Project Canterbury

The Parson’s Handbook

By the Rev. Percy Dearmer, M.A.

London: Grant Richards, 1899



Some General Customs may first be noticed. Bowing towards the altar never quite died out in England.[1] It is thus commended by Canon 7 of 1640: ‘We therefore [i.e. on account of the “pious,” “profitable,” and “edifying” nature of outward acts] think it very meet and behoveful, and heartily commend it to all good and well-affected people, members of this Church, that they be ready to tender unto the Lord the said acknowledgment, by doing reverence and obeisance both at their coming in and going out of the said churches, chancels or chapels, according to the most ancient custom of the Primitive Church in the purest times, and of the Church also for many years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth.’

With regard to bowing at the Holy Name, Canon 18 of 1603 orders: ‘When in time of Divine service the Lord Jesus shall be mentioned, due and lowly reverence shall be done by all persons present, as it hath been accustomed.’ This was revived again by Convocation in 1662.

The ancient custom of turning to the east at the [116] Creeds and Glorias, was also long maintained.[2] In 1686 Archdeacon Hewetson wrote to the great Bishop Wilson (then only at his ordination as deacon) that he should ‘turn towards the east whenever the Gloria Patri and the creeds are rehearsing.’ Of this and other customs he says, ‘which thousands of good people of our Church practise at this day.’[3] The fact that Roman Catholics do not now turn to the east at the Gloria and Creed is no reason for our omitting to do so. An old English Canon also enjoins the practice of bowing at the Gloria.[4]

The Sign of the Cross used publicly to be made at the Gloria Tibi, at the end of Gloria in Excelsis, and at the Benedictus in the Mass. Canon 30, to which we are specially referred by the rubric at the end of the baptismal service, clearly defends the Sign of the Cross, not only for baptism, but as in itself a good and primitive custom:—‘The honour and dignity of the name of the Cross begat a reverent estimation even in the Apostles’ times of the sign of the Cross, which the Christians shortly after used in all their actions.’[5]

Some people have lately introduced the practice of priest and people saying both clauses of the Gloria Patri together. This must be due to ignorance, for the practice is not even Roman. Our own rubric orders quite clearly that ‘at the end of every Psalm throughout the year’ the Gloria shall be said as a versicle and response; for it puts the word ‘Answer’ [117] before the second clause ‘As it was in the beginning.’ etc. When the psalms are sung, the Gloria should be sung in the same way and not full. When the psalms are said, the Gloria should be said also.

After a long struggle, the Church of England succeeded in putting an end to the custom of sitting at the psalms.[6] The practice of Roman Catholics is hardly a sufficient justification for the parson to revert to the old Puritan habit, unless he is too tired to render the accustomed homage; in which case he is still ordered by the rubric, inserted at the last revision, to stand for the Gloria Patri. The alternate reading of the Psalms likewise rests upon tradition, and was equally opposed by the Puritans, who preferred the more sacerdotal practice of the minister saying all the verses himself.

The wretched custom of making one morning service out of two and a half is now happily dying out; and, with it, the more terrible practice of introducing a pause in the middle of the Communion Service, in order that the bulk of the congregation may absent themselves from the Holy Mysteries. Neither practice is in any way provided for in our Prayer Book. The three services are distinct, and there is no mention of any pause in the Communion Service during which the people may go away, and no provision whatever for giving the blessing in the middle of the service. I suppose nothing has so much caused the young (and not the young only) to dislike going to church as the first practice, and nothing has so much discouraged Communion as the second.

The practice grew up gradually. Heylyn[7] writes (1638):— ‘This was the ancient practice of the Church [118] of England … mattins to begin between six and seven; the second or communion service not till nine or ten; which distribution still continues in the cathedral church of Winchester, in that of Southwell, and some others,’ the Puritans at that time wishing the services joined. John Johnson[8] in 1709 speaks of the making one service of Mattins, Litany, and Ante-Communion as an innovation.

