The Modus tenendi parliamentum has long perplexed scholars. For over a century they have battled to make sense of its 26 chapters, which purport to describe the centuries-old traditions, functions and processes of the English parliament. A number of hypotheses have emerged to explain its compilation, most notably that it was a Lancastrian political manifesto, a legal treatise or an administrator’s programme for reform. In this discussion I argue that a fresh approach is needed. Whilst agreeing with the scholarly consensus that the Modus was originally written in the reign of Edward II (1307–27), I suggest instead that it was a product of the deep political fissures which bedevilled the political community. Its defining characteristic was an attempt to steer a middle ground between the warring factions, and its purpose was to project parliament as the vital institutional context for renewed political consensus.
Dodd, G. (2022). Parliament, politics and protocol: the Modus tenendi parliamentum and the settlement of the realm under Edward II. Journal of Medieval History, 48(5), 631-663. https://doi.org/10.1080/03044181.2022.2131601