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!

“Windy music & heat in the House” The failure to reform the House of Lords in 1719

In the spring of 1719 the government introduced a measure for reforming the House of Lords. By its provisions the size of the peerage of Great Britain was to be frozen, while the Scots were to be allotted 25 hereditary peerages in place of the 16 elected ones they currently held. It failed but in the following session the same measure was brought back again. … Continue reading “Windy music & heat in the House” The failure to reform the House of Lords in 1719

Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: On Writing the History of Parliament

This evening Dr Henry Miller of Durham University will give this term’s final paper to the IHR seminar Parliaments, Politics and People. Ahead of the session Paul Seaward, British Academy/Wolfson Foundation Research Professor at the History of Parliament Trust, revisits his paper on writing the history of parliament… Parliament has been in the middle of narratives of the institutional development of the British state since … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: On Writing the History of Parliament

The ‘Barebones Parliament’: an assembly of the saints, 1653

Today, Dr Vivienne Larminie, Assistant Editor of our House of Commons 1640-1660 Section, continues our Named Parliaments series with the ‘Barebones Parliament’ of July-December 1653. Strictly speaking, the body which convened on 4 July 1653 in the council chamber at Whitehall was not a Parliament at all.  Rather, having relocated to the Commons chamber at Westminster, it resolved to give itself that title two days … Continue reading The ‘Barebones Parliament’: an assembly of the saints, 1653

‘Duely sensible of their obligation’: the role of women in Georgian election balls

With general elections back in the news, the Georgian Lords welcomes back Hillary Burlock for the second part of her series on the importance of dance and the participation of women in 18th-century electoral contests. Much of Georgian electioneering played out in the public, ‘masculine’ theatre of the hustings and city streets; yet the ballroom, too, was an intensely political arena. Politicians understood the political … Continue reading ‘Duely sensible of their obligation’: the role of women in Georgian election balls

Parliaments, Politics and People Seminar: The Political and Religious Origins of the 1563 Witchcraft Act

Ahead of this evening’s session of the IHR’s Parliaments, Politics, and People seminar, Lewis Brennen, PhD candidate at the University of Southampton, summarises the themes that he covered in his paper, ‘The Political and Religious Origins of the 1563 Witchcraft Act’, at our last session… The 1563 Witchcraft Act, formally titled an ‘Act agaynst Conjuracons Inchantments and Witchecraftes’, was one of the most significant pieces … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People Seminar: The Political and Religious Origins of the 1563 Witchcraft Act

Parliament versus the People: the Newport rising of 1839

Today marks the 180th anniversary of the Newport rising when government forces and Welsh Chartists clashed in the town of Newport. Here’s Dr Philip Salmon, editor of our House of Commons 1832-68 project, with more… The Newport rising ranks alongside the Peterloo massacre as an iconic episode in the struggle for popular political rights in pre-democratic Britain. In November 1839 around 10,000 disaffected and poorly … Continue reading Parliament versus the People: the Newport rising of 1839

Bats and Devils: Henry VI’s ‘seasonally-named’ parliaments

Rather appropriately for our Halloween blog offering, we hear from Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our House of Commons 1461-1504 project, on the fifteenth century Parliaments of Bats and Devils as part of our Named Parliaments series… The long reign of Henry VI was not short of high political drama, and so it is perhaps not surprising that is has also given us two of … Continue reading Bats and Devils: Henry VI’s ‘seasonally-named’ parliaments