The Love Life of Oliver Cromwell

In the second of his posts exploring the popular reputation of the lord protector, Dr Patrick Little, senior research fellow on our Commons 1640-1660 project, takes a look at his private life… Stories of Oliver Cromwell’s sexual adventures became commonplace after the Restoration. Two rumours circulated. In the first, he was linked with Elizabeth Murray, countess of Dysart in her own right, wife of the … Continue reading The Love Life of Oliver Cromwell

Henry Clinton, earl of Lincoln: a peer governed by the underworld?

What’s your image of an Elizabethan nobleman? A grave elder statesmen with a long beard, perhaps, or a dashing young courtier in a large ruff. How about a pantomime villain? Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 section considers a peer whose bad behaviour shocked even his contemporaries… According to the conventional narrative of English history, medieval peers lived in castles, employed private armies, oppressed … Continue reading Henry Clinton, earl of Lincoln: a peer governed by the underworld?

Oliver the red-nosed protector: Cromwell’s physiognomy revisited

In today’s blog we hear from Patrick Little, senior research fellow in our Commons 1640-1660 project, who is looking into one of Oliver Cromwell’s more famous assets… Oliver Cromwell is famous for his warts. In the Horrible Histories series, the volume devoted to the lord protector is called Oliver Cromwell and his Warts; a Google search of ‘Cromwell warts’ yields 1.4 million results; ‘warts and … Continue reading Oliver the red-nosed protector: Cromwell’s physiognomy revisited

Recovering Europe’s Parliamentary Culture, 1500-1700

Since late September, we’ve been working with a new project at the University of Oxford, called ‘Recovering Europe’s Parliamentary Culture, 1500-1700’, and the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Oxford to put together series of blogs that explore European Parliamentary Culture. The series is focused on the Early Modern period – roughly 1500-1700 – but they have ranged more widely, seeking to bring … Continue reading Recovering Europe’s Parliamentary Culture, 1500-1700

The good, the bad and the visually memorable: characterising the Commons 1640-1660

With Westminster once more ringing with allegations of corruption, it is as well to recall that MPs have rarely been elected on account of their unimpeachable conduct. And, as Dr Vivienne Larminie of our Commons 1640-60 section explains, while modern politics is sometimes dubbed a ‘beauty contest’, quite a few mid-seventeenth-century Members were eye-catching for the wrong reasons… The make-up of the House of Commons … Continue reading The good, the bad and the visually memorable: characterising the Commons 1640-1660

Prorogation Tide: Elizabeth I and the Parliament of 1572-81

In the sixteenth century, parliaments were not only summoned but also prorogued at the behest of the monarch. In this blog, Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our Lords 1558-1603 project, discusses an exceptionally large but often overlooked number of prorogations that took place during the mid-Elizabethan period… Before the Long Parliament of 1640-53, the Parliament of 1572-81 bore the distinction of being the longest in … Continue reading Prorogation Tide: Elizabeth I and the Parliament of 1572-81

Conference Report: Bath 250

On 29 and 30 September the opening of Bath’s historic (Upper) Assembly Rooms was marked with a conference over Zoom, followed by a live event in the Assembly Rooms where conference participants were able to experience a display of dances from the Ridotto, which had opened the Rooms precisely 250 years before in 1771. We welcome back one of the speakers, Jemima Hubberstey, a doctoral … Continue reading Conference Report: Bath 250

What price a peerage? John Roper and the Jacobean trade in titles and offices

Accusations of political sleaze are on the rise again, but the concept of government insiders profiting from the system is nothing new, as Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 project explains… If the Committee on Standards in Public Life had existed 400 years ago, it would have needed a rather different remit. While Jacobean politicians periodically attacked corruption and venality in government, it was … Continue reading What price a peerage? John Roper and the Jacobean trade in titles and offices

Immigrants and refugees at Westminster: the foreign ancestry of mid-17th century MPs

With refugee crises and immigration back in the news, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 section, considers how these issues impacted on the character of the House of Commons nearly 400 years ago… Business involving immigrants and refugees was not uncommon in mid-seventeenth century Parliaments. Petitions for naturalization, the trading rights of ‘stranger’ merchants, provision for destitute fugitives arriving in England and … Continue reading Immigrants and refugees at Westminster: the foreign ancestry of mid-17th century MPs

‘The Downe-fall of Dagon’: the post-Reformation campaign against Cheapside Cross

The recent trend of attacks on statues with uncomfortable moral or historical associations is nothing new; Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 project considers the parallels with early modern English iconoclasm… In November 1290 the queen consort, Eleanor of Castile, died in Nottinghamshire. Her grief-stricken husband, Edward I, subsequently constructed 12 stone monuments, the so-called Eleanor crosses, along the route of her funeral procession … Continue reading ‘The Downe-fall of Dagon’: the post-Reformation campaign against Cheapside Cross