Act of Settlement 1701
Act of Settlement of 1701 provides for the succession of a Protestant to the Throne at the end of the Stuart period in case William III or Queen Anne died without leaving a surviving heir. This was a deliberate bypassing the superior hereditary rights of the Stuarts. It determined that if William and Anne died without heirs then Sophia (George I’s Mother) would ascend the throne via her claim as a grand-daughter of James I of England (VI of Scotland.)
The act stipulated that the Monarch MUST be an Anglican (there was to be clarity) and no retrenchment to Britain being a Catholic state. It also established that there were to be no wars in respect of overseas territories, not already belonging to the crown, without the express consent of Parliament.
Other provisions of the act included;
- only natives of Britain could receive grants of crown land and hold office in the service of the crown
- that Judges could only be removed only by the agreement of both Houses (the Commons and the Lords.)
- that royal pardons were powerless to stop or bar just impeachment. Impeachment was a version of the Manorial Courts (court leet), criminal trials initiated in the Commons with the House of Lords acting of Judges of such cases.
There were also clauses requiring alla dvice to the crown to be signed and barring Placemen from serving in the Commons but these were repealed by 1706.
This is the legal act as statute that ensures the direction of the line of succession and in effect commences the Georgian Period in our history. Take a look at our Stuart Period and line of Monarchs tog et a sense of why these provisions were put in place.
The related legislation can be viewed here and for more on the Stuart period click here and our Law and Order collection is here