Anglican Missals

corpuschristiI was answering a comment today about the so-called Cowley missal and what I thought of it. Its design seems to form a compromise between the various national Prayer Books, the Roman missal of the early twentieth century and Sarum. I have a copy of this missal, which I bought at Thornton’s in London more than twenty years ago, and is unfortunately heavily mutilated with crossings-out and sheets of paper glued in (with glue that won’t come undone with steam). Fr Hunwicke has written most stimulatingly about the Cowley missal and about Anglican liturgical patrimony in general in Four Liturgical Forms. Unlike he, I was never a clerk in Holy Orders in the Church of England.

I did a Google search and found this fascinating article on Anglican missals in the plural, including the 1921 Anglican Missal properly speaking, but also the English missal, Dearmer’s Altar Book and various editions of the Sarum Missal in Latin and English. The article is Collecting Anglican Missals. Many of us enjoy collecting things. If I had enough space at home, I would love to collect three or four sailing dinghies. A neighbour in my village has a collection of some twenty farm tractors, which he restores and gets into working order. My brother has always been a collector – stamps, fossils, all sorts, and now he has a small collection of vintage cars. I have quite a few books, and I have at least referred to most of those I have not read entirely. My late mother collected Goss china and kept the pieces in a glass case in the hall of our home. I have quite a few missals and breviaries in my library. I had to spend quite a lot of money on my Warren and Dickinson Sarum missals after having found that the Pearson version is a disappointing and cheap paperback that wouldn’t last two weeks in liturgical use.

It is encouraging to see information on the various editions of the Sarum missal that were produced from the late nineteenth century to the period of the twentieth before the Great War. It showed not only an interest in studying England’s pre-Reformation liturgical patrimony (there were other uses too like Hereford and York), but in actually celebrating Mass following them if the priest in question could get away with it. Priests could go to prison for Ritualism and using unauthorised rites in those days! Sarum was the last local use to remain under the reign of Henry VIII when the other Uses were abolished.

A few old Sarum missals can still be seen in libraries, and I remember once seeing one at the SPCK bookshop in Marylebone Road in the early 1980’s. It was going for a couple of hundred quid. Nowadays, I would make sacrifices for such an opportunity, but then, the price was prohibitive. I have a Roman missal from 1640, which was given to me and which had been in Recusant hands in the seventeenth century. Who knows who would have bought the Sarum missal with the money I didn’t have?

I don’t need to give any introduction to the Sarum Missal here. You can always find what I have already written here. Many fine distinctions need to be made when comparing rites. It is not merely a variation of the Roman rite, but draws upon sources that are quite different from the Use of the Roman Curia that became the official codified standard Roman Missal of 1570 with its editions and revisions up to 1965. Sarum draws on French sources, notably the uses of Rouen and Bayeux and has many similarities with the Dominican and Parisian rites in more recent use. There are not only differences in the order of Mass but also in the Proper. The system of Scripture readings is quite different, and the Book of Common Prayer resumed much of the Sarum schema for the Sundays and major feasts.

Fortunately, for those who don’t have the money for antiquarian books, there are more recent and accessible editions. Also it is not easy to read sixteenth-century printing with its symbols now known only to experts in palaeography. Hand-copying and printing, still in its infancy, were incredibly laborious and expensive endeavours. Paper had to be economised and the missal would be full of shorthand and cross references. Such a book would be very difficult to use. That was until Rev. G.H. Forbes/Dickinson came along in 1861 and published the Missale ad Usum Insignis Ecclesiae Sarum generally known as the “Burntisland Missal”. It was based on the printed edition of 1526 and filled with footnotes referring to other available specimens. It comes half-way between an academic book and something that can be used at the altar. I have done so myself from late 2009. The cross-references are clear and the spelling is that of modern Roman Latin usage. It is a bit annoying to read a sequence filled with little letters referring to sources and other versions. Attempts have been made to produce more practical editions, but none has been published in hardback. Before buying my Gregg reprint at the best part of a hundred quid, I had home-printed booklets from a version available on the internet in “dirty” facsimile pdf format. I could easily celebrate Mass using the temporal proper, the sanctoral and the common of saints – and of course the Ordo Missae done on MS Publisher. The Ordo Missae in the Dickinson edition is a tangled mass of rubrics and text. I simply use my edition of the Ordo Missae and the Dickinson missal for the propers, a little like the way a bishop celebrates the Roman rite with a missal and pontifical canon. When you get to the preface, you close the missal and lay it down on the altar and use the booklet, and then open the Missal again for the Communion and Postcommunion.

