Religion:Doctrine of the Trinity Act 1813

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Short description: United Kingdom legislation
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to relieve Persons who impugn the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity from certain Penalties.
Citation53 Geo. 3. c. 160
Introduced byWilliam Smith[1] (Commons)
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom
Royal assent21 July 1813
Repealed5 August 1873
Other legislation
Repealed byStatute Law Revision Act 1873
Relates to
  • Act against Blasphemy 1661
  • Toleration Act 1689
  • Act against Blasphemy 1695
  • Blasphemy Act 1697
Status: Repealed
Text of statute as originally enacted

The Act 53 Geo. 3. c. 160, sometimes called the Doctrine of the Trinity Act 1813,[2] the Trinitarian Act 1812,[3] the Unitarian Relief Act,[4] the Trinity Act, the Unitarian Toleration Bill, or Mr William Smith's Bill (after Whig politician William Smith),[5] was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which amended its blasphemy laws and granted toleration for Unitarian worship.[6]

  • Section 1 amended the Toleration Act 1689 (passed by the Parliament of England) to include non-Trinitarians among the Protestant dissenters whose practices would be tolerated.
  • Section 2 repealed the provision of the Blasphemy Act 1697 (also English) which imposed civil penalties on anyone professed or educated as a Christian who denied the Trinity.
  • Section 3 repealed two Acts of the Scottish Parliament which made blasphemy punishable by death: the Act against Blasphemy 1661 and Act against Blasphemy 1695.

The Dissenters (Ireland) Act 1817 (57 Geo 3 c 70) extended the Doctrine of the Trinity Act 1813 to Ireland, and amended the Prohibition of Disturbance of Worship Act 1719 (passed by the Parliament of Ireland)[7] in the same way as the 1813 Act had amended the 1689 Act.[8]

The Doctrine of the Trinity Act 1813 was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1873.[9]


  1. Hansard HC 5 May 1813 s1 v5 c1147
  2. Walker. A Legal History of Scotland. 1988. Volume 6. p 409.
  3. Krueger. "Clerical". Tucker (ed). A New Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 2014. p 141.
  4. Amherst D Tyssen. The Law of Charitable Bequests. 1888. p 104.
  5. Maclear J.F., Church and State in the Modern Age: a documentary history 1995
  6. Dudley Julius Medley, A Student's Manual of English Constitutional History. Sixth Edition (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1925), p. 653.
  7. An act for exempting the protestant dissenters of this kingdom from certain penalties, to which they are now subject
  8. An Act to relieve persons impugning the doctrine of the Holy Trinity from certain penalties, in Ireland
  9. Statute Law Revision Act 1873, Schedule

Further reading

  • Archibald John Stephens. The Statutes Relating to the Ecclesiastical and Eleemosynary Institutions of England, Wales, Ireland, India, and the Colonies. 1845. Volume 1. Pages 1066 and 1067.
  • John Shortt. The Law Relating to Works of Literature and Art. Second Edition. 1884. Pages 368 and 369.