William and Mary, 1688
An Act for Exempting their Majestyes Protestant Subjects dissenting from the Church of England from the Penalties of certaine Lawes. [Chapter XVIII. Rot. Parl. pt. 5. nu. 15.]

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History of Parliament Trust

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John Raithby (editor)

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1819

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74-76

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'William and Mary, 1688: An Act for Exempting their Majestyes Protestant Subjects dissenting from the Church of England from the Penalties of certaine Lawes. [Chapter XVIII. Rot. Parl. pt. 5. nu. 15.]', Statutes of the Realm: volume 6: 1685-94 (1819), pp. 74-76. URL: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=46304 Date accessed: 20 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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23 El. c.1.; 29 El. c. 6.; IEl. c. 2. § 14.; 3 Jac. I. c.3, 4.; 3 Jac. I. c. 5.; nor any other Law against Papists or Popish Recusants, except; 25 Car. II. c. 2.; 30 Car. II. st. 2.; to extend to Dissenters taking the Oaths of cap. 1. ante,; and making and subscribing the Declaration of 30 Car. II. st. 2.; Justices to tender Oaths and; Declaration, and keep a Register thereof.; Fee for Register and Certificate.

Forasmuch as some ease to scrupulous Consciences in the Exercise of Religion may be an effectuall meanes to unite their Majesties Protestant Subjects in Interest and Affection Bee it enacted by the King and Queens most excellent Majestyes by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and the Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by the authoritie of the same That neither the Statute made in the [three and twentieth yeare of the Raigne of the late Queene Elizabeth Entituled An Act to Retaine the Queens Majestyes Subjects in their due Obedience, Nor the Statute made in the twenty ninth yeare of the said Queene Intituled An Act for the more speedy and due Execution of certaine Branches of the Statute made in the three and twentyeth yeare of the Queens Majestyes Raigne viz? The aforesaid Act, nor that Branch or Clause of a Statute made in the first yeare of the Raigne of the said Queene Intituled An Act for [the (fn. 1) ] Uniformity of Common Prayer and Service in the Church and Administration of the Sacraments whereby all persons haveing noe lawfull or reasonable excuse to be absent are required to resort to their Parish Church or Chappell or some usuall place where the Common Prayer shall be used upon paine of Punishment by the Censures of the Church and alsoe upon paine that every person soe offending shall forfeite for every such Offence twelve pence Nor the Statute made in the third yeare of the Raigne of the late King James ( (fn. 2) ) Intituled An Act for the better discovering and repressing Popish Recusants Nor that other Statute made in the same yeare Intituled An Act to Prevent and Avoid Dangers which may grow by Popish Recusants Nor any other Law or Statute of this Realme made against Papists or Popish Recusants Except the Statute made in the five and twentyeth yeare of King Charles the Second Intituled An Act for preventing Dangers which may happen from Popish Recusants And except alsoe the Statute made in the thirtyeth yeare of the said King Charles the Second Intituled An Act for the more effectuall preserveing the Kings Person and Government by disableing Papists from sitting in either House of Parlyament Shall be construed to extend to any person or persons dissenting from the Church of England that shall take the Oaths mentioned in a Statute made this present Parliament Intituled An Act for removeing and preventing all Questions and Disputes concerning the assembling and sitting of this present Parliament And shall make and subscribe the Declaration mentioned in a Statute made in the thirtyeth yeare of the Raigne of King Charles the Second Intituled An Act to prevent Papists from sitting in either House of Parlyament Which Oaths and Declaration the Justices of Peace at the generall Sessions of the Peace to be held for the County or Place where such person shall live are hereby required to tender and administer to such persons as shall offer themselves to take make and subscribe the same and thereof to keepe a Register And likewise none of the persons aforesaid shall give or pay as any Fee or Reward to any Officer or Officers belonging to the Court aforesaid above the summe of six pence nor that more then once for his or their Entry of his takeing the said Oaths and makeing and subscribeing the said Declaration Nor above the further summe of six pence for any Certificate of the same to be made out and signed by the Officer or Officers of the said Court.

II. Persons convicted, &c. taking the Oaths, &c. to be discharged.

And bee it further enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That all and every person and persons already convicted or prosecuted in order to Conviction of Recusancy by Indictment Information Action of Debt or otherwise grounded upon the aforesaid Statutes or any of them that shall take the said Oaths mentioned in the said Statute made this present Parliament and make and subscribe the Declaration aforesaid in the Court of Exchequer or Assizes or Generall or Quarter Sessions to be held for the County where such person lives and to be thence respectively certified into the Exchequer shall be thenceforth exempted and discharged from all the Penalties Seizures Forfeitures Judgements and Executions incurred by force of any the aforesaid Statutes without any Composition Fee or further Charge whatsoever

III. Persons taking the Oaths, &c. not liable to Penalties of 35 El. c. 1. and 22 Car. II. c. 1. nor to be prosecuted in any Ecclesiastical Court.

