Edward II: October 1318

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

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1318 October

Introduction October 1318


20 October - 9 December

For the writs of summons see PW, II, ii, 182-95; C 219/3/8

(Records of the parliament: there are four separate records for this parliament.)

1. SC 9/21: Parliament Roll. This contains records of the confirmation of the political agreements made between the king and the earl of Lancaster in the Treaty of Leake of 9 August 1318, of the decisions made at the parliament in fulfilment of the treaty, and a large number of petitions. Membranes 1-11 have been previously edited by Henry Cole, in Documents Illustrative of English History in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries (London, 1844), 1-46. Membrane 12, which was added from unsorted miscellanea in July 1958, is edited here for the first time. The entire roll has been edited for the PROME edition. However much of this roll is in a very poor condition, so that is has not been possible to edit it to the same standard as most other rolls. (fn. f1318Oint-1)

2. E 175/11/20: roll: incompletely edited in R & S , 66-7. It is fully edited in the PROME edition. The roll contains the proceedings in the 1318 parliament on a petition of Hugh de Courtenay (See SC 9/21: roll of the 1318 Parliament) There is an error at the start of this roll, where the proceedings recorded are ascribed to a parliament held at Lincoln in 12 Edward II (i.e., 1318-19). No such parliament existed. As the roll then indicates, the proceedings had begun with a petition presented by Courtenay during the Westminster Parliament of January 1315, were then continued during the Lincoln Parliament of January 1316, and concluded during the York Parliament of October 1318. The Lincoln Parliament referred to in E 175/11/20 is clearly that of 1316. The heading of the roll says the text was copied from the 'Red Book', which R & S , 64, say is probably the Vetus Codex (C 153/1). The Red Book was in fact the Red Book of the Exchequer (E 164/2): see The Red Book of the Exchequer , ed. Hubert Hall, iii, Rolls Series (London, 1896), 1014-25. Since the first part of E 175/11/20 (down to the end of the proceedings in the Lincoln parliament of 1316) closely mirrors the version in SC 9/19 (see the Roll of the Parliament of 1316), R & S did not print it in R & S , 66-7. SC 8/325/E712, a petition from Hugh de Courtenay, which is associated with E 175/11/20, is printed in R & S , 67-8, but is not edited as part of the PROME edition.

3. E 175/1/22, mm.2, 3: lists of petitions presented in the parliament of October 1318: printed in R & S , 70-80. 'This document is unique among the parliamentary miscellanea that have come down to us. It contains lists of petitions in different categories presented at the Michaelmas parliament of 1318: - those for the great council, those for the personal consideration of the king, those concerning the king's debts, those not fully expedited because of various difficulties, and finally petitions that have been expedited. With few exceptions, no petitions save those in the last category can be identified on Exchequer Parliament Roll, no. 21 [SC 9/21], but a large number of those stated to have been expedited correspond with the petitions entered on that roll': R & S , 65-6. Over forty of the petitions listed in E 175/1/22 can be identified with surviving petitions in SC 8/319/E 356 - E 417. See footnotes to E 175/1/22.

4. BL, Add. Ms., 41612/f.53 (the 'Liber Eliensis' (the 'Book of Ely'); SC 8/191/9518; SC 8/321/E.459: previously edited in R & S , 68-70. This is a copy of material once preserved in SC 9/21: see note in R & S , 64-5. This petition, asking for confirmation of the charters of Ely, was presented to the king by John Hotham, bishop of Ely, in the York parliament of October 1318. There are three versions of the petition, besides the two Latin summaries enrolled on SC 9/21, items 261-3 and 284-6. The primary text edited for the PROME edition is taken from British Library Add. Ms. 41612/ f.53. Variants (other than variations in spelling) in SC 8/191/9518 are noted. Interlineations, substitutions over erasures etc. in this petition are not noted. SC 8/321/E459 has a rather different version, which has been placed in an appendix to BL, Add. Ms. 41612/f. 53.

