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!

‘Seldom… disturbed by the bustle of trade or the affairs of Government’: Lymington from Restoration to Reform

As we gear up for May’s Local and Community History Month, today Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, begins our look at port constituencies. Hubs of trade and industry, historically ports have been central to both national economy and military defence, making their representation in Parliament very important. Here Dr Eagles casts an eye on the town of Lymington on the south … Continue reading ‘Seldom… disturbed by the bustle of trade or the affairs of Government’: Lymington from Restoration to Reform

Adapting the chambers of Parliament: from the galleries of the 18th-century Lords to the division lobbies of the 19th-century Commons

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Robin Eagles and Dr Kathryn Rix, of the History of Parliament. On 4 May 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., they will each be giving a 15 minute presentation, followed by a joint Q & A session, looking at adaptations to parliamentary architecture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Details … Continue reading Adapting the chambers of Parliament: from the galleries of the 18th-century Lords to the division lobbies of the 19th-century Commons

Life as an MP: a recipe for marital bliss?

In today’s blog Dr Emma Peplow, coordinator of the History of Parliament’s Oral History Project, picks up our recent theme of marriage and Parliament. As many former MPs discussed in their interviews, a parliamentary career wasn’t always a friend to marital life… Our oral history project interviewers make sure to ask former MP not just about formal politics, but how political life impacted on personal … Continue reading Life as an MP: a recipe for marital bliss?

Publication of the 1604-29 House of Lords volumes

The publication in January this year of The House of Lords, 1604-29 represents the culmination of ten years of writing and research by a dedicated team of four scholars led by Dr Andrew Thrush. Comprising two volumes of biographies extending in length to more than 1,600,000 words, and a separate Introductory Survey, this latest addition to the History of Parliament series complements and enhances the … Continue reading Publication of the 1604-29 House of Lords volumes

‘Without any worldly pompe’: the burial of a 15th-century royal consort at Windsor

As the nation mourns the passing of Prince Philip, the duke of Edinburgh, today Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, reflects on the burial of another royal consort in the midst of an epidemic, some six centuries prior. When the late Duke of Edinburgh is laid to rest at Windsor on Saturday, 17 April 2021, he will become the latest in a … Continue reading ‘Without any worldly pompe’: the burial of a 15th-century royal consort at Windsor

Three degrees of separation: alternatives to divorce in early modern England

As part of the History of Parliament’s blog series on marriage, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of the Lords 1558-1603 project, considers the options available four centuries ago to those whose marriages had broken down… Contrary to popular belief, Henry VIII never got divorced. In sixteenth-century England, the option of divorce as we now understand it didn’t exist. The only way to end a marriage … Continue reading Three degrees of separation: alternatives to divorce in early modern England

‘How much ancient divisions survive’: unnatural alliances and the battle of Barnet, 14 April 1471

On 14 April 1471 a crucial battle of the Wars of the Roses was fought. Just outside the town of Barnet, Edward IV’s Yorkist force faced off against the Lancastrians, led by his former ally the earl of Warwick. In today’s blog Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project examines the events of the battle and the impact of alliances… The period between June … Continue reading ‘How much ancient divisions survive’: unnatural alliances and the battle of Barnet, 14 April 1471

Whispers on a landscape – Palatine migration to England, Ireland and beyond

We are delighted to welcome a guest blog from Claire McCormick, a PhD student at the University of Limerick, working on the Irish Palatines in the eighteenth century and the fortunes of the migrants who quit Europe for Britain and the New World in the early years of the eighteenth century. In 1709 more than 13,500 people left their homelands in Southwest Germany, Switzerland and … Continue reading Whispers on a landscape – Palatine migration to England, Ireland and beyond

Customs duties, political grievances and cross-border relations: an early Stuart perspective

In today’s blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, takes a look at the debates over customs and trading duties during the reign of Charles I. Clearly it is not just in the 21st century that cross-border trade was a contentious issue… Customs have long been at the heart of political debate. In the early seventeenth century, tariffs on trade, and in … Continue reading Customs duties, political grievances and cross-border relations: an early Stuart perspective

A family affair? Sir Robert Walpole and the ‘Robinocracy’, 1721-1742

April 3 marks the 300th anniversary of Robert Walpole becoming first lord of the treasury and, with it, assuming the title ‘Prime Minister’ for the first time. In today’s blog Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, explores Walpole’s rise to power and the familiarity of his surname within the walls of Westminster… On 3 April 1721, 300 years ago today, Robert Walpole … Continue reading A family affair? Sir Robert Walpole and the ‘Robinocracy’, 1721-1742