‘He knewe the slaightes, stratagems, and the pollecies of warlike affaires’: Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, and the battle of Blore Heath

On 23 September 1459 the battle of Blore Heath took place. In today’s blog, marking the anniversary of the battle, Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project looks into the events of the encounter, as the earl of Salisbury’s Yorkist forces faced up to those led by the Lancastrian Lord Audley. The battle of Blore Heath, two miles from Market Drayton, near the border … Continue reading ‘He knewe the slaightes, stratagems, and the pollecies of warlike affaires’: Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, and the battle of Blore Heath

300 Years of Leadership and Innovation: Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first ‘Prime Minister’ and the History of Parliament Online

On 3 April 1721 Robert Walpole was appointed First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. This was not the first time that he had occupied these roles, however it was from this point that he is generally regarded as becoming the first ever ‘Prime Minister’. The title was initially bestowed upon Walpole as an insult, used to criticise Walpole’s improper rise to … Continue reading 300 Years of Leadership and Innovation: Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first ‘Prime Minister’ and the History of Parliament Online

Parliament and the Naval Review

In today’s blog our director Dr Paul Seaward is casting his eyes out to sea, with a look into the popularity of the Naval Review in the late 19th century. However, these displays of British maritime power weren’t always smooth sailing… There had been irregular naval reviews since the 1770s, sometimes with mock sea-battles, laid on to entertain the royal family and to display the … Continue reading Parliament and the Naval Review

We’re all going on a summer … staycation: sightseeing in medieval England

The post-lockdown staycation has proven popular this year and in today’s blog Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, looks into the popular sites that could be visited a little closer to home in medieval England… Holidays and sightseeing have long traditions. If a pilgrimage could offer a convenient excuse for a medieval Englishman or -woman to abandon home, family, and day to … Continue reading We’re all going on a summer … staycation: sightseeing in medieval England

Postwar MPs’ Memories of Summer Holidays

This year we’ve been looking into the holiday habits of parliamentarians throughout history. In our latest blog Emme Ledgerwood has been listening through our Oral History project archive, to find out how MPs spent their summer holidays long before they stepped foot in the chambers of Parliament. When searching the History of Parliament’s oral history collection for MPs’ memories of summer holidays, descriptions of the … Continue reading Postwar MPs’ Memories of Summer Holidays

What did the Elizabethan House of Lords look like?

This might seem like a simple question but, as Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 project explains, the answer is anything but straightforward… In 21st-century Britain, we take it for granted that we know what our parliamentary chambers look like. At Westminster, both the House of Commons and House of Lords are open to visitors, and parliamentary debates are recorded on television and illustrated … Continue reading What did the Elizabethan House of Lords look like?

‘It was the dissimulation of this one man that stirred up that whole plague of evils which followed’: William Catesby, Speaker in the Parliament of 1484, and the accession of Richard III

On 25 August 1485 William Catesby, Speaker of the House of Commons, was executed. But what brought about the downfall of this once influential Member of Parliament? Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project explores… In his account of the accession of Richard III, written in the 1510s, Sir Thomas More assigned a pivotal role to an unlikely candidate, William Catesby, a lawyer educated … Continue reading ‘It was the dissimulation of this one man that stirred up that whole plague of evils which followed’: William Catesby, Speaker in the Parliament of 1484, and the accession of Richard III

The ‘Glorious Twelfth’

Did you know that the twelfth of August was an important date in the Victorian and Edwardian political – and social – calendar? In today’s blog our director Dr Paul Seaward continues our look into the summer holidays of parliamentarians and the hobby with particular influence over Westminster’s summer timetable… No date was more firmly fixed in the diaries of Victorian and Edwardian politicians than … Continue reading The ‘Glorious Twelfth’

The Great Survivor: Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, 1540-1614

In today’s blog we hear from Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our Lords 1558-1603 project, on the elusive career of Henry Howard, earl of Northampton. Howard’s shrewd political manoeuvres allowed him to evade attention from government officials throughout his career and often evade attention from historians- until now! In medieval and early modern England, membership of the nobility could be a decidedly mixed blessing, at … Continue reading The Great Survivor: Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, 1540-1614

The elusiveness of divorce in medieval England: the marital troubles of the last Warenne earl of Surrey (d.1347)

In today’s blog Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project continues our ongoing look into the marriages of Parliamentarians, both happy and unhappy. Divorce in medieval England was infrequent and difficult to secure, but this did not stop individuals from making an attempt… Medieval England knew two forms of divorce. The first, and overwhelmingly the most important, was divorce a vinculo matrimonii (from the … Continue reading The elusiveness of divorce in medieval England: the marital troubles of the last Warenne earl of Surrey (d.1347)