Using the Sarum Liturgy

Here is just about everything I have written on this subject. As you reach the bottom of the page, you will find the link to “older posts”.

I am quite intrigued to read about people who “love the Sarum liturgy” and lament that no one uses it. Cynics tell the world that no one is interested. At the same time, look up Sarum on Google and there are hundreds of postings, though some are about an educational institution in Salisbury and others about Old Sarum, the predecessor of modern Salisbury.

Msgr Burnham has mentioned the magic word a couple of times in a paper he recently wrote and which was given in a speech by Msgr Keith Newton in Rome (see here for my source), but I hardly see the UK Ordinariate doing more than perhaps bringing a couple of oddities into the standard Anglican Use or Novus Ordo celebration.

Anglicanæ traditiones, the Holy See’s inter-dicasterial working group, looked at this modern English practice, and at the feasibility of introducing the pre-Reformation Sarum Use in translation, before deciding to base its work on the 1983 Book of Divine Worship, authorised for the Pastoral Provision 1980. This rite has now been revised and enriched by material from the Anglican Missal and English Missal, pre-conciliar resources used extensively by Anglo-catholics.

My Bishop doesn’t mind me doing it in my own chapel, but the official rite of our ACC Diocese is the Anglican Missal. I don’t see it “catching on”. Some of the TAC parishes in Canada used Sarum occasionally before they went to the American Ordinariate, and there have been some initiatives in Orthodox circles. The rest is known history.

I would welcome comments. Are people really interested when they say they are? Are there any priest readers of this blog interested? Is there anyone thinking about it, but afraid they wouldn’t find all the materials and rubrics?

I would especially like to hear from priests interested in learning the Sarum liturgy and sharing their experience. If they do not wish to comment (even under a pseudonym), they can write to me at anthony.chadwick AT

Over to you…

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17 Responses to Using the Sarum Liturgy

  1. Father, I’m so glad you posted this.

    Here’s my reason as a Catholic layman for saying the cynics are wrong, and for being so supportive of Sarum. The connection between culture and liturgy is immediately obvious to me in the Roman Mass, which is so steeped in the history, geography, and culture of Rome. The martyrology is so definite as to name the Roman road on which the martyrs suffered or were buried; the station churches are another intensely local feature.

    But why should Rome be unique in this regard? I understand, of course, that Latin and Roman culture had a predominant influence on northern Europe–and that the Roman See has a special place in Christendom that can’t be said of Salisbury or Paris. And I also understand that the Reformation tainted national and local uses with heavy suspicion. But an ultramontanist/centralizing/Romanizing tendency comes at a heavy cost: it displaces religion, makes it something that happens *over there* instead of *right here*. Ironically, ultramontanism is, in a way, completely unRoman–it apes the superficials of Roman worship but it misses its spirit: which is a deep, solid connection to the soil where it grew up, to the passions and veneration of its local martyrs and the glory of its local churches.

    Sarum has, I think, taken hold of people precisely for the reason that it has this local spirit.

    None of this is a criticism of the working group; if they decided against Sarum I’m sure they have a very good reason for it, and I can only argue from theory, not the pastoral necessity which is also weighing on the ordinaries.

    But I really do not get this idea spread by the Internet pundits that Sarum is “antiquarian”. What if it is? Is the idea that the folks in the pews are suddenly going perk up their ears at a Collect they’ve never heard before? Are going to gnash their teeth at a troped Kyrie? I mean really, Bugnini and company plucked a bit of Hippolytus out of nowhere and chopped it up, ICEL stuck a particularly horrid translation on it, and welcome to Eucharistic Prayer #2. Which, by the way, is still the most popular one (for good or ill).

    Is the Church not at leave to–as one particularly astute person said about Pope Benedict–“go to the attic to get what she needs”? This business about “oh it wasn’t in continuous use” is balderdash–and I don’t think that people fully appreciate that the traditional Latin Mass almost fell afoul of that proscription. Supposing the modernists had succeeded in *completely* extinguishing the Missal of 1962–so that it was out of living memory. What then? Would we tie our hands and say “oops! Sorry, no Latin Mass–it fell out of use!” Would we wring our hands about “archaeologism”? Absolutely not. We’d say that our ancestors made a huge mistake in abandoning it and we are not going to repeat that mistake.