At the same time it is liturgically correct to make the Litany a prelude to the Holy Eucharist. The Injunctions of 1547 order that the Litany shall be said ‘immediately before high mass.’ Heylyn[9] tells us that in his time ‘in some churches, while the Litany is saying, there is a bell tolled, to give notice unto the people that the communion service is now coming on.’ This seems a practice that falls in well with our conditions to-day, when the Litany is said, and not sung.

Mattins should come first, and the Litany is ordered in the rubric ‘to be said or sung after Morning Prayer,’ which does not necessarily mean immediately after.

The needs of parishes will differ much, but certain suggestions may be made:—(1) The Eucharist, as the greatest service of Christendom, will be given the place of honour; that is to say it will be fixed at the time when people can best attend: this under our present conditions would naturally be the case if the rubric were obeyed which orders the sermon to be preached after the Creed at the Holy Communion. (2) If there be music only at one service, that service will be the Eucharist. (3) Long services drive the people away whom Christ sets us to win, therefore the divisions must be kept, and the bell rung either before each service, or during the Litany. If the Eucharist is at the usual church hour (say at eleven), [119] then Mattins and Litany come before it; and many will be glad to be present,[10] but those who feel the strain of many services can easily come in during the ringing. I fancy that many people feel the Litany intolerably long if it is sung kneeling, but appreciate it and really follow it if it is said (see p. 132).

Lights. There has been a good deal of unnecessary confusion on the subject of altar-lights. The universal pre-Reformation custom is at one with post-Reformation English custom in using two lights on the altar, and no more.

The only distinction is that, in post-Reformation England, churches very often fell below the ideal,[11] owing to Puritan influences; while before the Reformation one candle only was generally regarded as sufficient, and the candlesticks were portable, and generally removed out of service-time. The ancient use of two candles survived even in the Roman Church, in many places, well into the middle of the eighteenth century, only gradually succumbing to the debased taste of that period.

So far it must have been clear to all that our Ornaments Rubric gives no sanction whatever to a departure from the unbroken English custom of setting two lights only on the altar. But certain people, reading carelessly, or by second-hand, the directions of the Sarum Consuetudinary, have imagined [120] that it is therein ordered to put six lights on the altar, and two on the steps at certain high festivals. This is not the case. Two only were placed on the altar, even on the greatest feasts: the rest were placed elsewhere, two were in the standards, and on principal and greater doubles, ‘the remaining four,’ says Mr. Isherwood[12] in his learned paper on the subject,’ may terminate the four poles which support the curtain rods of the altar.’ Lights were also placed on the rood-beam and other places not connected with the altar.

But—and it is a very large but—even this modest use of lights was only the local custom in a great cathedral. Ordinary parish churches did not have so many, and local custom differed, the one feature in common being that never more than two stood on the altar. We are not in the least bound to follow the peculiar customs of Salisbury Cathedral, beautiful and instructive as they are. Some large churches may do so; but most will do better to be content with two lights for unsung Eucharists, and for sung Mattins and Evensong on ordinary Sundays; and with four lights for the sung Eucharist always, and for Mattins and Evensong on Holy-days. Others may on the great festivals care to have a light also at the end of each curtain rod.[13]

Such childish things as branch candlesticks and other small candlesticks need only be mentioned to be condemned. They are used abroad for the very different purpose of Benediction, and have no meaning on our altars. They offend both against good taste and ecclesiastical propriety; luckily they are not lawful in our Church, for the Ornaments Rubric knows them not.

Mattins and Evensong are ordered by the Prayer [121] Book to be said every day by all priests and deacons. The parish-priest is also ordered to ‘say the same in every church or chapel where he ministereth,’ having a bell tolled beforehand, if he be at home and be not otherwise reasonably hindered. Indeed, the continuous reading of the psalms and lessons is given in the earliest preface to the Prayer Book, ‘Concerning the Service of the Church,’ as the reason why an English Prayer Book was written—why, in fact, there was any Reformation at all. The daily recitation of these offices is, therefore, one of the things which the parish-clergy are paid to do, and they are bound as a matter of common honesty to do so.[14] Nor can any act of Parliament free them from the obligation to say the service without mutilation (see p. 122). The authority for any modification of a service rests with the Ordinary. The clergy should find out what hours are most convenient for the people, and most likely to secure a good attendance. When it is known beforehand that an office cannot be said on a certain day, notice should be given on the Sunday before.

