The Provisions of Oxford

The Provisions of Oxford were created in 1258 by a group of barons led by Simon de Montfort. The provisions forced Henry III to accept a new form of government. Written confirmations of the Provisions of Oxford were sent to sheriffs in all of the contemporary counties of England.

Why were the Provisions of Oxford important?

The ‘Provisions of Oxford’ placed the king under the authority of a Council of Fifteen, to be chosen by twenty-four men made up of twelve nominees of the king, and twelve nominees of the reformers. The chief ministers, the Justiciar and Chancellor were to be chosen by and responsible to the Council of Fifteen, and ultimately to the community of the realm at regular parliaments to be held three times a year. This was revolutionary. It was the most radical scheme of reform undertaken before the arrest and execution of King Charles I in the 1640s.

In addition to controlling the central government, the reformers, urged on by swelling discontent among the lesser aristocracy, townsmen, merchants and freemen in the localities, began an investigation into abuses of local officials and a reform of local government. These reforms show the growing power of social groups beyond the major barons, who though still leading the reform, evidently felt they could not ignore popular discontent. In this regard they introduced reforms that were even harmful to their own local interests.

Related information

@Parliament750 is a new twitter account led by the Parliamentary Archives. The feed will run throughout 2015 to commemorate the 750th anniversary of Simon de Montfort's parliament.

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