Chapter

The Connexion, the Church of England and Dissent

Alan Harding

in The Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780198263692
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601149 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198263694.003.0007

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

 The Connexion, the Church of England and Dissent

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The Connexion’s secession from the Church of England in the early 1780s was triggered by a successful legal challenge to the Countess’s right to place her London chapel, Spa Fields, under her protection as a peeress, forcing her to license it under the Toleration Act. The Connexion’s Anglican ties were loosening well before that point, however, and secession did not mark any generally discernible change in its relations with the bishops and other clergy: for example, a number of chapels had been licensed well before secession, and the Connexion’s own ordination (which first occurred in 1783) had been under occasional consideration since the mid-1770s. The strength of Anglican loyalty among Lady Huntingdon’s ministers differed widely: most of her original clerical helpers had withdrawn from service in the Connexion well before secession, but there were other beneficed clergymen who took an active part in the Connexion in the years after it. Relations with Dissenters varied considerably, from location to location, though there was always friction with the Baptists. After secession, the Connexion sought to present itself as a distinct group in, the middle ground between the Church and Dissent, but it was as a new Dissenting body that it seems generally to have been perceived.

Keywords: Act of Toleration; Anglican ordination; Baptists; bishops; clergy; Dissenters; Dissenting ordination; Spa Fields chapel

Chapter.  24518 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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