61. PARLIAMENT ROLLS OF EDWARD III

(A) Parliament of 1330

These are the treasons, felonies, and wrongs done to our lord the king and to his people by Roger de Mortimer and others of his following.[1]...

Accordingly, for the reasons aforesaid, and for many other reasons which may not all be set forth at present, our said lord the king, by the advice and aid of his privy and intimate councillors, had the said Roger taken in such fashion as he has often described to you. So our said lord the king charges you, earls and barons, the peers of the realm, that, with regard to these matters vitally affecting him and you and all the people of his kingdom, you render for the said Roger such right and lawful judgment as should be incurred by a man of this sort, who, as he believes, is truly guilty of all the crimes set forth above; and [he charges you] that the said matters are notorious and known to be true to you and all the people of the kingdom.

The which earls, barons, and peers, having examined the articles, returned to the king's presence in the same parliament and all declared through one of the peers [as spokesman] that all the matters contained in the said articles were notorious, being known to them and to the people, and especially the article touching the death of Sire Edward, father of our lord the present king. Wherefore, as judges of parliament, the said earls, barons, and peers, by the assent of the king in the same parliament, awarded and adjudged that the said Roger, as a traitor and enemy to the king and to the kingdom, should be drawn[2] and hanged. And thereupon the earl marshal was commanded to carry out the execution of the said judgment; and the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs of London, also the constable of the Tower and those who had [the prisoner] in custody, [were ordered] to be of assistance to the said earl marshal in carrying out the said execution.

Which execution was carried out and performed on Thursday next after the first day of parliament, namely, November 29....

In the same parliament summoned at Westminster Sir Eblé Lestrange and Alice[3] his wife presented a petition in these words: —

To our lord the king and his council Eblé Lestrange and Alice his wife set forth that all the lands which he held of the inheritance of the said Alice, after the death of Thomas, one time earl of Lancaster ... , were taken into the hands of the king, father of our lord the present king, and kept in his hands.... Wherefore they pray our lord the king that, for the salvation of his father's soul and for that of his own [soul], he will call before him his good council and the good and loyal men who were then in the council of his said father, and will examine them with regard to the matters aforesaid ...; and then that of his especial grace he will act toward them as may be his pleasure and as his good conscience may decide for him.

After the petition had been read and heard before our lord the king and the prelates, earls, barons, and other lords[4] of the same parliament, whereas it was testified by some of the said lords, trustworthy men, that the said Alice had then been subjected to such arbitrary will and severity ...: our lord the king, having regard for good faith and conscience, with the assent of the said prelates, earls, barons, and other lords of the same parliament, granted to the said Sir Eblé and Alice, in order to constitute an estate for them, the lands which were still in their hands, to the value of 500m., and lands of the same inheritance which were then in the king's hands, to the value of 700m., to be had and held in fee forever ... by the aforesaid Sir Eblé and Alice, and by the heirs of the said Sir Eblé, of our lord the king and his heirs, and of the other chief lords of the fief, for the services due and accustomed.... And thereupon our lord the king commanded the bishop of Winchester, his chancellor, to put into execution that which had thus been granted and agreed on....

Item, in the same parliament summoned at Westminster Sir John of Clavering presented a petition in these words....

After which petition had been read and heard before the council in the said parliament, whereas the lords and the other discreet men of the same [parliament] could not then agree on making a final disposition of that [case]; it was responded that this same petition and all the other petitions presented to the same parliament, together with the inquests returned in the chancery by the escheator ... and with all the other certifications and memoranda of the exchequer touching the said matter, should be remanded to the chancery, and that the chancellor, having summoned thither the discreet men of the king's council, should administer justice in the matter....

(French) Rotuli Parliamentorum, II, 52-53, 57, 59.

(B) Parliament of 1332

These are the memoranda of the actions taken in the parliament summoned at Westminster on Wednesday, the morrow of the Nativity of Our Lady, in the sixth year of the reign of Edward III after the Conquest: —

