Simon de Montfort's Parliament

Simon de Montfort's Parliament was an English parliament held from 20 January 1265 until mid-March the same year, instigated by Simon de Montfort, a baronial rebel leader.

Simon de Montfort had seized power in England following his victory over Henry III at the Battle of Lewes during the Second Barons' War, but his grip on the country was under threat. In an attempt to gather more support he summoned representatives from not only the barons and the knights of the shires, as had occurred in previous parliaments, but also burgesses from the major towns. The resulting parliament in London discussed radical reforms and temporarily stabilised Montfort's political situation. Montfort was killed at the Battle of Evesham later that year, but the idea of inviting both knights and burgesses to parliaments became more popular under the reign of Henry's son Edward I. By the 14th century this had become the norm, with the gathering becoming known as the House of Commons. This parliament is sometimes referred to as the first English parliament and Montfort himself is often termed the founder of the Commons.


14th-century representation of Henry III of England visiting Louis IX of France during the Second Barons' War

In 1258, King Henry III of England faced a revolt among the English barons.[1] Anger had grown about the way the King's officials were raising funds, the influence of his Poitevin relatives at court and his unpopular Sicilian policy; even the English Church had grievances over its treatment by the King.[2] Within Henry's court there was a strong feeling that the King would be unable to lead the country through these problems.[3] On 30 April, Hugh Bigod marched into Westminster in the middle of the King's parliament, backed by his co-conspirators, including Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester, and carried out a coup d'état.[4] Henry, fearful that he was about to be arrested and imprisoned, agreed to abandon his policy of personal rule and instead govern through a council of 24 barons and churchmen, half chosen by the King and half by the barons.[5]

The pressure for reform continued to grow unabated and a parliament met in June. The term "parliament" had first appeared in the 1230s and 1240s to describe large gatherings of the royal court, and parliamentary gatherings were held periodically throughout Henry's reign.[6] They were used to agree upon the raising of taxes which, in the 13th century, were single, one-off levies, typically on movable property, intended to support the King's normal revenues for particular projects.[7] During Henry's reign, the counties had begun to send regular delegations to these parliaments, and came to represent a broader cross-section of the community than simply the major barons.[8]

The new parliament passed a set of measures known as the Provisions of Oxford, which Henry swore to uphold.[9] These provisions created a smaller council of 15 members, elected solely by the barons, which then had the power to appoint England's justiciar, chancellor and treasurer, and which would be monitored through triennial parliaments.[10] Pressure from the lesser barons and the gentry present at Oxford also helped to push through wider reform, intended to limit the abuse of power by both the King's officials and the major barons.[11] More radical measures were passed by the new council the next year, in the form of the Provisions of Westminster.[12]

Simon Leicester
Simon de Montfort, in a stained glass window at Chartres Cathedral

The disagreements between the leading barons involved in the revolt soon became evident.[13] Montfort championed radical reforms that would place further limitations on the authority and power of the major barons as well as the Crown; others promoted only moderate change, while the conservative barons expressed concerns about the existing limitations on the King's powers.[14] Over the next four years, neither Henry nor the barons were able to restore stability in England, and power swung back and forth between the different factions.[15] By early 1263, what remained of Henry's authority had disintegrated and the country slipped back towards open civil war.[16] Montfort convened a council of rebel barons in Oxford to pursue his radical agenda and by October, England faced a likely civil war.[17] Montfort marched east with an army and London rose up in revolt.[18] Montfort took Henry and Queen Eleanor prisoner, and although he maintained a fiction of ruling in Henry's name, the rebels completely replaced the royal government and household with their own, trusted men.[19]

Montfort's coalition began to quickly fragment, Henry regained his freedom of movement and renewed chaos spread across England.[20] Henry appealed to his brother-in-law Louis of France for arbitration in the dispute; Montfort was initially hostile to this idea, but, as war became more likely again, he decided to agree to French arbitration as well.[21] Initially Montfort's legal arguments held sway, but in January 1264, Louis announced the Mise of Amiens, condemning the rebels, upholding the King's rights and annulling the Provisions of Oxford.[22] The Second Barons' War finally broke out in April, when Henry led an army into Montfort's territories.[23] Becoming desperate, Montfort marched in pursuit of Henry and the two armies met at the Battle of Lewes on 14 May.[24] Despite their numerical superiority, Henry's forces were overwhelmed.[25] Captured, Henry was forced to pardon the rebel barons and reinstate the Provisions of Oxford, leaving him, as historian Adrian Jobson describes, "little more than a figurehead".[26]


