Act of Uniformity 1662

The Act of Uniformity 1662 (14 Car 2 c 4) is an Act of the Parliament of England. (It was formerly cited as 13 & 14 Ch.2 c. 4, by reference to the regnal year when it was passed on 19 May 1662.) It prescribed the form of public prayers, administration of sacraments, and other rites of the Established Church of England, according to the rites and ceremonies prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer. Adherence to this was required in order to hold any office in government or the church, although the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer prescribed by the Act was so new that most people had never even seen a copy. It also explicitly required episcopal ordination for all ministers, i.e. deacons, priests and bishops, which had to be reintroduced since the Puritans had abolished many features of the Church during the Civil War.

A few sections of this Act were still in force in the United Kingdom at the end of 2010.[3]

The Act of Uniformity 1662[1]
Long titleAn Act for the Uniformity of Publique Prayers and Administracion of Sacramentes & other Rites & Ceremonies and for establishing the Form of making ordaining and consecrating Bishops Preists and Deacons in the Church of England.[2]
Citation14 Car 2 c 4
Status: Amended

Great Ejection

As an immediate result of this Act, over 2,000 clergymen refused to take the oath and were expelled from the Church of England in what became known as the Great Ejection of 1662. Although there had already been ministers outside the established church, this created the concept of non-conformity, with a substantial section of English society excluded from public affairs for a century and a half.

Clarendon Code

The Act of Uniformity itself is one of four crucial pieces of legislation, known as the Clarendon Code, named after Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, Charles II's Lord Chancellor. They are:

  • The Corporation Act (1661) - This first of the four statutes which made up the Clarendon Code required all municipal officials to take Anglican communion, and formally reject the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643. The effect of this act was to exclude nonconformists from public office. This legislation was rescinded in 1828.
  • The Act of Uniformity 1662 - This second statute made use of the Book of Common Prayer compulsory in religious service. Upwards of 2000 clergy refused to comply with this act, and were forced to resign their livings.
  • The Conventicle Act (1664) - This act forbade conventicles (a meeting for unauthorized worship) of more than 5 people who were not members of the same household. The purpose was to prevent dissenting religious groups from meeting.
  • The Five Mile Act (1665) - This final act of the Clarendon Code was aimed at Nonconformist ministers, who were forbidden from coming within five miles of incorporated towns or the place of their former livings. They were also forbidden to teach in schools. This act was not rescinded until 1812.

Combined with the Test Act, the Corporation Acts excluded all nonconformists from holding civil or military office, and prevented them from being awarded degrees by the universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

Another Act, the Quaker Act (1662), required subjects to swear an oath of allegiance to the king, which Quakers did not do out of religious conviction.

The Book of Common Prayer introduced by Charles II was substantially the same as Elizabeth's version of 1559, itself based on Cranmer's earlier versions of 1549 and 1552. Apart from minor changes this remains the official and permanent legal version of prayer authorised by Parliament and Church.

Act of Toleration

The Toleration Act 1688 allowed certain dissenters places and freedom to worship, provided they accept to subscribe to an oath.

Modified in 1872

The provisions of the Act of Uniformity 1662 were modified and partly revoked by the Act of Uniformity Amendment Act 1872.

See also


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title was authorised by section 5 of, and Schedule 2 to, the Statute Law Revision Act 1948. Due to the repeal of those provisions, it is now authorised by section 19(2) of the Interpretation Act 1978.
  2. ^ These words are printed against this Act in the second column of Schedule 2 to the Statute Law Revision Act 1948, which is headed "Title".
  3. ^ The Chronological Table of the Statutes, 1235 - 2010. The Stationery Office. 2011. ISBN 978-0-11-840509-6. Part I. Page 63, read with pages viii and x.

Further reading

External links

Act of Uniformity

Over the course of English parliamentary history there were a number of Acts of Uniformity. All had the basic object of establishing some sort of religious orthodoxy within the English church.

