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!

An MP and an Epidemic in Civil War London

As we face challenges unfamiliar in modern times, our director, Dr Stephen Roberts, looks back at one parliamentary diarist’s response to disease in the community around him. Sir Simonds D’Ewes (1602-50) is now best known for his parliamentary journal. MP for the Suffolk borough of Sudbury, he entered the House of Commons in November 1640 and kept up a diary in English from day one. … Continue reading An MP and an Epidemic in Civil War London

Ourselves alone? The General Convention of Ireland of 1660

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today’s Irish themed blog from Dr Patrick Little of our House of Commons 1640-60 project considers the difficulties of governing Ireland during the restoration of the Monarchy and the General Convention of Ireland … The restoration of the Rump Parliament in May 1659 had thrown Ireland into disarray. The long-established settlers, known as the ‘Old Protestants’, had generally been supporters of … Continue reading Ourselves alone? The General Convention of Ireland of 1660

Ambassadors in the late middle ages

March’s medieval offering is from Senior Research Fellow, Dr Charles Moreton, who is currently working on our 1461-1504 project. Charles previously worked on our 1422-1461 volumes which are due for publication in the coming weeks. Today he discusses the ambassadors of the crown in the late middle ages… As attested by the recent travails of Her Majesty’s recent representative in Washington, the role of ambassador … Continue reading Ambassadors in the late middle ages

William Wilberforce, a Lettre and An Appeal: abolitionism between campaigns, 1807-1823

Ahead of tonight’s Parliaments, Politics and People seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, we hear from Anna Harrington, a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. She spoke at our previous session on 25 February about her research into the campaigning of William Wilberforce following the abolition of the slave trade in 1807… William Wilberforce (1759-1833) is remembered as the MP who championed the abolition of … Continue reading William Wilberforce, a Lettre and An Appeal: abolitionism between campaigns, 1807-1823

The Princess Mother: Augusta, Princess of Wales, the power behind the throne?

Today, on International Women’s Day, Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, looks at the life of Augusta, Princess of Wales. As mother of the heir to the throne, Augusta had great political importance- but how did she use this to her advantage…? In March 1771 James Townsend spoke in the Commons of his concerns of secret influence behind the throne. He insisted … Continue reading The Princess Mother: Augusta, Princess of Wales, the power behind the throne?

‘The only place that can heighten my enjoyment of my friends’: The literary coterie at Wrest Park

In 1740, the duke of Kent unusually made his granddaughter, Jemima Campbell, the benefactor of his estate at Wrest Park on the condition that she married his choice of husband, Philip Yorke (later 2nd earl of Hardwicke). Despite being an arranged marriage, it was a highly successful union. Upon inheriting Wrest, Jemima, Philip and their friends went on to form their own literary group, ‘Wrestiana’, … Continue reading ‘The only place that can heighten my enjoyment of my friends’: The literary coterie at Wrest Park

Exhibition review: Georgian Delights: Life during the Reign of George IV exhibition review

Last week Senior Research Fellow on the House of Lords 1715-90 project, Dr Stuart Handley, headed off on a field trip to the University of Nottingham to view Manuscripts and Special Collections’ current exhibition about life during the reign of George IV. Here he reports on what you can expect from the exhibition… Georgian Delights: Life during the Reign of George IV (1820-1830) is the … Continue reading Exhibition review: Georgian Delights: Life during the Reign of George IV exhibition review