North West Catholic History Society

The Recusant Historian's Handbook

by J. A. Hilton




















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THE Elizabethan religious settlement and the penal laws enacted to enforce it, criminalised Catholicism, creating the crime of recusancy, refusal to attend the services of the Established Church of England, and making it a crime to practise or to teach the Catholic Faith. Nevertheless, a Catholic recusant community emerged as a small minority, ministered to by its own clergy organised in the English mission. By the end of the eighteenth century recusancy had ceased to be a crime. Despite considerable work, this persecuted community remains a fascinating subject for historical research.

This vade mecum is intended for the students of recusant history. I hope it will be useful to beginners who may not know what a Jesuit is and to experts who may have forgotten the date of the bull Sollicitudo Omnium Ecclesiarum. I have had the benefit of Mr. Brian Plumb's help, but mistakes doubtless remain (addresses are a particular problem) for which I take responsibility. I therefore invite users to give themselves the pleasure of pointing out my errors of commission and omission of fact or expression.

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Penal Laws and Relief Acts

1559, Act of Supremacy: Monarch supreme governor of Church of England, clergy to take oath of supremacy on pain of deprivation.

1559, Act of Uniformity: imposed Book of Common Prayer, one shilling fine for failure to attend church on Sunday.

1563, forbidden to defend papal supremacy on pain of Praemunire (forfeiture of property).

1571, treason to call monarch heretic or schismatic, treason to introduce papal bulls.

1581, treason to convert or to be converted to Catholicism, fine of 20 per month for recusancy.

1585, treason for Jesuits or seminary priests to enter the country.

1587, suspected recusant who failed to appear for trial incurred guilt.

1593, recusants restricted to within five miles of their homes.

1605, convicted recusants to receive Anglican communion once per annum on pain of fine and eventual forfeiture of property.

1605, recusants barred from office and professions.

1678, recusants barred from parliament.

1692, recusants incur double land tax.

1699, recusants barred from purchasing or inheriting land.

1778, Relief Act: Catholics permitted to own land.

1791, Relief Act: Catholic clergy permitted to exercise ministry.

1829, Emancipation Act: Catholics permitted to hold office and to sit in parliament.

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Elizabeth I 1558-1603

James I 1603-25

Charles I 1625-49

Commonwealth 1649-60

Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell 1653-58

Lord Protector Richard Cromwell 1658-59

Charles II 1660-85

James II 1685-88 William III and Mary II 1689-1702 (Mary died 1694) Anne 1702-14 George I 1714-27 George II 1727-60 George III 1760-1820 George IV 1820-1830

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The Jacobite Succession

James II 1685-1701

James III 1701-66

Charles III 1766-88

Henry IX 1788-1807

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Paul IV 1555-59 Clement X 1670-76
Pius IV 1559-65 Innocent XI 1676-89 
Pius V 1566-72 Alexander VIII 1689-91 
Gregory XIII 1572-85 Innocent XII 1691-1700
Sixtus V 1585-90 Clement XI 1700-21
Urban VII 1590 Innocent XIII 1721-24 
Gregory XIV 1590-91 Benedict XIII 1724-30
Innocent IX 1591 Clement XII 1730-40 
Clement VIII 1592-1605 Benedict XIV 1740-58 
Leo XI 1605 Clement XIII 1758-69
Paul V 1605-21 Clement XIV 1769-74 
Gregory XV 1621-23 Pius VI 1775-99 
Urban VIII 1623-44 Pius VII 1800-23 
Innocent X 1644-55 Leo XII 1823-29
Alexander VII 1655-67 Pius VIII 1829-30
Clement IX 1667-69

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The Geographical Organisation of the English Mission


1. Archdeaconry of London and Middlesex.

2. Archdeaconries of Sussex; Kent and Surrey; Essex, Herts and Beds; Northants, Hunts, and Cambs; Oxon, Bucks, and Berks; Norfolk and Suffolk.

