Elizabethan Parliament

  • Created by: Cara
  • Created on: 04-06-12 14:59

Elizabethan Parliaments (15 66-15 88)

Parliament     Dates of sessions

15 63-67               12 January – 10 April 1563 (I)

                                30 September 1566 – 2 January 1567 (II)

15 71                      2 April – 29 May

15 72-81               8 May – 30 June 1572 (I)

                                8 February – 15 March 1576 (II)

                                16 January – 18 March 1581 (III)

15 84-85               23 November 1584 – 29 March 1585

15 86-87               29 October 1586 – 23 March 1587










Parliament in the reigns of Henry, Edward and Mary

       The Privy Council remained the main instrument of government.  After 15 29, Parliament grew in importance: called more frequently, important measures confirmed by statute, Parliament becoming a more desirable place to be for important individuals, scope of legislation widens – social, economic and religious matters, Commons increased in importance.  These trends continued under Edward and Mary

       Main religious measures of both reigns were passed by Parliament:  Two Acts of Uniformity 15 49 and 15 52 under Edward (with accompanying Prayer Books); Two Acts of Repeal under Mary 15 53 and 1554

       Opposition in Edward’s reign: Chantries Bill 15 47 ran into opposition in the House of Lords, the Bill allowing priest to marry took two months to pass, there tended to be more opposition in the House of Lords in Edward’s reign

       Opposition in Mary’s reign: repeal of Edward’s religious laws (first Statute of Repeal) opposed by 80 MPs (23%); Bill to confiscate property of Protestant exiles failed, Parliament attempted to limit Philip’s role and opposed his coronation, rejected the proposal to exclude Elizabeth from the succession, opposition from the House of Lords was weakened after the arrest of leading Protestant bishops but some did remain

       Some opposition, but Parliament remained subservient to the Crown.  It does not initiate changes and the will of the monarch usually prevailed on big issues e.g. religion.  Opposition was limited and not systematic.  Cooperation is the order of the day.  No real evidence of a crisis in relations with Parliament.  Parliament continued to meet frequently (war and religious change could account for this).  Parliament could not be ignored and was used to enact the key religious changes of both monarchs.


The composition and powers of Parliament in 15 58

  • For twenty-five years Parliament had been responsible for the most important matters of state, and had a dramatic impact on religion and ecclesiastical organisation (according to Graves).  The partnership between the monarch and Parliament (established in the 15 30s) was recognised as the supreme authority in the country
  • The requirement to go through Parliament for taxation allowed it to make demands, and the monarch’s need for money meant that had to listen to those demands.  But it was still not an integral part of government – it merely approved taxation and


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