Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

The name given to the Anglican Churchmen who in 1689 refused to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, and their successors under the Protestant Succession Act of that year. Their leaders on the episcopal bench (William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Bishops Francis Turner of Ely, William Lloyd of Norwich, Thomas White of Peterborough, William Thomas of Worcester, Thomas Ken of Bath and Wells, John Lake of Chichester, and Thomas Cartwright of Chester ) were required to take the oath before 1 August, under pain of suspension, to be followed, if it were not taken by 1 February, by total deprivation. Two of them died before this last date, but the rest, persisting in their refusal, were deprived. Their example was followed by a multitude of the clergy and laity, the number of the former being estimated at about four hundred, conspicuous among whom were George Hickes, Dean of Worcester, Jeremy Collier, John Kettlewell, and Robert Nelson. A list of these Non-jurors is given in Hickes's "Memoirs of Bishop Kettlewell", and one further completed in Overton's "Non-jurors". The original Non-jurors were not friendly towards James II; indeed five of these bishops had been among the seven whose resistance to his Declaration of Indulgence earlier in the same year had contributed to the invitation which caused the Prince of Orange to come over. But desiring William and Mary as regents they distinguished between this and accepting them as sovereigns, regarding the latter as inconsistent with the oath taken to James. Deprived of their benefices the bishops fell into great poverty, and suffered occasional though not systematic persecution. That they were truly conscientious men is attested by sacrifices courageously made for their convictions. Their lives were edifying, some consenting to attend, as laymen, the services in the parish churches. Still, when circumstances permitted, they held secret services of their own, for they truly believed that they had the true Anglican succession which it was their duty to preserve. Hence they felt, after some hesitation, that it was incumbent on them to consecrate others who should succeed them. The first who were thus consecrated, on 24 February, 1693, were George Hickes and John Wagstaffe. On 29 May, 1713, the other Non-juring bishops being all dead, Hickes consecrated Jeremy Collier, Samuel Hawes, and Nathaniel Spinkes. When James II died in 1701, a crisis arose for these separatists. Some of them then rejoined the main body of their co-religionists, whilst others held out on the ground that their oath had been both to James and to his rightful heirs. These latter afterwards disagreed among themselves over a question of rites. The death of Charles Edward in 1788 took away the raison d'etre for the schism, but a few lingered on till the end of the eighteenth century. In Scotland in 1689 the whole body of Bishops refused the oath and became Non-jurors, but the resulting situation was somewhat different. As soon as the Revolution broke out the Presbyterians ousted the Episcopalians and became the Established Kirk of Scotland. Thus the Non-jurors were left without rivals of their own communion, though they had at times to suffer penalties for celebrating their unlawful worship. Their difficulties terminated in 1788, when on the death of Charles Edward they saw no further reason for withholding the oath to George III.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in whatever way Christ ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they said to me, 'Let us go ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people arrived and told him about ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 22nd, 2016 Image

St. Pope John Paul II
October 22: Karol J. Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his ... Read More