3. Archdeaconries of Chesh, Staffs, and Derby; Notts, Rutland, and Lincs.

4. Archdeaconries of Warks and Leics; Gloucs and Worcs.

5. Archdeaconries of Northumberland, Cumberland and Durham; Yorks; Lancs and Westmorland.

6. Archdeaconries of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset; Hants, Wilts and Somerset.

7. Archdeaconries of Hereford and Salop; North Wales; South Wales.


London District.- Beds, Berks, Bucks, Channel Is, Essex, Hants, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex.

Midland District: Cambs, Derby, Hunts, Leics, Lincs, Norfolk, Northants, Notts, Rutland, Salop, Staffs, Suffolk, Warks, Worcs.

Northem District: Chesh, Cumberland, Durham, Isle of Man, Lancs, Northumberland, Westmorland, Yorks.

Western District: Anglesey, Brecon, Caemarvon, Caermarthen, Cardigan, Cornwall, Denbigh, Devon, Dorset, Flint, Glamorgan, Hereford, Isles of Scilly, Merioneth, Monmouth, Montgomery, Pembroke, Radnor, Wilts, Worcs.

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Superiors of the English Mission


ARCHPRIESTS George Blackwell 1599-1608 William Harrison 1615-21 George Birkhead 1608-14

VICARS APOSTOLIC OF ENGLAND William Bishop 1623-24 John Leyburn 1685-88 Richard Smith 1623-55

VICARS APOSTOLIC OF THE LONDON DISTRICT John Leyburn 1688-1702 John Douglass 1790-1812 Bonaventure Giffard 1703-34 William Poynter 1812-27 Benjamin Petre 1734-58 James Yorke Bramston 1827-36 Richard Challoner 1758-81 Thomas Griffiths 1836-47 James Talbot 1781-90

VICARS APOSTOLIC OF THE MIDLAND DISTRICT Bonaventure Giffard 1687-1703 Charles Berington 1795-98 George Witham 1703-15 Gregory Stapleton 1801-02 John Talbot Stonor 1716-56 John Milner 1803-26 John Homyhold 1756-78 Thomas Walsh 1826-40 Thomas Talbot 1778-95

VICARS APOSTOLIC OF THE NORTHERN DISTRICT James Smith 1688-1711 William Walton 1775-80 George Witham 1715-25 Matthew Gibson 1780-90 Thomas Dominic Williams, O.P., William Gibson 1790-1821 1725-40 Thomas Smith 1821-31 Edward Dicconson 1741-52 Thomas Penswick 1831-36 Francis Petre 1752-75 John Briggs 1836-40

VICARS APOSTOLIC OF THE WESTERN DISTRICT Philip Michael Ellis, O.S.B., 1688-1705 Matthew Prichard, O.S.F.. 1715-50 Lawrence William York, O.S.B., 1750-70 Charles Walmesley, O.S.B., 1770-97 William Gregory Sharrock, O.S.B., 1797-1809 Peter Bernardine Collingridge, O.S.F., 1809-29 Peter Augustine Baines, O.S.B., 1829-43

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Colleges, Monasteries, and Convents

AUGUSTINIAN CANONESSES Bruges: founded 1629, closed 1794. Louvain: founded 1609, closed 1794. Paris: founded 1634, closed 1793.

BENEDICTINE MONKS Dieulouard, St. Laurence's: priory, founded 1608, moved to Ampleforth 1802. Douay, St. Gregory's: priory, founded 1611, moved to Acton Burnell 1794, then to Downside 1814. Lambspring, SS Ad?ian and Denis: abbey, founded 1643, suppressed 1803; unsuccessful attempted refoundation at Broadway, Worcs; remnant went to Fort Augustus, Scotland. Paris, St. Edmund's: house of studies, founded 1615, became priory 1642, moved to Douai 1815. St. Malo: priory, founded 1611, transferred to French Benedictines 1669.

BENEDICTINE NUNS Boulogne: founded 1652, moved to Pontoise 1658, then to Dunkirk 1663, closed 1792. Brussels: founded 1598, closed 1796. Cambrai: founded 1623, closed 1793. Ghent: founded 1624, closed 1794. Paris: founded 1651, closed 1793. Ypres: founded 1665, became exclusively Irish 1682.

