This year, I have been running a series of posts on Percy Dearmer‘s 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, published by Mowbray.

These are the previous posts in the series:

Percy Dearmer on the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 1

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 2

Percy Dearmer on the earliest church service manuscripts

Percy Dearmer’s interpretation of St Paul on prophecy and tongues

Percy Dearmer on elements of worship in the New Testament

Percy Dearmer: how several prayer books became one liturgical book

Percy Dearmer on Reformation, royalty and the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer: first Anglican Prayer Book ‘too fair-minded’ for a violent era

Percy Dearmer on the effect of Edward VI’s reign on the Church of England

Percy Dearmer on the Second Prayer Book’s Calvinistic bent

In Chapter 8, Dearmer explains the Elizabethan — the Third — Prayer Book used in the Anglican Church.

Elizabeth I succeeded her half-sister Mary on November 17th, 1558. After Mary’s Catholic rule and the return to the Sarum Missal, Protestants were eager to use the Second Prayer Book once more.

However, Elizabeth and a small party of Anglicans wanted certain contentious elements of the Second Prayer Book removed. The result was the Third Prayer Book, introduced in April 1559, under the Elizabethan Act of Uniformity. Oddly, there was no convocation of the Anglican Church, although nine bishops in the House of Lords (as Lords Spiritual) voted against it. Yet, this new, Elizabethan Prayer Book was soon in use throughout the land.

Dearmer rightly laments that those compiling the new book did not revisit the First Prayer Book instead of the Second. That said:

considering what had happened in Mary’s reign, the wonder is that the Queen in her wisdom was able to counteract the extremists as much as she did. England had indeed reason to be grateful to Elizabeth, in this as in other matters.

Dearmer tells us that what was revised did, in some measure, hark back to the First Prayer Book:

  • Morning and Evening Prayer were returned to the choir area near the altar, rather than wherever clergy deemed appropriate;
  • The Ornaments Rubric brought back the old, elaborate vestments, taken away in the Second Prayer Book;
  • The ancient words of administration (e.g. ‘The Body of our Lord …’) were restored for Holy Communion;
  • The petition for deliverance ‘from the tyranny of the bishop of Rome, and all his detestable enormities’ disappeared from the Litany;
  • The Black Rubric, which denied Real Presence in Communion, was removed.

New to the Third Prayer Book were the Prayer for the Queen as well as the Prayer for the Clergy and People.

Title page of the Book of Common PrayerAlso new was that the Third Prayer Book was published in Latin in 1560. This edition was for use at universities, where Latin was common parlance, and in places where a language other than English (e.g. Gaelic) was spoken.

There is a web page with text from the Parker Society about the Latin Prayer Book (credit for the image at left), which has more detail, including this (emphases mine):

The Book produced was purportedly a translation of the 1559 Book, but in fact differed from it in a number of ways, mostly fairly minor. Most of the changes introduced were copied from a Latin translation of the 1549 Book, some were from older Latin missals, and some were original compositions. It is not certain whether these changes were intentional, or the result of carelessness – but likely the former. The effect of these changes tended to make the Latin Book more conservative, i. e., more like the 1549 Book or the Latin missals, and less “Protestant”. For example, reservation of the sacrament was made more explicit in the Communion service connected with the Visitation of the Sick, and in one printing Communion was provided for use at burials.

Other changes occurred, affecting Anglican worship and belief:

  • Feast days for ‘black-letter saints’ (those outside the major group, e.g. the Apostles) were added to the Church calendar, their commemoration optional;
  • The introduction of Additional Services, most of which are for special occasions;
  • The Forty-Two Articles of Religion were reduced to Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, which hold to this day.

Dearmer presents us with a timeline of events:

1558. November. Accession of Elizabeth.

1559. April. Third Prayer Book and Third Act
of Uniformity.

1560. First of many Additional Services issued.

1561. The Kalendar revised.
Day’s “Partial Psalter,” the Old Version (Sternhold and Hopkins), with some additional hymns, and the Queen’s interim licence for private use.

1562. The Thirty Nine Articles.
The Pope withdraws his adherents from the Church services, and thus begins the schism. between England and Rome.
Day’s “Complete Psalter,” the Old Version as above, in almost its final form, with the Queen’s seven years licence for private use.

1566. The Advertisements enforce a minimum of decency.

1566. The Old Version, as above, printed by Day with the Queen’s licence, and “allowed to be sung of the people, in Churches, before and after Morning and Evening prayer: as also before and after the Sermon, and moreover in private houses.”

1571. Second Book of Homilies.

Of course, not every Anglican clergyman was happy with this turn of events. The nation was not far removed from the violent era that made the First Prayer Book ‘too fair-minded’. Puritan clergy, who wanted the Anglican Church to embrace Calvinism, pressed for another revision in that direction. Some refused to use the Third Prayer Book.

More about their objections next time.