An Indispensable Member? Legal expertise in the Long Parliament, ‘an ancient lawyer’ and civil war intimidation

In the past, as with now, it was not uncommon to find those trained in the practice of law seated on the benches of Parliament. In today’s blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, looks into the tumultuous political career of one such lawyer in the 17th century, John Whistler. With their expertise at a premium in the drafting of legislation, … Continue reading An Indispensable Member? Legal expertise in the Long Parliament, ‘an ancient lawyer’ and civil war intimidation

Cancelling Christmas? William Prynne, kill-joy and martyr, and the onslaught on ‘pagan Saturnalia’

With the government currently recommending scaled-back Christmas celebrations, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-60 project, considers a man who advocated scrapping Yuletide festivities for a quite different reason… The idea that ‘the puritans cancelled Christmas’ has widespread acceptance. Indeed it surfaced in the House of Commons recently in debate over what kind of celebration might be prudent … Continue reading Cancelling Christmas? William Prynne, kill-joy and martyr, and the onslaught on ‘pagan Saturnalia’

Archbishop Laud’s secret ‘misfortunes’: decoding sexual identity in the seventeenth century

Continuing the theme of LGBTQ+ History Month, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of the Lords 1558-1603 section, explores the problem of interpreting evidence from the early modern period… ‘I dreamed that K.B. sent to me in Westminster church, that he was now as desirous to see me, as I him, and that he was then entering into the church. I went with joy, but met … Continue reading Archbishop Laud’s secret ‘misfortunes’: decoding sexual identity in the seventeenth century

Fasting and political crises in the 1640s: no beer ‘till the publike exercises and religious duties … be past and over’

As Parliament engages in momentous decision-making about the future of the country, Dr Vivienne Larminie of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section marks the season of Lent with consideration of the solemn and austere approach of early modern Parliaments to periods of political and social crisis… After the feasting of ‘Pancake Day’ (Shrove Tuesday, this year on 5 March), the six weeks of Lent – … Continue reading Fasting and political crises in the 1640s: no beer ‘till the publike exercises and religious duties … be past and over’