Popery Act 1698

Popery Act 1698

The Popery Act 1698 (11 Will. III, c. 4) was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of England passed in 1700. The long title of the Act is "An Act for the further preventing the Growth of Popery."

Section I was intended to address the recent growth of Catholicism by ensuring the existing anti-Catholic laws were more strongly applied. To this end, it provided that any person who apprehended a "Popish Bishop, Priest or Jesuite" who was then prosecuted for "saying Mass or exerciseing any other Part of the Office or Function of a Popish Bishop or Priest within these Realmes" was to receive £100 from the Sheriff of that county within four months of the priest's conviction. In effect, it placed a bounty on Catholic priests. Section II provided for the Treasury to reimburse Sheriffs for money expended on such payments. Section III, expanding on the existing legisation, enacted that if a Catholic priest took Mass, etc, as above; or if any Catholic clergy or layperson ran a school or "take upon themselves the Education or Government or Boarding of Youth"; then they were, on conviction, liable to "perpetuall Imprisonment" at the discretion of the King.


  • The Law & Working of the Constitution: Documents 1660-1914, ed. W. C. Costin & J. Steven Watson. A&C Black, 1952. Vol. I (1660-1783), p.90-1.

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