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Nortish Rite

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The Nortish Rite
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Divine Service according to the Nortish Rite is often sung with quire.
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Worship and ceremonies according to the use of the Church of Nortend constitute the Nortish Rite of Divine Service in Great Nortend. Divine Service in the form of the mass, hours and other occasional offices that is undertaken under the authority and jurisdiction of the Church of Nortend must follow the form set in the Book of Services and other books issued by the Crown under the Great Seal of the Realm, which are used along with the Frympell translation of the Holy Bible.


Cardinal Miers, Archbishop of Sulthey, sought to undertake a reform of the Church's liturgy.

The Divine Service of the Church of Nortend is a descendent of the uses of the Roman Rite which has prevailed in Great Nortend since the Christianisation of the country.

In mediæval times, the major liturgical uses through Nortend were the uses of Chepingstow and Sulthey, which influenced the secular and monastic uses respectively. Divine Service was almost wholly in Latin and comprised of the mass, as well as daily hours of prayer — Vigils , Mattins, Prime, Tierce, Sext, Nones, Vespers and Compline, as well as the rites and ceremonies for occasional offices such as baptisms, confirmations, marriages and funerals.

Alexander II led a reformation of the Church in Great Nortend with the Small Schism of 1614 which involved, inter alia, the rejection of the authority of Rome. The Latin uses continued in general use through the archbishopric of Cardinal Frympell, who aligned himself as a moderate Lutheran reformer. The installation of Cardinal George Miers as Archbishop of Sulthey in 1704 hastened liturgical reform towards a more evangelical or reformed Lutheran divine service under the young Edmund VI, despite the death of the influential and well-respected Cardinal Frympell considerably weakening the Lutheran faction amongst the House of Lords.

Henfoot Commission

Sir Charles de Henfoot was Master of the Commission charged with producing an English service.

Sir Charles de Henfoot, the Provost of the Chapel Royal, was appointed by Cardinal Miers to be Master for a „Commission for the Divine Service” to undertake the task of reforming the liturgical books. Though the Chapel Royal was distinctly „high church”, Henfoot himself was considered more soundly Lutheran in theology, and thus an acceptable person to take charge of the process.

The Commission presented preliminary draughts in 1706 for its orders for masses and the hours in both Latin and English according to the text and style of Frympell’s Bible; however, it was met with little enthusiasm from both the Frympellite and the Akeepian clergy, the former complaining of its retention of the confusing and repetitive mediæval monastic pattern of seven long hours unsuitable for public worship and the latter rejecting the more Protestant theology of the mass being a mere remembrance. Edmund, counselled by the Lord Treasurer the Count of Cardenbridge, wrote to Henfoot expressly requiring that the „existing and customary reverence or worship duly paid at the celebration of the Mass should continue to the extent that it is edifying and conformable to Holy Writ”.

The Commission returned to its 1706 draught Book of Hours and drew up a simplified reworking thereof for the hours, producing an English Book of Hours in 1708. This cut down the number of hours to four — Mattins, Prime, Vespers and Compline — whilst following a lectio continuo pattern of continuous reading though the whole Old and New Testaments, Psalter and Proverbs. The mediæval anthems, responsories and hymns remained; however, they were simplified, both in melody and in their placement through the year.

For the mass, the Commission reworked its replacement for the Roman Canon, more explicitly returning to a sacramental view towards the Holy Eucharist, adapting much of the old Roman Canon. This revised English Book of Masses, presented to the bishops in 1710, it also enjoined once again customary acts of bowing, although it continued to prohibit the reservation of the Host for „gazing-upon, carrying-about or uplifting”. Frympellites refused to authorise the Book unless the elevations of the host and chalice at their consecrations were forbidden, and a rubric was inserted to the same effect.

The Henfoot liturgy, in its Latin form, was finally approved by Parliament in 1711, and the English and Latin Book of Services authorised by Edmund through the canon Quia solliciti[1]. At the same time, the English book was declared to be the only ones to be used in Divine Service. The Latin service was not to be used except for study or in private.


The Holy Communion is consecrated at the altar during the mass.

Missal which was produced in 1710, adopted much of the medivæal order of the mass. Other than the rendering into English, the changes wrought simplified the complex rubrics and changeable elements of the mass throughout the church year on different occasions.

