The Full Wiki

Oxford Movement: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Oxford Movement

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Part of a series on the
Anglican Communion
Canterbury Cathedral - Portal Nave Cross-spire.jpeg

Archbishop of Canterbury
Rowan Williams
Primates' Meeting
Lambeth Conferences
Anglican Consultative Council
Bishops, Dioceses, and
Episcopal polity


Christianity • Christian Church
Anglicanism • History
Jesus Christ • St Paul
Catholicity and Catholicism
Apostolic Succession
Ministry • Ecumenical councils
Augustine of Canterbury • Bede
Medieval Architecture
Henry VIII • Reformation
Thomas Cranmer
Dissolution of the Monasteries
Church of England
Edward VI • Elizabeth I
Matthew Parker
Richard Hooker • James I
Authorized Version • Charles I
William Laud • Nonjuring schism
Ordination of women
Homosexuality • Windsor Report


Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
Theology • Doctrine
Thirty-Nine Articles
Caroline Divines
Oxford Movement
Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral
Sacraments • Mary • Saints

Liturgy and Worship

Book of Common Prayer
Morning and Evening Prayer
Eucharist • Liturgical Year
Biblical Canon
Books of Homilies
High Church • Low Church
Broad Church

Anglican Topics

Ecumenism • Monasticism
Prayer • Music • Art

Anglican rose.PNG Anglicanism Portal

The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, the members of which were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the recovery of traditional aspects of the Christian faith, subsequently lost, and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy and theology and conceived of the Anglican Church as one of three branches of the Catholic Church.

It was also known as the Tractarian Movement after its series of publications Tracts for the Times, published 1833 to 1841. The group was also disparangily called Newmanites (until 1845) and Puseyites (after 1845) after the two prominent Tractarians, John Henry Newman and Edward Bouverie Pusey. Other prominent Tractarians included John Keble, Charles Marriott, Richard Hurrell Froude, Robert Wilberforce, Isaac Williams and William Palmer.


Early movement

The immediate impetus for the movement was the secularization of the church, focused particularly on the decision by the government to reduce by ten the number of Irish bishops in the Church of Ireland following the 1832 Reform Act. Keble attacked these proposals as 'national apostasy' in his Assize Sermon in Oxford in 1833. The movement's leaders attacked liberalism in theology. Their interest in Christian origins led them to reconsider the relationship of the Church of England with the Roman Catholic Church.

The movement postulated the Branch Theory, which states that Anglicanism along with Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism form three "branches" of the one "Catholic Church". Men in the movement argued for the inclusion of traditional aspects of liturgy from medieval religious practice, as they believed the church had become too plain. In the ninetieth and final Tract, Newman argued that the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, as defined by the Council of Trent, were compatible with the Thirty-Nine Articles of the sixteenth-century Church of England. Newman's conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1845, followed by Manning in 1851, had a profound effect upon the movement.


Apart from the Tracts for the Times, the group began a collection of translations of the Fathers, which they called the Library of the Fathers and which ran in the end to 48 volumes, the last published three years after Pusey's death. These were issued through Rivington's, under the imprint of the Holyrood Press. The main editor for many of these was Charles Marriott. A number of volumes of original Greek and Latin texts were also published.


The Oxford Movement was attacked for being a mere "Romanising" tendency, but it began to have an influence on the theory and practice of Anglicanism. It resulted in the establishment of Anglican religious orders, both of men and women. It incorporated ideas and practices related to the practice of liturgy and ceremony in a move to bring more powerful emotional symbolism and energy to the church. In particular it brought the insights of the Liturgical Movement into the life of the Church. Its effects were so widespread that the Eucharist gradually became more central to worship, vestments became common, and numerous Catholic practices were re-introduced into worship. This led to controversies within churches that ended up in court, as in the dispute about ritualism.

Partly because bishops refused to give livings to Tractarian priests, many of them ended up working in the slums. From their new ministries, they developed a critique of British social policy, both local and national. The establishment of the Christian Social Union, which debated issues such as the just wage, the system of property renting, infant mortality and industrial conditions, and to which a number of bishops were members, was one of the results. The more radical Catholic Crusade was much smaller. Anglo-Catholicism, as this complex of ideas, styles and organizations became known, had a massive influence on global Anglicanism.

Paradoxically, the Oxford Movement was attacked both for being secretive and broadly collusive. This position is well documented in Walsh's The Secret History of the Oxford Movement.[1]

Converts to Roman Catholicism

The principal writer and proponent of the Tractarian Movement was John Henry Newman, who, after writing his final tract, Tract 90, became convinced that the Branch Theory was inadequate and converted to the Roman Catholic Church in 1845. He was one of a number of converts to Roman Catholicism during the 1840s who were either members of or were influenced by the Tractarian Movement. Opponents of the Oxford Movement took the conversions as proof that the movement had sought to "romanize" the church.[citation needed]

Other major figures influenced by the movement who became Roman Catholics included:

Others associated With Tractarianism

See also


  • Canon H. Liddon, Life of E.B.Pusey, 4 vols. London (1893). The standard history of the Oxford Movement, which quotes extensively from their correspondence, and the source for much written subsequently. The Library of the Fathers is discussed in vol. 1 pp. 420–440. Available on
  • Dean Burgon, Lives of Twelve Good Men. Includes biography of Charles Marriott.
  • Faught, C. Brad (2003). The Oxford Movement: A Thematic History of the Tractarians and Their Times, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, ISBN 978-02-71022-499
  • Richard W. Pfaff, "The library of the fathers: the tractarians as patristic translators", Studies in Philology 70 (1973), p. 333ff.
  • Leech, Kenneth and Williams, Rowan (eds) (1983) Essays Catholic and Radical: a jubilee group symposium for the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Oxford Movement 1833-1983, London : Bowerdean, ISBN 0-906097-10-X
  • Norman, Edward R. (1976) Church and Society in England 1770–1970: a historical study, Oxford : Clarendon Press, ISBN 0-19-826435-6.

External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address