English High Anglicanism

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
Royal Arms of King Henry VIII
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
King Henry VIII of England
In the kingdom of England, the Church of England (not to be confused with the Church in England) became independent, and was established by law in November 1534 by King Henry VIII.
For Henry, the establishment of the independence of the 'Ecclesia Anglicana' was not a matter of theology, but rather of authority, and it was not his intention to create a theologically Protestant Church - and this is significant when considering the subsequent development of Anglo-Catholicism.
The Act granted King Henry VIII of England 'Royal Supremacy', which means that he was declared the Supreme Head of the Church of England, and It is still the legal authority of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom.
Royal Supremacy is specifically used to describe the legal sovereignty of the civil laws over the laws of the Church in England.

Ecclesia Anglia
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The Act declared the monarch to be "the only supreme head on earth of the Church of England" and that the English crown shall enjoy "all honours, dignities, preeminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits, and commodities to the said dignity."
The wording of the Act made clear that Parliament was not granting the King the title (thereby suggesting that they had the right to withdraw it later); rather, it was acknowledging an established fact.
In the 'Act of Supremacy', Henry abandoned Rome completely.
He thereby asserted the independence of the 'Ecclesia Anglicana' (English Church), and  appointed himself, and his successors as the supreme rulers of the English church.
As part of the Church Settlement of Henry VIII the 'Act of the Six Articles' was passed which reaffirmed traditional Catholic doctrine regarding:

1 transubstantiation, 2 the reasonableness of withholding of the cup from the laity during communion, 3 clerical celibacy, 4 observance of vows of chastity, 5 permission for private masses, and 6 the importance of auricular confession.

In Christian theology, transubstantiation (in Latin, "transsubstantiatio", in Greek "μετουσίωσις metousiosis") is the doctrine that the substance of the bread and the wine used in the sacrament of the Eucharist is changed, not merely as by a sign or a figure, but also in reality, into the substance of the Body and the Blood of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses (the outward appearances - "species" in Latin) remains unchanged. What remains unaltered is also referred to as the "accidents" of the bread and wine.

Royal Arms of King Edward VI
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A major shift in Anglican doctrine came in the reign of Henry's son, Edward VI, who repealed the Six Articles and under whose rule the Church of England became more identifiably Protestant.
The 'Forty-Two Articles' were intended to summarise Anglican doctrine, as it now existed under the reign of King Edward VI, who favoured a more Protestant faith.

Largely the work of Thomas Cranmer, they were to be short formularies that would demonstrate the faith revealed in Scripture and the existing Catholic creeds.
Completed in 1552, they were issued by Royal Mandate on 19 June 1553.

Thomas Cranmer 

Thomas Cranmer
Archbishop of Canterbury
Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI.
He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which was one of the causes of the separation of the English Church from union with the Holy See.
Along with Thomas Cromwell, he supported the principle of 'Royal Supremacy'.
Thomas Cromwell was an English lawyer and statesman who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540, and was one of the strongest advocates of the English Reformation.
In January 1538, Cromwell pursued an extensive campaign against what  extreme Protestants termed "idolatry".
Early in September, Cromwell also completed a new set of 'vicegerential' injunctions declaring open war on "pilgrimages, feigned relics, or images, or any such superstitions", and commanding that "one book of the whole Bible of the largest volume in English" be set up in every church.

Thomas Cromwell
Moreover, following the "voluntary" surrender of the remaining smaller monasteries during the previous year, the larger monasteries were now also "invited" to surrender throughout 1538, a process legitimized in the 1539 session of Parliament and completed in the following year
Statues, roods, and images were attacked, culminating in September with the dismantling of the shrine of St Thomas Becket at Canterbury. 
Cromwell was eventually arraigned under a bill of attainder, and executed for treason and heresy on Tower Hill on 28 July 1540.
At the same time Cranmer was responsible for much of the 1549 'Book of Common Prayer'.
The 1549 book was soon succeeded by a more reformed revision in 1552 under the same editorial hand, that of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.
During Cranmer's tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury, he was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the reformed Church of England.
Under Henry's rule, Cranmer did not make many radical changes in the Church, due to power struggles between religious conservatives and reformers, however, he succeeded in publishing the first officially authorised vernacular service, the Exhortation and Litany.

