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Act Respecting the Oath to the Succession

The Act Respecting the Oath to the Succession (26 Hen. 8 c. 2) was passed by the Parliament of England in November 1534, and required all subjects to take an oath to uphold the Act of Succession passed that March. It was later given the formal short title of the Succession to the Crown Act 1534.

Succession to the Crown Act 1534
Citation26 Henry VIII. c. 2
Territorial extentKingdom of England
Royal assentNovember 1534
RepealedJune 1536
Other legislation
Repealed bySecond Succession Act
Relates to
Status: Repealed

The Act required all those asked to take the oath to recognise Anne Boleyn as King Henry VIII's lawful wife and their children legitimate heirs to the throne. Anyone refusing to take the oath was guilty of treason.

The Oath of Succession itself went further than the original Act in several ways. It demanded that persons swearing the oath renounce the power of any "foreign authority or potentate" and repudiate any oath previously made to such an authority. This discrepancy did not go unnoticed by Sir Thomas More who claimed he had been sent to the Tower "for refusing of this oath not agreeable with the statute". He thought that Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Audley "did of their own heads add more words unto it" and therefore they were unable "by their own law ... to justify my imprisonment".

Refusal to take the oath led to the arrests of Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher for treason in 1534. They refused to take the oath because it included the abjuration of the pope and claimed the marriage between King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon was annulled and it went against their Roman Catholic beliefs. More and Fisher were beheaded in 1535.

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