It was not uncommon for the Anglican minister to note mark an entry in the register with 'papist' or 'recusant'.In the event of a Catholic marrying outside the Church of England, the authorities might have prosecuted the offending parties through Church/Ecclesiastical Courts.After the introduction of civil registration in 1837, all religious denominations were free to hold legal marriage ceremonies and were free to keep their own registers.

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An Act of 1581 also forbade the Catholic education of children.

Priests who had trained abroad were barred from returning to England and those that did were considered guilty of high treason.

The pipe rolls also contain the accounts of fines and forfeitures of lands collected under the recusancy acts.

Pipe and recusancy rolls are available for viewing at TNA.

All English born Catholics priests trained abroad were ordered to leave the country within 40 days.

As a result, priests were hunted down and a total of 126 priests were executed during the reign of Elizabeth I. Anthony Babington and his co- conspirators planned to assassinate Elizabeth I and place Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne.

The Hardwicke Act of 1753 which came into force in 1754 reformed the marriage system and closed the loophole that allowed legally binding 'irregular' or 'clandestine' marriages to take place.

The legislation stipulated that marriage must take place in a licensed Anglican parish church before an Anglican minister and in the bride or bridegroom's own parish in the presence of two witnesses and only after the publication of banns.

The fines imposed in the 1559 Act of Uniformity for failure to attend church were collected by churchwardens and so do not appear in the central government records and details of those fined will be found amongst quarter session records Elizabeth I was excommunicated by a papal bull issued by Pope Pius V.