Historical Anglican church services

thomasthomas Shipmate Posts: 17
What are good resources to get a good grasp of what Anglican church services were like between the Elizabethan settlement and the Oxford Movement?

I understand that before the Oxford Movement, church life was markedly different for Anglicans, with celebration of the Eucharist being rare and hymns not being sung. I'd like to form a mental image of what church-going was like for most English people in the 17th, 18th or 19th centuries. When reading 18th- or 19th-century novels, or biographies about people from that time, I'd like to be able to imagine what kind of services they actually attended on Sundays.

Are there any film or audio resources to this end? How did church services differ in cathedrals, in market towns and in villages? How common would choral singing have been? And congregational singing? What psalm settings would have been used, and are some of those still in use today? What did it even mean to be high-church or low-church before the Oxford Movement? Were there strongholds of pre-Reformation doctrines or practices between the Caroline Divines and the Oxford Movement, isolated as they might have been?
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Comments

  • This is a massive topic.
    To get you started, metrical psalms were sung from the Reformation onwards. Theres a good article here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrical_psalter
    Later on the singing was supported by bands of instruments in the West gallery of churches. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_gallery_music
    As for High/Low Church https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_church
  • Lining out would have been common for singing in most places before widespread literacy (it's still the practice among conservative Presbyterians in the Western Isles but was once common across other churches).
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited December 2023
    Some idea of the way the services might have been can be found in some novels set in the 18th and early 19th centuries, for example, the Poldark series by Winston Graham (depicting Cornwall in around 1790-1800, where the church life of the parish of Grambler with Sawle is often mentioned), and Under The Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy, which deals with the life of a typical village choir in around 1835-1840 (Hardy's father played in such a west-gallery choir).

    I have an 1828 edition of the Book of Common Prayer, which includes the complete set of metrical psalms by Tate and Brady. These would have been in regular use at that time.

    As Hardy wrote, in Afternoon Service at Mellstock:

    On afternoons of drowsy calm,
    We stood in the panelled pew,
    Singing one-voiced a Tate and Brady psalm.
    To the tune of Cambridge New.


  • If nothing else, you want the Penguin History of the Church - 3 volumes in particular

    3. The Reformation - Owen Chadwick
    4. The Church and the Age of Reason - Gerald Cragg
    5. The Church in an Age of Revolution - Alec Vidler

    4 is probably the key one for 'what happened in the middle'

    they're getting a bit dated now, but the best overviews still I think for the interested observer

    Otherwise, we're getting into Kilvert's diary etc
  • As Hardy wrote, in Afternoon Service at Mellstock:

    On afternoons of drowsy calm,
    We stood in the panelled pew,
    Singing one-voiced a Tate and Brady psalm.
    To the tune of Cambridge New.


    You're right of course that it was Hardy. But it could just as easily have been Betjeman. I suppose the latter was more or less a plagiarist!
  • angloid wrote: »
    But it could just as easily have been Betjeman. I suppose the latter was more or less a plagiarist!

    I'm not sure that's fair...

  • Missed the edit window - I just mean (and this is well off-topic but I'm slightly at a loss...), I've read pretty well everything Betjeman wrote (including his letters) that has been published, some that hasn't, I've read most of the poets at least superficially that influenced him, or who were writing significantly while he was working, and reams of the criticism (literary, poetic and well, just criticism), and I'm struggling with the idea of him as plagiarist. He was certainly from time to time a *parodist* - but that was usually telegraphed in big flashing lights or at the very least obvious to those in on the joke.

    But *plagiarist*? I'm not even really sure how to refute that, it seems very left field.

    (I also guess it wasn't intended seriously, but with a username like mine, I feel the need to think about it...)

