Act of Uniformity 1662

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The Act of Uniformity 1662[1]
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]
Chapter 14 Car 2 c 4
Status: Amended

The Act of Uniformity 1662 (14 Car 2 c 4) was an Act of the Parliament of England. It is also cited as 13 & 14 Ch.2 c. 4,[nb 1] 19 May 1662. It prescribed the form of public prayers, administration of sacraments, and other rites of the Established Church of England, following all the rites and ceremonies and doctrines 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 edition of the Book of Common Prayer prescribed by the Act (1662) was so new that most people had never even seen a copy. It also required episcopal ordination for all ministers, which was reintroduced after the Puritans had abolished many features of the Church during the Civil War.

This Act was partly in force in Great Britain at the end of 2010.[3]

Great Ejection[edit]

Main article: 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[edit]

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 This legislation was rescinded in 1828.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[edit]

The Act of Toleration 1689 allowed certain dissenters places and freedom to worship, provided they accept to subscribe to an oath.

Modified in 1872[edit]

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

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The '16 Charles II c. 2' nomenclature is reference to the statute book of the numbered year of the reign of the named King in the stated chapter. This is the method used for Acts of Parliament from before 1962.

References[edit]

  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[edit]

External links[edit]