Prorogation Tide: Elizabeth I and the Parliament of 1572-81

In the sixteenth century, parliaments were not only summoned but also prorogued at the behest of the monarch. In this blog, Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our Lords 1558-1603 project, discusses an exceptionally large but often overlooked number of prorogations that took place during the mid-Elizabethan period… Before the Long Parliament of 1640-53, the Parliament of 1572-81 bore the distinction of being the longest in … Continue reading Prorogation Tide: Elizabeth I and the Parliament of 1572-81

What did the Elizabethan House of Lords look like?

This might seem like a simple question but, as Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 project explains, the answer is anything but straightforward… In 21st-century Britain, we take it for granted that we know what our parliamentary chambers look like. At Westminster, both the House of Commons and House of Lords are open to visitors, and parliamentary debates are recorded on television and illustrated … Continue reading What did the Elizabethan House of Lords look like?

‘The Downe-fall of Dagon’: the post-Reformation campaign against Cheapside Cross

The recent trend of attacks on statues with uncomfortable moral or historical associations is nothing new; Dr Paul Hunneyball of our Lords 1558-1603 project considers the parallels with early modern English iconoclasm… In November 1290 the queen consort, Eleanor of Castile, died in Nottinghamshire. Her grief-stricken husband, Edward I, subsequently constructed 12 stone monuments, the so-called Eleanor crosses, along the route of her funeral procession … Continue reading ‘The Downe-fall of Dagon’: the post-Reformation campaign against Cheapside Cross

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

England’s Return to Protestantism, 1559

In the first of a new series of blogs on the Elizabethan period, Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of our 1558-1603 House of Lords project, discusses the last-minute attempts by the bench of Catholic bishops to thwart Elizabeth I’s reintroduction of Protestantism. He also draws attention to an important, if little appreciated, date in the re-establishment of the English Protestant state, as it was on 24 … Continue reading England’s Return to Protestantism, 1559

Elizabeth I, the ‘estate of marriage’, and the 1559 Parliament

To mark Women’s History Month, Dr Paul Hunneyball, assistant editor of our Lords 1558-1603 section, recalls the first public statement by the ‘Virgin Queen’ that she had no plans to marry, and the incomprehension with which her (male) subjects reacted… The first Parliament summoned by Elizabeth I opened on 25 January 1559 with a packed agenda. Urgent business in the opening days included a new … Continue reading Elizabeth I, the ‘estate of marriage’, and the 1559 Parliament

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

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

In search of Arcadia: visiting the 18th-century garden

Recent government restrictions paired with a bout of sunny weather have seen more of us head into the garden to make the most of the fresh air. In today’s blog Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our House of Lords 1715-90 section, is digging into a similar fascination with gardens in the 18th century. It is easy to think of visiting a local National Trust or … Continue reading In search of Arcadia: visiting the 18th-century garden

Thomas Sackville, 1st earl of Dorset: an overlooked Jacobean statesman?

Continuing our preview of the History of Parliament’s forthcoming volumes on the House of Lords 1604-29, Dr Ben Coates of our new Lords 1558-1603 section considers a major figure in Jacobean government who is today less well known… Historians of the Elizabethan and early Jacobean periods have long been familiar with the vast trove of documents at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, created during more than half … Continue reading Thomas Sackville, 1st earl of Dorset: an overlooked Jacobean statesman?