Nonjuring schism

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The nonjuring schism was a split in the Anglican churches of England, Scotland, and Ireland in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, over whether William III and Mary II could legally be recognised as sovereigns.

The word nonjuring means "not swearing [an oath]", from the Latin verb iūrō or jūrō meaning "to swear an oath".

Many of the Anglican clergy felt legally bound by their previous oaths of allegiance to James II and, though they could accept William as regent, they could not accept him as king. It was not necessarily a split on matters of religious doctrine, but more of a political issue and a matter of conscience, though most of the nonjurors were high-church Anglicans.[1] Thus, latitudinarian Anglicans were handed control of the Church of England, while Presbyterians took control of the Church of Scotland. The nonjurors thus were nominally Jacobite, although they generally did not actively support the Jacobite Uprisings in 1715 or 1745.

Nonjuring bishops[edit]

Five of the "Seven Bishops" who had petitioned James against the Declaration of Indulgence became nonjurors, along with four other bishops. The nine nonjuring English bishops were:

* Among the Seven Bishops.

These nine nonjuring bishops were joined by about 400 other Anglican clerics,[2] a substantial majority of the bishops in Scotland and one bishop in Ireland. In February 1690, the six surviving nonjuring English bishops were deprived of their sees and deposed (Thomas, Cartwright and Lake had already died). In Scotland the Episcopal Church was disestablished and Presbyterianism reintroduced. When the vacant sees were filled, some refused to recognise the new bishops and the nonjurors appointed their own bishops. In 1694, George Hickes (Dean of Worcester) was consecrated nonjuring bishop of Thetford and Thomas Wagstaffe was consecrated nonjuring bishop of Ipswich.

Wagstaffe died in 1712 and Hickes remained the only surviving nonjuring bishop; however he himself consecrated several successors. The nonjurors themselves split about 1717 over the issue of whether to introduce modifications in the Book of Common Prayer. One party, the usagers, led by Jeremy Collier and Thomas Brett, supported the restoration of four apostolic usages to the communion service. These included the mixed chalice, the prayers of epiclesis and invocation and prayers for the dead. The non-usagers, led by Charles Leslie and Nathaniel Spinckes, opposed any change to the established liturgy. The dispute was agitated in several dozen pamphlets. The rift was repaired in 1732.


Prominent nonjurors included:

