The elusiveness of divorce in medieval England: the marital troubles of the last Warenne earl of Surrey (d.1347)

In today’s blog Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project continues our ongoing look into the marriages of Parliamentarians, both happy and unhappy. Divorce in medieval England was infrequent and difficult to secure, but this did not stop individuals from making an attempt… Medieval England knew two forms of divorce. The first, and overwhelmingly the most important, was divorce a vinculo matrimonii (from the … Continue reading The elusiveness of divorce in medieval England: the marital troubles of the last Warenne earl of Surrey (d.1347)

We’re all going on a summer… pilgrimage

As Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift, many people are eager to travel again. In today’s blog Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, discusses the 15th century parliamentarians who had another reason to look forward to embarking on a trip… As Elizabeth I knew well, it doesn’t do to make windows into men’s (or indeed women’s) souls. It is thus at our peril … Continue reading We’re all going on a summer… pilgrimage

The Graphic Parliament: Picturing the House of Commons 1880-1920

At the end of June, History of Parliament Director Dr Paul Seaward joined House of Commons photographer Jess Taylor to take part in a British Academy summer showcase event about picturing the House of Commons, comparing her work to the innovative and evocative illustrations published in a generation of illustrated magazines published from the 1880s to around 1920. You can see a recording of the … Continue reading The Graphic Parliament: Picturing the House of Commons 1880-1920

How not to fight a battle: William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, and the battle of Edgcote 24 July 1469

Senior research fellow for our House of Commons 1461-1504 project Dr Simon Payling continues his look at significant battles during the Wars of the Roses. Today he considers the failed leadership of William Herbert at the battle of Edgcote ahead of the anniversary of the battle on Saturday… Some of the battles of the Wars of the Roses were predictable affairs, in that, at the … Continue reading How not to fight a battle: William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, and the battle of Edgcote 24 July 1469

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

The Imperial Afterlife of Warren Hastings, 1818-1947

In today’s blog we hear from Alfie Banks formerly of the University of Southampton, winner of the History of Parliament Undergraduate Dissertation Competition 2020. Here Alfie has adapted his winning essay, exploring the legacy of the controversial figure Warren Hastings and the insights that his afterlife can provide into imperial thought in 19th and 20th century Britain. The History of Parliament’s 2021 Undergraduate Dissertation Competition … Continue reading The Imperial Afterlife of Warren Hastings, 1818-1947

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

‘London’s Latest Ordeal’: the Blitz and rebuilding of the House of Commons Chamber

On the evening of the 10/11 May 1941 the House of Commons Chamber was destroyed during the Blitz. In today’s blog, 80 years on, our Public Engagement Assistant Connie Jeffery explores the event and how Parliament rebuilt and recovered from the destruction… Like much of the United Kingdom’s home front, Westminster was no stranger to the effects of the Second World War. Parliament’s recognisable home … Continue reading ‘London’s Latest Ordeal’: the Blitz and rebuilding of the House of Commons Chamber

Adapting the chambers of Parliament: from the galleries of the 18th-century Lords to the division lobbies of the 19th-century Commons

Ahead of next Tuesday’s Virtual IHR Parliaments, Politics and People seminar, we hear from Dr Robin Eagles and Dr Kathryn Rix, of the History of Parliament. On 4 May 2021, between 5.15 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., they will each be giving a 15 minute presentation, followed by a joint Q & A session, looking at adaptations to parliamentary architecture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Details … Continue reading Adapting the chambers of Parliament: from the galleries of the 18th-century Lords to the division lobbies of the 19th-century Commons

Life as an MP: a recipe for marital bliss?

In today’s blog Dr Emma Peplow, coordinator of the History of Parliament’s Oral History Project, picks up our recent theme of marriage and Parliament. As many former MPs discussed in their interviews, a parliamentary career wasn’t always a friend to marital life… Our oral history project interviewers make sure to ask former MP not just about formal politics, but how political life impacted on personal … Continue reading Life as an MP: a recipe for marital bliss?