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 Issues | The Church | Statutes of Praemunire

Statutes of Praemunire 1353, 1365 & 1393


A praemunire is a writ or summons presupposing the power of the Papacy to jurisdiction over certain matters.

The Statutes of Praemunire were laws passed in the 14th Century to limit the power of the Papacy.

The 1353 Satute of Praemunire made it unlawful for legal cases that could be heard in English courts to be decided elsewhere. The Pope had been able to summon someone to stand trial in Rome on various matters and thereby to frustrate the administration of justice in England. This statute meant that any matter that could be heard in an English court would be heard there.

The 1365 Statute confirmed that of 1353.

The 1393 Statute of Praemunire strengthened the earlier statute by imposing tougher sentences. It also sought to circumvent the craftiness of Rome in getting around the original laws by threats of excommunication and other such tactics

The Statutes were repealed in their entirety by the 1967 Criminal Law Act.

1393 Statute of Praemunire

Also, whereas the commons of the realm in this present parliament have shown to our redoubted lord the king, grievously complaining that whereas the said lord our king and all hi lieges ought of right, and were wont in olden time, to sue in the king’s court, to recover presentments to churches, prebends, and other benefices of holy church, to which they have a right to present, the cognisance of the plea of which suit belongs only to the kings court of the old right of his crown, used and approved in the time of all his forebeard, kings of England; and when judgement shall be given in the same court on such a plea and presentment, the archbishops, bishops and other spiritual person who have institution of such benefices within their jurisdiction are bound to make and have made execution of such judgements by the king’s commandments of all the time aforesaid without interruption, for no lay person may make such execution, and also are bound of right to make execution of many other of the king’s commandments, of which right the crown of England has been peaceably seised, as well in the time of our lord the king that now is, as in the time of all his forebears till this day.

But now of late divers processes are made by the holy father the pope and censures of excommunication passed on certain bishops of England, because they have made execution of such commandments, to the open disinheritance of the said crown and destruction of our said lord the king, his law, and all his realm, if remedy by not provided. And also it is said, and a common clamour is made, that the said Bishop of Rome has ordained and proposed to translate some prelates of the realm, some out of the realm, and some from on bishopric to another within the realm without the king’s assent and knowledge, and without the assent of the prelates concerned, which prelates are very profitable and necessary to our said lord the king and to all his realm; by which translations, if they should be suffered, the statutes of the realm would be defeated and made void.....

See Also

Statutes of Provisors 1351 etc

Outline history of Christians in England - part 2 from Canute to the eve of the Reformation.

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C of E Legal Framework
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