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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Roman Catholic Ancestors

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.
My latest feature for Your Family History magazine (November issue) is on tracing Roman Catholic ancestors.

In 1534 Henry VIII severed the country’s links with Rome and the Pope, and the Anglican Church was born. Elizabeth I confirmed the Anglican Church’s status with the Act of Supremacy (1559), and the introduction of the Book of Common Prayer. 

 Although there were penalties for ‘recusancy’, Roman Catholics wished to be baptized and married according to the rites of their church. Lancashire families in particular clung on stubbornly to the ‘old religion’. So your Catholic ancestors may have been baptized, or married, once in an Anglican church, and again in a Catholic church in secret.
Things improved for Catholics following the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829.

Furness Abbey.
I’ll be exploring this subject further in Tracing Your Manchester and Salford Ancestors, which will be published by Pen and Sword in the spring of next year. In the meantime, the MLFHS website has a free list of RC churches in Manchester and Salford, with addresses and dates of their opening and closure, and name changes.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, consecrated in 1967. © Sue Wilkes.
Elizabeth I. Pictorial Record of Remarkable Events, (Frederick Warne & Co., 1896).
Chapter House, Furness Abbey. Engraved by R. Sands from a drawing by T. Allom. People’s Gallery of Engravings Vol.2 (Fisher, Son & Co., 1845). 


Tony Grant said...

Hi Sue, I know ,"Paddies Wigwam," well. Although I was born and bred in Southampton, for a couple of years, as teenager I lived in Liverpool and went to school in Woolton, SFX (St Francis Xaviers, a good Catholic school, Ha! Ha!) Us Catholics had a tough time during Reformation onwards. I can guess you have explored the various Tudor mansions with their respective ,"priest holes," throughout the North? Interesting article as always, Sue.

Sue Wilkes said...

Thanks, Tony. I have visited some of our nice old halls in the past, though not as many as I would like.