The Last Peer Hanged for Murder

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Robin Eagles re-examines the trial and execution of Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers, the last British peer to be hanged for murder. Long before he came to the scaffold on 5 May 1760, Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers, had made quite a name for himself as a notorious member of the House of Lords. Ferrers had … Continue reading The Last Peer Hanged for Murder

Female Dukes

In the latest post for the Georgian Lords, Dr Stuart Handley considers the cases of peerages held by women in the 18th century, and the way in which they were able to exercise political influence even though denied a seat in Parliament. In a note on page 4 of his biography of Winston Churchill, published in 2001, Roy Jenkins allows himself a somewhat waspish comment … Continue reading Female Dukes

Commemorating same-sex desire in early modern England

To mark LGBT History Month 2022, Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 project considers a paradox in perceptions of same-sex relationships four hundred years ago… Very few declarations of same-sex love survive from early-17th-century England, and generally they occur only in private correspondence, such as that of James I and his favourite George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckingham. However, tucked away in central Cambridge … Continue reading Commemorating same-sex desire in early modern England

‘Do you know where this miserable wretch lives?’: Challenging votes in Eighteenth-Century England

As the Government looks set to make the introduction of voter ID requirements a flagship policy for 2022, parallels can be drawn with the eighteenth-century electoral process. We welcome guest blogger, James Harris, post-doctoral research associate at the University of Newcastle, to tell us more. The requirement for every elector to justify their right to vote at the hustings was a routine part of Georgian … Continue reading ‘Do you know where this miserable wretch lives?’: Challenging votes in Eighteenth-Century England

Henry Clinton, earl of Lincoln: a peer governed by the underworld?

What’s your image of an Elizabethan nobleman? A grave elder statesmen with a long beard, perhaps, or a dashing young courtier in a large ruff. How about a pantomime villain? Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 section considers a peer whose bad behaviour shocked even his contemporaries… According to the conventional narrative of English history, medieval peers lived in castles, employed private armies, oppressed … Continue reading Henry Clinton, earl of Lincoln: a peer governed by the underworld?

Conference Report: Bath 250

On 29 and 30 September the opening of Bath’s historic (Upper) Assembly Rooms was marked with a conference over Zoom, followed by a live event in the Assembly Rooms where conference participants were able to experience a display of dances from the Ridotto, which had opened the Rooms precisely 250 years before in 1771. We welcome back one of the speakers, Jemima Hubberstey, a doctoral … Continue reading Conference Report: Bath 250

What price a peerage? John Roper and the Jacobean trade in titles and offices

Accusations of political sleaze are on the rise again, but the concept of government insiders profiting from the system is nothing new, as Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 project explains… If the Committee on Standards in Public Life had existed 400 years ago, it would have needed a rather different remit. While Jacobean politicians periodically attacked corruption and venality in government, it was … Continue reading What price a peerage? John Roper and the Jacobean trade in titles and offices

‘The doubly-noble prisoner’: The trial of Elizabeth Chudleigh, countess of Bristol, or duchess of Kingston?

The year 1776 is usually associated with the worsening crisis in the American colonies. Yet for one week in April the House of Lords, and the British public, turned their attention to Westminster Hall to concentrate on the sensational trial for bigamy of Elizabeth Chudleigh, the self-styled ‘duchess of Kingston’. Dr Charles Littleton examines the background to the sensational case. In 1743, at the age … Continue reading ‘The doubly-noble prisoner’: The trial of Elizabeth Chudleigh, countess of Bristol, or duchess of Kingston?

Postwar MPs’ Memories of Summer Holidays

This year we’ve been looking into the holiday habits of parliamentarians throughout history. In our latest blog Emme Ledgerwood has been listening through our Oral History project archive, to find out how MPs spent their summer holidays long before they stepped foot in the chambers of Parliament. When searching the History of Parliament’s oral history collection for MPs’ memories of summer holidays, descriptions of the … Continue reading Postwar MPs’ Memories of Summer Holidays

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water”: holidays by the sea in the 18th century

In the course of the 18th century a variety of spas and seaside resorts became popular destinations for busy Georgians seeking cures for a variety of chronic conditions, as well as for relaxation from the dramas of high politics. Dr Robin Eagles, Editor of the House of Lords 1715-90 project, considers the experiences of some of the high-profile individuals who took their holidays at two … Continue reading “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water”: holidays by the sea in the 18th century