By Gwilym Dodd
Concentrating on the most important position of the English medieval parliament in listening to and selecting the requests of the king's topics, this ground-breaking new research examines the personal petition and its position within the past due medieval English parliament (c.1270-1450).
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Extra info for Justice and Grace: Private Petitioning and the English Parliament in the Late Middle Ages
Haskins, ‘The Petitions of Representatives in the Parliaments of Edward I’, EHR 4 (1938), 1–20, pp. 9–13; Powicke, Thirteenth Century England, p. 350. 32 Private Petitions in Parliament extent, this view has been discredited, the above discussion does highlight a crucial point: that Edward did not shape the circumstances in which he succeeded to the throne and his initial actions, including the encouragement of petitioning in 1275, are very likely to have been inﬂuenced by trends and pressures inherited from the previous reign.
They do not constitute an original roll of petitions,⁵ but rather the contents of an original ﬁle, or a selection of cases from a number of ﬁles, initially recorded by William Prynne and transcribed by Sir Matthew Hale in the seventeenth century. ⁶ By 1305, if not sooner, the language and diplomatic of petitioning were to become far more standardized: the vast majority of petitions by the end of Edward I’s reign were written in French and were routinely addressed to the king or to the king and his council.
Evidence for a conscious policy of holding regular parliaments can be found in a letter Edward sent to the pope in June 1275 in which he refers to a meeting ‘of the council of procures of the realm in parliament, which is usually celebrated in England about the octaves of the Resurrection’: CCR 1272–1279, p. 197 (cited by Richardson and Sayles, English Parliament, Ch. 5, p. 134). ²¹ Maddicott, ‘Parliament and the Constituencies’, p. 62. ²² Note, however, that commissions of oyer and terminer were being issued as early as March 1273, and that the commissions of May 1275 were not the ﬁrst to be issued as a result of a ‘plaint’: there are earlier examples dating to November 1274; CPR 1272–1281, pp.
Justice and Grace: Private Petitioning and the English Parliament in the Late Middle Ages by Gwilym Dodd