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!

The battle of Ludford Bridge

Today on our new blog page The Commons in the Wars of the Roses, Dr Simon Payling, Senior Research Fellow for the Commons 1461-1504 project, details the Battle of Ludford Bridge which took place on 12 October 1459… In the autumn of 1459 years of uneasy truce between the factions of York and Lancaster ended in dramatic fashion. The Yorkist lords rose in rebellion, motivated either … Continue reading The battle of Ludford Bridge

‘A blank in the History of the country’: The ‘Unreported Parliament’ 1768-74

Today Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our House of Lords 1715-1790 section continues with our Named Parliaments blog theme… Throughout the early part of the 18th century Parliament periodically enforced its jealously guarded right of secrecy by prosecuting printers for publishing details of debates and occasionally turning out ‘strangers’ from the galleries. The response was, though, inconsistent and there were periods during which publishers were … Continue reading ‘A blank in the History of the country’: The ‘Unreported Parliament’ 1768-74

Tobacco Fraud and the Prorogation of April 1707

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Stuart Handley, senior research fellow in the Lords 1715-90 section, considers how an unexpected prorogation around the time of the Union was employed to attempt to secure the passage of much-needed legislation Prorogations have been much in the news of late, but they are a common occurrence in parliamentary history. Parliament is prorogued at the end … Continue reading Tobacco Fraud and the Prorogation of April 1707

The Commons in the Wars of the Roses

With the History of Parliament’s volumes for the reign of Henry VI complete and due for publication shortly, the focus of the History’s medieval team now shifts to the period from the accession of Edward IV in 1461 to that of his grandson Henry VIII in 1509. This exciting new project will cover the Parliaments of no fewer than five English monarchs: those convened by … Continue reading The Commons in the Wars of the Roses

Parliaments, Politics and People seminar – The ‘Gothic slum’: MPs and St Stephen’s Cloisters, 1852-2017

In May 2018, Dr Elizabeth Biggs and Dr Elizabeth Hallam Smith introduced the IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar to the early history of St Stephen’s cloister, Westminster, presenting recent findings from their research project (funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and conducted in association with the Houses of Parliament and the University of York). In June this year, we welcomed Elizabeth Hallam Smith back to … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People seminar – The ‘Gothic slum’: MPs and St Stephen’s Cloisters, 1852-2017

The House of Lords Outside Parliament Time, 1604-1629

Continuing our theme of alternative functions once served by the palace of Westminster, Dr Andrew Thrush of the Lords 1604-29 section considers activities at the southern end of the complex in the early seventeenth century… During the early modern period parliaments were neither regular nor particularly frequent but sat at the whim of the monarch. Consequently, for most of the time the old palace of … Continue reading The House of Lords Outside Parliament Time, 1604-1629

Political Prorogations: a view from the Victorian Commons

Originally posted on The Victorian Commons:
It’s been a long time since the business of suspending Parliament and starting a new session has generated so much political controversy. Throughout most of the 20th century prorogations invariably tallied with the expectations of most parliamentarians, neatly book-ending a government’s legislative programme. Scroll back a little further into the 19th century, however, and a rather different picture emerges… Continue reading Political Prorogations: a view from the Victorian Commons