‘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

Top tips for Christmas at the Jacobean court

As History of Parliament staff prepare for their Christmas break, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1604-29 section ponders the pleasures and pitfalls that might have awaited a Jacobean courtier 400 years ago… Tip 1: No partying on Christmas Day In the early 17th century, unlike today, 25 December was primarily a time for solemn religious observance. The entire royal household was expected to attend … Continue reading Top tips for Christmas at the Jacobean court

The early Stuart judiciary – independent or subservient?

In the wake of recent events in America, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1604-29 section considers the role of the judiciary in early Stuart political controversies… Much of the recent storm surrounding the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh as a judge in the United States Supreme Court was generated by allegations of sexual misconduct in his earlier life. However, the political partisanship which marked the … Continue reading The early Stuart judiciary – independent or subservient?

Peace at Last?

Earlier this autumn saw the 80th anniversary of the Munich agreement, marked by a ‘Peace for our Time’ blog from our assistant director, Dr Emma Peplow.  As the first of a series from the House of Commons 1640-1660 section looking at events over the winter of 1648-1649, Dr Vivienne Larminie examines another occasion on which lasting peace seemed within the grasp of politicians at Westminster.  … Continue reading Peace at Last?

Parliament and medicine in the early 17th century

Continuing the theme of health, medicine and Parliament, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1604-29 Section considers how medical practices and language impacted on parliamentary proceedings under the early Stuarts… History of Parliament biographies contain many incidental details about medicine in the early 17th century, though the picture that emerges is very different from the modern clinical experience. Although anatomical knowledge was improving, the human … Continue reading Parliament and medicine in the early 17th century

‘Matters far beyond their reach or capacity’: Parliament and foreign policy in 1621

As Parliament continues to debate Brexit, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1604-29 section examines how the House of Commons first won the right to influence policy towards Europe… The scenario might seem familiar: a government deeply divided over the future direction of Britain’s relations with the rest of Europe; and an anxious Parliament, eager to have its say, but sucked into confrontation with the government … Continue reading ‘Matters far beyond their reach or capacity’: Parliament and foreign policy in 1621

Parliament and St George’s Day in the early seventeenth century

Following previous blogs to mark St David’s Day and St Patrick’s Day, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1604-1629 Section discusses the near-disappearance of the celebration of St George’s Day in the aftermath of Reformation legislation.  For peers who belonged to the Order of the Garter, however, it was still the occasion for feasting, and as such it impacted on the timetable of parliamentary business… … Continue reading Parliament and St George’s Day in the early seventeenth century