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The Parliament of England was the
legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure i ...
of the
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England (: ''Regnum Anglorum'', "Kingdom of the English") was a on the island of from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various kingdoms, until 1 May 1707, when it united with to form the . The Kingdom of England was among ...

Kingdom of England
from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

Magna Carta
, which established the rights of
barons Baron is a rank of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the ...
(wealthy landowners) to serve as consultants to the king on governmental matters in his Great Council. In 1295, Parliament evolved to include
nobles Nobility is a normally ranked immediately below and found in some societies that have a formal . Nobility has often been an that possessed more acknowledged and higher than most other classes in society. The privileges associated wi ...

nobles
and
bishops A bishop is an ordained Ordination is the process by which individuals are Consecration, consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorization, authorized (usually by the religious denom ...

bishops
as well as two representatives from each of the
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
and towns in
England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The country cover ...

England
and, since 1542,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A country may be an independent sovereign ...

Wales
. This became the model for the composition of all future Parliaments. Over the course of the next century, the membership of Parliament was divided into the two houses it features today, with the noblemen and bishops encompassing the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
and the knights of the shire and local representatives (known as "burgesses") making up the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporat ...

House of Commons
. During
Henry IVHenry IV may refer to: People * Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor (1050–1106), King of The Romans and Holy Roman Emperor * Henry IV, Duke of Limburg (1195–1247) * Henry IV, Duke of Brabant (1251/1252–1272) * Henryk IV Probus (c. 1258–1290), Duke ...

Henry IV
's time on the throne, the role of Parliament expanded beyond the determination of taxation policy to include the "redress of grievances," which essentially enabled English citizens to petition the body to address complaints in their local towns and counties. By this time, citizens were given the power to vote to elect their representatives—the burgesses—to the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporat ...

House of Commons
. In 1066,
William the Conqueror William I (c. 1028Bates ''William the Conqueror'' p. 33 – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first House of Normandy, Norman List of English monarchs, monarch of Engl ...

William the Conqueror
introduced what, in later centuries, became referred to as a
feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discov ...
system, by which he sought the advice of a council of
tenants-in-chief In medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the ...
(landowners) and
ecclesiastic In Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons between Christianity and other traditions * Chris ...
s before making laws. In 1215, the tenants-in-chief secured
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

Magna Carta
from
King John of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg, Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen re ...

King John
, which established that the king may not levy or collect any taxes (except the feudal taxes to which they were hitherto accustomed), save with the consent of his royal council, which gradually developed into a parliament. Over the centuries, the English Parliament progressively limited the power of the
English monarchy The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or ...
, a process that arguably culminated in the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country A country is a distinct territory, ...
and the
High Court of Justice for the trial of Charles I The High Court of Justice was the court established by the Rump Parliament to try Charles I of England, Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland. Even though this was an ad hoc tribunal that was specifically created for the purpose of try ...
.


History


Pre-Conquest antecedants

Under a monarchical system of government, monarchs usually must consult and seek a measure of acceptance for their policies if they are to enjoy the broad cooperation of their subjects. Early kings of England had no
standing army A standing army is a permanent, often professional, army. It is composed of full-time soldiers who may be either career soldiers or conscripts. It differs from Military reserve force, army reserves, who are enrolled for the long term, but activate ...
or
police The police are a constituted body of persons A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic by Logical consequence, drawing con ...

police
, and so depended on the support of powerful subjects. The monarchy had agents in every part of the country. During the
6th and 7th centuries
6th and 7th centuries
, early
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a who inhabited . They traced their origins to the 5th century settlement of incomers to Britain, who migrated to the island from the coastlands of . However, the of the Anglo-Saxons occurred within Britain, and the ide ...
kings took counsel from advisers, sometimes referred to in the collective as the
Witenagemot 300px, Anglo-Saxon king with his witan. Biblical scene in the Illustrated Old English Hexateuch (11th century), portraying Pharaoh in court session, after passing judgment on his chief baker and chief cupbearer. The Witenaġemot (; ang, witena ...
. In the ''
Ecclesiastical History of the English People The ''Ecclesiastical History of the English People'' ( la, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum), written by the Venerable Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerabl ...
'',
Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable ( la, Beda Venerabilis), was an English Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sanc ...

Bede
mentions
Edwin of Northumbria Edwin ( ang, Ēadwine; c. 586 – 12 October 632/633), also known as Eadwine or Æduinus, was the King King is the title given to a male in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is , which title is also given to the of ...
's council of wise men (''sapientes''). These assemblies lacked a formal structure and were ''ad hoc'' arrangements. After the unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 9th and 10th centuries, assemblies became national institutions which played an important role in government. They were composed of a large number of
thegnThe term ''thegn'', also thane, or thayn in Shakespearean English Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language from the beginning of the Tudor period to the English Int ...
s, around a dozen
ealdormen Ealdorman () was a term in Anglo-Saxon England Anglo-Saxon England was early medieval England England in the Middle Ages concerns the history of England during the Middle Ages, medieval period, from the end of the 5th century through to the s ...
, the
Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Cat ...
and many
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
s. The historian John Maddicott has traced the origins of the English Parliament back to
Æthelstan Æthelstan or Athelstan (; ang, Æðelstān ; on, Aðalsteinn; meaning "noble stone"; 894 – 27 October 939) was List of monarchs of Wessex, King of the Anglo-Saxons from 924 to 927 and List of English monarchs, King of the English from 927 ...
's great assemblies in the tenth century:
"These portentous gatherings were the lineal ancestors of the more brightly illuminated councils and parliaments of the post-
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

Magna Carta
world. From this time onwards the line joining the
witan 300px, Anglo-Saxon king with his witan. Biblical scene in the Illustrated Old English Hexateuch (11th century), portraying Pharaoh in court session, after passing judgment on his chief baker and chief cupbearer. The Witan (; ang, witena ġemō ...
to the '' concilia'' and ''colloquia'' of
Anglo-NormanAnglo-Norman may refer to: *Anglo-Normans The Anglo-Normans ( nrf, Anglo-Normaunds, ang, Engel-Norðmandisca) were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons, Normans, Bretons, Flemish people, F ...
and
Angevin Angevin or House of Anjou may refer to: *Anjou, a historic province in western France **Angevin (language), the traditional langue d'oïl spoken in Anjou **Counts and Dukes of Anjou *House of Ingelger, a Frankish noble family who were counts of Anjo ...
England, and thence to the parliaments of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, remained essentially unbroken".


