Court of King's Bench: Crown Side: Return of Papists in Lancaster
A return made by the clerk of the peace under a statute of 1714 of the names of those who failed to take oaths of loyalty to the king before justices of the peace, and thus were deemed to be convicted recusants under the terms of the act.
The return was made only a few months after a Jacobite rebel army including many Lancashire men had been defeated at the battle of Preston, and presumably identifies possible Jacobite sympathisers still at large. The occupation or status of each individual is given.
In the first year of George I, under the threat of a Jacobite rising which subsequently took place, a new act to prescribe the taking of oaths of loyalty to the Hanoverian succession was passed by Parliament (1 Stat 1 George I, c 13). similar acts had been passed during the previous two reigns. It related to both England and Scotland and was directed in particular at office-holders.
All of those who lived within thirty miles of London were to take their oaths at Westminster in the Court of Chancery, King's Bench, Common Pleas or Exchequer, other office-holders were to take it at their local quarter sessions. Those who did not do so were to be deemed incapable of holding office. Further provision was made for two justices of the peace in any county to administer the oaths 'to any person or persons whatsoever, whom they shall or may suspect to be dangerous or disaffected to his Majesty, or his Government'. They were empowered to summon suspected persons to appear before them to take the oaths at a fixed place and time. If anyone refused to take the oaths or did not appear when summoned, the justices concerned were to certify the refusal to the next quarter sessions. The clerk of the peace was to record it on the rolls of the sessions, and certify it to the Court of Chancery or King's Bench, 'there to be recorded amongst the Rolls of the said Courts, in a Roll or Rolls there to be provided and kept for that Purpose only'. Anyone refusing or failing to appear was a judged a convicted popish recusant.
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