The post title is a play on Pope Gregory's remark when he saw Angles for the first time (in an Italian slave market). Impressed by the beauty of their blond hair and fair skin, he said they were non angli sed angeli (not Angles, but angels).
But back to business.
24-Hour Museum reports that 3,000 11th-century Anglo-Saxon skeletons, which had been unearthed and used for research, are to be reinterred in a special ossuary. Their graves will be reconsecrated on March 7 in a ceremony that will include the Lord's Prayer in Anglo-Saxon. The service will be "based in part on the Eucharist in the first English prayer book from 1549." What's so special about the 1549 version? Why not go back to the kind of service that would have been celebrated in Anglo-Saxon times? Well, that would have been in Latin and would require the services of a Roman Catholic priest. The 1549 BCP, on the other hand, is the first truly Protestant English prayer book.
Upon its publication, the 1549 Book of Common Prayer was forcibly imposed on all English and Welsh churches by the Act of Uniformity.
In the 1540s the government of Edward VI introduced a range of legislative measures as an extension of the Reformation in England and Wales , the primary aim being to remove certain practices and change the theology of the Chruch of England, which were perceived as being too Roman Catholic. In 1549, the Book of Common Prayer, reflecting the theology of the English Reformation, but keeping much of the appearance of the old rites, although the offertory which in the Sarum rite had taken place during the gradual was abolished, in English , replaced the four old liturgical books in Latin . The change was unpopular amongst religious conservatives — particularly in areas of traditionally Roman Catholic religious loyalty. Wikipedia
The immediate result of the imposition was the Prayer Book Rebellion:
In Cornwall, an army gathered under the leadership of the mayor. On instructions from the Lord Protector Duke of Somerset, an army composed mainly of German and Italian mercenaries was sent to impose a military solution. . . .
On 5 August, the final engagement came; the rebels were outmanoeuvered and surrounded. Lord Grey reported himself that he never in all the wars that he had been did he know the like. A group of Devon men went north up the valley of the Exe, where they were overtaken by Sir Gawen Carew, who left the corpses of their leaders hanging on gibbets from Dunster to Bath.
The Cornishmen under Arundell along with a number of the surviving Devon rebels re-formed and took position back at Sampford ourtenay, the village some fifteen miles north west of Exeter where the rebellion had started. Russell advanced with his troops, now reinforced with a strong contingent of Welshmen. After a desperate fight stormed the village on the evening of 17 August, the rebels were broken. . . .
1,300 died at Sampford Courtenay, 300 at Fenny Bridges, over 1000 were either shot or burned to death in Clyst St. Mary, 900 bound and gagged prisoners had their throats slit (in 10 minutes) on Clyst Heath, 2000 died the next day at the battle of Clyst Heath. In total over 5,500 people lost their lives in the rebellion. Further orders were issued on behalf of the king by the Lord Protector, the Duke of Somerset, and Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. Under Sir Anthony Kingston, English and mercenary forces then moved throughout Devon and into Cornwall and executed or killed many people before the bloodshed finally ceased.
All this is by way of saying that, considering the anti-Catholic fervor with which the 1549 BCP was produced and imposed upon Catholic loyalists (and conservative-to-moderate Anglicans), those 3,000 Anglo-Saxons, who were after all Roman Catholics, not Anglicans, will probably spend eternity spinning in their special ossuary drawers. Couldn't they just have given them a mass?