1951 and the Birth of the History of Parliament

This week the History of Parliament celebrates the 70th anniversary of one of many important dates in its history. To mark the occasion our director Dr Paul Seaward looks back to the beginnings of our project as we know it today. The History of Parliament has lots of birthdays, for its genesis as a project was a complicated and long-drawn out process. But one of … Continue reading 1951 and the Birth of the History of Parliament

An empty victory: Queen Margaret and the second battle of St. Albans 17 Feb. 1461

Today Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project marks the anniversary of the second battle of St. Albans. The battle may have been a convincing victory for the Lancastrian side, but was it a blessing in disguise for their Yorkist foes? The Lancastrian victories of the civil war of 1459-61 have a curious quality. Any victory in a campaign that ends in defeat has the … Continue reading An empty victory: Queen Margaret and the second battle of St. Albans 17 Feb. 1461

A History of Parliamentary Cucumbers

Our friends at Hansard at Huddersfield provide a great tool for tracking the popularity of certain words in parliamentary debate. It is unsurprising that the use of ‘deal’ and ‘Brexit’ have been common over the last few years, but, as Dr Patrick Little from our Commons 1640-1660 project explores below, there is one word absent from the chamber… cucumbers. Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-84) is frequently … Continue reading A History of Parliamentary Cucumbers

Anglo-Dutch Fishing Disputes and the Sovereignty of the Seas, 1558-1640

Recent trade negotiations between the UK and the EU have shone a spotlight on European fishing rights in British territorial waters. While Britain sought to control access to her waters, arguing that her sovereignty was at stake, the EU expected to continue large-scale fishing in these same seas. Historians of early modern England might be forgiven for thinking that we have been here before, as … Continue reading Anglo-Dutch Fishing Disputes and the Sovereignty of the Seas, 1558-1640

Bristol and the Readeption Parliament of Henry VI

This winter marks the 550th anniversary of the Readeption Parliament of 1470-1, the circumstances and proceedings of which are the subject of a recent blog. Today Dr Charles Moreton from our Commons 1461-1504 project looks closer at the Parliament’s impact in Bristol and the period of the short-lived restoration of Henry VI in which this assembly sat. There are no extant election returns for the Parliament, and the names of just 41 of its MPs survive. Forty, if not all of these men, sat for urban constituencies, the archives of which preserve their election. As it happens, the … Continue reading Bristol and the Readeption Parliament of Henry VI

Violence at the Door of Parliament, 1640-48

Over the past few weeks the eyes of the world have been on Washington. As the United States prepares to swear in its 46th President, Joe Biden, after what has been a tumultuous transition of power, Dr Stephen Roberts examines the threat of violence against the seat of power in 17th century Britain in our latest blog… The great achievement of the English Parliament between … Continue reading Violence at the Door of Parliament, 1640-48

“‘Always rowdy, violent and colourful’?: Eighteenth century elections in the borough of Swords, Co. Dublin”?

In the second instalment of our local history look at electioneering in Ireland, today we welcome guest blogger Dr Suzanne Forbes, lecturer at the Open University who is currently researching the representative system in 18th century Ireland. In this blog Dr Forbes questions the dangerous reputation of the borough of Swords in Co. Dublin… The potwalloping borough of Swords, located some fourteen kilometres north of … Continue reading “‘Always rowdy, violent and colourful’?: Eighteenth century elections in the borough of Swords, Co. Dublin”?

Bayntun v. Hungerford: rival perspectives on puritan marriage in civil war Wiltshire

In our latest blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, continues with our recent theme of marriage. She considers two mid-17th century Wiltshire MPs and their opposing personalities by way of their family lives… By late 1642, as the confrontation between king and Parliament escalated, personal rivalries between two leading local gentlemen threatened to undermine fatally the parliamentarian war effort in … Continue reading Bayntun v. Hungerford: rival perspectives on puritan marriage in civil war Wiltshire

Three Bog-Standard Cromwellian Elections: Co. Cork and its boroughs in 1654

We’re continuing our monthly local history case-studies in 2021 and for the first locality this year we’re turning our attention to Ireland. In this first instalment, Dr Patrick Little, senior research fellow in our Commons 1640-1660 project, explores electioneering in County Cork during the first Cromwellian Protectorate… When studying parliamentary elections, historians naturally concentrate on those that went wrong. Electoral contests, faction-fights, even outbreaks of … Continue reading Three Bog-Standard Cromwellian Elections: Co. Cork and its boroughs in 1654

‘An Auld Sang with a New Tune’: Devolution to Scotland in the 1970s

Today’s blog is from guest blogger Tom Chidwick. Tom is writing a history of the 1979 referendum in Scotland and here he discusses the vote, the Scotland Act and the considerations for the location of the Scottish Parliament… In its first ever referendum, on a snowy St David’s Day in 1979, Scotland went to the polls in arguably the most important ballot in the country’s … Continue reading ‘An Auld Sang with a New Tune’: Devolution to Scotland in the 1970s