‘There has been all along something odd in this affair’: The Malt Tax and the 1713 attempt to repeal the Union

300 years ago this month, arguments over the Malt Tax nearly brought the fledgling Union between England and Scotland to a quick end. Dr Robin Eagles tells us more… Next year the people of Scotland will be offered the opportunity to vote for independence.  Over 300 years ago England and Scotland were formally joined as part of a broader policy of securing the succession to … Continue reading ‘There has been all along something odd in this affair’: The Malt Tax and the 1713 attempt to repeal the Union

Henry VII’s first parliament

As part of the ‘Tudor Court’ season, tomorrow night BBC2 will show ‘Henry VII: The Winter King’. Dr Hannes Kleineke discusses Henry VII’s first parliament in 1485… Henry VII’s first Parliament assembled at Westminster on 7 November 1485, not much over two months after the decisive battle of Bosworth. Its businesss was naturally shaped by recent political events: the king’s tenuous title to the throne … Continue reading Henry VII’s first parliament

Thanks for our bank holidays, “Saint” John…

Dr Kathryn Rix of the Victorian Commons tells us about the extraordinary life of the MP responsible for our day off today – Sir John Lubbock… Those enjoying a leisurely Bank Holiday today have a remarkable Victorian MP to thank. Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913), who died 100 years ago tomorrow (29 May), was responsible for the 1871 Bank Holidays Act, which created four Bank Holidays: … Continue reading Thanks for our bank holidays, “Saint” John…

Parliaments, Politics and People – Simon Healy ‘The Significance (and Insignificance) of Precedent in Early Stuart Parliaments’

Last week our Parliaments, Politics and People seminar returned for the summer term, with the HOP’s own Simon Healy. His paper, ‘The Significance (and Insignificance) of Precedent in Early Stuart Parliaments’ was a longer version of one presented at April’s ‘Writing the History of Early Modern Parliament’ colloquium in Oxford. Healy took a number of examples of conflicts between parliament and the crown during this … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People – Simon Healy ‘The Significance (and Insignificance) of Precedent in Early Stuart Parliaments’

Parliament and gay marriage

As parliament again debates the gay marriage bill, Dr Ruth Paley, editor of the House of Lords 1660-1832 section takes a look back at parliament, the law, and gay marriage… Despite the controversy that surrounds current discussions about gay marriage it is difficult for us in the 21st century to appreciate just how far attitudes to homosexuality have changed over the relatively recent past.  In … Continue reading Parliament and gay marriage

Henry VI and parliament: screaming the house down?

With parliament still debating last week’s Queen’s speech, Dr Hannes Kleineke reveals a rather different start to the 1423 parliament, during the minority of Henry VI… As parliament really gets down to business after last week’s state opening, the Queen no longer attends regularly. It is impossible to tell how she feels about the annual ritual which sees her read out her government’s political programme. Not … Continue reading Henry VI and parliament: screaming the house down?

Confusion in the commons – voting in 17th Century parliaments

Today, parliamentarians are often accused of shouting and ‘braying’ during debates. In this, little has changed since the 17th century, as Philip Baker tells us… James I held a low opinion of the House of Commons, asserting in 1614 that it ‘voted without order, nothing being heard but cries, shouts and confusion’. Certainly, the procedure, still in use today, by which the relative volume of … Continue reading Confusion in the commons – voting in 17th Century parliaments