Simon de Montfort claimed to be ruling in the King's name through a council of officials. However, he had effective political control over the government even though he was not himself the monarch, the first time this had happened in English history.[27] Montfort successfully held a parliament in London in June 1264 to confirm new constitutional arrangements for England; four knights were summoned from each county, chosen by the county court, and were allowed to comment on general matters of state – the first time this had occurred.[28] Montfort was unable to consolidate his victory at Lewes, however, and widespread disorder persisted across the country.[29] In France, Eleanor made plans for an invasion of England with the support of Louis.[30]

Montfort Evesham
A 13th-century depiction of the mutilation of Simon de Montfort's body following the Battle of Evesham in 1265

In response, and hoping to win wider support for his government, Montfort summoned a new parliament for 20 January 1265 which continued until mid March that year.[31] It was held at short notice, with the summons being issued on 14 December, leaving little time for attendees to respond.[32] He summoned not only the barons, senior churchmen and two knights from each county, but also two burgesses from each of the major towns such as York, Lincoln, Sandwich, and the Cinque Ports, the first time this had been done.[33] Due to the lack of support for Montfort among the barons, only 23 of them were summoned to parliament, in comparison to the summons issued to 120 churchmen, who largely supported the new government; it is unknown how many burgesses were called.[34] The event was overseen by King Henry, and held in the Palace of Westminster, London, which was the largest city in England, and whose continuing loyalty was essential to Montfort's cause.[35]

This parliament was a populist, tactical move by Montfort in an attempt to gather support from the regions, and the historian Jeffrey Hamilton characterises it as "a very partisan assembly, not some sort of proto-democratic representative body".[36] Once again the representatives were allowed to comment on wider political matters than just the usual issues of taxation.[37] The business of the parliament focused on enforcing the Provisions of Westminster, in particular its restrictions on the major nobles, and promising judicial help to those who felt they were suffering from unfair feudal lordship.[38]

The parliament bought temporary calm but opposition grew once more, particularly as Montfort and his immediate family began to amass a huge personal fortune.[39] Prince Edward escaped his captors in May and formed a new army, resulting in a fresh outbreak of civil war.[40] Edward pursued Monfort's forces through the Welsh Marches, before striking east to attack his fortress at Kenilworth and then turning once more on the rebel leader himself.[41] Montfort, accompanied by the captive Henry, was unable to retreat and the Battle of Evesham ensued.[42] Edward was triumphant and Montfort's corpse was mutilated by the victors.[43] In places the now leaderless rebellion dragged on, with some rebels gathering at Kenilworth, which Henry and Edward took after a long siege in 1266.[44] The remaining pockets of resistance were mopped up, and the final rebels, holed up on the Isle of Ely, surrendered in July 1267, marking the end of the war.[45]


Gal nations edward i
Portrait in Westminster Abbey, thought to be of Edward I

Henry III ruled England until his death in 1272, continuing to summon parliaments, sometimes including the county knights and on one occasion including burgesses from the towns.[46] After 1297 under Edward I's reign, this became the norm, and by the early 14th century it was normal to include the knights and burgesses, a grouping that would become known as the "Commons" of England and, ultimately, form the "House of Commons".[47]

Simon de Montfort's parliament of 1265 is sometimes referred to as the first English parliament, because of its inclusion of both the knights and the burgesses, and Montfort himself is often regarded as the founder of the House of Commons.[48] The 19th century historian William Stubbs popularised the 1295 "Model Parliament" of Edward I as the first genuine parliament; however, modern scholarship questions this analysis.[49] The historian David Carpenter describes Montfort's 1265 parliament as "a landmark" in the development of parliament as an institution during the medieval period.[50]

Modern recognition

The Parliament of the United Kingdom presented a loyal address to Queen Elizabeth II in 1965 to mark the 700th anniversary of Montfort's Parliament,[51] and the Queen addressed both Houses of Parliament.[52] The House of Lords Record Office, now known as the Parliamentary Archives, organised an exhibition in the Houses of Parliament of several important Acts of Parliament. Some of these documents were displayed again in a 2015 exhibition.[53]