The letters missive in 1756 from the then Lord Archbishop of Sulthey, Cardinal Condard, ordered that from henceforth all communicants would receive in both kinds when receiving the Holy Communion, having received under one kind hitherto. The mediæval custom of only receiving four times a year (once a term, at Christmas, Easter, Whitsun and Michaelmas) however still remained.


The mass may be celebrated as either a high mass or a low mass. A high mass may also be a solemn high mass if the priest is assisted at the altar by both a deacon and a subdeacon (nowadays a role taken by the clerk). At a simple high mass, the priest is holpen at the high altar without deacon and subdeacon but with two clerks in albes in lieu. Whereas a high mass is chaunted through, a low mass is read plainly without tone, and only one clerk in surplice helps the priest.

In most churches, a high mass is celebrated at noon on Sundays and festivals, and at least a low mass on other days. Before the high mass, other low masses may be said by other priests. A „morrow mass” in the early morning after Mattins is common. On Christmas Day, there are two high masses — the „Mass in gallicantu” after Mattins at the early morning and the „Mass in die” after Prime at noon. There are no masses of any kind on Black Saturday or Good Friday. There is a Vigil Mass on Easter Even after first Vespers, followed by the Easter Mass proper at noon.

Order of the Mass

Before the mass begins, the priest, deacon and clerk vest, saying appropriate prayers. The daily high mass occurs around noon. A procession and Asperges often occurs after the office and before the High Mass on Sundays and festivals.


The Gospel lectern is often in the form of an eagle.

The antecommunion service is the former half of a mass before the ceremonies pertaining to the consecration are done.

The Office anthem is chaunted as the ministres and quire go to the chancel and make their private prayers, all standing. It consists of an anthem, a psalm verse, the Gloria Patri followed by the anthem again. The Kyrie eleison is then begun. The Kyrie is always troped, except on fairs during Adventtide and Lententide. The hymn Gloria then follows. The Collects are then prayed, kneeling. Up to seven collects may be bidden, although usually only three.[2]

On festivals or solemn days, the readings begin with the Prophecy or Lesson, the former from the Old Testament or Revelations, and the latter from the Acts or the martyrology of a saint. The Responsory follows.

The Epistle is then chaunted by the clerk, followed by the Alleluya or Tract. A Sequence hymn then follows on most festivals. The Gospel is then chaunted by the deacon, all standing. The Credo, chaunted by all, follows on festival days. The Sermon is then said if one is to be said. The Bidding concludes the Antecommunion, when the people are commanded to bid their prayers for various causes.


The communion service is the latter half of a mass. It begins with the Offertory anthem wherein the bread and wine are offered to the altar. Here follows several prayers including the Secrets corresponding to the Collects. The people also offer their own oblations, such as money or alms.

After the Offertory, there is a Confession before the Preface is said, concluding with the Sanctus and Benedictus, all standing. This leads directly into the Canon, which forms the prayer for the consecration of the bread and wine to the Body and Blood of Christ. The Canon is in three or five parts — the Prayer for the Church Militant ending with a Prayer of Oblation, the Prayer of Sacring, and the Prayer for the Church Expectant beginning with another Prayer of Oblation. The Canon is never sung, mostly spoken in „plain steven”, or ordinary voice, while the Prayer of Sacring is bidden „in close”, i. e. in a low voice. There is no elevation of the host or chalice upon their consecration, but the sacring bell is rung inviting all to bow and make their worship.

After the Pater noster is chaunted by all and the Fraction, the host and chalice are shewn to the people as the Agnus Dei is begun. The Priest meanwhile gives the Pax to the Deacon and thence to the Clerk, saying „Peace be alway with you”. After the Agnus Dei, the Priest receives the Eucharist himself and then gives it to the Deacon, the Clerk and the Quire. Then the Priest and Deacon give the Eucharist to the communicants at the rood screen, who receive by intinction on the tongue, the houseling clothes placed underneath the chin.

The Thanksgivings are bidden after the Ablutions are completed, while the Postcommunion anthem is chaunted. This is followed by the Dismissal and Blessing.

