Death of Sarum?

Update: Fr Hunwicke’s posting (link just below) is getting quite a few comments as he asked. Some information is coming out about the survival of the Use of Sarum among the Recusants.

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I have just found this by Fr John Hunwicke – The Death of Sarum.

I don’t think I can answer his historical questions without an afternoon in a distant library. He’s nearer the Bodlean than I am!

He neglects to point out that Sarum and the Use of the Roman Curia are both ultimately Roman and Latin, but by different routes. The Use of the Roman Curia which finished up as the “Tridentine Missal” comes largely from the Germanic countries through Franciscan influence to combine with the Ordines Romani and the Sacramentaries. The Sarum Use comes from the Norman-French family of which the Dominican rite is a member along with Paris and Rouen. The Lyons rite is more Gallican, but there are also many similarities. It is also “Roman” but with divergences that are more than what can be compared with different local accents in England. The Mozarabic liturgy is the least Roman of the lot, and one would do well to consult Monsignor Klaus Gamber’s work (which is mostly in German). A friend of mine and student of Monsignor Gamber, Fr Martin Reinecke, did his Licentiate at Fribourg on the old Hispanic liturgy and pointed out the many themes in common with the oriental liturgies.

What did Sarum look like in 1570 or 1580? Those were penal times, and the liturgy could only be celebrated with any kind of fulness in a great country house if they were sure that Topcliffe wasn’t watching from behind the hedge! Perhaps it might have been like my own celebration of the Sarum Mass on the tailgate of my van, on a rock on the Glénans islands or on a makeshift table in a tent. It was certainly very similar to the Dominican rite with the preparation of the chalice at the beginning of Low Mass and a short and simple offertory. I would have preferred him to give the year 1530, but he seems to want to know how it was done in “difficult” times like the French uses in the 1790’s by those refractory priests who still had their heads. That is understandable.

Many of the rubrics are obscure, but come to light when compared with the Dominican rite. For my own celebration of Mass, I have tidied up what is done at the consecration by doing it the Roman way except with deep bows instead of genuflections. I have been celebrating Sarum now for some six years. I was still using the 1570 Roman rite (Latin) in 2007 when I went to Portsmouth for the TAC bishops’ meeting at St Agatha’s. I have had no reason to celebrate the Roman rite since. I may however be called upon to use the Anglican Missal somewhere in the ACC’s English diocese at some time. I’m sure it will come back to me if I don’t rush it and get into a panic! I was brought up on Roman and adapted to Sarum (in the light of the Dominican rite). So it was the reverse for me, trained in the Tridentine rite at Gricigliano and self-taught (recycled) in the Sarum ways.

Fr Hunwicke finishes by asking the question:

Fortescue (pp 202-3 fn 4) tells how Dr Lawrence Webb arrived from Rome at Douay in December 1576 and taught the young men how to do the new rite. He cites Records of the English Catholics under the Penal Laws, London, 1878, p118. Does anybody have that to hand? Are then any suggestive details?

Anybody have any actual evidence about how the laity reacted? Is there any bibliographical evidence about the survival of Sarum or the introduction of S Pius V? And Fortescue had been told, but had been unable to verify the claim, that some priests brought Sarum back into use in the happy reign of our late Sovereign Lord King James II. Anybody know anything?

I’m sure Fr Hunwicke would welcome comments to this effect on his blog. I’ll keep on looking over there. I would also be most curious to know.

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2 Responses to Death of Sarum?

  1. William Tighe says:

    “He’s nearer the Bodlean than I am!”

    Maybe not at the moment, while he is up in the Orkneys, on Papa Stronsay!

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