BRIDGETTINES Lisbon: left Syon 1559 for Termonde, moved to Mishagan 1563, then to Mechlin 1572, then to Rouen 1580, then to Lisbon 1594.

CARMELITE FRIARS Louvain: missionary priory founded 1621, closed 1793. Tongres: college founded 1774, closed 1793.

CARMELITE NUNS Antwerp: founded 1619, closed 1794. Hoogstraaten: founded 1678, closed 1794. Lierre: founded 1648, closed 1794.

CARTHUSIANS Sheen Anglorum: moved from Sheen to Bruges 1559, then wandered until settled at Nieuport 1626, suppressed, 1783.

DOMINICAN FRIARS Bornhem: founded 1657, school opened 1660, closed 1794. House of studies: founded at Rome, moved to Louvain 1695, closed 1794.

DOMINICAN NUNS Convent: founded at Vilvorde 1660, moved to Brussels 1669, closed 1796.

FRANCISCAN FRIARS (RECOLLECTS) Douay, St. Bonaventure's: founded 1618, closed 1793.

FRANCISCAN NUNS (SECOND ORDER OR POOR CLARES) Aire: founded 1629, closed 1793. Dunkirk: founded 1652, closed 1793. Gravelines: founded 1607, closed 1793. Rouen: founded 1644, closed 1794.

FRANCISCAN NUNS (THIRD ORDER) Convent: founded at Brussels 1621, moved to Nieuport 1637, then to Bruges 1663, closed 1794. Paris, Blue Nuns: founded 1660, closed 1793.

INSTITUTE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY First Institute: founded 1609; houses founded at St. Omer 1609, London 1613, Liege 1617, Cologne 1620, Trier 1621, Rome 1622, Naples 1623, Perugia 1624, Munich 1626, Vienna, Pressburg, and Prague 1627-8; suppressed 1631 but the houses at London and Munich survived. Second Institute: founded 1632 with houses at London and Munich; house founded in Rome 1633 but was moved to join Munich in 1703; house at Augsburg founded 1662; house at Burghausen founded 1683; house at London moved to Paris 1650; house founded at Hammersmith 1667; house founded in York 1686.

JESUITS Boarding school: founded at St. Omers 1593, moved to Bruges 1762, to Liege 1773 under ex-Jesuits, then to Stonyhurst 1794. House for novices: founded at Louvain 1607, moved to Liege 1614, then to Watten 1625, suppressed 1773. House for tertians (newly ordained priests): founded at Ghent 1621, suppressed 1773. House for scholastics (students training for priesthood): founded at Liege 1614; suppressed 1773 but became school and seminary under ex-Jesuits; moved to Stonyhurst 1794. Preparatory school: for St. Omers at Watten 1752-65.

SECULAR CLERGY Douay: seminary founded 1568, moved to Rheims 1578, returned to Douay 1593, suppressed 1792, re-established at Ware 1793 and Ushaw 1808. Lisbon: seminary founded 1628, closed 1971. Madrid: seminary founded 1611, administered by Jesuits until suppressed 1767.

Oscott: seminary founded 1793. Paris, Arras College: house of higher studies; founded 1611, closed 1635. Paris, St. Gregory's: house of higher studies, founded 1667, closed 1785. Rome, Venerable English College: seminary founded 1580, administered by Jesuits until 1773. San Lucar. hospice, founded 1591. Sedgeley Park School: administered by seculars; founded 1763, moved to Cotton Hall 1873. Seville: seminary founded 1592, administered by Jesuits until suppressed 1767. Valladolid: seminary founded 1589, administered by Jesuits until 1767. Ware, St. Edmund's (Old Hall): began as a school administered by seculars at Twyford founded in 1685, moved to Standon Lordship 1753, then to Ware 1767; became secular seminary founded from Douay 1793.

SEPULCHRINE CANONESSES Liege: founded 1641, closed 1794.

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APOSTOLICUM MINISTERIUM: Bull of Pope Benedict XIV 1753, also known as Regulae Observandae in Anglicanis Missionibus or Rules of the Mission, defined the Organisation of the English Mission, laying down the relations between the vicars apostolic, the secular clergy, the seminaries, and the regular clergy and their superiors.

