Execution or murder? Elizabeth I and the problem of how to kill Mary Queen of Scots

Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our Lords 1558-1603 section, discusses the thorny issue that faced Elizabeth I in the wake of the discovery of Mary Queen of Scots’ role in the Babington Plot of 1586… On 1 February 1587 Sir Francis Walsingham and his fellow Secretary of State, William Davison, wrote on behalf of Elizabeth I to the privy councillor Sir Amias Paulet, one of … Continue reading Execution or murder? Elizabeth I and the problem of how to kill Mary Queen of Scots

Episcopalians, puritans, presbyterians and sectaries: contesting the Church of England in the mid seventeenth century

If you visualize religious history in the 1640s and 1650s as a blanket triumph of puritanism, think again. As Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 section explains, the real picture was much more complex… As noted in previous blogs, the myth of tight and uniformly repressive puritan rule in the mid-seventeenth has proved hard to shift. Likewise, the blame for much iconoclasm … Continue reading Episcopalians, puritans, presbyterians and sectaries: contesting the Church of England in the mid seventeenth century

Lies, stories, misinformation and collective memory: extracting vipers and unmasking cavaliers in the 1659 Parliament

‘Fake news’ might seem like a modern concept, but there’s nothing new about attempts to disguise, misrepresent or reinvent the past, as Dr Vivienne Larminie of our Commons 1640-60 project explains… Debates on whether to exclude from the House of Commons MPs deemed ineligible or delinquent always had an element of theatre. By the end of the interregnum they also illuminate the collective memory of … Continue reading Lies, stories, misinformation and collective memory: extracting vipers and unmasking cavaliers in the 1659 Parliament

Henry Clinton, earl of Lincoln: a peer governed by the underworld?

What’s your image of an Elizabethan nobleman? A grave elder statesmen with a long beard, perhaps, or a dashing young courtier in a large ruff. How about a pantomime villain? Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 section considers a peer whose bad behaviour shocked even his contemporaries… According to the conventional narrative of English history, medieval peers lived in castles, employed private armies, oppressed … Continue reading Henry Clinton, earl of Lincoln: a peer governed by the underworld?

The good, the bad and the visually memorable: characterising the Commons 1640-1660

With Westminster once more ringing with allegations of corruption, it is as well to recall that MPs have rarely been elected on account of their unimpeachable conduct. And, as Dr Vivienne Larminie of our Commons 1640-60 section explains, while modern politics is sometimes dubbed a ‘beauty contest’, quite a few mid-seventeenth-century Members were eye-catching for the wrong reasons… The make-up of the House of Commons … Continue reading The good, the bad and the visually memorable: characterising the Commons 1640-1660

Immigrants and refugees at Westminster: the foreign ancestry of mid-17th century MPs

With refugee crises and immigration back in the news, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 section, considers how these issues impacted on the character of the House of Commons nearly 400 years ago… Business involving immigrants and refugees was not uncommon in mid-seventeenth century Parliaments. Petitions for naturalization, the trading rights of ‘stranger’ merchants, provision for destitute fugitives arriving in England and … Continue reading Immigrants and refugees at Westminster: the foreign ancestry of mid-17th century MPs

Exploring the roots of a regicide: Sir John Danvers, the University of Oxford and gardens

As we look forward to warmer weather and fewer Covid-related restrictions, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 section, considers the complex and contradictory career of a noted seventeenth-century horticulturalist… This week the Bodleian Library in Oxford launched an exhibition marking the quatercentenary of the foundation in 1621 of the city’s Botanic Garden. ‘Roots to Seeds’ explores the development of the physic garden, … Continue reading Exploring the roots of a regicide: Sir John Danvers, the University of Oxford and gardens

‘Death-bed disinherison by so foul a practice’: Parliament, the Vanlore heiresses and an early modern whodunnit

In Women’s History month, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 section, looks at how petitions to Parliament can lift the lid on the private lives of privileged women and, in the struggle to secure property rights, reveal a dark underside of manipulation, prejudice, violence, the desperation of the childless and even murder … Throughout the turmoil of the civil wars and interregnum, … Continue reading ‘Death-bed disinherison by so foul a practice’: Parliament, the Vanlore heiresses and an early modern whodunnit

Parliament and the trial of the ‘peers of the land’ in Henry of Lancaster’s revolt, 1328-29

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Matt Raven, of the University of Nottingham. On 16 February 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Matt will be responding to your questions about his pre-circulated paper on the development of parliamentary privilege in fourteenth-century England. Details of how to join the discussion are available here, or by contacting … Continue reading Parliament and the trial of the ‘peers of the land’ in Henry of Lancaster’s revolt, 1328-29

An English baron in early 17th century America: Thomas West (1577-1618), 3rd Baron De La Warr

To mark Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president of the United States, Dr Ben Coates of our Lords 1558-1603 section explains the surprising connection between the state of Delaware and the English peerage… The new American president, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., was born in Pennsylvania, but moved as a child to Delaware, which he subsequently represented in Congress as a senator for over 30 … Continue reading An English baron in early 17th century America: Thomas West (1577-1618), 3rd Baron De La Warr