On this day…

Many interesting events are happening, or happened, on this day: 19 November. In 2012, Parliament Week is underway (see their website for events happening near you); our first specially commissioned article for Parliament Week is ready for you to read here and from today onwards the House of Commons in 1604-29 volumes are available on our website. These volumes are the most comprehensive study of parliament in this period and now all  of the biographies, constituency articles and surveys are available online completely free of charge. Appropriately, 19 November 1600 was also the day Charles I was born.

So, in our first Parliament Week article, Dr Andrew Thrush explores Charles’ early relationship with parliament. Dr Thrush argues that Charles’ early relationship with parliament was rather good; however Charles’ experiences watching his father, James I, struggle to manage parliament began to change his attitude. James I had a difficult relationship with his parliaments who would not give him what he wanted; this led him to either try to force Parliament to pass the legislation he wanted, or attempt to ignore them altogether. Not only did this damage his own relationship with parliament, but Charles also began to believe that Parliaments were best avoided. The rest, as they say, is history.

To mark Charles’ birthday we are also releasing our 1604-29 volumes online, although as many of the biographies included in the volume are of Charles’ later enemies, such as Oliver Cromwell, it may not be an ideal birthday present! We’ll profile some of the major figures of this period in this blog over the next few weeks, but today I’ll draw your attention to some of the more interesting figures:

  • Edward Alford, the talented and bluntly-spoken Sussex squire who was one of the foremost champions of the Commons’ right to free speech;
  • the architect Inigo Jones, who was brought into Parliament in 1621 through the intervention of his friend the earl of Arundel, and who was put to work by the Commons erecting a gallery in the House;
  • John Martyn, who represented Nottingham in 1625 and who once accused some local opponents of ‘procuring morris-dancers to assault’ him. A somewhat unusual attack!

We hope you enjoy the Parliament Week articles and audioclips we’re putting up this week – do let us know what you think of them. Tomorrow, we head back to the Wars of the Roses…


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