It is usual to say the beautiful Prayer for All Conditions and General Thanksgiving, both in Mattins and Evensong. Excellent as the practice is in most places, it is necessary to point out exactly what the rubrics order in the matter. The rubrics both at Mattins and Evensong lay special stress on the daily use of the first three collects; but the rubrics after the Anthem at Mattins and Evensong say nothing about the Prayers and Thanksgivings; that at Mattins only orders the use of the prayers for Queen, Royal [122] Family, and Clergy and People when the Litany is not read; that at Evensong gives no order as to the use even of these prayers, but presumably intends them to be used, at least when there is an Anthem (see below).

The rubric before the Prayer for All Conditions appoints it ‘to be used at such times when the Litany is not appointed to be said.’ Gunning, who wrote the prayer, would not allow it to be used at Evensong, when he was Master of St. John’s College, Cambridge, declaring that he had composed it only for morning use as a substitute for the Litany.[15] Its place, also, among the ‘Prayers and Thanksgivings upon Several Occasions’ is also against its constant use. The General Thanksgiving has no order as to when it is to be used. That for Parliament is ‘to be read during their Session.’

Therefore, although the minister may have the right to use what extra prayers he considers advisable, the general custom goes beyond what is ordered in the Prayer Book. In certain places, and on certain occasions, as when there is a baptism during the service, it may certainly be shortened by these omissions.

It has, furthermore, been urged by some that even the five prayers printed in the Morning and Evening offices are not intended to be used at unsung services. The contention is that the rubrics after the Third Collect— ‘Here followeth the Anthem,’ and ‘Then these five prayers’—are to be read together, and thus mean that the five prayers are only to be used when there is an anthem. ‘In Quires and Places where they sing, here followeth the Anthem. Then these five prayers following are to be read here,’ etc. This curtailment of the service is in accordance with the ancient models, and with the Mattins and Evensong of the First Prayer Book, which also omitted the [123] Introduction to the office up to the Paternoster. The peculiar mutilations of the Shortened Services Act are, on the contrary, both liturgically incorrect, and against the plain intention of the preface Concerning the Service of the Church, which, as I have already said, bases the Reformation itself mainly upon the mutilations of the Psalms and Lessons which had crept into the Church.


Mattins may be said on Sundays, but it is better that it should be sung. It may also be solemn; in which case the same ceremonies will be observed as at solemn Evensong, the altar being censed at the Benedictus. The Venite may only be omitted on Easter Day and on the nineteenth day of the month. The Jubilate may only be substituted for the Benedictus when that hymn is read in the lesson for the day and on St. John Baptist’s day. A general and appropriate custom is to substitute the Benedicite[16] for the festal Te Deum during Advent, and from Septuagesima till Easter.

At sung Mattins the candles should be lit, for preference the standards, except on festivals when four are lit. Anciently each clerk went to his place in the choir separately, and then said his prayer privately. At the present day it is more usual for the choir to enter in order, after a prayer in the vestry, but there is no reason why this prayer should be intoned.

The musical part of the service should not begin till the priest says ‘O Lord, open thou our lips,’ and the people’s mouths are opened for praise. The service should then be sung until the end of the [124] third collect, after which the remaining prayers may be said without note. It is far more seemly and impressive, if, following the ancient custom, the General Confession be said in a humble voice, just loud enough to be heard (privatim ut audiatur), and also the Lord’s Prayer.[17] The opening Sentence[18] should be said in a ‘loud voice,’ as a signal that the service has commenced, and it may be monotoned; but the Exhortation and Absolution should be said in the natural voice. If this plan were more generally adopted, the popular dislike, very common among the working classes, to intoned services, would tend to disappear. Choir services were never meant to be intoned throughout, but to vary from the solemn quietness of the penitential introduction, to the joyful song of the central part, and back to the quiet intercessory prayers of the close.

