A revolting pocket borough: Morpeth in the late eighteenth century

In our latest Georgian Lords blog, in keeping with our general focus for the month on the county of Northumberland, Dr Charles Littleton considers the case of the pocket borough of Morpeth and its uneasy relations with the earls of Carlisle. The Northumbrian borough of Morpeth had returned representatives to Parliament since 1553. From 1601 the Howards of Naworth were lords of the manor, and … Continue reading A revolting pocket borough: Morpeth in the late eighteenth century

Northumberland in the British Civil Wars

This month’s local history focus is Northumberland and we’re kicking things off with a look at the county during the British Civil Wars. Dr David Scott, senior research fellow in our Commons 1640-1660 project, explores the county torn between Scotland to the North and the rest of England to the South. Northumberland in the eyes of Stuart England’s not-so-liberal elite was one of ‘the dark … Continue reading Northumberland in the British Civil Wars

A tribute to David Mudd MP

In the fourth in our series of tributes to our Oral History Project interviewees who have sadly passed away during the current crisis, Emma Peplow looks back on the life of David Mudd, Conservative MP for Falmouth and Camborne, 1970-92. David Mudd was a lifelong Conservative party member, but also – unusually – a member of the Cornish party Mebyon Kernow, an example of both … Continue reading A tribute to David Mudd MP

Real or imagined? Fifteenth-century MPs as perpetrators of violence

In our latest blog we’re exploring some of the dangerous reputations held by Medieval MPs with Dr Simon Payling, senior research fellow for our Commons 1461-1504 project. It seems that in the 15th century accusations of violence (even murder!) weren’t enough to stop you becoming an MP… THE HISTORY OF PARLIAMENT: THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 1422-1461, edited by Linda Clark, is out now. For further … Continue reading Real or imagined? Fifteenth-century MPs as perpetrators of violence

York: exploring the local history of a Victorian constituency

Alongside biographies of 2,591 MPs, our House of Commons 1832-68 project is also researching and writing articles on the 401 English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh constituencies in existence during this period. Following on from this month’s earlier local history post on York, this blog takes this constituency as an example to explain some of the key features of our constituency articles, and how they might … Continue reading York: exploring the local history of a Victorian constituency

York 1660-1760

For this month’s local history focus we are looking at the borough constituency of York. A city not unfamiliar with hosting parliaments, it was even suggested by the Prime Minister last week as a possible location for a temporary chamber during Westminster’s Restoration and Renewal works. In the first of two blogs, today Dr Stuart Handley, senior research fellow in our Lords 1715-1790 project, looks … Continue reading York 1660-1760

The queen and the chemist’s son: Matthew Wood MP and the radical defence of Queen Caroline

A hop merchant and former Lord Mayor, Wood brought Caroline out of exile in June 1820 and housed her at his Mayfair residence at the beginning of the national crisis. As the affair gathered steam Wood became a prime target for loyalist vitriol, a prime example being Theodore Hooke’s malicious pamphlet Solomon Logwood: A Radical Tale. Continue reading The queen and the chemist’s son: Matthew Wood MP and the radical defence of Queen Caroline

‘Going into the country’: leave, holidays and political intrigue in the 1640s

As the easing of lockdown encourages many of us to seize opportunities to go on holiday, and especially take ‘staycations’, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of the Commons 1640-1660 section, looks at the positive and (arguably) negative uses to which civil war MPs put their leave… The widespread perception that the Parliaments of the mid-seventeenth century cut down on holidays is not inaccurate. As has … Continue reading ‘Going into the country’: leave, holidays and political intrigue in the 1640s

Ball Lightning in Early Modern England: The Curious Case of Nicholas Walsh, MP

In their work our researchers have discovered many strange and unusual causes of the death that have befallen parliamentarians over the centuries; one such case is the subject of Dr Andrew Thrush‘s new blog. Here, the editor of our Lords 1558-1603 project describes the unexpected fate of the unfortunate Walsh family in 1556… It’s probably no surprise that by the time they sat in Parliament, … Continue reading Ball Lightning in Early Modern England: The Curious Case of Nicholas Walsh, MP

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