Post-Conquest antecedents

Under the
feudal system Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the disco ...
that evolved in England after the
Norman Conquest The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Normans, Duchy of Brittany, Bretons, County of Flanders, Flemish, and men from other Kingdom of France, French ...
of 1066, the laws of the Crown could not have been upheld without the support of the
nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
and the
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
. The former had economic and military power bases of their own through major ownership of land and the feudal obligations of their tenants (some of whom held lands on condition of military service). The Church was virtually a law unto itself in this period as it had its own system of religious law courts. In order to seek consultation and consent from the nobility and the senior clergy on major decisions, post-Norman Conquest English monarchs called Great Councils. A typical Great Council would consist of
archbishop In many Christian Denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...
s, bishops,
abbot Abbot (from Aramaic: ''Abba'' "father") is an ecclesiastical title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic ...

abbot
s,
baron Baron is a rank of nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the ...

baron
s and
earl Earl () is a rank of the nobility in Britain. The title originates in the Old English word ''eorl'', meaning "a man of noble birth or rank". The word is cognate with the Scandinavia Scandinavia, Sami languages, Sami: ''Skadesi-suolu''/''S ...

earl
s, the pillars of the feudal system. This Great Council eventually evolved into the Parliament of England. When the Great Council system of consultation and consent broke down, it often became impossible for government to function effectively. The most prominent instances of this, before the reign of
Henry IIIHenry III may refer to: * Henry III, Duke of Bavaria (940–989) * Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor (1017–1056) * Henry III, Count of Louvain (died 1095) * Henry III, Count of Luxembourg (died 1096) * Henry III, Duke of Carinthia (1050–1122) * Henr ...

Henry III
, are the disagreements between
Thomas Becket Thomas Becket (), also known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas of London and later Thomas à Becket (21 December 1119 or 1120 – 29 December 1170), was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is venerated as ...

Thomas Becket
and
Henry II Henry II may refer to: Kings *Henry II of England (1133–89), reigned from 1154 *Henry II of Jerusalem and Cyprus (1271–1324), reigned from 1285; king of Jerusalem in name only from 1291 *Henry II of Castile (1334–79), reigned 1366–67 and ...

Henry II
and between
King John of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg, Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen re ...

King John
and the barons. Becket, who served as Archbishop of Canterbury between 1162 and 1170, was murdered after a long running dispute with Henry II over the jurisdiction of the Church. John, who was king from 1199 to 1216, aroused such hostility from many leading noblemen that they forced him to agree to
Magna Carta (Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a Royal charter, royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, Berkshire, Windsor, on ...

Magna Carta
in 1215. King John's refusal to adhere to this charter led to
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
. The term parliament (from French ''parlement'' or Latin ''parlamentum'') came into use during the early 13th century, when it shifted from the more general meaning of "an occasion for speaking." It first appears in official documents in the 1230s. As a result of the work by historians G. O. Sayles and H. G. Richardson, it is widely believed that the early parliaments had a judicial as well as a legislative function. During the 13th and 14th centuries, the kings increasingly called
Knights of the Shire A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the pope) or representative for service to the monarch, the christian denomination, church or the country, especially in a military capacity. Knighthoo ...
to meet when the monarch saw it as necessary. A notable example of this was in 1254 when
sheriff A sheriff is a government official, with varying duties, existing in some countries with historical ties to England where the office originated. There is an analogous although independently developed office in Iceland that is commonly translated ...

sheriff
s of counties were instructed to send Knights of the Shire to parliament to advise the king on
finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creation and management of money and investments. Savers and investors have money available which could ...
."A Brief Chronology of the House of Commons"
Factsheet G3, General Series, August 2010, House of Commons Information Office
Initially, parliaments were mostly summoned when the king needed to raise money through taxes. After Magna Carta, this became a convention. This was due in no small part to the fact that King John died in 1216 and was succeeded by his young son Henry III. Leading peers and
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
governed on Henry's behalf until he came of age, giving them a taste for power that they would prove unwilling to relinquish. Among other things, they made sure that Magna Carta would be reaffirmed by the young king.