The priest should always turn to the people when he says the Exhortation, and also for the whole of the Absolution, and when he says ‘Praise ye the Lord,’ and ‘The Lord be with you.’ The rubric about the lessons is clear that the reader shall ‘so stand and turn himself as he may best be heard of all such as are present’; the lessons therefore should be read as audibly and as naturally as possible, ‘distinctly with an audible voice.’ The rubric implies that the prayers need not be said in the best accoustic position; but anything like ‘clipping or mangling’ them is forbidden not only by our own but by every other Church, the Roman Church itself having made frequent pronouncements against it. At the same [125] time, drawling or mouthing the service is equally to be avoided.

The lessons may be read by a layman. Up to 1662 the rubric had ‘the minister that readeth,’ and often that minister was a layman (the clerk reading at least the first lesson). In 1662 the rubric was altered to ‘he that readeth,’ which puts the matter beyond dispute. The reader must begin and end the lessons according to the rubric—‘Here beginneth,’ etc.

All should turn to the east for the Glorias and Creed. It is an old English custom to bow at the Holy, Holy, Holy, in the Te Deum, but not at the mention of the word in the Magnificat.

The Versicles are a preparation for the Collects which follow. Hence the priest should stand for the Collects as well. The words ‘all kneeling’ need no more apply to the priest than does the order ‘all meekly kneeling’ at the communion of the people. The matter is made quite clear by the Prayer Book of 1549, which has the direction, ‘the Priest standing up.’ A deacon will of course omit the Absolution at the beginning of the office.

The Anthem of the rubric (originally ‘Antiphon,’ old English, antesn, i.e. a hymn sung in alternate parts) has a wide meaning: hymns may be in prose as well as in verse, e.g. the Te Deum is a hymn; on the other hand the Book of 1549 called the ‘Turn thou us’ of the Commination Service an anthem. Custom sanctions a metrical hymn (though such hymns are nowhere ordered except in the Ordination Service) at this point; and if the Office Hymn has not been sung before the Benedictus, or at evensong before Magnificat (which was the old liturgical place), it may be sung now.

When anthems are sung it is better not to stand for them. They are, like the sermon, given for the edification of the people. The people should therefore [126] adopt the position best suited for hearing them. No outward action of the body should be without meaning, if it is to be ‘pious in itself, profitable to us, and edifying to others.’ Standing has always been a solemn act of reverence in church, almost as solemn as kneeling, and there can be no place less appropriate for such an act, and no place where its adoption is more likely to destroy its meaning, than the singing of the anthem, even in these music-worshipping days.

When the Litany is read, only the Prayer of St. Chrysostom and the Grace must be said after the Third Collect.

The General Thanksgiving should be said by the priest alone, as the Amen is printed in italics.

When there are any specially to be prayed for, or any who desire to return thanks, the custom is for the minister to stand up, before commencing the Prayer for All Conditions or the General Thanksgiving, and to announce it. He then uses in the prayer the sentence in parentheses.


For convenience, I shall treat here of Solemn Evensong, since for the plain service the directions as to Mattins will suffice. As for the Canticles, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis should always be sung; they are (with Benedictus) the Evangelical Canticles, and have from time immemorial formed part of the daily offices of the Church; it will be noticed that the rubrics do not order them to be replaced by the alternative psalms when they occur also in the lessons for the day.

The candles will be lit; if two only, then the standards are to be preferred. In the vestry the two torchbearers will be ready with their torches lighted. The socket-bases of the torches must not [127] be on the altar-step, but by the sedilia on each side of the priest’s faldstool. The servers will all be vested in cassock and long surplice. It has not yet been proved that they may wear albes and amices for Evensong. If they do, it may be found convenient to reserve this distinction for festivals. Black cassocks look far better than red ones, which play havoc with the general effect of colour, and besides cannot be worn with albes. Dr. W. Legg denies that red cassocks are sanctioned by English tradition at all, and so experienced an ecclesiastic as Cardinal Manning spoke gravely of their bad moral effect.

The officiant will wear over his surplice a cope of the colour of the day, unless the church possess only one or two copes. The other clergy will wear, over their surplices, tippets (i.e. scarves) and the hoods of their degree. The officiant may also wear tippet and hood under his cope, but never a stole.

