Journal of the House of Commons: October 1586

The Journals of All the Parliaments During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. Originally published by Irish University Press, Shannon, Ire, 1682.

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'Journal of the House of Commons: October 1586', in The Journals of All the Parliaments During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, (Shannon, Ire, 1682) pp. 391-392. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]


An Exact, large and very perfect Journal of the Passages of the House of Commons in the Parliament holden at Westminster, Anno 28 Reginæ Eliz. Anno Domini 1586. which began there on Saturday the 29th Day of October (after two several Prorogations thereof) and there continued until it was at length Dissolved on Thursday the 23th Day of March, Anno 29 Reginæ ejusdem.

The passages of this Journal of the House of Commons are fully replenished with excellent and rare matter both in respect of the business of Mary Queen of Scots handled in the first meeting, and of the publick dangers threatned against her Majesties person and Realms discussed in the second meeting of this Parliament; in which also there wanted not the passing of divers good and wholesome Laws, and the discussing of many emergent disputes touching the private affairs of the said House: all which are in themselves very useful and worthy of observation.

Although the Parliament had been summoned to have begun upon Saturday the 15th day of October in Anno 28 Reginæ Eliz. yet it held not, but was on the said day further Prorogued unto Thursday the 27th day of the same Month, upon which said day it was lastly Prorogued unto Saturday the 29th day of the same next ensuing.

On which said 29th day of October the Parliament held accordingly, although her Majesty came not in person, but appointed by her Letters Patents under the Great Seal, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Burleigh Lord Treasurer, and the Earl of Darby Lord Steward, or any two of them, her Delegates or Commissioners in her Majesties name and stead to begin this said Parliament, and the same further to hold, continue, Adjourn or Prorogue as to them should seem sitting and needful.

The Lords therefore being set, the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of the House of Commons had notice thereof, and thereupon repaired unto the Upper House, and as many as could conveniently being let in, Sir Thomas Bromley Knight Lord Chancellor shewed that the Queens Majesty was with-held by some very great and important occasions, so that she could not be there personally present at this time, but yet had appointed some other Honourable personages there present to supply her place, and in her name to begin the said Parliament. And then the same Letters Patents were read. After which the foresaid three Commissioners leaving their places went to a Seat prepared for them on the right side of the Chair of State, who being so placed the Lord Chancellor did Lastly declare, that the meer cause for which this Parliament had been so suddenly called at this time, was upon the discoveries of the late most great and horrible Treasons plotted for the taking away of her Majesties Life, and the subversion of true Religion, and that one great offender therein did yet remain, touching whose punishment her Majesty did crave their faithful advice; and therefore wished those of the House of Commons to make present choice of some one amongst them to be their Speaker, and to present him unto the Lords Lieutenants or Lords Commissioners as soon as conveniently they might.

Whereupon the Knights, Citizens, Barons and Burgesses of the House of Commons repairing to their said House did there elect and chuse John Puckering Serjeant at Law their Prolocutor (who had been Speaker also the last Parliament.)

Nota, That there is not any one word of all this before set down in the Original JournalBook of the House of Commons de annis istis 28° & 29° Reginæ Eliz. which is very defective not only here but in some other places thereof: but that which is before set down is for the most part gathered out of the Original Journal-Book of the Upper House, and only perfected in some places in matter of form, and yet the Titles of the aforesaid three daies are set down in three blank Pages.

On Monday the 31th day of October her Majesties Person was again represented by those aforesaid three Lords Commissioners constituted by her Majesties Letters Patents on Saturday the 29th day of this instant October foregoing.

These being set in the Upper House with divers other Lords in their Parliamentary Robes, the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of the House of Commons had notice thereof and repaired thither with John Puckering Serjeant at Law their Speaker, who was according to the usual course presented unto the said Lords Commissioners, and by them admitted; who answered to these his three Petitions of course made in the name of the House of Commons for liberty of Access, for freedom of Speech, and freedom from Arrests and Suits, and lastly for Pardon for himself, that the said House of Commons and himself should enjoy and use all such priviledges and freedoms as had in the like case been enjoyed by any others in the times of her Majesties most noble Progenitors. Whereupon the said Knights, Citizens and Burgesses with their Speaker departed to their own House.

Nota, That there is not any word of all this presentment of the Speaker in the Original Journal-Book of the House of Commons, but only the very Title of the day is thus set down in a blank Page thereof Lunæ xxxj. Octobris 1586. and the whole matter ensuing by the great negligence of Mr Fulk Onslow at this time Clerk of the House of Commons is wholly omitted, which also happened in the setting down of the three foregoing days of this Journal, upon the two first of which the Parliament had been further Prorogued, and upon the third received its beginning: in all which the Titles only of the days are set down in the upper part of three several blank Pages (as is beforesaid) with intention doutless at first to have inserted the passages of each day; and therefore it is the more strange that it was never perfected, and argueth the greater neglect, because the said Mr Onslow did live many years in the place of Clerk of the House of Commons after the Dissolution of this Parliament, by which means, if these foregoing day had not been supplied out of the Original Journal-Book of the Upper House, this other Journal of the House of Commons had remained very imperfect and unuseful.

And yet at the end of the aforesaid blank Page or bottom thereof, in which the Title of this present Monday the 31th day of October is inserted, there followeth the reading of one Bill, which is usually done after the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses of the House of Commons do return from the Upper House with their Speaker newly admitted upon their presentment of him; which said Bill read at this time upon their return is entred in manner and form following, viz.

The Bill touching Inrollments the first reading.