Act in Restraint of Appeals
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Act in Restraint of Appeals
The Ecclesiastical Appeals Act 1532[1]
Long titleAn Acte that the Appeles in suche Cases as have ben used to be pursued to the See of Rome shall not be from hensforth had ne used but wythin this Realme[2]
Citation24 Hen 8 c 12
Status: Repealed

The Ecclesiastical Appeals Act 1532 (24 Hen 8 c 12), also called the Statute in Restraint of Appeals,[3] the Act of Appeals and The Act of Restraints in Appeals,[4] was an Act of the Parliament of England.

It was passed in the first week of April 1533. It is considered by many historians to be the key legal foundation of the English Reformation.

The Act, drafted by Thomas Cromwell on behalf of King Henry VIII of England, forbade all appeals to the Pope in Rome on religious or other matters, making the King the final legal authority in all such matters in England, Wales, and other English possessions. This was achieved by claiming that England was an Empire and the English crown was an Imperial Crown — Henry's historians claimed that they could trace the lineage back to Brutus and the fall of Troy.

This far-reaching measure made accepting papal authority, or following papal rulings in church, faith or other matters illegal. It was followed a year later by the Act of Supremacy 1534 which made Henry "the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England called Anglicana Ecclesia, and shall have and enjoy annexed and united to the imperial crown of this realm".[5] Those in his realms had to acknowledge this as they were by Acts of Parliament that automatically changed any previous constitutional arrangements. Not to do so was high treason, which would lead to trial and execution as happened to Thomas More. The Acts enabled Thomas Cranmer to finally grant King Henry his long-desired divorce from queen Catherine of Aragon, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.[6]


Where by divers sundry old authentic histories and chronicles, it is manifestly declared and expressed that this realm of England is an Empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and royal estate of the imperial Crown of the same, unto whom a body politic compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided in terms and by names of Spirituality and Temporalty, be bounden and owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience: he being also institute and furnished, by the goodness and sufferance of Almighty God, with plenary, whole, and entire power, pre-eminence, authority, ...
And if any person or persons, at any time after the said Feast of Easter, provoke or sue any manner of appeals, of what nature or condition soever they be of, to the said Bishop of Rome, or to the see of Rome, or do procure or execute any manner of process from the see of Rome, or by authority thereof, to the derogation or let of the due execution of this Act, or contrary to the same, that then every such person or persons so doing, their aiders, counsellors, and abettors, shall incur and run into the dangers, pains, and penalties contained and limited in the Act of Provision and Praemunire made in the sixteenth year of the king's most noble progenitor, King Richard II against such as sue to the Court of Rome against the king's crown and prerogative royal....[7]


The whole Act, in so far as it extended to Northern Ireland, was repealed by section 1(1) of, and Schedule 1 to, the Statute Law Revision Act 1950.

The whole Act, so far as unrepealed, was repealed by section 1 of, and Part II of the Schedule to, the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1969.

Section 2

This section was repealed by section 13(2) of, and Part I of Schedule 4 to the Criminal Law Act 1967.

Section 3

In this section, the words from "in manner and forme as hereafter ensueth" to the end were repealed by section 87 of, and Schedule 5 to, the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963 (No 1).

Section 4

In this section, the words from the beginning to "any other courte or courtes" were repealed by section 87 of, and Schedule 5 to, the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963 (No 1). This section, so far as unrepealed, was repealed by section 13(2) of, and Part I of Schedule 4 to the Criminal Law Act 1967.

See also


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title was authorised by section 5 of, and Schedule 2 to, the Statute Law Revision Act 1948. Due to the repeal of those provisions, it is now authorised by section 19(2) of the Interpretation Act 1978.
  2. ^ These words are printed against this Act in the second column of Schedule 2 to the Statute Law Revision Act 1948, which is headed "Title".
  3. ^ Church Congress. Report of the Proceedings. 1889. Page 88.
  4. ^ Geoffrey Rudolph Elton. The Tudor Constitution: Documents and Commentary. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press. 1982. Page vii
  5. ^ Henry VIII
  6. ^ A letter written on 22 June 1536 by Princess Mary to King Henry VIII acknowledging the annulment of her parents' marriage
  7. ^ Full text of Act

Further reading

  • Harriss, Gerald L., and Penry Williams. "A revolution in Tudor history?." Past & Present 31 (1965): 87-96. at JSTOR

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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