On April 21, 1689 (new style) William and Mary of Orange were crowned King and Queen of England at Westminster Abbey. William Sancroft, the Archbishop of Canterbury, refused to participate and so the Bishop of London, Henry Compton, presided. Note that Compton was one of the Immortal Seven who invited William of Orange to invade England. William was ready, having already begun to assemble an army.
When William of Orange and Mary (James II’s eldest daughter) replaced James II on the throne of England, their accession provoked the non-juror crisis in the Church of England. It became schism when the non-juring bishops ordained another bishop. They are called non-jurors because they refused the swear oaths of loyalty to the new monarchs. William and Mary had been invited to England to forestall James II’s efforts promoting tolerance and Catholicism. William and his invading army landed on November 5, 1688, a propitious date to James' enemies since it commemorated the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot discovery, 100 years after the failure of Spanish Armada, another religiously-driven invasion. The non-juring bishops had not thought of William actually becoming king, but Parliament deposed James II, declaring that his flight from England was an abdication; the revolutionary settlement of 1688, summed up in the term “The Glorious Revolution” placed William and Mary on the throne.
Ironically, five of the seven non-jurors had clashed with James in 1688 when they refused to read his Declaration of Tolerance from their pulpits. The king had them arrested and charged with seditious libel; when they were acquitted it was a great blow to his plans for religious tolerance in England.
In 1689, these non-jurors could not reconcile taking a new oath to William and Mary while still being bound by their oath to James II. Refusing to take the oath meant they were removed from their sees—a real blow to the High Church movement in the Church of England—leaving the way clear for more latitudinarian Low/Broad Church bishops to take their places.
The non-juring bishops were (the first five were James’ opponents in 1688):
--William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury
--Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells (great hymnist)
--John Lake, Bishop of Chichester
--Francis Turner, Bishop of Ely
--Thomas White, Bishop of Peterborough
--Thomas Cartwright, Bishop of Chester
--Robert Frampton, Bishop of Gloucester
--William Lloyd, Bishop of Norwich
--William Thomas, Bishop of Worcester
Some 400 other Anglican clergy joined them. Although the non-jurors supported the goal of restoring James II and his heirs, they were usually not active in supporting the Jacobite invasions of the Pretenders.
Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, (pictured above) attended Charles II’s deathbed, leaving the room briefly at the urging of James, then Duke of York. Father John Huddleston received Charles into the Catholic Church and gave him Holy Communion. When the Bishop returned, he began to offer the Anglican sacraments to the king, and Charles refused. Ken is most famous as a writer of hymns, especially the chorus, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.”
The accession of the first Hanoverian king, George I would provoke another set of non-jurors in 1714. The death of Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) aka King Charles III in 1788 effectively ended the non-juror schism as the bishops and priests who succeeded the first non-jurors swore allegiance to King George III rather than to Henry Benedict Stuart, a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.