The choir in their surplices and cassocks may proceed first into the chancel with the other clergy. When they are in their places, the officiant, preceded by the torchbearers, will enter. They kneel together before the altar; they then rise and walk to the sedilia,[19] the first torchbearer before and the second behind the officiant. Arrived at the sedilia, they remain standing while one of the other clergy from his stall takes the first part of the service to the end of the Lord’s Prayer (see p. 124). The officiant takes up the service at ‘O Lord open thou our lips,’ which he sings. The first torchbearer will have all the necessary music, etc., on the credence or other convenient place, and will see that he always gives the chant-book or prayer-book opened at the right page. Where there is room the priest should have a small fald-stool to kneel on.

[128] As soon as the Magnificat has been precented, the officiant, with the torchbearers, one before and one behind him, proceeds to the front of the altar. At the same time, the thurifer and boat-bearer enter with the censer and boat: they go to the right of the priest, as he stands on the pavement; the thurifer opens the censer, and holds it up, while the priest takes incense from the boat. Having blessed the incense, he takes the censer, and goes up to the altar, which he censes in the usual way (p. 156), the torch-bearers standing by their candles, and the thurifer going round to be ready for the censer at the south end of the foot-pace. Having given the censer up, the priest comes down in the middle to his former place on the pavement; he then returns to the sedilia, accompanied by the torchbearers as before. The thurifer, after censing the priest with three double swings, may proceed to the censing of officials in the usual way.

The priest and torchbearers sit for the lesson, stand for the Nunc Dimittis and Creed, and kneel as the rubric directs at ‘Let us pray.’ At the last Response to the Versicles the priest and torchbearers go to the centre of the pavement as before the censing. The torchbearers stand facing one another on either side of the priest, holding their torches so as to shed the best light on the book, till the end of the Collects. They then go to the vestry by the shortest way. The priest, having taken off the cope, returns, still wearing tippet, hood, and surplice, to his own stall; the servers sit in convenient places in the choir.[20] The rest of the service is said in choir in the usual manner.

Generally the alms are collected during the hymn after the Sermon, and the service concludes with a blessing. There is no authority for the presentation [129] of the alms at the Holy Table at choir services, and it certainly seems more correct for the server to take them straight to the credence or vestry, and for the service to be ended from the pulpit. But if this is not done, then the following is the best method:—The server appointed for the purpose will watch for the churchwardens; and, as soon as they leave the west end of the church and proceed with their basons up the middle alley, he will fetch the large bason or alms-dish; as he does so, the priest will leave his stall and proceed up to the foot-pace, standing before the altar, and never looking round. Meanwhile the server will go down the chancel-steps, and receive the alms in his bason (which he has carried up to this point in a perpendicular position). He will then go straight up to the altar, and stand at the right of the priest (not behind him, as in that case the priest will be apt to look nervously round). The priest will then turn towards him, take the bason, and offer it by slightly raising it,[21] saying, perhaps, as he does so, a private prayer. He places it on the altar, whence the server takes it to the credence. A server will fetch away the bason after service: it does not look well for the priest to carry out the bason at the conclusion of the service as if it were his own private booty.

When the hymn is over, the priest may turn to the people, saying ‘The Lord be with you’; they reply ‘And with thy spirit,’ and turning to the holy Table he says ‘Let us pray.’ This gives the people time to settle down quietly on their knees, and avoids the unseemly clatter which happens when there is no introduction. The priest, standing, may then say some collect appropriate to the occasion (e.g. to the season or the sermon); he then turns and pronounces a blessing. It is not appropriate to use the Mass-blessing (or half of it) at Mattins or Evensong; [130] it always occurs in the Prayer Book in connection with Communion. The Prayer Book does indeed give a form of blessing for the bishop at the end of the Confirmation service like the second half of the Mass-blessing, but with a difference in the last words— ‘be upon you, and remain with you for ever.’ At the end of the Commination service it gives another— ‘The Lord bless us, and keep us; the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon us, and give us peace, now and for evermore,’ which might, with the permission of the Ordinary, be put into the second person. It hardly seems suitable to use the beautiful Commendation in the office for the Visitation of the Sick (‘Unto God’s gracious mercy,’ etc.) for ordinary public occasions. Another simple and suitable blessing is, ‘God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless, preserve and keep you this night and for evermore.’ As there is no authority for any blessing at all at the conclusion of Evensong, permission ought to be sought in any case.