King Edward 
When King Edward VI came to the throne, Cranmer was able to promote major reforms.
He wrote and compiled the first two editions of the Book of Common Prayer - a complete liturgy for the English Church.
Cranmer, however, was not really concerned with the principle of 'authority', which was the major concern of Henry VIII, but was rather concerned with the overthrow of Catholic doctrine and usage, and was determined to return the church in England to what he imagined were the principles of the 'primitive' and 'authentic' early church.
With the assistance of several Continental reformers, to whom he gave refuge, he developed new doctrinal standards in areas such as the Eucharist, clerical celibacy, the role of images in places of worship, and the veneration of saints.
Cranmer promulgated the new doctrines through the Prayer Book, the Homilies and other publications.
After the accession of the Roman Catholic Mary I, Cranmer was put on trial for treason and heresy, and was imprisoned, and later executed.

Edwardian Reformation
King Edward VI 
Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 6 July 1553) was King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death.
He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine.
The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch raised as a Protestant. During Edward's reign, the realm was governed by a Regency Council because he never reached his majority.
The Council was first led by his uncle Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, (1547–1549), and then by John Dudley, 1st Earl of Warwick, from 1551 Duke of Northumberland.
The Anglican Church was transformed into a recognisably Protestant body under Edward, who took great interest in religious matters.
Although Henry VIII had severed the link between the Church of England and Rome, he never permitted the renunciation of Catholic doctrine or ceremony (see above).
It was during Edward's reign that Protestantism was established for the first time in England with reforms that included the abolition of clerical celibacy and the Mass, and the imposition of compulsory services in English, justification by faith alone and communion for laity as well as clergy in both kinds, of bread and wine.
After 1551, the Reformation advanced further, with the approval and encouragement of Edward, who began to exert more personal influence in his role as 'Supreme Head of the Church of England'.
Edward's reformed religion, finally divested the communion service of any notion of the 'real presence' of God in the bread and the wine, effectively abolished the mass.
Though the Church's practices and approach to the sacraments became strongly influenced by those of continental reformers, it nevertheless retained episcopal church structure.

Catholic Interegnum

Queen Mary I - Tudor
The Book of Common Prayer was initially used only for a few months, as Edward VI died in 1553.
As the fourth crowned monarch of the Tudor dynasty, Mary is remembered for her restoration of Roman Catholicism after the short-lived Protestant reign of her half-brother.
When Mary ascended the throne, she was proclaimed under the same official style as Henry VIII and Edward VI: "Mary, by the Grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England and of Ireland on Earth Supreme Head".

Royal Arms of Queen Mary I
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The title 'Supreme Head of the Church' was repugnant to Mary's Catholicism, and she omitted it from Christmas 1553.
Mary's first Parliament, which assembled in early October 1553, declared the marriage of her parents valid, and abolished Edward's religious laws.
Church doctrine was restored to the form it had taken in the 1539 'Six Articles', which, for example, re-affirmed clerical celibacy.
Married priests were deprived of their benefices
During her five-year reign, she had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions.
Her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism was reversed after her death in 1558 by her younger half-sister and successor, Elizabeth I.
With the coronation of Queen Mary I and the reunion of the Church of England with the Roman Catholic Church, the Articles were never enforced, however, after Mary's death, they became the basis of the 'Thirty-Nine Articles'.

Elizabeth I
Royal Arms of Queen Elizabeth I
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Queen Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death.
Sometimes called "The Virgin Queen" or "Gloriana" Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty.
After being repealed by the Roman Catholic Queen Mary I, the 'Act of Supremacy' was was reinstated in 1559 by Mary's Protestant half-sister, Queen Elizabeth I, when she ascended the throne. 
Elizabeth declared herself 'Supreme Governor of the Church of England', and instituted an 'Oath of Supremacy', requiring anyone taking public or church office to swear allegiance to the monarch as 'Supreme Governor of the Church of England'.
To placate critics, the 'Oath of Supremacy' which nobles were required to swear, gave the monarch's title as 'Supreme Governor' rather than 'Supreme Head' of the church.
This wording avoided the charge that the monarchy was claiming divinity or usurping Christ, whom the Bible explicitly identifies as 'Head of the Church'.
From then on the Church of England was referred to as the 'Established Church'.

