Elizabeth I Declaration against Nonconformists 1573.

A proclamation against the despiser. or breakers of the orders prescribed in the book of Common Prayer.


The Queen’s Majesty being right sorry to understand that the order of Common Prayer set forth by the common consent of the realm and by authority of parliament in the first year of her reign, wherein is nothing contained but the scripture of God and that which is consonant unto it, is now of late of some men despised and spoken against, both by open preachings and writings, and of some bold and vain curious men new and other rites found out and frequented; whereupon contentions, sects and disquietness doth arise among her people, and, for one godly and uniform order, diversity of rites and ceremonies, disputations and contentions, schism and divisions already risen, and more like to ensue the cause of which disorders her Majesty doth plainly understand to be the negligence of the bishops and other magistrates, who should cause the good laws and acts of parliament made in this behalf to be better executed, and not so dissembled and winked at as hitherto it may appear that they have been:

For speedy remedy whereof her Maijestv straitlv chargeth and commandeth all archbishops and bishops… . and all other who have any authority, to put in execution the Act for the
Uniformity of Common Prayer and the administration of the Sacraments made in the first year of her gracious reign with all diligence and severity

And if any persons snail either in private houses or in public places make assemblies and therein use other rites of Common Prayer and administration of the sacraments than is prescribed in the said book, or shall maintain in their houses any persons being notoriously charged by books or preachings to attempt the alteration of the said orders, they shall see such persons punished with all severity, according to the laws of this realm, by pains appointed in the said Act.

And because these matters do principally appertain to the persons ecclesiastical and to the ecclesiastical government, her Majesty giveth a most special and earnest charge to all archbishops, bishops, archdeacons and deans, and all such as have ordinary jurisdiction, in such cases to have a vigilant eye and care to the observation of the orders and rites in the said book prescribed, throughout their cures and diocese … upon pain of her Majesty’s high displeasure for their negligence and deprivation from their dignities and benefices or other censures to follow, according to their demerits.

[Dated 20 Oct. 1573.]