Talk:Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542

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When have these acts been called the Act of Union 1536 and Act of Union 1543? When I studied the subject we referred to the 1543 act as the "Laws in Wales Act". Are these the legal names of the measures? If not, where do these names come from. They are *like* the later acts of union but it is anachronistic (surely) to apply the later term to the earlier act? Francis Davey 5 July 2005 20:44 (UTC)

The article itself states 'The Acts were not known as the "Acts of Union" until 1801, when historian Owen Edwards assigned them that name'. There may be an Interpretation Act that gives them the short names 'The Laws in Wales Act 1535' and 'The Laws in Wales Act 1542', but I guess legally they are 27 Hen. 8 c26. and 34 & 35 Hen. 8 c26. Owain 6 July 2005 19:10 (UTC)


Has this Act of Union repealed? I don't think so, Wales is still part of the UK... some aprts may have been rendered ineffective, but the majority of the Act is still in force, surely? (Some IP address Aug 2004) I'm inclined to agree, and will mak the change until someone more authoratative can change it back. Rich Farmbrough 09:34, 1 Oct 2004 (UTC)

The Acts have been repealed. The Welsh Language Act 1993 explicitly repealed both the Act of Union 1536 and the Act of Union 1543 (known formally as the Laws in Wales Acts), "so far as unrepealed", with the exception of section 47 of the 1543 Act. Section 47, the only clause still in force, states that if stolen goods or cattle are sold at market in Wales, the sale doesn't change the lawful ownership of the property. Repeal didn't change Wales' status as part of the UK - remember that, before the Act of Union 1536, Wales was still a Dominion of the Realm. The effect of the Acts was to incorporate the Dominion, Principality and Country of Wales into the English administrative and judicial system, not to unite a previously independent country with England. James Groves 00:13, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)
In any case, the legal rule applied to such legislation is 'expressio unius est exclusio alterius' - that not expressingly stated is not affected. Owain 19:05, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Language and Focus[edit]

The section "the Welsh farmers of remoter districts found themselves adrift in amidst a legal and economic system whose language and focus were unfamiliar to them." seems a little dubious perhaps NPOV. Since the 13thC many of the King officials would have been opperating in French for legal/government matters in Wales [only slowly moving to English]. Much of this administration would have been so distant as to never involve a remote rural farmer so the distinction drawn seems stronger than the reality.Alci12

Maybe. But you should have seen the bias that was there before I revised it! I just tried to keep the same content but fix the POV. Doops | talk 19:49, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
Along the same lines, the page at present states: ...some historians are increasingly arguing that "absorption" or even "colonization" are more accurate. Surely "colonization" is almost the opposite of "absorption"? This seems illogical. Doops | talk 06:03, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes I did think that a very odd statement. England had ruled Wales for 300 years before these acts, and there was no influx of English population. All we have is a high level reorganisation of the mechanics of government. Colonization seems the wrong word entirely. You could, perhaps, say annexation or absorption. After all Wales was going from a Royal fief to part of the English state.
In the literal sense of the word (which would imply English people setting out to live there), I have no idea how much colonization of Wales occurred over the years; but the article on Little England beyond Wales seems to imply it was a mediaeval phenomenon — certainly not something started by these acts. Furthermore, the new and sloppy sense in which everybody uses "colonialism" now (the use which doesn't have anything to do with settlers but simply is applied when one country interests itself imperiously in another's business while keeping it at arm's length) doesn't at all apply here, since Wales became an integral part of England. Doops | talk 19:42, 17 September 2005 (UTC)

Page move[edit]

This page was moved to Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542 from Acts of Union 1536-1543 by Owain on 25 Nov 2005 without any discussion. I'm going to move it back. If you want to move something, a {{move}} or {{mergeto}} tag should be inserted and it should be discussed. --JW1805 (Talk) 21:57, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Um, JW, it doesn't appear that you've moved it back. Rather, you seem to have done a cut-and-paste. Is there a reason? Doops | talk 22:24, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

There is no such Act of Parliament as the "Act of Union 1536" or "Act of Union 1543". The Acts are called the "Laws in Wales Act 1535" and "Laws in Wales Act 1542". Quite why you have moved the correctly-titled page back to an incorrect name baffles me. You have also screwed-up the ability for it to be simply moved back to it's correct title using the move facility, thereby forcing me to do a horrible cut/paste job to restore it. Thankfully, that's where all the edit history is, so it's not the end of the world. Owain 10:07, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