... On which Thursday they held a discussion and deliberation: that is to say, the said prelates by themselves; and the said earls, barons, and other lords by themselves; and also the knights of the shires by themselves.[5] ... And they advised for the sake of improvement[6] that our lord the king should remain in England and should betake himself toward the parts of the north, and that he should have with him discreet and forceful men for the salvation of the said kingdom and of his people, in case the men of Scotland or others should wish to invade it for the purpose of evil-doing. And they also advised that the king should send discreet and forceful men to the parts of Ireland, as well as money, to assist his lieges there. And whereas our lord the king could not carry out these matters except by the aid of his people, the said prelates, earls, barons, and other lords, as well as the knights of the shires and all the commons[7] — in order to carry out the said projects, and in order that our lord the king could live of his own and pay his expenses without burdening his people through outrageous prises or otherwise — of their free will granted to our lord the king a fifteenth, to be levied from the community,[8] and a tenth, to be levied from the cities, boroughs, and demesnes of the king. And our lord the king, at the request of the said prelates, earls, barons, and knights of the shires, for the relief of his said people, granted that the commissions recently issued for those appointed to assess a tallage in the said cities, boroughs, and demesnes throughout England should for the present be entirely repealed; and that for this purpose writs should be sent out in due form; and that in the future he would not have such tallage assessed except as had been done in the time of his ancestors and as he rightfully should.[9 ]

(French) Ibid., II, 66.

(C) Parliament of 1339[10]

Memoranda of the parliament held at Westminster on the quinzime of St. Michael, in the thirteenth year of our lord the king's reign: —

In the first place a general proclamation was made in the great hall of Westminster according to the following form....[11]

And then the reasons for the summons of this parliament were set forth and explained to the lords and to the commons, so that in this connection their counsel and advice might be obtained in the best manner possible. And three reasons were expounded, of which the first was that every one, whether great or small, ought to take up with himself the best way in which peace could and should be more securely preserved within the kingdom. The second reason was how the march of Scotland and the lands to the north could best be guarded and defended against the Scottish enemies. The third reason was how the sea could be guarded against enemies, so that they should do no damage and should not enter the kingdom to destroy it....

And after that exposition[12] had been made, everybody, both great and small, was of the opinion that in this necessity [the king] would have to be aided with a large sum; otherwise he would be shamed and dishonoured, and he and his people would be ruined forever.... And afterwards they sought [to decide] how he could best be aided, to the least cost and grievance of his people, to his own greatest profit, and to the most efficacious advancement of the business aforesaid, considering the grave lack of money from which the country was suffering. And among other methods certain members of the council proposed the one that is described below: namely, that within two years each man of the kingdom, of whatever status or condition he might be, should pay to our lord the king a tithe of his sheaves, wool, and lambs, in the same way as he gave [tithe] to Holy Church. And the members of the council who best knew the estate of our lord the king, and his affairs both on this side [of the sea] and on that, were of the opinion that by this [tax] the king could be greatly aided and his said affairs improved and advanced in every way — on which matters there was prolonged discussion. And after that discussion the lords gave their response in the schedule which follows....

This is the grant made by the lords to our lord the king in the present parliament: namely, the tenth sheaf of every sort of grain from their demesne lands, except the lands of their bondmen, [as well as] the tenth fleece and the tenth lamb from their demesne stock during the coming year, to be paid in two years. And the said lords desire that the maltote, which recently has been levied on wool, shall be utterly abated and that the ancient custom shall be held to; that they shall have, by specific charter and by enrolment of parliament, [the promise] that no such custom [as the maltote] shall further be levied, and that neither this grant, which they have just made to our lord the king, nor any other grant made by them in times past shall be turned to their prejudice as a customary burden....[13]

And the commons gave their response in another schedule, as follows: —

Lords, the men of the commons who are here at this parliament have well understood the position of our lord the king and the pressing need that he has of being aided by his people; and they are much enheartened and greatly comforted by the fact that he has made such progress in the enterprises which he has undertaken for his own honour and the salvation of his people; and they pray God that He will give him grace for successful continuation and for victory over his enemies.... And with regard to his need of aid from his people, the men of the commons who are here well know that he must be greatly aided, and they are of good disposition to do so, as they have ever been in times past. But in so far as the aid has to be large, they do not dare give consent until they have advised and consulted with the communities (communes) of their country. Wherefore the said men of the commons pray monseigneur the duke,[14] and the other lords who are present, that he will be pleased to summon another parliament on some convenient day; and in the meantime each [man of the commons] will return to his country. And they promise loyally, in the fealty which they owe to our lord the king, that they will all do their best, each in his own country, to obtain good and proper aid for our lord the king; and they are confident, with God's help, of a successful outcome. And they furthermore pray that a writ shall be sent to each sheriff of England [ordering] that two of the worthiest knights of the shire should be elected and sent to the next parliament for the commons, and that none of them should be either a sheriff or other minister.