Early days of Parliament – the reign of Henry III

Once Henry III took full control of the government, leading peers became increasingly concerned with his style of government, specifically his unwillingness to consult them on decisions he took, and his seeming patronisation of his foreign relatives over his native subjects. Henry's support of a disastrous papal invasion of
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
was the last straw. In 1258, seven leading barons forced Henry to swear to uphold the
Provisions of OxfordThe Provisions of Oxford were constitutional reforms developed in 1258 which resolved a dispute between the English barons and King Henry III of England Henry III (1 October 1207 – 16 November 1272), also known as Henry of Winchester, wa ...
, superseded, the following year, by the
Provisions of Westminster The Provisions of Westminster of 1259 were part of a series of legislative constitutional reforms that arose out of power struggles between Henry III of England and his barons. The King's failed campaigns in France in 1230 and 1242, and his choice ...
. This effectively abolished the absolutist Anglo-Norman monarchy, giving power to a council of fifteen barons, and providing for a thrice-yearly meeting of parliament to monitor the Monarch's performance. Parliament assembled six times between June 1258 and April 1262, most notably at
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London, southeast of Birmingham, and northeast of Bristol. The city is home to the Unive ...
in 1258. The French-born nobleman
Simon de Montfort Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester ( – 4 August 1265), later sometimes referred to as Simon V de Montfort to distinguish him from his namesake relatives, was a nobleman Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately b ...
,
Earl of Leicester Earl of Leicester is a title that has been created seven times. The first title was granted during the 12th century in the Peerage of England The Peerage of England comprises all peerages created in the Kingdom of England before the Act of ...
, emerged as the leader of this characteristically English rebellion. In the years that followed, those supporting Montfort and those supporting the king grew more hostile to each other. Henry obtained a
papal bull A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden Seal (emblem), seal (''bulla (seal), bulla'') that was traditionally appended to the end in order to auth ...
in 1263 exempting him from his oath and both sides began to raise armies. At the
Battle of Lewes The Battle of Lewes was one of two main battles of the conflict known as the Second Barons' War. It took place at Lewes in Sussex, on 14 May 1264. It marked the high point of the career of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, and made him ...
on 14 May 1264, Henry was defeated and taken prisoner by Montfort's army. However, many of the peers who had initially supported Montfort began to suspect that he had gone too far with his reforming zeal. His support amongst the nobility rapidly declined. So in 1264, Montfort summoned the first parliament in English history without any prior royal authorisation. The archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls and barons were summoned, as were two knights from each shire and two burgesses from each borough. Knights had been summoned to previous councils, but the representation of the boroughs was unprecedented. This was purely a move to consolidate Montfort's position as the legitimate governor of the kingdom, since he had captured Henry and his son Prince Edward (later
Edward I Edward I (17/18 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots ( la, Malleus Scotorum), was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England ...

Edward I
) at the Battle of Lewes. A parliament consisting of representatives of the realm was the logical way for Montfort to establish his authority. In calling this parliament, in a bid to gain popular support, he summoned knights and burgesses from the emerging
landed gentry The landed gentry, or the ''gentry'', is a largely historical British social class of landowners who could live entirely from rental income Renting, also known as hiring or letting, is an agreement where a payment is made for the temp ...
class, thus turning to his advantage the fact that most of the nobility had abandoned his movement. This parliament was summoned on 14 December 1264. It first met on 20 January 1265 in Westminster Hall and was dissolved on 15 February 1265. It is not certain who actually attended this parliament. Nonetheless, Montfort's scheme was later formally adopted by
Edward I Edward I (17/18 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots ( la, Malleus Scotorum), was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England ...

Edward I
in the so-called "
Model Parliament The Model Parliament is the term, attributed to Frederic William Maitland Frederic William Maitland (28 May 1850 – ) was an English historian and lawyer who is regarded as the modern father of English legal history. Early life and educat ...
" of 1295. The attendance at parliament of knights and burgesses historically became known as the summoning of "the Commons", a term derived from the Norman French word "commune", literally translated as the "community of the realm". After Edward's escape from captivity, Montfort was defeated and killed at the
Battle of Evesham The Battle of Evesham (4 August 1265) was one of the two main battles of 13th century England's Second Barons' War The Second Barons' War (1264–1267) was a civil war in Kingdom of England, England between the forces of a number of barons le ...
in 1265. Henry's authority was restored and the Provisions of Oxford were forgotten, but this was nonetheless a turning point in the history of the Parliament of England. Although he was not obliged by statute to do so, Henry summoned the Commons to parliament three times between September 1268 and April 1270. However, this was not a significant turning point in the history of parliamentary democracy. Very little is known about how representatives were selected because, at this time, being sent to parliament was not a prestigious undertaking. But Montfort's decision to summon knights of the shires and burgesses to his parliament did mark the irreversible emergence of the landed gentry as a force in politics. From then on, monarchs could not ignore them, which explains Henry's decision to summon the Commons to several of his post-1265 parliaments. Even though many peers who had supported the Provisions of Oxford remained active in English public life throughout Henry's reign, the conditions they had laid down for regular parliaments were largely forgotten, as if to symbolise the historical development of the English Parliament via convention rather than statutes and written constitutions.


Emergence as an institution

During the reign of
Edward I Edward I (17/18 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots ( la, Malleus Scotorum), was King of England This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England ...

