By: The Parliament of England
The Book of Common Prayer has for nearly 500 years provided the basis for Anglican and allied worship, not only in its English home but many countries around the world.
Following England's break from Rome in 1534, a need was felt for a single order of worship - in English rather than the traditional Latin - to be used in churches throughout the country. BCP first appeared in 1549 during the reign of Edward VI, was abolished under Mary and was re-introduced with modifications by Elizabeth I in 1559. During the English Civil War it was again abolished, returning with a 1662 revision under James I.
In its 1662 incarnation, BCP remained largely unchanged as the sole legal basis for Anglican worship in England right up until the 1970s .
Many words and phrases from BCP have entered common parlance, including "to have and to hold", "ashes to ashes", "till death us do part" and "speak now or forever hold your peace".
This early modern text is in the US public domain, but in the United Kingdom some restrictions under the Royal prerogative still remain, and UK reproductions require consent. The Book of Common Prayer, the rights in which are vested in the Crown, are reproduced by permission of the Crown's patentee, Cambridge University Press. I am grateful to CUP for permission to record selections from this 1762 reprinting, and for the recording to be uploaded to and published by. - Summary by Michael Maggs