The barbarity of the medieval criminal law: petty treason and the murders of Sir Thomas Murdak and John Cotell

In today’s blog Dr Simon Payling, senior research fellow in our Commons 1461-1504 project, once again turns his attention to crime and punishment in the medieval period. In the 14th century, the criminal law system may have worked slowly, but it was particularly harsh to those convicted of ‘petty treason’… In the first months of 1316 there was a notable series of deaths in the … Continue reading The barbarity of the medieval criminal law: petty treason and the murders of Sir Thomas Murdak and John Cotell

The royal scandal that helped change British politics: the 1820 Queen Caroline affair

On 5 June 1820 Caroline of Brunswick returned to England to take her place as Queen Consort to George IV. But the breakdown in the couple’s relationship would become a matter of parliamentary and national importance. This blog from Dr Philip Salmon, editor of our Commons 1832-68 project, explores the impact of the Queen Caroline Affair on British politics. Two hundred years ago the Prince … Continue reading The royal scandal that helped change British politics: the 1820 Queen Caroline affair

Lesbians and the law: the Wolfenden Report and same-sex desire between women

Our final blog for LGBTQ+ History Month comes from Dr Caroline Derry, who has recently published a book on lesbianism and the criminal law. Here, Caroline will explore the significance of the report of the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution to the legal and parliamentary status of lesbian sexuality… In 1958, Harford Montgomery Hyde MP asked the House of Commons, ‘If homosexual conduct between … Continue reading Lesbians and the law: the Wolfenden Report and same-sex desire between women

Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Jamaican legislature in the British Atlantic world, 1660 to 1840

Ahead of tonight’s Parliaments, Politics and People seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, we hear from Dr Aaron Graham, a Research Associate on the ERC Horizon Project ‘The European Fiscal-Military System, 1530-1870’ at the University of Oxford. He spoke at our previous session on 11 February about his study of the Jamaican legislature between 1660 to 1840… ‘Any person that shall inspect the minutes … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Jamaican legislature in the British Atlantic world, 1660 to 1840

Stand and deliver: sex, scandal and the Beaufort divorce case

In the middle of the 18th century polite society was both shocked and entertained by the lurid details following on from the breakdown of the marriage of the 3rd duke and duchess of Beaufort. Dr Robin Eagles considers how the case first came to light and the effects it had on those caught up in it. In 1746 the artist Thomas Gainsborough married Margaret Burr, … Continue reading Stand and deliver: sex, scandal and the Beaufort divorce case

Parliaments, Politics and People Seminar: The Political and Religious Origins of the 1563 Witchcraft Act

Ahead of this evening’s session of the IHR’s Parliaments, Politics, and People seminar, Lewis Brennen, PhD candidate at the University of Southampton, summarises the themes that he covered in his paper, ‘The Political and Religious Origins of the 1563 Witchcraft Act’, at our last session… The 1563 Witchcraft Act, formally titled an ‘Act agaynst Conjuracons Inchantments and Witchecraftes’, was one of the most significant pieces … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People Seminar: The Political and Religious Origins of the 1563 Witchcraft Act

Disregarding the Past: The Problems of Pardoning Homosexual Offences

Ahead of this evening’s IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, the speaker from the previous session in collaboration with the History of Sexuality seminar, Dr Justin Bengry, Director of the Centre for Queer History at Goldsmiths, University of London, summarises the issues raised in his paper about the pardoning of historical homosexual offences. In June 2015 I was approached by filmmaker Rosemarie Reed who was … Continue reading Disregarding the Past: The Problems of Pardoning Homosexual Offences

Tobacco Fraud and the Prorogation of April 1707

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Stuart Handley, senior research fellow in the Lords 1715-90 section, considers how an unexpected prorogation around the time of the Union was employed to attempt to secure the passage of much-needed legislation Prorogations have been much in the news of late, but they are a common occurrence in parliamentary history. Parliament is prorogued at the end … Continue reading Tobacco Fraud and the Prorogation of April 1707

Alternative uses for the palace of Westminster: the early 17th-century picture

With the palace of Westminster requiring a major restoration programme, and some people suggesting that Parliament should permanently relocate to a new home, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1604-29 section considers some of the uses to which the old Palace was put 400 years ago… Since the 19th century, the palace of Westminster has been synonymous with Parliament – but that wasn’t always the … Continue reading Alternative uses for the palace of Westminster: the early 17th-century picture

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)