    You mention the serious interest the Sarum Rite has generated since the 1800s: the books, the essays, the revivals–the Websites and discussions on it. Are we going to dismiss this all? Say none of it happened? Obviously there is an interest in it, and it goes back quite a ways. And I have yet to read any argument against it that is more compelling than the logic of Pope Benedict about the traditional liturgy: that it is impossible that what previous generations of saints held to be their holiest possession is now forbidden.

    • Francis says:

      I say, Mr Salvucci, spot on!

      Several fragmentary thoughts:
      1. Indeed, the cult of the martyrs really informs the authentic liturgical spirit for a number of reasons: a. that the gift of their life follows from and participates in the Sacrifice of the Cross, which is re-actualised on our altars. b. Given that the Sacrifice of the Cross is the highest and most excellent worship of God, the martyrs participate therein in a special way – communicantes…nobis quoque peccatoribus. c. Here the liturgical and mystical aspects come out clearly as connected : in the worship of the Mass which we offer to God, Christ is at once Priest and Victim, and in the Mystical Supper we partake at once in Christ Crucified and Risen. d. The cult of the martyrs bears testimony to the love of and union with Christ Crucified and Risen, hence, its importance and the necessity to defend and propagate it. Hence, also the importance of the Sanctoral in the liturgical life of the church, and of true relics. But of course, the Sanctoral must not take precedence over the Feasts of the Lord and the Seasons, but instead, worked out harmoniously together.

      2. On the territoriality of the cult of martyrs, I could not agree more. This is, of course, not a principle of exclusion, but a recognition as it were that Heavens poured down a particular dew at a particular place. The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church as Tertullian said. Even more so, in a more telluric sense, in which the effusion of martyr blood effectively claims for and under Christ this and that part of the earth in a spiritual sense. And this telluric aspect is perpetuated in the veneration of local saints and martyrs.

      3. To return to Sarum: I think the important thing would be to get some generous sponsor to fund the printing of liturgical books both in Latin and English so that les esprits chagrins don’t say: “Well, yes, but we don’t have the material means to celebrate it”. And get printed cheap Sarum Ordo Missae booklets, much like the Tridentine ordo missae booklets available at any Trad church/chapel/”conventicle(:p)” with Sarum sunday Terce and Vespers, and preparation and thanksgiving printed and a couple of Sarum/Roman devotions. I would be ready to collaborate and contribute to the extent of my very modest means on any such projects. Such a booklet would run to, I guess,not more than 50-60 A-5 pages. I think Father Chadwick’s liturgical mission is truly important and exemplary: we can only pledge him our prayers, our support and our collaboration.

    • Thank you for this most thoughtful comment.

      I remember from my RC days serving Mass in St Peter’s Rome at one of the side altars. Seeing the Missale Romanum struck me as being like being at Salisbury in the early sixteenth century with the Missale Sarum.

      Of course, we live in a world in which a Big Mac in Hong Kong is exactly the same as in London or New York. I do not compare liturgical rites with McDonald’s in terms of banality, but I bring out the aspect of globalism and uniformity, something some people really hate about that particular fast-food caterer.

      I too will not attempt to sound out the motivations of the Roman group or the Ordinariates. I am not informed, so I will leave the matter to those who are. Many priests I once knew in Rome expressed their desire for diversity and the respect of local cultures and the spiritual roots, however far behind in the past.

      I agree that the principle of continuous usage has no credibility. The Dominican Rite is very similar to Sarum as were the Norman variations of the Roman Rite practised as late as the 1990’s by priests like Fr Quintin Montgomery-Wright. Indeed many of the arguments against using the Tridentine liturgy are similar to those used by traditionalists against usages like Sarum. There are the generous and the pusillanimous of heart.

      I seem to have written everything I can on the Sarum liturgy. The texts and rubrics are easily available in Latin and English via the internet. I have published posts about practical aspects, like the celebration of Low Mass according to the original rubrics, and comparisons with the Dominican Rite when things were a little unclear. Everything we need exists, and we just have to hunt for the out-of-print books or print out what we can find on the internet. I have made available an English lectionary to go with the Pearson and Warren editions that only give biblical references for the Epistles and Gospels. My lectionary is much easier than using a Bible.

