Provisors, Statute of

Provisors, Statute Of.

Clement V, in the beginning of the 14th century, went beyond all his predecessors by declaring that the disposal of all ecclesiastical benefices belonged to the pope. The pope accordingly made reversionary grants, or provisions, as they were called, during the lives of the incumbents; and he reserved such benefices as he thought fit for his own peculiar patronage. England in particular suffered greatly from these papal encroachments during the reign of Henry III. The parliament assembled at Carlisle in the thirty-fifth year of Edward I sent a strong remonstrance to pope Clement V against the papal encroachments. But this remonstrance produced no effect. The first prince who was bold enough to assert the power of the legislature to restrain these encroachments was Edward III. After complaining ineffectually to Clement VI of the heinous abuse of papal reservations, he procured the famous statute of Provisors (25 Edw. III, stat. 6) to be passed (A.D. 1350). This act ordained that all elections and collations should be free according to law; and that in case any provision, collation, or reservation should be made by the court of Rome of any archbishopric, bishopric, dignity, or other benefice, the king should for that turn have the collation of such archbishopric or other dignities elective. This statute was fortified by several others in this and the succeeding reigns down to the 3 Henry V, c. 4.

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