Dickinson’s edition was translated into English by A. Harford Pearson in 1868, under the title of The Sarum Missal in English. Apart from the unusable modern reprint book, I detest the over-use use of capital initial letters for every pronoun referring to God. It is most unlike the sober style of the Prayer Book, where only proper names are capitalised. A habit I have acquired from French is to be sparing with the use of capital initial letters. However, it is good to have this book for reference.

We then have the Canon Warren edition from 1911. I find the translation much better, more finely polished “Prayer Book” and without all those ghastly capital letters. Unlike Dickinson in Latin, neither of the English versions have a lectionary, so either you have to use a Bible, or I have done a lectionary which you can have for free. With Warren and this lectionary, you can quite easily celebrate a Sarum Mass. Of course, for High Mass, you need the chant in a version adapted for English. I think the nuns of Wantage did a gradual, but there may be tweaks from the “pure” Sarum use. Apparently, the Warren missal has been reprinted and is available, but I haven’t seen hide nor hair of it.There are various mix-and-match versions around like the one that was done into English and Abridged. I don’t bother with them. I found an ordo missae from this version in the 1980’s and I still have it. The Canon is modified and has most of the saints of the diptychs chopped out. What a waste of a book!

The distinguished liturgical scholar J.W. Wickham Legg did an academic and critical edition in 1916, but it has never pretended to be usable at the altar. It represents earlier usage than the 1526 edition which was the source of Dickinson’s work. It is hard to find, but I have photocopies of the ordo missae.

If you are patient, and ready to spend more than you would usually do for second-hand books, you can find these books. It is even easier with the Internet and online ordering. It’s like finding classic movies on Youtube! Keep persevering…

Something not mentioned in this article: the gradual from the temporal cycle done by Nick Sandon. I snapped up those volumes when they were in print. Last but not least, there is the phenomenal work of Dr William Renwick. He has been working on Latin and English versions of the Sarum Breviary for years, a true travail de Bénédictin, a true labour of a monk. His work on the Missal to complete Sandon’s work is still in the project phase. Dr Renwick’s site includes a calendar for each year following the Gregorian calendar. There was an Orthodox priest who did a Sarum ordo following the Julian calendar (as was the usage in anti-papal England until 1752).

This is probably the best one-stop place to find Sarum liturgical material – Internet Archive Search: Sarum. You also need the Pie (Pica) which gives ceremonial information.

Sarum is remarkably well-organised, but differently from Burchard and the men who organised the Roman missal of Pius V (1570). It can be “got used to”.

I am concerned with the Use of Sarum, and this is what interested me in this article about someone’s collection of books. There are Sarum-inspired books that incorporate the Prayer Book rite. Dearmer was a strict conservative and insisted on conforming to the 1662 Prayer Book, as was his obligation as a cleric in the Church of England. So his work was something of the Anglican equivalent of the “Tridentine” Novus Ordo at the London Oratory! What goes around comes around. I too have a copy of the Altar Book. Nevertheless, I have always admired Dearmer’s work of research in medieval liturgical tradition. Many books were published in those days to guide priests who wished to “sarumise” the official rites of the Church of England and who were Ritualists. The Anglican liturgical movement is unique, and many of the results have brought confusion and disarray, but the will and intellect behind it were admirable and a true inspiration.

