Tuesday, 12 May 2009
English Kings had long taken advice in formal settings. In Anglo Saxon times the 'wise men' of the kingdom [the 'Witan'] met as the Witenagemot to discuss legislation and taxes.
The Norman 'King's Council' carried out similar functions. It was only in the 13th Century that the term "Parliament" came into use - it means talking or discussing.
Simon de Montfort is often credited as being the first to call persons other than the nobility and church leaders to a parliament. In 1264 he summoned burgesses in addition to the normal membership, at a parliament called in the midst of a rebellion against King Henry III. But it was the Model Parliament of 1295 which set the pattern of inviting the nobility; leading churchmen plus two knights from each county and two burgesses from each Borough (Citizens if they were from a city) to a meeting of Parliament.
By 1332 it had become the normal practice for the Knights; Citizens and Burgesses [House of Commons] to meet separetly from the nobles and churchmen [House of Lords].