Parliament and the Politics of intimidation in Medieval England

As some of our previous blogs demonstrate, Medieval parliamentarians were no stranger to acts of physical violence. However as Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project suggests, sometimes the mere threat was enough to influence political change… It is a central tenet of parliamentary history that the political complexion of a Parliament was determined by its membership, particularly that of its fluctuating electoral element, … Continue reading Parliament and the Politics of intimidation in Medieval England

Sir William Oldhall, Speaker in the Parliament of 1450-1

In recent months we have been looking into some of the more notable parliamentarians to hold the post of ‘Speaker’ throughout history. In today’s blog Charles Moreton from our Commons 1461-1504 project discusses Sir William Oldhall, a long-term ally to Richard, duke of York… One of the better known fifteenth-century Speakers, Sir William Oldhall owed his political career to his association with Richard, duke of … Continue reading Sir William Oldhall, Speaker in the Parliament of 1450-1

Parliament and the removal of a political leader: a fifteenth-century example

Despite Westminster’s image as the home of Parliament, throughout our project there are many examples of members gathering in other locations. On 10 February 1447 Parliament met away from London, in Bury St Edmunds, with a particular purpose in mind, as Dr Charles Moreton from our Commons 1461-1504 section explains… The Parliament of 1447, which assembled on 10 February 1447, is noteworthy for its brevity, … Continue reading Parliament and the removal of a political leader: a fifteenth-century example

1421: a troubled royal Christmas

As the festive season draws to a close and a New Year commences, in today’s blog Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 section, looks back at the news met by Henry V during the Christmas of 1421-2. King Henry V spent the Christmas season of 1421-2 in France, as he had done for every one of the preceding four Christmases. It had been … Continue reading 1421: a troubled royal Christmas

‘Make good your ways and your habits’: Edward IV’s first Parliament of 1461-2

During the winter of 1461, Edward IV’s first Parliament began. Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project explores the priorities of the session… On Wednesday, 4 November 1461, Edward IV’s first Parliament opened at Westminster. It was an assembly designed to set a seal on the change of dynasty that had been foreshadowed in the accord reached in the previous Parliament a year … Continue reading ‘Make good your ways and your habits’: Edward IV’s first Parliament of 1461-2

‘He knewe the slaightes, stratagems, and the pollecies of warlike affaires’: Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, and the battle of Blore Heath

On 23 September 1459 the battle of Blore Heath took place. In today’s blog, marking the anniversary of the battle, Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project looks into the events of the encounter, as the earl of Salisbury’s Yorkist forces faced up to those led by the Lancastrian Lord Audley. The battle of Blore Heath, two miles from Market Drayton, near the border … Continue reading ‘He knewe the slaightes, stratagems, and the pollecies of warlike affaires’: Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, and the battle of Blore Heath

We’re all going on a summer … staycation: sightseeing in medieval England

The post-lockdown staycation has proven popular this year and in today’s blog Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, looks into the popular sites that could be visited a little closer to home in medieval England… Holidays and sightseeing have long traditions. If a pilgrimage could offer a convenient excuse for a medieval Englishman or -woman to abandon home, family, and day to … Continue reading We’re all going on a summer … staycation: sightseeing in medieval England

‘It was the dissimulation of this one man that stirred up that whole plague of evils which followed’: William Catesby, Speaker in the Parliament of 1484, and the accession of Richard III

On 25 August 1485 William Catesby, Speaker of the House of Commons, was executed. But what brought about the downfall of this once influential Member of Parliament? Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project explores… In his account of the accession of Richard III, written in the 1510s, Sir Thomas More assigned a pivotal role to an unlikely candidate, William Catesby, a lawyer educated … Continue reading ‘It was the dissimulation of this one man that stirred up that whole plague of evils which followed’: William Catesby, Speaker in the Parliament of 1484, and the accession of Richard III

The elusiveness of divorce in medieval England: the marital troubles of the last Warenne earl of Surrey (d.1347)

In today’s blog Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project continues our ongoing look into the marriages of Parliamentarians, both happy and unhappy. Divorce in medieval England was infrequent and difficult to secure, but this did not stop individuals from making an attempt… Medieval England knew two forms of divorce. The first, and overwhelmingly the most important, was divorce a vinculo matrimonii (from the … Continue reading The elusiveness of divorce in medieval England: the marital troubles of the last Warenne earl of Surrey (d.1347)

How not to fight a battle: William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, and the battle of Edgcote 24 July 1469

Senior research fellow for our House of Commons 1461-1504 project Dr Simon Payling continues his look at significant battles during the Wars of the Roses. Today he considers the failed leadership of William Herbert at the battle of Edgcote ahead of the anniversary of the battle on Saturday… Some of the battles of the Wars of the Roses were predictable affairs, in that, at the … Continue reading How not to fight a battle: William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, and the battle of Edgcote 24 July 1469