Act of Uniformity 1662

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The Act of Uniformity 1662 [1]
Coat of Arms of England (1660-1689).svg
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. [2]
Citation 14 Car 2 c 4
Status: Amended
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. [3]

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:

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


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    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.

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