Proper of the Mass

Proper Kyries for Tides
Festivals Fairs Tide
Cunctipotens Kyrie altissime Michaelmastide
O Rex clemens Te Christe Rex Crispintide
Kyrie, salve Adventtide
Kyrie magnæ Deus Dominator Deus Christmastide
Rex sempiterne Kyrie Rex immense Epiphanytide
Clemens Rector Summe Deus Shrovetide
Deus Genitor alme Lententide
Lux et origo Rector cosmi pie Eastertide
Kyrie Rex celse Firmator sancte Whitsuntide
Orbis factor Kyrie Genitor Midsummertide
Conditor Kyrie Pater excelse Samsontide
Kyrie Rex genitor Stelliferi Conditor Austintide

The changeable Introit, Grail, Alleluya, Tract, Offertory and Communion anthems and Sequences are included in the Gradual, whilst the Prophecies, Epistles, Gospels and Collects are contained in the Lectionary. The Kyrie,[3] Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei and other fixed chaunts are contained in the Kyriale.


Monks and minchens say the hours daily at the many religious houses through Great Nortend.
At Vespers, candles and lamps are lit during the chaunting of the Lucernary.

According to the revised Breviary published in 1708, there are two daily greater hours of Mattins and Vespers, as well as the five lesser hours of Prime, Tierce, Sext, Nones and Compline, which are not usually observed except by monks and minchens, and even then only in a mostly symbolic way. Clerks in holy orders, professed monks, minchens and nuns are required to pray Mattins and Vespers daily, preferably sung in quire but at the least privately. Before each hour, the Pater noster and Ave Maria are said silently. In many places a „Paternoster” bell is rung before Mattins and Vespers as a reminder for the people to make their devotions.

Order of the Hours

When sung in the church, the ministers dress in their quire habit. Mattins can be said any time in the morning while Vespers can be said any time in the evening. At monasteries, ideally Mattins is said at dawn, Prime between 6 and 9, Tierce between 9 and 12, Sext between 12 and 3, Nones between 3 and 6, Vespers at dusk and Compline before bed.

Mattins begins with Domine labia mea followed by Deus in adjutorium. These are followed by the Gloria Patri and then Alleluya. Then follows the Venite exultemus at Mattins or Domine clamavi at Vespers with their anthems. Then a hymn appointed is sung, followed by three or four psalms according to the day of the month. Then at Mattins and Vespers only there are three lessons, each followed by a responsory — the first lesson is taken from the Old Testament, the second from a Homily, and the third from the New Testament. Then follows the canticle Benedictus at Mattins and Magnificat at Vespers with their anthems. Then the hour ends with the Preces, which consist of a three-fold Kyrie, the Pater noster and versicles, collects, remembrances and prayers.

The Order of Mattins for the First Sunday after Michaelmas, 1st October, 2023 is given as an example below of the structure of the greater hours.

Minister. O Lord, open thou my lips.
Answer. And my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
Minister. O God, make speed to save me.
Answer. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Minister. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Invitatory. God open your hearts in his law and commandments, and send you peace.
Venite. O come, let us sing unto the Lord ... (Ps. xcv)

Psalm. Blessed is the man ... (Ps. i)
Psalm. Why do the heathen rage ... (Ps. ii)
Psalm. Lord how are they increased ... (Ps. iii)
Psalm. Hear me when I call ... (Ps. iv)

Hymn. Father we praise thee ...

Lesson. And it happened that ... (I Macc. i)
Responsory. God open your hearts in his law and commandments ...
Lesson. Perhaps the glory of war ... (Ambr. I Officiis Mini. xl)
Responsory. Our enemies are gathered together ...
Lesson. In the mean time ... (Luke xii)
Responsory. Thine is the power and thine the kingdom ...

Anthem. The Lord said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee.
Magnificat. My soul doth magnify the Lord ... (Luke i)

Minister. The Lord be with you.
Answer. And with thy spirit.
Minister. Let us pray. Lord have mercy upon us.
Answer. Christ have mercy upon us.
Minister. Lord have mercy upon us. Father our ... and lead us not into temptation.
Answer. But deliver us from evil. Amen.

Minister. O Lord, shew thy mercy upon us.
Answer. And grant us thy salvation.
Minister. O Lord, save the King.
Answer. And hear us when we call upon thee.
Minister. Clothe thy ministers with righteousness.
Answer. And make thy saints joyful.
Minister.O Lord, save thy people.
Answer. And bless thine inheritance.
Minister.O Lord, hear my prayer.
Answer. And let my cry come unto thee.

