Posts Tagged ‘Parliament’


Meeting of Richard’s only Parliament

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Events in History

Meeting of Richard's only Parliament

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 (last accessed online 2 Jan. 2020)

Anne Sutton, ‘Richards III’s Parliament’, Richard III Society.  URL: (last accessed 2 Jan. 2020)

Susan L. Troxell, ‘The Tenth Coin: Richard III’s Parliament and Public Statutes’, Ricardian Register, Vol.44, No.4 (December 2013), pp.8-16 (last accessed online 2 Jan. 2020)

Dorothea Preis


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Act of Accord

   Posted by: Michael    in Events in History

Act of Accord

Richard, Duke of York (stained glass at St Laurence, Ludlow, © Worcestershire Branch, Richard III Society)

Act of Accord

After unsuccessfully claiming his right to the crown in parliament on 10 October 1460, Richard, duke of York, had to accept the Act of Accord on 25 October 1460, which stipulated that he would be the heir to the throne after King Henry VI’s death, instead of the king’s son, Edward of Lancaster.

His claim was that while on his father’s side he was descended from Edward III’s fourth son, on his mother’s side he was descended from Edward III’s son.  The Lancastrian Kings including Henry VI, however, were descendents of the third son of Edward III.

While the Duke of York’s claim ultimately failed, it was the basis for his son Edward IV to succeed to the crown.

More on the Act of Accord here.

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   Posted by: Rachel Allerton    in Meetings, News, NSW Branch News

On Saturday, 10 August 2013, the NSW branch of the Richard III Society was treated to a lecture on medieval contract law by Dr John Twyford.  Dr Twyford is a member of the Military History Society of NSW and has a background in law.

He spoke about the origins of law in regards to Roman law and common law starting with Justinian.  We learned that common law is legislation which is enacted by precedent and derived from previously decided cases.  The informative Domesday Book, feudalism and the laws of heresy were also touched on as well as some fascinating insights into the Magna Carta!  Trial by Ordeal and methods of determining guilt and innocence were a favoured part of the talk as well as some of the law reforms of Richard III himself.  We learned that Richard’s Parliament passed 18 private statutes and 15 public ones, many of these to do with legal reforms and removing benevolences.

We finished off this delightful talk with afternoon tea and more discussion about the search for truth in law as well as history.

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The Commons debate Richard III

   Posted by: Dorothea Preis    in Greyfriars Dig, News

Part of yesterday’s debate in the House of Commons dealt with a topic of great interest to all of us:  where Richard III should be reinterred, if the remains found in Leicester are confirmed to be his.

In the debate both a member for Leicester and one for York argued in favour of their cities.  As a compromise, a MP for Nottinghamshire suggested Worksop as a halfway point between the two.  It seems, however, that Worksop is not in the running.

The MPs for the other rival cities stated their respective claims in a debate which was at times quite humorous.  Jonathan Ashworth for Leicester South argued that the site where Richard had been for 500 years is “a stone’s throw from Leicester cathedral”.

The MP for York, Hugh Bayley, pointed out how well regarded Richard III was in York even 527 years after his death, to be interrupted by another MP asking whether Richard was still on the electoral roll.  Mr Bayley also reminded us that it was not appropriate “to argue on the Floor of this place over his mortal remains [which] is more like medieval cathedrals fighting over saints’ relics.”

MP Tony Baldry answered questions for the Church Commissioners, which seems to tend more to Leicester as “the tradition is that they would be buried and reinterred at the nearest Christian cathedral, which happens to be Leicester Cathedral.”  However, there was not yet a final decision and emphasized that “once those tests are concluded, the nature, place and marking of any reinterment will need seriously to be considered”.

For a more humorous take on the whole issue, watch the Richard III video on ‘David Mitchell’s Soapbox’ in the Guardian.

Our readers will remember that we reported on Philippa Langley being awarded the prestigious Robert Hamblin Award for her dedication and hard work in making the dig possible.  I received an email from Philippa this morning thanking the NSW branch for our message of congratulation.  This is what she said to all our branch members:  “The Robert Hamblin award was very much a shock (and then some!) but I was incredibly honoured to receive it. Please will you pass on my thanks to everyone in NSW, I was so touched to see your message.”

Information on the debate in the House of Commons can be found on the BBC or you can read the transcript of the discussion.

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Medieval Traditions in Parliament

   Posted by: Julia Redlich    in News, News from Other Organizations

On Thursday, 13 October 2011, an impressive number of people arrived at the New South Wales Parliament House in Sydney, not to watch politicians at work from the Gallery, but to hear Professor Stephanie Trigg from Melbourne University speak on “The Traditional, the Quaint and the Medieval in Australian Parliamentary Practice”.

There could be no better place to hear Professor Trigg speak than the Parliamentary Theatrette and, warmly welcomed by the hosts, Heraldry Australia, and some delicious refreshments beforehand, we sat back to enjoy a talk delivered with knowledge, humour and expertise.

The illustrated talk invited us to explore the medieval component of parliamentary rituals, objects and traditions, together with the relationship between the medievalism of such objects and practiced and the tradition that remains in Australian parliamentary practice.

The medievalism of course is based on the Westminster parliamentary system, and we were engrossed by the various uniform requirements for officers such as Black Rod and Speakers – some of which have been modified for modern suitability, and the option major figures have now of wearing wigs.

Some marvellous examples of the all important mace were shown, and we enjoyed the description of a makeshift mace made from a plumbing pipe when the correct one had not been finished in time. Even more curious was its mount (a toilet float) and the handles formerly on old shaving mugs.  Creativity at work when needs must …

A highlight of the evening was surely the picture of the valued and almost unique copy of the English 1297 version of Magna Carta, bought for Australia from the Kings School in Somerset for £ 2,500 in 1957.

Explanations of various parliamentary roles were given – and apparently they weren’t all safe and sure appointments, considering the amount of Speakers of the English Parliament who were murdered or beheaded in the 14th and 15th centuries.

This was something followed up by Christopher Puplik, the former Senator for NSW (and publicity office for our Branch of the Richard III Society in the 1980s), when he rose to thank Professor Trigg for her presentation that was so informative and inspiring.  He told the audience that members of the Richard III Society can relate to the execution of Speakers, remembering William Catesby, beheaded by Henry Tudor immediately after the Battle of Bosworth.

It was a memorable evening, something that didn’t surprise those of us who attended Professor Triggs’ presentation of “Ladies of the Garter” a few years ago, and we look forward to her return to Sydney next year in connection with her book on the Order of the Garter.

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