Mary Tudor, Parliament and the Renunciation of First Fruits, 1555 Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Abstract First fruits levied by the Crown since the Reformation presented serious problems for Mary Tudor and her government. The queen and Cardinal Pole were determined to restore these profits of schism to the church, while parliament and some councillors opposed such a move because of the Crown's fiscal difficulties and the precedent the action might set for a later compulsory resumption of former monastic property now in lay hands. It now appears that Mary did not wait for parliamentary sanction, but moved on her own to release all clergy from payment of first fruits in the summer of 1555. With difficulty Pole sought confirmation of the grant by statute, forcing Mary to intervene and make an unusual personal appeal to her parliament. The episode offers further evidence of Mary's direct role in shaping royal policy, and of the tensions which her actions could create.

publication date

  • October 1, 1996