      Yes, there is interest in it, even if others have made it almost a taboo subject. I would like to see more Sarum in the Continuing Anglican world, and I would encourage priests to approach their Bishops to discuss the possibility of it becoming a kind of “extraordinary rite” and a part of the English liturgical heritage. Though it was celebrated in Latin before the Reformation, everything is available for it to be celebrated in “Cranmerian” English, perfectly acculturated for Anglicans used to the Prayer Book and the Anglican Missal.

      It can also be a choice for independent and Old (Roman) Catholic Churches. I am aware of the distinguished work of Fr Aidan Keller of the Russian Orthodox Church, but I prefer not to enter into debates about acculturating the Sarum liturgy in a Byzantine context. I’ll just leave that subject alone. Some of the “official” Anglicans from England and the USA had a get-together called American Sarum outre Atlantique last year, and their sessions would certainly have been fascinating. I really do believe that orthodox Anglicanism would be the terra electionis for re-growing the Sarum liturgy and getting it understood, not as “playing games” but a true rediscovery of spiritual roots.

  2. Paul Kitchenham says:

    Here’s one independent priest who has used the Sarum Use in Latin on a daily basis since my ordination earlier this year. I wonder how many others there might be out there quietly getting on with things?

  3. Little Black Sambo says:

    For vernacular worshippers I should like to mention here (again) the Cowley Missal SSJE Altar Missal) which is done very much in the Sarum spirit & therefore ideal for augmenting the BCP. It also has the immeasurable advantage over the Book of Divine Worship of retain the Authorized Version. The translation of the propers is more elegant than that in the English Missal.

  4. Dale says:

    The Sarum offices, not especially the Mass itself, had widespread liturgical use in many of the traditional sisterhoods of the Church of England; St Mary’s, Wantage, translated and set to music the Sarum Diurnal, and most of the music of the Sarum Gradual was done by the Rev’d G.H. Palmer (Also at St Mary’s). But for some strange reason the office of the Mass itself, often albeit with Sarum music, remained, usually from the Roman rite of the English Missal. Unfortunately, all of this was lost in the fairly recent push to emulate modern Rome.

    Hence, at least in the Day Hours the Sarum rite did indeed have a widespread acceptance in traditional Anglo-Catholicism.

  5. Dale says:

    Also, it is interesting to note that many of the early attempts at Anglican altar missals utilized the Sarum tradition over the Roman.

    An example of this is “The Ritual of the Altar,” 1878 (third edition), by the Rev’d Orby Shipley which also contains all of the liturgical music from the Sarum Missal and not Roman, as well as all of the “private devotions” are also from Sarum:

    Another example is “The Priest to the Altar: Chiefly after the Ancient English Use of Sarum,” 1879 by Peter Goldsmith Medd, whilst it does not contain, unfortunately, music, all of the “missal parts” are from Sarum:

    It would appear that earlier Anglo-Catholicism had a deep and abiding interest in using Sarum and not Roman examples for Missals as well as the Day and Night offices.

    Finally, we must not forget Blessed John Mason Neal’s own seminal work: “The Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive, Translated from the Sarum Book,” 1885:

    And the accompanying night office”Breviary Offices. The Night Hours,” a full translation of Sarum Mattins:

    The last two comprise the offices used in many Anglican sisterhoods, but especially the sisterhood founded by Neal himself, The Society of St Margaret, which is now completely modernist in the spirit of Vatican II.

  6. Dale says:

    Another one for the list, but not available as an ebook. I was going through my own collection of missals and found this one: “Altar Book, Containing the Order of Holy Communion According to the Use of the Church of England with Additions from the Sarum Missal: Edited by a Committee of Priests.” Rivingtons, 1914. The one I have was well used and all of the music notation, rubrics and private prayers etc. are from the Sarum Missal, not the Roman. It would appear that the Use of Sarum was quite widespread in certain quarters of the Anglo-Catholic movement, at least in England. In this missal all of the Holy Week offices and the offices for the dead are from Sarum, nothing is Roman.

