Reformed Anglican Fellowship

Reformed Doctrine | Common Prayer

Reformed Doctrine | Common Prayer 

Books about the Book of Common Prayer


Everyman's History of the Prayer Book, by Percy Dearmer. An accessible, illustrated book on the Book of Common Prayer, published in 1912.

A New History of the Book of Common Prayer, by Francis Procter & Walter Howard Frere. The classic text on the Book of Common Prayer, from a 1910 printing.

The Book of Common Prayer: Its Origins and Growth, by J. H. Benton. This is the text of a short book about the Book of Common Prayer, written in 1910 by a Boston lawyer and collector of Prayer Books. A "second edition" (1914), which is simply a catalogue of Mr. Benton's collection, is available from the Internet Archive and also from Google Books.

A Short History of the Book of Common Prayer, by William Reed Huntington, perhaps the greatest American voice for Prayer Book reform in the late 19th century. (An expanded version is availble from the Internet Archive and from Google Books)

Liturgiae Americanae, by William McGarvey (1907): the narrative portions of this book, describing the development of the American Prayer Book through the 1892 Revision. (The entire book is available online from the Internet Archive and from Google Books).

The Book of Common Prayer among the Nations of the World, by William Muss-Arnolt (1913). An examination of all the translations of the English and American BCP's.

From Project Canterbury: 
The People's Book of Worship (1919), a book about the Book of Common Prayer, from two members of the committee which wrote the 1928 U. S. BCP. Also available from Google Books and the Internet Archive.

The New American Prayer Book, by E Clowes Chorley (1929): an introduction to the 1928 U. S. BCP, and a general history of the American Book of Common Prayer.

Studies in the History of the Book of Common Prayer, by Herbert Luckock (1900): The History of the English BCP, through the 1662 revision.  (from CCEL)

From the Internet Archive:
An Introduction to the History of the Successive Revisions of the Book of Common Prayer, by James Parker (1877): Focusses primarily on the drafts and discussions leading up to the 1662 BCP.

The Book of Common Prayer, Interpreted by its History, by Clement Moore Butler (1845). History of the BCP, primarily dealing with some of the more important services, from a "low church" point of view. Also 2nd (1849) ed. from Google Books.

A History of the Conferences and other Proceedings connected with the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer, from the year 1558 to the year 1690, by Edward Cardwell (1840). Also from Google Books)

The History of the Book of Common Prayer, by Leighton Pullan (1900). Another general history and examination of the services. Also available from Google Books.

The English Rite : being a Synopsis of the Sources and Revisions of the Book of Common Prayer (Vol. 1 only), by Frank E Brightman (1915). A thorough history of the BCP, and comparison of its revisions. The standard work on the subject. Vol. 2 is available from Google Books.    

The Book of Common Prayer, by Samuel Hart (1910). A thorough examination of the 1892 U. S. BCP, by the first Custodian of the BCP. Also from 1848reprint and ones from 172217951845 and 1867 are also available from Google Books

Edward VI and the Book of Common Prayer, by Francis Aiden Gasquet & Edmund Bishop (2nd ed., 1891). Includes reprints of many original documents.

A History of the Book of Common Prayer, by J. H. Maude (1900). A textbook, primarily covering a history and description of the services.

A Rationale upon the Book of Common Prayer, by Anthony Sparrow. An 1840 reprint of the first commentary and apology for the BCP, written in 1657. Also available are a 1722 reprint, which also includes Samuel Downes' Lives of the Compilers of the Liturgy, and one from 1843.

A History of the Book of Common Prayer and other books of authoritywith an attempt to ascertain how the rubrics and canons have been understood and observed from the reformation to the accession of George III, by Thomas Lathbury (1858). Also available from Google Books.

The Bradford Prayer Book, 1710: An account of the first printing of the Book of Common Prayer in the United States, by Trinity Church, New York, in 1710. Alsofrom Google Books.

Liturgies and occasional forms of prayer set forth in the reign of Queen Elizabeth: Includes, besides the 1559 BCP, Godly Prayers, the BCP in Latin, and many other occasional prayers. By William Keatinge Clay, 1847 (Griffiths 1847/11).

