Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 818 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WOOLSACK, i.e. a sack or cushion stuffed with wool, a name more particularly given to the seat of the lord chancellor in the House of Lords. It is a large square cushion of wool, without back or arms, covered with red cloth. It is stated to have been placed in the House of Lords in the reign of Edward III. to re-mind the peers of the importance of the wool trade of England. The earliest legislative mention, however, is in an act of Henry VIII. (c. ro s. 8) : " The lord chancellor, lord treasurer and all other officers who shall be under the degree of a baron of a parliament shall sit and be placed at the uppermost part of the sacks in the midst of the said parliament chamber, either there to sit 1mnn nine form or canon the uppermost sack." The woolsack istechnically outside the precincts of the house, and the lord chancellor, wishing to speak in a debate, has to advance to his place as a peer.
End of Article: WOOLSACK
THOMAS WOOLNER (1825-1892)

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