Thirty Nine Articles of 1562

In the 'Thirty Nine Articles' of 1562 (see below) the claim to royal supremacy is clearly stated: 

"The King's majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other of his Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign jurisdiction. We give not to our Princes the ministering either of God's Word, or of the Sacraments, but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all Godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evildoer. The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England."

Archbishop Parker
In 1563, Convocation met under Archbishop Parker to revise the 'Forty-Two Articles'.
Convocation passed only 39 of the 42, and Elizabeth I reduced the number to 38 by throwing out Article XXIX to avoid offending her subjects with Catholic leanings.
In 1571, the XXIXth Article, despite the opposition of Bishop Edmund Guest, was inserted, to the effect that 'the wicked do not eat the Body of Christ'.
Arms of the Holy See
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This was done following the queen's excommunication by the Pope in 1570.
That act destroyed any hope of reconciliation with Rome and it was no longer necessary to fear that Article XXIX would offend Catholic sensibilities.
The Articles, increased to Thirty-nine, were ratified by the Queen, and the bishops and clergy were required to assent.
In 1559 Elizabeth I reintroduced the 1552 'Book of Common Prayer' with a few modifications to make it acceptable to more traditionally minded worshippers, notably the inclusion of the words of administration from the 1549 Communion Service alongside those of 1552.
In 1604 James I ordered some further changes, the most significant of these being the addition to the Catechism of a section on the Sacraments.

Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth
of England Scotland and Ireland
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Following the tumultuous events leading to and including the English Civil War, another major revision of the 'Book of Common Prayer' was published in 1662.
That edition has remained the official prayer book of the Church of England.
It was The Book of Common Prayer that caused major disputes between the Anglo-Catholics and their opponents in the 1920s. - (See 'The Triumph of Anglo-Catholicism')
The Elizabethan Religious Settlement was an attempt to end the religious divisions among Christians in England, and is often seen as an important event in Anglican history, ultimately laying the foundations for the "via media" concept of Anglicanism.
Elizabeth established an 'English Church' that helped shape a national identity.
Those who praised her later as a Protestant heroine overlooked her refusal to drop all practices of Catholic origin from the Church of England.
Historians note that in her day, strict Protestants regarded the Acts of Settlement and Uniformity of 1559 as a compromise.
In fact, Elizabeth believed that faith was personal and did not wish, as Francis Bacon put it, to "make windows into men's hearts and secret thoughts"
The nature of early Anglicanism was to be of great importance to the Anglo-Catholics of the 19th century, who would argue that their beliefs and practices were common during this period and were inoffensive to the earliest members of the Church of England.


The term "High Church" refers to beliefs and practices of ecclesiology, liturgy and theology, generally with an emphasis on formality and resistance to "modernisation".
Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term has traditionally been principally associated with the Anglican tradition.
The term is often used to describe Anglican churches using a number of ritual practices associated in the popular mind with Roman Catholicism.
Because of its history, the term "High Church" also refers to aspects of Anglicanism quite distinct from the Oxford Movement or Anglo-Catholicism.
There remain parishes that are "High Church" and yet adhere closely to the quintessentially Anglican usages and liturgical practices of the Book of Common Prayer.

High Church Anglicanism tends to be more conservative and closer to Roman Catholic teaching on sexual morality.
In contrast, the Evangelical wing of Anglicanism is closer to Protestant thinking.
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
High Church Position in the Roman Catholic Church

In contemporary Roman Catholicism, the term "high church" is sometimes used principally for liturgical distinctions, of which there are many variations.
Some High Church Roman Catholics, who favour moderating the reforms of Vatican II, sometimes called "reform of the reform", might favour the use of Latin, Gregorian chant and practices such as eastward celebration and the use of incense in the Mass of Paul VI.
Others, such as Traditionalist Catholics, call for use of the Tridentine Mass.

High Church, Anglo Catholics and the Oxford Movement

The origins of Anglo-Catholicism as a distinct movement, dating from 1833 to 1841, go back to the Victorian Anglican Church, and specifically to a group of scholars and priests at Oxford University.
The movement that they started is often called the 'Oxford Movement', although at the time, their opponents called them 'Tractarians'.

