The true premier? Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland

300 years ago, on 19 April 1722, Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland, Walpole’s rival for the premiership, died following his stakhanovite efforts during that year’s general election. Dr Robin Eagles reconsiders Sunderland’s legacy and his claim to have been George I’s first premier. Sunderland had been under enormous pressure for well over two years before, having been caught up in the South Sea Bubble, … Continue reading The true premier? Charles Spencer, 3rd earl of Sunderland

Double Dutch: two Dutch courtiers and the British dynasties they founded

In this latest post for the Georgian Lords, Dr Charles Littleton considers the histories of two Dutch families who went on to produce some of the most influential noble houses in Britain through the 18th and 19th centuries. Until the extinction of the line in 1990, one of the grandest titles in the British nobility was the dukedom of Portland. Their principal seat of Welbeck … Continue reading Double Dutch: two Dutch courtiers and the British dynasties they founded

William Augustus, duke of Cumberland, ‘the real Prime Minister’ and ‘the strangest cabinet in British history’

2021 is the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of British history’s most controversial characters: William Augustus, duke of Cumberland, younger son of George II and the brutal victor of the battle of Culloden. Dr Robin Eagles, editor of the Lords 1715-1790 section, reconsiders Cumberland’s longer career and how he was – for a brief while – effectively the only royal ever to have … Continue reading William Augustus, duke of Cumberland, ‘the real Prime Minister’ and ‘the strangest cabinet in British history’

The Earl of Aberdeen and the Scottish Peerage By-election of 1721

With two by-elections to the Commons on the horizon, in the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Stuart Handley looks back on the by-election for a Scots representative peer to sit in the House of Lords that took place almost exactly 300 years ago. For once, both government and opposition seem to have warmed to the winner… The Act of Union of 1707 provided … Continue reading The Earl of Aberdeen and the Scottish Peerage By-election of 1721

Party in Eighteenth-Century Politics

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Max Skjönsberg, of the University of Liverpool. On 2 March 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., Max will be responding to your questions about his pre-circulated paper, based on his recently published book: The Persistence of Party: Ideas of Harmonious Discord in Eighteenth-Century Britain and we will also be welcoming … Continue reading Party in Eighteenth-Century Politics

Friends reunited? The end of the Whig Schism

In the summer of 1720 a schism that had divided the Whig Party into competing factions was finally healed. Dr Charles Littleton, senior research fellow in the House of Lords 1715-90 section, considers how this came about and how those involved were compensated or rewarded to help reunite them. A previous blog has described the origins of the Whig Schism of 1717, as an example … Continue reading Friends reunited? The end of the Whig Schism

‘Where the disease is desperate, the remedy must be so too’: debating the 1721 Quarantine Act

The latest blog for the Georgian Lords considers the topical issue of quarantine. In the 1720s the government was forced to update its quarantine legislation, but as Dr Charles Littleton of our Lords 1715-1790 project shows, it received spirited opposition from members of the House of Lords… In the face of pressure from opposition parties and its own back-benchers, the Johnson government substantially amended the … Continue reading ‘Where the disease is desperate, the remedy must be so too’: debating the 1721 Quarantine Act

The Missing Duchess

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Stuart Handley, senior research fellow on the Lords 1715-90 section, considers the significance of one of the central characters of the court of Queen Anne who failed to make it into the film, The Favourite The Oscar and BAFTA winning film, The Favourite, brought Queen Anne’s reign to the attention of the nation. The more observant … Continue reading The Missing Duchess

The politics of the royal bedchamber: what The Favourite does (and does not) tell us about party, Parliament and the court of Queen Anne

In this latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Charles Littleton offers some insights into the political background of the world presented in the award-winning movie The Favourite. The critical reception that has greeted Yorgos Lanthimos’s film provides an excellent opportunity to re-examine the role of politics and the court in the reign of Queen Anne, a critical time in the development of the British … Continue reading The politics of the royal bedchamber: what The Favourite does (and does not) tell us about party, Parliament and the court of Queen Anne

From ‘my charming angel’ to ‘a fool and tool of a party’: The love letters of Mrs Sarah Sidney to Baron Ossulston

In this latest blog post for the Georgian Lords, Dr Charles Littleton, senior research fellow on the Lords 1715-1790 section, considers a surprise find among the personal papers of a Whig peer in the early years of the eighteenth century. Historical gems can turn up in unexpected places and in initially unpromising sources. Charles Bennet, 2nd Baron Ossulston, is a case in point. In the … Continue reading From ‘my charming angel’ to ‘a fool and tool of a party’: The love letters of Mrs Sarah Sidney to Baron Ossulston