SC 9/21, too fragile now to be rolled up, consists of 12 membranes, not one of which is completely legible. The final membrane, in even worse condition than the rest of the manuscript, was added in 1958. To better preserve the membranes, each is now attached to a guard at the top: these guards are then sewn together, and there are further modern guards in front and behind. Roman numerals in ink, probably rather later, can be seen at the top right-hand edge of the recto of most membranes, although there is none on membrane 3. There are also modern pencil numbers at the top of some membranes. The text is in a neat official hand, and was probably not the work of one scribe. The condition of this roll is extremely poor. All membranes contain holes, all have needed extensive conservation work, all are discoloured, on several the writing has faded, and to make matters worse, there has been extensive use of gall. Particularly noteworthy is a hole about 280 mm from the top of the left-hand side (seen from the recto) of membranes 4 to 11, which grows bigger with each successive membrane. Due to the extensive damage to this manuscript, the following measurements are very approximate. Membrane 1 is 690 mm long and 250-255 mm wide. The text occupies both sides of the parchment. There is a hole about a third of the way down, and large holes at the foot at both sides. Membrane 2 is 610 mm long and 253 mm wide: the text occupies both sides. The dorse and the lower half of the recto are badly faded, and there is damage by gall, but few holes. Membrane 3 is 260 mm long and 240-245 mm wide; the text occupies both sides. The dorse is badly faded, and there is a large area of damage (and modern repair work) at the right-hand side of the recto. Membrane 4 is 500 mm long and 253 mm wide; the text occupies both sides. There is a gall stain at the right-hand side of the recto near the top, and a smaller one about 280 mm down - just above the start of the hole mentioned above. There is bad damage at the foot. Membrane 5 is 490 mm long, and 247-50 mm wide; the text occupies both sides. The membrane is discoloured and worn, but still fairly legible apart from the hole and some damage to the foot. Membrane 6 is 400 mm long and 236-240 mm wide; the text occupies the recto only. It is in relatively good condition, apart from the growing hole at the left-hand side. Membrane 7 is 585 mm long and 254-260 mm wide; the text occupies both sides. The top of the membrane is in good condition, but it becomes slightly discoloured near the foot. There are a number of holes near the foot, as well as the one at the left-hand side, which has gall stains round it. Membrane 8 is 610 mm long; its width varies considerably, between 240 mm and 252 mm. The text occupies both sides. Again there are bad gall stains round the hole at the left-hand side, and also other gall stains. Again, the membrane is very legible at the top, but deteriorates badly at the foot. Membrane 9 measures 545 mm by 240 mm; the text occupies both sides. Again the legibility of the membrane deteriorates from top to bottom, and again there is bad gall staining round the hole at the left-hand side, and also other gall stains. Membrane 10 is 555 mm long and 246-252 mm wide; the text occupies both sides. Again there are bad gall stains round the now large hole at the left-hand side and at the foot - again the top of the membrane is much more legible than the foot. The pencil number 9 has been written on this membrane, and then crossed out. Membrane 11 is 554 mm long and 240-246 mm wide; the text occupies both sides. Again we find the now familiar features of a considerable decrease in legibility from top to foot, and bad gall stains round the hole and at the foot, especially on the dorse. Membrane 12 consists of two pieces of parchment sewn together, 410 and 285 mm long respectively, making a total of 695. The width varies between 248 mm and 258 mm. The text occupies both sides of the parchment. There is no gall here, but the writing has faded to the point of illegibilty, especially on the upper membrane. There are marks in the margin against certain items - apparently to draw the attention to them.

E 175/11/20 consists of two membranes, sewn together head to foot, with the text, in a neat official hand, on the recto only. Membrane 1 is 735mm long and membrane 2 260 mm long: both are 268 mm broad. There is some staining near the top of membrane 1.

E 175/1/22, membranes 2 and 3, have been attached to a membrane 1, which deals with an unconnected matter. Membrane 2 is 510 mm long and 165 mm broad; membrane 3 measures 485 mm by 155 mm. Both are written recto and dorse in a neat official hand. There are stains on both membranes, but while membrane two is badly stained on both sides, the staining on membrane three is confined to the dorse.

British Library Add. MS 41612, the 'Liber Eliensis', is a folio of 115 parchment fols, measuring approximately 150 mm by 225 mm, containing material relating to the diocese of Ely, written in a number of different hands, and bound with a contemporary board binding of wood. The entry on fols 53r-v (re-foliated to 55r-v) is written in a neat hand, circa fourteenth century, on a lined page, 29 lines to each page. For a fuller description of the contents of the ms as a whole, see, Liber Eliensis , ed. E. O. Blake, Camden 3rd Series, xcii (1962), p. 161.

The writs of summons were issued at Nottingham on 25 August 1318 for a parliament to meet at York on 20 October 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.

