Catholics in Hull and District, 1778

On the 3rd July 1778 73 individuals attended a court hearing at the Hull Guildhall in order to swear an oath of loyalty. They were all Catholics and previously had not been able to take the oath as it involved swearing loyalty to the monarch as head of the church as well as head of state. The Catholic Relief Act of that year removed the requirement to acknowledge the monarch as spiritual ruler. The reason for this improvement in the condition of the King’s Catholic subjects is said to have been the need to obtain recruits for the army fighting in North America. The unwillingness of Catholics to take the original oath placed them under suspicion of disloyalty. In the case of the Irish Catholic population this may have been true in some instances, but the loyalty of English Catholics was not open to question. Of the 73 who took the oath in Hull, 64 were male and nine were female, these last possibly married to Protestant husbands. Some can be identified as of South Holderness, not the borough of Hull. I’m sure that not all Catholics in the district took the oath – there were said to be 78 Catholics in Hull and Sculcoates in 1780, ignoring those of Holderness. The need to take the oath may have been tied up with property rights, and to have held no attraction for the poorest. The following is taken from the list of the jurors in the city records. I have listed the names in alphabetical order of surname, not in the original order. People with the same surname need not have belonged to the same household though some (e.g. the Caleys) were no doubt related in some degree. Additional information from notes of my own is in square brackets.

“The following persons his Majestys Subjects professing the Popish Religion this day in Open Court took and Subscribed the Oath appointed to be taken by an Act passed in the Eighteenth year of the Reign of his present Majesty Intitled an Act for relieving his Majesty’s Subjects professing the Popish Religion from certain Penalties and disabilities Imposed on them by an Act made in the Eleventh and Twelfth years of the Reign of King William the Third Intituled an Act for preventing the growth of Popery.”

William Addison
[a Catholic family of this name in Hedon, 1735]
John Bigland
Thomas Bigland
[Catholic family of this name at Marton, 1735]
James Bird
Jerard Brigham
[of the Brighams of Wyton; Gerard Brigham and his brother William’s widow, Ursula, sold Wyton Manor in 1768]
John Brigham, junior
Cornelius Caley
Elizabeth Caley
George Caley
Henry Caley
John Caley
Leonard Caley
[Leonard Caley of Lelley, died 1803 aged 77]
Susannah Caley
William Caley (1)
William Caley (2)
[“The Caleys first appear at Atwick in Holderness … They became Catholics in 1620.” Aveling. The name appears in the Nuthill parish register 1774-1842]
Bartholomew Camplin
Anthony Chambers
[of Ryall, Holderness, 1776]
Edmond Chambers
[Catholic Family of this name at Burstwick and Paull, 1735]
John Chamney
Dorothy Champney
John Champney, junior
Teresa Champney
Thomas Champney
[Holderness family, the name is in the Nuthill P.R. in the 18th century]
Thomas Collinson
[A Thomas E. Collinson, master mariner, Dock Street, Hull, 1791. A Catholic family of this name at Halsham, 1735]
Mary Cottam
William Cottam
William Craggs
[Craggs in Nuthill P.R.]
William Dolphin
John Doning
[Duning, a Catholic family at Garton, 1735]
Joseph Dowthwaite
William Dowthwaite
[surname in Nuthill P.R.]
John Dresser
[surname in Nuthill P.R.]
Thomas Fawcitt
[Thomas Fawcitt and wife Joan, of Hull, had a son baptised at Nuthill chapel in 1774]
James Foster
Robert Foster (1)
Robert Foster (2)
[Forster a Catholic family at Burstwick and Paull, 1735]
Elizabeth the wife of Abraham Gray
Thomas Harker
[surname Harker at Marton, 1815]
George Harrison
Thomas Heptonstall
John Horseman
Charles Howard
[Charles Howard, priest, of Marton in Holderness, opened a chapel in Posterngate, Hull in 1778. Chapel was destroyed by fire in anti-Catholic riots, 1780.]
Mary the wife of William Iveson
[William Iveson, Non-Catholic and Mary, Catholic, of Hedon had a daughter Winifred baptised at Nuthill Catholic chapel in 1775]
Edward Jackson
John Johnson
Matthias Johnson
John Jones
John Kipling
John Moor
William More
Joseph Nut
Thomas Owst
Thomas Owst, junior
[Notes on this surname can be seen
here] Clare the wife of Richard Paget
William Pridgin
Leonard Robinson
[perhaps of the Robinson family of Newton Garth, Hedon, who, according to a pedigree in Poulson’s “Holderness” acquired the estate in 1620.]
George Robson
George Salvidge
Joseph Salvidge
[this surname in the Nuthill P.R., the name of a Catholic family at Marton, 1815]
George Shiers
[George Shires and wife Frances, of Hull, had a son George baptised at Nuthill chapel, 1774. A George Shires was a tailor in Whitefriargate, Hull, in 1791]
John Taylor
William Taylor
Mary the wife of John Thompson
William Wadforth
Michael Watson
[Michael Watson and wife of Burstwick]
Thomas Wiles
Reginald Williams
[“… Reginald Williams, an apothecary of Monmouthshire origins, who married Sarah Rand of Hull … in the early 1760s.” Aveling]
Thomas Wilson
James Winship
[James and mary Winship of Burstwick, son William baptised at Nuthill chapel, March 1775]
Matthew Henry Witham
David Wright
John Wright
[Catholic family of this name in Hedon, 1735]
Samuel Yates
[a “Mr Yeates” had a house in Hull where mass was celebrated after the Posterngate chapel was destroyed in the riot of 1780]

Sources for additional information are as follows – Dom Hugh Aveling, Post Reformation Catholicism in East Yorkshire (1960) Catholic Record Society, vol. 35, Catholic Registers of Nut Hill and Hedon in Holderness, 1774-1849.
Robert Carson, the First Hundred Years: a history of the Diocese of Middlesbrough, 1878-1978 (1978) Hull Directory, 1791


5 thoughts on “Catholics in Hull and District, 1778

    1. jemmyhope Post author

      I saw it and copied it at the Hull City Records Office which is now closed. As far as I know the whole archive would have been transferred to the Hull History Centre which has a website. Would it be possible for you to visit the centre?

  1. J-N

    Thanks for the response. Yes, I’ve visited there before and tried searching their online catalogue with no luck so I wasn’t able to find a reference number for the document, which would help in viewing it. Will have to make enquiries with them to see if they have it. I recognise quite a lot of the surnames and some of them are ancestors, so I would love to have a look for myself

    1. jemmyhope Post author

      I’ll have to search out the copy I made with the reference number , though I suspect that may have changed in the History Centre’s catalogue.
      I’ll try to think of something. Keep looking in.


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