Universities Tests Act 1871
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The Universities Tests Act 1871 in the United Kingdom abolished religious "Tests" and allowed Roman Catholics, non-conformists and non-Christians to take up professorships, fellowships, studentships and other lay offices at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham.
Passed during the course of William Ewart Gladstone's first ministry, the act was to obtain support from the non-conformists since these were a major support group for the Liberal Party.
The direct instigation for this legislation was the widely publicised case of Numa Edward Hartog, the first Jewish Senior Wrangler in the history of Cambridge University, who could not accept the fellowship that would otherwise routinely be offered, because he could not subscribe to the required test on account of his religion. His testimony before the House of Lords helped secure passage of the bill, after the Lords had twice blocked similar legislation in 1869 and 1870.
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