Clarendon, Constitutions of

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Clarendon, Constitutions of

Statutes—enacted by a parliament convened at Clarendon, England, in 1164 during the reign of King Henry II—that restricted the authority of the pope and his clergy by subjecting them to the secular jurisdiction of the king's court.

The Constitutions of Clarendon limited the jurisdiction that ecclesiastical courts exercised over members of the clergy while expanding the jurisdiction of the civil court of the king. Clerics accused of common-law crimes, as opposed to violations of Canon Law, were tried in the king's court. The procedure for making appeals in ecclesiastical law was revised so that the final decision was to be rendered by the king, rather than the pope. Archbishop of Canterbury thomas À becket reluctantly agreed to these enactments at first but subsequently rejected them with the approval of Pope Alexander III. His efforts had, however, no effect on the development of English Law resulting from the Constitutions of Clarendon.