Along with the Rolls of Parliament, the returns of Members of the House of Commons surviving among the records of the royal Chancery in the Public Record Office have long formed part of the staple diet of historians of the pre-modern Parliament. In combination with evidence for disputed elections found in the archives of the royal law courts, they have been much studied by scholars interested in local and national politics, as well as questions of representative theory. In this, the reign of Henry VI, which witnessed much of the statutory regulation of the election process, played a pivotal role. The completion of the History of Parliament’s volumes for King Henry’s reign provided an opportunity to take stock of this material afresh, and to reconsider in what way these records relate to the election process they appear to document.
Dr Hannes Kleineke is editor of the House of Commons 1461-1504 section at the History of Parliament. He is a historian of late medieval England, with a particular interest in political, legal and administrative history. His publications include Edward IV (2009) and The Yorkist Age (2013). He is currently working on a monograph on Parliament under the Yorkist kings.
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