BTW, if you would like to discuss why it should be moved AWAY from the correct title, then please do, although bear in mind that other articles about Acts of Parliament use their correct short title. If people want to search for nicknames such as "Act of Union 1536" then they are able to, as that redirect exists, and points the reader to the correctly-named page. Owain 10:23, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
  • This article existed for two years as Acts of Union 1536-1543. It was moved with no discussion whatsoever. Please stop moving it until we have a discussion. Wikipedia article titles are based on the most commonly used name. There are only 28 Google hits for "Law in Wales Act". ""Act of Union 1536" has 951. "Acts of Union 1536-1543" has 667. --JW1805 (Talk) 15:18, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
As you well know, just because something is repeated doesn't make it right! Is this an encyclopaedia or not? I have no problem with #REDIRECT pages from "commonly used names" but the article itself should be on the page with the correct name! The google test just proves that the erroneously-titled Wikipedia article has been replicated elsewhere! Owain 16:20, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Absolutely, and google hits are notoriously fickle. The point is a phrase like "Theft Act 1968" is not chosen arbitrarily. Either the name is given in the act (possibly as amended), in the Short Titles Act or in the Chronological Table of Statutes. As the Laws in Wales Act XXXX it has been known to lawyers and historians for a considerable time. It may be that there is a school that likes (for propaganda reasons) to call them acts of union, though they aren't in the sense that the real Acts of Union are. Francis Davey 19:57, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

I am proposing that this page be moved back to Acts of Union 1536-1543, which was the title for two years, and is the most commonly used term (see comments above). --JW1805 (Talk) 15:38, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Support my nom. --JW1805 (Talk) 15:38, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Could you cite sources for the term please. Francis Davey 11:25, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
Short History of Wales by Owen M. Edwards - this is what is referred to in the article. --JW1805 (Talk) 22:22, 16 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose there is no such Act of Parliament as the "Act of Union 1536" or "Act of Union 1543". What are being referred to here are two acts - 27 Henry VIII c. 26 and 34 and 35 Henry VIII c. 26, which have been assigned the short titles "Laws in Wales Act 1535" and "Laws in Wales Act 1542". See
And I think, though my research isn't extensive, that the names are from the Chronological Table of Statutes. Francis Davey 11:42, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Neutral. But if there is no change, why not make the first sentence read something like "The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, often called the Acts of Union 1536-1543, were a series of parliamentary measures by which the legal system..." or vice versa if the renaming passes? LuiKhuntek 08:15, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose there is a standard way in which acts of the UK (and its predecessor) Parliaments are cited in scholarly usage. The Laws in Wales Act XXXX is the universally preferred form amongst lawyers, constitutional historians and is consistent with the way in which names are assigned to statutes throughout wikipedia. It may be that, for literary or propaganda purposes, one or more historians or writers have called them "Acts of Union", but no more do we refer to the (present) prime minister as Bliar, just because that was a popular name amongst his opponents. Most importantly, they *aren't* like the other acts of union, to describe them as so is not NPOV. Whereas they are unarguably acts about laws in Wales. Francis Davey 11:25, 3 December 2005 (UTC)


Not moved. Eugene van der Pijll 20:50, 22 December 2005 (UTC)


"a single legal jurisdiction, which is frequently referred to as England and Wales." - should read as "by extending the single legal jurisdiction of England, more recently this state is referred to as England and Wales.". The Welsh revolution is coming like the force of a mighty dripping tap! -- Pbhj 03:26, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

incidentally there have been a couple of letters in The Times of London recently, see letters for edition of 18 August 2007, "A Welsh Dimension" (which includes reference to other letter).

Date of formation of the United Kingdom?[edit]

After much debate, the editors of the United Kingdom article seem to have settled on 1707 as being the foundation of the state (I note with concern though that this date lacks any external referencing, per official Wikipedia policy WP:VERIFY).

But this article - List of countries by formation dates - claims that the UK was actually founded in 1603 (again, completely unreferenced). Both articles cannot be correct, so which is it? Please come to the party armed with some proper external refs, because I am not sure if we can stomach yet another verbally diarrhetic Talk page splurge with largely consists of ad hominem attacks and statements of totally unsourced opinion. --Mais oui! (talk) 23:40, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