    Might need a whole new thread - Betjeman As Major Serious Poet and One Of The Most Significant Of The British Poetic Twentieth Century. Or something.
  • No it's not. I couldn't think of an appropriate word. I think he was sometimes consciously striving to pay homage to certain writers' styles.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    As@"Alan29" says, this is a massive topic. It's also quite interesting. There are also major differences over the period. What was happening in 1603 when Elizabeth died is different from 1640, just before the Civil War broke out, 1680, 1780 or the 1850 that Thomas Hardy might just have been remembering from his childhood. It's also quite difficult to find out. What happened in church on a Sunday was so familiar to most people that they didn't need to describe it. That's also true, incidentally, of finding out what church was like in my childhood, when all services were 1662. I can remember, but younger people can't.

    What can be said fairly consistently for most, if not all, of that period is that modern standards, services were mind-blowingly dull, and lasted a long time. Typical of the later part of that period, are the following:-
    • In many churches Holy Communion was only celebrated infrequently, typically once a month or four times a year.
    • on a typical Sunday, in the morning, there was Morning Prayer, followed by the Litany followed by Antecommunion, and sermon, which was where the service stopped except on a Communion Sunday.
    • The evening service was usually in the afternoon, and was followed by a sermon.
    • In most churches, the only congregational singing was of metrical psalms sung before or after the services or in the gaps between Morning Prayer, the Litany and the Antecommunion.
    • It was the job of the parish clerk to lead the responses. Whether everyone else joined in is less clear.
    • There might well be an anthem where indicated, as an opportunity for the band and singers to display their talents.
    • There was an emphasis on sermons which might be an hour or longer. Celebrated preachers published collections of their productions.
    • The canticles and Prayer Book psalms were probably read. In some town churches by about 1800 choir settings of the Canticles in prose existed. An area of huge doubt is that nobody seems to have been able to discover whether some churches sang metrical versions of psalms and canticles in stead of the BCP (1662 Book of Common Prayer) prose versions or whether that was assumed to be illegal.
    • Hymns, other than those included in either the Old or New Version of the Psalms were assumed to be illegal in services until a case sometime around 1815.
    • Even among clergy who regarded themselves as high church there was little interest or controversy about liturgy or vestments. Any deviation from what was generally regarded as normal was regarded as either emulating dissenters or popery, both of which were regarded as more or less equally appalling, but for different reasons.

    Is that any help?
  • The major difference between Scotland and England was and still is the Anglican background to life in England with a Presbyterian background in Scotland.
    In the 18th century services of the Established Church would take the following form on the Sabbath (Sunday)
    at 10 a.m. a bell would ring and a few minutes later the people would enter the church where the precentor or reader would lead (line by line) the singing of a psalm. Shortly after the minister would enter the pulpit and bow to the 'quality' who were present, who would in turn bow to the minister. There would be a prayer followed by a lecture on a passage of scripture commented upon verse by verse, a prayer followed and then came the sermon with another prayer at the end. To conclude came the singing of a psalm and the benediction. (Hats were put on during the discourse and the sermon)

    The celebration of the Lord's supper was known as the 'Occasion ' or the 'Great work' and was celebrated not more than once a year and sometimes only every two or three years .
    This was because of the expense as people often came from far distances and had to be housed and fed by the parish. However some parishioners could attend such an 'Occasion' very two or three weeks in summer by visiting other parishes for what as well as being a sacred time was also a great social occasion.
    A population of 500 might swell to over 2000 who would try to arrive for the 'preachings' or preparation services on Thursday and Friday before the communion and the Monday after.
    Those who were Episcopalian at that time followed much the same pattern. They would however often say together the Lord's prayer which was deemed to be too papistical and a vain repetition by the Presbyterians

    Big changes came in the middle of the 19th century with the equivalent of the Oxford Movement though nothing to do with vestments etc.
  • Are you describing the Church of Scotland there? It isnt quite clear.
  • Missed the edit window - I just mean (and this is well off-topic but I'm slightly at a loss...), I've read pretty well everything Betjeman wrote (including his letters) that has been published, some that hasn't, I've read most of the poets at least superficially that influenced him, or who were writing significantly while he was working, and reams of the criticism (literary, poetic and well, just criticism), and I'm struggling with the idea of him as plagiarist. He was certainly from time to time a *parodist* - but that was usually telegraphed in big flashing lights or at the very least obvious to those in on the joke.

