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 History of Parliamentary Cucumbers

Our friends at Hansard at Huddersfield provide a great tool for tracking the popularity of certain words in parliamentary debate. It is unsurprising that the use of ‘deal’ and ‘Brexit’ have been common over the last few years, but, as Dr Patrick Little from our Commons 1640-1660 project explores below, there is one word absent from the chamber… cucumbers. Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-84) is frequently … Continue reading A History of Parliamentary Cucumbers

Parliament and the trial of the ‘peers of the land’ in Henry of Lancaster’s revolt, 1328-29

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Matt Raven, of the University of Nottingham. On 16 February 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Matt will be responding to your questions about his pre-circulated paper on the development of parliamentary privilege in fourteenth-century England. Details of how to join the discussion are available here, or by contacting … Continue reading Parliament and the trial of the ‘peers of the land’ in Henry of Lancaster’s revolt, 1328-29

The Death of Stanhope

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Stuart Handley reconsiders the career of Earl Stanhope, one half of the Stanhope-Sunderland duumvirate that dominated politics in the early years of George I, and who died 300 years ago. James Stanhope, Earl Stanhope, died on 5 February 1721 – 300 years ago – aged 48, and at the height of his powers. He was a … Continue reading The Death of Stanhope

Anglo-Dutch Fishing Disputes and the Sovereignty of the Seas, 1558-1640

Recent trade negotiations between the UK and the EU have shone a spotlight on European fishing rights in British territorial waters. While Britain sought to control access to her waters, arguing that her sovereignty was at stake, the EU expected to continue large-scale fishing in these same seas. Historians of early modern England might be forgiven for thinking that we have been here before, as … Continue reading Anglo-Dutch Fishing Disputes and the Sovereignty of the Seas, 1558-1640

Bristol and the Readeption Parliament of Henry VI

This winter marks the 550th anniversary of the Readeption Parliament of 1470-1, the circumstances and proceedings of which are the subject of a recent blog. Today Dr Charles Moreton from our Commons 1461-1504 project looks closer at the Parliament’s impact in Bristol and the period of the short-lived restoration of Henry VI in which this assembly sat. There are no extant election returns for the Parliament, and the names of just 41 of its MPs survive. Forty, if not all of these men, sat for urban constituencies, the archives of which preserve their election. As it happens, the … Continue reading Bristol and the Readeption Parliament of Henry VI

Small borough politics in County Cork, 1832-1868: Bandon, Kinsale, Mallow and Youghal

Continuing our journey around Ireland, this blog from Dr Stephen Ball, of our House of Commons 1832-68 project, looks at politics in the small boroughs of county Cork, where competition between the rival parties encouraged a vibrant political culture, but also prompted sectarianism, bribery, violence and coercion. The county of Cork was widely referred to as ‘the Yorkshire of Ireland’, due to its extent, wealth … Continue reading Small borough politics in County Cork, 1832-1868: Bandon, Kinsale, Mallow and Youghal

History of Parliament Trust Annual Lecture 2020: ‘Parliament in a national crisis’ given by Chris Bryant MP

On 25 November 2020 Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda and Trustee for the History of Parliament, delivered 2020’s annual lecture ‘Parliament in a national crisis’ via Zoom. If you weren’t able to make it, below you will find a PDF of the full lecture. Chris’s bio Chris is a Welsh Labour Party politician who has served as Member of Parliament for the Rhondda since 2001. … Continue reading History of Parliament Trust Annual Lecture 2020: ‘Parliament in a national crisis’ given by Chris Bryant MP

An English baron in early 17th century America: Thomas West (1577-1618), 3rd Baron De La Warr

To mark Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States, Dr Ben Coates of our Lords 1558-1603 section explains the surprising connection between the state of Delaware and the English peerage… The new American president, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., was born in Pennsylvania, but moved as a child to Delaware, which he subsequently represented in Congress as a senator for over 30 … Continue reading An English baron in early 17th century America: Thomas West (1577-1618), 3rd Baron De La Warr

Violence at the Door of Parliament, 1640-48

Over the past few weeks the eyes of the world have been on Washington. As the United States prepares to swear in its 46th President, Joe Biden, after what has been a tumultuous transition of power, Dr Stephen Roberts examines the threat of violence against the seat of power in 17th century Britain in our latest blog… The great achievement of the English Parliament between … Continue reading Violence at the Door of Parliament, 1640-48

“‘Always rowdy, violent and colourful’?: Eighteenth century elections in the borough of Swords, Co. Dublin”?

In the second instalment of our local history look at electioneering in Ireland, today we welcome guest blogger Dr Suzanne Forbes, lecturer at the Open University who is currently researching the representative system in 18th century Ireland. In this blog Dr Forbes questions the dangerous reputation of the borough of Swords in Co. Dublin… The potwalloping borough of Swords, located some fourteen kilometres north of … Continue reading “‘Always rowdy, violent and colourful’?: Eighteenth century elections in the borough of Swords, Co. Dublin”?