The High Church Tradition
When Canon Reid (Rector 1880-1924) was at Oxford in the 1870’s Keble and Pusey, who, with Newman founded the Oxford Movement, were still exerting an active influence. The founders of the reformative movement held that while, superficially, the 39 Articles of the Prayer Book condemned the Church of Rome, its ceremonies and practises, basically they were condemning malpractices and superstitions which had crept in during the earlier Roman period and in reality emphasised the Catholic nature of the Church of England.
It is undeniable that after the break with Rome in 1528, and particularly during the Commonwealth, any service or ceremony which was customary in the Roman Catholic period was liable to attack for this reason alone, and while this revulsion of feeling lasted Mass was said only spasmodically.
Ornament, candles, incense, vestments and music vanished almost completely from many Churches. Services must have indeed been both drab and dreary.
The spread of the Oxford Movement was in the teeth of the fiercest opposition in Parliament and elsewhere from the anti-ritualist organisation known as the Church Association which, according to Canon Reid, “was bent upon bringing us back to the dead, dull and dreary Hanoverian period and enforcing the most rigid conformity to its bald unlovely puritanical standard”
Even prayers for the dead were held to be Popish by the Church Association and Canon Reid found it necessary to praise the courage of the Archbishop of Canterbury in instituting a prayer for the souls of the men killed in the South African War and his courage in defending it.
Canon Reid was inspired by the Oxford Movement and immediately set about making changes on becoming Rector, both in services and ritual.
The record of change is as follows:-
1880 High Mass introduced at 10.30 on the third Sunday of each month.
Holy Eucharist on Thursday, Holy Days and remaining Sundays.
Altar lights were also introduced.
1883 Linen vestments were introduced.
1886 White silk vestments were introduced.
1887 Coloured vestments were adopted also the use of incense.
1895 High Mass at 10.30 on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays of the month.
1911 Choral Eucharist every Sunday with the “Six Points” of ritual.