Religion in the United Kingdom – a historical overview.

Note: this article from Wikipedia helps us understand the overarching context for religion in the United Kingdom throughout history; Methodism arose in the midst of that historical context.

Religion in the United Kingdom and in the countries that preceded it has been dominated, for over 1,400 years, by various forms of Christianity

Pre-Roman forms of religion in Britain included various forms of ancestor worship and paganism.[2] Little is known about the details of such religions (see British paganism). Forms of Christianity have dominated religious life in what is now the United Kingdom for over 1,400 years. It was introduced by the Romans to what is now England, Wales, and Southern Scotland. The doctrine of Pelagianism, declared heretical in the Council of Carthage of 418, originated with a British-born ascetic, Pelagius.

The Anglo-Saxon invasions briefly re-introduced paganism in the 5th and 6th centuries; Christianity was again brought to Great Britain byRoman Catholic and Iro-Scottish missionaries in the course of the 7th century (see Anglo-Saxon Christianity).[3] Insular Christianity as it stood between the 6th and 8th centuries retained some idiosyncrasies in terms of liturgy and calendar, but it had been nominally united with Roman Christianity since at least the Synod of Whitby of 664. Still in the Anglo-Saxon period, the archbishops of Canterburyestablished a tradition of receiving their pallium from Rome to symbolize the authority of the Pope.

Roman Catholicism remained the dominant form of Christianity throughout the Middle Ages, but the (AnglicanChurch of England became the independent established church in England and Wales from 1534 as part of the Protestant English Reformation.[4] It retains arepresentation in the UK Parliament and the British monarch is its Supreme Governor.[5]

In Scotland, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, established in a separate Scottish Reformation in the sixteenth century, is recognised as the national church. It is not subject to state control, and the British monarch is an ordinary member, required to swear an oath to “maintain and preserve the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government” upon his or her accession.[6][7]

The adherence to Roman Catholicism continued at various levels in different parts of Britain and most strongly in Ireland and would expand in Great Britain, partly due to Irish immigration in the nineteenth century.[8]

Particularly from the mid-seventeenth century, forms of Protestant nonconformity, including CongregationalistsBaptistsQuakers, and, later, Methodists, grew outside of the established church.[9] The (Anglican) Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920 and, as the (Anglican) Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1870 before the partition of Ireland, there is no established church in Northern Ireland.[10]

The Jews in England were expulsed in 1290 and only emancipated in the 19th century. British Jews had numbered fewer than 10,000 in 1800, but after 1881, around 120,000Russian Jews settled permanently in Britain.[11]



This post is provides material from Wikipedia with links to articles and information on English History which forms the background for the development of Methodism. While it is lightly edited, the source is Wikipedia unless noted below. Links above are recognized by blue underlined text and lead to other articles. The major article(s) quoted here are:

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