Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

7/12/2004

Nonconformist Records

Nonconformists were those who did not conform – in other words, did not belong to the Church of England. The Church of England was established when Henry VIII broke with the Pope and the Roman Catholic church in the 16th century. However, it was not long before groups who disagreed with the beliefs and practices of the Church of England formed their own congregations.

They were referred to as dissenters or non-conformists. Initially they were persecuted and often had to meet in secret or go into exile. They might be Protestants (among these were the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Independents, Congregationalists and Quakers) or Roman Catholics. By 1851, a quarter of the English population were nonconformists.

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