Church in Danger

'Church in Danger' was a political slogan used by the Tory party, and particularly by High Tories in elections during Queen Anne's reign.[1]

'Church in Danger' was a rallying call for many Anglicans in England who feared that the established Church of England was under attack by the policies of the Whigs, particularly the Toleration Act 1688. The Act allowed freedom of worship to Nonconformists i.e., Protestants who dissented from the Church of England such as Baptists and Congregationalists but not to Catholics. Nonconformists were allowed their own places of worship and their own teachers, if they accepted certain oaths of allegiance.

To Tory supporters and High Church Anglicans such as Dr. Henry Sacheverell, such toleration would ultimately undermine the established Church of England through reducing attendance and allowing sedition to be preached in England. The slogan proved to be effective and featured heavily in Tory election campaigns, particularly during the 1705 English general election which occurred in the midst of the Tackers controversy and the 1710 British general election where, in the context of the trial of Henry Sacheverell and the subsequent Sacheverell riots, the slogan contributed to a Tory landslide victory[2] and enabled the passage of the Occasional Conformity Act 1711 to lock out non-conformists, though the act was repealed by the Whigs when they returned to power in 1719.[3]


  1. ^ W.A. Speck, Tory & Whig: The Struggle in the Constituencies 1701-1715, (London, 1970), p.96.
  2. ^ James Richards, Party Propaganda Under Queen Anne: The General Elections of 1702-1713, (Charlotte, 1972), p. 111.
  3. ^ Mark Knights, "Occasional conformity and the representation of dissent: hypocrisy, sincerity, moderation and zeal." Parliamentary History 24#1 (2005): 41-57.