Plague, prorogation and the suspension of the courts in fifteenth-century England

In another timely blog from our History of Parliament researchers, today Dr Simon Payling, senior research fellow for the Commons 1461-1504 project, discusses Parliament’s response to another plague outbreak as the courts of justice were suspended in June 1464. On Wednesday 6 June 1464, at the beginning of Trinity term, a small piece of theatre was played out in Westminster Hall. Three justices of the … Continue reading Plague, prorogation and the suspension of the courts in fifteenth-century England

Pubs, Publicans and Parliament in the later Middle Ages

Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, is one of many people celebrating parliament’s decision to allow the re-opening of pubs, bars and watering holes in England from today. But in our latest blog he looks back to the later middle ages, when parliament’s influence on pubs and publicans was a common aspect of the industry… For many of us, one of the … Continue reading Pubs, Publicans and Parliament in the later Middle Ages

Anti-Welsh legislation of the Parliament of 1401 and the battle of Pilleth on 22 June 1402

In June 1402 English forces once again faced an uprising in Wales and on 22 June the two sides met at the battle of Pilleth. The result would have significant impact on the reign of Henry IV. Dr Simon Payling, senior research fellow in our Commons 1461-1504 project, recounts the battle in our latest blog… Parliament met on 20 January 1401 in a distinctly uncharitable … Continue reading Anti-Welsh legislation of the Parliament of 1401 and the battle of Pilleth on 22 June 1402

Sex, (almost) in the city: Southwark – a constituency of contrasts

Continuing our collaborative local history blog series, this month we are exploring the constituency of Southwark. In the first of two blogs, today Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, discusses the diverse nature of the constituency’s medieval residents. In the present day, Borough Market, served by Borough Station on the London Underground’s Northern Line, is a much loved destination for the food … Continue reading Sex, (almost) in the city: Southwark – a constituency of contrasts

Lockdown Entertainment: Medieval MPs and Books

Recent government lockdown measures have seen many people embrace new hobbies and pastimes to fill their days, including reading books. In today’s blog Dr Charles Moreton, senior research fellow in our Commons 1461-1504 project, discusses the reading habits of MPs in the late Middle Ages. ‘Public turn to books to escape lockdown boredom’ reads a recent headline. There is no doubt that books are a … Continue reading Lockdown Entertainment: Medieval MPs and Books

What might have been: The Sweating Sickness and the Representation of the County of Cornwall in Henry VII’s first Parliament of 1485-6

In today’s blog, Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, looks back to 1485, when a sudden epidemic impacted on the membership of Henry VII’s first parliament… By the time Henry VII overcame Richard III at the battle of Bosworth and claimed the English throne, changes of dynasty or even ruler followed an established pattern. Having successfully asserted a claim to the throne … Continue reading What might have been: The Sweating Sickness and the Representation of the County of Cornwall in Henry VII’s first Parliament of 1485-6

The true Queen of the West

May marks Local & Community History Month and kick-starts a new Local History blog series at the History of Parliament. Each month our researchers will explore the history of a constituency or an area across our different projects, and this week Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of the Commons 1461-1504 section, introduces the medieval constituency of Exeter. Keep an eye on our blog as other projects … Continue reading The true Queen of the West

Children and Parliament in Medieval England

Continuing the theme of children and Parliament following Helen Sunderland’s blog about schoolgirls’ visits to the House of Parliament, 1880-1918 from earlier this week, senior research fellow for our Commons 1461-1504 project, Dr Simon Payling, explores the relationship between children and Parliament in the later middle ages… It is not surprising that children, whether as individuals or a group, appear very rarely in the records … Continue reading Children and Parliament in Medieval England

ANCIENT BRITAIN, THE MOTHER OF PARLIAMENTS?

St George’s Day seems an appropriate moment to invoke John Bright’s famous, and much misunderstood, statement of 1865 that ‘England is the Country of Parliament… England is the Mother of Parliaments’. But to some in the seventeenth century and before, as British Academy and Wolfson Research Professor at the History of Parliament, Paul Seaward, explores, it was the ancient Britons who had invented parliaments, in … Continue reading ANCIENT BRITAIN, THE MOTHER OF PARLIAMENTS?

Social Distancing – Medieval Style: a Petition of the Commons in the Parliament of 1439

As discussions turn to how Parliament should operate during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our 1461-1504 section, looks at the parliament of 1439. When Henry VI reluctantly called Parliament back to Westminster during the ‘Black Death’, MPs had just one request… If the efforts to control the epidemic currently sweeping the world seem unprecedented to those living through them, to medieval Englishmen … Continue reading Social Distancing – Medieval Style: a Petition of the Commons in the Parliament of 1439