The Self-denying Ordinance
was a bill proposed by Sir Harry Vane to deprive members of Parliament from holding command in the army or the navy of the Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War
. It passed the House of Commons
on December 19 1644
, but was only passed by the House of Lords on April 3 1645
Its purpose was ostensibly to promote the professionalism of the armed forces; but there were those who thought that the Presbyterian
leaders of the army were not prosecuting the war against the king forcefully enough. They wanted to promote Oliver Cromwell
, who was exempted from the terms of the ordinance. This cleared the way for a new generation of specialist non-aristocratic generals to introduce army reform, culminating in the New Model Army
and more effective and determined soldiering.
The chief losers were Essex
who resigned their commissions.
The text of the Ordinance is at http://www.constitution.org/eng/conpur063.htm