And bee it further enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That all and every person and persons that shall as aforesaid take the said Oathes and make and subscribe the Declaration aforesaid shall not be lyable to any Paines Penalties or Forfeitures mentioned in an Act made in the five and thirtyeth yeare of the Raigne of the late Queene Elizabeth Intituled An Act to retaine the Queenes Majestyes Subjects in their due Obedience Nor in An Act made in the two and twentyeth yeare of the Raigne of the late King Charles the Second Intituled An Act to prevent and suppresse seditious Conventicles Nor shall any of the said persons be prosecuted in any Ecclesiasticall Court for or by reason of their Nonconforming to the Church of England.

IV. Dissenters meeting with Doors locked, &c. excluded from Benefit of this Act.

Proviso for Tythes.

Provided alwayes and bee it enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That if any Assembly of persons dissenting from the Church of England shall be had in any place for Religious Worship with the doores locked barred or bolted dureing any time of such Meeting together all and every person or persons that shall come to and be at such Meeting shall not receive any benefitt from this Law but be lyable to all the Paines and Penalties of all the aforesaid Laws recited in this Act for such their Meeting notwithstanding his takeing the Oaths and his makeing and subscribing the Declaration aforesaid Provided alwayes That nothing herein contained shall be construed to exempt any of the persons aforesaid from paying of Tythes or other Parochiall Duties or any other Duties to the Church or Minister nor from any Prosecution in any Ecclesiasticall Court or elsewhere for the same

V.

Dissenters appointed Officers, and scrupling Oaths, &c. may act by Deputy.

And bee it further enacted by the Authoritie aforesaid That if any Person dissenting from the Church of England as aforesaid shall hereafter be chosen or otherwise appointed to beare the Office of High Constable or Petty Constable Churchwarden Overseer of the Poore or any other Parochiall or Ward Office and such person shall scruple to take upon him any of the said Offices in reguard of the Oathes or any other Matter or Thing required by the Law to be taken or done in respect of such Office every such Person shall and may execute such Office or Employment by a sufficient Deputie by him to be provided that shall comply with the Laws on this behalfe Provided alwayes the said Deputy be allowed and approved by such person [and (fn. 3) ] persons in such manner as such Officer or Officers respectively should by Law have beene allowed and approved

VI. Dissenters in Orders by what Means exempted from the Penalties of 13 & 14 Car. II. c. 4. § 10.

17Car. II. c. 2. and; 22 Car. II. c. 1.; Taking the Oaths, &c. to be registered.; Meeting-Door to be unlocked.

And bee it further enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That noe person dissenting from the Church of England in Holy Orders or pretended Holy Orders or pretending to Holy Orders nor any Preacher or Teacher of any Congregation of dissenting Protestants that shall make and subscribe the Declaration aforesaid and take the said Oaths at the Generall or Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be held for the County Towne Parts or Division where such person lives which Court is hereby impowred to administer the same and shall alsoe declare his approbation of and subscribe the Articles of Religion mentioned in the Statute made in the thirteenth yeare of the Raigne of the late Queene Elizabeth Except the thirty fourth thirty fifth and thirty sixth and these words of the twentyeth Article [vizt (fn. 4) ] (the Church hath power to decree Rights or Ceremonies and Authority in Controversies of Faith and yet) shall be lyable to any of the paines or penalties mentioned in An Act made in the seventeenth yeare of the Raigne of King Charles the Second Intituled An Act for restraining Non Conformists from inhabiting in Corporations Nor the penalties mentioned in the aforesaid Act made in the two and twentyeth yeare of his said late Majesties Raigne for or by reason of such persons preaching at any Meeting for the Exercise of Religion Nor to the penalty of one hundred pounds mentioned in An Act made in the thirteenth and fourteenth of King Charles the Second Intituled An Act for the Uniformity of Publique Prayers and Administration of Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies And for establishing the Forme of makeing ordaineing and consecrateing of Bishops Priests and Deacons in the Church of England for officiating in any Congregation for the Exercise of Religion permitted and allowed by this Act [Provided alwayes That the makeing and subscribing the said Declaration and the takeing the said Oaths and makeing the Declaration of Approbation and Subscription to the said Articles in manner as aforesaid by every respective person or persons herein before mentioned at such Generall or Quarter Sessions of the Peace as aforesaid shall be then and there entred of Record in the said Court for which six pence shall be paid to the Clerke of the Peace and noe more (fn. 5) ] Provided that such person shall not at any time preach in any place but with the doores not locked barred or bolted as aforesaid