If Evensong be solemn every Sunday, it will be convenient to mark the red-letter days by a Procession (see p. 194), as follows:—

During the hymn after the sermon (after he has presented the alms[22]), the officiant will go into the vestry and put on his cope; the torchbearers will light their torches; the thurifer will see that the charcoal is alight; the clerk or cross-bearer will have ready the processional cross. Proceeding with the servers to the choir by the short way, the priest stands in the midst facing east with the thurifer and boat-bearer behind him, the cross-bearer behind the thurifer, the verger with his gown and wand behind the cross-bearer; if it be the custom of the church to carry banners, the bearers will be stationed in a convenient place at the side with their banners.

[131] Turning to the thurifer the priest puts incense into the censer in the usual manner, and blesses it; meanwhile the music may commence.[23] When the incense has been blessed, the cross-bearer and the other servers turn and follow the verger, who leads the procession at once. A good custom is for the churchwardens to wait at the chancel-gates, and drop into the procession behind the verger. It passes round the south side of the church, in the following order:—Verger, Churchwardens, Cross, Thurifer and Boat-bearer, the two Torchbearers abreast, Officiant in cope, Choir-boys, Choir-men, other clergy in tippet and hood.

A station should be made before the Rood, all standing still while the priest says (without turning) a versicle, and after the response a suitable collect. The hymn may then be proceeded with.

At the end of the procession, the verger goes to the sanctuary-steps, when he turns and stands at one side; the thurifer and boat-bearer go to the opposite side, the cross-bearer turns to allow the priest to pass him, and then faces east behind him, and the torch-bearers stand facing east at their usual places, the priest between them. The choir may stand in their stalls or in the chancel. After the Versicles, Collect, and Blessing, the priest and servers go out the short way, followed by the choir and other clergy.


The Litany is to be said on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as Sundays. No direction is given in our book as to where or how the Litany is to be ‘sung or said’; but, from the 1st year of Edward VI. to the time of Cosin (p. 49) it was several times appointed to be said in a special place in the midst of the church, and a faldstool is mentioned. A rubric [132] in our Commination Service also speaks of ‘the place in which they are accustomed to say the Litany,’ and implies that the ‘clerks’ (in this sense the readers of the responses) knelt with the ‘priests’ at the same place. The choir may therefore kneel in the middle alley around and in front of the faldstool, or, what is occasionally more convenient, the faldstool may stand in the choir itself, as was sometimes the custom (Robertson, p. 135; illust. in Chambers, p. 129), and is still in many cathedrals, and at Ordination services: this latter position in medio chori is the ancient one.

If the Litany is sung in procession[24] (which is not forbidden in our book, and was the old custom) stations should be made, somewhat as follows:—All standing before the altar, the first Kyries are said. At ‘Remember not,’ all turn, and the procession starts (verger, cross, torches, incense, etc., in the usual order), singing the Deprecations, Obsecrations, and Petitions as it goes. In most churches a long procession will be needed, first down the south alley, then up the midst, down the north alley, and up the midst again for the station.[25] The procession should go very slowly, and be timed to reach the chancel-screen at the end of the last Petition. At ‘Son of God,’ a station is made before the Rood at the chancel-screen, all the choir standing till the end of the prayer. At the first antiphon, ‘O Lord arise,’ the priest goes slowly up to the sanctuary, where all form up in time for the Gloria, and the Litany is finished, all standing before the altar.

Care must be taken by the verger, who times the procession, that it shall arrive before the Rood at the right time; if the petitions are not finished he must walk very slowly at the end.


1 The Canons at Oxford Cathedral have always done so on going out of the choir. In Cookson’s Companion to the Altar (1784, published with his Family Prayer Book and dedicated to the Bishop of Winchester) the communicant is told ‘rise from your knees, bow towards the altar, and retire to thy seat’ (p. 31).

