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The Politics of Counsel in England and Scotland, 1286-1707$
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Jacqueline Rose

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266038

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266038.001.0001

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Counsel and the King’s Council in England, c.1340–c.1540

Counsel and the King’s Council in England, c.1340–c.1540

(p.63) 3 Counsel and the King’s Council in England, c.1340–c.1540*
The Politics of Counsel in England and Scotland, 1286-1707

John Watts

British Academy

The later Middle Ages are generally seen as a formative period in the history of the English king’s council. Beyond this, however, there is confusion and disagreement, much of it centring on two questions — first, whether there were revolutionary — or even evolutionary — changes in the king’s council in this period, and if so, when they occurred and what caused them; and second, how important ‘the council’ was in realising the functions and principles associated with ‘counsel’. This chapter re-examines these questions, surveying the historiography, considering some of the problems facing the historian of counsel and discussing the political needs that the king’s council was required to meet. If conciliar arrangements are placed in their political and constitutional setting, it becomes possible to see them in fresh ways — first, as consistently multi-faceted, and second, as subject to change in response to the altered conditions of the later fifteenth and the sixteenth century.

Keywords:   counsel, king’s council, England, late medieval, evolution, ‘Tudor Revolution in Government’, constitution, sources, ‘administrative history’

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