73. HENRY VII: STATUTES

(A) Act of Succession (1485)

Henry, by the grace of God, king of England and of France and lord of Ireland, at the parliament holden at Westminster the seventh day of November, in the first year of the reign of King Henry VII after the Conquest. To the pleasure of Almighty God, the wealth, prosperity, and surety of this realm of England, to the singular comfort of all the king's subjects of the same and in avoiding of all ambiguities and questions: be it ordained, established, and enacted by authority of this present parliament that the inheritances of the crowns of the realms of England and of France, with all the pre-eminence and dignity royal to the same pertaining, and all other seignories to the king belonging beyond the sea, with the appurtenances thereto in any wise due or pertaining, be, rest, remain, and abide in the most royal person of our now sovereign lord, King Henry VII, and in the heirs of his body lawfully coming, perpetually with the grace of God so to endure, and in none other. Statutes of the Realm, II, 499: 1 Henry VII, c. I.

(B) Star Chamber Act (1487)[1]

An act giving the court of star chamber authority to punish divers misdemeanours. The king, our sovereign lord, remembereth how, by unlawful maintenances, giving of liveries, signs, and tokens, and retainders by indenture, promises, oaths, writing, or otherwise, embraceries of his subjects, untrue demeanings of sheriffs in making of panels and other untrue returns, by taking of money by juries, by great riots and unlawful assemblies, the policy and good rule of this realm is almost subdued, and for the none punishment of this inconvenience and by occasion of the premises nothing or little may be found by inquiry; whereby the laws of the land in execution may take little effect, to the increase of murders, robberies, perjuries, and unsureties of all men living, and losses of their lands and goods, to the great displeasure of Almighty God: be it therefore ordained for reformation of the premises by the authority of this parliament that the chancellor and treasurer of England for the time being and keeper of the king's privy seal, or two of them, calling to [them] a bishop and temporal lord of the king's most honourable council and the two chief justices of the king's bench and common pleas for the time being, or other two justices in their absence, upon bill or information put to the said chancellor for the king or any other against any person for any misbehaving afore-rehearsed, have authority to call before them by writ or privy seal the said misdoers, and them and other by their discretions to whom the truth may be known to examine, and such as they find therein defective to punish them after their demerits, after the form and effect of statutes thereof made, in like manner and form as they should and ought to be punished if they were thereof convict after the due order of the law....

Ibid., II, 509 f.: 3 Henry VII, c. I.

(C) Act Concerning Justices of the Peace (1489)[2]

An act for justices of peace for the due execution of their commissions. The king our sovereign lord considereth that, by the negligence and misdemeaning, favour, and other inordinate causes of the justice of peace in every shire of this his realm, the laws and ordinances made for the politic weal, peace, and good rule of the same, and for perfect security and restful living of his subjects of the same, be not duly executed according to the tenor and effect that they were made and ordained for; wherefore his subjects be grievously hurt and out of surety of their bodies and goods, to his great displeasure; for to him is nothing more joyous than to know his subjects to live peaceably under his laws and to increase in wealth and prosperity: and to avoid such enormities and injuries, so that his said subjects may live more restful under his peace and laws to their increase, he will that it be ordained and enacted by the authority of this present parliament that every justice of the peace within every shire of this his said realm, within the shire where he is justice of peace, do cause openly and solemnly to be proclaimed yearly, four times in a year in four principal sessions, the tenor of this proclamation to this bill annexed; and that every justice of peace being present at any of the said sessions, if they cause not the said proclamation to be made in form abovesaid, shall forfeit to our said sovereign lord at every time 20s.... And his grace considereth that a great part of the wealth and prosperity of this land standeth in that, that his subjects may live in surety under his peace in their bodies and goods; and that the husbandry of this land may increase and be upholden, which must be had by due execution of the said laws and ordinances: [wherefore he] chargeth and commandeth all the justices of the peace ... to endeavour them to execute ... the said laws and ordinances ordained for subduing of the premises, as they will stand in the love and favour of his grace, and in avoiding of the pains that be ordained if they do the contrary.... And over this, he chargeth and commandeth all manner of men, as well the poor as the rich (which be to him all one in due ministration of justice) that is hurt or grieved in anything that the said justice of peace may hear or determine or execute in any wise, that he [who is] so grieved make his complaint to the justice of peace that next dwelleth unto him, or to any of his fellows, and desire d remedy. And if he then have no remedy, if it be nigh such time as his justices of assizes come into that shire, that then he so grieved show his complaint to the same justices. And if he then have no remedy, or if the complaint be made long afore the coming of the justices of assize, then he so grieved [may] come to the king's highness, or to his chancellor for the time being, and show his grief. And his said highness then shall send for the said justices to know the cause why his said subjects be not eased and his laws executed; whereupon, if he find any of them in default of executing of his laws in these premises according to this his high commandment, he shall do him so offending to be put out of the commission, and further to be punished according to his demerits. And over that, his said highness shall not let for any favour, affection, cost, charge, nor none other cause, but that he shall see his laws to have plain and due execution. and his subjects to live in surety of their lands, bodies, and goods, according to his said laws, and the said mischiefs to be avoided, that his said subjects may increase in wealth and prosperity to the pleasure of God.

Ibid., II, 536 f.: 4 Henry VII, c. 12.

