What might have been: The Sweating Sickness and the Representation of the County of Cornwall in Henry VII’s first Parliament of 1485-6

In today’s blog, Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, looks back to 1485, when a sudden epidemic impacted on the membership of Henry VII’s first parliament… By the time Henry VII overcame Richard III at the battle of Bosworth and claimed the English throne, changes of dynasty or even ruler followed an established pattern. Having successfully asserted a claim to the throne … Continue reading What might have been: The Sweating Sickness and the Representation of the County of Cornwall in Henry VII’s first Parliament of 1485-6

The true Queen of the West

May marks Local & Community History Month and kick-starts a new Local History blog series at the History of Parliament. Each month our researchers will explore the history of a constituency or an area across our different projects, and this week Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of the Commons 1461-1504 section, introduces the medieval constituency of Exeter. Keep an eye on our blog as other projects … Continue reading The true Queen of the West

Social Distancing – Medieval Style: a Petition of the Commons in the Parliament of 1439

As discussions turn to how Parliament should operate during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our 1461-1504 section, looks at the parliament of 1439. When Henry VI reluctantly called Parliament back to Westminster during the ‘Black Death’, MPs had just one request… If the efforts to control the epidemic currently sweeping the world seem unprecedented to those living through them, to medieval Englishmen … Continue reading Social Distancing – Medieval Style: a Petition of the Commons in the Parliament of 1439

Isolation, Containment and Financial Assistance: Parliament’s response to epidemics in the 1640s

In today’s blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, Assistant Editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, considers self-isolation, social distancing and containing disease in 1640s London. Some of the below may sound quite familiar… As revealed in our recent blog, when MP and diarist Sir Simonds D’Ewes was faced with the plague in mid-1640s London, he and his wife agreed that she would retreat to the safer countryside … Continue reading Isolation, Containment and Financial Assistance: Parliament’s response to epidemics in the 1640s

An MP and an Epidemic in Civil War London

As we face challenges unfamiliar in modern times, our director, Dr Stephen Roberts, looks back at one parliamentary diarist’s response to disease in the community around him. Sir Simonds D’Ewes (1602-50) is now best known for his parliamentary journal. MP for the Suffolk borough of Sudbury, he entered the House of Commons in November 1640 and kept up a diary in English from day one. … Continue reading An MP and an Epidemic in Civil War London