“From wickedness or from weakness”: the beginning of the end for Sir Robert Walpole

During July we welcomed year 12 student Thomas O’Donoghue to the History of Parliament office, to carry out a work experience placement with our research and outreach teams. During his time, Thomas worked with Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, to explore an attempt in 1741 to topple Sir Robert Walpole from power. Here Thomas writes about the impact of two key … Continue reading “From wickedness or from weakness”: the beginning of the end for Sir Robert Walpole

The Last Peer Hanged for Murder

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Robin Eagles re-examines the trial and execution of Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers, the last British peer to be hanged for murder. Long before he came to the scaffold on 5 May 1760, Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers, had made quite a name for himself as a notorious member of the House of Lords. Ferrers had … Continue reading The Last Peer Hanged for Murder

“A great lover of forms, and a regular Speaker”: Sir Spencer Compton, Speaker of the House of Commons 1715-1727

Sir Spencer Compton, earl of Wilmington, is often overlooked, overshadowed by his colleague and predecessor Sir Robert Walpole. But as Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, suggests, Wilmington deserves more attention, particularly for his earlier role as Speaker of the House of Commons… If Sir Spencer Compton is much remembered at all, it is most probably as the man who missed his … Continue reading “A great lover of forms, and a regular Speaker”: Sir Spencer Compton, Speaker of the House of Commons 1715-1727

Do as you will? Behind the scenes of ‘the Hellfire Club’

As hospitality venues and social spaces in much of the UK reopen after lockdown this week, in today’s blog Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, looks into the parliamentarians possessing memberships to a notorious 18th century social group… Pray remember the ghost for me to-night, and next Monday we meet at Medmenham. On 15 June 1762 John Wilkes sent this apparently rather … Continue reading Do as you will? Behind the scenes of ‘the Hellfire Club’

‘leaping and creeping’: Honours in the early 18th century

Ahead of the Queen’s official birthday this weekend and its accompanying honours list, in today’s blog Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, looks at the ways that parliamentarians were rewarded in the 18th century… In the 18th century newspapers frequently contained reports on honours that were expected to be conferred on leading parliamentarians. Sometimes the reports were accurate, sometimes not, and occasionally … Continue reading ‘leaping and creeping’: Honours in the early 18th century

‘The dearest friend I ever had’: Richard Lumley, 2nd earl of Scarbrough

This week (10-16 May 2021) marks Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Mental illness is often hidden or misidentified in the historical record, and at the History of Parliament we’re trying to do our bit to correct this. Our research staff often identify cases of parliamentarians who suffered with their mental health, and today, Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, considers … Continue reading ‘The dearest friend I ever had’: Richard Lumley, 2nd earl of Scarbrough

‘Seldom… disturbed by the bustle of trade or the affairs of Government’: Lymington from Restoration to Reform

As we gear up for May’s Local and Community History Month, today Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, begins our look at port constituencies. Hubs of trade and industry, historically ports have been central to both national economy and military defence, making their representation in Parliament very important. Here Dr Eagles casts an eye on the town of Lymington on the south … Continue reading ‘Seldom… disturbed by the bustle of trade or the affairs of Government’: Lymington from Restoration to Reform

‘Great Quarrels and Disputes’ or A Bun in the Oven? The Penshurst Claimant and the earldom of Leicester

In today’s blog Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our House of Lords 1715-1790 project, continues our look into the marriages of parliamentarians past. When, in 1781, a man emerged calling himself the earl of Leicester, rumours began to swirl about the origins of his birth… In October 1781, George Selwyn, conveyed the latest society gossip to the earl of Carlisle. He took evident pleasure in … Continue reading ‘Great Quarrels and Disputes’ or A Bun in the Oven? The Penshurst Claimant and the earldom of Leicester

A Farewell to Arms, Kilts and Sporrans: banning Scottish Highland dress in the aftermath of Culloden

Continuing with November’s local history look at the Scottish presence in Parliament, today Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 section, casts his eye over attempts to regulate traditional Scottish dress in the eighteenth century. In the winter of 1745, the people of the north and midlands of England were gripped with panic. The rebel Jacobite army led by Charles Edward Stuart had left Scotland earlier in the … Continue reading A Farewell to Arms, Kilts and Sporrans: banning Scottish Highland dress in the aftermath of Culloden

Town v. Gown? Attempting to lock down early eighteenth-century Oxford

Today we’re heading back to Oxfordshire and this month’s local history focus. In our latest blog, Dr Robin Eagles, editor of the Lords 1715-1790 project, looks into the political leanings of the inhabitants of 18th century Oxford… At the time of George I’s accession, Oxford had a clear reputation as a hive of Toryism. The city’s perceived loyalty to the Stuarts had been one of … Continue reading Town v. Gown? Attempting to lock down early eighteenth-century Oxford