Exploring parliamentary history through art

Today’s blog contains details of the Art UK online exhibitions that our researchers have curated during lockdown… The History of Parliament’s researchers have been trying out the Curations tool recently launched by Art UK, which enables anyone to create a digital exhibition from the artworks on its site. With art galleries and museums currently closed, it is an excellent way to visit their collections online. … Continue reading Exploring parliamentary history through art

The ‘troubled nature’ of Francis Norris, earl of Berkshire: a Jacobean peer’s battle with depression

As public debate intensifies about the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on mental health, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of the Lords 1558-1603 section, considers a poorly documented aspect of early modern medicine… If ever there was an era when despondency was in vogue, it was surely the early seventeenth century. Shakespeare’s plays exploited mental anguish to great dramatic effect, from the love-sick Romeo to … Continue reading The ‘troubled nature’ of Francis Norris, earl of Berkshire: a Jacobean peer’s battle with depression

Breaching the guidelines: clerical MPs in the mid-seventeenth century

As the country grapples with interpreting the rules of the Covid-19 lockdown, Dr Vivienne Larminie of our Commons 1640-1660 section considers another situation where a seemingly clear-cut ban proved difficult to enforce… Uncertainty has long surrounded the eligibility of clergy to sit as MPs. Only in 2001 was legislation passed explicitly permitting all ministers of religion to stand for election. This repealed the Clergy Disqualification … Continue reading Breaching the guidelines: clerical MPs in the mid-seventeenth century

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

A Queen in Isolation: Mary Beatrice of Modena

On 7 May 1718, James II’s widow, Mary of Modena, died in exile at the palace of St Germain-en-Laye. Displaced as a result of the ‘Glorious Revolution’ Mary had been an important figure for Jacobites and thanks to her good relations with Louis XIV had also established for herself a prominent role in the court of Versailles, where she was granted precedence over all the … Continue reading A Queen in Isolation: Mary Beatrice of Modena

Towards the Restoration of the Monarchy, 1-8 May 1660

Today’s blog from Dr Andrew Barclay, senior research fellow for our Commons 1640-1660 project, is the second in a three-part series about the parliament that would restore the monarchy in 1660 (part one available here). In this piece he explores the process that led to the accession of Charles II on 8 May 1660… When the new Parliament met on 25 April 1660 few doubted … Continue reading Towards the Restoration of the Monarchy, 1-8 May 1660

Early modern Parliament and Coffee

The History of Parliament team is very fond of a cup of coffee to help power through a day of research, particularly when trying to stay focused working from home! Coffee has a long and interesting place within parliamentary history as Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our House of Lords 1715-90 project, explores… On 12 March 1739 Lord Delawarr reported from a committee tasked with … Continue reading Early modern Parliament and Coffee

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?

Isolation, Containment and Financial Assistance: Parliament’s response to epidemics in the 1640s

In today’s blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, Assistant Editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, considers self-isolation, social distancing and containing disease in 1640s London. Some of the below may sound quite familiar… As revealed in our recent blog, when MP and diarist Sir Simonds D’Ewes was faced with the plague in mid-1640s London, he and his wife agreed that she would retreat to the safer countryside … Continue reading Isolation, Containment and Financial Assistance: Parliament’s response to epidemics in the 1640s

Exiting the English Republic part 2: the end of the Long Parliament

In the second half of her series on exiting the English Republic (part one available here) Dr Vivienne Larminie, Assistant Editor of the Commons 1640-1660 project, explores the dissolution of the Long Parliament… On 16 March 1660 the Parliament which had begun nearly twenty years earlier, on 3 November 1640, agreed to dissolve itself.   After well over 3,000 days of sitting, several forcible interruptions and … Continue reading Exiting the English Republic part 2: the end of the Long Parliament