Colchester Roll and the 1485 Parliament
The Colchester Roll provides a summary of the events of the first Parliament of King Henry VII. On 16 November 1485, the roll states that:
‘there ware qwestionns moved for the comenwell of thise false persons which hath reyned many dayes amongs us and non conclusion.’
The motives behind this are open to interpretation. The comenwell is the common people, in the form of petitions to Parliament. It also relates in some contexts to false coinage, common wealth.
‘thise false persons‘ are undoubtedly the two Yorkist Kings, Edward IV and Richard III. The non conclusion part of the statement suggests that a move was made to draw a line under the policies of Richard III and therefore the questions were:
- What happens now?
- Do the actions and laws of the previous two kings remain intact, or are they void?
Henry Tudor’s considerations
This would have been a difficult issue for Henry VII to address. He could not simply void everything done by the Yorkist Kings, yet at the same time he had to assert both his own authority. It was further complicated by the fact that some of his own supporters had been in Edward IVs household, and he was due to marry Elizabeth of York.
If such a petition was discussed, little came of it. Henry retained the elements of Yorkist governance that appealed to him and amended those that did not. This can be seen in the way in which the restoration of lands was administered. No longer could the restored lord claim compensation for the revenues paid to another lord in the period in which they had been held by another lord.
Links about Parliament
History of Parliament Blog – Medieval Parliament to 1509
Parliament UK – Meeting places of Medieval Parliaments