In our Listening Lunch today we heard excerpts from Anglicanism: a very short introduction by Mark Chapman (OUP, 2006). One aspect of establishing a new church that was highlighted was the need for a service book, and so we heard about the earliest versions of the Prayer Book: 1549, 1552, and 1559.
Norwich Cathedral Library has no original copy of any of these prayer books, but we do have a set of facsimiles of these and other editions of the Prayer Book (the full set numbers six volumes), published by William Pickering in 1844. Also published by William Pickering is a facsimile edition of John Merbecke’s The Holy Communion Noted.
Pickering worked with the printer Charles Whittingham (of the Chiswick Press) to produce fine publications in terms of both typography and binding. The prayer books use Caslon Old and Old English typefaces, with printing in red and black. The books are bound in parchment with gilt embossed decoration.
In the publication of the prayer books and Merbecke’s musical notation, Pickering was not only encouraging fine book production, but also seeking to advance the revival of the Church of England.
Listening Lunches are held online every Friday at 1pm; for more details see the Norwich Cathedral website.