The First Age of Parliamentary Politics, 1227–1258
This chapter surveys the establishment of parliament in Henry III's middle years. It shows how Henry III's need for taxes, and the corresponding need for consent to taxation, raised the status of parliament and promoted parliamentary debate—a novelty—through the questioning and criticism of the king's demands. Running parallel with this process was the emergence of the word ‘parliament’ as the normal word for national councils and the emergence of Westminster as parliament's regular meeting place. The crown's demands also brought the lesser landholders to parliament with a new frequency, leading to the first election of shire knights in 1254. Bishops, barons, and knights came together to form a parliamentary community which, like the Anglo‐Saxon witan, could speak for the wider ‘community of the realm’.
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