Cheshire Sacrament Certificates

13th March 2015

The Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire has mounted hundreds of names of ancestors from the North West online to mark the 300th anniversary of the Battle of Preston. Local and family historians will be able to search for ancestors who were forced to prove they were not Roman Catholics, after the Catholic supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie were crushed by the government army at Preston in 1715. More details are here

At a public lecture in Liverpool on Weds 25th March, Prof Daniel Szechi of Manchester University will ask why the Jacobites failed to recover after their defeat at the Battle of Preston in 1715, often described as the last full scale battle fought on English soil. At the same time, the Society is publishing the first tranche of 1,000 names taken (by Dr Peter Cotgreave) from documents called Sacrament Certificates, which were needed to prove that anyone in a position of authority – clergymen, tax collectors, mayors and so on – were practising members of the Church of England. The Certificates had to be signed by witnesses, so the names also include many more ordinary members of local parishes.

The President of the Society, Dr Collin Philips said: “For over 130 years, the Record Society has been making historical documents of the area available to professional and amateur historians and this year we will bring out our 150th printed volume. This new venture for the Society of publishing material online will allow us to expand the range of historical records that are readily available to genealogists, people interested in local history and professional history researchers. The Society is open to anyone interested in the history of Lancashire and Cheshire.”

Dan Szechi’s lecture Preston 1715 and the Failure of English Jacobitism will be at 2.15pm on Wednesday 25th March in the Department of History of the University of Liverpool, Abercromby Square, L69 7WZ. Admission is free. More details of the Society, the lecture are available here.