Friday, 29 November 2013

Historical Notes on Clause 4: Restrictions on Travel Abroad for Clerics

Clause 4 of the Constitutions of Clarendon states:

Archiepiscopis episcopis et claris personis regni, non licet exire a regno absque licentia domini regis; et si exierint, si regi placuerit, securum eum facient quod nec in eundo nec in redeundo vel moram faciendo perquirent malum sive damnum domino regi vel regno.

It is not permitted the archbishops, bishops, and priests of the kingdom to leave the kingdom without the lord king's permission. And if they do leave they are to give security, if the lord king please, that they will seek no evil or damage to king or kingdom in going, in making their stay, or in returning.

This clause seems to have been lifted [repealed] in Magna Carta 1215

CHAPTER FORTY–TWO. - Misc (Magna Carta), Magna Carta: A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John, with an Historical Introduction [1215]

Clause 42

Liceat unicuique de cetero exire de regno nostro, et redire, salvo et secure, per terram et per aquam, salva fide nostra, nisi tempore gwerre per aliquod breve tempus, propter communem utilitatem regni, exceptis imprisonatis et utlagatis secundum legem regni, et gente de terra contra nos gwerrina, et mercatoribus de quibus fiat sicut predictum est.

It shall be lawful in future for any one (excepting always those imprisoned or outlawed in accordance with the law of the kingdom, and natives of any country at war with us, and merchants, who shall be treated as is above provided) to leave our kingdom and to return, safe and secure by land and water, except for a short period in time of war, on grounds of public policy—reserving always the allegiance due to us.

However this clause was omitted from the re-issue of Magna Carta in 1216.


In 1352 Edward III. had it proclaimed throughout every county of England that no earl, baron, knight, man of religion, archer, or labourer, should depart the realm under pain of arrest and imprisonment. 
[Close Roll of 25 Edward III]

Also 5 Ric. II (1381/2) st.1 c 2 enacts that no one, of laity or clergy, upon pain
of confiscation of property, may go forth from the realm without the king's
leave, excepting seigneurs et autres grantz persones del roialme, great mer-
chants and king's soldiers.Also Cf.further 12 Ric. II (1388) c 15, which, however, is
only directed against leaving the land to obtain papal provisions : Item qe nulle
liege du Roy de quel estat ou condicion q'il soit greindre ou meindre passe le
meer nenvoie hors du roialme Dengleterre par licence ou sanz licence, sans
especial congie du Roy mesmes, por soy providre ou purchacer ascun benefice.

Also 25 Hen. VIII (1533/4) c 21 s 14: Nor that any, person religious or other
resiant in any the Kynges Domynyons shall fromvhensforth departe out of the
Kynges Domynyons to or for any visitacion congregacion or assemble for Re-
ligeon, but that all suche visytacyons congregatyons and assembles shal be
within the Kynges Domynyons. 

Nottingham Law Journal 2011 Volume 20 p. 26

In 20 Nottingham L.J. 14 (2011)
Abolishing Obsolete Crown Prerogatives relating to the Military by Graham McBain.
Prerogative To Prohibit Subjects From Going Abroad
the Crown can still prohibit subjects from leaving the UK, and that it need give no reason. Further, that it is a crime – contempt of the sovereign – for a subject to disobey


Sir Edward Coke in 1669 called the assembly at Clarendon a Parliament and this clause a declaration of part of the Common Law of the Land.


Great Britain (1762). "5 Rich II (1381/2) st.1 c.2". Statutes at Large. p. 236.

Great Britain (1870). "12 Rich II (1388) c. 15". The Statutes. Eyre & Spottiswood. p. 238.

Great Britain (1817). The Statutes of the Realm. Dawsons of Pall Mall. pp. 469–.

Makower, Felix, (1895) The constitutional history and constitution of the Church of England
Pages 239-40

Charles Henry Alexandrowicz (1970). Grotian Society Papers 1968: Studies in the History of the Law of Nations. Professor Daniel Turack: Early English Restrictions To Travel: Brill Archive. pp. 136–.

Sir Edward Coke (1669). The Third Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England: Concerning High Treason, and Other Pleas of the Crown, and Criminal Causes. A. Crooke. pp. 178–81.

Robert Henry; Malcolm Laing (1788). The History of Great Britain, from the First Invasion of it by the Romans Under Julius Cæsar. Supremacy of William I over Church: A. Strahan; and T. Cadell. pp. 278–.

Everett U. Crosby (2013). The King's Bishops: The Politics of Patronage in England and Normandy, 1066-1216. Archbishop Theobald in 1148: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-1-137-35212-5.

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