Arms of Richard III

Rotuli Parliamentorum
A.D. 1483 1 Richard III

A Parliament holden at Westm’ on Fryday the XXIIIth day January, in the 1st Yeare of King Richard the third.

Titulus Regius

[ An Act for the Settlement of the Crown upon the King and his Issue, with a recapitulation of his title. ]

Memorand’, quod quedam Billa exhibita fuit coram Dño Rege, in Parliamento predc̃, in hec verba.

Where late heretofore, that is to say, before the Consecrac͠on, Coronacion, and Inthronizacion of oure Souveraign Lord the King Richard the Thirde, a Rolle of Perchement, conteignyng in writeing certeine Articles of the tenour undre writen, on the behalve and in the name of the thre Estates of this Reame of Englond, this is to wite, of the Lords Sp̃uells and Temporalls, and of the Com̃ons, by many and diverse Lords Sp̃uells and Temporalls, and other Nobles and notable persones of the Com̃ons in grete multitude, was presented and actualy delivered unto oure said Souveraine Lord the King, to th’entent and effect expressed at large in the same Rolle; to the which Rolle, and to the Consideracions and instant Peticion comprized in the same, our said Souveraine Lord, for the public wele and tranquillite of this Land, benignely assented.

¶ Now forasmuch as neither the said three Estats, neither the said personnes, which in thair name presented and delivered, as is abovesaid, the said Rolle unto our said Souverain Lord the King, were assembled in fourme of Parliament; by occasion whereof, diverse doubts, questions and ambiguitees, been moved and engendred in the myndes of diverse personnes, as it is said:

Therefore, to the perpetuall memorie of the trouth, and declaration of th’same, bee it ordeigned, provided and stablished in this present Parliament, that the tenour of the said Rolle, with all the contynue of the same, presented, as is abovesaid, and delivered to oure before said Souverain Lord the King, in the name and on the behalve of the said three Estates out of Parliament, now by the same three Estates assembled in this present Parliament, and by auctorite of the same, bee ratifyed, enrolled, recorded, approved and auctorized, into removyng the occasion of doubtes and ambiguitees, and to all other laufull effect that shall mowe thereof ensue; soo that all things said, affirmed, specifyed, desired and remembred in the said Rolle, and in the tenour of the same underwritten, in the name of the said three Estates, to the effect expressed in the same Rolle, bee of like effect, vertue and force, as if all the same things had ben soo saide, affirmed, specifyed, desired and remembred in a full Parliament, and by auctorite of the same accepted and approved.

The tenoure of the said Rolle of Parchement, whereof above is made mencione, foloweth and is such.

To the High and Myghty Prince Richard Duc of Gloucester

¶ Please it youre Noble Grace to understande the Considerac͠on, Election and Peticion underwritten, of use the Lords Sp̃uelx and Temporelx, and Com̃ons of this Reame of Englond, and thereunto agreably to yeve your assent, to the com̃on and public wele of this Lande, to the comforte and gladnesse of all the people of the same.

¶ Furst, we considre how that heretofore in tyme passed, this Lande many years stode in great prosperite, honoure and tranquillite; which was caused, forsomoch as the Kings than reignyng, used and followed the advice and counsaill of certaine Lords Sp̃uelx and Temporelx, and othre personnes of approved sadnesse, prudence, policie and experience, dreding God, and havying tendre zele and affection to indifferent ministration of Justice, and to the com̃on and politique wele of the Land; than oure Lord God was dred, luffed and honoured; than within the Land was peas and tranquillite, and among Neghbours concorde and charite; than the malice of outward Enemyes was myghtily resisted and repressed, and the Land honorably defended with many grete and glorious victories; than the entrecourse of Merchandizes was largely used and exercised: by which things above remembred, the Land was greatly enriched, soo that as wele the Merchants and Artificers, as other poure people, laborying for their livyng in diverse occupations, had competent gayne, to the sustentation of thaym and their households, livyng without miserable and intollerable povertie.