And the men of the commons also presented two bills: one containing their response in the matters which they were charged to consider — that is to say, the peace of the land and the guarding of the Scottish march and of the sea — and the other [containing] the graces which they asked of the king. Of which [bills] the tenor is as follows....[15]

[The commons also pray that] the king through his council will pardon his commons the murders, escapes, and chattels of fugitives and felons and all trespasses in the forest of times past. Item, that they be pardoned aids for knighting the son of our lord the king and for marrying his daughter. Item, with regard to those men who, with or without commission, come to take prises either for the great horses of our lord the king or for other purposes, that they be arrested if they do not give immediate payment; and that [otherwise] they be treated as violators of the peace. Item, that pardon be given of all old debts up to the coronation of our lord the present king — as well scutages and reliefs as other debts owed for any reason whatsoever. And the commons pray that the maltote on wool and lead be levied as it used to be of old, since, as we understand, it has been increased without the assent of either commons or lords; and if it is demanded otherwise [than as aforesaid], that each man of the commons may forbid it with impunity; and that explanation be given them concerning the form of the security which they wish to be established for the commons in the aforesaid matters....[16]

(French) Ibid., II, 103-05.

(D) First Parliament of 1340

Memoranda of the parliament summoned at Westminster on the octave of St. Hilary in the thirteenth year of the reign of our lord the king, Edward III after the conquest....

By virtue of which letters[17] the said treasurer, Richard [of Willoughby], John [of Stonor], and John [of St. Paul] had some of the lords and commons, who had arrived by that time, assembled in the Painted Chamber and had the said letters read. And those who had come were further told that, since the [rest of the] prelates, earls, barons, and other lords, as well as the knights of the shires and the citizens and burgesses of cities and boroughs, had been prevented by bad weather from coming on the said day, it would be necessary to await their arrival. And so the said parliament was postponed from day to day until Monday next after the said octave....

On which day the reasons for calling the said parliament were set forth to the commons: namely, to make good and agreeable response concerning the promise which they had made at the last parliament, for giving suitable aid to our lord the king.... Upon this exposition they replied that they wished to talk together and consider the matter; and that, with God's help, they would make such response as would be to the pleasure of their liege lord and of all his council. Concerning which matter the commons delayed giving their response until Saturday, February 19.

On which day they offered to aid our lord the king in this necessity with 30,000 sacks of wool, on certain conditions put in the indentures drawn up in that connection and sealed under the seals of the prelates and other lords.... And since the matters contained in these indentures so intimately touched the estate of our lord the king, it was the opinion of the said council that our lord the king and the privy[18 ]council close to him should be advised of them. Wherefore it was granted and agreed that the said indentures should be sent to our lord the king, together with the advice of his council on this side [of the sea]; so that he could express his will in that connection. And it should be remembered that on the same day the earls and barons in attendance at the said parliament granted, for themselves and for their peers of the land holding by barony, the tenth sheaf, the tenth fleece, and the tenth lamb from all their demesne lands.

And whereas it was the opinion of the prelates, earls, barons, and other lords that, for carrying out the enterprises of our lord the king both on this side [of the sea] and on that, a large sum of money would have to be raised without delay, particularly for preparing a fleet of ships on the sea and equipping men-at-arms and archers for the defence of the kingdom, and that, if this were not done with haste, very great perils might arise; they asked the men of the commons how the latter wished to meet these perils and provide for their own salvation.

To which question, after a long discussion had taken place, they replied that they would vouchsafe to our lord the king 2500 sacks, to provide for the prompt raising of that [money], with this proviso: that, if the conditions set forth above were pleasing to our lord the king, those 2500 sacks should be counted as partial satisfaction of the said 30,000 sacks; and if not, they would vouchsafe these [2500 sacks] to our lord the king by their gift, as is more fully contained in another indenture made in this connection....

(French) Ibid., II, 107-08.

(E) Parliament of 1341

In the first place it was agreed that Sir Thomas of Drayton should be clerk of the parliament.

Item, it was agreed by our lord the king and those of his council who had then arrived that a proclamation should be made against the bearing of arms by any person, according to the fashion customarily observed in other parliaments....

Item, announcement was made that any one who wished to present a petition to our lord the king and to his council should present it between now and the next Saturday, the day stated in the announcement. And the following men were assigned to receive petitions from England: namely....[19] And for petitions from Gascony, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and the [Channel] Islands.... And to hear the petitions from England [the following men] were assigned....[20]

Item, to hear the petitions from Gascony, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and the [Channel] Islands, [the following men] were assigned....

