Levelling the Lords

In the inaugural blog of our Revolutionary Stuart Parliaments series, the editor of our new House of Lords 1640-60 section Dr David Scott, and Dr Sarah Mortimer of Christ Church, Oxford, consider the politics behind the abolition of the House of Lords in 1649… In November 1648, after a summer and autumn of hard-fought victories against royalist insurgents and Scottish invaders, the New Model Army … Continue reading Levelling the Lords

The Last Burial of a King in Westminster Abbey

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has meant the revival of a practice that had in effect been suspended for over two centuries: the funeral of a monarch in Westminster Abbey. The last king to have his funeral there was George II on 11 November 1760, and even though this was technically a ‘private funeral’, thereafter more private – though still very public – ceremonies … Continue reading The Last Burial of a King in Westminster Abbey

The termination of medieval Parliaments on the demise of the reigning monarch

As much of the nation, and the world, continues to reflect on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and accession of King Charles III, here Dr Hannes Kleineke from our Commons 1461-1504 project explores the now retired practice of terminating Parliaments following the death of the monarch. By modern convention, the death of a sovereign and the accession of their successor do not … Continue reading The termination of medieval Parliaments on the demise of the reigning monarch

Sir Job Charlton and the Declaration of Indulgence 1672-3

As we continue our recent blog series exploring the careers of notable people to occupy the role of Speaker, here History of Parliament director Dr Paul Seaward examines the debates behind appointing this influential job in the 17th century and a Speaker often forgotten about… Speakers of the Commons in the seventeenth century were, though notionally elected by the House, effectively government appointees. At the … Continue reading Sir Job Charlton and the Declaration of Indulgence 1672-3

In with the new – the appointment of Lord Chancellor Richard Neville in 1454

It was confirmed yesterday that the newly elected leader of the Conservative Party will be travelling to Balmoral next week, rather than Buckingham Palace, to receive the Sovereign’s invitation to form a government. This news comes amidst knowledge of HM the Queen’s ongoing mobility issues. But in 1454, when a new chief minister needed to be appointed it was the mental, not physical, faculties of … Continue reading In with the new – the appointment of Lord Chancellor Richard Neville in 1454

William Turner and the reformation of gardening

Climate change is making gardening more of a challenge in this country, but at least we have plenty of information on the best plants to use. Five hundred years ago the picture was a lot more confusing. Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 section investigates a major botanical turning point… William Turner’s New Herbal, published in instalments between 1551 and 1568, is one of … Continue reading William Turner and the reformation of gardening

‘Never ending war’ and ‘the enriching of Parliament-men’: MPs and corruption in the 1640s

In the second of two blogs from Dr Vivienne Larminie, editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, here attention is turned to accusations of corruption and financial incentives in the Parliaments of the 1640s… In the 1630s the venom-filled pen of pamphleteer William Prynne had excoriated the court of Charles I for what he regarded as immorality and corruption. But by the later 1640s, a seemingly … Continue reading ‘Never ending war’ and ‘the enriching of Parliament-men’: MPs and corruption in the 1640s

Charles I in search of friends: government in crisis and the rewards of loyalty, 1640-1644

Today we hear from Dr Vivienne Larminie, editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, who discusses Charles I’s attempts to secure loyalty by giving out peerages and other honours in the early 1640s… By late 1640 the government of Charles I was in deep trouble. A treaty signed at Ripon on 26 October signalled the end of three years of war against his Scottish subjects – the … Continue reading Charles I in search of friends: government in crisis and the rewards of loyalty, 1640-1644

‘Robin the trickster’ versus ‘Stiff Dick’: the election of Robert Harley as Speaker of the Commons in 1701

In the latest in our series discussing some of the notable figures to occupy the role of Speaker of the House Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, discusses the contested election that led Robert Harley to the chair… From 1704 to the spring of 1705 Robert Harley was both Speaker of the House of Commons and one of the secretaries of state. … Continue reading ‘Robin the trickster’ versus ‘Stiff Dick’: the election of Robert Harley as Speaker of the Commons in 1701

A Speakership that never was: Sir Thomas Hungerford and the Parliament of 1378

Throughout 2022 we have been looking into the careers of some of the people to occupy the role of Speaker- a title first recorded as being attributed to Sir Thomas Hungerford in 1377. But this did not mean that Hungerford’s place in the House of Commons was guaranteed, as Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, explores… There is a modern-day convention that … Continue reading A Speakership that never was: Sir Thomas Hungerford and the Parliament of 1378