Much of that work from the 1860’s up to around 1914 tends to be the butt of despising jokes by churchmen who feel they know better, but have done little more than jump onto a bandwagon of ideology and ignorance. I have a great debt of gratitude to those men who dreamed and studied, and make it possible for me to celebrate a reasonably authentic Sarum liturgy in 2014. Between the English Use men and those who favoured contemporary Roman Catholic usage, they created the basis for our usages in the Continuing Anglican Churches, including those parishes using the Prayer Book.

It is more than academic study and antiquarianism. It is our quest for our spiritual roots and identity, and though those our living Christian existence. That’s what they felt then as the way I feel today.

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7 Responses to Anglican Missals

  1. Xryztofer says:

    “Apparently, the Warren missal has been reprinted and is available, but I haven’t seen hide nor hair of it.”

    Unless you’re referring to some other version, here’s a reprint of the Warren Missal (v. 2 is also available):
    Unfortunately it’s just a scanned version and in paperpack.

    So where would you put the odds of a full-fledged altar version of the Sarum missal being produced within our lifetimes?

    • So where would you put the odds of a full-fledged altar version of the Sarum missal being produced within our lifetimes?

      Zero, unless some of us pool resources and do it. However, we can print using our computers. The problem is binding the books and finding people rich enough to buy them even if no profit is made. There just isn’t the interest on a big enough scale.

      • Robert says:

        I suppose the biggest problem with the current reprints are that they are in black only which makes it difficult for altar use (like the Church Union reprint of the Knott Missal a few years back, which was so small (margins were about 2″) that the actual text was little larger than a had missal). Hopefully now that colour printing is a lot cheaper these amazon/lulu type reprints can be in black and red.

      • The problem is that such reproductions are so little in demand. The publisher and bookbinder have to find a way that is viable in business terms. A good-quality book would be too expensive for many of us to afford.

        An alternative to black and red printing is to have the rubrics in Italics and the liturgical text in normal type. I am satisfied with that and used to it.

        That allows printing on a laser printer, unless you have the money for a colour laser printer. You can use Publisher to make the booklet sections of the book, and then all that can be bound (sewn in sections) into a book. I am happy with an A5 format book on the altar with a size 10 font (I use 2-dioptre reading glasses at about 50-60 cm assuming the use of a standard missal stand and in the usual position of standing at the altar). Such a book can be printed on A4 paper with two columns on each page in the customary missal layout. My favourite font is Book Antiqua, but there are others. I avoid gothic or other fancy fonts. For the crosses and V. and R. signs, there is the liturgy font which you can download legally for free.

        I have started doing the Warren Sarum missal with the lectionary incorporated and reductions of cross references by having the referenced material reproduced. This is something we can do with a computer.

      • ed pacht says:

        There are several print-on-demand companies (I have used Lulu Press) that produce well-printed and bound books. If one is willing to put in the effort to format a book on one’s own computer and send it to them, the cost is minimal and one can obtain as few copies as one for a per-page charge and shipping cost. The present computerized world has actually made ‘big enough scale’ almost an irrelevant term. In POD there is no waste, as books are printed to order, only as many as demanded. If anyone has the time and energy to reformat what is available electronically and/or to type what is not, it can be done.

  2. Jim of Olym says:

    I knew Fr. Earle Hewitt Maddux, SSJE who was the editor of the ‘American Missal’. I spent a week with him when he was the chaplain of the All Saints Sisters in Catonsburg, MD, USA. He pointed out to me that he had vetted the rubrics with many people, including housewives (!) so that no one could mistake what was being directed in the rubrics! We used it for many years at St. Mary of the Angeles, Hollywood, CA, where I was a standby lay subdeacon, back in the ’50s.

    • Dale says:

      The American Missal has been reprinted,and a mighty fine job one might add, by Fr Connely of St Mark’s Western Rite Orthodox church in Denver, Colorado. It is a wonderful production, I have a copy and will save up to purchase another one as well. It is hard bound, gold leafed and contains the 1928 BCP rite as well as the Missal rite with the 1928 canon, as well as the Orthodox Anglican use, and the Roman canon in both English and Latin. It can be found here:

      As far as altar missals is concerned it is not only one of the most beautiful on the market, it is the cheapest as well.

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