Church Of England, the church established by law within the realm of England, and until 1871 of Ireland. Its origin is readily traced in English history, 'Christianity having gained a foothold in England at a very early date, and assumed from the first a more or less perfect ecclesiastical organization. It is held by some that the gospel was preached in Britain in the 1st century. Tertullian about the year 200 speaks of places in Britain which, though inaccessible to the Romans, were subject to Christ. There is no doubt that the Britons were generally converted to the Christian faith before the Saxon invasion in 449. Three British bishops were present in 314 at the council of Aries, one from York, one from London, and one from Caerleon in Wales; showing that the church was regularly organized at that date. There were also Brit-ish bishops in the councils of Sardica in 347, and of Rimini in 359; and about the close of the 3d century St. Alban suffered martyr- | dom during Diocletian's persecution. In the I middle of the 5th century the Saxons arrived, and in the course of the century following they had nearly exterminated Christianity except in Wales and Cornwall. In 596 the monk Augustin came as a missionary from Gregory L, bishop of Rome, and found Bertha, the queen of Ethelbert, a Christian; and with; the help of the remnant of the church still in the west and in Wales, Christianity was soon reestablished.
Augustin found seven bishops in Wales, with whom he held conferences in the effort to bring them into conformity to the church of Rome. The British Christians, however, like the Greeks, celebrated Easter on the third day after the 14th of the Jewish month Nisan, whatever day of the week that might be (see Easter), and practised baptism by trine effusion, and could not be induced to conform their practice to that of the Latin church at that date. These facts are emphasized by those who hold that the Anglican church was always really independent of Rome, and at the reformation simply resumed her position as a free national church. In the course of a few generations, however, the Roman supremacy prevailed, and secured a general conformity of doctrine and usage. Monastic houses were established, exempt from local ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and subject only and directly to the pope. The Norman conquest also contributed largely to the influence of Rome. The contests between the conquering Normans and the conquered Saxons continued until they were settled by the accession of Henry I. and Matilda of Scotland; and after that the struggle between the king and his barons contributed to the same result, as both parties appealed to the powerful help of the bishop of Rome. The papal supremacy was most complete when King John resigned his crown into the hands of the pope, and received it back to be held by him on condition of an annual payment.
From this period there was no absolute rejection of the papal authority, although there were occasional disturbances and protests, growing stronger and more influential until the opinions of Wycliffe had leavened the Anglican church. Henry VIII. had married Catharine of Aragon, the widow of his brother Arthur, but began to question the legality of his marriage. The nation was also anxious about the succession to the throne, and Henry wished to prepare the way for a union with Anne Boleyn, and requested the pope to declare his first marriage null ab initio, or to grant a divorce. The pope not complying, he referred the matter, by the advice of Thomas Cranmer, to his own clergy, among whom, as well as from some foreign universities, he received opinions favorable to his wishes. Cranmer, who had been made archbishop of Canterbury, now proclaimed the king's marriage with Catharine void, and confirmed his union with Anne Boleyn, whom he had privately wedded a few months before. The pope threatened the king with his heaviest censures, but Henry resolved to throw off the papal supremacy, and measures were at once taken to subject the clergy exclusively to the crown.
A blow had already been struck at the old ecclesiastical system by the indictment of the English clergy in 1531 for supporting Wolsey in his powers as legate before receiving the royal sanction; and in the convocation held immediately after, in which a sum of money was voted to the crown by way of buying immunity from the consequences of conviction on this charge, the king was acknowledged to be "the one protector of the English church, its only and supreme lord, and, as far as might be by the law of Christ, its supreme head." By the same assemblage his marriage with Catharine was declared null, and in 1532 the parliament passed an act against paying to the pope the annates, or year's revenue of all bishoprics that fell vacant, which had formerly been paid to Rome as a tax on bulls issued to new prelates. At the same time it was ordained that no regard should be paid to censures which the pope might pass on account of this law, and that mass should be said and the sacraments administered as usual. In 1534 still more important measures were enacted.
All payments made to the apostolic chamber, all bulls and dispensations were abolished; monasteries were subjected to royal government and visitation, and exempted from all other; the right to summon convocations, approve or reject canons, and hear appeals from the bishops, was vested in the king alone; and sentence of deposition was passed upon Campeggio and Ghinucci, bishops of Salisbury and Worcester. Though now honored with the title of supreme head of the church on earth, Henry contemplated no change in the doctrines of the church as then held, and no setting up of a rival community. Indeed, it was not until 30 years or more after these steps that the Roman Catholics and the reformers were looked upon as separate bodies, or had separate ministrations and separate places of worship. Throughout Henry's reign much less was done toward a change in creed or ritual than during the short reign of his son, Edward VI. The fundamental principle avowed from the first to the last, however, was that, besides retaining the ministry and the creeds of the primitive church, they must in all points of doctrine and discipline also accept its authority.
