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Kenilworth Abbey 900

To mark the 900th year of the Foundation, there will be a Celebration in S. Nicholas’ Church of “The Masse” at 10 in the morning of the 28th of August, the feast day of S Augustine of Hippo to whom, with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Priory, later Abbey, was dedicated.

The Abbey church, looking west.

The order of service will be that published by Thomas Cranmer in 1549 as “The First English Prayer Book”. Although it will sound the same, the text looks very different and will be available in an order of service as it first appeared in 1549. That is to say that the language is early modern English, but the spelling has a lot left over from Middle English – even the use of ‘suspensions’ from Mediæval use.

The reason for choosing this now-superseded order of service (used with the permission of the Bishop of Coventry) is that, when the Abbey was closed in April 1538, the Canons, all of them priests, were evicted, some pensioned off, others required to work in parishes in the Diocese. In this new rôle, they would, only eleven years later, be obliged to use the, then new, 1549 rite. So what we will be doing on the 28th of August is something that we know the Canons would have done too, possibly even in the same church of S. Nicholas which had been in their care, four hundred and seventy years ago.

The Celebrant will be the Reverend Norman Stevens, Vice-chairman of the Kenilworth History & Archæology Society.

All are welcome.

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