In 2015, Parliament planned a year-long programme of events called "Parliament in the Making", coordinated with Parliament Week, including events to mark the 750th anniversary of Montfort's Parliament.[54] The BBC broadcast a "Democracy Day" on 20 January to coincide with the 750th anniversary consisting of live discussions and debate about parliament and democracy. It was presented in partnership with the Speaker’s Office of the House of Commons, including broadcasts from inside the Palace of Westminster.[55] Westminster Abbey held a special evensong on 22 January commemorating the anniversary of the Montfort parliament and the development of rights and representation.[56]

See also



  1. ^ Howell 2001, pp. 152–153; Carpenter 2004, p. 347
  2. ^ Howell 2001, p. 153; Carpenter 2004, pp. 347–349
  3. ^ Carpenter 1996, p. 99
  4. ^ Howell 2001, p. 153; Carpenter 1996, p. 99
  5. ^ Howell 2001, pp. 154–154; Jobson 2012, p. 20
  6. ^ Carpenter 1996, pp. 382–383
  7. ^ Carpenter 2004, p. 355
  8. ^ Carpenter 1996, pp. 390–391; Carpenter 2004, p. 356
  9. ^ Howell 2001, p. 156; Jobson 2012, pp. 22, 25
  10. ^ Howell 2001, p. 156
  11. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 22–23; Carpenter 2004, p. 371
  12. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 26, 38–43
  13. ^ Jobson 2012, p. 33
  14. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 33–34
  15. ^ Carpenter 2004, pp. 372–377
  16. ^ Jobson 2012, p. 84
  17. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 84–89; Carpenter 2004, pp. 374–375
  18. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 91–92
  19. ^ Wild 2011, pp. 41–42, 48
  20. ^ Jobson 2012, p. 100
  21. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 100–103
  22. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 13–105; Hallam & Everard 2001, p. 283
  23. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 109–112
  24. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 113–115
  25. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 115, 117
  26. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 117, 122
  27. ^ Carpenter 2004, p. 377
  28. ^ Carpenter 2004, p. 378; Carpenter 1996, p. 393
  29. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 119–120; Carpenter 2004, p. 378
  30. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 120–121, 136–137
  31. ^ Carpenter 2004, pp. 377–378; Maddicott 1994, p. 309
  32. ^ Holt 1999, p. 11
  33. ^ Carpenter 2004, p. 377; Jobson 2012, p. 132; Carpenter 1996, p. 393
  34. ^ Maddicott 1994, p. 317
  35. ^ Jobson 2012, p. 132; Carpenter 2004, p. 378; Holt 1999, p. 20
  36. ^ Hamilton 2010, p. 46
  37. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 132–133
  38. ^ Jobson 2012, p. 132
  39. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 132–133, 135
  40. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 120–121, 136–137
  41. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 138–141
  42. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 140–142, 144
  43. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 140–146
  44. ^ Jobson 2012, pp. 149–152, 154–157
  45. ^ Carpenter 2004, p. 381; Jobson 2012, p. 155
  46. ^ Carpenter 2004, p. 383; Carpenter 1996, p. 393
  47. ^ Carpenter 1996, p. 393; Carpenter 2004, p. 484
  48. ^ Rush 2005, p. 32
  49. ^ Carpenter 1996, pp. 381, 407–408
  50. ^ Carpenter 1996, p. 393
  51. ^ "2015 Anniversaries: An Update" (PDF), UK Parliament, 11 June 2013, p. 2, retrieved 19 January 2015
  52. ^ "Addresses to both Houses of Parliament since 1939" (PDF), House of Commons Library, 12 November 2014, retrieved 21 February 2015
  53. ^ "Magna Carta & Parliament" (PDF), Parliamentary Archives, p. 24, retrieved 21 February 2015
  54. ^ "2015 Anniversaries: An Update" (PDF), UK Parliament, 11 June 2013, retrieved 19 January 2015; "2015: Parliament in the Making", retrieved 19 January 2015
  55. ^ "Democracy Day", UK Parliament, retrieved 20 January 2015; "Simon de Montfort: The turning point for democracy that gets overlooked", BBC, 19 January 2015, retrieved 19 January 2015
  56. ^ "Special Evensong", UK Parliament, retrieved 22 January 2015


