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
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 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 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 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,
(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. ... And they advised for the sake of
improvement 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 — 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, 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
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....
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 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
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....
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, 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....
[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....
(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 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
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....
And for petitions from Gascony, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and the [Channel]
Islands.... And to hear the petitions from England [the following men] were
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 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
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....
Also they presented, before this same Monday, certain petitions
affecting all the lords and commons of the realm, a copy of which is as
... 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 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
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
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
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....
Responses to the lords....
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.
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....
(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
(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: —
... 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 — [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
(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. 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
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
(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
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.... 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
Hereafter follow the petitions presented in writing to the parliament by
the commons, together with the responses made to those petitions in the same
(French) Rotuli Parliamentorum, II, 322-57.
 See M. V. Clarke, in Oxford Essays Presented to H. E.
Salter, pp. 164 f.
 On a hurdle to the place of execution.
 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.
Granz, the usual term for members of the original
parliament; seigneurs came into general use a little later.
 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.
 In the lamentable conditions previously described.
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.
 Despite the vagueness of this promise, tallage was never
again levied; cf. no. 62B.
 For a clear sketch of the complicated parliamentary
history of the next few years, see Stubbs, Constitutional History, II,
 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.
 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.
 Cf. nos. 49B, 51a, c.
 The Black Prince, duke of Cornwall, who had been placed in
charge of the government during the king's absence.
 The first bill is omitted.
 See the proceedings of the next parliament and no.
 From the duke of Cornwall naming as deputies the following
Secrez — that is to say, the intimate
councillors who accompanied the king in France.
 Three chancery clerks constituted each group of
 In each case the hearers of petitions were a committee of
bishops, earls, and barons, with the chancellor and treasurer as associates if
 When the king's request for aid had been presented to
 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).
 Of lands and other possessions, arbitrarily and without
due process of law.
 Made by the king after the prelates had declared earlier
 Dealing with only one important article; much the same as
 Cf. no. 62B.
 Cf. no. 62C.
 Cf. no. 62C. No articles from the annulled statute are
included in the statute of this year.
 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
 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.
 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.
 He begins and ends his speech with a conventional Latin
 Cf. no. 62H.
 The chronicle continues with a long and interesting
account of the ensuing debates in parliament.
 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
 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
 Here the roll describes at length the impeachment of
Lyons, Latimer, and others.
 There were 140 of them; see Stubbs, Constitutional
History, II, 453 f.