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

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

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

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’

Discourses of Freedom and Slavery, 1640-60

Today we return to our recent series from History of Parliament director Dr Stephen Roberts, who has been discussing parliamentary involvement in the 17th century transatlantic slave trade. In the latest post Dr Roberts turns his attention to the uses of the terms ‘slavery’ and ‘liberty’ within years surrounding the English Civil Wars. It is a remarkable enough paradox that while an ever-increasing number of … Continue reading Discourses of Freedom and Slavery, 1640-60

Slavery, the Caribbean and English Liberties, 1620-40

Today’s blog is the first in a three-part series from History of Parliament director Dr Stephen Roberts about parliamentary involvement in the development of slavery in the Atlantic World in the seventeenth century… During the 400th anniversary year of the voyage of the Mayflower, much attention has focused on English migration to the colonies of New England. By 1640, Massachusetts was the largest of the … Continue reading Slavery, the Caribbean and English Liberties, 1620-40

Q. When is a Shire not a Shire? A. When it’s a Stewartry! Kirkcudbright in the 1650s

Continuing our series on Scotland, Dr Patrick Little, senior research fellow for the House of Commons 1640-1660 project, explores the attempts to accommodate an anomalous administrative area within the scheme which briefly saw Scottish seats represented at Westminster during the Cromwellian Protectorate… The Stewartry of Kirkcudbright in the south west of Scotland was the last of the medieval stewartries of Scotland – so-called because they … Continue reading Q. When is a Shire not a Shire? A. When it’s a Stewartry! Kirkcudbright in the 1650s

‘None can sit here but a natural liegeman’: Scots at Westminster in the Jacobean era

As a prelude to this month’s spotlight on politics in Scotland to mark St Andrew’s Day, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of the House of Lords 1558-1603 project, examines one of the most sensitive questions in early 17th century politics – should Scots be allowed to sit in English parliaments?…  Historical perceptions can be deceptive. The year 1603 is now primarily remembered as the moment when … Continue reading ‘None can sit here but a natural liegeman’: Scots at Westminster in the Jacobean era