Parliamentary Sessions 1529-1534

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  • From 'King and Parliament' to 'King-in-Parliament'
    • Transition to 'King-in-Parliament'
      • In 1529 when parliament was summoned, no one knew that they were sitting in a parliament that would change the power of the monarchy and the religion of England so dramatically
      • The term 'Reformation Parliament' was not used before the 19th Century
    • 1529-1531 Sessions
      • 1529= Wolsey had fallen from power & the king was still searching for a way to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon
        • Cromwell was yet to rise to power
      • Anti-clerical sentiment, but only 3 out of 26 statutes passed in the first session of 1529-31 dealt with religious matters.
      • Parliament met again in Jan 1531
        • Henry threatening to use his parliament as a method to put pressure on Pope Clement VII to act
          • He told the Pope that he planned to refer his divorce case to parliament
            • More of an attempt at blackmailing the Pope than a real threat
    • 1532 Session
      • Began in January and lasted until May
      • Cromwell had been appointed to the King's Council and was starting to use his power to enable Henry to divorce Catherine
        • Cromwell used parliament to pass laws that would reinforce the king's supremacy over the Church and to make divorce a reality
          • The Act of Conditional Restraint of Annates applied pressure to the Church
            •   Threatened to forbid newly appointed bishops from making customary payments to the Pope
              • Was not a straight-forward process as there was opposition in both the Commons and the Lords
            • The act was made 'conditional' (delayed for a year) due to this opposition
      • Anti-clericalism in the Commons was also manipulated by the production of a petition known as the Common's Supplication against the Ordinaries
        • List of complaints against the Church to which Convocation (Church's version of parliament) was forced to submit
    • 1533-1534 Sessions
      • When Parliament met in Feb 1533 it was with some urgency
        • Henry VIII had married Anne Boleyn, who was already pregnant, but the annulment from Catherine could still be challenged in Rome
          • At this point, Cromwell drafted the Act in Restraint of Appeals, which could cut off any attempt by Catherine of Aragon to appeal her case in Rome
            • Cromwell was very particular in drafting this bill, referring specifically to the idea of England as an Empire
              • independent from foreign intervention
              • King was in sole charge
            • This Act allowed Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, too declare Henry's first marriage void under English law
        • Henry needed to ensure that the new baby, whom he hoped would be a son, would be legitimate & that his marriage and succession would be unchallengeable under English parliamentary law
      • 1534= Parliament called again to confirm and enhance the new Royal Supremacy and the break with Rome
        • Act of Annates made permanent
          • Original plans to transfer these payments from the Pope to Henry faced serious opposition in the Lords and had to be changed so that they were stopped completely
        • Act of Succession
          • Made Princess Mary illegitimate and confirmed Princess Elizabeth as the new heir
          • Included an oath, meaning Henry and Cromwell could monitor carefully any opposition to the new order
        • Act of Supremacy
          • Confirmed Henry's new position as supreme head of the Church
        • Treason Act
          • Widened the definition of treason
            • Treason could be committed not only by deeds against the King or his family but also by words

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