    Also available as either a free download or which can be purchased, cheaply, as a photocopied paperback, is, “The psalter, of Seven ordinary hours of prayer according to the use of the illustrious and excellent church of Sarum.” This was printed in 1852 and contains the Sarum hours (with quite a bit of Matins as well…I am still waiting for my copy to arrive, so cannot say more than that), translated into the English WITH ALL OF IT NOTED with their original Gregorian melodies, including office hymns! Please see:,+o%23+Seven+o%23dinary+hours+of+prayer+according+to+the+use+of+the+illustrious+%23+excellent+church+of+Sarum.+And+the+hymn+sarum+missal&hl=en&sa=X&ei=FjLXUeLcCqOSiALvxIGoDA&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA

    And finally, let us not forget Pearson’s famous translation of the Sarum Missal (which can also be cheaply purchased as a paperback). This is a full, usable, altar missal. I believe that it must have been published not simply for study, but for liturgical use; how else can one explain noting the Prefaces, with the Sarum tones, in English? One does need to use a BCP for the readings, which are not printed in full, but for anyone interested in celebrating the Sarum rite in English, it is all there. The introduction on rubrics (one of my favourite things) is excellent; he does a wonderful job of explaining all of classifications of feasts according to the Sarum rite: Please see:

    Hence, for those interested in the Sarum rite, the full liturgical cycle, in English, including the Missal and the Breviary are available and available very, very cheaply.

    So let us not fall into the trap of thinking that Anglo-Catholicism simply opted for the Roman, Tridentine use. Sarum was indeed alive and well for a very, very long time. Not only in the numerous translations of the Sarum Diurnal which were in use but in the missal as well.

  7. Dale says:

    I know that everyone must be getting tired of me posting about availability of Sarum rite source materials, but I promise that this is the last one.

    There is also a full directory of rubrics printed in 1882. This not only contains the full rubrics of how to celebrate the Sarum Mass, but also all of the liturgical tones, including Prefaces, Gospel, Epistle, collects etc. necessary for the proper celebration of the mass: “Notes on Ceremonial: The Order of Holy Communion, with Prayers and Rubrics from the Sarum Missal for Use at the Altar (1882).” It can be found here:,+with+Prayers+and+Rubrics+from+the+Sarum+Missal+for+Use+at+the+Altar+%281882%29&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ODjXUY_YLOOtiALH9oDgBw&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Once again, there is no need to revive this rite, everything is available! And it is complete.

    • Thank you, Fr Dale, for these precious resources. Indeed, we thus have everything we need to do everything just as authentically as in the 1520’s.

      • Dale says:

        I lied! Found another edition, later, from 1930, of the “Altar Book, Containing the Order of Holy Communion According to the Use of the Church of England with Additions from the Sarum Missal: Edited by a Committee of Priests,” in my personal collection. It is a greatly expanded version of the 1914 edition; it is a full Sarum altar missal, complete with music, and the full Holy Week offices, also with music. The only thing not included are the sequences which had been printed separately. This copy was also well used, but is in beautiful condition with full leather binding and tabs. Hence, once again, those voices that continue to bellow that the Sarum rite was not used in Anglo-Catholicism are either purposely not telling the truth, or haven’t a clue!

        I used to have a copy of the book of sequences, with music, but cannot locate it (most likely lent it to someone who never returned it, I never lend books anymore); will try and see if it is available as a downloadable ebook.

    • Thanks Dale, these are terrific resources. Love those long s’s in the books. They were definitely antiquarian even then…..I think the last few newspapers stopped using them around 1810.

  8. Dale says:

    Hello Michael,

    I noticed that in the new list of so-called western rite parishes, none of them terribly western, of the ROCOR the parish of the Holy Cross is missing. Do you have any information?

  9. Fr. Lark Muncy says:

    I would love to learn the Sarum Liturgy..we are a 1928 Prayer Book Catholic Mission in West Virginia (USA) I devour any reading material I find on the subject, but must confess I have been a conformist to the Prayerbook Tradition..I do love your blog!

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