England’s Return to Protestantism, 1559

In the first of a new series of blogs on the Elizabethan period, Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our 1558-1603 House of Lords project, discusses the last-minute attempts by the bench of Catholic bishops to thwart Elizabeth I’s reintroduction of Protestantism. He also draws attention to an important, if little appreciated, date in the re-establishment of the English Protestant state, as it was on 24 … Continue reading England’s Return to Protestantism, 1559

Three degrees of separation: alternatives to divorce in early modern England

As part of the History of Parliament’s blog series on marriage, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of the Lords 1558-1603 project, considers the options available four centuries ago to those whose marriages had broken down… Contrary to popular belief, Henry VIII never got divorced. In sixteenth-century England, the option of divorce as we now understand it didn’t exist. The only way to end a marriage … Continue reading Three degrees of separation: alternatives to divorce in early modern England

Elizabeth I, the ‘estate of marriage’, and the 1559 Parliament

To mark Women’s History Month, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of our Lords 1558-1603 section, recalls the first public statement by the ‘Virgin Queen’ that she had no plans to marry, and the incomprehension with which her (male) subjects reacted… The first Parliament summoned by Elizabeth I opened on 25 January 1559 with a packed agenda. Urgent business in the opening days included a new … Continue reading Elizabeth I, the ‘estate of marriage’, and the 1559 Parliament

St David’s Day: Parliament and the Welsh Language/Dydd Gwyl Dewi: Y Senedd a’r Iaith Gymraeg.

To mark St David’s Day this year, we are publishing a translation into Welsh of a blog written in 2018, which provides an overview of relations between the Westminster Parliament and the Welsh language. There will no doubt be future legislation on the language, but its locus will be the Senedd in Cardiff rather than the Houses of Parliament in London. We are very grateful … Continue reading St David’s Day: Parliament and the Welsh Language/Dydd Gwyl Dewi: Y Senedd a’r Iaith Gymraeg.

Anglo-Dutch Fishing Disputes and the Sovereignty of the Seas, 1558-1640

Recent trade negotiations between the UK and the EU have shone a spotlight on European fishing rights in British territorial waters. While Britain sought to control access to her waters, arguing that her sovereignty was at stake, the EU expected to continue large-scale fishing in these same seas. Historians of early modern England might be forgiven for thinking that we have been here before, as … Continue reading Anglo-Dutch Fishing Disputes and the Sovereignty of the Seas, 1558-1640

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

Ball Lightning in Early Modern England: The Curious Case of Nicholas Walsh, MP

In their work our researchers have discovered many strange and unusual causes of the death that have befallen parliamentarians over the centuries; one such case is the subject of Dr Andrew Thrush‘s new blog. Here, the editor of our Lords 1558-1603 project describes the unexpected fate of the unfortunate Walsh family in 1556… It’s probably no surprise that by the time they sat in Parliament, … Continue reading Ball Lightning in Early Modern England: The Curious Case of Nicholas Walsh, MP

Pride of place: chief ministers and their houses in early modern England

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent convalescence at Chequers, his official rural retreat, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1558-1603 project considers a time when senior government figures were expected to possess their own country houses… It’s almost a hundred years since Arthur Lee, Viscount Lee presented Chequers, his Buckinghamshire country seat, to the nation for the use of future prime ministers. This Tudor mansion, … Continue reading Pride of place: chief ministers and their houses in early modern England

ANCIENT BRITAIN, THE MOTHER OF PARLIAMENTS?

St George’s Day seems an appropriate moment to invoke John Bright’s famous, and much misunderstood, statement of 1865 that ‘England is the Country of Parliament… England is the Mother of Parliaments’. But to some in the seventeenth century and before, as British Academy and Wolfson Research Professor at the History of Parliament, Paul Seaward, explores, it was the ancient Britons who had invented parliaments, in … Continue reading ANCIENT BRITAIN, THE MOTHER OF PARLIAMENTS?

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?