• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why the Toleration Act proved to be a significant turning point inthe history of Christianity

Extracts from this document...


Why the Toleration Act proved to be a significant turning point in the history of Christianity Religious intolerance was normal practice throughout the Middle Ages, the Reformation bringing with it much persecution. Christian Anti-Semitism fuelled the religious insecurity prevalent in Europe but by the end of the sixteenth century Poland, the Dutch Republic and France had reached a state of 'tolerance', being in contrast to the religious intolerance still present in England at this time. The passing of the Toleration Act in 1689 appears to have been a close call, coming as it did during a particularly unstable period, making its conception all the more surprising. However, the practical achievement of the Act was remarkable, it being the first time in English history that dissenters such as Quakers, Presbyterians, Independents and Baptists were recognised by law and given a right to free worship. ...read more.


John Prideaux, Archdeacon of Norwich at the time gives us a example of this grievance, writing in 1691 '...more lay hold of it to separate from all manner of Worship to perfect irreligion than goe to them; and although the Act allows no such liberty, the people will take it soe.' As suggested in the passage above, the Act was resolutely against the 'unreligious' who chose to go to the 'alehouse' rather than mass and in fact sect 16 contains a strongly worded condemnation of such behaviour.... 'Provided always and it is the true intent and meaning of this Act, That all the laws made and provided for the frequenting of Divine Service on the Lord's Day....shall still be in Force, and executed against all persons that offend against the said Laws, except such persons that come to some Congregation or Assembly of Religious Worship, allowed or permitted by this Act.' ...read more.


The church had moved form a coercive to a voluntary religion bringing with it the need for powers of persuasion. The Toleration Act had, in a way, 'partially disestablished' the Church of England4 making it need to compete with other religious groups. A remarkable development of this was the rise of devotional groups, with the most significant probably being S.P.C.K (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge) founded in 1699, moving the church, in direct response to the changes that it faced, into a far more consciously evangelic era. 1 Spurr. The Restoration Church Of England 1646-1689 pg 104 2 Tyacke. The legalizing of Dissent, 1571-1719 in From Persecution to Toleration ed.Grell pg.44 3 Gregory. The eighteenth century Reformation: the pastoral task of Anglican Clergy after 1689 in The Church of England c.1689-c.1833 ed. J,Walsh pg.69. 4 G.V Bennett Conflict in the church in Britain after the glorious Revolution ed.Holmes pg.155 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Places of Worship section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Places of Worship essays

  1. English Reformation

    With very few signs and demand for future reformations, it would appear that the strength of the Church triumphed over the 'small cells of committed adherents.'

  2. Religious Social Education Coursework Christianity and Churches.

    Christmas and Easter. Section 3 In this part of my project I am going to be discussing whether I think that for a Christian, worship at home more important than worship at church? In today's world, when someone is speaking about church, most people think of it as a building.

  1. How useful are the secondary sources provided in understanding Medieval Monasticism compared with the ...

    This was a clear example of Fountains first intentions of being a place of worship moving to a modern area with the concentration on wealth increasing. Being buried within the church was a great privilege and was only available to those who were important parts of the organised religion.

  2. Religion in Britain

    Puritanism became a popular belief among the common people in the 17th century, but James I and Charles I persecuted the puritan so cruelly that they forced may puritans to leave for Northern America. At last the kings persecution caused revolt.

  1. Christianity - history and beginings

    They also meet in churches to encourage one another to lead upright lives according to God's moral law. Two practices important to Christian worship usually take place in churches. They are (1) baptism and (2) the Eucharist, also called Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper.

  2. The Progression of Christianity from The Apostolic era - The Lutheran Reformation.

    It was not until the first Century, after all of the Apostles and others who had been in direct contact with Christ were dead, that many Churches developed a hierarchical organization.(Huxley, p52) From here the concept of Apostolic Succession, and Petrine Supremacy, was established.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work