But afterward, whan that such as had the rule and governaunce of this Land, delityng in adulation and flattery, and lede by sensuality and concupiscence, folowed the counsaill of personnes insolent, vicious, and of inordinate avarice, despisyng the counsaill of good, vertuouse and prudent personnes, such as above be remembred; the prosperite of this Land daily decreased, soo that felicite was turned into miserie, and prosperite into adversite, and the ordre of polecye, and of the Lawe of God and Man, confounded; whereby it is likely this Reame to falle into extreme miserie and desolation, which God defende, without due provision of couvenable remedie bee had in this behalfe in all goodly hast.

¶ Over this, amonges other things, more specially wee consider, howe that, the tyme of the Reigne of Kyng Edward the IIIIth, late deceased, after the ungracious pretensed Marriage, as all England hath cause soo to say, made betwixt the said King Edward, and Elizabeth, sometyme Wife to Sir John Grey Knight, late nameing herself and many years heretofore Quene of Englond, the ordre of all poletique Rule was perverted, the Lawes of God and of Gods Church, and also the Lawes of Nature and of Englond, and also the laudable Customes and Liberties of the same, wherein every Englishman is Inheritor, broken, subverted and contempned, against all reason and justice, soo that this Land was ruled by selfewill and pleasure, feare and drede, all manner of Equite and Lawes layd apart and despised, whereof ensued many inconvenients and mischiefs, as Murdres, Extorsions and Oppressions, namely of poore and impotent people, soo that no Man was sure of his Lif, Land ne Lyvelode, ne of his Wif, Doughter ne Servaunt, every good Maiden and Woman standing in drede to be ravished and defouled.

And besides this, what Discords, inwarde Battailles, effusion of Christian Mens Blode, and namely, by the destruction of the Blode of this Londe, was had and comitted within the same, it is evident and notarie thourough all this Reame, unto the great sorowe and hevynesse of all true Englishmen.

And here also we considre, howe that the seid pretensed Mariage bitwixt the above named King Edward and Elizabeth Grey, was made of grete presumption, without the knowyng and assent of the Lords of this Lond, and also by Sorcerie and Wichecrafte, committed by the said Elizabeth, and her Moder Jaquett Duchesse of Bedford, as the common opinion of the people, and the publique voice and same is thorough all this Land; and herafter, if and as the caas shall require, shall bee proved sufficiently in tyme and place convenient.

And here also we considre, howe that said pretensed Mariage was made privaly and secretely, without Edition of Banns, in a private Chamber, an prophane place, and not openly in the face of the Church, aftre the Lawe of Godds Churche, bot contrarie thereunto, and the laudable Custome of the Church of Englond.

And howe also, that at the tyme of contract of the same pretensed Mariage, and bifore and longe tyme after, the seid King Edward was and stode maryed and trouth plight to oone Dame Elianor Butteler, Doughter of the old Earl of Shrewesbury, with whom the same King Edward had made a precontracte of Matrimonie, longe tyyme bifore he made the said pretensed Mariage with the said Elizabeth Grey, in maner and fourme abovesaid.

Which premisses being true, as in veray trouth they been true, it appearreth and foloweth evidently, that the said King Edward duryng his lif, and the seid Elizabeth, lived together sinfully and dampnably in adultery, against the Lawe of God and of his Church; and therfore noo marvaile that the Souverain Lord and the head of this Land, being of such ungoldy disposicion, and provokyng the ire and indinacion of oure Lord God, such haynous mischieffs and inconvenients, as is above remembred, were used and comitted in the Reame amongs the Subgectts.

Also it appeareth evidently and followeth, that all th’Issue and Children of the seid King Edward, been Bastards, and unable to inherite or to clayme any thing by Inheritance, by the Lawe and Custome of Englond.

