The January Parliament

The Week:

The January Parliament: marking 750 years of British democracy

On 20 January 1265, knights, burgesses and aldermen met in London for the first real parliament in British history. Of course, the representatives were ‘elected’ in a far less democratic way than they are now, but the meeting is still seen by academics as the birth of British parliaments.

The January Parliament was summoned by French-born noble Simon de Montfort.

Montfort ordered each county of England to send two knights, says the Telegraph. Towns were asked to send two burgesses and two aldermen. The delegates were ‘elected’ locally – in some cases chosen by lot.

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