Oath of Supremacy

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The Oath of Supremacy was imposed by the Act of Supremacy 1559, which provided for any person taking public or clerical office in England to "testify and declare" that the monarch was "the only supreme governor of this realm" and renounce any other authority. Failure to take this oath, or any act defined as being in contrast with it, would have resulted in expropriation of movable goods on a first offence. A second offence would have resulted in life in prison and loss of all real estate possessions. A a third offence would result in a charge of high treason. The oath was originally imposed in April 1534 by King Henry VIII through the Act of Supremacy, 1534. This act was later repealed by Queen Mary, and was reinstated when Queen Elizabeth I came to power.

The main purpose of the oath was to remove all non-Anglicans, especially Catholics, from public office. It was later extended to members of parliament and students taking university degrees.