Test and Corporation Act

The Corporation Act of 1661 excluded from membership of town corporations all those who were not prepared to take the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England. The Test Act passed in 1673 imposed the same test upon holders of civil or military office. Roman Catholics, Protestant Dissenters and followers of the Jewish faith were therefore excluded from public office.

Religious groups including Unitarians, Wesleyan Methodists, Primitive Methodists and the Society of Friends campaigned for a change in the law. In 1828 both the Corporation and Test Acts were repealed by Parliament. Roman Catholics were prevented from holding public office until the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. Jewish emancipation took longer and was not fully achieved until 1890.