Item, it is to be remembered that, on acount of debates arising in connection with certain articles which the lords and commons of the land asked of our lord the king, the parliament was continued day after day from the said Thursday[21] until the next Thursday following. On which Thursday a bill was brought in parliament by the lords of the land, containing certain requests which our lord the king graciously agreed to, as is more fully set forth below.

And whereas, among other matters contained in the petition of the lords, it was provided that peers of the land, whether officials or others, should not be held to answer concerning trespasses with which they had been charged by the king, except in parliament; [and whereas] it was the king's opinion that such provision would be improper and opposed to his rightful estate: therefore the said lords prayed the king to agree that four bishops, four earls, and four barons, together with certain men skilled in the law, should be chosen to consider in what cases the said peers should be held to answer in parliament and nowhere else, and in what cases they should not be; and to report their advice to him. And to do this [the following men] were elected.... Which twelve men reported their advice in full parliament on the Monday next following, in a schedule which is transcribed in this form....[22]

Also they presented, before this same Monday, certain petitions affecting all the lords and commons of the realm, a copy of which is as follows: —

... That it may please his most high lordship ... to command that the said Great Charter, together with the other ordinances and statutes made through great deliberation, shall be observed, maintained, and enforced in all particulars; and that the aforesaid persons who have been attached and imprisoned, and the other persons who have been deprived[23] as stated above, shall be fully liberated and restored to their benefices, lands, tenements, possessions, goods, and chattels, so that each may be lawfully tried according to his condition, without recourse in the future to such actions against the law and the tenor of the Great Charter and all the other ordinances and statutes.

Item, that the chancellor, the treasurer, the barons and chancellor of the exchequer, the justices of both benches and all other justices whatsoever, the steward and chamberlain of the king's household, the keeper of the privy seal, and the treasurer of the wardrobe shall, whenever they are installed in office, swear to maintain and keep without infringement the law of the land and the provisions of the Great Charter and of the other statutes made by the assent of the peers of the land....

Item, the lords and commons of the land ... pray that certain persons shall be deputed by commission to audit the accounts of all those who have received the wool for our lord the king or the other aids granted to him; and likewise of those who have received and spent his moneys both beyond the sea and here, as well since the beginning of the war as at present; and that the rolls, memoranda, obligations, and other records made beyond [the sea] shall be delivered to the chancery, to be enrolled and recorded, as should be done at such times....

Item, whereas many evils have arisen through bad councillors and ministers, the lords and the commons pray that it may please the king to ordain by the advice of the prelates, earls, and barons, that he will appoint in parliament the chancellor, the chief justices of both benches, the treasurer, the chancellor and the chief baron of the exchequer, the steward of his household, the keeper of the wardrobe, the comptroller, a clerk fit to keep his private seal, and the king's chief clerks of the common bench. And this shall henceforth be done in the case of such ministers whenever there is need, and they shall swear before the peers in parliament to observe the laws, as stated above, and this according to the ordinances previously made in such connection....

And they besought the king that he would graciously make those concessions. And our lord the king, having deliberated on the matter contained in the same petitions, had certain responses made to the same petitions. When these responses, together with the aforesaid petitions, were reported in full parliament before the king and the lords and commons of the realm on the next Wednesday following, it was the opinion of the said lords and commons that the said responses were not so full or sufficient as was proper. Wherefore they besought the king that he would please to add an amendment. And our lord the king, yielding to their prayer, agreed with them that four prelates, four earls, and four barons, together with other men skilled in the law, should be assigned to review the said petitions and responses, and to report their advice to the king. And [the following men] were appointed....

And on the same Wednesday the said archbishops and other prelates brought certain petitions before the king in his said parliament, whereof a copy is as follows....

Responses to the clergy....[24]

Responses to the lords....[25]

Responses to the commons: — As to the first article, it is the will of our lord the king that the Great Charter and other statutes shall be observed in all their particulars. And he wills and grants for himself and his heirs that, if any person does anything in the future contrary to the Great Charter, the statutes, or the rightful laws, he shall answer in parliament, or wherever else he should answer under the common law, as stated above.... And as to the oaths of ministers, it pleases the king that his ministers shall be sworn according to the form of the petition....

Item, as to the second article — that is to say, with regard to the auditing of accounts from those who have received the king's wool, other aids, etc. — it pleases the king that the matter shall be attended to by good men deputed for the purpose, provided that the treasurer and the chief baron [of the exchequer] are added to them. And it shall be done in this case as has been ordained on previous occasions; and the lords [of the commission] shall be elected in this parliament. Furthermore, all rolls, memoranda, and obligations made beyond the sea shall be delivered into the chancery....

