later second archbishop of Westminster. Despite the differences in theology, the underlying principle of objection to perceived state interference with the spiritual nature of the church was the same as that which had led the Free Church to leave the Church of Scotland in 1843. On the other hand, in 1858 the JCPC ruled, albeit only on a technicality, that the prosecution by evangelicals of the High Churchman George Denison, who had taught the real presence in the Eucharist, was invalid.69 Then in 1864 the JCPC decided that the liberal teachings of Essays and reviews, published in i860, were not inconsistent with the formularies of the Church of England. The collective implication of these judgements was that, whatever many of its clergy might want, the future of the Church of England lay in the acceptance of considerable internal theological and liturgical diversity. The trend was confirmed after the passing in 1874 of the Public Worship Regulation Act, intended to control ritualism. In practice, however, prosecutions of ritualists under this measure proved too divisive and counterproductive for bishops to continue to allow them.70
The internal variety, and hence multifaceted appeal, of the Church of England was one key reason for its success in averting the disestablishment that overtookits Irish and Welsh counterparts. Two further factors were also important. First there was the success of the ongoing process of reform and pastoral renewal, at the grass-roots as well as at the legislative level. The late Victorian church was substantially more effective in meeting the spiritual needs of its congregations than its Georgian predecessor had been. The creation of six new dioceses in the 1870s and 1880s helped to strengthen a sense of local and regional identification with the church, notably in relation to the dioceses of Liverpool, Truro (Cornwall) and Newcastle upon Tyne (Northumberland). Second, a succession of concessions to Nonconformists helped gradually to take the sting out of their hostility to the Church of England. Legislation in 1854 for Oxford and i856 for Cambridge allowed them to graduate at the ancient universities. At the other end of the educational scale, the i870 Elementary Education Act, while continuing support to church schools, provided that religious instruction in board (state) schools would be non-denominational in character. In 1868 church rates, a long-standing Nonconformist grievance, were made voluntary, and the 1880 Burials Act allowed Nonconformist ministers to conduct funerals in parish churchyards.71 There was still potential for Nonconformists to protest about perceived Anglican privilege, as notably
69 Machin, Politics and the churches, pp. 255-6.
70 Bentley, Ritualism and politics.
71 Marsh, The Victorian church, pp. 72-81,137, 256-63.
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