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350th Anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer will be exhibited at The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth to celebrate its 350th Anniversary. 

The history of the Book of Common Prayer began in the reign of King Henry VIII, when Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, produced his first private draft of the daily offices of Morning and Evening Prayer.  The first published editions appeared in 1549 in the reign of Henry’s son, Edward VI.  Numerous editions followed until the Civil War, when the prayer book was effectively proscribed in the Commonwealth from about 1641.

Following the Restoration of King Charles II, a Royal Commission was set up to discuss the official reintroduction of the prayer book.  This led to the revised Book of Common Prayer of 1662.  Although further editions were published in the following centuries, it was essentially the 1662 prayer book which remained in regular use in the Church of England until the latter part of the twentieth century.

In 1563, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Parliament passed An Act for the translating of the bible and divine service into the Welsh Tongue, which prepared the way for the first Welsh prayer book of 1567.  The 1662 Act of Uniformity, which established the Book of Common Prayer for use in the Church of England (including Anglican churches in Wales until Disestablishment in 1920), also provided for its translation into Welsh.  The accuracy of the Welsh version was to be agreed between the four Welsh diocesan bishops and the Bishop of Hereford.  The definitive Welsh version of the 1662 prayer book was published in 1664.

The volume will be on display in the upper central hall until 23 February 2013.