In this view the offices of devotion were expurgated of what were deemed errors and innovations, and translated into English (having been previously used in Latin), and brought together as a "Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments," in 1548-'9. A "Book of Homilies" was prepared in 1540 and 1547, to be read in all the churches for the instruction of the people; the Bible also was translated, and not only read in public worship by the clergy, but copies were placed at the public expense in the churches, where they were accessible at all times. The details of this great change, and the growth and change of opinion among the people, appear in the lives of Sir Thomas More, Wolsey, Fisher, Thomas Cromwell, Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley, and in the " Bishop's Book, or the Godly and Pious Institutions of a Christian Man" (republished in 1543 and called the "King's Book," because issued by royal authority), and the "Book of Articles, devised by the King's Highness Majestie to stablyshe Christen Unitie." The "Forty-two Articles" (afterward the " Thirty-nine Articles "), drawn up under Edward, summarize the views of the church of England in regard to her position, and her refusal to submit to the corruptions and assumptions of Rome. On the death of Edward VI. Mary, daughter of Henry VIII. and Catharine of Aragon, Henry's first wife, ascended the throne.
She was a devout adherent of the papal authority, and set herself to secure its recognition in England. To prepare the way for the realization of her object, an important change was made in the position of the bishops. Some were declared to be no bishops, because they were married men; some were deprived of their sees because they had been appointed to them only during the good pleasure of the king. Five were condemned and burned at the stake, among the 280 martyrs who perished during this reign. Thus under Mary's rule the state again became Roman Catholic; but in about five years she died, and was succeeded by Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn, who brought back the reformed faith and usages. The "Act of Uniformity," passed in the first year of her reign, restored the "Book of Common Prayer." All the bishops except one, Kitchin of Llandaff, refused to take the oath of uniformity, and were ejected from their sees to the number of 14; the 11 remaining sees were vacant by death. Their places were filled, though with some difficulty; but of the 9,400 beneficed clergy fewer than 200 gave up their livings. In 1563 the XXXIX articles were finally reviewed and subscribed. There was a continual struggle between the Calvinistic Puritans and the more conservative churchmen.
Toward the close of the reign of Elizabeth her favorite archbishop, Whitgift, drew up, in concert with the bishop of London and other theologians, the instrument known as the "Lambeth Articles," which is strongly Calvinistic. On the other hand, the Hampton Court conference, January, 1604, although formally an attempt to satisfy the Puritans, in fact decided every important point against them. In the reign of Charles I. the ecclesiastical administration was principally directed by Archbishop Laud, whose opposition to the Puritans was manifested in the persecutions of the high commission. These oppressions, added to the civil oppressions of the star chamber, resulted in the overthrow and death of King Charles, and from 1653 to 1660 the church of England was practically suspended. With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 came the restoration of the church. The popular reaction against Puritanism was complete. The Savoy conference in 1661 failed to effect any reconciliation, and the act of uniformity in 1662 resulted in the ejection of 2,000 nonconformist or Presbyterian ministers from their livings.
In 1687 James II., who was a Roman Catholic, issued the "Declaration of Indulgence," which professed to permit liberty of conscience to all his subjects, but was really in the interests of the Roman Catholics only. Of the 25 bishops, 18 refused to publish the declaration in their dioceses. Seven of them drew up a remonstrance to the king, and were summoned before the privy council and thrown into the tower. Their trial, which resulted in their acquittal, was one of the leading causes of the revolution of 1688, although on the accession of William of Orange eight of the bishops and about 400 of the clergy refused to swear allegiance to him, and became known as the "nonjurors." In the first year of the reign of William and Mary the "Toleration Act" was passed, and dissent ceased to be illegal. The violent discussions of the doctrines put forth by Bishop Hoadley in the lower house of convocation, in 1717, led to the dissolution of the convocation and the restriction of its jurisdiction. The period of strife was followed by a period of dul-ness and indifference, which gave occasion to the Wesleyan or Methodist movement, and the rise of the evangelical schools of Newton, Top-lady, and Simeon; and this in turn led in 1833 to the publication of the " Oxford Tracts," and that effort to revive the principles and practices of the mediaeval church which has been characterized as "Puseyism." These controversies have resulted within the church in the formation of three well recognized schools, known under the designations of high church, low church, and broad church.
