The 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer, a book loved by so many Christian worshippers, across the world-wide
Anglican Communion, is clearly not solely the work of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. It represents the theology and
ecclesiology of a wide range of separate thinkers and revisers, spread across more than a century in time, and during
the reigns of no fewer than seven English monarchs (eight, if Lady Jane Grey’s nine days on the throne are included),
including a parliamentary interregnum of eleven years. The Prayer Book went through four major revisions after it
was first published in 1549; each one legislated by a parallel Act of Uniformity.
In this book the author explores the thoughts and opinions of a number of reigning sovereigns and the writings of reforming theologians and determines how these impacted on some of the liturgical implications of the revisions contained within the five English Prayer Books (1549, 1552, 1559, 1604 and 1662). He concludes that the 1662 edition, which is still enshrined in English law, remains a fine example of an amalgamation of both Catholic and Protestant doctrines in the via media that is the Church of England. One of its gems is the continued use of Cranmer’s incomparable style of liturgical prose; a characteristic that thankfully survived the ecclesiastical ravages of those distant times.