Inferred phylogenetic relationships within the Brachiopoda have long been accepted as demonstrating repeated transitions from a phosphatic shell chemistry to a calcareous composition. This interpretation is reflected in the major subdivision of the phylum into the classes Inarticulata and Articulata. Cladistic analysis suggests, however, that the phosphatic-shelled and the calcareous-shelled Brachiopoda are sister groups that have had consistently separated shell chemistries from early in phylogenetic history. This separation is recognized in the class-rank divisions Lingulata and Calciata, the former of which includes the new Subclass Lingulatea, whilst the latter includes the new Subclass Craniformea together with the ‘articulates’ of previous classifications. □Brachiopoda, cladistic analysis, Lingulata, Lingulatea, Calciata, Craniformea.