John Swinglehurst - Recusant

John Swinglehurst and his wife Edith were often found guilty of recusancy and would have received heavy fines for being loyal to the Roman Catholic Church. Below are the details of one of his many misdemeanors which occurred between 1631 & 1641.

4. Catholics and recusancy

The 1559 Act of Uniformity imposed fines on all men who refused to attend Church of England services at their parish church and these people were known as recusants. Holders of public office and many others were required to swear an oath of loyalty to the Sovereign as head of the Church and records were kept of people who did and didn't take these Oaths of Allegiance. Catholics could not accept the monarch as head of the Church, and so could not be loyal subjects in the eyes of the law. Subsequent laws imposed numerous penalties and fines for non-attendance at Anglican services, for which there are equally numerous records, and Catholics were effectively barred from inheriting land, entering the professions or taking up civil or military office. These punishments were not always strictly enforced and there was considerable variation according to time and place but the records of their issue, collection and enforcement provide a rich source of information on Catholics during this period

2 December, 9 Charles I.—S. P. held at Hickes Hall:—JaneBrookes widow, William Skipp yoman, William Clapton gentleman,Drugo Lovett goldsmith, James Coldridge yoman, his wife Mary Coldridge, Mary Yateman widow, Benjamin Gill yoman, Susan Strangewidow, Lucy Sharratt widow, William Gibbes M.D., John Baxteryoman, John Freake yoman, his wife Katherine Freake, John Swinglehurst yoman, his wife Edith Swinglehurst, William Bestwicke yoman,his wife Anne Bestwicke, William Hodgson cutler, Elizabeth wife ofThomas Tailor yoman, Thomas Fludd yoman, his wife KatherineFludd, William Mathewes yoman, his wife Susan Mathewes, John Damcutler, Clemence Downes widow, and Anne wife of Richard Davisonyoman, all twenty-seven of St. Andrew's Holborne; Anne Slifeild ofSt. Giles's-without-Cripplegate, widow; Roger Johnson of Cowcrosseyoman; David East bodymaker, and Thomas Prynce yoman, both ofClarkenwell; Robert Fitzwilliams of St. Clement's Danes gentleman;William Hudsford yoman, his wife . . . Hudsford, John Offeildgentleman and his wife . . . . Offeild, all four of Chauncerylane;Elizabeth Harper widow, Alexander Farrier yoman, Margaret Scealenwidow, Mary Browne widow, John Kidney yoman, Elizabeth Goodinwidow, Mary Fitz-Jeffery widow, Margaret Cashe widow, all eight ofSt. Giles's in-the-Fields; Anne Lady Conwaye of Paddington widow;Jane wife of Thomas Cole yoman, Joan Cole widow, and Mary Coxewife of Leonard Coxe carpenter, all three of Heston:—to be proceededagainst by indictment for Recusancy, for not coming to church &c.,on Lord's days.

From: 'Particulars from the Process Book: 1631-41', Middlesex county records: Volume 3: 1625-67 (1888), pp. 128-159. URL: Date accessed: 23 January 2013.