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English Medieval Legal Documents Database

A Compilation of Published Sources from 600 to 1535

Parliamentary Records

During the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) the role of parliament became more important as, "(D)iscontent with royal government prompted demands for a larger voice in advising the king, amounting at times to a claim to control his choice of advisors; in extreme cases to share his executive power."(40) By 1327 parliaments were accepted as part of the normal practice and both Edward I and II used them as an administrative tool. However, much parliamentary business was judicial, and the power of parliament to limit the role of the monarchy was to come much later.

The earliest and most important published records of parliament are the Rotuli Parliamentorum, which cover the period 1272-1503. These should be consulted to see the original authorized text of any statute from 1 Richard III (1483) on. However, at the beginning of Edward III's reign, as A.R. Myers points out, "the records of parliament were still unorganised...(A)fter 1339 they improve and on the whole become increasingly full and informative about the proceedings until the end of the century. In the fifteenth century they gradually become more formal until... they become little more than records of legislation. So pronounced was this trend that the statute rolls exist only down to 1468, and the printed collection, the Statutes of the Realm, vols I and II (Record Commn, 1810,1916) had to fill the gap with transcripts of the statutes amongst the Exchequer records and elsewhere." (41) For a detailed listing of early publications on parliament, see Maxwell.(42)

40. Douglas, David C., Dorothy Whitelock, George W. Greenaway, Harry Rothwell, A. R. Myers, and C. H. Williams, eds. English Historical Documents 10 Vols. in 11. New York: Oxford University Press, 1953-1977. v.3 (1189-1327) ed. by Harry Rothwell, at p.55441. Douglas, David C., Dorothy Whitelock, George W. Greenaway, Harry Rothwell, A. R. Myers, and C. H. Williams, eds. English Historical Documents 10 Vols. in 11. New York: Oxford University Press, 1953-1977. v.4 (1327-1485) ed. by Alec R. Myers, at p.393
42. Maxwell, William Harold, and Leslie F. Maxwell , comps. A Legal Bibliography of the British Commonwealth of Nations. 8 Vols. 2nd ed. London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1955- at pp.127-149

Full Text Records of Parliament