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!

Anti-Welsh legislation of the Parliament of 1401 and the battle of Pilleth on 22 June 1402

In June 1402 English forces once again faced an uprising in Wales and on 22 June the two sides met at the battle of Pilleth. The result would have significant impact on the reign of Henry IV. Dr Simon Payling, senior research fellow in our Commons 1461-1504 project, recounts the battle in our latest blog… Parliament met on 20 January 1401 in a distinctly uncharitable … Continue reading Anti-Welsh legislation of the Parliament of 1401 and the battle of Pilleth on 22 June 1402

The ‘troubled nature’ of Francis Norris, earl of Berkshire: a Jacobean peer’s battle with depression

As public debate intensifies about the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on mental health, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of the Lords 1558-1603 section, considers a poorly documented aspect of early modern medicine… If ever there was an era when despondency was in vogue, it was surely the early seventeenth century. Shakespeare’s plays exploited mental anguish to great dramatic effect, from the love-sick Romeo to … Continue reading The ‘troubled nature’ of Francis Norris, earl of Berkshire: a Jacobean peer’s battle with depression

The royal scandal that helped change British politics: the 1820 Queen Caroline affair

On 5 June 1820 Caroline of Brunswick returned to England to take her place as Queen Consort to George IV. But the breakdown in the couple’s relationship would become a matter of parliamentary and national importance. This blog from Dr Philip Salmon, editor of our Commons 1832-68 project, explores the impact of the Queen Caroline Affair on British politics. Two hundred years ago the Prince … Continue reading The royal scandal that helped change British politics: the 1820 Queen Caroline affair

A politician of conscience: Thomas Edmund Harvey (1875-1955) and conscientious objection

Ahead of Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Mark Frankel, a PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham. He will be responding to your questions about his research on Thomas Edmund Harvey on Zoom between 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on 23 June 2020. Details on how to join the discussion are available here or by contacting mspychal@histparl.ac.uk This blog is based … Continue reading A politician of conscience: Thomas Edmund Harvey (1875-1955) and conscientious objection

‘Southwark men, who are but traitors’: merchants, rioters, radicals and the ‘good old cause’ in the mid-seventeenth century

In the latest History of Parliament blog we return to our local history study of Southwark. Following our medieval look at the constituency, today Dr Vivienne Larminie, Assistant Editor of the Commons 1640-1660 project, explores the borough in the mid-seventeenth century. By 1640 there had been no decrease in the independent spirit and propensity to disorder which had made the borough of Southwark so troublesome … Continue reading ‘Southwark men, who are but traitors’: merchants, rioters, radicals and the ‘good old cause’ in the mid-seventeenth century

Sex, (almost) in the city: Southwark – a constituency of contrasts

Continuing our collaborative local history blog series, this month we are exploring the constituency of Southwark. In the first of two blogs, today Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, discusses the diverse nature of the constituency’s medieval residents. In the present day, Borough Market, served by Borough Station on the London Underground’s Northern Line, is a much loved destination for the food … Continue reading Sex, (almost) in the city: Southwark – a constituency of contrasts

Friends reunited? The end of the Whig Schism

In the summer of 1720 a schism that had divided the Whig Party into competing factions was finally healed. Dr Charles Littleton, senior research fellow in the House of Lords 1715-90 section, considers how this came about and how those involved were compensated or rewarded to help reunite them. A previous blog has described the origins of the Whig Schism of 1717, as an example … Continue reading Friends reunited? The end of the Whig Schism

Lockdown Entertainment: Medieval MPs and Books

Recent government lockdown measures have seen many people embrace new hobbies and pastimes to fill their days, including reading books. In today’s blog Dr Charles Moreton, senior research fellow in our Commons 1461-1504 project, discusses the reading habits of MPs in the late Middle Ages. ‘Public turn to books to escape lockdown boredom’ reads a recent headline. There is no doubt that books are a … Continue reading Lockdown Entertainment: Medieval MPs and Books

The Return of Charles II, 29 May 1660

In today’s blog Dr Andrew Barclay, senior research fellow in our Commons 1640-1660 project, returns to his exploration of the days leading up to the restoration of Charles II. In this final instalment, we turn to 29 May 1660, as Charles entered London as King for the first time… Charles II entered London in triumph on 29 May 1660, his 30th birthday. Three weeks earlier … Continue reading The Return of Charles II, 29 May 1660

In search of Arcadia: visiting the 18th-century garden

Recent government restrictions paired with a bout of sunny weather have seen more of us head into the garden to make the most of the fresh air. In today’s blog Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our House of Lords 1715-90 section, is digging into a similar fascination with gardens in the 18th century. It is easy to think of visiting a local National Trust or … Continue reading In search of Arcadia: visiting the 18th-century garden