Wigs on roundheads: puritans, peruques and powder under Oliver Cromwell

In our latest blog, Dr Patrick Little of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section challenges one of the lingering stereotypes associated with the era of puritan rule… The fashion for wearing periwigs is commonly thought to have been brought into England by Charles II and his court after their return from the continent in 1660, but there is plenty of evidence to show that the … Continue reading Wigs on roundheads: puritans, peruques and powder under Oliver Cromwell

Commission impossible? Deciphering job titles in History of Parliament biographies (part 1)

In the first of an occasional series, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1604-29 section considers some of the unlikely-sounding posts held by MPs in the early seventeenth century… All published History of Parliament biographies, currently covering periods up to the nineteenth century, begin with a highly compressed digest of information about the life of the man in question. The first paragraph mostly contains genealogical … Continue reading Commission impossible? Deciphering job titles in History of Parliament biographies (part 1)

Parliament and Superstition: A Jackdaw in the House of Commons, 1604

Today we hear from the Editor of our House of Lords 1604-29 Section, Dr Andrew Thrush about a curious incident in the House of Commons in 1604 involving a Jackdaw. How superstitious was the House of Commons? Three months ago an owl flew into the Parliament building in Dodoma, Tanzania, where it perched near the ceiling and observed the proceedings, to the alarm of MPs … Continue reading Parliament and Superstition: A Jackdaw in the House of Commons, 1604

The Grand Old Man of the Long Parliament

In earlier centuries politics might be seen as a young man’s game, but here Dr Andrew Barclay of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section looks at a veteran Member of the 1640s who had first sat in the 1570s… MPs in the seventeenth century tended to be rather younger than they are today. The median age of those elected to the Long Parliament in 1640 … Continue reading The Grand Old Man of the Long Parliament

St George’s day in York: an invitation from Charles I, 1642

Continuing with our patron saints blog series, Dr Vivienne Larminie, Assistant Editor of our House of Commons 1640-1660 project, explores the loyalty of peers to Charles I during St George’s Day celebrations at York in April 1642… A spring break in the north.  Easter solemnities and rejoicing in York Minster.  Celebrating the feast day of the nation’s patron saint with the king’s court.  Under other … Continue reading St George’s day in York: an invitation from Charles I, 1642

‘A gentleman but stumbling in here!’: an impostor in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament

In our latest post, Dr Patrick Little of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section revisits the Parliament of 1659, which opened in such confusion that its membership was unclear and a stranger could sit undetected – with disquieting implications… On 8 February 1659 the journalist Gilbert Mabbott reported the latest developments in Parliament to Henry Cromwell, the lord deputy of Ireland based in Dublin. Among … Continue reading ‘A gentleman but stumbling in here!’: an impostor in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament

How long is a Parliament?

In this blog for the ‘Named Parliaments’ series, Dr Paul Hunneyball, Associate Editor of the House of Lords 1604-29 project, explores the length of parliaments, paying particular attention to the Short and Long parliaments of the 1640s and 1650s… Down the centuries, the length of parliaments has varied enormously, from a few days to a decade or more. That being the case, it’s perhaps surprising … Continue reading How long is a Parliament?