Welcome to the History of Parliament blog!

Here we share posts about our current research projects, wider parliamentary history, highlights from our events, seminars and conferences, and future publications. The History of Parliament’s core work lies in researching and writing series of volumes depicting Parliamentary life and proceedings throughout the past 700 years. These academically rigorous works contain detailed biographies of parliamentarians, studies of constituencies and introductory surveys. The Sections currently underway … Continue reading Welcome to the History of Parliament blog!

A Farewell to Arms, Kilts and Sporrans: banning Scottish Highland dress in the aftermath of Culloden

Continuing with November’s local history look at the Scottish presence in Parliament, today Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 section, casts his eye over attempts to regulate traditional Scottish dress in the eighteenth century. In the winter of 1745, the people of the north and midlands of England were gripped with panic. The rebel Jacobite army led by Charles Edward Stuart had left Scotland earlier in the … Continue reading A Farewell to Arms, Kilts and Sporrans: banning Scottish Highland dress in the aftermath of Culloden

‘None can sit here but a natural liegeman’: Scots at Westminster in the Jacobean era

As a prelude to this month’s spotlight on politics in Scotland to mark St Andrew’s Day, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of the House of Lords 1558-1603 project, examines one of the most sensitive questions in early 17th century politics – should Scots be allowed to sit in English parliaments?…  Historical perceptions can be deceptive. The year 1603 is now primarily remembered as the moment when … Continue reading ‘None can sit here but a natural liegeman’: Scots at Westminster in the Jacobean era

First impressions of Westminster in the words of former MPs: back to school, into ‘Dracula’s castle’ or safe at home?

Ahead of Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Emma Peplow & Priscila Pivatto, responsible for the History of Parliament Trust’s oral history project which is interviewing former MPs about their lives and experiences. They recently published The Political Lives of Postwar British MPs, an introduction and guide to the project. Emma & Priscila will be responding to your questions about … Continue reading First impressions of Westminster in the words of former MPs: back to school, into ‘Dracula’s castle’ or safe at home?

‘Manifest injustice and glaring violation of all truth’: Disputing controverted elections in the 18th-century Parliament

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Charles Littleton considers the way in which 18th-century elections were frequently decided on the results of petitions in Parliament, after the initial returns were challenged. The weeks before this year’s election in the USA have been marked with commentary considering the potential for voter fraud, disenfranchisement, and the role of the courts. Although on a much … Continue reading ‘Manifest injustice and glaring violation of all truth’: Disputing controverted elections in the 18th-century Parliament

Divorce, cuckoldry and bastardy: two unhappy medieval marriages

Today’s blog comes from Dr Charles Moreton, senior research fellow in our Commons 1461-1504 project, who begins our latest blog series all about parliamentarians’ marriages. Here Dr Moreton turns his attention to two particularly unhappy marriages during the 15th century… Unlike some of the blogs to come in this series, the following offers a couple of examples of unhappy marriages. Both of the parliamentarians in … Continue reading Divorce, cuckoldry and bastardy: two unhappy medieval marriages

‘Reflections on the Revolution in France’ and political representation

On the 230th anniversary of the publication of Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, we hear from guest blogger Dr Ian Harris from the University of Leicester on the theme of political representation, then and now… The 1st November this year is the two-hundred-and-thirtieth anniversary of Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France. A 230th may not seem the most noteworthy of … Continue reading ‘Reflections on the Revolution in France’ and political representation

Oxfordshire Local History: Abingdon in the nineteenth century

This month’s local history focus has been Oxfordshire. In today’s blog Dr Philip Salmon, editor of the House of Commons 1832-1945 project, looks at the constituency of Abingdon, since 1974 within Oxfordshire, but historically part of the adjacent county of Berkshire. Abingdon was widely regarded as an easily managed ‘pocket’ or ‘nomination’ borough during the 19th century. For a while at least it certainly had … Continue reading Oxfordshire Local History: Abingdon in the nineteenth century

The brief triumph of Richard, duke of York: the Parliamentary Accord of 31 October 1460

Our latest blog comes from Dr Simon Payling, senior research fellow in our Commons 1461-1504 project. In October 1460 Richard, duke of York attempted to claim the English throne from his cousin Henry VI. He was technically unsuccessful, but Parliament agreed to an unusual arrangement… On 10 October 1460 there occurred the most dramatic event in the history of the fifteenth-century Parliament. Henry VI’s cousin, … Continue reading The brief triumph of Richard, duke of York: the Parliamentary Accord of 31 October 1460

The West India Interest and the Parliamentary Defence of Slavery, 1823-33

Ahead of Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Michael Taylor, the author of The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery (2020). He will be responding to your questions about his research on the parliamentary resistance to the abolition of slavery between 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on 3 November 2020. Details on how to join the discussion … Continue reading The West India Interest and the Parliamentary Defence of Slavery, 1823-33

Lord Ronald Gower (1845-1916): the social life of a queer MP at the time of the Second Reform Act

Originally posted on The Victorian Commons:
In the second of his blog series on Lord Ronald Gower (1845-1916), Dr Martin Spychal explores Gower’s London social life during his first year in Parliament, including a brief summer romance with the son of the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Albumen print of Ronald Gower by Camille Silvy (1865) CC NPG One of the most privileged men in… Continue reading Lord Ronald Gower (1845-1916): the social life of a queer MP at the time of the Second Reform Act