Edward I: Easter 1279

Parliament Rolls of Medieval England. Originally published by Boydell, Woodbridge, 2005.

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'Edward I: Easter 1279', in Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, (Woodbridge, 2005) pp. . British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/parliament-rolls-medieval/easter-1279 [accessed 12 April 2024]

In this section

1279 Easter

Introduction Easter 1279


Easter parliament (April-May)

The Easter parliament of 1279 fits in to the normal practice followed during the first half of the reign of Edward I of holding two annual parliaments, one after Easter and one after Michaelmas. (fn. e1279-foot--1) This particular Easter parliament, however, took place immediately prior to Edward I's departure for France (on 11 May) to take possession of Queen Eleanor's recently inherited county of Ponthieu and to conclude a treaty at Amiens with Philip III of France to resolve some of the disputes about Edward's own rights in Gascony. (fn. e1279-foot--2) Although there is no direct evidence to prove this, it seems likely that the appointment of regents during the king's absence on 27 April, (fn. e1279-foot--3) the future arrangements for the administration of the county of Ponthieu and the terms of the future treaty were discussed at this session.

The headings of the two membranes recording business transacted at this session provide no precise details as to its opening, ascribing their business merely to the parliament held at Westminster after Easter or to the parliament 'of' Easter. An entry on the Fine Rolls describes the parliament as being held on the quinzaine of Easter, which presumably means that it opened not long after Sunday 16 April. (fn. e1279-foot--4) The earliest datable decision on the roll seems to belong to no later than 21 April; (fn. e1279-foot--5) ; the latest to 28 April. (fn. e1279-foot--6) The decisions recorded, however, clearly continued after Edward I had left Westminster for the coast, (fn. e1279-foot--7) and this indicates that the king's council (and possibly parliament as such) remained in session for some time after 3 May. There is no evidence about whom was summoned to this parliament.

The only surviving official record of the business done at this parliament are the two membranes of C 49/1/13 . It seems probable, however, that at least two other items of business can be ascribed to it: an ordinance restraining the making of new accusations against Jews before the special justices hearing monetary offences as from 1 May and allowing the release of other accused Jews in return for fines, issued on 7 May 1279 at Canterbury; (fn. e1279-foot--8) and the commissioning of justices in eyre to continue the work of the 'southern' eyre circuit with visitations of the counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex on 27 April 1279 at Westminster. (fn. e1279-foot--9) There is also a reference to a petition proffered to the parliament after Easter, probably this parliament of 1279, by a litigant whose opponent was a doweress (Isabel de Forz countess of Aumale) holding lands in Cumberland which were to revert to the king after her death and who had sought the king's aid, and who had asked for and obtained permission for the litigation to continue. The enrolment relating to this litigation in the Easter 1280 foreign pleas section of the 1279-81 Yorkshire eyre notes that the king responded to this petition by telling John des Vaux, the chief eyre of the eyre circuit, who was evidently also present in parliament, to proceed with the case. (fn. e1279-foot--10) It was also perhaps at this same parliament that various members of the king's council and royal justices made some definitive rulings on points of quo warranto law that had arisen during the course of the 1279 Kent eyre. (fn. e1279-foot--11) The definitive ruling made three weeks after Easter 1279 by the royal justices Hengham, Weyland, Brunton and Wimborne in respect of the validity of a final concord may also have been during this session of parliament. (fn. e1279-foot--12) From later debt litigation in the Common Bench we also know that John Beril attended this parliament with the future abbess of Shaftesbury to attend to the formalities associated with the election of that abbess. (fn. e1279-foot--13)


  • e1279-foot--1. Richardson and Sayles, The English Parliament in the Middle Ages , V, 133-43.
  • e1279-foot--2. Powicke, The Thirteenth Century , 235, 289; Prestwich, Edward I , 316-7.
  • e1279-foot--3. CPR 1272-81 , 309-10.
  • e1279-foot--4. CFR 1272-1307 , 120. This was also the date given for the intended opening of parliament in the king's order to the barons of the exchequer requiring them to provide him with information as to all allowances sought by sheriffs and others, whether by writ or without, and all related circumstances at this parliament, enrolled among the Hilary communia of 1279 in the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer's Memoranda Roll: E 368/52, m. 3d.
  • e1279-foot--5. Compare item 1 with CPR 1272-81 , 307.
  • e1279-foot--6. Compare item 4 with CPR 1272-81 , 333 and items 30-31 with CPR 1272-81 , 312.
  • e1279-foot--7. See item 27.
  • e1279-foot--8. CCR 1272-9 , 529-30.
  • e1279-foot--9. CPR 1272-81 , 309.
  • e1279-foot--10. JUST 1/1068, m. 15.
  • e1279-foot--11. Sutherland, Quo Warranto Proceedings , 194-7.
  • e1279-foot--12. KB 27/45, m. 6: only Hengham and Wimborne were justices of King's Bench. Weyland and Brunton were justices of the Common Bench. The case had been adjourned before king and council, probably at parliament, for the previous Michaelmas parliament: CCR 1272-9 , 509.
  • e1279-foot--13. CP 40/48, m. 53d. For the related enrolments see CPR 1272-81 , 307, 314, 318 and see also C 84/6, no. 37.