Model Parliament is the term, attributed to Frederic William
Maitland, used for the 1295
Parliament of England
Parliament of England of King Edward I.
This assembly included members of the clergy and the aristocracy, as
well as representatives from the various counties and boroughs. Each
county returned two knights, two burgesses were elected from each
borough, and each city provided two citizens. This composition became
the model for later parliaments, hence the name.
A similar scheme had been used in summoning Simon de Montfort's
Parliament in 1265. That Parliament, however, had been called by Simon
de Montfort in the midst of the
Second Barons' War
Second Barons' War against Henry III
of England; that the same scheme should be adopted by a king (Henry's
son and heir, who had quelled Montfort's uprising) was remarkable.
Edward I summoned the parliament on 13 November 1295. In calling the
parliament, Edward proclaimed in his writ of summons, "what touches
all, should be approved of all, and it is also clear that common
dangers should be met by measures agreed upon in common." At the
time, Parliament's legislative authority was limited and its primary
role was to levy taxes. Edward's paramount goal in summoning the
parliament was to raise funds for his wars, specifically planned
campaigns against the French and the Scots for the upcoming year, and
countering an insurgency in Wales. This "sound finance" by taxation
was a goal of summoning the parliament, but it was tied into "counsel"
to the king and "the element of service" for feudalism.
However, the resulting parliament became a model for a new function as
well: the addressing of grievances with the king. "The elected members
were far more anxious to establish the second function: to discuss
grievances. A kind of quid pro quo was looked for: money for the
Scottish campaign of 1296 would be forthcoming if certain grievances
were addressed. This consciousness was growing, even if all was still
in an embryonic state." The concept of "Parliament" was, in fact,
such that the division into House of Commons and
House of Lords
House of Lords had
not yet taken place; the
Model Parliament was unicameral, summoning 49
lords to sit with 292 representatives of the Commons.
Model Parliament created a precedent, whereby each "successor of a
baron" (which includes Lords Spiritual) who received a writ to the
parliament of 1295 "had a legal right to receive a writ." However,
that strictly hereditary right was not recognised formally until
Parliament of England
Provisions of Oxford and Provisions of Westminster
List of Parliaments of England
^ a b c d Powicke, Maurice, Medieval England: 1066-1485, pp. 96-97
(London: Oxford University Press paperback edition 1969).
^ "Edward I," Encyclopædia Britannica (1911).
^ Michael L. Nash, "Crown, Woolsack and Mace: the model Parliament of
1295." Contemporary Review, November 1995.
^ Nash mentions these figures in discussing separate houses, but the
Parliament website "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original
(PDF) on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-01. indicates that
the Commons did not deliberate apart until 1341. This article accepts
the Parliament's version.
Parliament of UK documents
Michael L. Nash, "Crown, Woolsack and Mace: the model Parliament of
1295." Contemporary Review, No