  • Carpenter, David (1996). The Reign of Henry III. London, UK: Hambledon Press. ISBN 1-85285-137-6.
  • Carpenter, David (2004). The Struggle for Mastery: The Penguin History of Britain 1066–1284. London, UK: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-014824-4.
  • Hallam, Elizabeth M.; Everard, Judith A. (2001). Capetian France, 987–1328 (2nd ed.). Harlow, UK: Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-40428-1.
  • Hamilton, Jeffrey (2010). The Plantagenets: History of a Dynasty. London, UK: Continuum. ISBN 9781441157126.
  • Holt, J. C. (1999) [1981]. "The Prehistory of Parliament". In Davies, R. G.; Denton, J. H. The English Parliament in the Middle Ages. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. pp. 1–28. ISBN 9780719008337.
  • Jobson, Adrian (2012). The First English Revolution: Simon de Montfort, Henry III and the Barons' War. London, UK: Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-84725-226-5.
  • Howell, Margaret (2001). Eleanor of Provence: Queenship in Thirteenth-Century England. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers. ISBN 978-0-631-22739-7.
  • Maddicott, J. R. (1994). Simon de Montfort. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521376365.
  • Rush, Michael (2005). Parliament Today. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719057953.
  • Wild, Benjamin L. (2011). "A Captive King: Henry III Between the Battles of Lewes and Evesham 1264-5". In Burton, Janet E.; Lachaud, Frédérique; Schofield, Phillipp R.; Stöber, Karen; Weiler, Björn K. Thirteenth Century England: Proceedings of the Paris Conference 2009. 13. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press. pp. 41–56. ISBN 978-1-84383-618-6.
Alien priory

Alien priories were religious establishments in England, such as a monastery or convent, which were under the control of another religious house outside England. Usually the mother-house was in France.

Baron Marmion

There have been four different baronies held by the Marmion family, two feudal baronies, one purported barony created by Simon de Montfort and one barony by writ.

Baron de Ros

Baron de Ros (pronounced "Roose") is the premier baron in the Peerage of England, created in 1288/89 for William de Ros, with precedence to 24 December 1264. (The spelling of the title and of the surname of the original holders has been rendered differently in various texts. The word "Ros" is sometimes spelt "Roos", and the word "de" is sometimes dropped.) Premier baron is a designation and status awarded to the holder of the most ancient extant barony of the Peerage of England. The present premier baron is Baron de Ros. Before the Dissolution of the Monasteries the Prior of the Order of St John in England was deemed premier baron.

Baron le Despencer

Baron le Despencer is a title that has been created several times by writ in the Peerage of England.

Buckinghamshire (UK Parliament constituency)

Buckinghamshire is a former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1885.

Its most prominent member was Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.

Hackney North (UK Parliament constituency)

Hackney North was a parliamentary constituency in "The Metropolis" (later the County of London). It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Knight of the shire

Knight of the shire (Latin: milites comitatus) was the formal title for a member of parliament (MP) representing a county constituency in the British House of Commons, from its origins in the medieval Parliament of England until the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 ended the practice of each county (or shire) forming a single constituency. The corresponding titles for other MPs were burgess in a borough constituency (or citizen if the borough had city status) and baron for a Cinque Ports constituency. Knights of the shire had more prestige than burgesses, and sitting burgesses often stood for election for the shire in the hope of increasing their standing in Parliament.

The name "knight of the shire" originally implied that the representative had to be a knight, and the writ of election referred to a belted knight until the 19th century; but by the 14th century men who were not knights were commonly elected. An act of Henry VI stipulated that those eligible for election were knights and "such notable esquires and gentlemen as have estates sufficient to be knights, and by no means of the degree of yeoman".From Simon de Montfort's Parliament in 1265, each shire sent two knights, and the number was standard until 1826 when Yorkshire gained two additional knights after the disfranchisement of Grampound borough. Under the Great Reform Act of 1832 counties with larger populations sent more knights than smaller ones. The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 split each multiple-seat shire into multiple single-seat divisions. This change, together with the concomitant standardisation of the franchise, means that county and borough constituencies now differ only slightly, as to election expenses and their type of returning officer.

The term "knight of the shire" has been used more recently in a tongue-in-cheek manner for senior Conservative Party backbenchers representing rural constituencies in England and Wales.

List of United Kingdom commemorative stamps

This list of United Kingdom commemorative stamps deals with commemorative stamps issued by Royal Mail, the postal administration of the United Kingdom.

List of people who have addressed both Houses of the United Kingdom Parliament

This is a list of people who have addressed both Houses of the United Kingdom Parliament at the same time. Although English and later British monarchs have jointly addressed the House of Commons and the House of Lords on several occasions since the 16th century, the first foreign dignitary to do so was French President Albert Lebrun in March 1939. The list excludes the speeches given by (or on behalf of) the Sovereign at the State Opening of Parliament and at the close of each parliamentary session.

