Come Let’s Travel by the River… the vicissitudes of getting to Parliament in the later Middle Ages

As the discovery of the Palace of Westminster’s medieval river wall hits the news, Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, reflects on how MPs and peers in the later Middle Ages travelled to Parliament. While the River Thames is now a place for spectacular tours, it was once a dangerous commute to work for many in Parliament… Amid news of the discovery of part of … Continue reading Come Let’s Travel by the River… the vicissitudes of getting to Parliament in the later Middle Ages

Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: ‘That was how politics started for me’: memories on motivations from the History of Parliament Trust’s Sound Archive

Our Parliaments, Politics and People seminar is back for the autumn term! At next week’s seminar our head of Oral History, Dr Emma Peplow, will discuss what drove MPs into politics using materials gathered from our Oral History Project. The seminar takes place on 18 October 2022, between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. It is fully ‘hybrid’, which means you can attend either in-person in London … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: ‘That was how politics started for me’: memories on motivations from the History of Parliament Trust’s Sound Archive

‘You just become a tiny little speck of history’: First Impressions of the Palace of Westminster

When newly elected MPs first enter the Palace of Westminster, it is hard to ignore the hundreds of years of history that surrounds them. And as Dr Emma Peplow, Head of Oral History at the History of Parliament explores, this legacy could prove inspirational, impressive, or even overwhelming… Find out more about the history of the Palace of Westminster and its famous Elizabeth Tower, home … Continue reading ‘You just become a tiny little speck of history’: First Impressions of the Palace of Westminster

The termination of medieval Parliaments on the demise of the reigning monarch

As much of the nation, and the world, continues to reflect on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and accession of King Charles III, here Dr Hannes Kleineke from our Commons 1461-1504 project explores the now retired practice of terminating Parliaments following the death of the monarch. By modern convention, the death of a sovereign and the accession of their successor do not … Continue reading The termination of medieval Parliaments on the demise of the reigning monarch

Sir Job Charlton and the Declaration of Indulgence 1672-3

As we continue our recent blog series exploring the careers of notable people to occupy the role of Speaker, here History of Parliament director Dr Paul Seaward examines the debates behind appointing this influential job in the 17th century and a Speaker often forgotten about… Speakers of the Commons in the seventeenth century were, though notionally elected by the House, effectively government appointees. At the … Continue reading Sir Job Charlton and the Declaration of Indulgence 1672-3

‘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

Charles I in search of friends: government in crisis and the rewards of loyalty, 1640-1644

Today we hear from Dr Vivienne Larminie, editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, who discusses Charles I’s attempts to secure loyalty by giving out peerages and other honours in the early 1640s… By late 1640 the government of Charles I was in deep trouble. A treaty signed at Ripon on 26 October signalled the end of three years of war against his Scottish subjects – the … Continue reading Charles I in search of friends: government in crisis and the rewards of loyalty, 1640-1644

‘Robin the trickster’ versus ‘Stiff Dick’: the election of Robert Harley as Speaker of the Commons in 1701

In the latest in our series discussing some of the notable figures to occupy the role of Speaker of the House Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, discusses the contested election that led Robert Harley to the chair… From 1704 to the spring of 1705 Robert Harley was both Speaker of the House of Commons and one of the secretaries of state. … Continue reading ‘Robin the trickster’ versus ‘Stiff Dick’: the election of Robert Harley as Speaker of the Commons in 1701

A Speakership that never was: Sir Thomas Hungerford and the Parliament of 1378

Throughout 2022 we have been looking into the careers of some of the people to occupy the role of Speaker- a title first recorded as being attributed to Sir Thomas Hungerford in 1377. But this did not mean that Hungerford’s place in the House of Commons was guaranteed, as Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, explores… There is a modern-day convention that … Continue reading A Speakership that never was: Sir Thomas Hungerford and the Parliament of 1378

Thomas Burdet of Arrow, MP for Warwickshire in 1455, and the execution of George, duke of Clarence        

The execution of Thomas Burdet has long been linked to that of George, duke of Clarence a few months later. But is it possible that their downfalls were not connected at all? Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project evaluates the evidence… The execution for treason of Thomas Burdet, head of one of the principal gentry families of Warwickshire, on 19 May 1477 has … Continue reading Thomas Burdet of Arrow, MP for Warwickshire in 1455, and the execution of George, duke of Clarence