John Keble
Edward Bouverie Pusey
The movement, which included among others John Henry Newman, Edward Bouverie Pusey and John Keble, wrote tracts and pamphlets, in an attempt to recall the Church of England to its apostolic origins; to remind the Bishops that they were successors of the Apostles who had a duty to guard the Faith and the Church from attacks by the State and liberalism.
These Tracts were a series of 90 theological publications, varying in length from a few pages to book-length, produced by members of the Oxford Movement.
There were about a dozen authors, including Oxford Movement leaders John Keble, John Henry Newman and Edward Pusey, with Newman taking the initiative in the series, and making the largest contribution.
With the wide distribution associated with the tract form, and a price in pennies, the Tracts succeeded in drawing attention to the views of the Oxford Movement on points of doctrine, but also to its overall approach, to the extent that Tractarian became a synonym for supporter of the movement.
Many of the tracts were labelled, indicating their intended audience: 'Ad Clerum' (to the clergy), 'Ad Populum' (to the people), or 'Ad Scholas' (to scholars).
The first 20 tracts appeared in 1833, with 30 more in 1834.
After that the pace slowed, but the later contributions were more substantive on doctrinal matters.
Initially these publications were anonymous, pseudonymous, or reprints from theologians of previous centuries. 
The movement postulated the 'Branch Theory', which states that Anglicanism along with Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism form three "branches" of the one "Catholic - that is Universal Church.
They argued for the inclusion of traditional aspects of liturgy from medieval religious practice.
In the final Tract XC, Newman argued that the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, as defined by the Council of Trent, were compatible with the 'Thirty-Nine Articles' of 1563.

Concilium Tridentinum
Concilium Tridentinum (Council of Trent) was an Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trento, Italy, between 13 December 1545, and 4 December 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods. During the pontificate of Pope Paul III, the Council fathers met for the first eight sessions in Trento (1545–47), and for the ninth to eleventh sessions in Bologna (1547). Under Pope Julius III, the Council met in Trento (1551–52) for the twelfth to sixteenth sessions, and under Pope Pius IV, the seventeenth to twenty-fifth sessions took place in Trento (1559–63).

The 'Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion' are the historically defining statements of doctrines of the Church of England with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation.
The articles served to define the doctrine of the Church of England as it related to Calvinist doctrine and Roman Catholic practice
A summary of the 39 Articles is as follows:

Articles I–VIII: The Catholic faith: The first five articles articulate the Catholic credal statements concerning the nature of God, manifest in the Holy Trinity.
Articles VI and VII deal with scripture, while Article VIII discusses the essential creeds.
Articles IX—XVIII: Personal religion: These articles dwell on the topics of sin, justification, and the eternal disposition of the soul. Of particular focus is the major Reformation topic of justification by faith. The Articles in this section and in the section on the Church plant Anglicanism in the via media of the debate, portraying an Economy of Salvation where good works are an outgrowth of faith and there is a role for the Church and for the sacraments.

John Henry Newman
Articles XIX–XXXI: Corporate religion: This section focuses on the expression of faith in the public venue – the institutional church, the councils of the church, worship, ministry, and sacramental theology.
Articles XXXII—XXXIX: Miscellaneous: These articles concern clerical celibacy, excommunication, traditions of the Church, and other issues not covered elsewhere. Article XXXVII additionally states among other things that the Bishop of Rome had no jurisdiction in the realm of England.

Newman's abandonment of Anglicanism, by conversion to Roman Catholicism, followed by the conversion of Henry Edward Manning in 1851, had a profound effect upon the movement, and traditionally the end of Tractarianism is seen as Newman’s conversion to Roman Catholicism on the 8 th October 1845.

With the success of the Oxford Movement, and its increasing emphases on ritualistic revival from the mid-19th century onward, did the term "High Church" begin to mean something approaching the later term "Anglo-Catholic".
Even then, it was only employed coterminously in contrast to the "Low" churchmanship of the Evangelical and Pietist position. This sought, once again, to lessen the separation of Anglicans (the Established Church) from the majority of Protestant Nonconformists, who by this time included the Wesleyans and other Methodists as well as adherents of older Protestant denominations known by the group term "Old Dissent".
From the mid-19th century onward, the term "High Church" generally became associated with a more avowedly Anglo-Catholic liturgical or even triumphalist position within the English Church, while the remaining Latitudinarians were referred to as being Broad Church, and the re-emergent evangelical party was dubbed Low Church.
High church, however, can still refer to Anglicans who hold a "high" view of the sacraments, church tradition and the threefold ministry but do not specifically consider themselves Anglo-Catholics.


