Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The Privy Council, Star Chamber and Wales, 1540-1572
Author: Lloyd, M. K.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1988
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This study attempts to analyse the relationship between government at the centre - exemplified by the Privy Council and the court of Star Chamber - and government in the localities - in particular, Wales - between the years 1540 and 1572, a period sometimes referred to as a time of 'mid-Tudor crisis'. Although the problems in Wales can be compared with those in other remote reaches of the realm, it was unique in several respects: its history, language, culture, and, not least, the later date at which it was fully absorbed into the English system of government and administration. This uniqueness was in part recognised: hence the statutory recognition of the Council in the Marches and the creation of the courts of Great Sessions. In 1540 the details of Wales' union with England had yet to be filled in, the Privy Council had only recently been constituted, and the court of Star Chamber had developed into one of the major courts of the realm. This thesis relies heavily on the extant sources of these two bodies, though others are also used when possible. In the Privy Council's relationship with Wales there seems to have been certain areas of concern: defence, law and order, piracy, and the supervision of local officials. Surprisingly, the Privy Council does not appear to have felt it necessary to make frequent decisions regarding religion in Wales, despite the religious changes of this period. Wales and Welsh affairs were dealt with in an ad hoc manner, when and as they arose, though at the same time the Privy Council was apparently eager to exert its authority whenever it could, even in relatively trivial matters. However, it is clear that the system whereby the Privy Council was obliged to rely upon local officials to carry out a wide range of governmental duties even though those very individuals were often guilty of partiality, corruption, or laxity, had many weaknesses and limitations. As far as Welsh litigation in Star Chamber is concerned, three main groups of disputes can be discerned: misdemeanours of local officials; offences pertaining to breaches of the peace; and land disputes. This latter category constituted a large proportion of Star Chamber suits; even though in theory such matters did not lie within the court's jurisdiction, they frequently found their way there by the inclusion within the bills of charges relating to them such as forgery, forcible ouster, and the like. Suitors - and defendants - were predominantly the gentry: the grievances they took to Star Chamber must have been considered to be very important given the time and expense involved. The records of the Privy Council and Star Chamber thus reveal the nature, extent, and problems of government in the sixteenth century. They also clearly illustrate the competitive social climate of the time: there was intense rivalry amongst the gentry for land, position, and status. The gentry were crucial to good order and government in the localities, but often their personal ambitions interfered with their public duties. Despite the tension in society which this produced, the loyalty of the gentry was never really in question at this time: ultimately they realised that their ambitions could best be served by service to the Crown.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available