¶ Moreover we considre, howe that afterward, by the thre Estates of this Reame assembled in a Parliament holden at Westm’, the XVIIth yere of the Regne of the said King Edward the IIIIth, he than being in possession of the Coroune and Roiall Estate, by an Acte made in the same Parliament, George Duc of Clarence, Brother to the said King Edward nowe decessed, was convicted and atteinted of High Treason; as in the same Acte is conteigned more at large. Bicause and by reason wherof, all the Issue of the said George, was and is dishabled and barred of all Right and Clayme, that in any wise they might have or chalenge by Enheritance, to the Crown and Dignite Roiall of this Reame, by the auncien Lawe and Custome of this same Reame.

¶ Over this we considre, howe that Ye be the undoubted Son and Heire of Richard late Duke of Yorke, verray enheritour to the seid Crowne and Dignite Roiall, and as in right Kyng of Englond, by wey of Enheritaunce; and that at ths tyme, the premisses duely considered, there is noon other persoune lyvyng but Ye only, that by Right may clayme the said Coroune and Dignite Royall, by way of Enheritaunce, and howe that Ye be born withyn this Lande; by reason wherof, as we deme in oure myndes, Ye be more naturally enclyned to the prosperite and commen wele of the same; and all the thre Estatis of the Lande have, and may have, more certayn knowlage of youre Byrth and Filiation aboveseid.

Wee considre also, the greate Wytte, Prudence, Justice, Princely Courage, and the memorable and laudable Acts in diverse Batalls, whiche as we by experience knowe Ye heretofore have done, for the salvacion and defence of this same Reame; and also the greate noblesse and excellence of your Byrth and Blode, as of hym that is descended of the thre moost Royall houses in Cristendom, that is to say, England, Fraunce, and Hispanie.

¶ Wherfore, these premisses by us diligently considred, we desyryng effectuously the peas, tranquillite, and wele publique of this Lande, and the reduccion of the same to the auncien honourable estate and prosperite, and havyng in youre greate Prudence, Justice, Princely Courage, and excellent Vertue, singuler confidence, have chosen in all that that in us is, and by this our Wrytyng choise You, high and myghty Prynce, into oure Kyng and Soveraigne Lorde &c., to whom we knowe for certayn it apperteygneth of Enheritaunce soo to be chosen. And herupon we humbly desire, pray, and require youre seid Noble Grace, that, accordyng to this Eleccion of us the Thre Estates of this Lande, as by youre true Enherritaunce, Ye will accepte and take upon You the said Crown and Royall Dignite, with all thyngs therunto annexed and apperteynyng, as to You of Right bilongyng, as wele by Enherritaunce as by lawfull Eleccion; and, in caas Ye so do, we promitte to serve and to assiste your Highnesse, as true and feithfull Subgietts and Leigemen, and to lyve and dye with You in this matter, and every other juste quarrell.

For certainly wee be determined, rather to aventure and committe us to the perill of oure lyfs and jopardye of deth, than to lyve in suche thraldome and bondage as we have lyved long tyme hertofore, oppressed and injured by Extorcions and newe Imposicons, agenst the Lawes of God and Man, and the Libertee, old Police, and Lawes of this Reame, wheryn every Englisshman is enherited.

Oure Lorde God, Kyng of all Kyngs, by whos infynyte goodnesse and eternall providence all thyngs been pryncipally gouverned in this world, lighten youre soule, and graunt You grace to do, as well in this matier as in all other, all that that may be accordyng to his wille and pleasure, and to the comen and publique wele of this Lande; so that, after greate cloudes, troubles, stormes and tempestes, the Son of Justice and of Grace may shyne uppon us, to the comforte and gladnesse of all true Englishmen.

¶ Albeit that the Right, Title, and Estate, whiche oure Souveraigne Lord the Kyng Richard the Third, hath to and in the Crown and Roiall Dignite of this Reame of Englond, with all thyngs therunto within the same Reame, and without it, united, annexed and apperteynyng, been juste and lawefull, as grounded upon the Lawes of God and of Nature, and also upon the auncien Lawes and laudable Customes of this said Reame, and so taken and reputed by all suche persounes as ben lerned in the abovesaid Lawes and Custumes.

