A series of English laws intended to secure the legal and doctrinal basis of the Anglican Communion. The first (1549) made the Book of Common Prayer compulsory in church services, with severe penalties on non-compliant clergymen. The second (1552) imposed a revised Prayer Book, which was more Protestant in tone, and laid down punishments for recusants. Mary I had both Acts repealed, but the third (1559) introduced a third Book of Common Prayer and weekly fines for non-attendance at church. The fourth (1662) presented a further revised, compulsory Book. Under its terms some 2000 non-compliant clergymen lost their benefices, creating the Anglican-Nonconformist breach.
Subjects: History — Christianity.