A Pocket History of the Parliament of Great Britain

johnnydodStarred Page By johnnydod, 13th Aug 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/21w6kpn5/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

Lets take a look at Parliament, when and how it started, how it progressed, and why?

The beginning

A folkmoot I guess, could be roughly translated as “people meet” its an Anglo-Saxon word, and was a gathering of members of a tribe in order to organized and generally make laws that the other members of the tribe should follow, it is thought that this folkmoot was succeeded by the witenagemot

The Witenagemot also called “The Witan” (A meeting of wise men)and was an Anglo-Saxon ruling force sometime before the 7th century.
This ruling body lasted for around 500 years in England until the 11th century, its main function was to advise the King, and raise money through taxes,(See they were even at it in those days) it was made up of important English noblemen and senior clergymen, as well as advising the King they also discussed local and nation matters.

The Anglo-Saxon kings of England would often call the Witenagmot for advice and even sometimes help with the courts of justice; however following the Norman Conquest in 1066 the Normans took the Witenagmot and developed it into a more centralized and effective body and by the end of the eleventh century Curia Regis was established firmly as the main legislative body in England

Next came The Curia Regis, The Royal council

The Curia Regis is a Latin term meaning "royal council" or "king’s court." And it was now Curia Regis that advised, along with the King, all the dealings and tax collecting of the land.
Curia Regis lasted until 1215 was the forerunner of the Chancery and Parliament (the word Parliament is thought to come from the French word "parler" to talk)
1215 was a turning point in how Parliament and the King legislated.

The issuing of a legal document or charter in 1215 set out laws and standards, it was written in order to reign in some of the kings powers, which by now he was increasingly using, to dip into the country's coffers, and going over the head of the council, to pay for his wars and buildings, the charter also set out rights for the common man, and in particular the right to a fair trail, it was written in Latin and is still known by its Latin name Magna Carta.

The Magna Carta, signed by King John, required him to give certain rights to his people, and for him to adhere to the laws of the land, it was in fact a charter for the people, among other things allowing them to appeal against unlawful imprisonment, The Magna Carta was the original document for the forming of constitutional law throughout the English world.

This important documents forced onto an English king by the barons and noblemen of England, was the first to limit his absolute Power and to protect the privileges of the English people.
In fact it had little effect on the power of the King, as he continued to override the advice of the council, resulting in an uprising and civil war, however during the English civil War, the Magna Carta became the symbol of those fighting for their rights that the King should be bound by it and the law.

1207 Westminster is built and the name Parliament becomes the accepted ruling body

There were many amended versions of the Magna Carta and it is now the 1297 version we in England and Wales all look upon and adhere to.
King Henry III succeeded King John and reigned from 1207 until 1272 and during that time he developed the Curia Regis into a body known as Parliament, he built Westminster which he made the his seat of Government.

Robert Walpole1721-1730 was generally regarded as being the first Prime Minister of Great Britain.

And so we come to todays Parliament

There have been 76 prime ministers including today’s David Cameron, who now leads the sixth of the coalition governments we have had so far.

He earns £142,500, in addition to a salary of £65,000 as a Member of Parliament
He is the head of Her Majesty’s Government, the prime minister acts as the public face and voice of the government he is answerable to only to Parliament, today’s Sovereign has many statutory and prerogative powers.

She can dissolve Parliament, dismiss and appoint prime ministers and declare war, she is the head of the judicial force, she is also head of the Church of England and can confer peerages knighthoods and many other honours upon her people.
The monarch is also the Queen of Canada, New Zealand as well as several other countries’.

A View of the British Parliament

Today Great Britain's parliament is a coalition of

  • Monarchy (The Queen)
  • Nobility (The house of lords )
  • And Democracy (Parliament)

See also
The Republic of Great Britain


Anglo-Saxon, England, Great Britain, History, King, Normans, Parliament

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author avatar johnnydod
Writers write while dreamers procrastinate.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
16th Aug 2010 (#)

You are definitely the go to person when it comes to history. I'm sending links to your articles to my grand kids for use in their school work.

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author avatar johnnydod
16th Aug 2010 (#)

I'm honoured Jerry

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author avatar krrymarie
16th Aug 2010 (#)

cool write Johnny.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
28th Aug 2013 (#)

Thank you, Johnny for the information

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