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British Life and Culture

by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales
What is the main Religion in Britain?
Britain is traditionally a Christian state and most people living in Britain are Christian.

Britain has one of the most religiously diverse populations in the European Union. British people are free to choose and follow their own religious beliefs. Although Christianity is the main religion, there are also large communities of Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Jews, and smaller communities of Baha'is, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians.

Click here for important dates for each of the main religions

The most recent (2007) survey by Tearfund discovered that 53% of the population identified themselves as Christian, compared with almost three-quarters who had in the last census in 2001.

The Census

Since 1801, every 10 years the nation has set aside one day for the Census - a count of all people and households. It is the most complete source of information about the population that we have. The latest Census was held on Sunday 29 April 2001.

The following results are from the religions section in the 2001 census:

  • Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%,
  • Muslim 2.7%,
  • Hindu 1%,
  • other 1.6%,
  • unspecified or none 23.1%

History of Religion in England.

Britain used to be a Roman Catholic country.

In 1533, during the reign of Henry VIII, England broke from the Roman Catholic Church to form the Anglican Church.

Why did England become a Protestant country?

Henry VIII, the king, wanted a divorce. He wanted a son and his wife only gave birth to daughters. He asked the Pope for permission to divorce, but was refused. Henry VIII became very angry and decided to make his own church.

Henry VIII became leader of the Church of England (Anglican Church). He had the Bible translated to English  and the people who believed in this new religion were called Protestants .

Back to being a Catholic Country

In 1553, Mary became Queen. She changed the country back to Catholicism and burned Protestants who wouldn't change at the stake (similar to a bonfire).

All change again

In 1558, Elizabeth became Queen. She changed the church back to Anglican and it has been the official religion of England since.

Visit our Tudor page for more details

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All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the Mandy Barrow.

© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2014

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consultant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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