16th February 1275. Early Writs to Parliament.

Edward 1st in his 35 years reign (1272-1307), held 46 parliaments, usually about two a year, and from 1278 official records were written (and sewn by string) in long scrolls-the Rolls of Parliament.

The first parliament, which was unicameral (one chamber), was in 1275 and summoned [by writs], for the ‘Quinzaine (1) of the Purification’ was held Today in 1275, but prorogued until the day after Easter in April, and set to be held at Westminster. 

The main concern of the parliament was to consider the 1st Statute of Westminster, drafted by his Lord Chancellor, which had codified existing laws.(2)

In the autumn 1283 Parliament was to meet at Acton Burnell, the manor of Edward’s rich Lord Chancellor Robert Burnell who as well as being Bishop of Bath and Wells, held many other preferments, along with eighty-two manors in nineteen counties.

Gentry, Merchants and Clergy who constituted the Commons. The Clergy stopped attending the Lower House in the early 14thc.

Gentry, Merchants and Clergy which constituted the Commons. The Clergy stopped attending the Lower House in the early 14thc.

In October 1290 parliament met at a hunting lodge at Clipstone, Nottinghamshire, and in 1292 at Berwick when the king was campaigning against the Scots.

However as time went on Westminster was to become dominant as the centre of parliamentary activity.

The year 1295 saw the ‘Model Parliament’ called by Edward, when apart from the barons, 2 borough burghers, and 2 knights from the shires had writs to attend for the first time.

This Parliament proved to be a ‘model’ for subsequent parliaments which was summoned to levy taxes to fight the Scots and the French and to counter Welsh insurgency.(3)

The Assembly also proved to be a ‘model’ for a quid pro quo of stating any grievances the barons might have against the monarch.

A precedence was also established that successors of barons, which included the Lord Spiritual had hereditary rights of parliamentary attendance, a right only abandoned in the 20th century!(4)

It wasn’t until the 1341 Parliaments under Edward III that we see the burgesses and knights of the shires, the Commons, beginning to meet separately from the barons, in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey.

The barons now met at the White Chamber at Westminster Hall. It wasn’t until the 15th century that we see both Houses meet at St.Stephen’s Hall, Westminster.

(1) Quinzaine was the 15th day after a feast day, here the Purification of the Virgin Mary, wa and inclusive of end days.

(2) Drawn up in Norman French. The number of Lords in those days would be about was 50 and 300 Commons in a unicameral parliament.

(3) Called The Model by F.W. Maitland. Called on 13th November 1295.

(4) This right was not formalized until 1387.

Ref: parliament.uk.origins of parliament.

Ref: wikipedia.org/parliaments of Edward I.

Ref: Maurice Powicke, Medieval England 1066-1485. P.96-7. OUP 1969.

Ref: bbc.co.uk/birthofparliament.Pic. Ref.


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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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