APPELLANT. one who appealed to Rome against the Archpriest Blackwell's consultation with the Jesuit superior.

ARCHPRIEST. The superior of the English secular clergy, 1598-1621.

ARCHDEACON. The administrator of part of a diocese in the Church of England; the Catholic superior of part of a missionary district. AUGUSTINIAN CANONESS: A nun who follows the rule of St. Augustine.

BENEDICTINE: A member of the monastic Order of St. Benedict founded c.529; the Order is organised into monasteries for the celebration of the Divine Office; in penal times the English Benedictine Congregation worked on the English mission.

BLACKLOWISM: The doctrines of Thomas White alias Blacklow (1593-1676) and his supporters who advocated a Gallican view of English Catholicism and sought an accommodation between Catholics and the Protectorate of Cromwell.

BLANCHARDISM: The doctrines of Pierre-Louis Blanchard and his supporters who led the Gallican opposition to the French Concordat of 1801.

BLOODY QUESTION. Hypothetical and incriminating question put by the courts to suspected Catholics under Elizabeth I: Would they defend England against the pope himself if he invaded the country?

BRIDGETTINE: Member of the Order of the Most Holy Saviour founded by St. Bridget of Sweden in 1344; it is an enclosed contemplative order with double monasteries of men and women.

CALENDAR: 1. A list of documents and a summary of their contents. 2. The new, Gregorian Calendar introduced in 1582 was not accepted in England until 1752 by which time the difference between it and the Old, Julian Calendar was eleven days. Until the eighteenth century the year began on the Feast of the Annunciation, 25 March.

CAPITULAR: A member of the Chapter.

CARDINAL PROTECTOR: A cardinal appointed to represent the interests of the nation.

CARMELITE: A member of the Order of the Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel founded by St. Berthold in 1155; Calced Carmelites follow a modified rule; the Discalced, i.e. barefooted, or Teresian Carmelites follow the reforms of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.

CARTHUSIAN. A monk of the order of hermits founded by St. Bruno in 1084.

CHALLONER BIBLE: Challoner's revision, published 1749-50, of the Douay Bible.

CHAPELS ROYAL: As well as the monarch's Protestant chapels royal, the Catholic queens of the Stuart Kings had their own Catholic chapels, as did the Catholic King James II.

CHAPTER: College of senior clergy established by the Vicar Apostolic William Bishop in 1623-4; between the death of the Vicar Apostolic Richard Smith in 1655 and the appointment of John Leyburn as Vicar Apostolic in 1685, the chapter administered the English Mission.

CHARTERED BOROUGH. Town with royal charter which gave it self-government and usually parliamentary representation.

CHURCH PAPIST. One who continued to believe and to practise some form of Catholicism whilst attending Church of England services.

CHURCHWARDEN. A parochial official appointed by the vestry. He presented offences including recusancy to the ecclesiastical courts.

CISALPINISM: An English version of Gallicanism, from the latin cis meaning this side, and Alps.

CLERK OF THE PEACE: Keeper of the records of quarter sessions.

COMPOSITION. Procedure by which recusants were allowed to compound for their fines, i.e. pay a portion in return for immunity from harassment.

COMPTON CENSUS: A return made by the clergy of the Church of England in 1676, initiated by Bishop Compton of London, of the numbers of parishioners and the details of those absent from worship.

CONSTABLE: A parochial official nominated by the vestry and responsible for the maintenance of law and order.

COURTS OF JUSTICE: The high courts of King's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer administered civil and criminal law at Westminster; they went on assize circuits into the provinces.

DECLARATION OF INDULGENCE: Royal declaration suspending the penal laws; one was issued in 1672 but withdrawn; another was issued in 1687 and re-issued in 1688 but lapsed with the deposition of James II.

DEMI-JESUIT. A secular priest associated with the Jesuits.

DIVINE OFFICE: The service of prayer, praise, psalms, lessons, and hymns, which clergy and religious are obliged to recite daily.

DOMINICAN.- A member of the Order of Preachers established by St. Dominic in 1216.

DOMINUS AC REDEMPTOR NOSTRI.- Encyclical of Pope Clement XIV dissolving the Jesuits, 1773.

