Writ of acceleration

Writ of acceleration

A writ in acceleration, commonly called a writ of acceleration was a type of writ of summons to the House of Lords that enabled the eldest son and heir apparent of a peer with multiple peerage titles to attend the British House of Lords or Irish House of Lords, using one of his father's subsidiary titles.

A writ of acceleration could be granted only if the title being accelerated was a subsidiary one, and not the main title, and if the beneficiary of the writ was the heir apparent of the actual holder of the title. The heir apparent was not always summoned in his courtesy title. Rather, almost every person summoned to Parliament by virtue of a writ of acceleration was summoned in one of his father’s baronies. For example, William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, heir apparent of William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire, was summoned as "Baron Cavendish of Hardwick". It was not possible for heirs apparent of peers in the Peerage of Scotland and Peerage of Ireland to be given writs of acceleration, as holders of titles in these peerages were not automatically guaranteed seat in the House of Lords.

An heir apparent receiving such a writ takes the precedence within the House of Lords owing to the title accelerated. Eg Viscount Cranborne takes, when accelerated to the barony of Cecil (created 1603), precedence ahead of all barons in parliament created after that date. When numbering the holders of peerages an accelerated title counts as a holder; so were the first earl and baron of 'somewhere' to have two sons and the barony to be accelerated in favour of the eldest, who predeceased his father without heirs, the younger brother would succeed as 2nd earl but 3rd baron. However, if the eldest son were to predecease his father with heirs the accelerated title would devolve on his heirs (according to the remainder governing the creation of the barony). Eg When Charles Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan, the eldest surviving son of the Earl of Burlington, was summoned to Parliament in 1689 in his father's barony of Clifford, but predeceased his father, his son the first Earl's grandson, was granted a writ of attendance to Lords in the barony. [cite web | title=Lords Hansard Test for 11 May 1999 | date=11 May, 1999 | accessdate=2006-11-13 | url=http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199899/ldhansrd/vo990511/text/90511-23.htm]

The procedure of writs of acceleration was introduced by King Edward IV in the mid 15th century. It was a fairly rare occurrence, and only 98 writs of acceleration were issued in over 400 years. The last writ of acceleration was issued in 1992 to the Conservative politician and close political associate of John Major, Robert Michael James Gascoyne-Cecil, Viscount Cranborne, the eldest son and heir apparent of the 6th Marquess of Salisbury. He was summoned in his father’s junior barony of "Baron Cecil of Essendon" and not in his courtesy title of "Viscount Cranborne". The procedure of writs of acceleration was abolished through the House of Lords Act of 1999, along with the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords.

The alternative to a writ of acceleration was to create a completely new peerage. For example, in 1832 Edward Smith-Stanley, Lord Stanley, son and heir apparent of Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby, was given a new peerage as Baron Stanley, of Bickerstaffe. Two years later he succeeded his father in the Earldom. This was in contrast to his son, Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, who in 1844 was summoned to the House of Lords through a writ of acceleration in the aforementioned title of Baron Stanley, of Bickerstaffe.

Two issues of writs of acceleration may be especially noted, of which the first also relates to the Stanley family. In 1628 James Stanley, Lord Strange, heir apparent of William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby, was summoned to the House of Lords in the ancient Barony of Strange (created in 1299), a title assumed by his father. However, the House of Lords later decided that the sixth Earl’s assumption of the Barony of Strange had been erroneous. Consequently, it was deemed that there were now two Baronies of Strange, the original one created in 1299 and the new one, created "accidentally" in 1628 (see the Baron Strange for more information). Another noteworthy writ of acceleration was issued in 1717 to Charles Paulet, Marquess of Winchester, heir apparent of Charles Paulet, 2nd Duke of Bolton. He was meant to be summoned in his father’s junior title of "Baron St John of Basing", but was mistakenly summoned as "Baron Pawlett of Basing". This inadvertently created a new peerage. However, the Barony of Pawlett of Basing became extinct on his death, while the Dukedom was passed on to his younger brother, the fourth Duke.

Writs of acceleration

ee also

*Hereditary peer


External links

* [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199899/ldselect/ldprivi/106i/106i07.htm Format for Writs in Acceleration and of Summons]

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