Chapter

The Second Estate: Parliament and the Nobility<sup>1</sup>

Keith M. Brown

in Parliament in Context, 1235–1707

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780748614868
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672233 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748614868.003.0003
The Second Estate: Parliament and the Nobility1

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This chapter views the noble estate as the most powerful parliamentarians and, over the centuries of parliament's existence, that noble power not only endured, but it increased at the expense of the other estates. Even if one accepts that after 1587, the shire commissioners emerged as a new fourth estate, their presence represented a further enhancement of noble power and influence rather than social and political division within noble society. Furthermore, it would be unhelpful and unsophisticated to see parliament simply as a forum for crown–noble power struggles, or to imagine that nobles saw parliaments only as occasions for engaging in high politics, when they were more likely to be interested in getting parliamentary ratification for some piece of private business.

Keywords: noble estate; noble power; parliamentarians

Chapter.  13405 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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