The Act of Uniformity 1549 (2 & 3 Edw. 6, c. 1), also called Act of Equality, which established the Book of Common Prayer as the only legal form of worship.

The Act of Uniformity 1552 (5 & 6 Edw. 6, c. 1) required the use of the Book of Common Prayer of 1552.

The Act of Uniformity 1559 (1 Eliz., c. 2) was adopted on the accession of Elizabeth I. See Elizabethan Religious Settlement

The Act of Uniformity 1662 (13 & 14 Ch. 2, c. 4) was enacted after the restoration of the monarchy. It required the use of all the rites and ceremonies in the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 in church services.

The Act of Uniformity (Explanation) Act 1663 (15 Car 2 c 6)(The '13&14 Ch. 2 c. 2' nomenclature is reference to the statute book of the numbered year of the reign of the named monarch in the stated chapter. This is the method used for Acts of Parliament from before 1962.)

Act of Uniformity Amendment Act 1872

The Act of Uniformity Amendment Act 1872 (35 & 36 Vict. c. 35), sometimes called the Shortened Services Act, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that amended some of the provisions of the English Act of Uniformity 1662 (14 Car. 2 c. 4).

It allowed certain modifications

a shortened form of Morning and Evening Prayer on week days

on special occasions approved by the Ordinary special forms of service, provided that they contain nothing, except anthems or hymns, which did not form part of the Holy Scriptures or the Book of Common Prayer

additional forms of service on Sundays and Holy-days in addition to the regular services, approved by the Ordinary

the use of Morning Prayer, the Litany, and the Communion Service as separate services and in varying order

sermons or lectures without the common prayers or services appointed by the Prayer BookThe Act was repealed by section 6 of, and the second schedule to the Church of England (Worship and Doctrine) Measure 1974 (1974 No. 3).

Arthur Jackson (minister)

Arthur Jackson (1593?-1666) was an English clergyman of strong Presbyterian and royalist views. He was imprisoned in 1651 for suspected complicity in the ‘presbyterian plot’ of Christopher Love, and ejected after the Act of Uniformity 1662.

Edmund Staunton

Edmund Staunton (Stanton) (1600–1671) was an English clergyman, chosen by Parliament as President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and a member of the Westminster Assembly. Later he was a nonconformist minister.

English Dissenters

English Dissenters or English Separatists were Protestant Christians who separated from the Church of England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.A dissenter (from the Latin dissentire, "to disagree") is one who disagrees in opinion, belief and other matters. English Dissenters opposed state interference in religious matters, founded their own churches, educational establishments, and communities. Some emigrated to the New World, especially to the Thirteen Colonies and Canada. Brownists founded the Plymouth colony. English dissenters played a pivotal role in spiritual development of the United States and greatly diversified the religious landscape. They originally agitated for a wide-reaching Protestant Reformation of the established Church of England, and triumphed briefly during the Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell.

King James VI of Scotland, I of England and Ireland had said "no bishop, no king", emphasizing role of the clergy in justifying royal legitimacy. Cromwell capitalised on that phrase, abolishing both upon founding the Commonwealth of England. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the episcopacy was reinstalled and the rights of the Dissenters were limited: the Act of Uniformity 1662 required Anglican ordination for all clergy, and many instead withdrew from the state church. These ministers and their followers came to be known as Nonconformists, though originally this term referred to refusal to use certain vestments and ceremonies of the Church of England, rather than separation from it.

Ezekiel Hopkins

Ezekiel Hopkins (died 1690) was an Anglican divine in the Church of Ireland, who was Bishop of Derry from 1681 to 1690.

Great Ejection

The Great Ejection followed the Act of Uniformity 1662 in England. Several thousand Puritan ministers were forced out of their positions by Church of England clergy, following the changes after the restoration to power of Charles II. It was a consequence (not necessarily intended) of the Savoy Conference of 1661.

Greenacres, Greater Manchester

Greenacres (pronounced 'Green Acres' or 'Grenakkers'), archaically Greenacres Moor, is an area of Oldham, in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on the west side of the River Medlock opposite the village of Lees.

