HC Deb 25 June 1855 vol 139 c70

said, he wished to call the attention of the Attorney General to the petition of the inhabitants of the pariah of Blackburn, who stated that they, being loyally attached to the constitution of England in Church and State, had been greatly aggrieved by the conduct of a certain Roman Catholic priest named Peter Kay, who illegally and arrogantly assumed the title of Vicar and Rural Dean of the Hundred of Blackburn, declaring that title to have been conferred upon him by the so-called Bishop of Blackburn, Dr. Turner. The rural deanery was legally occupied, and the gift of the vicarage belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury; but this Peter Kay had inscribed upon his door-plate the title of "rector," which he also assumed in some printed circulars. The petitioners had sent a memorial to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, but having received no answer, they now appealed to the House of Commons for protection. He (Mr. Spooner) wished therefore to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State whether he had taken the matter into his consideration.


said, he could not express any opinion as to whether the conduct of which the petitioners complained, was or was not a violation of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act; but he need only refer them to one clause of the Act, which enabled any one of them to refer the case to the Attorney General, and with his consent to sue for the penalties; and consequently, if they thought a breach of the Act had been committed, that was the course which they ought to pursue.

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