‘Until Such Time as He Be Confirmed’: The Laudians and Confirmation in the Seventeenth-Century Church of England

Turrell, James F.
October 2005
Seventeenth Century;Autumn2005, Vol. 20 Issue 2, p204
Academic Journal
Until 1662, the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer stipulated that one must be confirmed in order to receive communion in the Church of England. Yet despite this, church court records and the records of episcopal visitations show that the church actually applied a very different test, requiring knowledge of the catechism. This changed when Laudian bishops undertook to enforce the prayer book rubric that demanded confirmation. They did not succeed, however, in making confirmation a normative part of each Christian's experience, and the enforcement effort did not last, ending with the civil war. This effort at enforcement shows the Laudian tendency to enforce the smallest letter of the rubric, the ways in which the Church of England had actually moved far beyond its prayer book into a theology and piety based in the Word, not in rite, and the limited impact of Laudian efforts on the church.


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