Westminster Hall in the early 19th century
Meeting of Richard’s only Parliament
The meeting of Richard III’s only parliament at Westminster in the presence of the King began on 23 January 1484. It had been summoned on 9 December 1483 and would be dissolved on 20 February 1484.
Attending were 37 Lords and 10 Judges (including the Attorney General) as well as 296 members of the Commons. It was opened by a speech from Chancellor Russel. This parliament ratified Richard’s title by Titulus Regius. The rebels from the October 1483 rebellion were attainted.
Of interest are the 15 public statutes of this parliament, which included ending benevolences, protecting land purchase rights, reforming the justice system, preventing commercial dishonesty in the cloth trade, protecting English merchants, and preventing fraudulent collection practices. However, while trying to limit the activities of foreign merchants in England, the statutes included a proviso, exempting all merchants and craftsmen concerned in the book trade from the scope of the Act.
Richard’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Catesby was chosen to be the speaker of the Commons; and the receiver of petitions was Thomas Barowe, who had been in Richard’s service since at least 1471, who was also Master of the Rolls.
Christopher Puplick, ‘He Contents the People Wherever He Goes: Richard III, his parliament and government’, The Chronicles of the White Rose: Journal of the New South Wales Branch of the Richard III Society, Vol.2 (2008/09), pp.14-32
Anne Sutton, ‘Richards III’s Parliament’, Richard III Society. URL: http://www.richardiii.net/2_3_0_riii_leadership.php#parliament Date accessed: 14 May 2013
Susan L. Troxell, ‘The Tenth Coin: Richard III’s Parliament and Public Statutes’, Ricardian Register, Vol.44, No.4 (December 2013), pp.8-16
D. Woodger, ‘The Statutes of Richard III’s Parliament’, The Richard III Society of Canada (September 1997). URL: http://home.cogeco.ca/~richardiii/ Date accessed: 17 Nov. 2011 (under ‘Newsletters and Papers’)
Tags: Parliament, Richard III