VII. Provison for Anabaptists.

And whereas some dissenting Protestants scruple the baptizeing of Infants Bee it enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That every person in pretended Holy Orders or pretending to Holy Orders or Preacher or Teacher that shall subscribe the aforesaid Articles of Religion Except before excepted and alsoe except part of the seven and twentyeth Article touching Infant Baptisme and shall take the said Oathes and make and subscribe the Declaration aforesaid in manner aforesaid every such person shall enjoy all the Privileges Benefitts and Advantages which any other dissenting Minister as aforesaid might have or enjoy by vertue of this Act

VIII. Teacher exempt from Office.

And bee it further enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That every Teacher or Preacher in Holy Orders or pretended Holy Orders that is a Minister Preacher or Teacher of a Congregation that shall take the Oathes herein required and make and subscribe the Declaration aforesaid And alsoe subscribe such of the aforesaid Articles of the Church of England as are required by this Act in manner aforesaid shall be thenceforth exempted from serveing upon any Jury or from being chosen or appointed to beare the Office of Churchwarden Overseer of the Poore or any other Parochiall or Ward Office or other Office in any Hundred of any Shire City Towne Parish Division or Wapentake

IX. Justice of Peace may tender the Oaths, &c.

First Refusal; Imprisonment, &c; Second Refusal; Taken to be a Popish Recusant Convict.

And bee it further enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That every Justice of the Peace may at any time hereafter require any person that goes to any Meeting for Exercise of Religion to make and subscribe the Declaration aforesaid and alsoe to take the said Oaths or Declaration of Fidelity herein after mentioned in case such person scruples the takeing of an Oath and upon refusall thereof such Justice of the Peace is hereby required to committ such person to Prison without Baile or Maineprize and to certifie the Name of such person to the next Generall or Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be held for that County City Towne Part or Division where such person then resides and if such person soe committed shall upon a second tender at the Generall or Quarter Sessions refuse to make and subscribe the Declaration aforesaid such persons refuseing shall be then and there recorded and he shall be taken thenceforth to all intents and purposes for a Popish Recusant Convict and suffer accordingly and incurr all the penalties and forfeitures of all the aforesaid Laws

X. Quakers making

And whereas there are certaine other persons Dissenters from the Church of England who scruple the takeing of any Oath Bee it enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That every such person shall make and subscribe the aforesaid Declaration and alsoe this Declaration of Fidelity following viz

Declaration of Fidelity, and subscribing Profession of Christian Belief, exempted from Penalties of the aforesaid Statutes, and also from the Penalties of

I A B doe sincerely promise and solemnely declare before God and the World that I will be true and faithfull to King William and Queene Mary And I doe solemnly professe and Declare That I doe from my Heart Abhor Detest and Renounce as Impious and Hereticall that damnable Doctrine and Position That Princes Excommunicated or Deprived by the Pope or any Authority of the See of Rome may be Deposed or Murthered by their Subjects or any other whatsoever And I doe declare that no Forreigne [Prince Person2] Prelate State or Potentate hath or ought to have any Power Jurisdiction Superiority Preeminence or Authoritie Ecclesiasticall or Spirituall within this Realme.

[And shall subscribe a Profession of their Christian Beliefe in these Words

I A B professe Faith in God the Father and in Jesus Christ his Eternall Sonne the true God and in the Holy Spirit one God blessed for evermore And doe acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration,

5 Eliz. c. 1. and 13 & 14 Car. II. c. 1.

Which Declarations and Subscription shall be made and entred of Record at the generall Quarter Sessions of the Peace of the County City or place where every such person shall then reside1] And every such person that shall make and subscribe the two Declarations and Profession aforesaid being thereunto required shall be exempted from all the pains and penalties of all and every the aforementioned Statutes made against Popish Recusants or Protestant Nonconformists and alsoe from the penalties of an Act made in the fifth yeare of the Raigne of the late Queene Elizabeth Intituled An Act for the Assurance of the Queenes Royall Power over all Estates and Subjects within her Dominions For or by reason of such persons not takeing or refuseing to take the Oath mentioned in the said Act And alsoe from the penalties of An Act made in the thirteenth and fourteenth yeares of the Raigne of King Charles the Second Intituled An Act for preventing Michiefes that may arise by certaine persons called Quakers refuseing to take lawfull Oaths And enjoy all other the Benefitts Priviledges and Advantages under the like Limitations Provisoes and Conditions which any other Dissenters shall or ought to enjoy by vertue of this Act

XI. How purged after Refusal of the Oaths.

Certificate of belonging to a Congregation, &c.

