Celebrating Freedom of Language in Worship
Saturday 17th August 2019, at St Petroc’s Church, a service was held to commemorate the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549. Many of the Old Cornish Societies attended and paraded their banners around the church, following a piper. Under the Act of Uniformity in June 1549 Archbishop Thomas Cranmer decreed that the Book of Common Prayer was to be issued in English. Until then, people in Cornwall spoke Cornish and had their church services in Latin. They could not speak English. The Cornish rebelled against the new prayer book.
On display in the north aisle of the church were 900 St Piran flags, to represent the 900 Cornish who were murdered in the Clyst Heath Massacre on 17th August 1549. The loss of life and the introduction of the English Prayer Book is seen as a turning point in the decline of the Cornish language. Today we are free to have services in the language of the people.