1603 is an error. England and Scotland come under the same personal rule of the sovereign James I (and VI of Scotland) in that year but the explicit Act of Union is indeed 1707. The United Kingdom can only be dated from that year.Jatrius (talk) 10:34, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Technically both 1603 and 1707 are wrong. 1603 was indeed only the union of the crowns. 1st May 1701 was the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain; uniting the kingdoms of England (with Wales) and Scotland into one kingdom. The phrase "united Kingdom" is used in the Acts of Union but only descriptively; the name of the new state was explicitly "Great Britain".
The United Kingdom was created on 1st January 1801; a new union uniting the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland into one, which was then called "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". (Not a snappy name, but the Georgians believed in the grandeur of long titles.)
Howard Alexander (talk) 13:14, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
One wonders how much the UK is a union and how much it's actually a single state. Scotland may have a separate legal system, but its legislature is in Westminster which tolerates some lawmaking at Holyrood. For all the euphemistic language, it would seem that the 16th century acts abolished Wales and made it part of England. One wonders if Wales has any legal standing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:01, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
You are quite right. The Acts of Union were complete incorporating unions; in 1707 the Kingdoms of England and Scotland were "united into one kingdom", not just tagged along together. England and Scotland were gone, unless as geographical expressions. (The Act even referred to "that part of the united Kingdom now called Scotland".) The 1800 Act had identical wording abolishing Great Britain and Ireland. There is no euphemistic wording there. I have not read the Laws in Wales Acts for a while though to be sure of that wording. In any case "the Dominium of Wales" was part of the Kingdom of England merged into a single Prydain Fawr 301 years ago.
This is all uncomfortable for English nationalists and Scots nationalists if they take it politically, but nothing stops them being particular about their geographical areas if they wish. Personally I feel just as much at home in Caernarfon, Kent, Caithness or Carrickfergus.
Howard Alexander (talk) 13:18, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Personal and legislative unions of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom[edit]

The Belfast Agreement link should be removed from the 'Sovereignty' section as the agreement was not concerned with and did not alter sovereignty in Northern Ireland or the UK as a whole. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sjamesg (talkcontribs) 19:09, 5 June 2010 (UTC)


Why is the title 1535-1542 but the text refers to 1536-1543 ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mahutchinson (talkcontribs) 08:23, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Indeed - there seems to be much confusion concerning dates in this article. Gwybedyn (talk) 21:50, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

The dates[edit]

(I'm moving a discussion here from my talk page) --Snowded TALK 18:02, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

I've been working on the Law section of the Wales article and noticed Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 looked odd. The Acts always seem to be referred to as having been passed in 1536 and 1543 (John Davies and Gwenllian Lansdown for example). Although the full texts from the UK Statute Law Database ( here) and ( here) and the article title refer to 1535 and 1542. Any idea why? Daicaregos (talk) 16:41, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Interesting one that. The Encyclopedia of Wales talks about the Acts of "Union" of 1536 and 1543 and has some interesting stuff about the abolition of the Council of Wales and the Marches in 1689 which finally integrated fully with the English system of circuits. Everything was still up in the air until 1769 (and the Great Sessions were not abolished until 1830). Monmouth sent its cases to London which is another factor in that old chestnut.
So I think 1536 and 1543 is it as we have three third party sources. DIfference might be Royal Assent? Best to post all the above on the talk page and ask. I note that Wales is described as a country in the act ... --Snowded TALK 17:21, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Just a guess - Old Style and New Style dates ? Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:35, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Could be, whatever it seems we should go with the Third Party sources? --Snowded TALK 17:37, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
If I'm right, a parallel might be Bristol Channel floods, 1607 - contemporary records gave the date as 1606, because the new year started on March 25 rather than Jan 1 - but nowadays they are referred to as taking place in 1607. It's quite possible that different sources are confused because they haven't all taken the calendar change into account. Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:42, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
I think you are probably right here. However we have the Encyclopedia of Wales and John Davies (bows head in awe) using 1536 and 1543 and I think (If I am not confused) that means they probably took the shift into account. --Snowded TALK 17:44, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Or.. I could be wrong. This British Library document (p.8) says: "Although Wales was incorporated into England by the Statute of Wales 1284 (12 Edw.1 Stat. Wallie), it was another two-and-a-half centuries before it received parliamentary representation. This was effected by the Laws in Wales act 1535 (27 Hen.8, cap.20), actually passed in 1536 and otherwise called the Union with Wales act...." There are othr sources (maybe less reliable) which say it was passed in 1535 but not enacted until 1536 - but they may be confused as well. And, to confuse you even more, see footnote 74 here. Not much help am I? Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:49, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Thats closer to my original speculation - enacted rather than royal assent but same principle. Either way, third party sources! Regardless of the reason do you agree with the change?--Snowded TALK 17:53, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
There are many more Google hits for <"Laws in Wales" 1535 1542> than there are for <"Laws in Wales" 1536 1543>. I'm not claiming that should be definitive, but we do need to bear in mind what readers are most likely to look for. Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:56, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
I prefer authoritative sources to google hits. Also a redirect handles the search?--Snowded TALK 17:57, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
It was all discussed on the article talk page back in 2005. We should go back and look at that, and propose any further changes there, IMHO. Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:59, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
Makes sense - 2005 was before my time here! --Snowded TALK 18:01, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Does this resolve the issue? It seems to give the official answer - the Laws in Wales Act 1535 and the Laws in Wales Act 1542. End of story, I think - there can't be anything more authoritative than the Chronological Table of Statutes, where those titles come from, can there? If that's right, presumably the article text needs to be changed, with some sort of explanation for the evident confusion over the dates. Ghmyrtle (talk) 21:08, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Turning it round the other way. Official records clearly identify the legislation as The Laws in Wales Act 1535 and The Laws in Wales Act 1542. So, why is it that many secondary sources refer to them by the dates 1536 and 1543? This needs to be explained in the article, and I'm not sure what the explanation is. Two possibilities have been suggested - that is is something to do with the calendar and Old Style and New Style dates, or that it is to do with confusion over the dates of enactment of the legislation and its implementation. Does anyone have a definitive answer, with refs, that can be used to amend the article? Ghmyrtle (talk) 21:27, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
PS: The book Constitutional and administrative law by Bradley and Ewing (p.36, fn.9) states: "The Statute Law Revision Act 1948 called this the Laws in Wales Act 1535, but recent Welsh writers have called it the Act of Union of 1536." One example showing that is here. I propose amending the article, for clarity, to give the correct official dates of 1535 and 1542, also stating that the legislation is often referred to as the "Acts of Union" of 1536 and 1543. What we still don't have is any explanation of why that is the case. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:08, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Anyone know John Davies well enough to ask? I am pretty sure he wrote the relevant section of the Encyclopedia of Wales so its him against the documents.--Snowded TALK 09:22, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it's anyone against anyone else - clearly both sets of dates, and both descriptions ("Laws in Wales Acts" and "Acts of Union") are verifiably in use, and it's quite possible that the dates anomaly may go back to O. M. Edwards who first used the latter term. All we need to do is set out both terms, state that they are both in use, and explain why - if we can find an explanation. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:36, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