In the weeks following his appointment in January 1316 as the head of the king's council Lancaster appears to have been playing an active part in the government of the kingdom. By the end of April 1316 Lancaster had however effectively given up his new role and had withdrawn from the council. In a letter written over a year later, in July 1317, Lancaster claimed that he had done so because of Edward's failure to observe the Ordinances, his refusal to accept the reform proposals drawn up in London by himself and the reform commission established at the Lincoln parliament in January 1316, and his surrounding himself with new favourites. The underlying hatred between Edward and Lancaster was no doubt another factor, but so too was Lancaster's lack of capacity for the role he had undertaken at Lincoln. There now began a new period of political instability which was concluded (and then only for a time) by the treaty of Leake in August 1318 and by the parliament held at York in the following October. For more than two and a half years between February 1316 and October 1318 no parliament could be held. When a parliament was summoned in November 1317 to meet in January 1318, it was postponed and finally abandoned. On several occasions in 1317 and 1318 councils were summoned but these met in the absence of Lancaster.

In an episode unconnected with Lancaster, the town of Bristol defied royal orders in June 1316 and had to be forced to surrender on 26 July. Meanwhile Lancaster's lack of co-operation prevented a proposed campaign against the Scots during the summer; in November 1316 the king, queen and Lancaster supported rival candidates for the see of Durham, which in turn provoked further hostility from Lancaster. In November and December 1316 Edward planned to improve his position by sending a high level embassy, led by the earl of Pembroke and the bishops of Ely and Norwich, to the newly elected pope John XXII. The embassy, which left England in January 1317, was designed to win papal assistance against the Scots, to achieve financial concessions, and possibly also to obtain absolution for Edward from his oath to uphold the Ordinances. On 28 March 1317 the pope loaned Edward the proceeds of a clerical tenth, and on 1 May ordered a truce between England and Scotland. On 17 March the pope had appointed two cardinals to go to England to negotiate a final peace with Scotland: in the event they were to play an even more important role in bringing about a settlement between Edward and Lancaster. Edward had been attempting to contact Lancaster since at least February 1317 but the mutual suspicions remained and were strengthened by the abduction of Lancaster's wife by the earl of Surrey on 9 May. Lancaster refused to attend a great council at Nottingham on 18 July, while efforts to negotiate with him at Pontefract in late August also failed. Both sides had meanwhile been gathering armed forces, on the pretext of a campaign against the Scots which was scheduled for September. No campaign took place and in early October, as Edward was returning south from York, he was only narrowly dissuaded from attacking Lancaster in his castle of Pontefract. The personal hatred between Edward and his cousin was exacerbated by the rise to prominence of a new group of royal favourites, Roger Damory, Hugh Audley, William Montacute, and Hugh Despenser the Younger, together with the latter's father, Hugh Despenser the Elder, a longtime opponent of Lancaster. Edward had also since late 1316 entered into a series of formal contracts for service in peace and war with these and other leading magnates, including the earls of Pembroke and Hereford and Bartholomew of Badlesmere. The immediate import of these was their promise to provide Edward with specified amounts of military service but there was also a clear political implication. By the autumn of 1317 Edward had therefore skilfully built up around himself a coalition composed of some individuals who were personally obnoxious to Lancaster and of others who had no confidence in Lancaster's ability to provide political leadership and were alarmed at the very real threat of civil war caused by the continuing enmity between Edward and Lancaster. Moderate political figures such as Pembroke and Badlesmere were afraid that the behaviour of favourites such as Roger Damory, the newly powerful husband of one of the heiresses to the earldom of Gloucester (the partition of the Gloucester lands had finally been ordered in April 1317), would tip the balance in favour of open conflict. It was this desire to restrain the king's current favourites rather than an attempt to create a so-called 'middle party' which led Pembroke and Badlesmere to enter into an indenture with Damory (and possibly with others whose indentures are not extant) on 24 November 1317. Between November 1317 and August 1318 a lengthy series of negotiations took place aimed at producing a lasting accommodation between Edward and Lancaster. Pembroke, Badlesmere and others acted on behalf of the king, but a crucial mediating role was also played during this period by the archbishop and bishops of the province of Canterbury, the archbishop of Dublin, and the two papal envoys, cardinals Luke and Gaucelin, The parliament summoned to Lincoln for 27 January 1318 was finally abandoned on 8 June. An assembly held at Leicester on 12 April put certain proposals to Lancaster on the king's behalf but achieved no agreement. While Edward remained at Northampton during July, royal envoys and ecclesiastical mediators went back and forth to Lancaster at Tutbury and finally broke the deadlock. Edward and Lancaster met on 7 August to exchange the kiss of peace and on 9 August met again at Leake, near Nottingham, where their agreement was embodied in the form of a treaty. A parliament was also summoned to York for 20 October to confirm and to amplify the terms of the treaty of Leake. (fn. f1318Oint-2)

