‘Restless, turbulent, and bold’: Radical MPs and the opening of the reformed Commons in 1833

MPs and peers returned to Westminster earlier this month after over a year of upheaval, disruption, and online chambers. In today’s blog Dr Stephen Ball from our Commons 1832-1868 project looks into another eagerly awaited return to Parliament; the first session following the 1832 Reform Act… When the reformed Parliament first met on Tuesday 29 January 1833 many people speculated about the way the reconfigured … Continue reading ‘Restless, turbulent, and bold’: Radical MPs and the opening of the reformed Commons in 1833

Early women MPs: Margaret Wintringham and Parliament

In September 1921, Margaret Wintringham (1879-1955) was elected to the House of Commons as the first ever Liberal woman MP.  Dr Mari Takayanagi, Senior Archivist at the Parliamentary Archives, discusses Wintringham, her election, and the issues she supported in Parliament. Margaret Wintringham was born in Keighley, Yorkshire in 1879. She was a teacher by background, and headmistress at a school in Grimsby before marrying Tom Wintringham, a timber merchant, in 1903.   Wintringham was a suffragist, a non-militant supporter … Continue reading Early women MPs: Margaret Wintringham and Parliament

Parliament and the Naval Review

In today’s blog our director Dr Paul Seaward is casting his eyes out to sea, with a look into the popularity of the Naval Review in the late 19th century. However, these displays of British maritime power weren’t always smooth sailing… There had been irregular naval reviews since the 1770s, sometimes with mock sea-battles, laid on to entertain the royal family and to display the … Continue reading Parliament and the Naval Review

‘It was the dissimulation of this one man that stirred up that whole plague of evils which followed’: William Catesby, Speaker in the Parliament of 1484, and the accession of Richard III

On 25 August 1485 William Catesby, Speaker of the House of Commons, was executed. But what brought about the downfall of this once influential Member of Parliament? Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project explores… In his account of the accession of Richard III, written in the 1510s, Sir Thomas More assigned a pivotal role to an unlikely candidate, William Catesby, a lawyer educated … Continue reading ‘It was the dissimulation of this one man that stirred up that whole plague of evils which followed’: William Catesby, Speaker in the Parliament of 1484, and the accession of Richard III

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