March 1672: The Declaration of Indulgence

In March 1672 Charles II issued a document to remove harsh sanctions against religious non-conformity. But what brought about this ‘Declaration of Indulgence’ and why was a supposedly tolerant measure met with heavy criticism? History of Parliament Director Dr Paul Seaward explores… On 15 March 1672, 350 years ago, the English government issued a document headed His Majesty’s Declaration to all his loving subjects, but … Continue reading March 1672: The Declaration of Indulgence

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

Silence and Laughter in the Cromwellian House of Commons

On our blog we have often heard about the origins of the many strange and enduring traditions that exist within Westminster. In today’s blog Dr Patrick Little from our Commons 1640-1660 project takes a look at the use of non-verbal reactions within the Cromwellian Commons Chamber… When trying to understand debates in early modern Parliaments, historians rely on diaries: the private journals kept by individual … Continue reading Silence and Laughter in the Cromwellian House of Commons

Pretending to be a Peer? The unlikely Lord Griffin and the Convention of January 1689

In today’s blog Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, looks into the case of Edward Griffin, a man raised to the peerage in December 1688. But, in the face of James II’s decision to flee the country, was he actually allowed to sit in the Lords Chamber? Griffin is profiled in more detail in our House of Lords 1660-1715 volumes. Published in … Continue reading Pretending to be a Peer? The unlikely Lord Griffin and the Convention of January 1689

The Murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, 1613

On our blog today Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our House of Lords 1558-1603 project, takes a look at an infamous murder that took place in 1613, and asks why foul play wasn’t suspected until two years later… In the early hours of the morning of 15 September 1613, Sir Thomas Overbury, the former friend and mentor of the royal favourite Robert Carr, Viscount Rochester, … Continue reading The Murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, 1613

The Great Survivor: Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, 1540-1614

In today’s blog we hear from Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our Lords 1558-1603 project, on the elusive career of Henry Howard, earl of Northampton. Howard’s shrewd political manoeuvres allowed him to evade attention from government officials throughout his career and often evade attention from historians- until now! In medieval and early modern England, membership of the nobility could be a decidedly mixed blessing, at … Continue reading The Great Survivor: Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, 1540-1614

Anglo-Dutch Fishing Disputes and the Sovereignty of the Seas, 1558-1640

Recent trade negotiations between the UK and the EU have shone a spotlight on European fishing rights in British territorial waters. While Britain sought to control access to her waters, arguing that her sovereignty was at stake, the EU expected to continue large-scale fishing in these same seas. Historians of early modern England might be forgiven for thinking that we have been here before, as … Continue reading Anglo-Dutch Fishing Disputes and the Sovereignty of the Seas, 1558-1640

Discourses of Freedom and Slavery, 1640-60

Today we return to our recent series from History of Parliament director Dr Stephen Roberts, who has been discussing parliamentary involvement in the 17th century transatlantic slave trade. In the latest post Dr Roberts turns his attention to the uses of the terms ‘slavery’ and ‘liberty’ within years surrounding the English Civil Wars. It is a remarkable enough paradox that while an ever-increasing number of … Continue reading Discourses of Freedom and Slavery, 1640-60

‘None can sit here but a natural liegeman’: Scots at Westminster in the Jacobean era

As a prelude to this month’s spotlight on politics in Scotland to mark St Andrew’s Day, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of the House of Lords 1558-1603 project, examines one of the most sensitive questions in early 17th century politics – should Scots be allowed to sit in English parliaments?…  Historical perceptions can be deceptive. The year 1603 is now primarily remembered as the moment when … Continue reading ‘None can sit here but a natural liegeman’: Scots at Westminster in the Jacobean era

‘Cakes, Cheese and Zeal’: Puritan Banbury, the Fiennes family and civil war radicalism

In today’s blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, returns to our local history exploration of political representation in Oxfordshire. First enfranchised in 1554, the constituency of Banbury developed strong Puritan representation in the 17th century, but it wasn’t always welcome… In the mid-seventeenth century the small north Oxfordshire market town of Banbury punched above its weight. Situated at the centre of … Continue reading ‘Cakes, Cheese and Zeal’: Puritan Banbury, the Fiennes family and civil war radicalism