Annotations by Titus Oates (1649-1705)

Annotation reading "Agreed Titus Oates", one of many such notes in this copy of A confession of faith, put forth by the elders and brethren of many congregations of Christians, (baptized upon profession of their faith) in London and the country (1688). Titus Oates was one of St John's least savoury alumni. He studied initially at Gonville and Caius College, where he gained a reputation for stupidity and fanaticism. He left without a degree in 1669, although he later claimed to have one. He went on to undergo a trial for perjury, a false conversion to Catholicism, and enrolment as a Jesuit in France, before returning to England where he instigated the rumours of a Popish Plot to kill Charles II and his brother James, Duke of York, and helped build up anti-Catholic hysteria. As a result of his lies, which he persuaded both the Privy Council and the House of Commons to be truthful, and the subsequent trials in which he appeared as a witness, at least thirty-five people met their deaths. By the time this slim volume was printed he had been exposed as a fraud, publicly humiliated, flogged and imprisoned. It was even claimed that he had died, but the Glorious Revolution of that year revived his fortunes slightly and he petitioned the Lords with his grievances.

Donated by Thomas Baker.