Only three people besides the reigning monarch at the time have addressed both Houses together on more than one occasion. Nelson Mandela addressed Members of the Commons and the Lords in 1993 and in 1996 as President of South Africa. Mikhail Gorbachev addressed the Houses as a foreign delegate of the Soviet Union in 1984 and again, in 1993, on behalf of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Shimon Peres addressed the Houses as Prime Minister of Israel in 1986 and as President in 2008.

Model Parliament

The Model Parliament is the term, attributed to Frederic William Maitland, used for the 1295 Parliament of England of King Edward I.

Parliament in the Making

Parliament in the Making was a programme of events organised by the Parliament of the United Kingdom to commemorate a series of anniversaries in 2015 including:

the sealing of Magna Carta, on 15 June 1215, 800 years earlier

the first representative parliament, Simon de Montfort's Parliament, on 20 January 1265, 750 years earlier

the Battle of Agincourt on 25 October 1415, 600 years earlier

the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815, 200 years earlier

the death of Winston Churchill on 24 January 1965, fifty years earlier

the first Race Relations Act on 8 December 1965, fifty years earlier

Ralph Basset (died 1265)

Ralph Basset (died 1265), was an English baronial leader.Basset was lord of Drayton in Staffordshire, and, joining the baronial party against Henry III, was appointed by them custos pacis (keeper of the peace) for Shropshire and Staffordshire on 7 June 1264, and was summoned to Simon de Montfort's parliament on 4 December 1264 as Ralph Basset "de Drayton". He fell at the battle of Evesham by De Montfort's side on 4 August 1265, having refused, when urged by him, to seek safety in flight.His lands were forfeited for rebellion, but restored to his widow Margaret, as the daughter of a royalist, Roger de Someri.He was the father of Ralph Basset, 1st Lord Basset of Drayton and Maud, who married John Grey, 2nd Baron Grey de Wilton.

Ralph Basset (died 1282)

Ralph Basset (died 1282?), was an English baronial leader.

Basset was lord of Sapcote, Leicestershire. By the Provisions of Oxford he was appointed constable of Northampton, and he was one of the sureties ex parte baronum for the observance of the Mise of Amiens (December 1263). He was again entrusted by the barons with Northampton, and was appointed, after Lewes, custos pacis (keeper of the peace) for Leicestershire in June 1264. As ‘Radulfus Basset de Sapercote’ he was summoned to Simon de Montfort's parliament on 24 December 1264 and fought at Evesham in 1265 in the ranks of the barons.

Robert de Ros (died 1285)

Sir Robert de Ros (before 1237 – 13 May 1285) was an English nobleman.

United States Capitol

The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is located on Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Though no longer at the geographic center of the Federal District, the Capitol forms the origin point for the District's street-numbering system and the District's four quadrants.

The original building was completed in 1800 and was subsequently expanded, particularly with the addition of the massive dome, and expanded chambers for the bicameral legislature, the House of Representatives in the south wing and the Senate in the north wing. Like the principal buildings of the executive and judicial branches, the Capitol is built in a distinctive neoclassical style and has a white exterior. Both its east and west elevations are formally referred to as fronts, though only the east front was intended for the reception of visitors and dignitaries.

William Marmion, Baron Marmion of Torrington

William Marmion, Baron Marmion of Torrington, was an English clergyman and member of Simon de Montfort's Parliament.

William Marmion (disambiguation)

William Marmion (1845–1896) was an Australian politician.

William Marmion may also refer to:

William Marmion, Baron Marmion of Torrington (died 1265), English clergyman and member of Simon de Montfort's Parliament

William Marmion (died 1274) (died 1274), son of Robert Marmion (died 1242)

William Marmion (Norham Castle Knight), possibly the Leicestershire MP, see John Marmion, 4th Baron Marmion of Winteringham

Sir William Marmion (Leics MP 1307), member of parliament for Leicestershire

Sir William Marmion (Lincs MP 1357), member of parliament for Lincolnshire

William Marmion (Gloucs MP 1491) (1461–1529), member of parliament for Gloucester

William H. Marmion (1907–2002), bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia

Bill Marmion (born 1954), Australian member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia

William de Ros, 1st Baron de Ros

William de Ros or Roos, 1st Baron Ros of Helmsley (c. 1255 – 6 or 8 August 1316), was one of the claimants of the crown of Scotland in 1292 during the reign of Edward I.

Thirteenth century
Fourteenth century
Fifteenth century
Sixteenth century

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.