“Tudor” parliamentary procedure
Apologies to anyone who expects this to be a five thousand word essay with at least a hundred cases but I was wondering about one thing in particular: when “Tudor” monarchs repealed legislation, how did they usually go about it?
The usual procedure was – and still is – to have a new Act passed, explicitly reversing the implications of the first one. In that era, it was usual to read out the first Act during the repeal process. Henry VIII’s “Act of Supremacy” is not a good example because the status quo ante had surely never been specified, however the religious changes of the same era give us a few significant examples.
One such is the “de heretico comburendo” law, which originally dated from 1401. Neither Henry VIII nor Edward VI seem to have had it repealed fully so its revival was simple. It was finally repealed by Elizabeth I’s first Parliament, by section 6 of her 1558-9 Act of Supremacy. Some of the text is here: http://history.hanover.edu/texts/engref/er79.html.
So we can observe that this repeal was carried out correctly. Nowhere is there a suggestion that “de heretico comburendo” was unread on this occasion, destroyed, hidden or that it was forbidded to retain a copy – which draws even more attention to the treatment of Richard III’s “Titulus Regius”. This well-drafted piece of legislation, following the “almost a constitutional election” (Gairdner) of 1483, was intended by his successor to be completely forgotten but it is remembered, among other things, because it was swept under the carpet.
The contrast is clear.