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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!

‘I am a political animal, but I am not a politician’: Leah Manning as a sponsored parliamentary candidate in the 1930s.

Next up in the Women and Parliament series we hear from Dr James Parker of the University of Exeter. He explores the sponsorship of Leah Manning’s candidature by the National Union of Teachers… Leah Manning (1886-1977) was the thirteenth woman to be elected as a Labour Member of Parliament, representing Islington East in the House of Commons from February to October 1931 and later serving … Continue reading ‘I am a political animal, but I am not a politician’: Leah Manning as a sponsored parliamentary candidate in the 1930s.

Medieval MP of the Month: George Ashby

For this month’s installment from our House of Commons 1422-1461 Section we hear from Dr Simon Payling about poet and long-time servant to the Lancastrians, George Ashby of Warwickshire… George Ashby, MP for Warwick in the Parliament of 1459, is worthy of notice as the only known poet among the MPs of Henry VI’s reign. His poetry reflected his own troubled times and the personal … Continue reading Medieval MP of the Month: George Ashby

The Origins of a Father of the House

This week as part of our Mothers and Fathers of the House series, Paul Seaward, British Academy/Wolfson research professor at the History of Parliament Trust, explores the origins of the parliamentary tradition of the Father of the House… The origins of the idea of a ‘father of the House’ are, like so many parliamentary traditions, deeply obscure, which is scarcely surprising for a role which … Continue reading The Origins of a Father of the House

“Hymen’s war terrific”: George III’s younger sons and the succession crisis of 1817-20

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of a new member of the royal family, Dr Charles Littleton, senior research fellow in the House of Lords 1660-1832 section, considers the circumstances surrounding the birth of Queen Victoria, whose 200th anniversary is celebrated later this month. Two events this May 2019 provide an interesting light on the history of the royal succession. We are expecting (or … Continue reading “Hymen’s war terrific”: George III’s younger sons and the succession crisis of 1817-20

St George’s day in York: an invitation from Charles I, 1642

Continuing with our patron saints blog series, Dr Vivienne Larminie, Assistant Editor of our House of Commons 1640-1660 project, explores the loyalty of peers to Charles I during St George’s Day celebrations at York in April 1642… A spring break in the north.  Easter solemnities and rejoicing in York Minster.  Celebrating the feast day of the nation’s patron saint with the king’s court.  Under other … Continue reading St George’s day in York: an invitation from Charles I, 1642

‘A gentleman but stumbling in here!’: an impostor in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament

In our latest post, Dr Patrick Little of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section revisits the Parliament of 1659, which opened in such confusion that its membership was unclear and a stranger could sit undetected – with disquieting implications… On 8 February 1659 the journalist Gilbert Mabbott reported the latest developments in Parliament to Henry Cromwell, the lord deputy of Ireland based in Dublin. Among … Continue reading ‘A gentleman but stumbling in here!’: an impostor in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament

Medieval MP of the Month: ‘Please Sir, can I have one more?’ The marriages and murders of the Harcourt brothers of Oxfordshire 

Further tales of murder and scandal from Dr Hannes Kleineke for April’s medieval MP, or rather MPs of the Month. Today we hear of the murderous Harcourt brothers … Among the most distinguished families in late medieval Oxfordshire, the Harcourts were able to trace their pedigree back at least to the reign of Henry I, and by the end of the 12th century had acquired … Continue reading Medieval MP of the Month: ‘Please Sir, can I have one more?’ The marriages and murders of the Harcourt brothers of Oxfordshire