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!

Do as you will? Behind the scenes of ‘the Hellfire Club’

As hospitality venues and social spaces in much of the UK reopen after lockdown this week, in today’s blog Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, looks into the parliamentarians possessing memberships to a notorious 18th century social group… Pray remember the ghost for me to-night, and next Monday we meet at Medmenham. On 15 June 1762 John Wilkes sent this apparently rather … Continue reading Do as you will? Behind the scenes of ‘the Hellfire Club’

Red Streak: cider-making and drinking in Cromwellian Herefordshire

As we contemplate the further lifting of Covid restrictions on hospitality venues, Dr Patrick Little of our Commons 1640-1660 project looks at the pleasures and pitfalls of drinking a native beverage in the seventeenth century, and the science behind its production… Cider has been produced in England since Norman times, if not before, with different traditions emerging in the east (notably East Anglia and Kent) … Continue reading Red Streak: cider-making and drinking in Cromwellian Herefordshire

The power of the (silk) purse: electioneering in nineteenth-century Macclesfield

In today’s blog Dr Kathryn Rix, assistant editor of our House of Commons, 1832-1868 project, takes a local history look at the political representation of 19th century Macclesfield, where one particular industry made its presence known… One of the most significant aspects of the 1832 Reform Act was its redrawing of the electoral map, taking seats away from ‘rotten boroughs’ such as Dunwich and Old … Continue reading The power of the (silk) purse: electioneering in nineteenth-century Macclesfield

Religion, relief and the ‘slaughtered saints’: foreign aid in the seventeenth century

As modern-day discussions on how best to help nations across the world fight the COVID-19 pandemic continue, in today’s blog Dr Vivienne Larminie from our Commons 1640-1660 project looks into the notion of foreign aid in the 17th century. When, in 1655, a Protestant group faced religious persecution in Europe, the government rushed to their aid… ‘Avenge, o Lord, thy slaughtered saints/ Whose bones lie … Continue reading Religion, relief and the ‘slaughtered saints’: foreign aid in the seventeenth century

Mine’s a mine: the pre-industrial mining industry of Cornwall and Devon

Whilst in modern times Devon and Cornwall may be known as popular tourist destinations, in the 14th and 15th centuries the counties were central hubs of the mining industry. In today’s blog Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, looks into the industrial roots of these localities and their impact on parliamentary representation… If in the present day the south-west of England seems … Continue reading Mine’s a mine: the pre-industrial mining industry of Cornwall and Devon

George Huntingford, bishop of Hereford and tutor to Viscount Sidmouth

The Georgian Lords are delighted to welcome a guest blog from Laurence Guymer, master at Winchester College, on the influential warden of Winchester, George Huntingford, successively bishop of Gloucester and Hereford and a guiding influence on his former pupil, Prime Minister Henry Addington, Viscount Sidmouth. George Huntingford was warden of Winchester College (1789-1832), bishop of Gloucester (1802-1815), and of Hereford (1815-1832). He owed the two … Continue reading George Huntingford, bishop of Hereford and tutor to Viscount Sidmouth

Parliamentary Leadership: YouTube Round-up

During the Covid-19 pandemic, like many others we moved more of our work online and as part of that we took to YouTube! In today’s blog we’re looking back at one of our most successful pandemic projects: our YouTube series, ‘Parliamentary Leadership’. As for most of you, the last 18 months have been strange for the History of Parliament team as COVID-19 lockdowns saw us … Continue reading Parliamentary Leadership: YouTube Round-up

England’s Return to Protestantism, 1559

In the first of a new series of blogs on the Elizabethan period, Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our 1558-1603 House of Lords project, discusses the last-minute attempts by the bench of Catholic bishops to thwart Elizabeth I’s reintroduction of Protestantism. He also draws attention to an important, if little appreciated, date in the re-establishment of the English Protestant state, as it was on 24 … Continue reading England’s Return to Protestantism, 1559

The Imperial Afterlife of Warren Hastings, 1818-1947

In today’s blog we hear from Alfie Banks formerly of the University of Southampton, winner of the History of Parliament Undergraduate Dissertation Competition 2020. Here Alfie has adapted his winning essay, exploring the legacy of the controversial figure Warren Hastings and the insights that his afterlife can provide into imperial thought in 19th and 20th century Britain. The History of Parliament’s 2021 Undergraduate Dissertation Competition … Continue reading The Imperial Afterlife of Warren Hastings, 1818-1947

Edward, Lord Stafford and the 1621 parliamentary protections scandal

Four hundred years ago this month, in an unprecedented move forced on it by circumstances, Parliament adjourned for more than five months. As Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 section explains, this seemingly innocuous procedural move had unfortunate and unintended consequences… The 1621 Parliament is now chiefly remembered for its sustained attacks on corruption in high places. The lord chancellor, Francis Bacon, Viscount St … Continue reading Edward, Lord Stafford and the 1621 parliamentary protections scandal