Edward I
, which began in 1272, the role of Parliament in the government of the English kingdom increased due to Edward's determination to unite England, Wales and Scotland under his rule by force. He was also keen to unite his subjects in order to restore his authority and not face rebellion as was his father's fate. Edward therefore encouraged all sectors of society to submit petitions to parliament detailing their grievances in order for them to be resolved. This seemingly gave all of Edward's subjects a potential role in government and this helped Edward assert his authority. Both the
Statute of Westminster 1275 The Statute of Westminster of 1275 (3 Edw. I), also known as the Statute of Westminster I, codified the existing law in England, into 51 chapters. Only Chapter 5 (which mandates free elections) is still in force in the United Kingdom ...
and
Statute of Westminster 1285 A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare Public po ...
, with the assistance of
Robert Burnell Robert Burnell (sometimes spelled Robert Burnel;Harding ''England in the Thirteenth Century'' p. 159 1239 – 25 October 1292) was an English bishop who served as of England from 1274 to 1292. A native of , he served as a minor royal of ...
, codified the existing law in England. As the number of petitions being submitted to parliament increased, they came to be dealt with, and often ignored, more and more by ministers of the Crown so as not to block the passage of government business through parliament. However, the emergence of petitioning is significant because it is some of the earliest evidence of parliament being used as a forum to address the general grievances of ordinary people. Submitting a petition to parliament is a tradition that continues to this day in the Parliament of the United Kingdom and in most
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
realms. These developments symbolise the fact that parliament and government were by no means the same thing by this point. If monarchs were going to impose their will on their kingdom, they would have to control parliament rather than be subservient to it. From Edward's reign onwards, the authority of the English Parliament would depend on the strength or weakness of the incumbent monarch. When the king or queen was strong he or she would wield enough influence to pass their legislation through parliament without much trouble. Some strong monarchs even bypassed it completely, although this was not often possible in the case of financial legislation due to the post-Magna Carta convention of parliament granting taxes. When weak monarchs governed, parliament often became the centre of opposition against them. The composition of parliaments in this period varied depending on the decisions that needed to be taken in them. The nobility and senior clergy were always summoned. From 1265 onwards, when the monarch needed to raise money through taxes, it was usual for knights and burgesses to be summoned too. However, when the king was merely seeking advice, he often only summoned the nobility and the clergy, sometimes with and sometimes without the knights of the shires. On some occasions the Commons were summoned and sent home again once the monarch was finished with them, allowing parliament to continue without them. It was not until the mid-14th century that summoning representatives of the shires and the boroughs became the norm for all parliaments. One of the moments that marked the emergence of parliament as a true institution in England was the
deposition of Edward II The Parliament of 1327, which sat at the Palace of Westminster The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliame ...
in January 1327. Even though it is debatable whether
Edward II Edward II (25 April 1284 – 21 September 1327), also called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed in January 1327. The fourth son of Edward I, Edward became the heir apparent to the throne fo ...
was deposed ''in'' parliament or ''by'' parliament, this remarkable sequence of events consolidated the importance of parliament in the English unwritten constitution.
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...
was also crucial in establishing the legitimacy of the king who replaced Edward II: his son
Edward III Edward III (13 November 1312 – 21 June 1377), also known as Edward of Windsor before his accession, was King of England and Lord of Ireland from January 1327 until his death in 1377. He is noted for his military success and for restoring roy ...

Edward III
.


Formal separation of Lords and Commons

In 1341 the Commons met separately from the nobility and clergy for the first time, creating what was effectively an Upper Chamber and a Lower Chamber, with the knights and burgesses sitting in the latter. This Upper Chamber became known as the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
from 1544 onward, and the Lower Chamber became known as the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporat ...
, collectively known as the
Houses of Parliament The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parliame ...

Houses of Parliament
. The authority of parliament grew under Edward III; it was established that no law could be made, nor any tax levied, without the consent of both Houses and the Sovereign. This development occurred during the reign of Edward III because he was involved in the
Hundred Years' War The Hundred Years’ War (french: link=yes, La guerre de Cent Ans; 1337–1453) was a series of armed conflicts between the kingdoms of and during the . It originated from disputed claims to the between the English and the French roy ...
and needed finances. During his conduct of the war, Edward tried to circumvent parliament as much as possible, which caused this edict to be passed. The Commons came to act with increasing boldness during this period. During the Good Parliament (1376), the Presiding Officer of the lower chamber, Sir
Peter de la Mare Sir Peter de la Mare (died after 1387) was an English politician and Speaker of the House of Commons during the Good Parliament of 1376. Family His parents were probably Sir Reginald de la Mare (died before 1358), of Yatton and Little Here ...
, complained of heavy taxes, demanded an accounting of the royal expenditures, and criticised the king's management of the military. The Commons even proceeded to
impeach Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body or other legally constituted tribunal initiates charges against a public official for misconduct. Impeachment may be understood as a unique process involving both political Politics ...
some of the king's ministers. The bold Speaker was imprisoned, but was soon released after the death of Edward III. During the reign of the next monarch,
Richard II Richard II (6 January 1367 – c. 14 February 1400), also known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Al ...

Richard II
, the Commons once again began to impeach errant ministers of the Crown. They insisted that they could not only control taxation, but also public expenditure. Despite such gains in authority, however, the Commons still remained much less powerful than the House of Lords and the Crown. This period also saw the introduction of a
franchise Franchise may refer to: Business and law * Franchising, a business method that involves licensing of trademarks and methods of doing business to franchisees * Franchise, a privilege to operate a type of business such as a cable television pro ...

franchise
which limited the number of people who could vote in elections for the House of Commons. From 1430 onwards, the franchise was limited to
Forty Shilling Freeholders Forty-shilling freeholders were those who had the parliamentary franchise to vote by virtue of possessing freehold property, or lands held directly of the king, of an annual rent of at least forty shilling The shilling is a historical coin ...
, that is men who owned freehold property worth forty shillings or more. The Parliament of England legislated the new uniform county franchise, in the statute 8 Hen. 6, c. 7. The ''Chronological Table of the Statutes'' does not mention such a 1430 law, as it was included in the Consolidated Statutes as a recital in the Electors of Knights of the Shire Act 1432 (10 Hen. 6, c. 2), which amended and re-enacted the 1430 law to make clear that the resident of a county had to have a forty shilling freehold in that county to be a voter there.


