1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Free Church of England

FREE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, a Protestant episcopal church “essentially one with the established church of England, but free to go into any parish, to use a revised edition of the Book of Common Prayer, to associate the laity with the clergy in the government and work of the church, and to hold communion with Christians of other denominations.” It was founded in 1844 in opposition to the Tractarian movement, and embodies the distinctively evangelical elements of the Reformation. It preserves and maintains to the letter all that is Protestant and evangelical in the liturgy and services of the Anglican church, while its free constitution and revised formularies meet the needs of members of that communion who resent sacerdotal and ritualistic tendencies. There are two dioceses (northern and southern) each with a bishop, about 30 churches and ministers, and about 1300 members.