The House of Lords has its origin in the King’s court, which comprised the leading churchmen and landowners. In the 13th Century, some knights from the shires and later burgesses from towns were summoned and the court developed into a parliament. Later, the churchmen along with earls and barons sat separately from those drawn from the shires and boroughs, creating what we now recognise as the House of Lords and the House of Commons. This week’s quiz is on the history of the House. As usual, the first two readers to provide the correct answers will be the winners.
1. In what year did the House of Lords and House of Commons first sit separately?
2. Parliament was destroyed in a great fire in 1834, resulting in the building of the current Palace of Westminster, which was recognised as a great architectural wonder. The chambers of the two Houses were completed and opened on different dates. In what year did Queen Victoria open the new Lords Chamber?
3. Hereditary peers were not able to disclaim their titles and consequently their seats in the House of Lords. Some heirs who sat in the House of Commons would have preferred to remain in the Commons and not move to the Lords on the death of their fathers. Their number in post-war years included Quintin Hogg, but it was Tony Benn who campaigned vigorously, and successfully, for a change in the law. In what year was the Peerages Act, enabling peers to disclaim their titles, passed?
4. What was the title to which Tony Benn succeeded and which he fought to disclaim?