In The Beginning
The Episcopal Church derived its existence from the Church of England which began as the Church in England, the branch of the Catholic Church in the British Isles. It is difficult to say exactly when Christianity was introduced to Britain. According to legend, St. Joseph of Arimathea (who paid for Jesus’s burial) first brought the Gospel to the British Isles and established a Christian community at Glastonbury in the first century A.D. It is more likely, however, that Christianity was introduced by the Romans. By 300 A.D. the Church in Britain was well developed and dioceses were established around the major cities such as London, York and Lincoln. St. Alban, the first Christian martyred on British soil, suffered death around 305 A.D.
The Roman presence in Britain came to an end in 401 as Rome’s empire began to collapse under the pressure of barbarian invasions. This left the Christian population open to invasion by the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes who were pagan. The Christian population was steadily pushed into Scotland and Wales. England ceased to even be nominally Christian.