King, Lords and Commons

During the reign of the Tudor monarchs the modern structure of the English Parliament began to be created. The Tudor monarchy was powerful, and there were often periods of several years when parliament did not sit at all. However, the Tudor monarchs realised that they needed parliament to legitimise many of their decisions, mostly out of a need to raise money through taxation legitimately without causing discontent. Thus they consolidated the state of affairs whereby monarchs would call and close parliament as and when they needed it. By the time Henry Tudor (
Henry VIIHenry VII may refer to: * Henry VII of England (1457–1509), King of England and Lord of Ireland from 1485 until his death in 1509; the founder of the House of Tudor * Henry VII, Duke of Bavaria (died 1047), count of Luxembourg (as Henry II) from 1 ...
) came to the throne in 1485 the monarch was not a member of either the Upper Chamber or the Lower Chamber. Consequently, the monarch would have to make his or her feelings known to Parliament through his or her supporters in both houses. Proceedings were regulated by the presiding officer in either chamber. From the 1540s the presiding officer in the House of Commons became formally known as the "
Speaker Speaker may refer to: Roles * Speaker (politics), the presiding officer in a legislative assembly * Public speaker, one who gives a speech or lecture * A person producing speech, sometimes also called a speaker-hearer Electronics * Loudspeaker, a ...
", having previously been referred to as the "prolocutor" or "parlour" (a semi-official position, often nominated by the monarch, that had existed ever since
Peter de Montfort Peter de Montfort (or Piers de Montfort) (c. 1205 – 4 August 1265) of Beaudesert Castle Beaudesert Castle was on a high mound overlooking the village of Beaudesert to the east of Henley-in-Arden Henley-in-Arden (also known as simply Henley) ...
had acted as the presiding officer of the Oxford Parliament of 1258). This was not an enviable job. When the House of Commons was unhappy it was the Speaker who had to deliver this news to the monarch. This began the tradition whereby the Speaker of the House of Commons is dragged to the Speaker's Chair by other members once elected. A member of either chamber could present a "bill" to parliament. Bills supported by the monarch were often proposed by members of the
Privy Council A privy council is a body that advises the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of state He or HE may refer to: ...
who sat in parliament. In order for a bill to become law it would have to be approved by a majority of both Houses of Parliament before it passed to the monarch for royal assent or
veto A veto (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Re ...
. The royal veto was applied several times during the 16th and 17th centuries and it is still the right of the monarch of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms to veto legislation today, although it has not been exercised since 1707 (today such an exercise might precipitate some form of
constitutional crisis In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such a ...
). When a bill was enacted into law, this process gave it the approval of each estate of the realm: the King, Lords and Commons. The Parliament of England was far from being a democratically representative institution in this period. It was possible to assemble the entire peerage and senior clergy of the realm in one place to form the estate of the Upper Chamber. The voting franchise for the House of Commons was small; some historians estimate that it was as little as three per cent of the adult male population; and there was no secret ballot. This meant that elections could be controlled by local
grandee Grandee (; es, Grande de España, ) is an official aristocratic title conferred on some Spanish nobility Spanish nobles are persons who possess the legal status of hereditary nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked imme ...
s, because in many boroughs a majority of voters were in some way dependent on a powerful individual, or else could be bought by money or concessions. If these grandees were supporters of the incumbent monarch, this gave the Crown and its ministers considerable influence over the business of parliament. Many of the men elected to parliament did not relish the prospect of having to act in the interests of others. So a law was enacted, still on the statute book today, whereby it became unlawful for members of the House of Commons to resign their seat unless they were granted a position directly within the patronage of the monarchy (today this latter restriction leads to a
legal fiction A legal fiction is a fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In everyday language, truth i ...
allowing ''de facto'' resignation despite the prohibition, but nevertheless it is a resignation which needs the permission of the Crown). However, it must be emphasised that while several elections to parliament in this period were in some way corrupt by modern standards, many elections involved genuine contests between rival candidates, even though the ballot was not secret.


Establishment of permanent seat

It was in this period that the
Palace of Westminster The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Towns ...

Palace of Westminster
was established as the seat of the English Parliament. In 1548, the House of Commons was granted a regular meeting place by the Crown,
St Stephen's Chapel St Stephen's Chapel, sometimes called the Royal Chapel of St Stephen, was a chapel in the old Palace of Westminster The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons an ...
. This had been a royal chapel. It was made into a debating chamber after
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for Wives of Henry VIII, his six marriages, including his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon ...

Henry VIII
became the last monarch to use the Palace of Westminster as a place of residence and after the suppression of the college there. This room was the home of the House of Commons until it was destroyed by fire in 1834, although the interior was altered several times up until then. The structure of this room was pivotal in the development of the Parliament of England. While most modern legislatures sit in a circular chamber, the benches of the British Houses of Parliament are laid out in the form of choir stalls in a chapel, simply because this is the part of the original room that the members of the House of Commons used when they were granted use of St Stephen's Chapel. This structure took on a new significance with the emergence of political parties in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, as the tradition began whereby the members of the governing party would sit on the benches to the right of the Speaker and the opposition members on the benches to the left. It is said that the Speaker's chair was placed in front of the chapel's altar. As Members came and went they observed the custom of bowing to the altar and continued to do so, even when it had been taken away, thus then bowing to the Chair, as is still the custom today. The numbers of the
Lords Spiritual The Lords Spiritual of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United ...
diminished under Henry VIII, who commanded the
Dissolution of the Monasteries#REDIRECT Dissolution of the monasteries {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, thereby depriving the abbots and priors of their seats in the Upper House. For the first time, the
Lords Temporal The Lords Temporal are secular members of the House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of ...
were more numerous than the Lords Spiritual. Currently, the Lords Spiritual consist of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester, and twenty-one other English diocesan bishops in seniority of appointment to a diocese. The
Laws in Wales Acts The Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 ( cy, Y Deddfau Cyfreithiau yng Nghymru 1535 a 1542) were parliamentary measures by which Wales was annexed to the Kingdom of England, the legal system of England was extended to Wales and the norms of English ...
of 1535–42 annexed
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A country may be an independent sovereign ...

