Welsh Church Act 1914
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|Long title||An Act to terminate the establishment of the Church of England in Wales and Monmouthshire...|
|Chapter||1914 c. 91|
|Territorial extent||Wales and Monmouthshire (de facto)
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (de jure)
|Royal Assent||18 September 1914|
|Commencement||31 March 1920
(see Suspensory Act 1914)
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
|Text of the Welsh Church Act 1914 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database|
The Welsh Church Act 1914 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom under which the Church of England was separated and disestablished in Wales and Monmouthshire, leading to the creation of the Church in Wales. The Act was a controversial measure, and was passed by the House of Commons under the provisions of the Parliament Act 1911.
The Bill was politically and historically significant as one of the first pieces of legislation to apply solely to Wales (and Monmouthshire) as opposed to the wider legal entity of England and Wales. In Wales the passing of the Bill was seen by many as the culmination of a long campaign which had begun in the mid-nineteenth century, led largely by Welsh Nonconformists who objected to paying tithes to the Church of England. The campaign was later strongly supported by the patriotic Cymru Fydd movement.
English author G. K. Chesterton ridiculed the passion that was generated by the Bill in his poem Antichrist, or the Reunion of Christendom: An Ode, repeatedly addressing F.E. Smith, one of the chief opponents of the act.
Owing to the outbreak of the First World War in August, the Act was given Royal Assent on 18 September simultaneously with another controversial bill, the Government of Ireland Act 1914, and the Suspensory Act 1914. The Suspensory Act stated that the two other Acts would not come into force for the remainder of the war. On 31 March 1920 most of the Welsh part of the Church of England became the Church in Wales, an independent province of the Anglican Communion, with six dioceses led by the Archbishop of Wales. However, a small number of churches within Wales (but close to the Wales/England border) remained within the Church of England.
- Jenkins, P. (1992) A History of Modern Wales 1536–1990. Harlow: Longman