    But *plagiarist*? I'm not even really sure how to refute that, it seems very left field.

    (I also guess it wasn't intended seriously, but with a username like mine, I feel the need to think about it...)

    Might need a whole new thread - Betjeman As Major Serious Poet and One Of The Most Significant Of The British Poetic Twentieth Century. Or something.

    Cross-posted. Yes of course I agree. Betjeman was a good deal more significant than is sometimes acknowledged. And he was a fan of suburbia and the Metropolitan Railway so he must be ok!
  • The Established Church of Scotland was what I was describing. It was Presbyterian in character but until 1688 had bishops who were part of the Church of Scotland. Amongst other things they sat in the Scottish Parliament and were appointed by the king.
    The Established Church of Scotland became completely Presbyterian at the time of the arrival of William of Orange as joint king with his wife Mary. In return for the guarantee of Presbyterianism for the Established Church the Scots, at that time a separate state ,agreed to accept William and Mary as sovereigns.
    The Established Church of Scotland remained as such until about 1920 when 'establishment' ceased and the Church of Scotland adopted the name of National Church.
  • Sorry I wasn;t clear about the 'Established Church' in Scotland. Although most people were against episcopal government there were certain areas and communities who actually favoured episcopal government of the Established Church. As we know (or perhaps don't know) there was an attempt made by King Charles 1st to introduce an Anglican type of Prayer book into the Scottish Church. This led to riots in St Giles' in Edinburgh and the signing of the National covenant across Scotland. Nevertheless bishops remained in the Established church till 1688.
  • I doubt there's an online recording, but the museum at Gairloch plays on a loop a recording of a precentor leading the 23rd psalm in the gaelic. It's quite unlike any other rendition I've ever heard, Crimond it is not!

    On a more Anglican note, prior to the expansion of the organ into the church (as something a genteel member of the church could play), you would find a village band playing, probably led by a bass viol (for non musicians like me, not unlike a cello). There's an interview in the Essex Record Office, ref SA497, you want the Daisy Wright one with the transcript, recording memories of the bass viol in particular.

    It would be remiss of me to not mention that the bellringers were probably an unruly beer-fuelled bunch in need of later Victorian "civilising". The Knotweed and I do our best to keep that tradition up.
  • John Merbecke's music for the 1549 BCP Communion Service is (or was) fairly well-known, and is still found today, as it's possible to use it with the 1662 BCP liturgy.

    What may be less well-known is that Merbecke also wrote music for the 1549 BCP Mattins and Evensong canticles, but I have no idea how widely this was used.
  • BTW, just as a taste of West-gallery music, here's a lovely late 18thC Whitsuntide hymn, sung in 4 parts, and with a suitable band accompanying - try joining in, it's rather fun:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1uOkZzbL4A
  • John Merbecke's music for the 1549 BCP Communion Service is (or was) fairly well-known, and is still found today, as it's possible to use it with the 1662 BCP liturgy.

    What may be less well-known is that Merbecke also wrote music for the 1549 BCP Mattins and Evensong canticles, but I have no idea how widely this was used.

    My recollection from readings in church history is that the singing of the Communion Service only revived as part of the Oxford Movement. It was then that Merbecke's setting was rediscovered and adopted by smaller churches who wanted the service sung and by some larger churches who wanted congregational singing rather than choir settings.
  • John Merbecke's music for the 1549 BCP Communion Service is (or was) fairly well-known, and is still found today, as it's possible to use it with the 1662 BCP liturgy.

    What may be less well-known is that Merbecke also wrote music for the 1549 BCP Mattins and Evensong canticles, but I have no idea how widely this was used.

    My recollection from readings in church history is that the singing of the Communion Service only revived as part of the Oxford Movement. It was then that Merbecke's setting was rediscovered and adopted by smaller churches who wanted the service sung and by some larger churches who wanted congregational singing rather than choir settings.

    You may well be right - it's hard to know how many churches ever sang, rather than said, the parts of the *Masse* for which Merbecke had provided the setting.
  • John Merbecke's music for the 1549 BCP Communion Service is (or was) fairly well-known, and is still found today, as it's possible to use it with the 1662 BCP liturgy.

