Uniformity, Act of 19 May 1662

 An Act for the Uniformity
of Public Prayer and Administration of Sacraments, and
other Rites and Ceremonies; and for Establishing the Form
of Making, Ordaining and Consecrating, Bishops, Priests
and Deacons in the Church of England.

This Act was part of what has
been called the Clarendon Code,
one of four acts sponsored by Edward Hyde, the Earl of
Clarendon and Lord Chancellor to Charles II all of which
were aimed at enforcing uniformity of religion and its

 In England throughout 1661
there were consultations and consideration of proposals
for the uniformity of public prayers and administration of
the sacraments. On the face of it there was a genuine
attempt at compromise which at one point produced a
watered down episcopacy that may have been acceptable to
many non conformists, including some Presbyterians.
However the final Act was severe and the date for
implementation was changed first from Michaelmas to
Midsummer Day and then to St Bartholemews Day, 24 August.
Significantly the date meant that failure to conform
resulted in loss of the stipend that was due in September.

 The Act was explicit in its
coverage and directed that “ every Parson, Vicar or other
Minister whatsoever`” was required on or before the Feast
of St Bartholomew, 24 August 1662, to use the new Prayer
Book and read Morning  and Evening Prayers in his
church; and in the presence of his congregation  to
make a declaration:

I, ….. do here declare my
unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything
contained in and prescribed in and by the Book entitled
The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the
Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church,
according to the use of the Church of England, together
with the Psalter and Psalms of David, pointed as they are
to be sung or said in Churches; and the Form and Manner of
Making, Ordaining and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests and

 Any who failed to conform
were to be deprived of their living and all future
appointees to the ministry were required to comply within
two months.

A further and more stringent
oath was required  of all persons ecclesiastical,
curates, teachers, schoolmasters, professors

 I… do declare that it is
not lawful, upon any pretence whatsoever ,to take arms
against the King; and that I do abhor that traitorous
position of taking arms by his authority against his
person, or against those that are commissioned by him; and
that I will conform to the liturgy of the Church of
England as it is now by law established: and I do declare
that I do hold there lies no obligation upon me or on any
other person, from the Oath commonly called The Solemn
League and Covenant, to endeavour any change or alteration
of government either in Church or State; and that the same
was in itself an unlawful Oath, and imposed upon the
subjects of this realm against the know laws and liberties
of this Kingdom.

 The problems for the
non conformists were the recognition of the Prayer Book;
acceptance and swearing of oaths, including obedience to
the Canons; the need for ordination and the rule of the
bishops. Rejection of the Solemn League and Covenant
finally ended any Scots aspirations of extending
Presbyterianism into England.

 The numbers vary somewhat but
the most accurate count (cited in  J T Wilkinson`s
1662 and after
)  claims 1909 ministers were

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