Act Concerning Ecclesiastical Appointments and Absolute Restraint of Annates


Act Concerning Ecclesiastical Appointments and Absolute Restraint of Annates

The Act Concerning Ecclesiastical Appointments and Absolute Restraint of Annatesshort title Appointment Of Bishops Act 1533 ("25 Henry VIII, c. 20") was passed by the Reformation Parliament in 1534. This Act abolished all annates and made "de jure" the royal domination of ecclesiastical elections, which traditionally had been "de facto".

After the Act of Conditional Restraints of Annates of 1532 Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's chief minister, wanted to abolish all payments to Rome and to strengthen the royal finances by assigning them to the King. Sometime before January 1533 a list of "acts necessary to be made at this Parliament" was prepared and one item included what the historian Stanford E. Lehmberg believes is probably the first known source for this Act:

Item, an act that if the Pope attempts to vex our Sovereign Lord the King of this realm, by interdiction, excommunication, or otherwise for the said marriage, which is ratified and established by this realm, that then no subject of this realm after such attempt shall pay to the Pope any manner of annates, porcions, pensions, Peterpens, ne other profit that the Pope now hath out of this realm, but that the same shall be payed to our said Sovereign to retain for his defence and the realm, till it shall please his Highness otherwise to dispose and order the same to the Pope or see apostolik. [Stanford E. Lehmberg, "The Reformation Parliament, 1529-1536" (Cambridge University Press, 1970), p. 190.]

Thus the Act was meant to transfer the payment of annates from the Pope to the King and was introduced to the Commons early in the session of Parliament in 1534. The Bill seems to have encountered little opposition in the Commons, possibly because of Cromwell's persuasion. [Ibid.] In the Upper House it did not meet with such approval and was subsequently dropped. The original wording of the Bill is not known and the reason for it being dropped is also not known to historians. Lehmberg believes that it is likely, however, that the Lords Spiritual objected to the retention of annates, even to the King, as they had previously complained after the last annates act was passed that they were "utterly undone and impoverished" by annates. [Ibid, pp. 190-1.]

A new Bill dealing with the annates was introduced into the Upper House on 27 February and passed the Upper House on the 9 March and in the Commons a week after. The Bill that was eventually passed ended all annates and therefore they were not paid to the King. It was of no financial use to the King and seems to be a victory for the clergy.

The other part of the Act dealt with the method of electing bishops. Cathedrals were to hold elections as was previously done but were now bound to choose the candidate selected by the King in his "letter missive". If this was not done accordingly or the ecclesiastical authorities refused to consecrate the King's candidate they would be punished by praemunire. The Act therefore provided royal domination of episcopal elections which had been for some time a tradition but was now an enforceable legal right with a heavy penalty.

Notes

References

*Stanford E. Lehmberg, "The Reformation Parliament, 1529 - 1536" (Cambridge University Press, 1970).

External links

* [http://www.constitution.org/sech/sech_074.htm Text of the Act, see (D)]
*UK-SLD|1517803|the Appointment Of Bishops Act 1533 (c. 20)


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