    What may be less well-known is that Merbecke also wrote music for the 1549 BCP Mattins and Evensong canticles, but I have no idea how widely this was used.

    My recollection from readings in church history is that the singing of the Communion Service only revived as part of the Oxford Movement. It was then that Merbecke's setting was rediscovered and adopted by smaller churches who wanted the service sung and by some larger churches who wanted congregational singing rather than choir settings.

    I was organist in an Anglican church in Yorkshire where Merbecke was one of the two settings used weekly. The other was, I seem to remember something called The Modern Folk Mass by (?) Shaw. That was a parish that was waaaaay up the candle, where the lovely vicar, after church would put a black cloak over his cassock and go straight to the village pub. Everyone knew him. It kind of explained for me the meaning of the established church encompassing everyone.
  • *An Anglican Folk Mass* was composed by Martin Shaw in 1918. There are quite a few renditions of it - or parts thereof - on YouTube.

  • BTW, just as a taste of West-gallery music, here's a lovely late 18thC Whitsuntide hymn, sung in 4 parts, and with a suitable band accompanying - try joining in, it's rather fun:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1uOkZzbL4A

    Tantalising snippets from a similar but seasonal CD (which we possess): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTAWlUubNOs
  • Missed the edit window - I just mean (and this is well off-topic but I'm slightly at a loss...), I've read pretty well everything Betjeman wrote (including his letters) that has been published, some that hasn't, I've read most of the poets at least superficially that influenced him, or who were writing significantly while he was working, and reams of the criticism (literary, poetic and well, just criticism), and I'm struggling with the idea of him as plagiarist. He was certainly from time to time a *parodist* - but that was usually telegraphed in big flashing lights or at the very least obvious to those in on the joke.

    But *plagiarist*? I'm not even really sure how to refute that, it seems very left field.

    (I also guess it wasn't intended seriously, but with a username like mine, I feel the need to think about it...)

    Might need a whole new thread - Betjeman As Major Serious Poet and One Of The Most Significant Of The British Poetic Twentieth Century. Or something.

    Have you read this? I can send you the paper if you PM me with your email address: "Strange Deliberations: John Betjeman and Protestant Nonconformity".

    By the same author is "Anglicanism and the Poetry of John Betjeman" which I've read but don't possess.

  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    BTW, just as a taste of West-gallery music, here's a lovely late 18thC Whitsuntide hymn, sung in 4 parts, and with a suitable band accompanying - try joining in, it's rather fun:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1uOkZzbL4A


    Tantalising snippets from a similar but seasonal CD (which we possess): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTAWlUubNOs
    I think those are quite good examples of what a typical ordinary congregation would have heard where it says in the BCP, "In Quires and places where they sing, here followeth the Anthem".

  • Enoch wrote: »
    BTW, just as a taste of West-gallery music, here's a lovely late 18thC Whitsuntide hymn, sung in 4 parts, and with a suitable band accompanying - try joining in, it's rather fun:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1uOkZzbL4A


    Tantalising snippets from a similar but seasonal CD (which we possess): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTAWlUubNOs
    I think those are quite good examples of what a typical ordinary congregation would have heard where it says in the BCP, "In Quires and places where they sing, here followeth the Anthem".

    Yes, and (as far as Christmas music is concerned) what might have been sung by the village quire and band on their carol-singing around the parish on Christmas Eve (cf once again Hardy's Under the Greenwood Tree, which begins with just such a peregrination...).

  • thomasthomas Shipmate Posts: 17
    Thank you all very much for the wealth of information.
    Enoch wrote: »
    Is that any help?

    Very much so.
  • It's hard to know just how the BCP services - familiar though they may be, even in these latter days - were conducted in past times.

