‘Because I said so?’ Revisiting the ‘letters’ in early modern letters patent
Chris Dent Murdoch University, Australia

Search for other papers by Chris Dent in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Letters patent have been used as a tool of governance in England since medieval times – though their functions have changed. The uses to which Henry II put his were limited by the socio-political context of the feudal system. When Elizabeth I began to use them as a tool of ‘economic’ policy – such as handing them out to regulate trade with the continent – it was only one of a number of uses. The role of the letters in governance, including the disbursement of peerages, under Henry II and in the sixteenth to the seventeenth century are compared here. The conclusion is that their use, at the time of the passing of the Statute of Monopolies, should best be seen as the Crown sharing part of its ‘body politic’, bringing the patentee into the monarch’s inner circle, rather than as a granting of an individual ‘right’.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Purchase

Pay to Access Content (PDF download and unlimited online access)

Other access options

Redeem Token

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institutional Access

Personal login

Log in with your Elgar Online account

Login with your Elgar account