(2) In what ways and for what reasons did the functions and powers of Parliament change between the reigns of Henry III and Charles I?
During the reign of Henry III the term 'Parliament' was coined to represent a meeting of a great council of barons that would advise the king on law to be passed in England. It began small with representation solely from the super wealthy and upper clergy, with a temporary and unstable as well as insubstantial amount of power. Dissatisfaction with the actions taken by Henry III during he reign led to a semi-radical faction of lords to rise against him, one of which being Simon de Montfort. De Montfort was the "inventor" of the next stage of parliamentary development when he devised the make-up of the Model Parliament which was to now include a knight from every shire as well as another representative. Eventually of course, these factions of barons and lesser nobility would split into the houses of Lords and Commons, but that was still far off.
After the reign of Henry III, in the reign of Edward I, Parliament was only called occasionally as a tool to be used by the king to ease in his legislation. But it wasn't until his successor Edward II's reign that Parliament in the form of the noble class, spoke out to the king. Edward II loved to play favorites but soon found that the rest of his nobility weren't pleased with this. With the Ordinance issued in 1311 Parliament convinced or tried to convince the king to get rid of Piers Gaveston if he wanted his policies to pass through without trouble or to receive Parliamentary grants. When he married Isabella though and received her dowry, Parliament was easily bought off though discontent remained. From here history learns a lesson that if the king wants $ and peace among subjects he can't play favorites and must get on with his Parliament.
Although kings occasionally tried to get along without Parliament, from the reign of Edward II onwards Parliament was staffed more by professionals - though the mentality of it only being a temporary body remained until Civil War broke out in 1642. Parliament may have lost a bit of ground beneath Richard II, who wasn't very wise in dealing with them either, and during the Hundred Years War the main function of Parliament was to grant kings money to pursue France (Henry V) or to deny it. Also the Wars of the Roses were as well a time semi-latency in parliamentary development. Working relationships were hard to formulate with a quickly passing line of succession.
Henry VI was incompetent when it came to royal policy and as such his wife, Margaret and the Beauforts ruled. They did as much they could to keep Richard, Duke of York at bay. Parliament was their tool to seize his lands while he was away and later became Warwick the Kingmaker's tool to place Edward II on the throne.
A few successions later beneath Henry VII, Parliament became a tool of fiscal change and a way to pass legislation effectively. Both he and his son, Henry VIII, understood that they must work with Parliament and Henry VIII worked closely with it. It consistently began to be called every three years through both reigns and was ruthlessly used during both. Henry VIII used Parliament to declare his separation from Rome and to crown his new church, both of which the king would not have been able to accomplish without MPs' consent.
Mary's, or "Bloody Mary's", reign passed quickly into the hands of her much more capable sister Elizabeth. Though it must be said that Mary had not been trained for the throne, so her involvement with Parliament was minimal and she tried to carry out her Catholic beliefs anyway, but things weren't going to happen that way. Elizabeth on the other hand used Parliament to her full advantage throughout her disputes with Spain. She came out with an empty treasury and the nickname "Good Queen Bess". Also a stable - possibly too much so - administration was set up that lasted too long into James I's reign.
The early Stuarts were fools when it came to dealing with Parliament. James I made repeated promises to work with Parliament that he never managed to follow through on, which greatly fed into growing animosity. Because of an empty treasury and a system of substantial rewards to he friends, James I needed to find fast ways of gaining income, so he decided to turn away from Parliament and began reviving old feudal rights and placing impositions on people. Parliaments were not fond of this and Robert Cecil, one of the king's chief advisors, recognized this. In 1610 he proposed the Great Contract in which the king would relinquish fiscal feudalism and wardship in return for a yearly income. This however was rejected. Until 1625 at the end of his reign, James I continued to further what Parliament considered illegal policies and to promote his divine right to the throne. If war hadn't broken out between Frederick V and the Spanish Hapsburgs, the king and Parliament would never have agreed on anything. But at Buckingham's and Charles' urging, the "peacemaker" became no more and met with a "Happy Parliament" who urged him toward war.
The biggest growth in Parliamentary power came beneath Charles I. This ruler and his Parliament were at such odds that for 11 years from 1629 to 1640, Parliament was nonexistent. The king refused to call it because as he saw it, nothing could be accomplished. When his Ship Money collection was brought to court in 1635, a 7-5 decision in his favor showed growing defiance. When war forced him to call parliament in 1640, MPs passed the Triennial Act which stated that Parliament could only dissolve itself, that they were the only body that could pass legislation and the MPs had to be called every three years. This Long Parliament remained in session for years to come that encompassed a Militia Bill of 1640, the Great Remonstrance 1641 (recalling Elliot's 3 charges against Charles) and eventually the formation of its own faction in a Civil War which began the following year on August 22.
Throughout the Civil War and later revolution the shift of power came full circle to rest upon the reinstatement of Charles II in 1660. During these wars Parliament managed to defeat the king, raise an army by which it could only govern, then executed the king (1649), dissolved by the very militia it had raised (the Rump and Pride's Purge) to only be dismissed by the very man they had placed in power (Oliver Cromwell). Parliament had grown immensely and almost destroyed itself with its new found power. By 1657 hints or ghosts of the Houses of Lords and Commons began to form once again as the Council and House of Peers and it was they who chose to bring back the monarchy, with a little military persuasion from General Monck in 1660.
This essay has some flaws of expression and organization. Nonetheless, it earned a solid A. This was because of its many virtues.
It is crammed full of relevant information; - much of it specific and exact. Anyone who read it, would know far more about the functions and power of Parliament afterwards than before.
It is organized simply around a narrative - moving from the earliest king to the latest.
Although in the rush of writing a long essay under examination conditions, some phrases are not 100% clear, it is basically written in clear and grammatical English.
NB An essay does not have to be perfect in every respect in order to be good enough to earn an A. Knowing a lot about the topic is most of the battle.