Ritualism, in the history of Christianity, refers to an emphasis on the rituals and liturgical ceremony of the church, in particular of Holy Communion.

In the Anglican church in the 19th century, the role of ritual became a subject of great, often heated, debate.
The debate was also associated with struggles for influence between High Church and Low Church movements.
Opponents of ritualism have often argued that it privileged the actions of the ritual over the meanings that are meant to be conveyed by it.
Supporters have sometimes maintained that a renewed emphasis on ritual and liturgy was necessary to counter the increasing secularisation of the church and laity.
In Anglicanism, the term "ritualist" is controversial (i.e. rejected by some of those to whom it is applied).
It was often used to describe the second generation of the Oxford Movement/Anglo-Catholic/High Church revival of the 19th century which sought to introduce into the Church of England a range of Catholic liturgical practices.
The term is also used to describe those who follow in their tradition.
Arguments about ritualism in the Church of England were often shaped by opposing (and often unannounced) attitudes towards the concept of sola scriptura and the nature of the authority of the Bible for Christians.
The development of ritualism in the Church of England was mainly associated with what is commonly called "Second Generation" Anglo-Catholicism, i.e. the Oxford Movement as it developed after 1845 when John Henry Newman left the Church of England to become a Roman Catholic.
Some scholars argued that it was almost inevitable that some of the leaders of Anglo-Catholicism turned their attentions to questions of liturgy and ritual, and started to champion the use of Roman Catholic practices and forms of worship.
For many who opposed ritualism, the key concern was to defend what they saw as the fundamentally Protestant identity of the Church of England.
Nor was this just a matter of an ecclesiological argument: for many, there was a sense that Catholic worship is somehow "un-English".
Catholicism was deeply associated in many minds with cultural identities which, historically, many English people had commonly treated with suspicion.
Despite, or because of, the controversies within the Church of England concerning the ritualists use of vestments and wafer bread, these practices became widespread, even normative, in the Church of England for much of the 20th century, however some High Church supporters insisted on a form of worship that was almost indistinguishable from Tridentine Roman Catholic practice.
After the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council some High Anglicans found themselves out of step with reformed Roman Catholic ritual, while being in step with those in the Catholic Church who wished to see a return to Tridentine Liturgy.

Liturgical Practices

Anglo-Catholics are often identified by their liturgical practices and ornaments.
These have traditionally been characterised by the "six points" of the later Catholic Revival's eucharistic practice:

Eucharistic vestments
Eucharistic vestments.
Eastward-facing orientation of the priest at the altar instead of at the north side, the traditional evangelical Anglican practice. Many Anglo-Catholics now prefer "facing the people".
Unleavened bread for the Eucharist.
Mixing of water with the eucharistic wine.
Incense and candles.

Many other traditional Catholic practices are observed within Anglo-Catholicism, including eucharistic adoration (Benediction).

Tridentine Mass
Various liturgical strands exist within Anglo-Catholicism:
Some, such as the original members of the Oxford Movement, use official Anglican liturgical texts such as the 'Book of Common Prayer' (see above).
Some use the modern (Post Tridentine) Roman Catholic rite of Mass.
Some use the older "Tridentine" Catholic rite of Mass, in English or Latin, or liturgies based on it, such as the 'English Missal' or 'Anglican Missal'.

Some occasionally use the mediaeval English 'Sarum Rite', which is broadly similar to the 'Tridentine Mass', in English or Latin.

The Sarum Rite (more properly called the Use of Salisbury) was a variant ("use") of the Roman Rite widely used for the ordering of Christian public worship, including the Mass and the Divine Office. It was established by Saint Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, England in the 11th century, and was originally the local form used in the Cathedral and Diocese of Salisbury. It later became prevalent throughout southern England and came to be used throughout most of England, Wales, Ireland and later Scotland, until the reign of Queen Mary I and King Philip. Although abandoned after the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation, it was also a notable influence on the pattern of Anglican liturgy represented in the 'Book of Common Prayer' (see above). Many of the ornaments and ceremonial practices associated with the Sarum rite - though not the full liturgy itself - were revived in the Anglican Communion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as part of the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement in the Church of England. Some Anglo-Catholics wanted to find a traditional formal liturgy that was characteristically "English" rather than "Roman."