It pleases the king that, if one of the king's great officials named in the petition is removed from office by death or other cause, he will secure the agreement of the lords who may be found nearest in the country, together with [that of] the good council which he shall have about him, and will place another fit man in the said office. And [such appointee] shall be sworn at the next parliament in accordance with the petition. And at every parliament their offices shall be taken into the king's hands and they [shall be held] to answer to those who may see fit to complain against them. And if complaint of any misdeed is made concerning any minister, and if he is thereof convicted in parliament, he shall be removed and shall be punished by the judgment of the peers, and another fit man shall be appointed to that [office]. And in such matters the king without delay will have execution pronounced and carried out according to the judgment of the peers in parliament.

It is to be remembered that, upon the aforesaid responses as well to the petitions of the lords as to those of the commons and of the clergy, the statutes hereinunder written were made by the said lords and commons and shown to our lord the king, together with certain conditions that the lords and commons asked of the king for the grant made to him of 30,000 sacks of wool in lieu of the ninth sheaf, lamb, and fleece of the second year.[26] Which statutes and conditions were then read before the king. And the chancellor, the treasurer, certain judges of both benches, the steward of the king's household, the chamberlain, and various others were sworn on the cross of Canterbury to hold and keep those [enactments] in so far as pertained to them. But the said chancellor, treasurer, and certain judges protested that they assented neither to the making nor to the form of the said statutes, and that they could not keep them in case the said statutes were contrary to the laws and usages of the realm, which they were sworn to preserve. And afterwards the same statutes and conditions were sealed with the king's great seal and delivered to the lords and the knights of the shires....[27]

(French) Ibid., II, 126-31.

(F) Parliament of 1343

... Item, it is to be remembered that on the next Wednesday — namely, the last day of April — our lord the king and the archbishop aforesaid came into the Painted Chamber, together with the bishops ... , and the earls ... , and the other lords and commons there assembled. And the reasons for the summoning of parliament were explained to them by the chancellor of our lord the king in the manner following.... Whereupon the said prelates and lords were charged to meet by themselves in the White Chamber until Thursday, May 1, in order to treat, consult, and agree among themselves as to whether or not our lord the king should send messages to the court of Rome, setting forth and explaining his rights there before the said holy father the pope, as aforesaid. And in the same way the knights of the shires and the commons were charged to meet in the Painted Chamber in order to treat, consult, and agree among themselves on the same matter, and to report their answer and assent in parliament on the said Thursday....

Item, it is granted and agreed that the statute made at Westminster on the quinzime of Easter, in the fifteenth year of the reign of our lord the king, shall be entirely repealed and annulled and shall lose the name of statute, as being prejudicial and contrary to the laws and usages of the realm and to the rights and prerogatives of our lord the king. But because certain articles were included in the same statute which are reasonable and in accord with law and right, it is agreed by our lord the king and his council that such articles and the others granted in this present parliament shall, by the advice of the justices and other learned men, be made into a new statute and held forever....[28]

(French) Ibid., II, 135-39.

(G) Parliament of 1348

... Whereupon the knights of the shires and the others of the commons were told that they should withdraw together and take good counsel as to how, for withstanding the malice of the said enemy and for the salvation of our said lord the king and his kingdom of England, our lord the king could be aided to his greatest advantage and to the least burdening of his people; and that, as soon as they had come to a decision, they should notify our lord the king and the lords of his council. The which knights and others of the commons took counsel on the matter day after day and at last gave their response to the following effect:[29]

... Thus the said poor commons, to their own excessive hurt, grant to our lord the king three fifteenths, to be levied during three years, beginning at Michaelmas next; on condition that in each of these years one fifteenth, and nothing in addition, shall be levied in equal portions at two terms of the year, Michaelmas and Easter, and that this aid shall be assigned and kept solely for the war of our lord the king and shall in no way be assigned to [pay] old debts....