The high churchmen regard the apostolical succession, in the three orders of the ministry, as of divine authority and obligation, and the sacraments as channels of grace. With the extreme low churchmen episcopacy is rather an expedient than a necessary form of church government, while they sympathize with the general doctrinal views of the evangelicals of continental Europe. The broad churchmen are unwilling to be called a party, but stand in some degree antagonistic to both the high and low church parties, and embrace within their ranks some of the most gifted and intellectual men of the church, including a number of the extreme rationalists, and are more tolerant of difference of dogmatic belief. More recently the church has given much of its strength to works of benevolence and to the evangelization of the masses; while there has been great variety both of doctrinal opinion and of liturgical observance. Under Charles I. an unsuccessful effort was made to extend the church of England over Scotland. The act of union, which went into effect Jan. 1, 1801, united the Episcopal churches of England and Ireland, the church of England and Ireland being the state church, established by law in Ireland, although its adherents formed but a small minority of the Irish population.
But by act of parliament which took effect Jan. 1, 1871, the Irish church was disestablished. (See Ireland, CHURCH of.) - The church of England is divided into two provinces, Canterbury and York, with an archbishop in each, and under these 25 bishops. The bishop of Sodor and Man does not sit in parliament. The other English bishops constitute the spiritual peerage of England, and are appointed by the crown. Next to the archbishops rank the bishops of London, Durham, and Winchester, and the others take rank according to the date of their consecration. In 1872 there were 12,837 benefices in England and Wales. The church rates amount to more than £500,000, but are no part of the ministers' endowment, being devoted exclusively to the repairs and incidental expenses of the churches. New parishes, which are frequently formed out of old and over-populous ones, are for the most part very slenderly endowed. The old benefices are rectories, where the incumbent receives the great or corn tithes, or vicarages, where he receives the small tithe only. The great tithes had been bestowed formerly upon the neighboring monasteries, and at their dissolution were given to laymen and to endowed colleges.
The total annual revenue of the church property in 1830 was £3,192,885, of which less than £1,000,000 belonged to the Irish branch. The average joint support of incumbents and curates is now about £300 per annum. An ecclesiastical commission was appointed in 1836, and some approach made toward converting the income of the church into a common fund, with a distribution to be made according to the wants and necessities of each office. The incomes paid to the bishops range from £15,000 to the archbishop of Canterbury to £2,000 paid to the bishop of Sodor and Man; the aggregate of the episcopal incomes being (in 1872) £154,200. There are 30 deans with incomes ranging from £3,000 (Durham) to £700 (Bangor). As assistants of bishops there were (in 1872)72 archdeacons, and under them were 565 rural deans. The clergy of every class were estimated at 18,000. The number of parishes is about 12,000; and the aggregate number of sittings in all places of worship in 1872 was 5,701,700. The official census of England gives no information regarding the numerical strength of the population connected with the church of England, and the estimates differ considerably.
In Martin's "Statesman's Manual" for 1873 it is estimated at 12,700,000, or only little more than one half; in Ravenstein's "Denominational Statistics of England and Wales" (London, 1870), at 77.8 per cent. of the total population, which according to the census of 1871 would be 17,781,000. Nearly all writers on this subject agree that the church of England has been during the last 20 years steadily losing ground. While the number of dioceses in England has long been stationary, that of the colonial and missionary bishops has of late rapidly increased. The first colonial see established was that of Nova Scotia, in 1787; next came Quebec, in 1793. The first East Indian see was that of Calcutta, founded in 1813; the first West Indian, that of Jamaica, 1827; the first Australian see (Sydney) was established in 1836; the first of South Africa in 1850. In 1873 there were 54 colonial and missionary dioceses in connection with the church of England. Of these, 5, Bombay, Calcutta, Colombo, Labuan, and Madras, were in the East Indies: 5, Antigua, Barbadoes, Jamaica, Nassau, and Trinidad, in the West Indies; 2, Guiana and Falkland islands, in South America; 9, Cape Town, Graham's Town, St. Helena, Natal, Mauritius, Central Africa, Orange River State, Eastern Africa, and Madagascar, in south and east Africa; 2, Sierra Leone and Niger, in west Africa; 10, Adelaide, Bathurst, Brisbane, Goulburn, Grafton and Armidale, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth, Sydney, and Tasmania, in Australia; 10, British Columbia, Fredericton, Huron, Montreal, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Rupert's Land, and Toronto, in British. North America; 6, Christ Church, Nelson, Auckland, Wellington, Whaiagua, and Dunedin, in New Zealand; the remainder were the dioceses of Melanesia in the Pacific, of Honolulu in the Hawaiian islands, of Victoria in Hong Kong, of Gibraltar, and of Jerusalem. Besides the church of Ireland, also the Episcopal church of Scotland and the Protestant Episcopal church of the United States agree in doctrine with the church of England. (See Episcopal CHURCH.)