Reformed Worship of 1552 - Second Prayer Book of Edward VI (1552)
God's grace the accession of Edward VI in 1547 permitted the acceleration
of the reformation of the Church of England. Some changes
were made almost immediately but it was not until March 1548 that
the first new services were issued in the form of an English supplement
to the latin mass. Ten months later in January 1549 the
First Prayer Book of Edward VI was introduced accompanied by an
Act of Uniformity. This book took a momentous step away
from the errors of the medieval liturgies and did away with most
of the unscriptural practices. However, it left several
corners unswept and, more importantly, whilst representing a purge
of the past it was not a liturgy that had been shaped by reformed
followed three significant steps leading up to a truly reformed
liturgy. First, the order was made to destroy stone altars
and replace them with wooden tables. Secondly, Cranmer issued
his Defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament
in which he set out his understanding of the nature of the
sacrament and refuted the errors that had grown up contrary to
scripture. Thirdly, work progressed on the new Articles
of Religion which were finally published in 1553.
it was that the Second Prayer Book was published and authorised
for use from All Saints Day 1552. It was not well received
by many and with the death of Edward the following year and the
accession of Mary the book itself was in use for only a very short
time. With three specific alterations, reportedly at the
request of Queen Elizabeth herself, the book was re-instated and
authorised for use from May 8 1559. Over the next century
the book underwent a number of changes, mostly in the rubrics,
and was banned for a while during the commonwealth. Finally
the texts of 1552 formed the substance of the 1662 Book of Common
Prayer. Undoubtedly there were many who had a hand in the
production of the 1552 book but the lions share of the credit
has always gone to Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. He sought
to build his liturgy on sound scriptural principles whilst borrowing
from what was good in tradition and contemporary practice.
importance of good liturgy
liturgy requires both sound doctrine and the eloquent use of language.
More recent attempts at liturgy have failed to combine
these too successfully. Whilst some modern liturgy does
make effective use of language and some of the texts produced
in recent decades have proved memorable, often they have been
defective in doctrine. In contrast many evangelical attempts
at liturgy, whilst admirable in doctrinal content often seem flat
and unmemorable as a piece of liturgy. In the goodness
of God the two elements were combined in Cranmer's liturgy.
It is intriguing that there are many today who love the language
of the Book of Common Prayer whilst rejecting its primary doctrinal
foundations, whilst others rejoice in its doctrine but would prefer
something less archaic in word and phrase. Cranmer's liturgy
has been remarkable in the way that it has shaped the doctrine
of the Church of England whilst also influencing the English language.
article is based on a Cross†Way
article (no. 86 2002) which is available for download.
See also under the Doctrine Pages
Society articles on liturgy
and the Lord's Supper. Cross†Way article describing
how Cranmer sought to base the 1552 Communion Service on clear
And All That (or how twentieth century revisions have eroded
the insights of the Reformers in the Communion Services of the
Church of England) Churchman article by David Wheaton
the More Explanation' and 'For the More Perfection': Cranmer's
Second Prayer Book. Churchman article by Roger Beckwith describing
the improvements of the 1552 Prayer Book compared to the 1549
as well as Theologian.
The services of 1552,
which were principally the work of Thomas Cranmer, show not only
sound theology but also shrewd psychology. Cross†Way article
by David Wheaton.
Steps - Big Leaps.
There were many apparently
small changes between the first and second prayer books of the
reign of Edward VI (1549 and 1552) which actually represent major
steps in the reformation of the Church of England. Cross†Way
article by David Phillips.
for link to 1552 Communion Service
here to go to 'useful links' page
where towards the end of the page there is a link to a website
with the full text of the 1552 Prayer Book.