The Essex inquisitions of 1556: the Colchester certificate


  • The author would like to thank Tom Freeman for his comments. This article was written during a fellowship funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


Many English Protestants responded to the restoration of Catholicism under Mary by fleeing. The regime attempted to force refugees to return by seizing their property. In Essex in September 1556 two special commissions identified fugitives and their possessions. The returns were enrolled in the court of the exchequer, and this text has been published. The second entry was, however, unfinished. This note locates the missing returns. In addition to the nineteen names already known, a further fifty-five fugitives were presented. This evidence suggests that the regime's policy was more effective than has been thought.