An upland area, rising gently in altitude from west to east, Greenacres is a residential area located next to parts of Clarksfield, Waterhead, Mumps and Derker, all in the east of Oldham.

History of the Puritans

The history of the Puritans can be traced back to the first Vestments Controversy in the reign of Edward VI, the formation of an identifiable Puritan movement in the 1560s and ends in a decline in the mid-18th century. The status of the Puritans as a religious group in England changed frequently as a result of both political shifts in their relationship to the state and the Church of England, and of changing views of Puritans. It is not typically summarised as a whole, since the political events of the 1640s, sometimes called the Puritan Revolution, have complex roots, any more than the term "Puritan" can be given a useful and precise definition outside the particular historical context. The Puritan's main purpose was to purify the Church of England and to make England a more religious country.

History of the Puritans under Elizabeth I, 1558–1603

History of the Puritans under James I, 1603–1625

History of the Puritans under Charles I, 1625–1649

History of the Puritans from 1649

History of the Puritans in North America

John Bryan

John Bryan may refer to:

John Bryan (MP) (by 1487 – 1524 or later), MP for Plymouth

John Bryan (minister) (died 1676), Puritan ejected by the Act of Uniformity 1662

John Heritage Bryan (1798–1870), U.S. Representative from North Carolina

John Neely Bryan (1810–1877), Presbyterian farmer, lawyer, and founder of the city of Dallas, Texas

John Bryan (art director) (1911–1969), Academy Award-winning art director

John Bryan (journalist) (1934–2007), newspaper publisher

John Bryan (diplomat), High Commissioner of the Cook Islands

John H. Bryan, former CEO of the Sara Lee Corporation

John Bryan State Park, Ohio

John Bryan (cricketer) (1841–1909), English cricketer

John A. Bryan (1794–1864), American diplomat and politician from New York and Ohio

Jack Bryan (John Lindsay Bryan, 1896–1985), English cricketer

John Stewart Bryan (1871–1944), president of the College of William and Mary, 1934–1942

John Bryan (Wesleyan Methodist minister) (1776–1856), Welsh Wesleyan Methodist minister

John Letcher Bryan (1848–1898), American politician, mayor of Orlando, Florida

John Melvin Bryan Sr. (1886–1940), printer and political figure in British Columbia

John Melvin Bryan Jr. (1912–1992), Canadian politician


In English church history, a Nonconformist was a Protestant who did not "conform" to the governance and usages of the established Church of England. Broad use of the term was precipitated after the Restoration of the British monarchy in 1660, when the Act of Uniformity 1662 re-established the opponents of reform within the Church of England. By the late 19th century the term specifically included the Reformed Christians (Presbyterians, Congregationalists and other Calvinist sects), plus the Baptists and Methodists. The English Dissenters such as the Puritans who violated the Act of Uniformity 1559—typically by practising radical, sometimes separatist, dissent—were retrospectively labelled as Nonconformists.

By law and social custom, Nonconformists were restricted from many spheres of public life—not least, from access to public office, civil service careers, or degrees at university—and were referred to as suffering from civil disabilities. In England and Wales in the late 19th century the new terms "free churchman" and "Free Church" started to replace "dissenter" or "Nonconformist".One influential Nonconformist minister was Matthew Henry, who beginning in 1710 published his multi-volume Commentary that is still used and available in the 21st century. Isaac Watts is an equally recognized Nonconformist minister whose hymns are still sung by Christians worldwide.

Puritan choir

The Puritan choir was a theory advanced by historian Sir John Neale of an influential movement of radical English Protestants in the Elizabethan Parliament. In his biography Queen Elizabeth I Neale argues that throughout her reign Elizabeth faced increasingly organised and dominant opposition to her policies in the House of Commons and that this strengthening of Parliament sowed the seeds for the English Civil War.

