Awards & Grants

The Cranmer Awards - Rules & Helpful Advice

Cranmer Awards


  1. The Competition, known as 'The Cranmer Awards', is open to all candidates of eleven and under nineteen years of age on 1st February in the year of the National Final.
  2. There are two classes:
    11-14 years
    and 15-18 years
  3. Candidates may be entered by their school or church or, depending on Diocesan Branch circumstances, may enter a class sponsored by the Prayer Book Society at a local Festival of Music, Speech and Drama.
  4. Candidates are required to present their own choice of passages from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
  5. The presentation should be of not less than three minutes and not more than five minutes duration. At the National Finals, all candidates are required to speak from memory. At a Branch or Festival event, if reading is allowed, then ALL candidates must read.
  6. A competitor entering the Finals for a second or subsequent time either as a Junior or Senior is not permitted to declaim that portion of the Prayer Book which he or she has spoken previously. This applies even if there has been a break of a year or more.
  7. The chosen passages should be spoken in a manner appropriate for a church service and any form of dramatization should be discouraged.
  8. Any liturgical deviation* from the text of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer will incur a loss of marks.
    *A 'liturgical deviation' shall be defined as the inclusion of any phrase which comes from any prayer book which has been published subsequent to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (e.g. the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, the Alternative Service Book, Common Worship). Candidates should be particularly careful not to use any material from Common Worship even if described as from the Book of Common Prayer.
  9. The Judges' decision is final.
  10. The winner of each class in each diocesan or Festival heat will go forward to compete in the National Finals.
  11. There will be an official timekeeper and accuracy checker. Any deviations, inaccuracies or time faults will be given to the Judges who will deduct marks as appropriate.
  12. The First prize winner is not eligible to compete in the National Final the following year, unless it is in the older age group.
  13. The judges will use the following criteria and marking scheme:

    Clarity and projection: 20
    Pace, use of pause and emphasis: 20
    Fluency and rhythm: 20
    Natural, intelligent communication of meaning: 20
    Secure, accurate memorisation and timing: 20
    Liturgical deviation from the 1662 BCP text: -20
    Total deviation from the 1662 BCP text: Disqualification
  14. The National Finals will normally be held in February each year.


Helpful Advice for Competitors

Don't be nervous—take it slowly.

Almost all the instructions you need are printed in the Book of Common Prayer in what are called rubrics—usually in italics just before each passage.

Choosing a passage

Suggested selection of suitable passages (from the Book of Common Prayer):

  • A selection from Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer or Holy Communion. (Omitting any words spoken by the Priest-Absolution, Consecration, Exhortations, Prayer of Humble Access, Post Communion Prayers, Blessing).
  • One or more of the Psalms
  • The Collect, Epistle and Gospel for any Sunday or Holy Day.
  • Any suitable passages from The Catechism, Special Prayers and Thanksgivings, The Litany, Commination, Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea.

If you are not sure that your chosen passages are appropriate, please contact a clergyman, your local organiser or the National Administrator.

Introducing your reading

Passages may be either directly from a Prayer Book, or from your own written or printed copy of the text.

The chosen passages must be introduced in the appropriate manner, e.g.:

'Psalm one hundred'
'The Order for Evening Prayer'
'A General Confession'
'The First Sunday In Lent .The Collect.'...

An Epistle should be introduced: 'The Epistle is written in the xxx chapter of xxx beginning at the xxx verse', concluding with 'Here endeth the Epistle'.

The Gospel should be introduced: 'The Holy Gospel is written in the xxx chapter of xxx beginning at the xxx verse'. There are no closing words for the Gospel.

If you are in any way uncertain, read the rubric printed in the book carefully and if still in doubt ask a clergyman or a teacher.

No additional words of your own should be added as an introduction or conclusion to the presentation.


This is a recitation in church, a place of worship. And these are Holy words. It is not a presentation or dramatisation. However, emphasis, pauses and rhythm are key.

Your teacher or a clergyman will help you - or find recordings of readings being made in cathedrals and churches, or visit one and hear for yourself how it is done in Holy places.