DOUAY BIBLE: Translation of the Bible into English by scholars at Douay and Rheims; the New Testament wag published in 1582, the Old in 1609-10.

ECCLESIASTICAL COURTS: Applied ecclesiastical law of the Church of England to both clergy and laity. The court of first resort was the archdeacon's court, whence appeal lay to the consistory or bishop's court and thence to the Court of Chancery for the province of York and the Court of Arches for Canterbury.

EXCOMMUNICATION. Exclusion from the communion of the Church. The Church of England also used excommunication as a penalty.

EMBASSY CHAPELS: The chapels of the embassies of Catholic states.

EX-JESUIT. A former member of the Jesuit order who continued to exercise his ministry as a priest after the suppression of the order in 1773.

FOLIO: A leaf of a document.

FOOTMAN. A priest who travelled about on foot.

FRANCISCAN. A Member of the orders founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1209; they included the Friars Minor, the Friars Minor Conventual, the Friars Minor Capuchin, the Franciscan Nuns of the Second Order or Poor Clares and the Sisters of the Third Order Regular.

FRENCH EMIGRE PRIEST. A priest who sought refuge in England from the French Revolution.

GALLICANISM: The doctrine originating in France that the State is autonomous of the Church, that the Church in Council is superior to the papacy, and that local ecclesiastical customs are valid, from the Latin Gallia meaning Gaul or France.

GARDEN OF THE SOUL: A prayer book compiled by Challoner, published in 1740.

HIGH COMMISSION. A royal court exercising ecclesiastical jurisdiction under the Act of Supremacy of 1559; abolished 1649.

INSTITUTE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY. An order of active, unenclosed nuns, founded by Mary Ward in 1609, suppressed 1629, and restored 1639.

JACOBITE: A supporter of the claims of the exiled House of Stuart after the deposition of James II in 1688.

JANSENISM: The doctrine originated by Jansen (1585-1638) that denies the possibility of resisting divine grace; condemned as a heresy in 1642, 1653, and 1713.

JESUIT: Member of the Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius Loyola in 1535; members take a fourth vow of special obedience to the pope to go wherever sent on the missions; suppressed 1773, restored 1814.

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: County Magistrate appointed by the Crown and responsible for civil administration and for criminal jurisdiction including the penal laws.

LITTLE OFFICE OF OUR LADY. A service of prayer, praise, psalms, lessons, and hynms, imitative of the Divine Office.

LORD LIEUTENANT.- A county official appointed by the crown in charge of the militia and also acted as custos rotulorum i.e. keeper of the county records.

MANUAL: A collection of prayers and meditations.

MARRIAGE ACT OF 1754: Marriages had to be celebrated before a clergyman of the Church of England.

MARIAN PRIEST. Priest ordained in England before Elizabeth's reign.

MARTYR: One who voluntarily suffers death for the Catholic Faith.

MINIM: A member of the Order of Minim (from the Latin minimum meaning least) Hermits of St. Francis of Paula, founded in 1435; Minims have a special mission to the poor, and they take a fourth vow of perpetual abstinence from flesh-meat.

MONEY. The pound () was divided into twenty shillings (s) and the shilling into twelve pence (d). A mark was one third of a pound, i.e. 6s.8d. A guinea was twenty-one shillings, i.e. 1.1s.

NON-COMMUNICANT. One who attended the Church of England's services but neglected to receive its communion.

NORTH, COUNCIL OF: Exercised royal jurisdiction in Cumberland, Durham, Northumberland, Westmorland and Yorkshire; abolished 1641.

OATH OF SUPREMACY.- Oath acknowledging the monarch as supreme governor of the Church of England, imposed by the Act of Uniformity of 1559.

PAPAL BULL: The most solemn form of papal letter; from the Latin bulla meaning a seal.

PAPAL CONSTITUTION. A law issued by the Pope.

PARISH. A district served by a parson and a parish church, increasingly used as an area of civil government.

PENAL LAWS: Legislation inflicting penalties on Catholics.

PETTY SESSIONS: Meetings of local justices of the peace.

