Religion and belief: Overview

Parliament, Church and Religion

Parliament has profoundly affected the development of religious life in Britain

The medieval Church

In the Middle Ages Parliament passed laws regulating the activities of Jews and outlawing heretics

The Reformation

The Church of England - also known as the Anglican Church - was created by a series of Acts passed in the 16th century

Witchcraft

Belief in witchcraft reached a peak in the later 16th century and was condemned by Parliament

Persecution

Parliament was at the centre of much of the religious turmoil and persecution which gripped Britain during the 17th century

Catholics and nonconformists

In 1689 Parliament took the first major step towards recognising the religious rights of nonconformists

Emancipation

Continued persecution of Catholics in the early 18th century gave way to quiet toleration and, finally, their emancipation in 1829

Religion in the nineteenth century

During the 19th century Parliament passed many Acts reducing the power and influence of the Church and removing legal obstacles to other religions and faiths

Twentieth Century

In the 20th century Parliament continued to pass legislation to meet the changing needs of the established Church