    ISTM, though, that they might still have a place in today's worship patterns, even if only occasionally, especially if suitable music and musicians/singers can be had. In this area, they have virtually disappeared from most churches, although one or two still offer an early Communion on Sundays. The Cathedral has an 8am Communion every Sunday, 930am Choral Mattins on some Sundays (Mattins is the first to go, if the main Eucharist has to be brought forward!), and Evensong on most Sundays (also during the week, but often said rather than choral).

    I think the 1549 BCP Communion service can still be celebrated in C of E churches - perhaps as part of an instructional series showing how liturgy has developed/changed - but that the local Bishop's permission is needed first.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    BTW, just as a taste of West-gallery music, here's a lovely late 18thC Whitsuntide hymn, sung in 4 parts, and with a suitable band accompanying - try joining in, it's rather fun:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1uOkZzbL4A


    Tantalising snippets from a similar but seasonal CD (which we possess): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTAWlUubNOs
    I think those are quite good examples of what a typical ordinary congregation would have heard where it says in the BCP, "In Quires and places where they sing, here followeth the Anthem".

    Yes, and (as far as Christmas music is concerned) what might have been sung by the village quire and band on their carol-singing around the parish on Christmas Eve (cf once again Hardy's Under the Greenwood Tree, which begins with just such a peregrination...).

    This tradition continues in the villages around Sheffield where the pubs are packed with people singing their own local carols. I was there last year and must have sung while shepherds watched to six different tunes!
  • Indeed. My in-laws live in Sheffield and that has been my experience also.
  • A good resource for the music of parish churches in this period is The Music of the English Parish Church by Nicholas Temperly, Cambridge University Press, 1979.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    As@"Alan29" says, this is a massive topic.
    [*] In most churches, the only congregational singing was of metrical psalms sung before or after the services or in the gaps between Morning Prayer, the Litany and the Antecommunion.
    *] The canticles and Prayer Book psalms were probably read. In some town churches by about 1800 choir settings of the Canticles in prose existed. An area of huge doubt is that nobody seems to have been able to discover whether some churches sang metrical versions of psalms and canticles in stead of the BCP (1662 Book of Common Prayer) prose versions or whether that was assumed to be illegal.
    Metrical psalms could be sung before and after sermons, as well as before and after services.

    Charles Wheatly (1686-1742), in his A Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England added this note about the use of the hundredth and sixty-seventh psalms as canticles:
    N.B. It ought to be noted, that both the sixty-seventh and hundredth psalms, being inserted in the Common Prayer Books in the ordinary version, ought to be so used, and not to be sung in Sternhold and Hopkins, or any other metre, as is now the custom in too many churches, to the jostling out of the psalms themselves, expressly contrary to the design of the rubric: which, if not prevented, may in time make way for further innovations and gross irregularities.

    So some churches in the earlier part of the 18th century were singing the sixty-seventh and hundredth psalms as canticles at Morning and Evening Prayer in the metrical version.
  • thomasthomas Shipmate Posts: 17
    Thank you so much for the additional answers. Quite a bit for me to chew on there!
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    As@"Alan29" says, this is a massive topic.
    [*] In most churches, the only congregational singing was of metrical psalms sung before or after the services or in the gaps between Morning Prayer, the Litany and the Antecommunion.
    *] The canticles and Prayer Book psalms were probably read. In some town churches by about 1800 choir settings of the Canticles in prose existed. An area of huge doubt is that nobody seems to have been able to discover whether some churches sang metrical versions of psalms and canticles in stead of the BCP (1662 Book of Common Prayer) prose versions or whether that was assumed to be illegal.
    Metrical psalms could be sung before and after sermons, as well as before and after services.

    Charles Wheatly (1686-1742), in his A Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England added this note about the use of the hundredth and sixty-seventh psalms as canticles:
    N.B. It ought to be noted, that both the sixty-seventh and hundredth psalms, being inserted in the Common Prayer Books in the ordinary version, ought to be so used, and not to be sung in Sternhold and Hopkins, or any other metre, as is now the custom in too many churches, to the jostling out of the psalms themselves, expressly contrary to the design of the rubric: which, if not prevented, may in time make way for further innovations and gross irregularities.

