Home > History, Parliament, UK Constitution > The King will legislate through Parliament alone – 1322

The King will legislate through Parliament alone – 1322


King Edward II’s reign was not altogether a happy one for England; more on that at a future date.  There was at least one signficant and long-lasting change; in 1322, the King pledged that henceforth and forever, all laws would be created and amended through Parliament.

In essence, Edward was confirming established practice, but this was in the light of recent violations of the law by himself.  Edward was in the midst of yet another power struggle with the Commons, Lords and Clergy over his association with powerful individuals, notably his favoured Hugh Despenser.  Edward angered the nobility by ignoring laws and clearly acting to accrue wealth and power to the Despensers; following a rebellion in 1321 led by the Earl of Hereford and the Earl of Lancaster, Edward was forced to treaty with the barons and made the following pledge:

“It is accorded and established, at the said Parliament, by our Lord the King, and by the said Prelates, Earls, and Barons, and the whole Commonalty of the Realm, at this Parliament assembled, That all the Things, by the said Ordainors ordained and contained in the said Ordinances, shall from henceforth for the Time to come cease and shall lose their Name, Force, Virtue, and Effect for ever; The Statutes and Establishments duly made by our Lord the King and his Ancestors, before the said Ordinances, abiding in their Force: And that for ever hereafter, all manner of Ordinances or Provisions, made by the Subjects of our Lord the King or of his Heirs, by any power or Authority whatsoever, concerning the Royal Power of our Lord the King or of his Heirs, or against the Estate of our said Lord the King or of his Heirs, or against the Estate of the Crown, shall be void and of no Avail or Force whatever; But the Matters which are to be established for the Estate of our Lord the King and of his Heirs, and for the Estate of the Realm and of the People, shall be treated, accorded, and established in Parliaments, by our Lord the King, and by the Assent of the Prelates, Earls, and Barons, and the Commonalty of the Realm; according as it hath been heretofore accustomed.”

The Despensers were. as consequence, banished and the monarchy became more dependent upon Parliament for his power.

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