Yit neverthelesse, forasmoche as it is considred, that the most parte of the people of this Lande is not suffisantly lerned in the abovesaid Lawes and Custumes, wherby the trueth and right in this behalf of liklyhode may be hyd, and nat clerely knowen to all the people, and thereupon put in doubt and question.

And over this, howe that the Courte of Parliament is of suche auctorite, and the people of this Lande of suche nature and disposicion, as experience teacheth, that manifestacion and declaration of any trueth or right, made by the Thre Estates of this Reame assembled in Parliament, and by auctorite of the same, maketh, before all other thyngs, moost feith and certaynte; and, quietyng mens myndes, remoeveth the occasion of all doubts and seditious langage.

Therfore, at the request, and by assent of the Thre Estates of this Reame, that is to say, the Lordes Sp̃uelx and Temporalx, and Com̃ens of this Lande, assembled in this present Parliament, by auctorite of the same, bee it pronounced, decreed, and declared, that oure said Soveraign Lorde the Kyng was, and is, veray and undoubted Kyng of this Reame of Englond, with all thyngs therunto withyn the same Reame, and without it, united, annexed and apperteyning, as well by right of Consanguinite and Enheritaunce, as by lawefull Elleccion, Consecration, and Coronacion.

And over this, that, at the request, and by the assent and auctorite abovesaid, bee it ordeigned, enacted and establisshed, that the said Crown and Roaill Dignite of this Reame, and the Enheritaunce of the same, and other thyngs therunto within this same Reame, or withoute it, unite, annexed, and nowe apperteigning, rest and abyde in the persoune of oure said Soveraigne Lorde the Kyng, duryng his Lyff, and, after his Decesse, in his heires of his Body begotten.

And in especiall, at the request, and by assent and auctorite abovesaid, bee it ordeigned, enacted, establed, pronounced, decreed, and declared, that the High and Excellent Prynce Edward, Son of oure said Soveraign Lorde the Kyng, be Heire Apparent of the same our Soveraign Lord the Kyng, to succede to hym in the abovesaid Crown and Roaill Dignite, with all thyngs as is aforesaid therunto unite, annexed and apperteigning; to have them after the Decesse of oure said Soveraign Lorde the Kyng, to hym and to his heires of his Body laufully begotten.

Que quidem Billa C͠oibus Regni Angl’ in dc̃o Parliamento existen’ transportata fuit: Cui quidem Bille iidem Cões assensum suum prebuerunt sub hiis verbis.

¶ A cest Bille les Cõenz sount assentuz.

¶ Quibus quidem Billa et Assensu coram Dño Rege in Parliamento p̃dc̃o lectis, auditis et plenius intellectis, de assensu Dñorum Sp̃ualium et Temporalium in dc̃o Parliamento similiter existen’, ac C͠oitatis predc̃e, necnon auctoritate ejusdem Parliamenti, pronunciatum, decretum et declaratum existit, omnia et singula in Billa p̃dc̃a contenta fore vera et indubia; ac idem Dñus Rex, de assensu dc̃orum trium Statuum Regni, et auctorite predc̃a, omnia et singula premissa in Billa p̃dc̃a contenta concedit, ac ea pro vero et indubio pronunciatat, decernit, et declarat.

[ An Act for annulling Letters Patents made to Elizabeth, late Wife of Sir John Grey. ]

Richard by the Grace of God King of England, and of France, and Lord of Ireland, the Third after the Conquest; to the Honour of God, and of Holy Church, and for the common Weal of his Realm of England, at his First Parliament holden at Westminster, the Three and twentieth Day of January, in the First Year of his Reign, by the Advice and Assent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and at the Request of the Commons of the said Realm of England, summoned to the said Parliament be the Authority of the same Parliament, hath ordained and established, for the Quietness of his People, certain Statutes and Ordinances in Manner following.

Chapter XV

¶ “All Letters Patent, Estates, Confirmations, and Acts of Parliament for any Castles, Lands, Tenements, &c. made at any Time to Elizabeth, late Wife of Sir John Grey, Knight, late calling herself Queen of England, declared void and of no Force or Effect in Law.”

Seal of Richard III