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. 19 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"nonconformists." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformists

"nonconformists." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformists

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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. 19 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nonconformism." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformism

"Nonconformism." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformism

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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. 19 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"nonconformist." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist-0

"nonconformist." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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. 19 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nonconformist." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist

"Nonconformist." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved August 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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. 19 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"nonconformist." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist-1

"nonconformist." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformist-1

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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. 19 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nonconformists." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformists

"Nonconformists." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved August 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/nonconformists

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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. 19 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"nonconformists." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformists

"nonconformists." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved August 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformists

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Nonconformists

NONCONFORMISTS

English Protestants who refused Anglican uniformity, also called Dissenters. In the 16th century the most important nonconformists were congregationalists and Brownists; in the 17th century, presbyterians and the religious society of friends (Quakers); in the 18th and 19th, methodists. All nonconformist groups before the Civil War (163849) were frequently called puritans. Today the term "Free church" is preferred.

Although the name "nonconformist" dates from 1662, actual dissent began when Protestants refused Elizabeth's Act of uniformity in 1559, objecting to bishops and Anglican liturgical usages, and advocating a "pure" (Calvinistic) Christianity. They favored local autonomy in church government, and many wished to limit the powers of the monarchy and even separate Church and State. James I therefore regarded them as a danger to the monarchy and in 1604 deprived 300 Puritan divines. Some, the Pilgrim Fathers, fled to the New World. In the reign of Charles I, Archbishop Laud's attempt to eliminate Puritan usages helped bring about the Civil War, during which nonconformist factions quarreled bitterly among themselves, united only in their opposition to Catholicism and the Anglican Establishment. After the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, the Anglican Cavalier Parliament sought to impose religious uniformity by the Clarendon Code. These harsh measures were enforced by justices of the peace eager for revenge for the oppression they had suffered under Puritans in the Civil War, and some 20 percent of the English clergy came to be deprived. James II sought nonconformist support in 168788 by his Declarations of Indulgence, but without success because of nonconformist suspicion of Catholics. James's Calvinist successor, William III, by the Toleration Act of 1689, granted freedom of worship to nonconformists (but not to Roman Catholics or unitarians), though still excluding them from public office. Many nonconformists evaded this exclusion by taking the Anglican sacrament once a year. The restrictive legislation of 1660 to 1689 was not formally repealed, however, until 1828, the year of Catholic emancipation. Nonconformity waned during the heyday of 18th-century deism and might have died out save for the great Methodist rerival.

Most 17th-century nonconformists came from the middle classes. The Whig party, organized in the 1670s, was for 150 years the champion and stronghold of Dissent. Its descendant, the Liberal party, contained most nonconformist groups of the 19th century. After 1850 nonconformists interested themselves in social questions. The rise of British socialism and the Labor party owes more to the nonconformist conscience than to Karl Marx. Among the important nonconformists were O. Cromwell, J. Milton, G. Fox, J. Bunyan, I. Watts, J. Wesley, C. Wesley, G. Whitefield, C. H. Spurgeon, R. W. Dale, and P. Forsyth.

Bibliography: t. price, The History of Protestant Nonconformity in England, 2 v. (London 183638). h. s. skeats and c. s. miall, History of the Free Churches of England (London 1894). w. k. jordan, The Development of Religious Toleration in England, 4 v. (London 193240). e. routley, English Religious Dissent (Cambridge, Eng. 1960). p. scott, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 195765) 2:209. w. f. adeney, j. hastings, ed., Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, 13 v. (Edinburgh 190827) 9:381393.

[b. norling]

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

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nonconformists." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nonconformists." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformists

"Nonconformists." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 19, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nonconformists

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.