Skip to main content
Select Source:

nonconformists

nonconformists, in religion, those who refuse to conform to the requirements (in doctrine or discipline) of an established church. The term is applied especially to Protestant dissenters from the Church of England. Nonconformity in England appeared not long after the Reformation in the secession from the Established Church of such small groups as the Brownists (see Browne, Robert) and, a little later, the Pilgrims. Most of those, however, who objected to the Elizabethan church settlement did not at first intend to secede; their hope was rather to reshape the Established Church (see Puritanism). The conflicts thus engendered within the Church of England were a major factor leading to the English civil war. After the victory of the Puritan party in that war, a Presbyterian church establishment was adopted (1646), but in that period also the separatists, or Independents, gained a stronger foothold. The restoration (1660) of the monarchy also brought the restoration of episcopacy and harsh legislation against the Puritans (see Clarendon Code). The Act of Uniformity (1662) made a distinct split unavoidable, since it required episcopal ordination for all ministers. As a result, nearly 2,000 clergymen left the Established Church. Significant nonconformity dates from that time. The term dissenter similarly came into use, particularly after the Toleration Act (1689), in which reference was made to the "Protestant Dissenters." Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers, Unitarians, and Methodists are among the nonconforming denominations in England. In Scotland, where the established church is Presbyterian, the Anglicans, or Episcopalians, are among the nonconformists. In more recent usage, churches independent of the established or state church in both England and Scotland are often called Free Churches.

See C. Burrage, The Early English Dissenters (1912); H. Davies, The English Free Churches (1952).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"nonconformists." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"nonconformists." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformists

"nonconformists." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformists

Nonconformism

Nonconformism Dissent from or lack of conformity with the religious doctrines or discipline of an established Church, especially the Church of England. The term Nonconformist applies to all the sects of British Protestantism that do not subscribe to the principles of the established Anglican Church or the established Church of Scotland. It arose in England in reaction to the Act of Uniformity (1662). Movements such as Congregationalism and Presbyterianism, Baptists and Quakers proliferated. Nonconformist Churches were eventually granted freedom of worship in 1689, and civil and political rights in 1828. Methodism and Unitarianism swelled their ranks during the 18th century.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nonconformism." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nonconformism." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformism

"Nonconformism." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformism

nonconformist

non·con·form·ist / ˌnänkənˈfôrmist/ • n. 1. a person whose behavior or views do not conform to prevailing ideas or practices. 2. (Nonconformist) a member of a Protestant church in England that dissents from the established Anglican Church. • adj. 1. of or characterized by behavior or views that do not conform to prevailing ideas or practices. 2. (Nonconformist) of or relating to Nonconformists or their principles and practices. DERIVATIVES: non·con·form·ism / -ˌmizəm/ n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"nonconformist." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"nonconformist." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist-0

"nonconformist." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist-0

Nonconformist

Nonconformist originally (in the early part of the 17th century) a person adhering to the doctrine but not the usages of the Church of England; the first recorded usage relates to a defence of the surplice, the sign of the cross after baptism, and the custom of kneeling to receive Holy Communion. Later (especially after the passing of the Act of Uniformity in 1662, and the consequent ejection from their livings of those ministers who refused to conform), a member of a Protestant Church which dissents from the established Church of England.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nonconformist." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nonconformist." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist

"Nonconformist." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist

nonconformist

nonconformist one who does not conform to the Church of England (or other established church). XVII. See NON-, CONFORMIST.
So †nonconformitan, nonconformity XVII.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"nonconformist." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"nonconformist." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist-1

"nonconformist." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist-1

Nonconformists

Nonconformists. Members of Protestant churches in England outside the Church of England. They are otherwise known as Free Churches.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nonconformists." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nonconformists." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformists

"Nonconformists." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformists

nonconformists

nonconformists. See dissent.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"nonconformists." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"nonconformists." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformists

"nonconformists." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved October 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformists