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The 1543 Act of Union

Historian John Davies on the 1543 'Act of Union' between England and Wales.

The act of 1536 lacked precision. A further statute of 1543 filled in the details.

It established the court of great session, a distinct Welsh system of courts based upon four three-county circuits: Anglesey, Caernarfon and Merionnydd; Flint, Denbigh and Montgomery; Cardigan, Carmarthen and Pembroke; Radnor, Brecon and Glamorgan.

As Monmouthshire was not part of the pattern, a notion arose that it was now detached from Wales.

This belief had little substance, and became meaningless anyway after 1830 when the court was abolished. Monmouthshire was generally treated as part of Wales in the rare examples of specific Welsh legislation passed between 1536 and 1830.

The act of 1543 also gave statutory recognition to the council of Wales at Ludlow, a body which had extensive administrative and legal powers until its eventual abolition in 1689.

In addition, the number of Welsh MPs was increased to 27 through the granting of a member to the borough of Haverfordwest.


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