chapter  7
4.3 The king’s favourites
Pages 4

Inevitably, there were rumblings of discontent even before the crisis fully emerged in the Good Parliament of 1376. The 1371 parliament insisted on the dismissal of both the chancellor and the treasurer and their replacement by men of whom they approved, a serious blow to royal authority. Although a truce with France was concluded in 1375, bringing an end to further financial demands on the populace, this was unpopular, as it gave the French a breathing space and the opportunity to regroup before resuming their campaign to win Gascony. Indeed, Ormrod suggests that it was fear of the tide of popular discontent which led to decisions not to summon parliament in 1374 and 1375.13

The decisions and procedures of the parliament of 1376, traditionally known as the Good Parliament, are of importance, as it is then that parliament first took upon itself the power to impeach the king’s ministers, and for the first time, a major political and parliamentary initiative was taken by the commons rather than by a relatively small group of magnates. However, its significance is magnified because it was far better recorded than most of its predecessors and, like that of Magna Carta, it is more apparent through the distorting lens of hindsight than it could have been in the immediate short term, since all its decisions were overruled little more than six months later by the next parliament. It should also be remembered that in 1376 and for a long time to come, parliament could only be summoned at the will of the king and did not enjoy any real independence of the Crown.