Skip to main content

The House of Commons 1509-1558: Personnel, Procedure, Precedent and Change



The House of Commons 1509-1558: Personnel, Procedure, Precedent and Change

Alasdair Hawkyard

ISBN: 978-1-119-27980-8 March 2017 Wiley-Blackwell 422 Pages


The House of Commons 1509-1558 offers readers a groundbreaking examination of the role and significance of the British House of Commons during the Tudor period.

  • Utilizes new scholarship, archival research, and never-before-published images to enhance our understanding
  • Details all aspects of the institution, including elections and electoral practice, membership, organization, the House in session, and legislation
  • Addresses innovations in the conduct and management of the House during this time, such as the introduction of divisions and increasing bureaucratization
  • Demonstrates the turbulent nature of the House during the Tudor age and reevaluates the nature of political opposition


List of Tables and Maps

List of Figures



Chapter 1. Elections and Electoral Practice:

Summoning a Parliament

Circular Letters

Other Royal and Conciliar Letters



Electoral Law

Enfranchisement and Disfranchisement

Shire Elections

Urban County Elections

City, Borough and Town Elections

The Franchise in the Urban Counties, Cities, Boroughs and Towns

Cities, Boroughs and Towns and Lordship

Sheriffs and Other Returning Officers

Election Returns, Indentures and Schedules

Witness Lists on Election Indentures

Alterations to Election Returns, Indentures and Schedules

False Returns

Overturned and Quashed Elections

The Assembly of the House, the Receipt of Writs and the Calling of Names

Crown Office Lists

Committees for Returns


Chapter 2. The Members:

The Body Politic

The Size of the House

Social Background

Knights and Knightings


The Associates of Peers


Writers and Translators

Members’ Personal Notes,Records and Memory

King’s Councillors and Privy Councillors

The Royal Household

Other Royal Servants and Officers

Military and Naval Experience

Ecclesiastical Administrators, Lay Deans and Ordained Priests


Merchants, Manufacturers and Traders

Experience in County Government

Experience in Urban Government


The Acquisition of Church Property

Misfortune and Notoriety

Accommodation and Dining

Clothing and Accessories

Servants and Attendants



Chapter 3. Organisation:

Meeting Places

Times of Business


Inter-sessional Prorogations

Seating and Hierarchy

The Speaker

Officers of the House

The Records of the Commons

Chapter 4. The House in Session:

The Opening of Parliament

The Speaker’s Petitions:

1. Freedom of Access by the Speaker to the Sovereign

2. The Apology by the Speaker to the Sovereign

3. Liberty of Speech

4. Privilege from Arrest

The House of Commons as a Court

Discussing and Reporting Business


Outside Intervention


Conferences with the Lords

The Presence of Members at Events outside Parliament

The Royal Assent

The Closing of Parliament

On Leaving

Chapter 5. Legislation:

The Preparation of Petitions and Bills

The House of Origin for Bills

Procedure on Bills

The Interests of Members and Constituencies


Debates and Opposition

Suitors, Counsel and Defendants at the Bar

Influences on Members


Amendment and Engrossment

Voting: Acclamations and Divisions

The Bearing of Bills to the Lords

The Collection of the Subsidy Bill from the Upper House


1. Dates of Parliaments

2. The Parliament of September 1553

3. King Philip

4. New Constituencies

5. By-elections

6. Additional Members and Names

7. Private Acts for Members

8. Provisos in Acts for Constituencies

9. Provisos in Acts for Members