Benjamin Valentine and the politics of protest

Prompted by the recent assault on the United States Congress, and the passions which fuelled that incident, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of our Lords 1558-1603 section, considers an English MP of the early 17th century who similarly refused to accept defeat… Benjamin Valentine is remembered today almost entirely for his part in the 1629 ‘riot’ in the House of Commons which helped to precipitate … Continue reading Benjamin Valentine and the politics of protest

A History of Parliamentary Cucumbers

Our friends at Hansard at Huddersfield provide a great tool for tracking the popularity of certain words in parliamentary debate. It is unsurprising that the use of ‘deal’ and ‘Brexit’ have been common over the last few years, but, as Dr Patrick Little from our Commons 1640-1660 project explores below, there is one word absent from the chamber… cucumbers. Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-84) is frequently … Continue reading A History of Parliamentary Cucumbers

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

Violence at the Door of Parliament, 1640-48

Over the past few weeks the eyes of the world have been on Washington. As the United States prepares to swear in its 46th President, Joe Biden, after what has been a tumultuous transition of power, Dr Stephen Roberts examines the threat of violence against the seat of power in 17th century Britain in our latest blog… The great achievement of the English Parliament between … Continue reading Violence at the Door of Parliament, 1640-48

“‘Always rowdy, violent and colourful’?: Eighteenth century elections in the borough of Swords, Co. Dublin”?

In the second instalment of our local history look at electioneering in Ireland, today we welcome guest blogger Dr Suzanne Forbes, lecturer at the Open University who is currently researching the representative system in 18th century Ireland. In this blog Dr Forbes questions the dangerous reputation of the borough of Swords in Co. Dublin… The potwalloping borough of Swords, located some fourteen kilometres north of … Continue reading “‘Always rowdy, violent and colourful’?: Eighteenth century elections in the borough of Swords, Co. Dublin”?

Bayntun v. Hungerford: rival perspectives on puritan marriage in civil war Wiltshire

In our latest blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, continues with our recent theme of marriage. She considers two mid-17th century Wiltshire MPs and their opposing personalities by way of their family lives… By late 1642, as the confrontation between king and Parliament escalated, personal rivalries between two leading local gentlemen threatened to undermine fatally the parliamentarian war effort in … Continue reading Bayntun v. Hungerford: rival perspectives on puritan marriage in civil war Wiltshire

Three Bog-Standard Cromwellian Elections: Co. Cork and its boroughs in 1654

We’re continuing our monthly local history case-studies in 2021 and for the first locality this year we’re turning our attention to Ireland. In this first instalment, Dr Patrick Little, senior research fellow in our Commons 1640-1660 project, explores electioneering in County Cork during the first Cromwellian Protectorate… When studying parliamentary elections, historians naturally concentrate on those that went wrong. Electoral contests, faction-fights, even outbreaks of … Continue reading Three Bog-Standard Cromwellian Elections: Co. Cork and its boroughs in 1654

Did the Puritans ban Christmas dinner?

The Puritans are often accused of banning Christmas, and although the House of Commons did sit on Christmas Day during the English Republic, Dr Stephen Roberts felt the need to do a little myth-busting about the wholesale cancellation of Christmas during the interregnum, by way of the Christmas dinner table… Two images of the mid-17th century Christmas stick in the mind. The documented one is … Continue reading Did the Puritans ban Christmas dinner?

Cancelling Christmas? William Prynne, kill-joy and martyr, and the onslaught on ‘pagan Saturnalia’

With the government currently recommending scaled-back Christmas celebrations, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-60 project, considers a man who advocated scrapping Yuletide festivities for a quite different reason… The idea that ‘the puritans cancelled Christmas’ has widespread acceptance. Indeed it surfaced in the House of Commons recently in debate over what kind of celebration might be prudent … Continue reading Cancelling Christmas? William Prynne, kill-joy and martyr, and the onslaught on ‘pagan Saturnalia’