PLANTATA: Bull of Pope Urban VIII 1633 confirming the revival of the English Benedictine Congregation.

POOR CLARE: Nun of the Second Order of St. Francis founded by him and St. Clare in 1212.

PREFECT APOSTO,LIC. Head of a prefecture apostolic, the first stage in establishing the ecclesiastical organisation of a mission.

PRIEST HOLE: A secret hiding place in the house of a Catholic.

PRIMER: A prayer book containing the Little Office of Our Lady.

PRIVY COUNCIL: Body in which the monarch exercised the royal authority.

PROPAGANDA: The Sacred Congregation of Propaganda Fide (for the propagation of the Faith) established in 1622, composed of cardinals and officials, concerned with the missions; England was under its jurisdiction.

PROTESTATION OF 1641: A list of those taking or refusing an oath of loyalty to King, Parliament, and the Protestant religion.

PURSUIVANT. An agent for the pursuit of Catholics.

QUARTER SESSIONS: Meetings of the justices of the peace held four times a year.

RECTO: The front of the leaf of a document or the right hand page.

RECUSANT. One who neglected to attend the services of the Church of England.

RECUSANT ROLLS: Rolls kept by the Exchequer listing convicted recusants and their outstanding fines.

REGISTERS OF PAPISTS: In 1717 Papist, i.e. Catholic, landowners had to register their names and lands with the clerk of the peace.

REGNANS IN EXCELSIS: Bull of Pope Pius V 1570, excommunicating and deposing Elizabeth I.

REGULAR CLERGY. Clergy bound by a common rule.

RELIGIOUS: A member of a religious order, i.e. bound by a rule and subject to the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

RETURNS OF PAPISTS: Official lists of Catholics made in 1706, 1714, 1715, 1743, 1744, 1767, and 1780.

ROLL: A manuscript consisting of sheets stitched together and rolled up.

ROMAN CONGREGATION. A body of cardinals and officials for the transaction of ecclesiastical business.

SECULAR CLERGY. Ordinary clergy as distinct from the regulars.

SOLLICITUDO OMNIUM ECCLESIARUM: Bull of Pope Pius VII 1814 restoring the Society of Jesus.

SEMINARY PRIEST.- Priest ordained in a seminary overseas.

SEPULCHRINE CANONESS: A member of the Canonesses Regular of the Holy Sepulchre, an order of nuns.

SOCIETY OF JESUS: The Jesuit order.

SPIRITUAL EXERCISES OF ST. IGNATIUS LOYOLA: A systematic series of meditations on the Catholic Faith devised by St. Ignatius for the use of the Jesuits.

SUPERSTITIOUS USES: Property or income devoted to Catholic religious purposes.

THIRD ORDER: A branch of a religious order; its members are usually lay people living in the world, but there are third orders regular whose members live in community.

TITULAR BISHOP: One who is consecrated bishop of a see where the decay of its Christian population has led to its lapse.

TRENT. General council (1545-62) to combat Protestantism and to reform the discipline of the Church.

ULTRAMONTANISM: The doctrine that the papacy has universal and immediate authority; from the Latin ultra meaning beyond and montes meaning mountains.

UNIGENITUS: Constitution of Pope Clement XIII 1713 condemning Jansenism as a heresy.

VERSO: The back of the leaf of a document or the left hand page.

VESTRY. Part of church where vestments were kept; used for meetings of co-opted or elected body, hence called the vestry, which appointed parochial officials.

VICAR APOSTOLIC: A titular bishop who rules a vicariate apostolic or missionary district as delegate of the papacy.

VULGATE: Latin version of the Bible declared authoritative by the Council of Trent.

WALES AND THE MARCHES, COUNCIL OF: Exercised royal jurisdiction in Wales, Gloucs, Hereford, Monmouth, Salop, and Worcs; abolished 1641.

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Catholic Libraries

Catholic Central Library, Lancing Street, London NW1 1ND, United Kingdom
      Tel: (44) 020 7383 4333       Fax: (44) 020 7388 6675

The Talbot Library, St. Walburge's, Weston Street, Preston, Lancs, PR2 2QE

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Record Offices


The Public Record Office, Kew, London.

