Red Streak: cider-making and drinking in Cromwellian Herefordshire

As we contemplate the further lifting of Covid restrictions on hospitality venues, Dr Patrick Little of our Commons 1640-1660 project looks at the pleasures and pitfalls of drinking a native beverage in the seventeenth century, and the science behind its production… Cider has been produced in England since Norman times, if not before, with different traditions emerging in the east (notably East Anglia and Kent) … Continue reading Red Streak: cider-making and drinking in Cromwellian Herefordshire

Religion, relief and the ‘slaughtered saints’: foreign aid in the seventeenth century

As modern-day discussions on how best to help nations across the world fight the COVID-19 pandemic continue, in today’s blog Dr Vivienne Larminie from our Commons 1640-1660 project looks into the notion of foreign aid in the 17th century. When, in 1655, a Protestant group faced religious persecution in Europe, the government rushed to their aid… ‘Avenge, o Lord, thy slaughtered saints/ Whose bones lie … Continue reading Religion, relief and the ‘slaughtered saints’: foreign aid in the seventeenth century

Edward, Lord Stafford and the 1621 parliamentary protections scandal

Four hundred years ago this month, in an unprecedented move forced on it by circumstances, Parliament adjourned for more than five months. As Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 section explains, this seemingly innocuous procedural move had unfortunate and unintended consequences… The 1621 Parliament is now chiefly remembered for its sustained attacks on corruption in high places. The lord chancellor, Francis Bacon, Viscount St … Continue reading Edward, Lord Stafford and the 1621 parliamentary protections scandal

An Indispensable Member? Legal expertise in the Long Parliament, ‘an ancient lawyer’ and civil war intimidation

In the past, as with now, it was not uncommon to find those trained in the practice of law seated on the benches of Parliament. In today’s blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, looks into the tumultuous political career of one such lawyer in the 17th century, John Whistler. With their expertise at a premium in the drafting of legislation, … Continue reading An Indispensable Member? Legal expertise in the Long Parliament, ‘an ancient lawyer’ and civil war intimidation

‘What a theatre is the House of Commons!’

In today’s blog we hear from the History of Parliament’s director Dr Paul Seaward, continuing our recent theme of Parliament and theatre. However, as Dr Seaward explains, sometimes Parliament is a theatre all of its own.. Although the English parliament had existed for centuries already, the first descriptions we have of either chamber come after the sittings of the house of commons were relocated to … Continue reading ‘What a theatre is the House of Commons!’

‘Better affected to Mars and Neptune, than to Mercury’: docks, diversity and the representation of Portsmouth in the civil wars and interregnum

In our latest blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, continues our local history look at port constituencies. Today’s focus is the naval city of Portsmouth, but were its maritime origins echoed in its 17th century parliamentary representation? The antiquarian and topographer William Camden characterised Portsmouth as ‘a place alwaies in time of warre well frequented, otherwise little resort there is … Continue reading ‘Better affected to Mars and Neptune, than to Mercury’: docks, diversity and the representation of Portsmouth in the civil wars and interregnum

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

‘Seldom… disturbed by the bustle of trade or the affairs of Government’: Lymington from Restoration to Reform

As we gear up for May’s Local and Community History Month, today Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, begins our look at port constituencies. Hubs of trade and industry, historically ports have been central to both national economy and military defence, making their representation in Parliament very important. Here Dr Eagles casts an eye on the town of Lymington on the south … Continue reading ‘Seldom… disturbed by the bustle of trade or the affairs of Government’: Lymington from Restoration to Reform

Publication of the 1604-29 House of Lords volumes

The publication in January this year of The House of Lords, 1604-29 represents the culmination of ten years of writing and research by a dedicated team of four scholars led by Dr Andrew Thrush. Comprising two volumes of biographies extending in length to more than 1,600,000 words, and a separate Introductory Survey, this latest addition to the History of Parliament series complements and enhances the … Continue reading Publication of the 1604-29 House of Lords volumes

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