The early archives of the Commons

During the early Middle Ages, no formal records were made of the domestic proceedings of the House of Commons, although the Journals of the House of Commons survive from 1547. 

The Commons did not have custody of the official records of Parliament during this period, and especially as the formal proceedings of Parliament were recorded as a whole by the Lords.

Domestic records

From the late 16th century onwards, the Commons began to acquire a fairly extensive series of domestic records of its own, much in parallel with the formation in the Lords’ archive under Bowyer and Elsynge.

These included various draft Bills, original Petitions and Papers (from the reign of Elizabeth I), Return Books of Elections (from 1625) and Minute Books of Committees (from 1623). By the early 19th century, these documents were considerable in volume and number.

These records were stored in the House of Commons Library and various attics and cupboards throughout the Commons up to 1834.

External link

Early Journals of the House of Lords and House of Commons can be found at British History online

Glossary links

Also within Living Heritage