Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 15 April 2021

The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1926

Stephanie Mann on her blog Supremacy and Survival has an interesting post about a topic she had hitherto been unaware of, as had I and, I suspect many others. This is the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1926 which removed many of the remaining legal disabilities against Catholics in Great Britain - not Northern Ireland, which had its own Parliament for such internal legislation. 

It is interesting to read how many pieces of anti- Catholic legislation remained on the Statute Book, even though most appear to have been otiose by the time of their repeal. At that time the Law Commission did not exist to tidy and prune the accumulation of enactments, hence the survival of the measures done away with in 1926 until that date. 

This is an interesting reminder of how legislation piled up and could be overlooked at earlier times, as in 1829, 1832 and 1844, and that the main 1829 Catholic Emanciption Act was not as far reaching as might be thought. It is also a reminder that there were opportunities which were occasionally indulged in, as over the Westminster Eucharistic Conference in 1907, for Catholic baiting. 

That some of it was completely ignored or forgotten is also witnessed to by Catholic churches with towers and bells being built before 1926 or the establishment of Catholic schools and colleges. This I assume was because the relevant authorities and the nation generally assumed such prohibitions were done away with by the 1829 Act.

The post about the legislation can be seen at Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1926

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