“contagion lies in a wainscot”: the tragic history of the dukes of Bolton & 37, Grosvenor Square

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Robin Eagles considers the tragic history of the family of the dukes of Bolton and the strange coincidence that brought about the deaths of two peers in the same house in London… Trigger Warning: This post deals with themes of suicide. Writing in July 1765, Horace Walpole was at pains to insist that there could not … Continue reading “contagion lies in a wainscot”: the tragic history of the dukes of Bolton & 37, Grosvenor Square

“he, who surpass’d all the Heroes of Antiquity”: John Churchill, 1st duke of Marlborough

2022 marks the 300th anniversary of the death of John Churchill, 1st duke of Marlborough. Dr Robin Eagles reconsiders the career, and end, of one of the country’s most successful military commanders, the victor of Blenheim, Ramillies and Malplaquet, but also a hugely important political figure. The young John Churchill had had to make his own way in the world. Although his father, Sir Winston … Continue reading “he, who surpass’d all the Heroes of Antiquity”: John Churchill, 1st duke of Marlborough

The Aftermath of the Impeachment of Thomas Parker, earl of Macclesfield

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Stuart Handley reassesses the impeachment, and later career, of Thomas Parker, earl of Macclesfield, the last victim of a political impeachment prior to that of Warren Hastings. Corruption and impeachment are terms that have been much in the news, especially with regard to former President Donald Trump, who was impeached, and former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, … Continue reading The Aftermath of the Impeachment of Thomas Parker, earl of Macclesfield

‘A frenzy of quitting’: the art of resigning in the 18th century

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Charles Littleton considers two episodes in the mid-18th century when governments were subject to mass resignations… Between 5 and 7 July 2022, over 60 members of Boris Johnson’s government resigned, the highest number of resignations in a limited period in British political history. Few 18th-century governments saw as many departures, but many of the period’s administrations … Continue reading ‘A frenzy of quitting’: the art of resigning in the 18th century

To attend or not to attend: state trials during an outbreak of smallpox

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Robin Eagles considers the dilemma facing some peers summoned to attend the trials of the Jacobite peers after Culloden as London faced an outbreak of smallpox in the summer of 1746. On 28 July 1746 the House of Lords convened in Westminster Hall for the trials of three Scots peers, who had been arrested following the … Continue reading To attend or not to attend: state trials during an outbreak of smallpox

Four Scots Lords: One line in a Poem

Inspired by a reference in an early eighteenth-century poem, in the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Stuart Handley considers the interlinked careers of four Scots peers, who all sat in the House of Lords. The early eighteenth-century poem, Advice to a Painter, by Alexander Robertson of Struan contains a line grouping four Scots peers: Rothes, Ross, Buchan and Belhaven, who were all part … Continue reading Four Scots Lords: One line in a Poem

The Last Peer Hanged for Murder

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Robin Eagles re-examines the trial and execution of Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers, the last British peer to be hanged for murder. Long before he came to the scaffold on 5 May 1760, Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers, had made quite a name for himself as a notorious member of the House of Lords. Ferrers had … Continue reading The Last Peer Hanged for Murder

The true premier? Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland

300 years ago, on 19 April 1722, Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland, Walpole’s rival for the premiership, died following his stakhanovite efforts during that year’s general election. Dr Robin Eagles reconsiders Sunderland’s legacy and his claim to have been George I’s first premier. Sunderland had been under enormous pressure for well over two years before, having been caught up in the South Sea Bubble, … Continue reading The true premier? Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland

Female Dukes

In the latest post for the Georgian Lords, Dr Stuart Handley considers the cases of peerages held by women in the 18th century, and the way in which they were able to exercise political influence even though denied a seat in Parliament. In a note on page 4 of his biography of Winston Churchill, published in 2001, Roy Jenkins allows himself a somewhat waspish comment … Continue reading Female Dukes

‘Do you know where this miserable wretch lives?’: Challenging votes in Eighteenth-Century England

As the Government looks set to make the introduction of voter ID requirements a flagship policy for 2022, parallels can be drawn with the eighteenth-century electoral process. We welcome guest blogger, James Harris, post-doctoral research associate at the University of Newcastle, to tell us more. The requirement for every elector to justify their right to vote at the hustings was a routine part of Georgian … Continue reading ‘Do you know where this miserable wretch lives?’: Challenging votes in Eighteenth-Century England