And afterwards the said commons were told that all individual persons who wished to present petitions in this parliament should present them to the chancellor; and that the petitions touching the commons [in general] should be presented to the clerk of the parliament. The which commons presented their petitions to the said clerk in the manner following: —

... Item, the commons pray that the petitions presented in the last parliament by the said commons and fully answered and granted by our said lord the king and the prelates and lords of the land, shall be observed; and that, by no bill presented in this parliament in the name of the commons or of any one else, shall the responses already granted be changed: for the commons acknowledge no such bill as may be presented by any one to effect the contrary. Response: At an earlier time the king, by the advice of the prelates and lords of the land, made answer to the petitions of the commons regarding the law of the land, [to the effect] that neither the laws held and accustomed in times past nor the process of the same [law of the land] so accustomed in the past could be changed without making a new statute — to do which the king could not then and cannot now see his way. But as soon as he can see his way [to do so], he will bring the lords and the skilled men of his council before him and by their advice and counsel will ordain concerning such articles and others that involve amendment of the law; so that right and equity shall be enforced for all and each of his lieges and subjects....

(French) Ibid., II, 200 f.

(H) Parliament of 1372

... The petitions that the commons presented in Parliament and the responses to them were read, and also an ordinance made in the same parliament to the following effect: —

Whereas men of the law, who pursue a variety of business in the king's courts for the sake of individuals with whom they are [associated], take numerous petitions and have them presented before parliament in the name of the commons, although the latter are not at all concerned with them ...; and whereas sheriffs, who are the common ministers of the people and ought to stay by their offices to do right to every one, are named ... and returned to parliament as knights of the shire by the sheriffs themselves: [therefore] it is agreed and granted in this parliament that henceforth no man of the law, pursuing business in the king's courts, or sheriff during such time as he is sheriff, shall be returned or accepted as a knight of the shire; nor shall those men of the law and sheriffs, who are at present returned to parliament, have wages. But the king wishes that the worthiest knights and serjeants of the country shall be returned as knights in parliament, and that they shall be elected in the full county [court].

And afterwards permission was given to the knights of the shires to depart and to sue for their writs of expenses. And so they departed. But the citizens and burgesses who had come to parliament were for certain reasons commanded to remain. To which citizens and burgesses, assembled on the very next day in a chamber near the White Chamber, it was shown how in the previous year a subsidy had been granted for a certain term to assure safe convoy of ships and merchandise coming to this country and leaving it by sea — that is to say, 2s. from each tun of wine coming to this country and 6d. from every pound of any merchandise whatsoever, either imported or exported[30] — [and how] this term had already passed. [So they were asked] that, considering the perils and mischiefs which might be incurred by their ships and merchandise from enemies on the sea, they would grant for the said causes a similar subsidy to continue for one year. Which subsidy they granted to the king, to be taken and levied in the same way as it had been taken and levied during the previous year. And so they departed.

(French) Ibid., II, 310.

(I) Parliament of 1376

... On the said morrow the prelates, the duke [of Cornwall], the earls, barons, and other lords, as well as the commons, justices, serjeants-at-law, and others, assembled in the Painted Chamber, where, before the king himself and all the others, Sir John Knyvett, knight, the chancellor of England, announced the causes for the summoning of the present parliament.... And in conclusion the chancellor besought them on behalf of the king that they would take diligent counsel regarding these matters — that is to say, the prelates and lords by themselves and the commons by themselves — and that, for the sake of prompter action by parliament, they would make good response in this connection as soon as they well might. And thereupon certain prelates and lords were assigned to be triers, and certain clerks to be receivers of bills in parliament, whose names here follow....

Item, after the said prelates, lords, and commons had assembled in parliament, the said commons were told on behalf of the king that they should retire by themselves to their ancient place [of meeting], in the chapter house of the abbot of Westminster, and should there discuss and take counsel among themselves with regard principally to those matters of which, as stated above, declaration had been made in parliament on behalf of the king. And the prelates and lords on their part were likewise to hold a discussion; and they were told that report should be made from one group to the other concerning the acts and intentions of each. And so the commons departed to their said place [of meeting].[31]

(French) Ibid., II, 321 f.

... And on the said second day all the knights and commons aforesaid assembled and went into the chapter house and seated themselves about [the room] one next another. And they began to talk about their business, the matters before the parliament, saying that it would be well at the outset for them to be sworn to each other to keep counsel regarding what was spoken and decided among them, and loyally and without concealment to deliberate and ordain for the benefit of the kingdom. And to do this all unanimously agreed, and they took a good oath to be loyal to each other. Then one of them said that, if any of us knew of anything to say for the benefit of the king and the kingdom, it would be well for him to set forth among us what he knew and then, one after the other, [each of the rest could say] what lay next his heart.

