Root and Branch petition

The Root and Branch Petition was a petition presented to the Long Parliament on December 11, 1640. The petition had been signed by 15,000 Londoners and was presented to the English Parliament by a crowd of 1,500. The petition called on Parliament to abolish episcopacy from the 'roots' and in all its 'branches'.

The House of Commons was reluctant to act on the Root and Branch Petition, though it did ultimately refer the petition to committee in February 1641.

This petition formed the basis of the Root and Branch Bill, which was drawn up by Oliver St John and introduced in Parliament by Henry Vane the Younger and Oliver Cromwell in May 1641. After lengthy debates, the bill was defeated in August 1641. (Though note that Parliament did determine to exclude the bishops from the House of Lords and passed the Bishops Exclusion Act in December 1641. The Bishops Exclusion Act became effective in February 1642.)

The aims of the Root and Branch Bill would ultimately be achieved in October 1646, when Parliament passed the Ordinance for the abolishing of Archbishops and Bishops in England and Wales and for settling their lands and possessions upon Trustees for the use of the Commonwealth.

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