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9.3 Establishment and Development of Parliament

Simon-De-Montford, the "Father of Parliament"

After King Johnís death, government was carried on by the Great Council, since his son and successor Henry III was nine years old at the time. On coming of age, the young king dissolved the Great Council and levied arbitrary taxes on the people. Owing to Henry IIIís misconduct, the nation was forced to renew its resistance, under the dynamic leadership of Simon de Montford, Earl of Leicester. A meeting of the nobles, the clergy and the representatives of the countries and towns (boroughs), was called by Simon de Montford in January 1265, in order to decide the methods of government administration and of levying taxes. This meeting became famous as the Parliament of Simon-de-Montford. This earned him the title of "Father of Parliament."

Model Parliament (1295) under Edward

In 1295, King Edward attempted to curb the nobles and the clergy, by securing the support of the third estate, consisting of the common people. To do so, he summoned the first complete English Parliament including representatives from all sections of society. This meeting came to be referred to as the "Model Parliament." On November 5, 1295, King Edward confirmed the articles of the Charter, which stated, among other issues that the king would not be able to levy taxes, without common consent. Thus Parliamentís consent became essential for levying any new tax. There was a gradual progress of this representative institution, which has led the British Parliament to be regarded as the "Mother of Parliaments."

Medieval Parliament in England

Parliament in the medieval period was basically a Parliament of Estates. Each of the three estates, namely the Estate of the Clergy, the Estate of the Lords Temporal and the Estate of the Commons was represented in the Parliament.

The duration of the medieval Parliament was only for one session, lasting for a little more than a month. The Parliament was usually called once a year and this custom was converted into law by the statutes of 1330 and 1361.

Gradually Parliament was divided into two chambers - the House of Lords and the House of Commons. During the rule of King Henry IV, in 1407, financial bills began to be discussed only in the House of Commons. This led to the Lower House being regarded as the real representative body of the people. The bills were then sent to the House of Lords. After both Houses had agreed among themselves, they had to make their report through the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Dispute between the king and the Parliament

During the Tudor period, the dispute regarding where the final authority rested, continued to rage between the king and the Parliament. Nevertheless, the Tudor monarchs generally worked in agreement with the Parliament.


9.0 - Introduction
9.1 Origin of Democracy in England
9.2 Magna Carta-The Great Charter (1215)
9.3 Establishment and Development of Parliament
9.4 The Glorious Revolution of 1688
9.5 Rise of a Responsible Council Of Ministers
9.6 Reform Act Of 1832
9.7 Representation of the People Act, 1867
9.8 Representation of the People Act, 1884
9.9 Parliamentary Act, 1911
9.10 Representation of the People Acts 1918 & 1928
9.11 Dates & Events
9.12 Points to Remember

Chapter 10


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