  • Thomas Baker (1656–1740), Cambridge-based antiquarian and author of Reflections upon Learning (1709)
  • Hilkiah Bedford (1663–1724), chaplain to Bishop Ken, author of Vindication of the Church of England (1710)
  • Thomas Bedford (1717–1743), nonjuring priest
  • James Bettenham, London printer
  • Nathanael Bisbie, Rector of Long Melford
  • John Blackbourne (1683–1741), non-usager, editor of Bacon
  • Ambrose Bonwicke (1652–1722), schoolmaster at merchant Taylors' School
  • Ambrose Bonwicke, son of the above
  • Charles Booth (d. 1813), irregular nonjuring bishop in Manchester
  • Thomas Bowdler (1661–1738)
  • William Bowyer the Younger (1699–1777), "the learned printer"
  • Nicholas Brett, son of Thomas (1667–1743); keeper of nonjuror papers
  • Thomas Brett (1667–1743), of Spring Garden, liturgical scholar, nonjuring bishop
  • Thomas Brett, nonjuring bishop, consecrated 1727, often confused with the above
  • Francis Brokesby (1637–1714) biographer of Henry Dodwell.
  • Dr Philip Johnstone Brown (d. 1779). Irregular nonjuring Bishop in Manchester
  • Archibald Campbell (d. 1744), Scottish bishop, usager bishop, author of The Middle State
  • Thomas Carte (1686–1754), English historian, biographer of James Duke of Ormonde
  • William Cartwright (d. 1799), of Shrewsbury, successor to Deacon in usager line of irregular nonjuring bishops
  • Francis Cherry (1665–1713), of Shottesbrooke, layman, patron of Thomas Hearne and other nonjurors
  • Jeremy Collier (1650–1726), nonjuring primus, ecclesiastical historian, controversial writer, and critic of the English stage
  • Shadrach Cooke, nonjuring parson who attended Sir William Parkyns and Sir John Friend to scaffold
  • Robert Cotton, Esq., gentleman
  • John Creyk (1688–1747), chaplain to Duchess of Ormonde.
  • Thomas Deacon (1697–1753), stepson of Jeremy Collier, liturgical scholar, bishop in usager succession
  • Henry Dodwell (1641–1711), Anglo-Irish patristic scholar, Oxford don, author of The Case in View
  • Henry Doughty (1662?–1730), bishop in non-usager line, consecrated 1725
  • Samuel Downes, ejected fellow of St. Johnson College, Oxford
  • Theophilus Downes (1657–1726), ejected fellow of Balliol College, Oxford
  • Matthias Earbery (1690–1740), controversialist, non-usager
  • Elijah Fenton (1683–1730), poet
  • Marmaduke Fothergill (1652–1731), Vicar of Skipwith and antiquarian
  • William Fullerton, nonjuring Scotsman, student of Balliol College, Oxford, companion of Thomas Hearne
  • James Gadderer (1655–1733), Scottish bishop, involved (with Campbell) in English consecrations and usages debate
  • Henry Gandy (1649–1734), bishop in non-usager succession
  • Thomas Garnett (d. 1818), of Manchester, bishop in irregular usager line
  • Robert Gordon (1703–1779), last bishop in the regular nonjuring succession. Also called Gordoun.
  • Denis Granville (1637–1703) Dean and Archdeacon of Durham
  • John Griffin (1680–1731), Rector of Churchill, later a nonjuring bishop
  • Henry Hall (1672–1731), bishop in nonjuring succession
  • George Harbin (1665–1744), chaplain to Bishop Turner, author of The Hereditary Right of the Crown of England Asserted
  • Edward Hart, friend of Bishop Brett, formerly a brick-layer, participant in usages debate
  • Walter Harte (d. 1736), Vicar of St. Mary's Taunton and Prebend of Wells, nonjuring chaplain, father of poet of same name
  • Samuel Hawes (d. 1722), non-usager bishop
  • Thomas Hearne (1678–1735), Oxford librarian, antiquarian, and diarist
  • George Hickes (1642–1715), Anglo-Saxon scholar, Anglo-Catholic theologian, and nonjuring bishop.
  • Laurence Howell (1664?–1720), patristic scholar, author of The Case of Schism in the Church of England
  • Samuel Jebb (c. 1694–1772), physician and literary scholar, editor of Roger Bacon and Bibliotheca Literaria
  • Charles Jennens (1700–1773), nonjuring layman, librettist for Handel's Messiah
  • John Kettlewell (1653–1695), devotional writer, author of Of Christian Communion
  • Roger Laurence (1670–1736), author of Lay Baptism Invalid, bishop in Archibald Campbell's usager line
  • William Law (1686–1761), author of A Serious Call and Three Letters to the Bishop of Bangor, tutor to Gibbon
  • John Leake, Sr. (1648–1724), of Peterhouse Cambridge, Lecturer at St. Giles, Cripplegate
  • John Leake, Jr. (fl. 1682– 1735), formerly of Hart Hall Oxford, friend of Samuel Parker and Thomas Hearne
  • Francis Lee (1661–1719), physician and scholar, known as "Rabbi Lee", compiler of Memoirs of Kettlewell
  • Charles Leslie (1650–1721), controversial writer, author of The Rehearsal and Short and Easy Method with the Deists
  • Roger L'Estrange (1616–1714), royalist pamphleteer
  • John Lindsay (1686–1768), chaplain at Aldersgate chapel, translator of Mason's Vindication of the Church of England
  • Timothy Mawman (d. 1763) in Stockton-on-Tees, bishop in nonjuring succession
  • Robert Nelson (1656–1715) layman, author of Festivals and Fasts and life of George Bull
  • Roger North (1653–1734), lawyer, biographer, author of Examen
  • Robert Orme (d. 1733) keeper of nonjuring chapel in Aldersgate
  • Samuel Parker (1681–1730), Oxford author, editor of Censura Temporum, author of the Bibliotheca Biblica
  • Francis Peck, formerly of Trinity College, Cambridge, officiant to Jacobites William Paul and John Hall in 1715
  • Samuel Pepys, Secretary to the Admiralty under Charles II and James II, diarist.
  • Kenrick Price (d. 1790), irregular nonjuring bishop in Manchester
  • Richard Rawlinson (1690–1755) clergyman, book collector, antiquarian, and nonjuring bishop
  • Thomas Rawlinson (1681–1725), bibliophile, brother of the above
  • Richard Russell (1687–1759), physician, editor of Grub-Street Journal
  • Abednego Sellar (c. 1646-1705), historian of passive obedience
  • George Smith (1693–1756), liturgist and nonjuring bishop
  • William Snatt (1645–1721), nonjuring parson who attended Sir William Parkyns and Sir John Friend to scaffold.
  • Nathaniel Spinckes (1653–1727), non-usager bishop, author of The Church of England Man's Companion
  • Ralph Taylor D.D (1647-1722), nonjuring bishop in non-usager line
  • John Urry (1666–1715), literary scholar, editor of Chaucer
  • Thomas Wagstaffe the Elder (1645–1712), nonjuring bishop and vindicator of Charles I
  • Thomas Wagstaffe the Younger (1692–1770), usager controversialist, Anglican Chaplain the Chevalier St. George
  • Richard Welton (1671?–1726), creator of controversial altarpiece at St. Mary's, Whitechapel

