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Oath of Association 1696

The Minutes of 26 March 1696 record the following:

All the persons named signed the Association entered into by the House of Commons and the same was delivered to the Lord Mayor 9th April 1696.

Present (list in Left Hand margin): Master Cobb, Breamer (Warden), Cox, Hitchcock, Warner, Sisson, Tyrer, Pople, Cossens, Broadgate, Wakefield, Clifton, Brockist, Leeper, Hitchcock Roger, Horneby, Orlibeer. After at the Clerk's house: Price, Evans, Hawkins.

Yeomanry then appearing: Jones, Cooke, Morris, Starmer, Elbrough, Reeve, Cobb, Goude, Washbourne. After Court at the Clerk's: Wallis, Trindall, Taylor, Goldfinch, Easton, Thurstone, Kempe, Sutton, Haynes.

The document which was signed on that day has survived and is now held at the National Archives in Kew in the class of "Association Oath Rolls" (ref: C/213/171/38). The full text of the oath is set out below.

March 26th 1696

By the Company of Bowyers of the City of London

Whereas there has been a horrid and detestable conspiracy formed and carried on by papists and other wicked and traitorous persons for assassinating his Majesty's royal person in order to encourage an invasion from France to subvert our religion laws and liberties. We whose names are hereunto subscribed do hastily sincerely and solemnly profess testify and declare that his present Majesty King William is lawful and rightful King of these realms. And we do mutually promise and engage to stand by and assist each other to the utmost of our power in the support and defence of his Majesty's Most Sacred person and Government against the late King James and all his adherents. And in case his Majesty come to any violent and untimely death, which God forbid, we do hereby further freely and unanimously oblige ourselves to unite associate and stand by each other in revenging the same upon his enemies and their adherents. And in supporting and defending the succession of the Crown according to an Act made in the first year of the reign of King William and the late Queen Mary entitled: an act declaring the rights and Liberties of the subject and settling the succession of the Crown.

Yeomanry Assistants & Livery
William Cooke John Cobb, Master
Matthew Morris Upper Warden dead
Jeffrey Starmer Thomas Breamer, Renter Warden
The mark of John Elbrough Edw Hitchcock
Richard Reeve Jonathan Warner
John Cobb John Tyrer
Jonathan Jones Roger Cossins
Richard Goude Edward Broadgate
Richard Washbourne John Wakefield
Richard Wallis Thomas Clifton
Henry Trindall The marks of Henry Brockist & Roger Hitchcock Mark of Abraham Leeper
William Taylor John Orlabeer
John Goldsmith Thomas Hornby
The mark of Robert Easton Thomas Sisson
John Thurstone Wm Popple
Mark of James Kempe John Cox
The mark of William Sutton Richard Price
John Haines Daniel Evans
James Townesend
Thomas Hawkins

It should be noted that John Cobb is not listed on the Vellum Scoll of Master as having been the master in 1696. This is explained in the Minutes of 18th July 1695 which record that:

"Mr Edmund Johnson, late Master of this Company being withdrawn from his habitation and gone into the King's Bench in Southwark, the Company therefore proceeded to the election of a new Master and nominated Mr Jn Cobb, Mr Edw Hitchcock and Mr Tho Sisson, of which Mr Cobb was chosen to serve Master till the Feast of St James in the year 1696".

This oath of loyalty to the Crown and to the Protestant Succession was instituted after a Jacobite plot led by George Barclay, which relied on the king's habitual movements, to ambush and assassinate William at Kew as he crossed the Thames by ferry on his return from hunting. The oath was to be taken by all civil and military public office-holders, but was open to all who wished to pledge support for the king and revenge on his enemies should he be assassinated.

Simon Leach
May 2014

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