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Statute of York

An ENGLISH LAW enacted in 1318 that required the consent of Parliament in all legislative matters.

The Statute of York was an important step toward the development of a constitutional monarchy in England. The law was enacted in the city of York in 1318, at a time when King Edward II was attempting to reassert his control over the kingdom.

Historians generally regard Edward II as an unqualified failure as king. Seven years before the Statute of York, the nobility had forced him to accept the Ordinances of 1311, which required baronial consent for foreign war, restricted the Crown's power to interfere with the judicial system, and required the king to obtain the advice and consent of the barons in Parliament for a long list of officials he wished to appoint.

Edward II regained political strength in 1318 and managed to have the Ordinances repealed. The Statute of York, however, specified that the "consent of the prelates, earls, and barons, and of the community of the realm" was required for legislation. Though some historians believe the statute restored baronial control over English government, many historians see the phrase "community of the realm" as signifying a shift of power to those outside the noble class. In addition, the powers of the king were constrained.


Haskins, George Lee. 1935. The Statute of York and the Interest of the Commons. Reprint, 1977. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.

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