Thereupon a knight of the south country rose and went to the reading desk in the centre of the chapter house so that all might hear and, pounding on the said desk, began to speak in this fashion: "Jubé domine benedicere, etc.[32] My lords, you have heard the grievous matters before the parliament — how our lord the king has asked of the clergy and the commons a tenth and a fifteenth and customs on wool and other merchandise for a year or two. And in my opinion it is much to grant, for the commons are so weakened and impoverished by the divers tallages and taxes which they have paid up to the present that they cannot sustain such a charge or at this time pay it. Besides, all we have given to the war for a long time we have lost because it has been badly wasted and falsely expended. And so it would be well to consider how our lord the king can live and govern his kingdom and maintain the war from his demesne property, and not hold to ransom his liegemen of the land. Also, as I have heard, there are divers people who, without his knowledge, have in their hands goods and treasure of our lord the king amounting to a great sum of gold and silver; and they have falsely concealed the said goods, which through guile and extortion they gained in many ways to the great damage of our lord the king and the kingdom. For the present I will say no more. Tu autem domine meserere nostris." And he went back to his seat among his companions.

Thereupon another knight arose and went to the reading desk and said: "My lords, our companion has spoken to good purpose, and now, as God will give me grace, I will tell you one thing for the benefit of the kingdom. You have heard how it was ordained by common counsel in parliament that the staple of wool and other merchandise should be wholly at Calais, to the great advantage of our lord the king; and then the said town was governed and ruled by merchants of England, and they took nothing by way of payments to maintain the war or for the government of the said town. And afterwards the said staple was suddenly removed to divers cities and towns of England, and the merchants were ousted from Calais, together with their wives and their households, without the knowledge or consent of parliament, but for the benefit of a few, illegally and against the statute thereupon made; so that the lord of Latimer and Richard Lyons of London and others could have advantages.[33 ]And by concealment they took great sums of the maltote, which rightfully the king should have, because each year, to keep the town, the king spends sums amounting to;£8000 of gold and silver, without getting anything there, where no expense used to be necessary. Wherefore it would be well to provide a remedy by advising that the staple should be restored to Calais." And he would say no more, but went back to his seat.

And the third man rose and went to the reading desk and said: "My lords, our companions have spoken very well and to good purpose. But it is my opinion that it would not be profitable or honourable for us to deliberate on such great affairs and such grievous matters for the benefit of the kingdom without the counsel and aid of those greater and wiser than we are, or to begin such procedure without the assent of the lords. Wherefore it would be well at the outset to pray our lord the king and his wise council in the parliament that they may grant and assign to us certain bishops and certain earls, barons, and bannerets, such as we may name, to counsel and aid us and to hear and witness what we shall say." And to this all agreed. Then two or three more arose in the same manner, one after the other, and spoke on various subjects....

About the same time a knight from the march of Wales, who was steward to the earl of March and was named Sir Peter de la Mare, began to speak where the others had spoken, and he said: "My lords, you have well heard what our companions have had to say and what they have known and how they have expressed their views; and, in my opinion, they have spoken loyally and to good purpose." And he rehearsed, word for word, all the things that they had said, doing so very skilfully and in good form. And besides he advised them on many points and particulars, as will be more fully set forth below. And so they ended the second day.

Then on the third day all the knights and commons assembled in the said chapter house and day after day until the next Friday held discussion concerning various matters and [particularly] the extortions committed by divers persons, through treachery, as they were advised. During which discussion and counsel, because the said Sir Peter de la Mare had spoken so well and had so skilfully rehearsed the arguments and views of his companions, and had informed them of much that they did not know, they begged him on their part to assume the duty of expressing their will in the great parliament before the said lords, as to what they had decided to do and say according to their conscience. And the said Sir Peter, out of reverence to God and his good companions and for the benefit of the kingdom, assumed that duty....[34]

(French) Anonimalle Chronicle, pp. 80 f.

And thereupon the following prelates and lords were assigned in parliament ... to go to the said commons and be of aid to them, joining with them and discussing the said matters that had been declared to them, as aforesaid....[35]

Item, the commons, considering the sufferings of the land ... , pray that the council of our lord the king may be afforced with lords of the land, prelates, and others, to remain constantly at the number of ten or twelve according to the king's will; so that no important business shall there pass or be determined without the advice and consent of all.... And our lord the king, believing the said request to be honourable and of good advantage to him and all his kingdom, has granted it....