Archives of the Archdiocese of Westminster, 16A Abingdon Rd, Kensington, London.

English Benedictine Congregation Archives, Downside Abbey, Stratton on the Fosse, Bath BA3 4RH

English Dominican Province Archives, 24 St. George's Square, Edinburgh.

Friars Minor, English Province, 6 Woodlands Rd, Bromley, Kent.

Society of Jesus, English Province, 114 Mount St. London.



Bedfordshire: Shire Hall, Bedford.

Berkshire: Shire Hall, Reading.

Buckinghamshire. County Offices, Aylesbury.

Cambridgeshire: Shire Hall, Castle Hill, Cambridge.

Cheshire: Duke St, Chester.

Cornwall: County Hall, Truro.

Cumberland. The Castle, Carlisle.

Derbyshire: County Offices, Matlock.

Devon: County Hall, Exeter.

Dorset: County Hall, Dorchester.

Durham: County Hall, Durham.

Essex: County Hall, Chelmsford.

Gloucestershire: Shire Hall, Gloucester.

Middlesex: 1 Queen Anne's Gate Buildings, Dartmouth St., London, SW1

Hampshire: The Castle, Winchester.

Herefordshire: Shire Hall, Hereford.

Hertfordshire: County Hall, Hertford.

Huntingdonshire: County Offices, Huntingdon.

Kent: County Hall, Maidstone.

Lancashire: Bow Lane, Preston.

Leicestershire: 57 New Walk, Leicester.

Lincolnshire: The Castle, Lincoln.

Norfolk: Central Library, Norwich.

Northamptonshire: Delapre Abbey, Northampton.

Northumberland: Melton Park, North Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Nottinghamshire: County House, High Pavement, Nottingham.

Oxfordshire: County Hall, New Rd, Oxford.

Rutland: County Offices, Oakham.

Shropshire: New Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury.

Somerset: Obridge Rd, Taunton.

Suffolk: 8 Angel Hill, Bury St. Edmunds.

Surrey: County Hall, Kingston-upon-Thames.

Sussex, West: County Hall, Chichester.

Sussex, East: Pelham House, Lewes.

Warwickshire: Cape St, Warwick.

Westmorland: County Hall, Kendal.

Wiltshire: County Hall, Trowbridge.

Worcestershire: Shire Hall, Worcester.

Yorkshire, East: County Hall, Beverley.

Yorkshire, North: County Hall, Northallerton.

Yorkshire, West: Sheepscar Branch Library, Leeds.


Anglesey: Shire Hall, Llangefni.

Brecon: County Hall, Brecon.

Cardigan: National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Caernarvon: County Offices, Caernarvon.

Carmarthen: County Hall, Carmathen.

Flintshire: The Old Rectory, Hawarden.

Glamorgan: County Hall, Cathays Park, Cardiff.

Merioneth: County Offices, Dolgellau.

Monmouthshire: County Hall, Newport.

Pembroke: County Offices, Haverfordwest.

Radnor: County Hall, Llandrindod Wells.

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COURT HAND             Click on the image for large picture (332 kB)


SECRETARY HAND             Click on the image for large picture (317 kB)

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See the details given on the Catholic-History website,

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J. C. H. Aveling, The Handle and the Axe: The Catholic Recusants in England from Reformation to Emancipation (London, 1976).

J. Bossy, The English Catholic Community, 1570-1850 (London, 1975).

E. Norman, Roman Catholicism in England from the Elizabethan Settlement to the Second Vatican Council (Oxford, 1985).

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Catholic Ancestor

Catholic Archives

Essex Recusant

Innes Review

Journal of Ecclesiastical History

Kent Recusant History

London Recusant

Midland Catholic History

Northern Catholic History

North West Catholic History

Recusant History

South Western Catholic History

Staffordshire Catholic History

Worcestershire Recusant

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Primary Sources

M. A. Tierney, Dodd's Church History of England (5 vols, London, 1839, re-printed 1971).

J. A. Williams, 'Sources for Recusant History (1559-1791) in English Official Archives', Recusant History, vol. XVI (4) (1983).

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Revised 23 March 2001