Queen Victoria, a friend of Archbishop Tait, in January 1874 urged him to introduce legislation into Parliament to strengthen the Bishops’ ability to “stop the corrosion of the Church’s Protestant character”. On 13th and 14th January at the new years’ council of the Bishops, led by Archbishop Tait, the Public Worship Regulation Act was drafted with the intention of suppressing the growth of ritualism, and instil a greater sense of unity within the Church of England. Tait reported the outcome of the Bishops’ meeting to the Queen who in turn reported the decision the William Gladstone, the Prime Minister.
The Bills passage through parliament was long and complicated with amendments being made. Finally on 5th August 1874 the Public Worship Regulation Act was passed.
Whilst Fr Ridsdale and his wife Rosamund were on honeymoon in Switzerland, three parishioners of St Peter’s, namely: William Clifton (Baker), George Millar (Shoemaker), and James Harris (Beer House Keeper) instigated proceedings under the Act against Fr Ridsdale who was thought to be in breach of the law in his liturgical practices. Fr Ridsdale’s supporters and congregation claimed that the complainants, though resident in the parish, were not regular worshippers at the Church.
National interest had grown in Fr Ridsdale and St Peter’s and became known as “The Folkestone Ritual Case”. On 6th January 1876, Fr Ridsdale was summoned to the Library at Lambeth Palace, to appear before Judge James Plaisted Baram Penzance accused on twelve points. That on Sunday 4th and 11th July 1875: