It is a truth insufficiently acknowledged that medieval English parliaments contained a substantial clerical element. The clergy who were called to attend were: all the twenty-one bishops of England and Wales, all the deans of their cathedral churches (two dioceses, Bath and Wells, and Coventry and Lichfield had two cathedrals, and hence two chapters), and one representative of every cathedral chapter, all sixty archdeacons, and two representatives of the diocesan clergy of each diocese, regardless of its size. These total 169. In addition, some heads of religious houses were summoned. Large numbers—sometimes as many as 100—were called in the thirteenth century but these dropped in the fourteenth so that usually between twenty and thirty “parliamentary abbots” were summoned to each session.1 If all these had actually attended, they would have made a group of formidable size, of around 200 men during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. But we know that a lot of those summoned did not attend. This did not mean, however, that they were unrepresented, because most of those who should have been there in person (the abbots, bishops, deans, and archdeacons) sent deputies to represent them, while the constituency groups (the chapters and the diocesan clergy) sent elected delegates.
"The “Hidden” Parliamentarians of Medieval England,"
Medieval People: Vol. 35
, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/medpros/vol35/iss1/6