Minister. Let us pray. O God, forasmuch as without thee ...
Answer. Amen.
Minister. O almighty God, who hast safely brought us ...
Answer. Amen.

Anthem. Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, saith the Lord.
Minister. Almighty God, who by thy servant Remigius ...
Answer. Amen.

Minister. O Lord our heavenly father ...
Answer. Amen.

Minister. Let us bless the Lord.
Answer. Thanks be to God.
Minister. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ ...
Answer. Amen.

Proper of the Hours

The Breviary includes the changeable anthems, responsories and hymns of Mattins and Vespers in the Antiphoner, and the collects, lessons and chapters in the Collectar. These are called the propers. Many festivals and most Sundays have their own propers which replace the ferial propers prescribed for the different tides of the church. The Sunday responsories, anthems and collects are often repeated throughout the week, although during certain tides such as during Adventtide, Lententide and Eastertide, there may be proper anthems for each day.

Other Services

The Book of Services also includes the Manual and Pontifical. The former contains the orders for baptisms, marriages, confessions, unctions, churchings, funerals and various litanies, processions and and ceremonies used by priests, whilst the latter contains the orders for confirmations, ordinations, coronations, consecrations and various blessings and other ceremonies used by bishops.


The propers and readings for the mass and hours change through the year following the church calendar, which is a set of interlaced cycles. The fixed cycle of the church calendar begins on Michaelmas Day every year and specifies the dates of the immovable festivals such as Christmas Day, Lady Day and St. John’s Day, which also define the civil calendar terms used in Great Nortend. The Church of Nortend follows the Gregorian calendar, having been introduced in 1582 prior to the Schism in 1614. The moveable Paschal cycle changes annually based on the computation of Easter, setting the dates for Lent, Good Friday, Easter Day, Whitsunday, Ascension, Trinity &c.

Furthermore, the Calendar reckons liturgical days as being festivals or fairs. There are three classes of festivals — double festivals, semidouble festivals and simple festivals. Sunday is always reckoned as being at least a semidouble festival. All days which are not festivals are reckoned as fairs. Some fairs are holy days, although not festal. Some fairs, such as most Fridays, are fasten days, although Sundays in Lent are also reckoned as fasten days. The ordinary liturgical day begins and ends at midnight. Semidouble and double festivals, however, begin at Vespers on its even day.

Terms and Tides

There are four terms in the church year, roughly corresponding to the civil terms. Each term has three main seasons or „tides”, which determine many of the propers through the year :—

Michaelmas Term
  • Michaelmastide, beginning on the Sunday after Michaelmas Day
  • Crispintide, beginning on the Sunday after Saint Crispin's Day
  • Advent, beginning on the sixth Sunday before Christmas Day

Christmas Term

  • Christmastide, beginning on Christmas Day
  • Epiphanytide, beginning on Epiphany Day
  • Shrovetide, beginning on the ninth Sunday before Easter

Easter Term

  • Lententide, beginning on the sixth Sunday before Easter
  • Eastertide, beginning on Easter Day
  • Whitsuntide, beginning on Whitsun Day

Summer Term

  • Midsummertide, beginning on the Sunday after Saint John's Day
  • Samsontide, beginning on the Sunday after Saint Samson's Day
  • Austintide, beginning on the Sunday after Saint Augustine's Day


Regular public celebration of divine service is sung, or „chaunted”, in church by the ministres, quire and people. The words of the liturgy are ordinarily chaunted in plainsong and accompanied by pipe or reed organs. During Lententide and Adventtide organs are „muffled” and during the Triduum, they are forbidden to sound completely.

Plainsong is sung to the settings of the Book of Chaunts, published in 1730 by the Precentor of St Peter's Cathedral, Lendert following on the Roman chaunt reforms of the 16th century. Miers and other churchmen inspired by Luther strongly favoured congregational singing, especially of the hymns, sequences, psalms and canticles. Thus, at the expense of modality and melismas, the old Gregorian chaunts were strongly adapted to have a plainsong which could be harmonised in the mensural chorale style, suitable for the unison singing. The use of newly-written hymns in church has been more controversial, however, and general practice is to limit their use to outside divine service. Books of folk songs and „ghostly songs” are popular.