English Use
Percy Dearmer
They took advantage of the 'Ornaments Rubric' of 1559, which directed that English churches were to be furnished as they had been at the start of Edward VI's reign, that is, in Sarum fashion, with few concessions to Protestant practice. However, there was a tendency to read back Victorian centralizing tendencies into mediaeval texts, and so a rather rubrical spirit was applied to liturgical discoveries. Chief among the proponents of Sarum customs was the Anglican priest Percy Dearmer, who put these into practice (according to his own interpretation) at his parish of St Mary the Virgin, Primrose Hill, in London. He explained them at length in 'The Parson's Handbook'. This style of worship has been retained in some present-day Anglican churches and monastic institutions, where it is known as "English Use" (Dearmer's term) or "Prayer Book Catholicism".

Preferences for Elizabethan English and modern English texts vary within the movement.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1840.
Very much a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, it was also a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the 'Age of Enlightenment', and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature.
Romanticism reached beyond the rational and Classicist ideal models to elevate a revived medievalism, and elements of art and narrative perceived to be authentically medieval in an attempt to escape the confines of population growth, urban sprawl, and industrialism.
In the religious sphere this obsession with the medieval led to an attempt to revive medieval forms of piety.
In ecclesiastical design and architecture there was an attempt to revive the Gothic style.
This revival was a movement that began in the late 1740s in England.
Its popularity grew rapidly in the early 19th century, when increasingly serious and learned admirers of neo-Gothic styles sought to revive medieval Gothic architecture, in contrast to the neoclassical styles prevalent at the time.
In England, the centre of this revival, it was intertwined with religious movements associated with a re-awakening of High Church or Anglo-Catholic self-belief (and by the Catholic convert Augustus Welby Pugin) concerned by the growth of religious nonconformism.
Ultimately, the style became widespread for its intrinsic appeal in the third quarter of the 19th century.
Related to the rise of neo-Gothic styles was the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (also known as the Pre-Raphaelites) was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The three founders were soon joined by William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner to form a seven-member "brotherhood".
Influenced by Romanticism, they thought that freedom and responsibility were inseparable. Nevertheless, they were particularly fascinated by medieval culture, - believing it to possess a spiritual and creative integrity that had been lost in later eras, - and rejected all artistic developments that had occurred since the time of Raphael.

Augustus Pugin
St Peter's College Wexford
Augustus Pugin
Saint Giles Cheadle
The most prolific exponent of the ecclesiastical neo-Gothic style was the Catholic convert Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin.
Pugin's architectural ideas were carried forward by two young architects who admired him and had attended his funeral, W. E. Nesfield and Norman Shaw.
George Gilbert Scott, William Butterfield and George Edmund Street were influenced by Pugin's designs, and continued to work out the implication of ideas he had sketched in his writings.
In Street's office, Philip Webb met William Morris and they went on to become leading members of the English Arts and Crafts movement.
As a result, the neo-Gothic style became the normative style for both High Anglican and Roman Catholic ecclesiastical design and decoration. 

“You must give people what is good and they will come to like it”

Percy Dearmer, (27 February 1867 – 29 May 1936) was an English priest and liturgist best known as the author of 'The Parson's Handbook', a liturgical manual for Anglican clergy.
Dearmer also had a strong influence on the music of the church and, with Ralph Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw, is credited with the revival and spread of traditional and medieval English musical forms.

Education and Ordination
Percy Dearmer

Born in Kilburn, Middlesex, to an artistic family—his father, Thomas Dearmer, was an artist and drawing instructor.
Dearmer attended Streatham School and Westminster School (1880–1881), before moving on to a boarding school in Switzerland.
From 1886 to 1889 he read modern history at Christ Church, Oxford, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1890.
Dearmer was ordained to the diaconate in 1891, and to the priesthood in 1892 at Rochester Cathedral.
On 26 May of that year, Dearmer married 19 year old Jessie Mabel Prichard White (1872–1915), the daughter of Surgeon-Major William White.
She was a writer (known as Mabel Dearmer) of novels and plays.
She died in 1915 while serving with an ambulance unit in Serbia.
They had two sons, both of whom served in World War I.
The elder, Geoffrey, lived to the age of 103, one of the oldest surviving war poets.
The younger, Christopher, died in 1915 of wounds received in battle.

