Irish Church Act 1869

The Irish Church Act 1869 (32 & 33 Vict. c. 42) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which separated the Church of Ireland from the Church of England and disestablished the former, a body that commanded the adherence of a small minority of the population of Ireland. The act was passed during the first ministry of William Ewart Gladstone and came into force on 1 January 1871. It was strongly opposed by Conservatives in both houses of Parliament.[1]

The Irish Church Act 1869
Long titleAn Act to put an end to the Establishment of the Church of Ireland, and to make provision in respect of the Temporalities thereof, and in respect of the Royal College of Maynooth
Citation32 & 33 Vict. c. 42
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom
Royal assent26 July 1869
Commencement1 January 1871
Other legislation
Relates toWelsh Church Act 1914
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted

The act meant the Church of Ireland was no longer entitled to collect tithes from the people of Ireland. It also ceased to send representative bishops as Lords Spiritual to the House of Lords in Westminster. Existing clergy of the church received a life annuity in lieu of the revenues to which they were no longer entitled: tithes, rentcharge, ministers' money, stipends and augmentations, and certain marriage and burial fees.[2]

The passage of the Bill through Parliament caused acrimony between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Queen Victoria personally intervened to mediate. While the Lords extorted from the Commons more compensation to alleviate the disestablished churchmen, in the end, the will of the Commons prevailed.[3]

The Irish Church Act was a key move in dismantling the Protestant Ascendancy which had dominated Ireland for several centuries previously.

See alsoEdit


  • Report of Her Majesty's Commission on the revenues and conditions of the Established Church. Parliamentary Papers. 1867–68 XXIV 3. HMSO. 1868. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  • "Irish Church Act 1869 (as enacted)". UK Statute Law Database. 26 July 1869. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  • Hansard 1869:


  1. ^ Christopher F. McCormack, "The Irish Church Disestablishment Act (1869) and the general synod of the Church of Ireland (1871)" History of Education 47.3 (2018): 303-320.
  2. ^ Bernard, William Leigh (1871). Decisions Under the Irish Church Act, 1869, 32 & 33 Victoria, Cap. 42, and Details of the Annuities Ordered and Declared by the Commissioners of Church Temporalities in Ireland, with an Index. A. Thom. p. 58. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  3. ^ McKechnie, The reform of the House of Lords p.49

Further readingEdit

  • Fair, John D. "The Irish disestablishment conference of 1869." Journal of Ecclesiastical History 26.4 (1975): 379-394.
  • MacCarthy, Robert Ancient and Modern: a short history of the Church of Ireland. Four Courts Press Ltd., 1995
  • McCormack, Christopher F. "The Irish Church Disestablishment Act (1869) and the general synod of the Church of Ireland (1871): the art and structure of educational reform." History of Education 47.3 (2018): 303-320.
  • McDowell, Robert Brendan. The Church of Ireland 1869-1969 (Routledge, 2017_.

External linksEdit