    So some churches in the earlier part of the 18th century were singing the sixty-seventh and hundredth psalms as canticles at Morning and Evening Prayer in the metrical version.
    Many thanks for that. It sounds like a valuable source on something that has been very difficult to find out about.

    It also demonstrates that 'they will know you are Christians by your disapproval of each other' as a feature of the Church of England was not a creation of either the Oxford Movement or Percy Dearmer.

  • Indeed, as evidenced by the attitude towards other Churches expressed in The 39 Articles.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    Enoch wrote: »
    As@"Alan29" says, this is a massive topic.
    [*] In most churches, the only congregational singing was of metrical psalms sung before or after the services or in the gaps between Morning Prayer, the Litany and the Antecommunion.
    *] The canticles and Prayer Book psalms were probably read. In some town churches by about 1800 choir settings of the Canticles in prose existed. An area of huge doubt is that nobody seems to have been able to discover whether some churches sang metrical versions of psalms and canticles in stead of the BCP (1662 Book of Common Prayer) prose versions or whether that was assumed to be illegal.
    Metrical psalms could be sung before and after sermons, as well as before and after services.

    Charles Wheatly (1686-1742), in his A Rational Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England added this note about the use of the hundredth and sixty-seventh psalms as canticles:
    N.B. It ought to be noted, that both the sixty-seventh and hundredth psalms, being inserted in the Common Prayer Books in the ordinary version, ought to be so used, and not to be sung in Sternhold and Hopkins, or any other metre, as is now the custom in too many churches, to the jostling out of the psalms themselves, expressly contrary to the design of the rubric: which, if not prevented, may in time make way for further innovations and gross irregularities.

    So some churches in the earlier part of the 18th century were singing the sixty-seventh and hundredth psalms as canticles at Morning and Evening Prayer in the metrical version.
    Many thanks for that. It sounds like a valuable source on something that has been very difficult to find out about.

    It also demonstrates that 'they will know you are Christians by your disapproval of each other' as a feature of the Church of England was not a creation of either the Oxford Movement or Percy Dearmer.

    If they sang Psalms 67 and 100 as psalms (presumably in the version by Coverdale, which AIUI is that used in the BCP), what chant(s) did they use? Plainsong?
  • Following on from that, when did the now familiar Anglican chants begin to be generally used? I would guess in cathedrals first of all, then in parishes, but when? Some of them predate the Oxford Movement I think.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    If they sang Psalms 67 and 100 as psalms (presumably in the version by Coverdale, which AIUI is that used in the BCP), what chant(s) did they use? Plainsong?
    Who knows. It much more probable that they said them. Or perhaps the vicar and parish clerk chanted them backwards and forwards in a monotone. Who knows? I suspect they didn't use any sort of plainsong.

    I've heard, but can't remember where, that there's evidence of chanting in cathedrals in the eighteenth century and more for some town churches in the early nineteenth. There are chants in an edition of Cheetham's Psalmody that appears to have been published sometime around 1830 which are moving towards the familiar form, though I don't think anyone quite knows how they were sung. It does look fairly clear to me though that 'psalmody' itself meant for most purposes tunes in common, long, short and peculiar metres.

    Anglican chant as widely used until about 40 years ago seems to have reached that form in the mid to late nineteenth century.

    However, it is possible there are others who know more about this.

  • Wikipedia at least suggests that Anglican chant evolved from plain chant pretty early after the reformation, though I suspect as with most "evolution" it's hard to pin down a precise boundary.
  • Wikipedia at least suggests that Anglican chant evolved from plain chant pretty early after the reformation, though I suspect as with most "evolution" it's hard to pin down a precise boundary.

    Presumably there is a manuscript trail to back that statement up.
  • thomasthomas Shipmate Posts: 17
    I have just discovered that the MusicaSacra forum has this thread dedicated to the question of Anglican liturgy before the Oxford Movement.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    thomas wrote: »
    I have just discovered that the MusicaSacra forum has this thread dedicated to the question of Anglican liturgy before the Oxford Movement.
    I followed the link to that page, which has quite a few more examples of 'they will know you are Christians by your disapproval of each other'.