Wales
as part of England and this brought Welsh representatives into the Parliament of England, first elected in 1542.


Rebellion and revolution

Parliament had not always submitted to the wishes of the Tudor monarchs. But parliamentary criticism of the monarchy reached new levels in the 17th century. When the last Tudor monarch, Elizabeth I, died in 1603, King James VI of Scotland came to power as King James I, founding the Stuart monarchy. In 1628, alarmed by the arbitrary exercise of royal power, the House of Commons submitted to
Charles ICharles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of French and German kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of Hungary (1288 ...

Charles I
the
Petition of Right The Petition of Right, passed on 7 June 1628, is an English constitutional document setting out specific individual protections against the state, reportedly of equal value to Magna Carta ( Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freed ...

Petition of Right
, demanding the restoration of their liberties. Though he accepted the petition, Charles later dissolved parliament and ruled without them for eleven years. It was only after the financial disaster of the Scottish
Bishops' Wars The 1639 and 1640 Bishops' Wars were the first of the conflicts known collectively as the 1638 to 1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which took place in Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland, Kingdom of England, England and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland. ...
(1639–1640) that he was forced to recall Parliament so that they could authorise new taxes. This resulted in the calling of the assemblies known historically as the
Short Parliament The Short Parliament was a Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing o ...
of 1640 and the
Long Parliament The Long Parliament was an English Parliament The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of ...
, which sat with several breaks and in various forms between 1640 and 1660. The Long Parliament was characterised by the growing number of critics of the king who sat in it. The most prominent of these critics in the House of Commons was
John Pym John Pym (20 May 1584 – 8 December 1643) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval Engl ...

John Pym
. Tensions between the king and his parliament reached a boiling point in January 1642 when Charles entered the House of Commons and tried, unsuccessfully, to arrest Pym and four other members for their alleged treason. The
Five Members The Five Members were Members of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, ...
had been tipped off about this, and by the time Charles came into the chamber with a group of soldiers they had disappeared. Charles was further humiliated when he asked the Speaker,
William Lenthall William Lenthall (1591–1662) was an English politician of the Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one ...

William Lenthall
, to give their whereabouts, which Lenthall famously refused to do. From then on relations between the king and his parliament deteriorated further. When trouble started to brew in Ireland, both Charles and his parliament raised armies to quell the uprisings by native Catholics there. It was not long before it was clear that these forces would end up fighting each other, leading to the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same state or country A country is a distinct territory, ...
which began with the
Battle of Edgehill The Battle of Edgehill (or Edge Hill) was a pitched battle of the First English Civil War. It was fought near Edge Hill, Warwickshire, Edge Hill and Kineton in southern Warwickshire on Sunday, 23 October 1642. All attempts at constitutiona ...
in October 1642: those supporting the cause of parliament were called Parliamentarians (or
Roundheads Roundheads were the supporters of the Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society ...
), and those in support of the Crown were called Royalists (or
Cavalier Cavalier () was first used by Roundhead Roundheads were the supporters of the Parliament of England during the English Civil War (1642–1651). Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I of England and his supporte ...

Cavalier
s). Battles between Crown and Parliament continued throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, but parliament was no longer subservient to the English monarchy. This change was symbolised in the execution of
Charles ICharles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of French and German kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of Hungary (1288 ...

Charles I
in January 1649. In
Pride's Purge Pride's Purge is the name commonly given to an event that took place on 6 December 1648, when soldiers prevented members of Parliament considered hostile to the New Model Army from entering the House of Commons of England. Despite defeat in the ...
of December 1648, the
New Model Army The New Model Army was a standing army formed in 1645 by the Roundhead, Parliamentarians during the First English Civil War, then disbanded after the Stuart Restoration in 1660. It differed from other armies employed in the 1638 to 1651 Wars ...
(which by then had emerged as the leading force in the parliamentary alliance) purged Parliament of members that did not support them. The remaining "
Rump Parliament The Rump Parliament was the English Parliament The Parliament of England was the legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gath ...

Rump Parliament
", as it was later referred to by critics, enacted legislation to put the king on trial for treason. This trial, the outcome of which was a foregone conclusion, led to the execution of the king and the start of an 11-year republic. The House of Lords was abolished and the purged House of Commons governed England until April 1653, when army chief
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
dissolved it after disagreements over religious policy and how to carry out elections to parliament. Cromwell later convened a parliament of religious radicals in 1653, commonly known as
Barebone's Parliament Barebone's Parliament, also known as the Little Parliament, the Nominated Assembly and the Parliament of Saints, came into being on 4 July 1653, and was the last attempt of the English Commonwealth to find a stable political form before the ins ...
, followed by the unicameral
First Protectorate Parliament The First Protectorate Parliament was summoned by the Lord Protector Lord Protector (plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical c ...
that sat from September 1654 to January 1655 and the
Second Protectorate Parliament The Second Protectorate Parliament in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of ...
that sat in two sessions between 1656 and 1658, the first session was unicameral and the second session was bicameral. Although it is easy to dismiss the English Republic of 1649–60 as nothing more than a Cromwellian military dictatorship, the events that took place in this decade were hugely important in determining the future of parliament. First, it was during the sitting of the first Rump Parliament that members of the House of Commons became known as "MPs" (Members of Parliament). Second, Cromwell gave a huge degree of freedom to his parliaments, although royalists were barred from sitting in all but a handful of cases. Cromwell's vision of parliament appears to have been largely based on the example of the Elizabethan parliaments. However, he underestimated the extent to which Elizabeth I and her ministers had directly and indirectly influenced the decision-making process of her parliaments. He was thus always surprised when they became troublesome. He ended up dissolving each parliament that he convened. Yet it is worth noting that the structure of the second session of the Second Protectorate Parliament of 1658 was almost identical to the parliamentary structure consolidated in the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
Settlement of 1689. In 1653 Cromwell had been made head of state with the title Lord Protector of the Realm. The Second Protectorate Parliament offered him the crown. Cromwell rejected this offer, but the governmental structure embodied in the final version of the
Humble Petition and Advice The Humble Petition and Advice was the second and last codified constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organizat ...
was a basis for all future parliaments. It proposed an elected House of Commons as the Lower Chamber, a House of Lords containing peers of the realm as the Upper Chamber. A constitutional monarchy, subservient to parliament and the laws of the nation, would act as the executive arm of the state at the top of the tree, assisted in carrying out their duties by a Privy Council. Oliver Cromwell had thus inadvertently presided over the creation of a basis for the future parliamentary government of England. In 1657 he had the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereig ...
(temporarily) unified with the English Parliament. In terms of the evolution of parliament as an institution, by far the most important development during the republic was the sitting of the Rump Parliament between 1649 and 1653. This proved that parliament could survive without a monarchy and a House of Lords if it wanted to. Future English monarchs would never forget this. Charles I was the last English monarch ever to enter the House of Commons. Even to this day, a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom is sent to
Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace () is the London London is the and of and the . It stands on the in south-east England at the head of a down to the , and has been a major settlement for two millennia. The , its ancient core and financial ce ...

