the Princess Sophia ...
1705 ... the Princess Sophia ...
1714 ... King George (I) ... his Royal Highness George, Prince of Wales, the Princess, and their Issue, ...
1727 ... King George (II) ... Queen Caroline, the Royal Issue, ...
1729 ... Queen Caroline, their Royal Highnesses Frederick, Prince of Wales, the Duke, the Princesses, ...
1736 ... Queen Caroline, their Royal Highnesses Frederick, Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, the Duke, the Princesses, ...
1737 their Royal Highnesses Frederick, Prince of Wales & the Princess of Wales, the Duke, the Princesses, ...
1738 their Royal Highnesses Frederick, Prince of Wales & the Princess of Wales, the Duke, the Princesses, the issue of the Prince and Princess of Wales, ...
1751 their Royal Highnesses George, Prince of Wales, the Princess Dowager of Wales, the Duke, the Princesses, ...
1760 ... King George (III)
Prayer for the King, from an edition printed by Baskerville in 1760.
her Royal Highness, the Princess Dowager of Wales, ...
Prayer for the Royal Family, as printed by Baskerville in 1760.
1761 ... Queen Charlotte, the Princess Dowager of Wales, ...
1762 ... Queen Charlotte, Their Royal Highnesses, George, Prince of Wales, the Princess Dowager of Wales, ...
1772 ... Queen Charlotte, George, Prince of Wales, ...
1795 ... Queen Charlotte, Their Royal Highnesses, George, Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, ...
1818 their Royal Highnesses, George, Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, ...
1820 ... King George (IV)
How one person dealt with the changing monarchs (from an 1810 book).
no specific names
1830 ... King William (IV) ... Queen Adelaide, ...
1837 ... Queen Victoria ... Adelaide the Queen Dowager, ...
1840 ... Adelaide the Queen Dowager, Prince Albert, ...
1842 ... Adelaide the Queen Dowager, Prince Albert, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, ...
1849 Prince Albert, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, ...
1857 Albert the Prince Consort, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, ...
1861 Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, ...
1863 Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, ...

Prayer for the Royal Family, from an illustrated Book of Common Prayer of the 1860's.
1901 ... King Edward (VII) ... Queen Alexandra, George Duke of Cornwall and York, the Duchess of Cornwall and York, ...
1901 ... Queen Alexandra, George Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, ...
1910 ... King George (V) ... Queen Mary, Alexandra the Queen Mother, Edward Duke of Cornwall, ...
1910 ... Queen Mary, Alexandra the Queen Mother, Edward Prince of Wales, ...
1925 ... Queen Mary, Edward Prince of Wales, ...
1936 ... King Edward (VIII) ... Mary the Queen Mother, Albert Duke of York, the Duchess of York, ...
1936 ... King George (VI) ... Queen Elizabeth, Mary the Queen Mother, the Princess Elizabeth, ...
1947 ... Queen Elizabeth, Mary the Queen Mother, the Princess Elizabeth, Philip Duke of Edinburgh, ...
1952

... Queen Elizabeth

 

Prayer for the Queen, from about 1960.
Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Queen Mary, Philip Duke of Edinburgh, ...
1953 Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Charles Duke of Cornwall, ...
1958 Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Charles Prince of Wales, ...
Prayer for the Royal Family, from a Book of Common Prayer printed about 1960.
1981 Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Charles Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, ...
1997 Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Charles Prince of Wales, ...
2002 Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Charles Prince of Wales, ...

 

Other changes:

Following the calendar reform of 1751, the Calendar section of the Book was changed starting in 1752, with additional Tables for Finding Easter also added.

Sometime, apparently in the 18th century, the Table of Kindred and Affinity was added, without authorization. It was changed significantly in 1949, and then again in 1986 (I'm not certain about these dates, but they should be close). The original, 1949, and current versions are all online.

From 1801 - 1871, the title of the Book of Common Prayer referred to "the United Church of England and Ireland"; otherwise it is "the Church of England"

Also in 1801 the word "Dominions" was substituted for "Kingdoms" in the Prayer for Parliament in Prayers and Thanksgivings.

Three short services, normally placed at the end of the book (Gunpowder Treason, King Charles the Martyr, and the Restoration of Charles II), were removed in 1859. The Gunpowder Treason service (for 5 Nov.) was revised in 1690 to include a commemoration of the landing of William III; both old and new versions are online. The service for King Charles the Martyr (30 Jan.) was revised on the accession of James II in 1685; here also the old and new versions are online. Finally, slight changes in the service for the Resoration of Charles II (29 May) were necessary upon his death in 1685; again, both old and new versions are online

The oaths of allegiance and supremacy were removed from the Ordination Services in 1865; however, the Ordinal does not seem to have been commonly included in BCP's until around that time.

The Daily Office Lectionary was changed extensively in 1871, and again in 1922. The new introduction (The Order how the rest of Holy Scripture is appointed to be read) from 1871 is considerably longer, containing nine paragraphs; the old had five. All three lectionaries are online. The 1922 Lectionary is optional, so books printed after that date may or may not include it.

The Accession Service was significantly revised in 1901 and again slightly in 1910; the current version is online, as is the pre-1901 version.

The Act of Uniformity was repealed in 1974, and thus was dropped from the Prayer Book; however, older editions commonly do not include it anyway (or them; some have Elizabeth I's, some Charles II's, some both, most none).

 

 

Rubrics:
A number of changes to the rubrics have been made over the years; most of these have been more difficult to pin down as to exact date. They include:

  • A paragraph was added to the introduction to Morning and Evening prayer probably in the 1960's, allowing Lay Readers "and such other lay persons as may be authorised by the Bishop" to lead Morning and Eveining Prayer. Also, a rubric was also added just after the Absolution directing that the Collect for the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity be read instead of the Absolution, if a Priest was not present.
  • The second and third paragraphs in the introduction to Holy Communion, dealing with the admision of communicants to the Eucharist, was replaced with a single paragraph, sometime in the 1960's. Both old and new versions are online.
  • The rubric regarding announcements immediately following the Nicene Creed in Holy Communion used to include the phrase "and the Banns of Matrimony published"; this appears to have simply been dropped by the publisher without authorization, in 1805. (Some books printed after this date include it, however.)
  • At the same time there was similarly another unauthorized change in the rubric in the Marriage Service regarding the banns. Previously, the rubric stated that the banns were to be read "three several Sundays or Holy-days, in the time of Divine Service, immediately before the Sentences for the Offertory ..."
  • The introductory rubrics to the Public Baptism of Infants were extensively revised, sometime in the 1960's or so. Both old and new versions are online.
  • The first introductory rubric in the Private Baptism of Infants, urging prompt baptism of infants, was dropped sometime in the 1960's.
  • The introductory rubrics to the Baptism of those of Riper Years were extensively revised, sometime in the1960's or so. Both old and new versions are online.
  • The introductory rubrics to the Ordinal were changed in 1964. Both old and new versions are online.
 

 

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