‘The power of returning our members will henceforth be in our own hands’: parliamentary reform and its impact on Exeter, 1820-1868

Dr Martin Spychal, research fellow for the Commons 1832-68, uses polling and voter registration data to explore the 1832 Reform Act’s impact on elections in Exeter. Continue reading ‘The power of returning our members will henceforth be in our own hands’: parliamentary reform and its impact on Exeter, 1820-1868

A tribute to James Ramsden MP

Sadly we’re marking the deaths of more of our Oral History Project interviewees than normal during the current pandemic. Today Dr Emma Peplow, project lead, looks back on the life of James Ramsden MP, who took over from John Profumo as the last Secretary of State for War. James Ramsden has been described in one of his recent obituaries as a ‘true Knight of the … Continue reading A tribute to James Ramsden MP

‘As in your wisdom you shall think meet’: Remote working in Parliament in the early modern period

In this special collaborative blog, members of the History of Parliament’s two House of Lords sections, Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of the Elizabethan Lords, and Dr Stuart Handley, senior research fellow for the Lords 1715-90, consider ways in which the upper House established ways of remote working in the days before Zoom… Contrary to what one might suppose, ‘remote working’ is nothing new in parliamentary … Continue reading ‘As in your wisdom you shall think meet’: Remote working in Parliament in the early modern period

Breaching the guidelines: clerical MPs in the mid-seventeenth century

As the country grapples with interpreting the rules of the Covid-19 lockdown, Dr Vivienne Larminie of our Commons 1640-1660 section considers another situation where a seemingly clear-cut ban proved difficult to enforce… Uncertainty has long surrounded the eligibility of clergy to sit as MPs. Only in 2001 was legislation passed explicitly permitting all ministers of religion to stand for election. This repealed the Clergy Disqualification … Continue reading Breaching the guidelines: clerical MPs in the mid-seventeenth century

‘Our London’: Exeter and the Glorious Revolution

For the next instalment in our Local and Community History Month study of Exeter, Dr Robin Eagles, editor of the House of Lords 1715-90, explores the constituency during the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Despite the changes on the throne, Exeter’s leaders were still concerned with familiar issues… In the 1690s the indefatigable traveller, Celia Fiennes, made a point of visiting Exeter several times during an … Continue reading ‘Our London’: Exeter and the Glorious Revolution

Pride of place: chief ministers and their houses in early modern England

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent convalescence at Chequers, his official rural retreat, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1558-1603 project considers a time when senior government figures were expected to possess their own country houses… It’s almost a hundred years since Arthur Lee, Viscount Lee presented Chequers, his Buckinghamshire country seat, to the nation for the use of future prime ministers. This Tudor mansion, … Continue reading Pride of place: chief ministers and their houses in early modern England

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

Rights, Privileges and Just Liberty: Exeter and Parliament, 1600-1660

In today’s blog we return to our Local and Community History Month exploration of the historic constituency of Exeter. This week our director Dr Stephen Roberts looks at the city’s 17th century representation and civil war religious divisions. Like their medieval predecessors, visitors to Exeter in the seventeenth century would have been struck by the contrasting colours of red sandstone city walls and white limestone … Continue reading Rights, Privileges and Just Liberty: Exeter and Parliament, 1600-1660

A Queen in Isolation: Mary Beatrice of Modena

On 7 May 1718, James II’s widow, Mary of Modena, died in exile at the palace of St Germain-en-Laye. Displaced as a result of the ‘Glorious Revolution’ Mary had been an important figure for Jacobites and thanks to her good relations with Louis XIV had also established for herself a prominent role in the court of Versailles, where she was granted precedence over all the … Continue reading A Queen in Isolation: Mary Beatrice of Modena

A tribute to Ted Graham, MP and Labour peer

In today’s blog, our Oral History Project lead, Dr Emma Peplow, pays tribute to Lord Graham of Edmonton, who was interviewed for the project in 2014. Over the years we have occasionally blogged tributes to former MPs who were interviewed for our oral history project but have since passed away. In the current pandemic we are sadly losing a number of our interviewees – whether … Continue reading A tribute to Ted Graham, MP and Labour peer