Buckingham Palace
as a ceremonial hostage during the
State Opening of Parliament#REDIRECT State Opening of Parliament The State Opening of Parliament is an event which formally marks the beginning of a session of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty ...
, in order to ensure the safe return of the sovereign from a potentially hostile parliament. During the ceremony the monarch sits on the throne in the House of Lords and signals for the
Lord Great Chamberlain The Lord Great Chamberlain of England is the sixth of the Great Officers of State (United Kingdom), Great Officers of State, ranking beneath the Lord Privy Seal and above the Lord High Constable of England, Lord High Constable. The Lord Great Ch ...
to summon the House of Commons to the Lords Chamber. The Lord Great Chamberlain then raises his wand of office to signal to the
Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod Black Rod (officially known as the Lady Usher of the Black Rod or, if male, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod) is an official in the parliaments of several Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth countries. The position originates in the House ...
, who has been waiting in the central lobby. Black Rod turns and, escorted by the doorkeeper of the House of Lords and an inspector of police, approaches the doors to the chamber of the Commons. The doors are slammed in his face—symbolising the right of the Commons to debate without the presence of the Queen's representative. He then strikes three times with his staff (the Black Rod), and he is admitted.


Parliament from the Restoration to the Act of Settlement

The revolutionary events that occurred between 1620 and 1689 all took place in the name of parliament. The new status of parliament as the central governmental organ of the English state was consolidated during the events surrounding the
Restoration Restoration is the act of restoring something to its original state and may refer to: * Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage * Restoration style Film and television * ''The Restoration'' (1909 film), a film by D.W. Griffith starr ...
of the monarchy in 1660. After the death of Oliver Cromwell in September 1658, his son
Richard Cromwell Richard Cromwell (4 October 162612 July 1712) was an English statesman who was the latter Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland and son of the first Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. On his father's death, Richa ...
succeeded him as Lord Protector, summoning the
Third Protectorate Parliament The Third Protectorate Parliament sat for one session, from 27 January 1659 until 22 April 1659, with Chaloner Chute and Thomas Bampfylde as the Speakers of the House of Commons. It was a bicameral Parliament, with an Upper House having a powe ...
in the process. When this parliament was dissolved under pressure from the army in April 1659, the Rump Parliament was recalled at the insistence of the surviving army grandees. This in turn was dissolved in a coup led by army general
John LambertJohn Lambert may refer to: *John Lambert (martyr) (died 1538), English Protestant martyred during the reign of Henry VIII *John Lambert (general) (1619–1684), Parliamentary general in the English Civil War *John Lambert of Creg Clare (''fl.'' c. 1 ...
, leading to the formation of the Committee of Safety, dominated by Lambert and his supporters. When the breakaway forces of
George Monck George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle, KG (6 December 1608 – 3 January 1670) was an English soldier and politician, and a key figure on both sides of the English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and pol ...

George Monck
invaded England from Scotland, where they had been stationed without Lambert's supporters putting up a fight, Monck temporarily recalled the Rump Parliament and reversed
Pride's Purge Pride's Purge is the name commonly given to an event that took place on 6 December 1648, when soldiers prevented members of Parliament considered hostile to the New Model Army from entering the House of Commons of England. Despite defeat in the ...
by recalling the entirety of the Long Parliament. They then voted to dissolve themselves and call new elections, which were arguably the most democratic for 20 years although the franchise was still very small. This led to the calling of the Convention Parliament which was dominated by royalists. This parliament voted to reinstate the monarchy and the House of Lords. returned to England as king in May 1660. The Anglo-Scottish parliamentary union that Cromwell had established was dissolved in 1661 when the Scottish Parliament resumed its separate meeting place in Edinburgh. The Restoration began the tradition whereby all governments looked to parliament for legitimacy. In 1681 Charles II dissolved parliament and ruled without them for the last four years of his reign. This followed bitter disagreements between the king and parliament that had occurred between 1679 and 1681. Charles took a big gamble by doing this. He risked the possibility of a military showdown akin to that of 1642. However, he rightly predicted that the nation did not want another civil war. Parliament disbanded without a fight. Events that followed ensured that this would be nothing but a temporary blip. Charles II died in 1685 and he was succeeded by his brother
James II James II and VII (14 October 1633Old Style and New Style dates, O.S.16 September 1701An assertion found in many sources that James died 6 September 1701 (17 September 1701 New Style) may result from a miscalculation done by an author of anonymou ...

