High Church is a term applied to the party within the Anglican Communion in general, and the Church of England in particular, that has sought to minimize the Protestantism of the Anglican Communion and to stress its continuity with the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages. It has fostered a "high" view of the nature of the Church, and especially since the 19th century, a reverence for retrieval of ancient liturgical usages and the acceptance of the sacerdotal nature of the ministerial priesthood. One of their earliest leaders was William laud, archbishop of Canterbury (1633–45). In the 17th century this group supported the theory of the divine right of kings as applied to the Stuarts, and the jacobites. Devotion to the latter cause led some into schism in the 18th century as non–jurors. In the 19th century the tradition was taken up by followers of tractarianism and the oxford movement. The High Church party, successors of the Tractarians, remain a distinctive group. Many of their clerical members have adopted Catholic practices on a large scale. Their Sunday Eucharist, for example, is practically identical to that of a Catholic Mass.
See Also: anglicanism; broad church; low church.
Bibliography: g. w. o. addleshaw, The High Church Tradition: A Study in the Liturgical Thought of the Seventeenth Century (London 1941). b. e. steiner, Samuel Seabury, 1729–1796: A Study in the High Church Tradition (Athens, Ohio 1971). r. b. mullin, Episcopal Vision/American Reality: High Church Theology and Social Thought in Evangelical America (New Haven 1986). k. hylson–smith, High Churchmanship in the Church of England: From the Sixteenth Century to the Late Twentieth Century (Edinburgh 1993). r. d. cornwall, Visible and Apostolic: The Constitution of the Church in High Church Anglican and Non–Juror Thought (Newark/London 1993).
High Church: see England, Church of.