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Woolsack

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 remind the peers of the importance of the wool trade of England. The earliest legislative mention, however, is in an act of Henry VIII. (c. 10 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 upon one form or upon the uppermost sack." The woolsack is technically 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.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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