(Joining the discussion from a notice on the talk page of WP:LAW) My recollection of legal history, thin though it is, is that having the year in the title, and even the short title itself, are both relatively modern ideas; for centuries, the Acts of Parliament were known by the chapter number and regnal year (i.e. the 7th Act passed in the 9th year of the reign of Queen Nancy III would be referred to as "9 Nancy III c. 7"). There would be a "long title" (something like "An Act for doing something about something, and something else about another thing, and for related purposes") but no snappy short title. I'm not sure how the system worked when a Parliamentary session overlapped the anniversary of the monarch's accession, but it might be a question of whether the sources are using the start or end of the Parliamentary session in which the Act was passed to choose the date. And, in the absence of an official contemporary short title, I can see how different people would end up with different titles for the Acts. BencherliteTalk 12:18, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

That's true - the 1535 Act was referred to as Anno vicesimo septimo Henrici VIII c. 26. What I suspect happened is that, when it became conventional to use year dates, the calculation was done that the date should be 1536 - perhaps at the same time that the term "Act of Union" was used, perhaps not - but that when these things were rationalised (the 1948 legislation?) the year 1535 was adopted using whatever consistent criteria they adopted at that time (which we don't know). So, perhaps 1536 was the usual date given up to 1948, but since then 1535 has been adopted as the "official" date?? But all speculation, still. Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:28, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to revise text[edit]

In the light of the above discussion, I propose that the text be revised. Although we don't know why this happened (and can't speculate), it seems clear (and referenced) that the official names of the legislation now (in English) are The Laws in Wales Act 1535 and The Laws in Wales Act 1542. So, I propose that the first para of the article be revised as follows:

The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 (Welsh: Y Deddfau Uno 1535 a 1542) were parliamentary measures by which the legal system of Wales was annexed to England and the norms of English administration introduced in order to create a single state and a single legal jurisdiction, which is frequently referred to as England and Wales. The Acts were passed during the reign of King Henry VIII of England, who came from the Welsh Tudor dynasty. They have frequently been referred to as the Acts of Union of 1536 and 1543, but some scholars consider this name to be inaccurate, and their formal names are "The Laws in Wales Act 1535" [1] and "The Laws in Wales Act 1542". [2]