Regency Act 1705

The Regency Act 1705 (4 Ann. c.8) was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of England.

The Act was passed at a time when Parliament was anxious to ensure that a Protestant succeeded to the throne on the death of Queen Anne. The Act was conceived by the Whig Junto, mainly by John Somers, and seen through the House of Lords by Lord Wharton. Lord Cowper later claimed the Act was designed "to put it [the succession] in such a method as was not to be resisted but by open force of arms and a public declaration for the Pretender".The Act required privy counsellors and other officers, in the event of Anne's death, to proclaim as her successor the next Protestant in the line of succession to the throne, and made it high treason to fail to do so. If the next Protestant successor was abroad at the death of Anne, seven great Officers of State named in the Act (and others whom the heir-apparent thought fit to appoint), called "Lords Justices," would form a regency. The heir-apparent would name these others through a secret instrument which would be sent to England in three copies and delivered to the Hanoverian Resident, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chancellor. The Lords Justices were to have the power to give royal assent to bills, except that they would be guilty of treason if they amended the Act of Uniformity 1662.

The Act also made it treason to say in writing than Anne was not the lawful queen, or that James the Pretender had any right to inherit the Crown. It was praemunire to say so in speech. The Act also confirmed the clauses in the Parliament Act 1695 which stipulated that Parliament would continue to sit should the Sovereign die "for and during the term of six months and no longer, unless the same be sooner prorogued or dissolved by such person to whom the Crown of this realm of Great Britain shall come".The Act received Royal Assent in March 1706, but came into force retrospectively from the beginning of that session of Parliament (hence it is dated 1705). Lord Halifax at the end of the session of Parliament was sent to Hanover to present a copy of the Act to the heir apparent, Sophia, Electress of Hanover.The Act was replaced only two years later by the Succession to the Crown Act 1707.

Samuel Smith (clergyman)

Samuel Smith (1620–1698) was a priest of the Church of England. He was educated at the Merchant Taylors' School and St John's College, Oxford. He then became rector of St Benet Gracechurch in 1656 but lost that position as a result of the Act of Uniformity 1662. He was subsequently most famous for being the Ordinary of Newgate from 1676. The Ordinary of Newgate was the prison chaplain who ministered to the prisoners. He heard their confessions before they were executed and Smith produced accounts of these which were published by George Croom as popular pamphlets.

St Cwyfan's Church, Llangwyfan

St Cwyfan's Church is a Grade II*-listed medieval church in Llangadwaladr, Anglesey, Wales. Located on the small tidal island of Cribinau, it is popularly known as the "Church in the Sea" (or eglwys bach y mor in Welsh). The church dates from the 12th century, with some renovations made in the 19th century.

Succession to the Crown Act 1707

The Succession to the Crown Act 1707 (6 Ann c 41) is an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of Great Britain. It is still partly in force in Great Britain.The Act was passed at a time when Parliament was anxious to ensure the succession of a Protestant on the death of Queen Anne. It replaced the Regency Act 1705. The Act required privy counsellors and other officers, in the event of Anne's death, to proclaim as her successor the next Protestant in the line of succession to the throne, and made it high treason for any of them to fail to do so.If the next monarch was overseas at the time of the succession, the government would be run until he or she returned by between seven and fourteen "Lords Justices." Seven of the Lords Justices were named in the Act, and the next monarch could appoint seven more, who would be named in writing, three copies of which were to be sent to the Privy Council in England. The Act made it treason for any unauthorised person to open these, or to neglect to deliver them to the Privy Council. The Lords Justices were to have the power to give royal assent to bills, except that they would be guilty of treason if they amended the Act of Uniformity 1662 or the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Act 1707.The Act also provided that if Parliament was sitting at the time of the monarch's death, then it would be able to sit for a further six months unless dissolved by a new legitimate monarch. If the monarch were to die and Parliament was not at that time sitting, then it would immediately convene. These clauses remain in force today (without the six month time limit on Parliament's continued existence, which was repealed in 1878).

