Four pupils at Moreton Hall School in Oswestry have been rewarded with special certificates after qualifying for the finals of The Cranmer Awards, a national competition which has taken place annually since 1989.

Run by the Prayer Book Society, the contest introduces young people to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer written by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, during the Reformation.

The four pupils are 13-year-old Lydia Cobb, 14-year-old Grace Honey, and Holly Jones and Emily King both 16-years-old.

All contestants memorised and spoke by heart passages from The Book of Common Prayer in front of an audience of more than 100 comprising parents, teachers, clergy and members of the Prayer Book Society.

Lydia chose the Collect and Gospel for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity as well as the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer; Grace spoke the Collect, Epistle and Gospel for the first Sunday after the Epiphany and Holly chose the Collect and

Gospel for the Sunday called Qinquagesima.

Emily opted for the Collect and Gospel for the seventh Sunday after Trinity as well as the General Confession and the Thanksgiving for Plenty.

More than 300 school pupils entered and 27 competed in the finals held at Old Palace in Worcester.

The certificates were presented by the journalist, theatre critic and author Quentin Letts.

Describing the Prayer Book as ‘a deep well of history, poetry and philosophy which teenagers relish,’ Mr Letts criticised those who say ‘no one will be able to understand that old language.’

‘That’s rot!’ he said. ‘Our contestants today not only understood it; they made it soar.’