Further citations can be added from the above discussion, and there will be some consequent changes to the dates in later parts of the article. But, I think the proper names of the Acts are clear and the article should reflect those. Would anyone object to that change? Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:44, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

John Davies says on the BBC site, here, the Act was 'passed' in 1536. The University of Warwick note the Act here as 'the Act of Union of 1536'. This is a novel way of showing both sets of dates. This book says “The enduring union between England and Wales was formally effected by Act of Parliament in 1536” The passage contains a note: “Variously labelled the Laws in Wales Act 1535 and the Act of Union 1536.” The Oxford History of the Laws of England: 1483-1558 has it that “The principal statute, passed in 1536, has been referred to as an act of Union.” May I suggest that unless/until the reason for the discrepancy is discovered, the intro be amended to:

The Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 (Welsh: Y Deddfau Uno 1535 a 1542) were parliamentary measures by which the legal system of Wales was annexed to England and the norms of English administration introduced. The intention was to create a single state and a single legal jurisdiction; frequently referred to as England and Wales. The Acts were passed during the reign of King Henry VIII of England, who came from the Welsh Tudor dynasty. They are frequently referred to as the Acts of Union of 1536 and 1543, but some scholars consider this name to be misleading. The Acts formal names are "The Laws in Wales Act 1535" [3] and "The Laws in Wales Act 1542".[4]

Pretty much the suggested version of Ghmyrtle, with a couple of tweeks. Daicaregos (talk) 14:20, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Fine by me. One question - the Welsh translation is given as Y Deddfau Uno. I don't speak Welsh but suspect that that translates as "Acts of Union" rather than "The Laws in Wales Acts". Is that correct, and, if so, is that the Welsh term we should use? Ghmyrtle (talk) 14:25, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, don't know. One of the main effects of the acts was that they didn't have to be bilingual :) Though obviously they would have to have been called something by those who spoke no English, which was 95% of Welsh people at the time. John Davies has it that the preamble was propaganda written by Cromwell, particularly about the claims that union already existed between Wales and England. So, possibly, they were always known as Y Deddfau Uno to Welsh speakers. Wicipedia only mentions the Acts of Union ("Y Deddfau Uno 1536 a 1543"), saying nothing of "The Laws in Wales Acts". Daicaregos (talk) 15:01, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, I've been bold and had a go. I think it is clearer now, but it would be good to get to the bottom of why different dates are in use. Ghmyrtle (talk) 15:40, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

There are two separate things going on here. The first is to do with titles, the second with dates. Titles first: the titles of Acts of Parliament in the 16th C were what we now call the "long title" and were (are) often very long. As a result important Acts often acquired one or more popular titles or "nicknames". All modern Acts have a legal short title as well as a long title, and in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the practice of retrospectively assigning a legal short title to important Acts still extant came about. In this particular example the legal short title of "The Laws in Wales Act" was conferred by the Statute Law Revision Act 1948, s.5 and Sch. 2. So that is currently the legal name notwithstanding any nicknames, however longstanding. Dates:a bit more complicated, but you can date an Act from the date of Royal Assent (the current practice), or from the contemporary date on which the parliamentary session started. So, for example, the 8th session of Henry VIII's 5th Parliament met between 4th Feb 1535/6 and 14th April 1536, but Royal assent would not have been given until 1536. That's why the official dates (e.g. HMSO) use 1535 (the year the Parliamentary session began - in contemporary dating) but a number of academic works use 1536 (the date of Royal Assent, or the date the Act was "passed"). Lyndwood (talk) 03:25, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

That's very helpful, thanks. Would you like to try and fit some brief explanatory wording (with sources) into the text of the article to explain this, as clearly the confusion should be clarified if possible? Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:29, 21 January 2011 (UTC)
Have attempted to do so by amending the text in the introduction and some detail later. I do wonder whether this might be something that ought to be addressed in a more general way somewhere else, rather than separately every time an article deals with an old Act of Parliament. But I'm not sure where that somewhere else might be.
I've also amended 1535-1542 in the first line to 1525 & 1542, as, although there is some reference to these two Acts being part of a "series of measures", there appears to be no indication what those might be apart from these two Acts. So it seems to me that for consistency the article should either (a) be about these two Acts, in which case the title should be amended and references to "a series of measures" deleted, or (b) if it is about these and "other measures", those should also be explicitly listed (and cited) along with the two Acts. Lyndwood (talk) 01:23, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Excellent, thank you. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:30, 31 January 2011 (UTC)