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

‘The doubly-noble prisoner’: The trial of Elizabeth Chudleigh, countess of Bristol, or duchess of Kingston?

The year 1776 is usually associated with the worsening crisis in the American colonies. Yet for one week in April the House of Lords, and the British public, turned their attention to Westminster Hall to concentrate on the sensational trial for bigamy of Elizabeth Chudleigh, the self-styled ‘duchess of Kingston’. Dr Charles Littleton examines the background to the sensational case. In 1743, at the age … Continue reading ‘The doubly-noble prisoner’: The trial of Elizabeth Chudleigh, countess of Bristol, or duchess of Kingston?

‘He knewe the slaightes, stratagems, and the pollecies of warlike affaires’: Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, and the battle of Blore Heath

On 23 September 1459 the battle of Blore Heath took place. In today’s blog, marking the anniversary of the battle, Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project looks into the events of the encounter, as the earl of Salisbury’s Yorkist forces faced up to those led by the Lancastrian Lord Audley. The battle of Blore Heath, two miles from Market Drayton, near the border … Continue reading ‘He knewe the slaightes, stratagems, and the pollecies of warlike affaires’: Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, and the battle of Blore Heath

300 Years of Leadership and Innovation: Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first ‘Prime Minister’ and the History of Parliament Online

On 3 April 1721 Robert Walpole was appointed First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. This was not the first time that he had occupied these roles, however it was from this point that he is generally regarded as becoming the first ever ‘Prime Minister’. The title was initially bestowed upon Walpole as an insult, used to criticise Walpole’s improper rise to … Continue reading 300 Years of Leadership and Innovation: Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first ‘Prime Minister’ and the History of Parliament Online

We’re all going on a summer … staycation: sightseeing in medieval England

The post-lockdown staycation has proven popular this year and in today’s blog Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, looks into the popular sites that could be visited a little closer to home in medieval England… Holidays and sightseeing have long traditions. If a pilgrimage could offer a convenient excuse for a medieval Englishman or -woman to abandon home, family, and day to … Continue reading We’re all going on a summer … staycation: sightseeing in medieval England

William Augustus, duke of Cumberland, ‘the real Prime Minister’ and ‘the strangest cabinet in British history’

2021 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of British history’s most controversial characters: William Augustus, duke of Cumberland, younger son of George II and the brutal victor of the battle of Culloden. Dr Robin Eagles, editor of the Lords 1715-1790 section, reconsiders Cumberland’s longer career and how he was – for a brief while – effectively the only royal ever to have … Continue reading William Augustus, duke of Cumberland, ‘the real Prime Minister’ and ‘the strangest cabinet in British history’

Postwar MPs’ Memories of Summer Holidays

This year we’ve been looking into the holiday habits of parliamentarians throughout history. In our latest blog Emme Ledgerwood has been listening through our Oral History project archive, to find out how MPs spent their summer holidays long before they stepped foot in the chambers of Parliament. When searching the History of Parliament’s oral history collection for MPs’ memories of summer holidays, descriptions of the … Continue reading Postwar MPs’ Memories of Summer Holidays

What did the Elizabethan House of Lords look like?

This might seem like a simple question but, as Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 project explains, the answer is anything but straightforward… In 21st-century Britain, we take it for granted that we know what our parliamentary chambers look like. At Westminster, both the House of Commons and House of Lords are open to visitors, and parliamentary debates are recorded on television and illustrated … Continue reading What did the Elizabethan House of Lords look like?

The ‘Glorious Twelfth’

Did you know that the twelfth of August was an important date in the Victorian and Edwardian political – and social – calendar? In today’s blog our director Dr Paul Seaward continues our look into the summer holidays of parliamentarians and the hobby with particular influence over Westminster’s summer timetable… No date was more firmly fixed in the diaries of Victorian and Edwardian politicians than … Continue reading The ‘Glorious Twelfth’

The Great Survivor: Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, 1540-1614

In today’s blog we hear from Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our Lords 1558-1603 project, on the elusive career of Henry Howard, earl of Northampton. Howard’s shrewd political manoeuvres allowed him to evade attention from government officials throughout his career and often evade attention from historians- until now! In medieval and early modern England, membership of the nobility could be a decidedly mixed blessing, at … Continue reading The Great Survivor: Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, 1540-1614