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English Dissenters

Protestant Separatists from the Church of England / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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English Dissenters or English Separatists were Protestants who separated from the Church of England in the 17th and 18th centuries.[1]

A Catalogue of the Severall Sects and Opinions in England and other Nations: With a briefe Rehearsall of their false and dangerous Tenents, a propaganda broadsheet denouncing English dissenters from 1647, including Jesuits, Welsh blasphemers, Arminians, Arians, Adamites, Libertines (Antinomians), Antescripturians, Soul sleepers, Anabaptists, Familists, Seekers, and Divorcers

A dissenter (from the Latin dissentire, "to disagree") is one who disagrees in opinion, belief and other matters. English Dissenters opposed state interference in religious matters, and founded their own churches, educational establishments[2] and communities. Some emigrated to the New World, especially to the Thirteen Colonies and Canada. Brownists founded the Plymouth colony. English dissenters played a pivotal role in the spiritual development of the United States and greatly diversified the religious landscape. They originally agitated for a wide-reaching Protestant Reformation of the established Church of England, and they flourished briefly during the Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell.

King James VI of Scotland, I of England and Ireland, had said "no bishop, no king", emphasising the role of the clergy in justifying royal legitimacy.[3] Cromwell capitalised on that phrase, abolishing both upon founding the Commonwealth of England. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the episcopacy was reinstalled and the rights of the Dissenters were limited: the Act of Uniformity 1662 required Anglican ordination for all clergy, and many instead withdrew from the state church. These ministers and their followers came to be known as Nonconformists, though originally this term referred to refusal to use certain vestments and ceremonies of the Church of England, rather than separation from it.

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