The Parson's Handbook and Vicarage at St Mary's

Dearmer's liturgical leanings were the product of a late Victorian debate among advocates of Ritualism in the Church of England.
Although theoretically in agreement about a return to more Catholic forms of worship, High Churchmen argued over whether these forms should be appropriated from post-Tridentine Roman Catholic practices, or revived from the traditions of a pre-Reformation "English Use" rite.
Dearmer's views fell very much on the side of the latter.
Active in the burgeoning Alcuin Club, Dearmer became the spokesman for a movement with the publication his most influential work, 'The Parson's Handbook'.
In this book his intention was to establish sound 'Anglo-Catholic' liturgical practices in the native English tradition, which were also in full accord with the rites and rubrics of the 'Book of Common Prayer', and the canons that govern its use, and therefore safe from attack by Evangelicals who opposed such practices.
Such adherence to the letter was considered necessary in an environment where conservatives such as John Kensit had been leading demonstrations, interruptions of services and legal battles against practices of Ritualism and sacerdotalism, both of which they saw as "popery".
'The Parson's Handbook' is concerned with general principles of ritual and ceremonial, but the emphasis is squarely on the side of art and beauty in worship.
Dearmer states in the introduction that his goal is to help in "remedying the lamentable confusion, lawlessness, and vulgarity which are conspicuous in the Church at this time". What follows is an exhaustive delineation, sparing no detail, of the young priest's ideas on how liturgy can be conducted in a proper Catholic and English manner.
In 1901, after serving four curacies, Dearmer was appointed the third vicar of London church St Mary-the-Virgin, Primrose Hill, where he remained until 1915.
He used the church as a sort of practical laboratory for the principles he had outlined, revising the book several times during his tenure.
In 1912 Dearmer was instrumental in founding the 'Warham Guild', a sort of practical arm of the Alcuin Club / Parson's Handbook movement, to carry out "the making of all the 'Ornaments of the Church and of the Ministers thereof' according to the standard of the Ornaments Rubric, and under fair conditions of labour".
It is an indication of the founders' outlook, emphasis and commitment to the English Use that it was named for the last Archbishop of Canterbury before the break with Rome.
Dearmer served as lifelong head of the Warham Guild's advisory committee.


Working with renowned composer Ralph Vaughan Williams and as musical editor, Dearmer published 'The English Hymnal' in 1906.
He again worked with Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw to produce 'Songs of Praise' (1926) and 'The Oxford Book of Carols' (1928).
These hymnals have been credited with reintroducing many elements of traditional and medieval English music into the Church of England, as well as carrying that influence well beyond the walls of the church.
In 1931 an enlarged edition of 'Songs of Praise' was published.
It is notable for the first appearance of the song 'Morning Has Broken', commissioned from noted children's author Eleanor Farjeon.
The song, later popularised by Cat Stevens, was written by Farjeon to be sung with the traditional Gaelic tune Bunessan.
'Songs of Praise' also contained Dearmer's version of 'A Great and Mighty Wonder', which mixed John Mason Neale's Greek translation and a translation of the German 'Es ist ein Ros entsprungen', from which the music to the hymn had come in 1906.

Later Years

For the fifteen years following his tenure as vicar at St Mary's, Dearmer served in no official ecclesiastical posts, preferring instead to focus on his writing.
During World War I he served as chaplain to the British Red Cross ambulance unit in Serbia, where his wife died of enteric fever in 1915.
In 1916 he worked with the Young Men's Christian Association in France and, in 1916 and 1917, with the Mission of Help in India.
Dearmer married his second wife, Nancy Knowles, on August 19, 1916.
They had two daughters and a son, Antony, who died in RAF service in 1943.
In addition to his writings, Dearmer served as professor of ecclesiastical art at King's College London from 1919 until his sudden death of coronary thrombosis on May 29, 1936.
His ashes are interred in the Great Cloister at Westminster Abbey.