For the anthems and responsories, figured music is sung by quires of trained boy quiristers and singing clerks. These settings are usually in lightly polyphonic harmony with plainsong verses or incipits. Lady masses and lady hours in cathedrals and collegiate churches traditionally are sung with more florid polyphony. Figured music in the form of deschaunt is also often sung to the psalms, canticles, hymns and ordinary also alternatim between the unison plainsong and a deschaunt. Deschaunt settings of the anthems and propers are also sung.


A priest in massing dress — frock, bands, albe, cope, stole and manipell.

Canon law and the liturgical rubrics order certain vestments to be worn by ministres and clerks in divine service. Most of the vestments worn are of great antiquity, descending from the common dress during the Roman Empire. After the Small Schism, there was controversy over the retention of certain „massing vestments” such as the chasuble, tunic, manipell and stole. These were settled by the Book of Masses, which forbade use of the chasuble and tunic, both of which were replaced by copes, while the stole was replaced by the tippet and the manipell disappeared.

  • Frock : The frock, or cassock, is an ankle-length coat which may be worn by all clerks. It is properly worn with breeches and stockings, but usually with trousers. The frock is ordinarily black. Cardinals and members of royal foundations wear scarlet frocks in full dress. Bishops who are not cardinals wear violet-blue frocks in full dress. In undress, the frock is black with coloured piping, buttons, cuffs and girdle as appropriate.
  • Bands : Starched linen bands are tied around the standing collar. The collar is a high „Imperial” collar, which is the source of the nickname of „stiff-necks” for clergymen. Pleated and unstarched mourning bands are worn during mourning.
  • Surplice: The surplice is a fully white linen robe worn over the frock during divine service. It has sleeves and may be decorated with linen cuffs or hemstitching. The length of the surplice for clerks is related to his office, seniority or age. The surplice is worn girdled high around the waist by the ministres and altar clerks for masses, as an albe.
  • Tippet: The tippet is worn by ministres over the surplice. The tippet is broad and made of silk for graduates and woollen stuff for bachelors and non-graduates. Bishops and dignitaries wear furred silk tippets, also called almices. Mourning tippets of crape are worn during mourning. During masses the tippet is worn crossed by the priest and worn diagonally by the deacon, in the fashion of the stole.
  • Hood : The academic hood is worn in quire dress by graduates if a cope is not worn. It is worn over the tippet. Mourning hoods of black cloth are sometimes worn during mourning.
  • Cope : There are three vestments known as copes :—
  • The silken cope is worn by ministres at the mass, the greater hours, rites, ceremonies, processions, blessings &c.
  • The stuff cope is a woollen cloak with hood and cape worn in quire dress over the surplice in cold weather.
  • The furred cope is worn in choir dress by dignitaries as a juridictional garment which has a furred cloth hood, cape and sometimes train.
  • Square cap : The woollen square cap is worn by ministres during divine service, and also outside when the gown is worn.
  • Wig : The clerical wig is sometimes worn by cardinals, bishops and archdeacons. It has a circular patch in the centre to represent the old tonsure.
  • Mitre : The mitre is worn by bishops, cardinals and other dignitaries on certain occasions. It is otherwise only carried as a symbol of dignity.

EG. Mattins/Vespers: All in quire dress (surplice, tippet and hood); officers in cope Prime/Compline: All in quire dress; officers without cope. High Mass: The ministres girdle their surplices, cross their tippets and put on the cope.

Liturgical colours

The prescribed colours for silken copes are red, green, white and blue. However, purple, yellow, gold/silver and black, along with their lighter or darker shades, are all permissible are commonly used based on traditional associations. Red is ordered for Sundays, semidouble and simple festivals, double festivals of martyrs, Passiontide and Whitsuntide. Green is ordered for fairs after Michaelmas, Epiphany and Midsummer. White is ordered for other double festivals, Christmastide and Eastertide, and blue during Lententide and Adventtide and All Souls’ Day.


  1. „Whereas our well-beloved servants ... moved by the holy fear of God and need for unity in our Church ...”
  2. Of the day, for the King, and for some other cause.
  3. Note that the Kyrie at high masses are usually troped.