13th April 1829.
‘Truth for its own sake had never been a virtue of the Roman clergy’. Rev. Charles Kingsley in riposte to Catholic convert, J.H.Newman ( See References Below).
Unlike other Dissenters, Roman Catholics received no freedom of worship under the 1689 Toleration Act.
Today in 1829 The Catholic Emancipation Act was passed, despite protests and mass petitions. From now on Catholics were free from civil disabilities, allowed to become MPs and hold almost all public offices apart from Regent, Lord Lieutenant and Lord Chancellor.(1)
In 1808 and 1819 Bills for Relief were defeated in the Commons and in 1821, 1825 and 1828 the Lords defeated all related Bills, thus excluding Catholics from ministerial and administrative offices and Commissions in the Armed-Forces, under The Penal Laws.(2)
Now the Catholic, Duke of Norfolk was able to take his seat in the Lords; the first to take his Commons seat was Sir Robert Throckmorton in 1831, though the first elected was Daniel O’Connell for Clare in 1828.
The first Catholic Church building to be built after the Reformation was at Lulworth Castle, Dorset, when anti-Emancipation, George III agreed in 1786 to a rotunda-shaped building masquerading its true purpose. (3)
1850 saw Catholic bishops in the UK after 300 years since the royally connected Cardinal de la Pole was Archbishop of Canterbury in 1556, in the reign of ‘Bloody’ Mary.
With the restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy in 1851, Coughton Hall, Warwicks built its own church alongside the the Parish Church, for the Catholic Throckmorton’s,
The Ecclesiastical Titles Act 1861 however denied Catholic bishops the same august title as their Anglican counterparts. Later came two resident Cardinals: Manning 1875 and Newman from 1879.
There was one Province under Cardinal Wiseman, Archbishop of Westminster, by 1911 two others were created at Birmingham and Liverpool.(4)
Toleration had moved on since the accession of Elizabeth, when bishops were forced to take the Oath of Supremacy, denying the Pope or losing their sees. Most were imprisoned or fled abroad.
The last of the deposed bishops was Thomas Goldwell of St. Asaph who died in Rome in 1585. Catholicism went to earth, literally in priest holes.
In 1623 Pope Urban VIII appointed William Bishop of Shipston, Warwickshire, Vicar Apostolic of England, in secrecy, as the last Catholic, English priest, John Southworth, to be executed was as late as 1654.
Until the 18thc any common informer could gain a reward for denouncing a priest until Judge Lord Mansfield in 1771 required evidence of ordination of the victim.
The Shirley Family at Staunton Harold, Leicestershire compromised by saying Mass in a private chapel and then in their Anglican church. The recusant Tichborne Family had a chapel attached to their house with a chaplain.
Up to 1788 priests caught saying mass were liable to fines and the penalties of High Treason, despite the 1778 Roman Catholic Relief Act which put Catholics in the same category as Protestant dissenters, with priests no longer in danger of life imprisonment.
(1) 10 Geo IV c. 7. Now all Irish Catholics could hold all the Irish Offices, other than that of Viceroy and Chancellor.
(2) In the 18thc Ireland Commissions were open to Catholics, but there was the problem when coming to England. Also there were Catholic French emigre Regiments here, fighting Napoleon.
Catholics had to wait until 1871 for entrance to ‘Oxbridge’.
(3) A church built in Yoxall, Staffordshire in 1795 was designed likewise.
(4) With suffragans at Beverley, Birmingham, Clifton, Hexham, Liverpool, Newport, Northampton, Nottingham, Plymouth, Salford, Shrewsbury and Southwark.
Ref: Arguments between Kingsley and Newman. Pub Macmillan, London and Cambridge 1864.
Ref: wikipedia.org/Newman/Pic Image.