The parliament held at York between October and December was the first to take place since the Lincoln parliament of January-February 1316. There had however been a series of councils in the intervening period. Details of these are given in the Introduction to the abortive parliament of January 1318. That parliament had been summoned in November 1317 to meet at Lincoln on 27 January 1318. (for the writs of summons see PW, II, ii, 171-81. This parliamentary summons is not noted in Handbook of British Chronology ). The proposed parliament was not however 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. The postponement was a decision taken by a council of prelates, magnates, royal judges and clerks who had been summoned to meet at Northampton because of the continuing negotiations with the earl of Lancaster. On 25 August 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. (fn. f1318Oint-3)

Writs of summons for the York parliament were issued on 25 August 1318 to the two archbishops, nineteen bishops (including the four Welsh bishops), the archbishop of Dublin, forty-two abbots, and four priors; nine earls (Lancaster, Norfolk, Surrey, Pembroke, Hereford, Arundel, Oxford, the earl of Angus from Scotland, and the earl of Richmond), eighty-four barons; twenty-five 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 25 August gave the purpose of the parliament as 'various arduous affairs touching the king and the state of the kingdom.'

The York parliament confirmed and amplified the agreements already reached in the treaty of Leake. As agreed then, a standing royal council was established, consisting of eight bishops (Norwich, Chichester, Ely, Salisbury, St. Davids, Carlisle, Hereford, and Worcester), four earls (Pembroke, Richmond, Hereford, and Arundel), Hugh de Courtenay, Roger Mortimer, John of Seagrave, and John de Grey. Lancaster would not be a member, but was to be represented by one of the bannerets of his household. The council would function for one year, with two bishops, one earl and one baron serving for three months at a time. This proposal was put forward by Lancaster and was modelled on a scheme originally proposed by Simon de Montfort in 1264. The council would advise the king between parliaments on all matters which could be settled without recourse to parliament. At York the membership of the council was increased by the addition of the bishops of Coventry & Lichfield and Winchester, Hugh Despenser the Younger, Bartholomew of Badlesmere, John Somery, John Giffard, John Botetourt, Roger Mortimer of Chirk, and William Martin. Although apparently revolutionary in concept, the council did not contain any members who were personally hostile or unsympathetic to the king. Lancaster's views would be represented only through the presence of a member of his own retinue. Ironically this solution may have suited Lancaster, since the failure of his appointment as chief councillor in 1316 had been due in part to the excessive administrative burden which it had placed upon him, and the removal of his freedom to criticise the king and his advisers from a safe distance. The solution may also have suited the other members of the council who were anxious that Lancaster would not accroach sovereignty to himself. The standing council and his representation by a banneret saved Lancaster's dignity, but could not conceal his real weakness, which was also shown during the York parliament by the shelving of his claim to appoint the steward of the king's household. A reform commission to examine the working of the royal household and consisting of the archbishop of York, the bishops of Norwich and Ely, the earl of Hereford, Badlesmere, Mortimer of Chirk, and Walter of Norwich, was however appointed at York. The Ordinances had once again been confirmed at Leake. This led to a review during the parliament of all grants which the king had made contrary to them. Some grants were confirmed, such as those made to the earl of Hereford, Badlesmere, William Montacute, Hugh Despenser the Younger and Roger Damory, but with some modifications and reductions in their substance. Lancaster's demands for the complete revocation of all grants had therefore been sidestepped. All the major offices under the Crown were also reviewed during the parliament. The bishop of Ely was confirmed as chancellor and his predecessor, the bishop of Winchester, was appointed as treasurer. Badlesmere was advanced to steward of the household, and Hugh Despenser the Younger was confirmed as chamberlain. All these appointments were royal allies and could only have been of the greatest satisfaction to the king. The king did however make one major concession to Lancaster by removing from court William Montacute, Roger Damory and Hugh Audley, the three current royal favourites who were most objectionable to him. The political settlement made at the York parliament of 1318 was yet another compromise between the king and Lancaster. It had been achieved by the king's skill in mobilising support for himself among the barons, some of whom like Pembroke acted as his negotiators, by the mediation of the bishops and the papal envoys, but also because Lancaster was increasingly seen by his fellow magnates as unreasonable and incompetent. Another important factor in producing a settlement was the situation in the war with the Scots who had taken Berwick-on-Tweed in April 1318. Only active co-operation between the king and Lancaster offered any realistic hope of defeating them. It remained to be seen whether the new settlement would be any more successful than its predecessors. (fn. f1318Oint-4)

