Chancery: Petty Bag Office: Rolls of Oaths of Allegiance and Test Oaths
Rolls of original oaths to which signatures of jurors were affixed.
A large proportion of this series consists of rolls of oaths of allegiance and test oaths. There are in addition some association oath rolls, an abjuration oath roll of 1702, some abjuration of succession rolls from the reign of George I, a few Scotch peers' oath rolls, and a roll containing details of aliens taking the sacrament.
There are also a number of solicitors' oath rolls; they are often phrased appropriately for solicitors of a particular religious denomination. Finally, there are some rolls of declarations made under the Sacramental Test Act of 1828, and enrolments of the various oaths taken by the examiners in Chancery, as well as the oaths of allegiance and judicial oaths taken by justices of the peace under the provisions of the Promissory Oaths Act of 1868.
After the Restoration, a number of statutes and ordinances were passed against Roman Catholics and nonconformists. These laid down that the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, as well as the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, were to be taken by all persons holding offices, civil and military. The main statute was the Corporations Act of 1661. This was followed by the Popish Recusants or Test Act of 1672.
In the unsettled political climate of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries there was a further increase in the range of oaths that had to be administered. In 1696 an oath of association in defence of the king and the succession was established, followed in 1702 and 1714 by oaths of abjuration against the Jacobite pretenders.
Towards the end of the reign of George IV measures began to be taken to secure Roman Catholic emancipation. Under the Sacramental Test Act of 1828 recipients of office had only to swear not to injure or weaken the Protestant church, rather than undergo the necessity of receiving the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829 removed other similar clauses from oaths.
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