The Horticultural Heroism of Sir Walter Erle

As Britain continues to take advantage of the great outdoors during Covid-19 lockdown, this week Dr Patrick Little, senior research fellow for our Commons 1640-1660 project, explores the unusual garden of Sir Walter Erle, who used horticulture to mimic his military experiences. Of the seventeenth century MPs and peers who created gardens to adorn their country estates, perhaps the most unlikely was Sir Walter Erle. … Continue reading The Horticultural Heroism of Sir Walter Erle

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

‘Southwark men, who are but traitors’: merchants, rioters, radicals and the ‘good old cause’ in the mid-seventeenth century

In the latest History of Parliament blog we return to our local history study of Southwark. Following our medieval look at the constituency, today Dr Vivienne Larminie, Assistant Editor of the Commons 1640-1660 project, explores the borough in the mid-seventeenth century. By 1640 there had been no decrease in the independent spirit and propensity to disorder which had made the borough of Southwark so troublesome … Continue reading ‘Southwark men, who are but traitors’: merchants, rioters, radicals and the ‘good old cause’ in the mid-seventeenth century

The Return of Charles II, 29 May 1660

In today’s blog Dr Andrew Barclay, senior research fellow in our Commons 1640-1660 project, returns to his exploration of the days leading up to the restoration of Charles II. In this final instalment, we turn to 29 May 1660, as Charles entered London as King for the first time… Charles II entered London in triumph on 29 May 1660, his 30th birthday. Three weeks earlier … Continue reading The Return of Charles II, 29 May 1660

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

Rights, Privileges and Just Liberty: Exeter and Parliament, 1600-1660

In today’s blog we return to our Local and Community History Month exploration of the historic constituency of Exeter. This week our director Dr Stephen Roberts looks at the city’s 17th century representation and civil war religious divisions. Like their medieval predecessors, visitors to Exeter in the seventeenth century would have been struck by the contrasting colours of red sandstone city walls and white limestone … Continue reading Rights, Privileges and Just Liberty: Exeter and Parliament, 1600-1660

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

The ‘Convention’ that wasn’t: the Opening of the 1660 Parliament

Today we hear from Dr Andrew Barclay, senior research fellow for our Commons 1640-1660 project. He explores the accuracy of the naming of the so-called Convention of 1660 in the first of a three-part series about the Parliament that would end the English Republic… Prior to dissolving itself on 16 March 1660, the Long Parliament had agreed that a new Parliament should meet on 25 … Continue reading The ‘Convention’ that wasn’t: the Opening of the 1660 Parliament