In addition, virtually all members of the Scottish Episcopal Church were nonjurors, since that church, as a body, remained loyal to the Stuarts until the death of Charles Edward Stuart, (the de jure Charles III) in 1788.


The nonjuring clergy and congregations gradually declined throughout the 18th century, as Jacobitism itself largely disappeared after the Second Jacobite Uprising of 1745. The schism was largely ended in 1788, when Charles Edward Stuart died in exile. Unwilling to recognise his heir, his brother Henry Benedict Stuart, who was a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church elected to recognise the House of Hanover and offer allegiance to George III. Only two congregations, in London and Edinburgh remained loyal to the Stuart heir Henry IX. The last Bishop of the Regular line, Robert Gordon, died in 1779, although his congregation lasted another decade. The irregular congregations in Manchester (and Shrewsbury) limped on under their own Bishops until the early nineteenth century. The Scottish episcopate in 1784 consecrated the first American bishop, the high-church Samuel Seabury of Connecticut and Rhode Island, who was made the second Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Anglicanism in New England, and outside Virginia generally, was tied to Tory Loyalists ever since the Dominion of New England was set up by the Duke of York proprietor of the Province of New York (the later James II, progenitor of Jacobitism). The more low church and Whig Patriot wing of the American church stemmed from Virginia, and was secured in seniority for the presiding bishops' lineage of succession through Pennamite William White, who was consecrated by the English episcopate. Nonjurors would have an influence on John Henry Newman and other Tractarians in the early and mid nineteenth century, and the modern Anglican Use within Catholicism.


  1. ^ Ashley, Maurice. Glorious Revolution of 1688. page 255.
  2. ^ PD-icon.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Non-Jurors". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.


  • Broxap, Henry, "'The Later Non-jurors," Cambridge University Press, 1924.
  • Cornwall, Robert, "Visible and Apostolic," 1993
  • Ollard, S. L., "The Nonjurors," 1912
  • Overton, John, "The Nonjurors," 1902

External links[edit]