Execution or murder? Elizabeth I and the problem of how to kill Mary Queen of Scots

Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our Lords 1558-1603 section, discusses the thorny issue that faced Elizabeth I in the wake of the discovery of Mary Queen of Scots’ role in the Babington Plot of 1586… On 1 February 1587 Sir Francis Walsingham and his fellow Secretary of State, William Davison, wrote on behalf of Elizabeth I to the privy councillor Sir Amias Paulet, one of … Continue reading Execution or murder? Elizabeth I and the problem of how to kill Mary Queen of Scots

One of our seals is missing! How a summer vacation brought Charles I’s government to a grinding halt

During the coronavirus pandemic we have grown used to government interventions disrupting our travel plans. However, in 1625 the government itself was disrupted by a holiday in Wales, as Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 section explains… In the context of contemporary British government, the office of lord privy seal – more correctly lord keeper of the privy seal – is a non-job, a … Continue reading One of our seals is missing! How a summer vacation brought Charles I’s government to a grinding halt

The jubilee tour of King James VI and I

In the 21st century, royal visits are often quite brief events, with high-speed travel, and an emphasis on public appearances and social events, rather than affairs of state. Four hundred years ago the picture was very different, as Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 section explains… In March 1603, following the death of Elizabeth I, her cousin James VI of Scotland became James I … Continue reading The jubilee tour of King James VI and I

Episcopalians, puritans, presbyterians and sectaries: contesting the Church of England in the mid seventeenth century

If you visualize religious history in the 1640s and 1650s as a blanket triumph of puritanism, think again. As Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 section explains, the real picture was much more complex… As noted in previous blogs, the myth of tight and uniformly repressive puritan rule in the mid-seventeenth has proved hard to shift. Likewise, the blame for much iconoclasm … Continue reading Episcopalians, puritans, presbyterians and sectaries: contesting the Church of England in the mid seventeenth century

The execution of Thomas Howard, 4th duke of Norfolk

As the 450th anniversary of the execution of the Elizabethan duke of Norfolk approaches, Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our Lords 1558-1603 section, considers both the background to his trial for treason and the queen’s reluctance to carry out the sentence of the court … Shortly before seven in the morning on Monday, 2 June 1572, Thomas Howard, 4th duke of Norfolk, was led the … Continue reading The execution of Thomas Howard, 4th duke of Norfolk

Legislature meets library: Parliament at Oxford in 1625

As part of our Parliament away from Westminster series, Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 section explores the factors which led to England’s oldest university hosting Parliament for the first time since 1258… In July 1625 Charles I faced the first crisis of his reign. England was currently at war with Spain, and the king urgently needed money to fund a fresh campaign. Parliament … Continue reading Legislature meets library: Parliament at Oxford in 1625

Lies, stories, misinformation and collective memory: extracting vipers and unmasking cavaliers in the 1659 Parliament

‘Fake news’ might seem like a modern concept, but there’s nothing new about attempts to disguise, misrepresent or reinvent the past, as Dr Vivienne Larminie of our Commons 1640-60 project explains… Debates on whether to exclude from the House of Commons MPs deemed ineligible or delinquent always had an element of theatre. By the end of the interregnum they also illuminate the collective memory of … Continue reading Lies, stories, misinformation and collective memory: extracting vipers and unmasking cavaliers in the 1659 Parliament

Portraits, patrons, and political networks in late Stuart and early Georgian England

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Amy Lim of St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford. On 8 March 2022, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Amy will be discussing her research on portraits, patrons, and political networks in late Stuart and early Georgian England. Ahead of the session, read about Amy’s research in this short paper. Details … Continue reading Portraits, patrons, and political networks in late Stuart and early Georgian England

Did they marry? Lady Katherine Grey and Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford

For Elizabeth I’s closest relatives, the process of finding a spouse could be fraught with difficulties, as Dr Ben Coates of our Lords 1558-1603 section explains… On 9 August 1561 Lady Katherine Grey, one of Elizabeth I’s maids of honour, confided to her colleague, Elizabeth St Loe, that she was pregnant, and that she had secretly married the father, Edward Seymour, 1st earl of Hertford, … Continue reading Did they marry? Lady Katherine Grey and Edward Seymour, earl of Hertford

Commemorating same-sex desire in early modern England

To mark LGBT History Month 2022, Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 project considers a paradox in perceptions of same-sex relationships four hundred years ago… Very few declarations of same-sex love survive from early-17th-century England, and generally they occur only in private correspondence, such as that of James I and his favourite George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckingham. However, tucked away in central Cambridge … Continue reading Commemorating same-sex desire in early modern England