The Grand Old Man of the Long Parliament

In earlier centuries politics might be seen as a young man’s game, but here Dr Andrew Barclay of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section looks at a veteran Member of the 1640s who had first sat in the 1570s… MPs in the seventeenth century tended to be rather younger than they are today. The median age of those elected to the Long Parliament in 1640 … Continue reading The Grand Old Man of the Long Parliament

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

How long is a Parliament?

In this blog for the ‘Named Parliaments’ series, Dr Paul Hunneyball, Associate Editor of the House of Lords 1604-29 project, explores the length of parliaments, paying particular attention to the Short and Long parliaments of the 1640s and 1650s… Down the centuries, the length of parliaments has varied enormously, from a few days to a decade or more. That being the case, it’s perhaps surprising … Continue reading How long is a 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 

‘“The Parliament driver”: Walter Long, party politics and the whip

The recent stream of votes in the Commons surrounding Brexit has thrown into relief the practice of ‘whipping’ MPs into supporting their party line.  Dr Vivienne Larminie of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section examines the emergence of an early prototype. In the summer of 1647 several years of escalating faction-fighting in Parliament came to a head.  With Charles I now defeated and in captivity, … Continue reading ‘“The Parliament driver”: Walter Long, party politics and the whip

The will of the people? The Middlesex elections of 1769

250 years ago, in April 1769, the electors of Middlesex went to the polls: the third by-election they had experienced that year since one of their two MPs, John Wilkes, had been expelled from Parliament. Dr Robin Eagles, Editor of the House of Lords 1660-1832 Section, examines the background to the election and how Parliament resolved the crisis. John Wilkes had originally been returned as … Continue reading The will of the people? The Middlesex elections of 1769