Edward II: January 1318

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section

1318 January

Introduction January 1318

Lincoln. The parliament was not held

For the writs of summons of the proposed Lincoln parliament see PW, II, ii, 171-81. This parliamentary summons is not noted in Handbook of British Chronology .

During the long period between the Lincoln parliament of January-February 1316 and the summoning of the intended but abortive Lincoln parliament of January 1318 several councils were held, which reflected the disturbed nature of English politics during this period. On 25 June 1316 (at Westminster) a meeting of knights before the king's council was summoned for 29 July at Lincoln. Writs and returns survive for twenty-seven counties. Two of the sheriffs' returns incorrectly refer to the assembly as a parliament. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the grant of armed men made at the Lincoln parliament of 1316 and the perambulation of the forest agreed at that parliament. The meeting terminated on 8 August 1316. (fn. f1318Jint-1)

On 28 January 1317 (at Woodstock) a meeting designated as a council was summoned to assemble at Clarendon on 9 February. The purpose of the summons was to consider 'great and arduous affairs touching the king and the state of the realm'. Those summoned were the prelates and the magnates of the Council; and thirteen royal clerks and justices (these are the only ones mentioned by name in the summons. (fn. f1318Jint-2) In early 1317 resistance to the sixteenth and twenty-fifth imposed in 1316 was apparent. After the Clarendon council writs were issued on 20 February instructing the county collectors to make returns identifying those who were impeding collection and if necessary to receive assistance from the sheriff. Only two returns are known to have survived (for Sussex and Berkshire), neither of which says there was any resistance locally; but the Berkshire return says that it would not be possible to make payment on the due dates because of the general want of the community of the county. (fn. f1318Jint-3)

On 14 March 1317 (at Winchester) an assembly was summoned to meet on 15 April at Westminster in order to consider 'certain arduous and urgent affairs touching the king and the state of the realm'. Only selected prelates (the archbishop of Canterbury, bishop of Exeter), earls (Lancaster, Hereford), barons (Robert de Holland, Hugh Despenser the Elder and Hugh Despenser the Younger), and royal judges (William Bereford, William Inge, Henry le Scrope) were summoned. On 18 February seven royal clerks were ordered to be at Westminster on 11 April 1317. (fn. f1318Jint-4)

On 1 July 1317 (at Woodstock) a council was summoned for 18 July at Nottingham. The purpose was to discuss royal affairs concerning England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Gascony before the arrival of the two papal envoys, cardinals Luke Fieschi and Gaucelin Deauze, who were being sent to make peace within England and between England and Scotland. Those summoned were the archbishop of Canterbury, three bishops (Winchester, the chancellor; Ely, the treasurer; Norwich), five earls (Lancaster, Norfolk, Pembroke, Surrey, Hereford), Hugh Despenser the Elder, Hugh Despenser the Younger, Bartholomew of Badlesmere, and ten royal judges and clerks. (fn. f1318Jint-5)

The proposed Lincoln parliament of January 1318 was not held. On 4 January 1318 it was postponed (from Westminster), at the request of the prelates of the realm, until 12 March 1318 (still to be held at Lincoln). Also on 4 January the earl of Lancaster was given a safe conduct to travel around the country. On 3 March 1318 the parliament was again postponed (from Westminster), once more at the request of the prelates, until 19 June. It was still intended for the parliament to meet at Lincoln. The summons was finally cancelled altogether on 8 June 1318, allegedly because of the necessity to repel the Scots who had invaded the county of York. On 10 June 1318 the parliamentary summons was replaced by a military summons to be at York on 26 July. On 20 July at Northampton this summons was also postponed 'for certain reasons' until 25 August, on which date another parliament was summoned, to meet at York on 20 October. No mention was made of the real reason for the series of postponements and cancellations since January 1318, the continuing delicate negotiations between the king and the earl of Lancaster, which were finally concluded by the treaty of Leake on 9 August 1318.

The writs of summons were issued at Westminster on 20 November 1317 for a parliament to meet at Lincoln on 27 January 1318. The writs say that the king has proposed the holding of 'parliamentum nostrum' to have a 'colloquium and tractatum' with those attending. A marginal note on the Close Roll also describes the intended meeting as a parliament.

Writs of summons were issued on 20 November 1317 to the two archbishops, seventeen bishops (including the four Welsh bishops), the archbishop of Dublin, forty-five abbots, and four priors; eight earls (Lancaster, Norfolk, Surrey, Pembroke, Richmond, Hereford, Arundel, Oxford), eighty-five barons; thirty-eight royal judges and clerks; and for the election of representatives of the knights of the shire and burgesses, and of the lower clergy.

The writs of summons issued on 20 November gave the purpose of the parliament as 'various arduous affairs touching the king and the state of the kingdom.'


  • f1318Jint-1. PW ,II,ii, pp.166-7; original parliamentary writs and returns, PRO, C 219/3/6.
  • f1318Jint-2. PW , II, ii, p.170; Phillips, Aymer de Valence , 118-119.
  • f1318Jint-3. Lay Taxes , .33.
  • f1318Jint-4. PW ,II,ii, 170; Phillips, Aymer de Valence , 118-119.
  • f1318Jint-5. PW ,II,ii, 171; Phillips, Aymer de Valence , 120-1.