A tribute to David Mudd MP

In the fourth in our series of tributes to our Oral History Project interviewees who have sadly passed away during the current crisis, Emma Peplow looks back on the life of David Mudd, Conservative MP for Falmouth and Camborne, 1970-92. David Mudd was a lifelong Conservative party member, but also – unusually – a member of the Cornish party Mebyon Kernow, an example of both … Continue reading A tribute to David Mudd MP

Real or imagined? Fifteenth-century MPs as perpetrators of violence

In our latest blog we’re exploring some of the dangerous reputations held by Medieval MPs with Dr Simon Payling, senior research fellow for our Commons 1461-1504 project. It seems that in the 15th century accusations of violence (even murder!) weren’t enough to stop you becoming an MP… THE HISTORY OF PARLIAMENT: THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 1422-1461, edited by Linda Clark, is out now. For further … Continue reading Real or imagined? Fifteenth-century MPs as perpetrators of violence

York: exploring the local history of a Victorian constituency

Alongside biographies of 2,591 MPs, our House of Commons 1832-68 project is also researching and writing articles on the 401 English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh constituencies in existence during this period. Following on from this month’s earlier local history post on York, this blog takes this constituency as an example to explain some of the key features of our constituency articles, and how they might … Continue reading York: exploring the local history of a Victorian constituency

York 1660-1760

For this month’s local history focus we are looking at the borough constituency of York. A city not unfamiliar with hosting parliaments, it was even suggested by the Prime Minister last week as a possible location for a temporary chamber during Westminster’s Restoration and Renewal works. In the first of two blogs, today Dr Stuart Handley, senior research fellow in our Lords 1715-1790 project, looks … Continue reading York 1660-1760

The queen and the chemist’s son: Matthew Wood MP and the radical defence of Queen Caroline

A hop merchant and former Lord Mayor, Wood brought Caroline out of exile in June 1820 and housed her at his Mayfair residence at the beginning of the national crisis. As the affair gathered steam Wood became a prime target for loyalist vitriol, a prime example being Theodore Hooke’s malicious pamphlet Solomon Logwood: A Radical Tale. Continue reading The queen and the chemist’s son: Matthew Wood MP and the radical defence of Queen Caroline

‘Going into the country’: leave, holidays and political intrigue in the 1640s

As the easing of lockdown encourages many of us to seize opportunities to go on holiday, and especially take ‘staycations’, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of the Commons 1640-1660 section, looks at the positive and (arguably) negative uses to which civil war MPs put their leave… The widespread perception that the Parliaments of the mid-seventeenth century cut down on holidays is not inaccurate. As has … Continue reading ‘Going into the country’: leave, holidays and political intrigue in the 1640s

Ball Lightning in Early Modern England: The Curious Case of Nicholas Walsh, MP

In their work our researchers have discovered many strange and unusual causes of the death that have befallen parliamentarians over the centuries; one such case is the subject of Dr Andrew Thrush‘s new blog. Here, the editor of our Lords 1558-1603 project describes the unexpected fate of the unfortunate Walsh family in 1556… It’s probably no surprise that by the time they sat in Parliament, … Continue reading Ball Lightning in Early Modern England: The Curious Case of Nicholas Walsh, MP

Plague, prorogation and the suspension of the courts in fifteenth-century England

In another timely blog from our History of Parliament researchers, today Dr Simon Payling, senior research fellow for the Commons 1461-1504 project, discusses Parliament’s response to another plague outbreak as the courts of justice were suspended in June 1464. On Wednesday 6 June 1464, at the beginning of Trinity term, a small piece of theatre was played out in Westminster Hall. Three justices of the … Continue reading Plague, prorogation and the suspension of the courts in fifteenth-century England

The Bonfire Night Coup: power politics at the Putney debates

In March we hosted the final Parliaments, Politics and People Seminar before lockdown forced the temporary closure of the Institute of Historical Research. Today Dr Sean Kelsey, senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham, looks back at his paper discussing the Putney Bonfire Night Coup of 1647. This paper revisits the circumstances surrounding the adjournment, and effective dissolution of the General Council, the representative … Continue reading The Bonfire Night Coup: power politics at the Putney debates

Pubs, Publicans and Parliament in the later Middle Ages

Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, is one of many people celebrating parliament’s decision to allow the re-opening of pubs, bars and watering holes in England from today. But in our latest blog he looks back to the later middle ages, when parliament’s influence on pubs and publicans was a common aspect of the industry… For many of us, one of the … Continue reading Pubs, Publicans and Parliament in the later Middle Ages