The church of the eighteenth century was still reeling in the wake of the huge religious upheavals of the two previous centuries. Though this was a comparatively quiet period, this book shows that for the whole period, religion was a major factor in the lives of virtually everybody living in Britain and Ireland. Yates argues that the established churches, Anglican in England, Irelandand Wales, and Presbyterian in Scotland, were an integral part of the British constitution, an arrangement staunchly defended by churchmen and politicians alike.
The book also argues that, although there was a close relationship between church and state in this period, there was also limited recognition of other religions. This led to Britain becoming a diverse religious society much earlier than most other parts of Europe. During the same period competition between different religious groups encouraged ecclesiastical reforms throughout all the different churches in Britain.
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