The Act also made it treason maliciously, advisedly and directly by writing or printing to maintain and affirm that any person has a right to the Crown otherwise than according to the Act of Settlement and Acts of Union, or that the Crown and Parliament cannot pass statutes for the limitation of the succession to the Crown. It was praemunire to say so in speech. These provisions were extended to Scotland by the Treason Act 1708, and were repealed in 1967 (however see the Treason Act 1702 which makes similar provision).

Anne died on 1 August 1714 and was succeeded as a result of the Act of Settlement 1701 by the Elector of Hanover, George Louis, as King George I, who arrived in Great Britain on 18 September 1714.Sections 1 to 3 were repealed by the Criminal Law Act 1967. The whole Act was formally repealed in the Republic of Ireland by the Statute Law Revision Act 2007.This Act is not to be confused with 6 Ann. c.14, which is entitled "An act for the better security of Her Majesty's person and government" but which is not about treason.

Upper Chapel

Upper Chapel is a Unitarian chapel on Norfolk Street in Sheffield City Centre. It is a member of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, the umbrella organisation for British Unitarians. The Chapel is Grade II listed.James Fisher was the vicar at Sheffield Parish Church during the Commonwealth of England. He was expelled in the Great Ejection for refusing to sign the Act of Uniformity 1662, and around a tenth of his parishioners followed him in becoming Dissenters.Several splits ensued, but by the 1690s, the dominant group of non-conformists was led by Timothy Jollie. His congregation constructed Upper Chapel as the first non-conformist chapel in Sheffield in 1700. It was built of brick and faced on to Fargate. The chapel originally boasted a congregation of about 1,000 people, a sixth of the city's population. The side walls survive from this period.In the 1840s, the Chapel was turned round to face across fields. The roof was raised and the interior reconstructed. The alterations by John Frith were completed in 1848, while the interior has several later additions, including several stained glass windows. Nine on the ground floor are by Henry Holiday.Nineteenth-century ministers included George Vance Smith, Brooke Herford, Thomas Hinks and John Edmondson Manning, who wrote a history of the chapel in 1900.The Chapel is linked to Channing Hall, which faces on to Surrey Street. Designed by Flockton and Gibbs and completed in 1882, the hall is of Italianate design and is named for William Henry Channing, who served at the Chapel in 1875.The trustees own many freehold properties in Sheffield.

Westminster Confession of Faith

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the "subordinate standard" of doctrine in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

In 1643, the English Parliament called upon "learned, godly and judicious Divines" to meet at Westminster Abbey in order to provide advice on issues of worship, doctrine, government and discipline of the Church of England. Their meetings, over a period of five years, produced the confession of faith, as well as a Larger Catechism and a Shorter Catechism. For more than three hundred years, various churches around the world have adopted the confession and the catechisms as their standards of doctrine, subordinate to the Bible.

The Westminster Confession of Faith was modified and adopted by Congregationalists in England in the form of the Savoy Declaration (1658). Likewise, the Baptists of England modified the Savoy Declaration to produce the Second London Baptist Confession (1689). English Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists would together (with others) come to be known as Nonconformists, because they did not conform to the Act of Uniformity (1662) establishing the Church of England as the only legally approved church, though they were in many ways united by their common confessions, built on the Westminster Confession.

William Gurnall

William Gurnall (1616 – 12 October 1679) was an English author and Anglican clergyman born at King's Lynn, Norfolk, where he was baptised on 17 November 1616.

He was educated at the free grammar school of his native town, and in 1631 was nominated to the Lynn scholarship in Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA in 1635 and MA in 1639. He was made rector of St Peter and St Paul's Church, Lavenham in Suffolk in 1644; and before he received that appointment he seems to have officiated, perhaps as curate, at Sudbury.At the Restoration he signed the declaration required by the Act of Uniformity 1662, and on this account he was the subject of a libellous attack, published in 1665, entitled Covenant-Renouncers Desperate Apostates.

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