The Alliance of Divine Offices: an 1846 reprint of this 1659 classic original comparison of the various editions of the Book of Common Prayer. By Hamon L'Estrange (Griffiths 1846/29).

The first Prayer-Book of Edward VI, compared with the successive revisions of the Book of Common Prayer: By James Parker (Griffiths 1877/5). Also from Google Books.

The Parson's Handbook: The classic manual of Anglo-Catholic liturgical practice. By Percy Dearmer (1907). Also from Google Books.

An Exposition of the Book of Common Prayer: An early "apology" for the US Episcopal BCP, in Q & A form, by Andrew Fowler (1807)

Mant on the Rubrics : an explanation of the rubrics in the Book of Common Prayer, with special reference to uniformity in conducting the service: Instruction to his clergy on the 1662 BCP, with additions to adapt it to the Episcopal Church, by Bp. Richard Mant (1854)

A Catechism on the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England: A Q&A on the 39 Articles, adapted for the US Episcopal Church, by James Beaven (1852)

The Book of Common Prayer: Our Common Heritage: A short book by George B. Spalding, an American Presbyterian pastor (1899).

The Prayer Book Explained: An explanation of the various parts of Morning & Evening Prayer, and the Litany, by Percival Jackson (1901) (plain text only)

Some Principles of Liturgical Reform: Proposals for revision of the 1662 BCP, by Walter Frere (1911)

The People's Book of Worship: An introduction to the American BCP, by John Wallace Suter (1919).    

An Explanation and History of the Book of Common Prayer: Primarily a short survey of the main services in the American BCP, by Thomas L Plowman (1834).    

Origin of the Book of Common Prayer: a descritoin of the 1549 BCP from and American perspective, by John CB Davis (1897)    

All of the texts from the Internet Archive are available as PDF graphics with associated text files. Note that the text files appear to be uncorrected OCR results (i. e., they contain errors, often many errors). 

From Google Books:
The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, by J H Blunt:1st ed., 1866, Griffiths 1866/12; 6th ed., 1872, Griffiths 1872/11 (also from the Internet Archive); a "revised and enlarbged edition", 1884, from the Internet Archive (Griffiths 1884/6); aLitugiae Britannicaeby William Keeling (2nd. ed., 1851; Griffiths 1851/31). The classic side-by-side comparison of all the English BCP's, plus the Scottish 1637 BCP. Also available fromthe Internet Archive.

A History of the Book of Common Prayer, by Francis Procter (A Companion to the Temple, by Thomas Comber (1676). A devotional aid often bound up with older Prayer Books. This is Parts 1 & 2 (Morning & Evening Pryer); a later (1841) reprint ofPart 4 (Occasional Offices) is also available.

The Book of Common Prayer Illustrated so as the Shew its Various Modifications; the Date of its Several Parts, and the Authority on which they Rest, by Henry Keatinge Clay (1841, Griffiths 1841/3). Basically shows which parts of the 1662 BCP were introduced when.

The Book of Common Prayer, text taken from the Manuscript Book originally Annexed to Stat. 17 & 18 Car. II c. 6 with an Historical Introduction & Notes, by Archibald John Stephens, Vol. 1, 1849; Vol. 2, 1850; Vol. 3, 1854 (Griffiths 1849/22). Exhaustive notes, mostly from an historical and legal perspective.

The Book of Common Prayer, in Its History and Interpretation with special reference to existing controversies, by Henry Blakeney (1866). BCP history from a distinctly "low church" point of view.

Fragmentary Illustrations of the Book of Common Prayer, from Manuscript Sources, William Jacobson, ed., (1874). Basically the texts of two "substitute" BCP's devised by Bp. Sanderson & Bp. Wren during the Commonwealth.

A Key to the Knowledge and Use of the Book of Common Prayer, by John Henry Blunt (New Edition, 1876). A fairly simple introduction to the Prayer Book, by the author of The Annotated BCP. The first (1868) edition is also online.

The Genesis of the American Prayer Book, CE Stevens, ed., 1893. A history of the Prayer Book, focussing on the then-new 1892 edtition.

Texts from Google Books are all presented as PDF graphics. Note that quality of the texts varies; some have lines cut off, pages out of order and possibly missing, etc.


Reformed Doctrine | Common Prayer