Early Modern ideas about Parliament’s origins

Forged texts, bizarre founding dates, the confusing history of when the parliament ‘began’.

The History of Parliament

Our series celebrating the anniversaries of Magna Carta and Simon de Montfort’s Parliament continues today. Dr Paul Cavill, Lecturer in Early Modern British History at Cambridge University discusses how the origins of Parliament were viewed in the early modern period…

When did the first parliament in England meet? In modern historical consciousness, the answer is straightforward enough: in the year 1265, following the victory of Simon de Montfort over King Henry III at the battle of Lewes. Historians have long objected that the position was by no means so clear-cut. We might prefer to envisage a protracted process of development, possibly stretching as far back as Anglo-Saxon assemblies, which culminated over the mid to late thirteenth century. Underlying this question is the issue of what defines a parliament. Was the first parliament the first general assembly of the king’s subjects so to be called by contemporaries (or later…

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One Response to Early Modern ideas about Parliament’s origins

  1. John Wanna says:

    Marija – the bloke does not say much – just he doesn’t know when it started, Parliament seems to have started in fits and starts around the beginning of the 1200s in France and England with various councils called by monarchs to discuss events/policies, but earlier models go back to the danes and their hall meetings where everyone took part and had to agree and vote on collective policies…. And remember the danes ruled about half of England until C11th – john

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