Provided alwayes and bee it enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That in case any person shall refuse to take the said Oaths when tendred to them which every Justice of the Peace is hereby impowred to doe such person shall not be admitted to make and subscribe the two Declarations aforesaid though required thereunto either before any Justice of the Peace or at the Generall or Quarter Sessions before or after any Conviction of Popish Recusancy as aforesaid unlesse such person can within thirty one dayes after such tender of the Declarations to him produce two sufficient Protestant Witnesses to testifie upon Oath that they believe him to be a Protestant Dissenter or a Certificate under the Hands of foure Protestants who are conformable to the Church of England or have taken the Oaths and subscribed the Declaration abovementioned and shall alsoe produce a Certificate under the Hands and Seals of six or more sufficient Men of the Congregation to which he belongs owning him for one of them

XII. Until Certificate produced, Justices to take Recognizance to produce same.

Provided alsoe and bee it enacted by the Authoritie aforesaid That untill such Certificate under the Hands of six of his Congregation as aforesaid be produced and two Protestant Witnesses come to attest his being a Protestant Dissenter or a Certificate under the Hands of foure Protestants as aforesaid be produced the Justice of the Peace shall and hereby is required to take a Recognizance with two Sureties in the penall Summe of fifty pounds [to be levyed of his Goods and Chattells Lands and Tenements to the use of the King and Queens Majestyes their Heires and Successors1] for his produceing the same and if he cannot give such Security to committ him to prison there to remaine untill he has produced such Certificates or two Witnesses as aforesaid

XIII. Laws for Divine Service in force.

Provided alwayes and it is the true intent and meaning of this Act That all the Laws made and provided for the frequenting of Divine Service on the Lords Day commonly called Sunday shall be still in force and executed against all persons that offend against the said Laws except such persons come to some Congregation or Assembly of Religious Worship allowed or permitted by this Act

XIV. Papists, &c. excepted from Benefit of Act.

Provided alwayes and bee it further enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That neither this Act nor any Clause Article or Thing herein contained shall extend or be construed to extend to give any ease benefitt or advantage to any Papist or Popish Recusant whatsoever or any person that shall deny in his Preaching or Writeing the Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity as it is declared in the aforesaid Articles of Religion

XV. Disturbers of Religious Worship, Recognizance; or in Default, imprisoned; and on Conviction, Penalty £20.

Provided alwayes, and bee it enacted by the Authoritie aforesaid That if any person or persons at any time or times after the tenth day of June doe and shall willingly and of purpose maliciously or contemptuously come into any Cathedrall or Parish Church Chapell or other Congregation permitted by this Act and disquiet or disturbe the same or misuse any Preacher or Teacher such person or persons upon proofe thereof before any Justice of Peace by two or more sufficient Witnesses shall finde two Sureties to be bound by Recognizance in the penall Summe of fifty pounds and in default of such Sureties shall be committed to prison there to remaine till the next Generall or Quarter Sessions and upon conviction of the said offence at the said Generall or Quarter Sessions shall suffer the paine and penalty of twenty pounds [to the use of the King and Queens Majesties their Heirs and Successors (fn. 6) ]

XVI. Place for Worship to be certified.

Provided alwayes That noe Congregation or Assembly for Religious Worship shall be permitted or allowed by this Act untill the place of such Meeting shall be certified to the Bishop of the Diocesse or to the Arch-Deacon of that Archdeaconry [or to the Justices of the Peace at the Generall or Quarter Sessions of the Peace for the County City or Place1] in which such Meeting shall be held and registred in the said Bishops or Archdeacons Court respectively or recorded at the said Generall or Quarter Sessions The Register or Clerke of the Peace whereof respectively is hereby required to register the same and to give Certificate thereof to such person as shall demand the same for which there shall be none greater Fee nor Reward taken then the Summe of six pence.

Footnotes

1 interlined on the Roll.
2 the first O.
3 or O.
4 interlined on the Roll.
5 annexed to the Original Act in a separate Schedule.
6 annexed to the Original Act in a separate Schedule.