James II
. During his lifetime Charles had always pledged loyalty to the Protestant Church of England, despite his private Catholic sympathies. James was openly Catholic. He attempted to lift restrictions on Catholics taking up public offices. This was bitterly opposed by Protestants in his kingdom. They invited , a Protestant who had married Mary, daughter of James II and
Anne Hyde Anne Hyde (12 March 163731 March 1671) was Duchess of York and Albany as the first wife of James, Duke of York (later King James II). Anne was the daughter of a commoner – Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, Edward Hyde (later created Ear ...

Anne Hyde
to invade England and claim the throne. William assembled an army estimated at 15,000 soldiers (11,000 foot and 4000 horse) and landed at
Brixham Brixham is a fishing town and civil parish In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government. It is a territorial designation which is the lowest tier of local government below districts and counti ...

Brixham
in southwest England in November, 1688. When many Protestant officers, including James's close adviser,
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough General A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate on Littoral Zone, littoral ...

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
, defected from the English army to William's invasion force, James fled the country. Parliament then offered the Crown to his Protestant daughter
Mary Mary may refer to: People * Mary (name) Mary is a feminine Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women and girls. Although femininity is socially constru ...

Mary
, instead of his infant son (
James Francis Edward Stuart James Francis Edward Stuart (10 June 16881 January 1766), nicknamed the Old by , was the son of King of , and , and his second wife, . He was from July 1688 until, just months after his birth, his father was deposed and exiled i ...
), who was baptised Catholic. Mary refused the offer, and instead William and Mary ruled jointly, with both having the right to rule alone on the other's death. As part of the compromise in allowing William to be King—called the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
—Parliament was able to have the 1689
Bill of Rights A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights to the citizens of a country. The purpose is to protect those rights against Civil and political rights, infringement fr ...
enacted. Later the 1701
Act of Settlement The Act of Settlement is an Acts of the Parliament of England, Act of the Parliament of England that was passed in 1701 to settle the order of succession, succession to the List of English monarchs, English and List of Irish monarchs, Irish cro ...
was approved. These were statutes that lawfully upheld the prominence of parliament for the first time in English history. These events marked the beginning of the English constitutional monarchy and its role as one of the three elements of parliament.


Union: the Parliament of Great Britain

After the
Treaty of Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other L ...

Treaty of Union
in 1707, Acts of Parliament passed in the Parliament of England and the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereig ...
created a new
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
and dissolved both parliaments, replacing them with a new
Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Britain and Ireland * Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, passed during the reign of King Henry VIII to m ...
based in the former home of the English parliament. The Parliament of Great Britain later became the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kin ...
in 1801 when the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some f ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
was formed through the
Acts of Union 1800 The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union 17 ...
.


Places where Parliament has been held other than London

*
York York is a cathedral city City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the monarch of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United ...

York
, various * Lincoln, various *
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...
, 1258 (Oxford Parliament (1258), Mad Parliament), 1681 *Kenilworth, 1266 *Acton Burnell Castle, 1283Virtual Shropshire
*Shrewsbury, 1283 (trial of Dafydd ap Gruffydd), 1397 (Great Parliament (1397), 'Great' Parliament) *Carlisle, Cumbria, Carlisle, 1307 *Oswestry Castle, 1398 *Northampton 1328 *New Sarum (Salisbury), 1330 *Winchester, 1332, 1449 *Leicester, 1414 (Fire and Faggot Parliament), 1426 (Parliament of Bats) *Reading Abbey, 1453 *Coventry, 1459 (Parliament of Devils)


Representation on the English Parliament outside the British Isles

Two European cities, both annexed from and later ceded to the Kingdom of France were represented in the Parliament as Borough constituency, borough constituencies while they were English possessions: *Calais (constituency), Calais, between 1372 and 1558 *Tournai (constituency), Tournai between 1513 and 1519 (now in Belgium)


See also

*History of democracy *History of local government in England *List of Parliaments of England *List of Acts of the Parliament of England to 1483 *List of Acts of the Parliament of England, 1485–1601 *List of Acts of the Parliament of England, 1603–1641 *
Witenagemot 300px, Anglo-Saxon king with his witan. Biblical scene in the Illustrated Old English Hexateuch (11th century), portraying Pharaoh in court session, after passing judgment on his chief baker and chief cupbearer. The Witenaġemot (; ang, witena ...
*Magnum Concilium


References


Sources

*Blackstone, Sir William. (1765). ''Commentaries on the Laws of England.'' Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Davies, M. (2003). ''Companion to the Standing Orders and guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords,'' 19th ed.
*Farnborough, Thomas Erskine, 1st Baron. (1896). ''Constitutional History of England since the Accession of George the Third,'' 11th ed
vol 1 onlinevol 2 online
*John Maddicott, Maddicott, John. ''The Origins of the English Parliament, 924–1327''. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2010. . ** Paul Brand. "Review of Maddicott, John Robert, _The Origins of the English Parliament, 924-1327_." in H-Albion, H-Net Reviews. September, 2011
online
* Sayles, G. O. ''The King's Parliament of England'' (1974), brief survey *"Parliament." (1911). ''Encyclopædia Britannica,'' 11th ed. London: Cambridge University Press.


External links


Birth of the English Parliament.
UK Parliament

British Library

National Archives * {{DEFAULTSORT:Parliament of England Parliament of England, 1707 disestablishments in Great Britain Defunct bicameral legislatures, England Historical legislatures Westminster system parliaments, England