‘Never ending war’ and ‘the enriching of Parliament-men’: MPs and corruption in the 1640s

In the second of two blogs from Dr Vivienne Larminie, editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, here attention is turned to accusations of corruption and financial incentives in the Parliaments of the 1640s… In the 1630s the venom-filled pen of pamphleteer William Prynne had excoriated the court of Charles I for what he regarded as immorality and corruption. But by the later 1640s, a seemingly … Continue reading ‘Never ending war’ and ‘the enriching of Parliament-men’: MPs and corruption in the 1640s

‘Queen Mary’, Queen Elizabeth and Parliament in the 1640s: suspicion, solidarity and nostalgia

As Queen Elizabeth II celebrates a milestone 70 years on the throne this month, we have been thinking about the relationships that other Queens throughout history had with Parliament. In 1625 Charles I married French Princess Henrietta Maria, but his Consort faced heavy comparison to other female monarchs, as Dr Vivienne Larminie from our Commons 1640-1660 project explains… The breakdown in relations between Charles I … Continue reading ‘Queen Mary’, Queen Elizabeth and Parliament in the 1640s: suspicion, solidarity and nostalgia

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

Plots, petitions, prelates and popery: Parliament and the ‘tumults’ of December 1641

December 1641 was a month of high tension in Parliament, as Dr Vivienne Larminie from our Commons 1640-1660 project explores… It was after fierce debate that on 9 December 1641 MPs expelled three of their number from Parliament. After months of leaks, rumours and investigations, the Commons finally resolved that Henry Wilmot, William Ashbournham and Sir Hugh Pollarde stood accused of misprision of treason, a … Continue reading Plots, petitions, prelates and popery: Parliament and the ‘tumults’ of December 1641

Religion, relief and the ‘slaughtered saints’: foreign aid in the seventeenth century

As modern-day discussions on how best to help nations across the world fight the COVID-19 pandemic continue, in today’s blog Dr Vivienne Larminie from our Commons 1640-1660 project looks into the notion of foreign aid in the 17th century. When, in 1655, a Protestant group faced religious persecution in Europe, the government rushed to their aid… ‘Avenge, o Lord, thy slaughtered saints/ Whose bones lie … Continue reading Religion, relief and the ‘slaughtered saints’: foreign aid in the seventeenth century

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

‘Better affected to Mars and Neptune, than to Mercury’: docks, diversity and the representation of Portsmouth in the civil wars and interregnum

In our latest blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, continues our local history look at port constituencies. Today’s focus is the naval city of Portsmouth, but were its maritime origins echoed in its 17th century parliamentary representation? The antiquarian and topographer William Camden characterised Portsmouth as ‘a place alwaies in time of warre well frequented, otherwise little resort there is … Continue reading ‘Better affected to Mars and Neptune, than to Mercury’: docks, diversity and the representation of Portsmouth in the civil wars and interregnum

Customs duties, political grievances and cross-border relations: an early Stuart perspective

In today’s blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, takes a look at the debates over customs and trading duties during the reign of Charles I. Clearly it is not just in the 21st century that cross-border trade was a contentious issue… Customs have long been at the heart of political debate. In the early seventeenth century, tariffs on trade, and in … Continue reading Customs duties, political grievances and cross-border relations: an early Stuart perspective

Oliver Cromwell’s Western Designer

In today’s blog Dr David Scott, senior research fellow for our Commons 1640-1660 project, continues our look at parliamentary links to the trade of enslaved people and colonial expansion in the seventeenth century. The name Martin Noell may not be familiar nowadays, but this notorious merchant trader rose to prominence during the interregnum and his legacy ought not to be overlooked when considering Parliament’s colonial … Continue reading Oliver Cromwell’s Western Designer

Parliament and Forced Colonial Labour in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament, 1659

In today’s blog Dr Stephen Roberts concludes his three-part blog series discussing parliamentary reactions to the 17th century transatlantic slave trade. Here Dr Roberts considers the case of a group of political prisoners who had been transported as indentured servants in 1655. As noted in the first blog, the transportation of slaves from West Africa grew proportionally with the development of the Caribbean as an … Continue reading Parliament and Forced Colonial Labour in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament, 1659