Religion and belief

Parliament has been a dominant force in shaping the religious life of the nation. The Church of England was created by parliamentary statute, and was protected from its enemies by further laws.  

The Church is an integral part of the state and this position has been strongly upheld by Parliament.  

Over time Parliament has responded to changing social realities and relaxed the laws on religious liberty. 

Key dates

Follow the course of important religious laws from medieval times to the present

Contemporary context

Read about Parliament’s recent revisions to the blasphemy laws

Further your research

Here are just some of the books about religion in Britain

From the Parliamentary Collections

Explore the Parliamentary collections for documents about the history of the Book of Common Prayer

Case Study: Charles Stanhope and Freedom of Religion

The Parliamentary Archives worked with Kent History and Library Centre to explore the life and career of Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope. Find out more here.

Related information

Current parliamentary business on the topic of the Church and state