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The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia
The railing enclosing the Sanctuary in which the Altar stands, and at which the communicants kneel in receiving the Holy Communion, is called, in the Institution Office the Altar Rail. Supposed to have been first introduced by Archbishop Laud as a protection of the Altar against the lawlessness and irreverence of the Puritans.
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Miller, William James. Entry for 'Altar Rail'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/acd/a/altar-rail.html. 1901.