    I then went from that page to the Prayer Book Society Communion Service. That is very similar to what an 8 am Communion was like when I was confirmed in the 1960s. I think the only significant differences is that from memory I think by then, the Summary of the Law was often used in stead of the full 10 Commandments, and that we may have had two candles.

    I think, though, that a pre-Oxford Movement Communion Service would have included the Exhortation, "Dearly beloved in the Lord, ye that mind to come to the holy Communion ... ".

    I've downloaded Jebb's Three Lectures on the Cathedral Service of the Church of England (Leeds, 1841) which that page also links to and am looking forward to reading it.

  • Ah - the Exhortation!

    I've heard stories of visiting priests who have been instructed by churchwardens to follow the BCP (because *that's what we do*), and who have then encountered obloquy - not to mention opprobrious epithets - for having done exactly as the rubrics instruct...
    :lol:
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    It wasn't usual even back when I was confirmed. 50 or so years ago, a clergyman told me that he was so disgusted by the condition in which some of the people in his congregation had arrived for the midnight service on Christmas Eve that he'd read it as warning to them. None of them took any notice, and only about one person commented that they didn't recognise that bit, but it was a bit long and wordy.

  • Yes, I recall a Midnight Communion which was disrupted by various drunks - the Vicar told the discombobulated Curate (who was leading the service) to simply carry on, whilst the stalwart churchwardens and sides-persons dealt with the miscreants - quietly, and effectively, I may add.

    The Vicar was usually punctilious in following the BCP rubrics, but I can't recall him ever using the Exhortation(s).
  • Something of a digression (who? me?), but the last Half Man Half Biscuit album included a song, to a Well Known Tune that you can probably pick up just by looking at the lyrics, written in the persona of a priest with a churchful of drink-taken football fans for midnight mass.

    https://halfmanhalfbiscuit.uk/the-voltarol-years/midnight-mass-murder/

    I've had a bit of a problem keeping a straight face to that hymn (worse, my favourite!) ever since...
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Another source worth considering might be the volumes on Tudor Church Music (the English novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner contributed to this) published in the 1920s by Oxford University Press and credited with the revival of interest in early English choral music that took place between 1880 and 1930, focusing on the compositions of Tallis, Byrd and Gibbons.
  • thomasthomas Shipmate Posts: 17
    @MaryLouise Thank you for the reference. Looking into it, I get the impression that from Richard Terry's impulse, Westminster Cathedral choir seems to have influenced the Anglican choirs rather than the other way around. I must confess that I'd hitherto thought that the cultural flow had been in the other direction, ie, that Westminster Cathedral choir had emerged in the cultural context of the English, and necessarily Anglican, choral tradition. Interesting.
  • thomas wrote: »
    @MaryLouise Thank you for the reference. Looking into it, I get the impression that from Richard Terry's impulse, Westminster Cathedral choir seems to have influenced the Anglican choirs rather than the other way around. I must confess that I'd hitherto thought that the cultural flow had been in the other direction, ie, that Westminster Cathedral choir had emerged in the cultural context of the English, and necessarily Anglican, choral tradition. Interesting.

    It isnt quite that simple. At much the same time that Terry was at work, the Anglican Edmund Fellowes was editing Byrd etc and getting it published in new editions, and Vaughan Williams was editing the English Hymnal which has tunes by Tallis and Gibbons and which led him to compose his Tallis Fantasia in 1910.
    Tudor music was very much in the air.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    You'd know much more about this @Alan29. I have some ideas about the earlier independent work of John Tavener and Ralph Vaughan Williams, but I do know the genesis of what would be published as Tudor Church Music evolved over several decades.
  • thomasthomas Shipmate Posts: 17
    @Alan29 Thank you for the clarification.

    By the way, what is known about the history of the use of the Latin BCP in collegiate settings? Keble College, in May this year, hosted a reconstruction of what Choral Evensong according to the 1560 Latin BCP might have sounded like "in a highly conservative, old-fashioned and even recusant Oxford College chapel".
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