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|Long title||An 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.|
|Citation||14 Car 2 c 4|
|Revised text of statute as amended|
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. The Act also required that the Book of Common Prayer 'be truly and exactly Translated into the British or Welsh Tongue'. 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.
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.
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:
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.
The Toleration Act 1688 allowed certain dissenters places and freedom to worship, provided they accept to subscribe to an oath.
The provisions of the Act of Uniformity 1662 were modified and partly revoked by the Act of Uniformity Amendment Act 1872.
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, 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.
The Conventicle Act 1664 was an Act of the Parliament of England that forbade conventicles, defined as religious assemblies of more than five people other than an immediate family, outside the auspices of the Church of England.
The Five Mile Act, or Oxford Act, or Nonconformists Act 1665, was an Act of the Parliament of England, passed in 1665 with the long title "An Act for restraining Non-Conformists from inhabiting in Corporations". It was one of the English penal laws that sought to enforce conformity to the established Church of England, and to expel any who did not conform. It forbade clergymen from living within five miles of a parish from which they had been expelled, unless they swore an oath never to resist the king, or attempt to alter the government of Church or State. The latter involved swearing to obey the 1662 prayer book. Thousands of ministers were deprived of a living under this act.
In English history, penal law refers to a specific series of laws that sought to uphold the establishment of the Church of England against Protestant nonconformists and Catholicism by imposing various forfeitures, civil penalties, and civil disabilities upon these dissenters. The penal laws in general were repealed in the 19th century during the process of Catholic Emancipation. Penal actions are civil in nature and were not English common law.
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 Church of England.
The Act of Uniformity 1558 was an Act of the Parliament of England passed in 1559. It set the order of prayer to be used in the English Book of Common Prayer. All persons had to go to church once a week or be fined 12 pence, a considerable sum for the poor.
The Act of Uniformity 1551, sometimes referred to as the Act of Uniformity 1552, was an Act of the Parliament of England.
The Act of Uniformity 1548, also referred to as the Act of Uniformity 1549, was an Act of the Parliament of England, passed on 21 January 1549.
Rev. John Westley (1636–78) was an English nonconformist minister. He was the grandfather of John Wesley.
The Great Ejection followed the Act of Uniformity 1662 in England. Several thousand Puritan ministers were forced out of their positions in the Church of England, following The Restoration of Charles II. It was a consequence of the Savoy Conference of 1661.
Edmund Calamy was an English Nonconformist churchman and historian.
James Janeway (1636–1674) was a Puritan minister and author who, after John Bunyan, had the widest and longest popularity as the author of works read by English-speaking children.
Events from the year 1662 in England.
A conventicle originally signified no more than an assembly, and was frequently used by ancient writers for a church. At a semantic level conventicle is only a good Latinized synonym of the Greek word church, and points to Jesus' promise in Matthew 18:20, "Where two or three are met together in my name." It came to be applied specifically to meetings of religious associations, particularly private and secret gatherings for worship. Later it became a term of depreciation or reproach, implying that those of whom it was used were in opposition to the ruling ecclesiastical authorities; for example, it was applied to a cabal of mutinous monks in a convent or monastery. Ultimately it came to mean religious meetings of dissenters from an Established Church, held in places that were not recognized as specially intended for public worship or for the exercise of religious functions. It implied that a condition of affairs obtained in which the State made a distinction between a form or forms of religion whose practice and propagation were authorized by statute, and such as were expressly prohibited by enactment. This usage has received legal sanction in Britain.
Thomas Jollie (1629–1703) was an English Dissenter, a minister ejected from the Church of England for his beliefs.
From 1649 to 1660, Puritans in the Commonwealth of England were allied to the state power held by the military regime, headed by Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell until his death in 1658. They broke into numerous sects, of which the Presbyterian group comprised most of the clergy, but was deficient in political power since Cromwell's sympathies were with the Independents. During this period the term "Puritan" becomes largely moot, therefore, in British terms, though the situation in New England was very different. After the English Restoration the Savoy Conference and Uniformity Act 1662 drove most of the Puritan ministers from the Church of England, and the outlines of the Puritan movement changed over a few decades into the collections of Presbyterian and Congregational churches, operating as they could as Dissenters under changing regimes.
Reverend Thomas Risley was an English Presbyterian minister, founder of the Thomas Risley Chapel.
The Toleration Act 1688, also referred to as the Act of Toleration, was an Act of the Parliament of England, which received the royal assent on 24 May 1689.
Samuel Mather was an Independent minister. Born in England, he went with his family while still young to New England. He returned to England under the Commonwealth, went to Scotland after a period at Oxford, and became a Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin. After 1662 he was a nonconformist minister in Ireland.
John Jackson (c.1621–1693) was an English nonconformist minister. Intruded as a fellow during the Parliamentary visitation of the University of Cambridge, he was expelled in 1650 as a result of the engagement controversy, and was an ejected minister of 1662.