Apart from the confirmation and amplification of the settlement reached at Leake, much of the business recorded on the Parliament Roll (SC 9/21) related to petitions. Three bishops, three barons and seven royal judges and clerks were appointed to hear and to answer the bills and petitions from England, Ireland and Wales received during the parliament; and three bishops and one clerk for Gascon bills and petitions. Many more petitions appear in E 175/1/22, mm.2, 3, lists of petitions presented in the parliament of October 1318: printed in R & S , 70-80. 'This document is unique among the parliamentary miscellanea that have come down to us. It contains lists of petitions in different categories presented at the Michaelmas parliament of 1318: - those for the great council, those for the personal consideration of the king, those concerning the king's debts, those not fully expedited because of various difficulties, and finally petitions that have been expedited. With few exceptions, no petitions save those in the last category can be identified on Exchequer Parliament Roll, no. 21 [SC 9/21], but a large number of those stated to have been expedited correspond with the petitions entered on that roll': R & S , 65-6. . Over forty of the petitions listed in E 175/1/22 can be identified with surviving petitions in SC 8/319/E 356 - E 417 (see footnotes to E 175/1/22). Another of the sources for the 1318 parliament, E 175/11/20 contains the proceedings in the 1318 parliament on a petition of Hugh de Courtenay, while a fourth source, BL, Add. Ms., 41612/f.53, is a transcript of a petition from the bishop of Ely, who had been chancellor since 11 June 1318.

The Statute of York, whose six clauses refer to matters concerning novel disseisin, inquests, justices of nisi prius, liberties, and the assize of wine and victuals, may be the result of petitions submitted during the parliament. It is not however possible to associate the individual clauses with any commune or private petitions recorded or listed in the surviving records of the parliament. The statute was also to be sent to Ireland for promulgation there. (fn. f1318Oint-5)

The very detailed Household Ordinance of York, which had been drawn up during the parliament by a committee of four (the Steward, Chamberlain, Treasurer, and Controller of the Wardrobe) was issued on 6 December, three days before the end of the parliament. (fn. f1318Oint-6) Although no tax was granted by the York parliament of October 1318, a tax was levied in Wales in aid of Scottish war on 22 November 1318 or earlier (probably between June and November 1318. On 25 November the king ordered the convocation of the clergy of the Canterbury province to grant a subsidy in aid of the king's coming campaign against the Scots, which the parliament had decided should assemble at Newcastle on 10 June 1319:. (fn. f1318Oint-7) .


  • f1318Oint-1. The Vetus Codex, C 153/1, f.155r:, contains a list of the major items of business which were transacted in the 1318 parliament and which are recorded on SC 9/21: Parliamentum apud Ebor' anno regni regis Edwardi, filii regis Edwardi, duodecimo. cap. i. Indentura facta inter regem et comitem Lanc'. ii. De ministris regis ordinacio. iii. De excercitu et parliamento summoniendis. iiii. Peticio episcopi Cestr'. v. De peticionibus per communitatem Anglie porrectis. vi. Peticio comitis Lancastr' de clameo mareschalcie. vii. De attachiamentis concessis super Rigald'. viii. De donis revocandis. ix. Statutum Ebor' et statutum Lincoln'. x. Placitum inter Johannem de Claveryng' et Adamarum de Valenc'. The author of the Vetus Codex followed a similar procedure in relation to the York parliament of May 1319. The roll of the 1320 parliament was transcribed in the Vetus Codex (see the Parliament of 1320), and it is possible that it was also intended eventually to transcribe the rolls of the 1318 and 1319 parliaments.
  • f1318Oint-2. For a detailed discussion of the events between the Lincoln parliament of January 1316 and the York parliament of October 1318 see Phillips, Aymer de Valence , 96-177; Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster , 180-239.
  • f1318Oint-3. See Edwards, 'The negotiating of the Treaty of Leake, 1318', in Essays to R.L. Poole , 360ff.; see also Phillips, 'The "Middle Party" and the negotiating of the Treaty of Leake, August 1318: a reinterpretation'.
  • f1318Oint-4. For a detailed discussion of the treaty of Leake and the settlement at the York parliament of October 1318 see Phillips, Aymer de Valence , 170-7; Maddicott, Thomas of Lancaster , 228-39.
  • f1318Oint-5. SR , I, 177-8.
  • f1318Oint-6. See Tout, Place of Reign of Edward II , 118-119 & Appendix I, A, 241-281.
  • f1318Oint-7. Lay Taxes , 34; PW , II,ii, 196.