Breaching the guidelines: clerical MPs in the mid-seventeenth century

As the country grapples with interpreting the rules of the Covid-19 lockdown, Dr Vivienne Larminie of our Commons 1640-1660 section considers another situation where a seemingly clear-cut ban proved difficult to enforce… Uncertainty has long surrounded the eligibility of clergy to sit as MPs. Only in 2001 was legislation passed explicitly permitting all ministers of religion to stand for election. This repealed the Clergy Disqualification … Continue reading Breaching the guidelines: clerical MPs in the mid-seventeenth century

Thomas Sackville, 1st earl of Dorset: an overlooked Jacobean statesman?

Continuing our preview of the History of Parliament’s forthcoming volumes on the House of Lords 1604-29, Dr Ben Coates of our new Lords 1558-1603 section considers a major figure in Jacobean government who is today less well known… Historians of the Elizabethan and early Jacobean periods have long been familiar with the vast trove of documents at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, created during more than half … Continue reading Thomas Sackville, 1st earl of Dorset: an overlooked Jacobean statesman?

Exiting the English Republic, part 1: political flux in early 1660

Continuing the series on the turmoil of 1659-1660, which saw a retreat from radicalism and political experiment, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of the Commons 1640-1660 section, looks at the manoeuvrings of politicians and army officers in a period of great tension and uncertainty… By late January 1660 the English republic had entered its last days – although its imminent extinction was probably not inevitable, … Continue reading Exiting the English Republic, part 1: political flux in early 1660

Sitting at Christmas: getting business done, 1643

In a previous blog our director, Dr Stephen Roberts, explored legislation by which parliamentarians of the 1640s tried to promote what they saw as more appropriate ways of celebrating Christmas; contrary to popular historical myth, Oliver Cromwell was not the driving force. As Dr Vivienne Larminie of our Commons 1640-1660 section explains, Parliament itself began cutting back on the Yuletide festivities some years before Cromwell … Continue reading Sitting at Christmas: getting business done, 1643

The ‘Interruption’ of Parliament and the quest for political settlement, October 1659

In the first of a new blog series charting the collapse of the British Republic, Dr Vivienne Larminie of the Commons 1640-1660 section discusses the military coup which temporarily suspended the Rump Parliament 360 years ago… On the morning of Thursday 13 October 1659 ‘at his usual time’, Speaker William Lenthall was making his way by coach from his London residence to preside over a … Continue reading The ‘Interruption’ of Parliament and the quest for political settlement, October 1659

The House of Lords Outside Parliament Time, 1604-1629

Continuing our theme of alternative functions once served by the palace of Westminster, Dr Andrew Thrush of the Lords 1604-29 section considers activities at the southern end of the complex in the early seventeenth century… During the early modern period parliaments were neither regular nor particularly frequent but sat at the whim of the monarch. Consequently, for most of the time the old palace of … Continue reading The House of Lords Outside Parliament Time, 1604-1629

Fasting and political crises in the 1640s: no beer ‘till the publike exercises and religious duties … be past and over’

As Parliament engages in momentous decision-making about the future of the country, Dr Vivienne Larminie of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section marks the season of Lent with consideration of the solemn and austere approach of early modern Parliaments to periods of political and social crisis… After the feasting of ‘Pancake Day’ (Shrove Tuesday, this year on 5 March), the six weeks of Lent – … Continue reading Fasting and political crises in the 1640s: no beer ‘till the publike exercises and religious duties … be past and over’

From Parliamentary Politics to Authoritarianism: A Reflection on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Ahead of this evening’s Parliaments, Politics and People seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, Evan Fowler, associate fellow of Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge, recaps his paper on the Hong Kong special administrative region from our previous session on 22 January… Hong Kong has changed since reverting to Chinese administration in 1997. My talk focused on understanding the change, from where Hong … Continue reading From Parliamentary Politics to Authoritarianism: A Reflection on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Taking control: Speaker William Lenthall, precedent and the Long Parliament

In the midst of extraordinary times at Westminster, Dr Vivienne Larminie of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section looks at the response of a pioneering Speaker to the unprecedented challenges of the mid-seventeenth century… On 4 January 1642, in one of the most dramatic and iconic moments in the history of Parliament, Charles I arrived at Westminster with an armed guard.  Having entered the Commons … Continue reading Taking control: Speaker William Lenthall, precedent and the Long Parliament

The Kidney Stone of Alderman Adams

Continuing the theme of health, medicine and Parliament, Dr Patrick Little of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section looks at how a notable and multifaceted London MP of the mid-17th century provides a vivid illustration of a danger highlighted in very recent clinical trials… The link between the Ig Nobel Prize for improbable research and the 1640-1660 Section of the History of Parliament Trust is … Continue reading The Kidney Stone of Alderman Adams