‘Horsham is Lady Irwin’s Borough’: the power of the 18th Century political widow

We continue our series on election campaigning through the centuries today, with an example of the power aristocratic women could hold in the pre-1832 electoral system. Elaine Chalus, Professor of British History in Bath Spa University, discusses the story of Lady Irwin, who recently featured in BBC2’s Suffragettes Forever… When Frances, Lady Irwin, died in 1807, the 11th duke of Norfolk — the notoriously hard-drinking … Continue reading ‘Horsham is Lady Irwin’s Borough’: the power of the 18th Century political widow

Electoral Independence in Tudor England

As the election campaign continues, so does our series of blogposts on historic campaigning. Today, all constituencies are contested and the electorate freely cast their votes. In Tudor England the concept of electoral freedom was honoured more in principle than in practice, as Dr Simon Payling, Senior Fellow of the Commons 1422-1504 section, explains… Tudor elections were functional rather than competitive, in other words, they … Continue reading Electoral Independence in Tudor England

The Parliamentary Delegation to Buchenwald Concentration Camp – 70 Years On

On this day in 1945, a group of MPs arrived at Buchenwald concentration camp to report first hand on the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis. Dr Myfanwy Lloyd, who has recently developed a new exhibition on the liberation of Bergen-Belsen for the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, guestblogs for us on the visit and the impact it had on the MPs who went to Buchenwald… On … Continue reading The Parliamentary Delegation to Buchenwald Concentration Camp – 70 Years On

MPs in World War I: Dr. John Esmonde (1862-1915)

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the third MP who died fighting in the First World War, and the second this week. Continuing our series of short biographies of these men, Dr Kathryn Rix, of the Victorian Commons, discusses the life of Dr John Joseph Esmonde… While the first MP to die in the First World War, the Hon. Arthur O’Neill, was an Ulsterman and committed … Continue reading MPs in World War I: Dr. John Esmonde (1862-1915)

MPs in World War I: William Glynne Charles Gladstone (1885-1915)

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the second MP who died fighting in the First World War. Continuing our series of short biographies of these men, Dr Kathryn Rix, of the Victorian Commons, discusses the life of William Glynne Charles Gladstone… On 13 April 1915 William Glynne Charles Gladstone, the grandson of the late Prime Minister, became the second Member of Parliament to be killed in … Continue reading MPs in World War I: William Glynne Charles Gladstone (1885-1915)

Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Alexander Lock, ‘Magna Carta: law, liberty and myth’

Our last ‘Parliaments, politics and people’ seminar of term took place on 24 March. Dr Alexander Lock, one of the curators of the British Library’s current exhibition ‘Magna Carta: law, liberty, legacy’ spoke on the impact and legacy of the 1215 Great Charter. His paper covered the full eight hundred year history of Magna Carta, and described how a failed medieval peace treaty came to … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Alexander Lock, ‘Magna Carta: law, liberty and myth’

Eleanor de Montfort, countess of Leicester (b. c. 1215-d. c. 1275): A countess and a rebel

Continuing our ongoing series celebrating the anniversaries of Magna Carta and Simon de Montfort’s Parliament, this week’s guest blogpost looks at the role of a woman who helped to shape the politics of her time. Louise Wilkinson, Professor of Medieval History at Canterbury Christ Church University, explains the key role of Eleanor de Montfort… In the thirteenth century, Eleanor de Montfort was one of the … Continue reading Eleanor de Montfort, countess of Leicester (b. c. 1215-d. c. 1275): A countess and a rebel