The City of London returns for the 1723 oaths of allegiance have now been integrated into the London Metropolitan Archives online catalogue. You can search the returns either by keying in a relevant document reference (for example CLA/047/LR/02/04/028/001 for the August and September sessions) or by simply keyword searching ‘1723 oaths’ in the catalogue. You can then view details of individual subscribers (name, occupation, marital/social status, place of residence) by clicking the ‘level down’ button on the session reference. The material is drawn from a transcription of the returns made by Dr Alex Craven. Happy searching!
I have written a blog post on the History Today website placing recent proposals regarding an ‘integration oath’ for migrants and new ‘oaths of office’ for public officials in historical context. You can read it here:
My article on the above is now available online on the Historical Journal website.
In other news, Dr Alex Craven is producing a transcription of the City of London returns which will be integrated into the London Metropolitan Archives’ catalogue, helping users research early eighteenth-century Londoners. In due course, we plan to hold a workshop showcasing the transcription and enriched catalogue, illustrated through an exploration of the biographies of a number of subscribers.
I’m very pleased to announce that my article entitled ‘Women, politics and the 1723 oaths of allegiance to George I’ has been accepted for publication by The Historical Journal. You can find a copy of the accepted manuscript version of the article below. The final version of the article will appear in The Historical Journal in due course. I am grateful to Cambridge University Press for permission to reproduce the accepted manuscript.
I’ve written an article on the £100000 tax on Catholics in the September issue of BBC History Magazine. This was the measure that prompted the imposition of the oaths to George I in 1723. The effectiveness of the tax has been debated by historians but in this short piece I argue that it did reveal the capacity of the state to keep watch on its Roman Catholic subjects (whether rich or poor, male or female). You can download a copy of the article from the link below. I’m grateful to BBC History Magazine for permission to reproduce my essay.
An Mp3 recording of my seminar paper on women and the 1723 oaths.
I’ve been taking a look at the York city roll again with the aim of producing a breakdown of the proportion of married women, spinsters and widows who signed the list. Information on the occupation of married women’s husbands also offers some indication of the economic status of the women subscribing. Work of this kind has already been done by Simon Dixon in a paper on the Exeter rolls which he kindly shared with me. The detailed and already transcribed York list seemed to offer a good comparison.
As I’ve indicated in previous posts, a desire to protect property and/or the right to inherit/administer property could explain why widows and the wives of gentlemen appear on the lists. What did it mean, however, that the wife of Thomas Plaister, labourer, also signed the list 5th December 1723? (YCA F12, f 146v) Was her subscription the product of political pressure, spousal direction or personal conviction?
I’ll put up the statistical findings here in due course but looking at the roll again also prompted questions about identity. While most women on these lists are given some form of identity, whether as widow, spinster or wife, women do appear on roll without any additional description, such as Elizabeth Jeele who subscribed the York list on 24 September 1723 (YCA F12, f. 141v). Was the lack of a description of Elizabeth an indication of poverty or marginality in some way? If the former, how did she pay the subscription fee of 3d?
More intriguing still are two women (or, I should I say possible women) who appear on the list with seemingly male titles. On 19 December, one Cornelia _ayley[?] Esqr subscribed the York roll, while on 21 Dec an Eliz. Aldridge was listed as ‘Baker’. In the case of Aldridge, while Brian Jones’ transcription identified the forename as ‘Eliz’, my own transcription had the abbreviation as ‘Clir’, which might suggest a male forename instead (Clifford)? Both Jones and I transcribed ‘ayley’ as Cornelia, however, and reviewing the image again, this still looks the most plausible reading of that name. Have we or the scribe made a mistake, or was a women really being described
as an Esqr on one of these lists?
In other news, I will be speaking about the 1723 oaths on 12 March in Liverpool not 11 as indicated in an earlier post. I’ll try and record this talk as the podcast technology didn’t work for the IHR paper.
It also appears as if there may be a 1723 oath roll for New York held in the archives of the New York Historical Society.