(D) Poyning's Law (1494)

An act that no parliament be holden in this land [of Ireland] until the acts be certified into England.... Item, at the request of the commons of the land of Ireland, be it ordained, enacted, and established that ... no parliament be holden hereafter in the said land, but at such season as the king's lieutenant and council there first do certify [to] the king, under the great seal of that land, the causes and considerations, and all such acts as them seemeth should pass in the same parliament; and [after] such causes, considerations, and acts affirmed by the king and his council to be good and expedient for that land, and his licence thereupon, as well in affirmation of the said causes and acts, as to summon the said parliament under his great seal of England [are] had and obtained ... , a parliament [is] to be had and holden after the form and effect above rehearsed. And if any parliament be holden in that land hereafter contrary to the form and provision aforesaid, it [shall] be deemed void and of none effect in law.

Statutes at Large, Ireland, I, 44: 10 Henry VII, c. 4.

(E) Statute of Treason (1495)[3]

An act that no person going with the king to the wars shall be attaint of treason. The king our sovereign lord, calling to his remembrance the duty of allegiance of his subjects of this his realm, and that they by reason of the same are bounden to serve their prince and sovereign lord for the time being in his wars for the defence of him and the land against every rebellion, power, and might reared against him, and with him to enter and abide in service in battle if the case so require; and ... that it is not reasonable but against all laws, reason, and good conscience that the said subjects going with their sovereign lord in wars attending upon him in his person, or being in other places by his commandment within this land or without, anything should lose or forfeit for doing their true duty and service of allegiance: it be therefore ordained, enacted, and established by the king our sovereign lord, by advice and assent of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons in this present parliament assembled, and by authority of the same, that from henceforth no manner of person nor persons, whatsoever he or they be, that attend upon the king and sovereign lord of this land for the time being in his person, and do him true and faithful service of allegiance in the same, or be in other places by his commandment, in his wars within this land or without, that for the same deed and true service of allegiance he or they be in no wise convict or attaint of high treason nor of other offences for that cause by act of parliament or otherwise by any process of law, whereby he or any of them shall ... forfeit life, lands, tenements, rents, possessions, hereditaments, goods, chattels, or any other things, but to be for that deed and service utterly discharged of any vexation, trouble, or loss; and if any act or acts or other process of the law hereafter thereupon for the same happen to be made contrary to this ordinance, that then that act or acts or other processes of the law, whatsoever they shall be, stand and be utterly void.

Provided alway that no person nor persons shall take any benefit of advantage by this act which shall hereafter decline from his or their said allegiance.

Statutes of the Realm, II, 568: 11 Henry VII, c. I.

(F) Statute of Liveries (1504)

De retentionibus illicitis. The king our sovereign lord calleth to his remembrance that, where before this time divers statutes for punishment of such persons that give or receive liveries, or that retain any person or persons or be retained with any person or persons ... , have been made and established ... ,[4] and little ... is or hath been done for the punishment of the offenders in that behalf: wherefore our sovereign lord the king, by the advice of the lords spiritual and temporal and of his commons of his realm in this parliament being, and by the authority of the same, hath ordained, stablished, and enacted that all his [such] statutes and ordinances afore this time made ... be ... put in due execution. And over that ... , the king ordaineth, stablisheth, and enacteth, by the said authority, that no person, of what estate or degree or condition he be ... , privily or openly give any livery or sign or retain any person, other than such as he giveth household wages unto without fraud or colour, or that he be his manual servant or his officer or man learned in the one law or in the other,[5] by any writing, oath, promise, livery, sign, badge, token, or in any other manner ... unlawfully retain; and if any do the contrary, that then he run and fall in the pain and forfeiture for every such livery and sign, badge, or token, 100s., and the taker and accepter of every such livery, badge, token, or sign [is] to forfeit and pay for every such livery and sign, badge or token, so accepted, 100s....

Moreover, the king, our sovereign lord, by the advice, assent, and authority aforesaid, hath ordained, stablished, and enacted that every person that will sue or complain before the chancellor of England or the keeper of the king's great seal in the star chamber, or before the king in his bench, or before the king and his council attending upon his most royal person wheresoever he be — so that there be three of the same council at the least, of the which two shall be lords spiritual or temporal — against any person or persons offending or doing against the form of this ordinance or any other of the premises, be admitted by their discretion to give information ...; and that upon the same all such persons be called by writ, subpoena, privy seal, or otherwise, and the said chancellor [etc.] ... [are] to have power to examine all persons defendants ... as well by oath as otherwise, and to adjudge him or them convict or attaint, as well by such examination as otherwise in such penalties ... as the case shall require.... And also the same party, plaintiff, or informer shall have such reasonable reward of that that by his complaint shall grow to the king as shall be thought reasonable by the discretion of the said chancellor [etc.] ... And also it is enacted by the said authority that the said chancellor [etc.] ... have full authority and power by this statute to ... send by writ, subpoena, privy seal, warrant, or otherwise by their discretion, for any person or persons offending or doing contrary to the premises, without any suit or information made or put before them or any of them; and the same person or persons to examine by oath or otherwise by their discretions, and to adjudge all such persons as shall be found guilty in the premises by verdict, confession, examination, proofs, or otherwise, in the said forfeitures and pains as the case shall require, as though they were condemned therein after the course of the common law; and to commit such offenders to ward, and to award execution accordingly....

Ibid., II, 658 f.: 19 Henry VII, c. 14.


[1] Cf. nos. 67B (last paragraph), 70G. See A. F. Pollard, "Council, Star Chamber, and Privy Council under the Tudors," in the English Historical Review, XXXVII-XXXVIII.

[2] Cf. no. 62 I.

[3] Cf. no. 62F.

[4] Cf. no. 64C.

[5] That is to say, the civil or the canon law.


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