Title

Presbyterians and 'Partial Conformity' in the Restoration Church of England

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1992

Publication Title

Journal of Ecclesiastical History

First Page

249

Last Page

270

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022046900000907

Abstract

In the early eighteenth century, the legacy of conflict among English Protestants found an outlet in the controversy over ‘occasional conformity’. During the years 1702–4, Tory backbenchers in the House of Commons introduced a series of bills designed to strengthen the Corporation and Test Acts (1661, 1673), which had required all officials of local government and holders of Crown appointments to adhere to the established Church of England. Since the passage of these legal tests, Protestant Nonconformists seeking office had circumvented their intent by taking communion in an Anglican parish as seldom as once a year, while attending meetings of their fellow dissenters for worship. So long as they procured a certificate of conformity from the minister, they were eligible for government positions, and dissenters had gained control of several parliamentary boroughs.

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