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

‘Queen Mary’, Queen Elizabeth and Parliament in the 1640s: suspicion, solidarity and nostalgia

As Queen Elizabeth II celebrates a milestone 70 years on the throne this month, we have been thinking about the relationships that other Queens throughout history had with Parliament. In 1625 Charles I married French Princess Henrietta Maria, but his Consort faced heavy comparison to other female monarchs, as Dr Vivienne Larminie from our Commons 1640-1660 project explains… The breakdown in relations between Charles I … Continue reading ‘Queen Mary’, Queen Elizabeth and Parliament in the 1640s: suspicion, solidarity and nostalgia

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

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

Sitting at Oxford: the convening of Charles I’s ‘Mongrel Parliament’, January 1644

Throughout its history, Parliament has been no stranger to meeting in Oxford. Dr Vivienne Larminie, editor of our Commons 1640-1660, continues our look at Parliaments away from Westminster by exploring the unusual so-called ‘Mongrel Parliament’, which gathered in January 1644… As has been noted previously, four times in the seventeenth century alone, a Parliament met at Oxford. Epidemic or the threat of popular unrest led … Continue reading Sitting at Oxford: the convening of Charles I’s ‘Mongrel Parliament’, January 1644

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

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

Silence and Laughter in the Cromwellian House of Commons

On our blog we have often heard about the origins of the many strange and enduring traditions that exist within Westminster. In today’s blog Dr Patrick Little from our Commons 1640-1660 project takes a look at the use of non-verbal reactions within the Cromwellian Commons Chamber… When trying to understand debates in early modern Parliaments, historians rely on diaries: the private journals kept by individual … Continue reading Silence and Laughter in the Cromwellian House of Commons

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