Nonconformist

NON-CONFORMISTS. The name now given to all those who do not conform to the practice of the Established Church. Originally, however, it was restricted to the Puritan section within  the Church, dissidents from the Church being called Separatists, which is still their correct title. In Elizabeth's reign many of the clergy refused to conform to the Act of Uniformity; the use of the surplice, and many things in the Book of Common Prayer, being objectionable to them. The Non-Conformists afterwards assumed the name of Puritan, which had previously been used of a heresy of the 3rd century. They formally separated from the Church in 1572. (See Puritan.)