Sarum Revival


It’s an incredible “sticky” subject, and it seems to be best to teach by example rather than arguing it out. Back in 2010 and earlier, I speculated about such an idea being possible, not as something to be universally imposed but available as an alternative. I am a priest in the Anglican Catholic Church, and my Bishop has no objection to my continuing to observe the Use of Sarum in my own chapel, but he is clear in that I should conform to the Anglican Missal elsewhere in our Diocese. That is fair enough, and a priest has the duty of obeying his Bishop. However, I am thankful for this indulgence, and for this reason, it would be improper of me to disparage the liturgical use of other parishes and missions in our Diocese.

Some years ago, I was quite prolific on the subject, and many of my earlier articles are found in Google with the words “sarum revival”. Some quite waspish articles were written about that time about my ideas, and that Sarum was truly dead. Others were sympathetic and reflected the same aspiration. Some Sarum liturgies have been celebrated in Canada and the United States in Anglican settings, both Canterbury Communion and Continuing.

There are many obsolete liturgies from the history of the Church, and most are no longer discussed, at least at anything like a “popular” level. Sarum continues to fascinate, and the work of Percy Dearmer, alongside the Arts & Crafts movement in general and men like Sir Ninian Comper, has had more influence in the furnishing of English churches than many would like to admit. However, Dearmer, as a parish incumbent in the Church of England, believed it to be his duty to use the authorised English Prayer Book.

Much as it is pointless to argue about rites or ecclesiastical “fashions” (since de gustibus non est disputandum), I would very much like to participate in work in Continuing Anglican circles to promote the “English” style as exemplified in the early twentieth century, regardless of which exact liturgical rite is used by episcopal authority in a given place.

Above all, I wrote this little posting to try to keep discussion alive.

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3 Responses to Sarum Revival

  1. Dale says:

    Very nice posting Father. My problem is that I like both traditions! High Mass at St Mary’s, Bourne Street is/was wonderful (albeit a bit too removed for my personal tastes), but glorious as well was High Mass at St Stephen’s, Gloucester Road (which used to be fairly Sarum in its appointments at one time); and a quiet low mass according to the Sarum rubrics at St Cyprian’s, Clarence Gate…they were all wonderful (Of course it has been many, many years I attended any of these churches and for all I know they are all novus ordo). I always tired of those who made orthodoxies of either tradition.

    There is the tradition of the Missal being either celebrated either more Tridentine or more Sarum; they are both rich and uplifting, if well done.

    Here is an example, from Canada, from the 1962 BCP (One of the best ever produced) which is heavily Sarum. It is truly uplifting:

  2. Andrew says:

    Dear Fr. C.,

    I like this idea, and would like to see an appreciation and knowledge of this use grow far and wide.

    What about a practical hand book for priest and acolytes, as well as musicians?

    I have sitting on my bookshelf Warren’s translation of the Sarum missal. What would I do that is different from the TLM?

    What about an English translation?


    Thanks !

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