Statute of Westminster 1275

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For other similarly-named legislation, see Statute of Westminster.

The Statute of Westminster of 1275 (3 Edw. I), also known as the Statute of Westminster I, codified the existing law in England, in 51 chapters.

Chapter 5, known as the Freedom of Election Act 1275,[citation needed] is still in force in the United Kingdom. William Stubbs says of it:[1]

Though it is a matter of dispute when peine forte et dure (Law French for "hard and forceful punishment") was first introduced, chapter 3 states that those felons standing mute shall be put in prison forte et dure.[2]


The Statute of Westminster of 1275 was one of two English statutes largely drafted by Robert Burnell and passed during the reign of Edward I. Edward I had returned from the Ninth Crusade on 2 August 1274 and was crowned King of England on 19 August.[3] His first Parliament was summoned for the quinzaine of the Purification on 16 February 1275 but was prorogued until the day after Easter on 22 April 1275 and met at Westminster, its main work being the consideration of the Statute of Westminster I. This was drawn up, not in Latin, but in Norman French, and was passed "par le assentement des erceveskes, eveskes, abbes, priurs, contes, barons, et la communaute de la tere ileokes somons".


The Statute of Westminster I is composed of 51 chapters:

Chapter Short Title Title Notes
1 Peace of the Church and the Realm Act 1275 The Peace of the Church and the Realm shall be maintained. Religious Houses shall not be overcharged. Still in force in New Zealand
2 Benefit of Clergy Act 1275 A Clerk convict of Felony, delivered to the Ordinary, shall not depart without Purgation.
3 Escapes Act 1275 No Penalty for an Escape before it be adjudged.
4 Wreck Act 1275 What shall be adjudged Wreck of the Sea, and what not.
5 Freedom of Election Act 1275 There shall be no Disturbance of the Free Elections. Still in force in England and Wales.
6 Amercements Act 1275 Amerciaments shall be reasonable, and according to the Offence.
7 Purveyance Act 1275 In what manner, and of whom, Purveyance shall be made for a Castle.
8 Beaupleader Act 1275 Nothing shall be taken for beaupleader.
9 Pursuit of Felons Act 1275 All Men shall be ready to pursue Felons.
10 Coroners Act 1275 What sort of Men shall be Coroners. Sheriffs shall have Counter-Rolls with them.
11 Inquests of Murder Act 1275 Replevin by the Writ of Odio & Atia. Who shall be triers of Murther.
12 Standing Mute Act 1275 The Punishment of Felons refusing lawful Trial.
13 Rape Act 1275 The Punishment of him that doth ravish a Woman.
14 Principal and Accessory Act 1275 Appeal against the Principle and Accessary.
15 Prisoners and Bail Act 1275 Which Prisoners be mainpernable, and which not. The Penalty for unlawful Bailment.
16 Distress Act 1275 (c.16) None shall distrain out of his Fee, not drive the Distress out of the County.
17 Distress Act 1275 (c.17) The Remedy if the Distress be impounded in a Castle or Fortress.
18 Fines on the County Act 1275 Who shall assess the common Fines of the County.
19 Crown Debts Act 1275 A Sheriff having received the King's Debt, shall discharge the Debtor.
20 Trespassers in Parks and Ponds Act 1275 Offenses committed in Parks and Ponds. Robbing of tame Beasts in a Park.
21 Lands in Ward Act 1275 No Waste shall be made in Wards Lands; nor in Bishops, during the Vacation.
22 Wardship Act 1275 The Penalty of an Heir marrying without Consent of his Guardian. A Woman Ward.
23 Distress for Debt Against Strangers Act 1275 None shall be distrained for a Debt that he oweth not.
24 Unlawful Disseisin by Escheators, etc. Act 1275 The Remedy if an Officer of the King do disseise any.
25 Champerty Act 1275 None shall commit Champerty, to have Part of the Thing in Question.
26 Extortion by Officers of the Crown Act 1275 None of the King's Officers shall commit Extortion.
27 Extortion Act 1275 (c.27) Clerks of Officers shall not commit Extortion.
28 Maintenance Act 1275 Clerks shall not commit Maintenance.
29 Fraud Act 1275 The Penalty of a Serjeant or Pleader committing Deceit.
30 Extortion Act 1275 (c.30) Extortion by Justices Officers.
31 Tolls in Markets and Murage Act 1275 The Penalty for taking excessive Toll in a City, &c. Murage granted to Cities.
32 Purveyance, Crown Debts Act 1275 The Penalty of Purveyors not paying for what they take. The King's Carriages.
33 Barretors Act 1275 No Maintainers of Quarrels shall be suffered.
34 Slanderous Reports Act 1275 None shall report slanderous News, whereby Discord may arise.
35 Excess of Jurisdiction in Franchises Act 1275 The Penalty for arresting within a Liberty those that hold not thereof.
36 Aids for Knighthood, etc. Act 1275 Aid to make the Son Knight, or to marry the Daughter.
37 Dissseisin with Robbery, etc. Act 1275 The Penalty of a Man attainted of Disseisin with Robbery in the King's Time.
38 Attaints in Real Actions Act 1275 An Attaint shall be granted in Plea of Land touching Freehold.
39 Limitation of Prescription Act 1275 Several Limitations of Prescription in several Writs.
40 Voucher to Warranty Act 1275 Voucher to Warranty, and Counter-pleading of Voucher.
41 Writ of Right Act 1275 The Champion's Oath in a Writ of Right.
42 Essoins Act 1275 (c.42) Certain Actions wherein after Appearance the Tenant shall not be Essoined.
43 Essoins Act 1275 (c.43) The shall be no Fourcher by Essoin.
44 Essoins Act 1275 (c.44) In what Case Essoin ultra mare shall not be allowed.
45 Process Act 1275 In what Cases the great Distress shall be awarded. Where the Justices Estreats shall be delivered.
46 Order of Hearing Pleas Act 1275 One Plea shall be decided by the Justices before another commenced.
47 Real Actions Act 1275 In what Case the Nonage of the Heir of the Disseisor or Disseisee shall not prejudice.
48 Land in Ward Act 1275 The Remedy where a Guardian maketh a Feoffment of his Ward's Land. Suit by Prochein Amy.
49 Plea in Dower Act 1275 The Tenants Plea in a Writ of Dower.
50 Saving for the Crown Act 1275 Still in force in England and Wales.
51 Times of Taking Certain Assizes Act 1275 Assises and Darrain Presentments at what Time taken.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stubbs, William. The Constitutional History of England in Its Origin and Development. 
  2. ^ Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A, eds. (1867). New American Cyclopedia 13. D. Appleton & Company. p. 84. 
  3. ^ Powicke, F. M. (1962). The Thirteenth Century: 1216–1307 (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 226.