And afterwards the said commons came into parliament and made open protestation....[36] Then the said commons made complaint in parliament especially of the persons mentioned below, affirming that many deceits and other wrongs had been inflicted upon the king and his kingdom, as appears below....[37]

Hereafter follow the petitions presented in writing to the parliament by the commons, together with the responses made to those petitions in the same parliament....[38]

(French) Rotuli Parliamentorum, II, 322-57.


[1] See M. V. Clarke, in Oxford Essays Presented to H. E. Salter, pp. 164 f.

[2] On a hurdle to the place of execution.

[3] Widow of Thomas, earl of Lancaster. The two following extracts are given as examples of the numerous private petitions introduced in this and the succeeding parliaments. Cf. no. 54G, and, on the jurisdiction of the chancellor, no. 71.

[4]Granz, the usual term for members of the original parliament; seigneurs came into general use a little later.

[5] For the union of the knights and burgesses to form the house of commons, see the procedure in the parliaments of 1339-41 (no. 61c-e) and the definite statements concerning the parliaments of 1343 and 1348 (no. 61f, g).

[6] In the lamentable conditions previously described.

[7]Tote la commune — one of many expressions used to denote the members of the lower house.

[8 ]That is to say, from everybody outside cities and boroughs; see above p. 158, n. 14. For tallage, cf. nos. 37B, 46F.

[9] Despite the vagueness of this promise, tallage was never again levied; cf. no. 62B.

[10] For a clear sketch of the complicated parliamentary history of the next few years, see Stubbs, Constitutional History, II, 400 f.

[11] To prevent riots and disturbances, the king forbids the carrying of arms in or near the palace of Westminster, or in the city of London and its suburbs, by any one except designated officials and except earls and barons, each of whom is entitled to carry a sword unless he is in the presence of the king or in the royal council chamber.

[12] Of the king's needs, made by the archbishop of Canterbury and other councillors. The king asked a large aid for the war in France.

[13] Cf. nos. 49B, 51a, c.

[14] The Black Prince, duke of Cornwall, who had been placed in charge of the government during the king's absence.

[15] The first bill is omitted.

[16] See the proceedings of the next parliament and no. 62B.

[17] From the duke of Cornwall naming as deputies the following men.

[18]Secrez — that is to say, the intimate councillors who accompanied the king in France.

[19] Three chancery clerks constituted each group of receivers.

[20] In each case the hearers of petitions were a committee of bishops, earls, and barons, with the chancellor and treasurer as associates if needed.

[21] When the king's request for aid had been presented to parliament.

[22] The report, guaranteeing the trial of peers in parliament, was embodied in a statute duly sealed by the king; but this was one of the acts annulled by the king in the following year (no. 62C).

[23] Of lands and other possessions, arbitrarily and without due process of law.

[24] Made by the king after the prelates had declared earlier answers unsatisfactory.

[25] Dealing with only one important article; much the same as that below.

[26] Cf. no. 62B.

[27] Cf. no. 62C.

[28] Cf. no. 62C. No articles from the annulled statute are included in the statute of this year.

[29] The address of the commons begins with a long list of the outrageous taxes and impositions laid upon them in the past contrary to the king's promises. Then follow a large number of specific conditions, including guarantees against other forms of taxation, restoration of 20,000 sacks of wool previously borrowed by the king, immediate settlement by commissioners of petitions left over from the last parliament, respite from all judicial eyres for three years, and the formal entry of these conditions in the roll of parliament.

[30] This tax, known as tunnage and poundage, was formally granted for two years by parliament in 1373: Stubbs, Constitutional History, II, 444 f., 556 f.

[31] The official roll is here interrupted for the sake of inserting a portion of an anonymous chronicle preserved at St. Mary's Abbey, York. This account is especially valuable as our earliest description of procedure at a separate meeting of the commons, including the election of a speaker. See the remarks of the editor V. H. Galbraith, p. xliv.

[32] He begins and ends his speech with a conventional Latin grace.

[33] Cf. no. 62H.

[34] The chronicle continues with a long and interesting account of the ensuing debates in parliament.

[35] The roll next records a grant of subsidy and certain ordinances concerning the council, although these enactments were presumably made after the protestation of the commons and the presentation of their petitions.

[36] Through their speaker, although the fact is not stated in the roll. The address summarized the complaints earlier made during the meeting of the commons, especially the restoration of the staple to Calais and the wasting of the royal revenues through the dishonesty of the king's advisers.

[37] Here the roll describes at length the impeachment of Lyons, Latimer, and others.

[38] There were 140 of them; see Stubbs, Constitutional History, II, 453 f.