Magna Carta (1215) to Henry IV (1399)

King John agreed to Magna Carta which stated the right of the barons to consult with and advise the king in his Great Council

Earliest use of the term Parliament, referring to the Great Council

Sheriffs were instructed to send elected representatives of the counties (knights of the shire) to consult with the king on taxation

At a Parliament at Oxford, the nobles drafted the "Provisions of Oxford" which calls for regular Parliaments with representatives from the counties

Simon de Montfort, in rebellion against Henry III, summoned a Parliament which included for the first time representatives of both the counties and towns

The Clerk of the Parliaments began to compile the Rolls of Parliament, the records of proceedings, particularly the petitions and acts passed

Model Parliament was made up of nobles and bishops, and two representatives for each county and for each town - the model for future Parliaments

From this date representatives of the counties (knights of the shire) and of the towns (burgesses) were always summoned together to Parliament

Knights of the shire and burgesses met together and were called the Commons

The Commons met separately from the Upper House for the first time

The Commons began to meet in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey

A statute established that Parliament must approve of all taxation

In the Good Parliament the Commons, led for the first time by an elected Speaker, prosecuted, or impeached, before the lords some of the king's advisors

Commons moved from Chapter House of Westminster Abbey to its Refectory

Parliament deposed Richard II and Henry IV's reign started


You can access biographies of

King John
Simon de Montfort
Henry III
Richard II

from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography for free, online, using your local library card number (includes nine out of ten public libraries in the UK) or from within academic library and other subscribing networks.

Also within Living Heritage