Sir John Ninian Comper
Ninian Comper
English Altar
Sir John Ninian Comper (1864–1960) was one of the last of the great Gothic Revival architects, noted for his churches and their furnishings.
He is well known for his stained glass, his use of colour and his subtle integration of Classical and Gothic elements which he described as unity by inclusion.
His ecclesiastical commissions include a line of windows in the north wall of the nave of Westminster Abbey; at St Peter's Parish Church, Huddersfield baldachino/ciborium, high altar and east window in memory of the dead of the Great War; St Mary's, Wellingborough; St Michael and All Angels, Inverness; the Lady Chapel at Downside Abbey, Somerset; the ciborium and House Chapel extension for the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Oxford (now St Stephen's House, Oxford) and St Cyprian's, Clarence Gate, London; the Lady Chapel at St Matthew's, Westminster; Lady Chapel and gilded paintings in the chancel of All Saints, Margaret Street.
Ninian Comper
St Sebastian
Ninian Comper

Comper is noted for re-introducing the 'English altar', (see Percy Dearmer above) an altar surrounded by riddel posts.
Comper designed a number of remarkable altar screens (reredos), inspired by medieval originals.
Comper's work  is considered by many to be the ultimate expression of 19th Century English Ecclesiastical art. 
Comper was knighted by King George VI in 1950.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

Martin Travers
English Altar
Martin Travers
Neo-Baroque Altar
Martin Travers (born Howard Mantin Otho Travers, in Margate, Kent on 19 February 1886 – died in 1948) was an English church artist and designer, whose name is often connected with the Anglo-Catholic movement in the Church of England, especially that part of the movement which favoured a return to the Baroque style of church furnishing.
He designed and constructed a number of spectacular Baroque reredoses for various Anglican churches, usually employing affordable materials such as plywood, white-wood  papier-mache and embossed wallpaper to achieve the desired effect, which, regrettably, has meant that some of his work has not weathered well.
Famous examples of his work in London are the reredos in St Mary's church, Pimlico, and the remarkable Churrigueresque altarpiece in St Augustine's church, South Kensington.
As well as church furnishings he also designed much stained glass, and, as a draughtsman, is perhaps best known for his illustrations for the booklets and cards published by the Society of SS. Peter and Paul.

Recent Developments

Since at least the 1970s, Anglo-Catholicism has been dividing into two distinct camps, along a fault-line which can perhaps be traced back to Bishop Charles Gore's work in the 19th century.
The Oxford Movement had been inspired in the first place by a rejection of liberalism, and latitudinarianism, in favour of the traditional faith of the "Church Catholic", defined by the teachings of the Church Fathers, and the common doctrines of the historical eastern and western Christian churches.
Until the 1970s, therefore, most Anglo-Catholics rejected liberalising development, such as the conferral of holy orders on women.
Present-day "traditionalist" Anglo-Catholics seek to maintain tradition, and to keep Anglican doctrine in line with that of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, however, they often ally themselves with Evangelicals to defend traditional teachings on sexual morality.
The main organisation in the Church of England that opposes the ordination of women, 'Forward in Faith', is largely composed of Anglo-Catholics.
Gore's work, however, bearing the mark of liberal Protestant higher criticism, paved the way for an alternative form of Anglo-Catholicism, influenced by liberal theology.
Thus in recent years many Anglo-Catholics have accepted the ordination of women, the use of inclusive language in Bible translations and the liturgy, and progressive attitudes towards homosexuality.
Such Anglicans often refer to themselves as "Liberal Catholics".
The more "progressive" or "liberal" style of Anglo-Catholicism is represented by 'Affirming Catholicism', and the 'Society of Catholic Priests'.
A third strand of Anglican Catholicism criticizes elements of both liberalism and conservatism, drawing instead on the 20th century Roman Catholic 'Nouvelle Théologie', especially Henri de Lubac.
John Milbank, and others within this strand, have been instrumental in the creation of the ecumenical (though predominantly Anglican and Roman Catholic) movement known as 'Radical Orthodoxy'.
Some traditionalist Anglo-Catholics have left official Anglicanism to form "continuing Anglican churches", such as those in the 'Anglican Catholic Church' and 'Traditional Anglican Communion'.
Others have left Anglicanism altogether for the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches, in the belief that liberal doctrinal changes in the Anglican churches have resulted in Anglicanism no longer being a true branch of the "Church Catholic"

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013

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