2 At Manchester Cathedral, according to Blunt(7), it was ‘still maintained’ in 1866.

3 Keble, Life of Wilson, i. 22. Among the customs practised by ‘thousands of good people,’ in 1686, are: ‘nor ever to turn his back upon the altar in service-time,’ ‘to bow reverently at the name of Jesus,’ and ‘to make obeisance at coming into, or going out of, the church, and at coming up to and going down from the altar.’ There was quite a literature upon the subject in the early part of the eighteenth century, and the usage was generally maintained.

4 Of 1351.—Wilkins, Conc. iii. 20.

5 See e.g. Tertullian, de Corona Militis, iii. 4.

6 Abbey and Overton, ii. 472-3. In the seventeenth century sitting for the Psalms was universal, and Laud was charged with innovation for standing at the Gloria, for which there was then no rubric, Robertson, ix.

7 Antidotum, iii. 61, Cf. Robertson, 112.

8 Mattins was then at 6, Litany at 10, followed by Voluntary, Communion, and Sermon. Clergyman’s Vade-Mecum, i. 12.

9 Antidotum, iii. 59.

10 Therefore there is in many places a practical convenience in having the three services close together, with no more pause than is necessary for the congregation to get into their places. For the important thing is that the congregation shall not be boxed up for the whole series, but shall be free to come and go for any of the services. This opportunity for the assembling of the congregation was assumed in the old rubric of the Commination Service,—‘After mattins ended, the people being called together by the ringing of a bell and assembled in the church, the English Litany shall be said.’

11 Especially during the last half of the eighteenth century. See the list of instances in the appendix to the Lincoln Judgement. In 1710, however, Nicholls, in his preface to Bishop Cosin’s Prayer Book, mentions the ‘two wax candles’ as if they were as necessary to the celebration of ‘this holy rite’ as the chalice and paten itself.

12 Altar Lights and the Classification of Feasts (S.S.O.).

13 A visit to the Flemish and Dutch rooms at the National Gallery, and to the Arundel copies of Italian pictures in the basement of the Gallery, will give the reader a good idea of the altar in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries.

14 The neglect of this duty only became universal in the worst age of sloth and pluralism. In 1688, Sancroft, in a letter to the bishops of his province, urged the public performance of the daily offices ‘in all market and other great towns,’ and as far as possible in less populous places. In 1714, a large proportion of the London churches had daily mattins and evensong, and week-day mattins (at 6 A.M.) was a fashionable service. (Paterson, Pietas Londiniensis, 305; Steele in the Guardian for 1713, No. 65.)

15 Blunt, 65.

16 Our rubrics allow of this substitution at any time. The Prayer Book of 1549 expressly orders the Benedicite to be sung in Lent instead of the Te Deum. The old books forbid the use of the Te Deum in Advent, and from Septuagesima till Easter.

17 It is only after the Creed that the Lord’s Prayer is directed to be said ‘with a loud voice.’

18 It is a good plan to vary the sentences with the season. Thus ‘I acknowledge’ may be used on ordinary week-days, ‘Hide thy face’ for Lent week-days, ‘The sacrifices’ and ‘If we say’ during Passiontide, ‘Rend your heart’ on Sundays in Lent, ‘To the Lord’ on Festivals, ‘Repent ye’ on the Sundays in Advent, ‘I will arise’ on ordinary Sundays, ‘Enter not’ on Advent week-days. These occasions might be noted in the margin of the Book.

19 It is equally correct for the priest not to put on his cope till towards the end of the psalms, and for the little procession to enter just before Magnificat; but this is more fussy, and it seems better for the priest not to vest and unvest more than necessary.

20 There seems to be no reason why the candles should be put out till the conclusion of the service.

21 There is absolutely no authority for blessing the coins.

22 If there is another priest, it is more convenient for him to present the alms.

23 There is absolutely no authority for singing ‘Let us go forth in peace.’

24 It will be found, I think, that people keep up their attention better, because they become less weary, if it be sung in this manner. My own opinion, if I may put it forward, is that in most small churches it is best to say the Litany before the principal Eucharist; and only to sing it at Rogation-tide, and then in procession.

25 On Rogation and other penitential days the procession will go by the reverse way.

Project Canterbury