Violence at the Door of Parliament, 1640-48

Over the past few weeks the eyes of the world have been on Washington. As the United States prepares to swear in its 46th President, Joe Biden, after what has been a tumultuous transition of power, Dr Stephen Roberts examines the threat of violence against the seat of power in 17th century Britain in our latest blog… The great achievement of the English Parliament between … Continue reading Violence at the Door of Parliament, 1640-48

Slavery, the Caribbean and English Liberties, 1620-40

Today’s blog is the first in a three-part series from History of Parliament director Dr Stephen Roberts about parliamentary involvement in the development of slavery in the Atlantic World in the seventeenth century… During the 400th anniversary year of the voyage of the Mayflower, much attention has focused on English migration to the colonies of New England. By 1640, Massachusetts was the largest of the … Continue reading Slavery, the Caribbean and English Liberties, 1620-40

‘Cakes, Cheese and Zeal’: Puritan Banbury, the Fiennes family and civil war radicalism

In today’s blog Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 project, returns to our local history exploration of political representation in Oxfordshire. First enfranchised in 1554, the constituency of Banbury developed strong Puritan representation in the 17th century, but it wasn’t always welcome… In the mid-seventeenth century the small north Oxfordshire market town of Banbury punched above its weight. Situated at the centre of … Continue reading ‘Cakes, Cheese and Zeal’: Puritan Banbury, the Fiennes family and civil war radicalism

The Mayflower: The New England men at Westminster, 1640-1660

In September 1620, the ship Mayflower set sail, transporting the first Puritan separatists to the ‘New World’. But, even thousands of miles across the sea, ‘New England’ would not be unfamiliar to many of those in Westminster, as our director Dr Stephen Roberts explores… Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, Devon, in September 1620, reaching what became New Plymouth, on the eastern coast of America, in November. … Continue reading The Mayflower: The New England men at Westminster, 1640-1660

‘Going into the country’: leave, holidays and political intrigue in the 1640s

As the easing of lockdown encourages many of us to seize opportunities to go on holiday, and especially take ‘staycations’, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of the Commons 1640-1660 section, looks at the positive and (arguably) negative uses to which civil war MPs put their leave… The widespread perception that the Parliaments of the mid-seventeenth century cut down on holidays is not inaccurate. As has … Continue reading ‘Going into the country’: leave, holidays and political intrigue in the 1640s

Sitting at Christmas: getting business done, 1643

In a previous blog our director, Dr Stephen Roberts, explored legislation by which parliamentarians of the 1640s tried to promote what they saw as more appropriate ways of celebrating Christmas; contrary to popular historical myth, Oliver Cromwell was not the driving force. As Dr Vivienne Larminie of our Commons 1640-1660 section explains, Parliament itself began cutting back on the Yuletide festivities some years before Cromwell … Continue reading Sitting at Christmas: getting business done, 1643

The ‘Barebones Parliament’: an assembly of the saints, 1653

Today, Dr Vivienne Larminie, Assistant Editor of our House of Commons 1640-1660 Section, continues our Named Parliaments series with the ‘Barebones Parliament’ of July-December 1653. Strictly speaking, the body which convened on 4 July 1653 in the council chamber at Whitehall was not a Parliament at all.  Rather, having relocated to the Commons chamber at Westminster, it resolved to give itself that title two days … Continue reading The ‘Barebones Parliament’: an assembly of the saints, 1653

Averting the prorogation of Parliament, May 1641

In light of the attempt of the current government to prorogue Parliament, we thought it would be appropriate to offer examples of prorogation or the aversion thereof in Parliament’s past. Today, Dr Vivienne Larminie, Assistant Editor of our House of Commons 1640-1660 project explains how prorogation was narrowly avoided in 1641 during a crisis in the early months of the Long Parliament. In an earlier … Continue reading Averting the prorogation of Parliament, May 1641

Sex in the Long Parliament

In our latest blog, Dr David Scott of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section looks at the extra-curricular activities of some Members of a supposedly puritan Parliament – at least according to newspaper reports… Sexual licence and parliamentary politics have always enjoyed an intimate relationship, and not even the great puritan preachers of the seventeenth century ( who regularly addressed assembled MPs in the adjacent … Continue reading Sex in the Long Parliament

Taking control: Speaker William Lenthall, precedent and the Long Parliament

In the midst of extraordinary times at Westminster, Dr Vivienne Larminie of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section looks at the response of a pioneering Speaker to the unprecedented challenges of the mid-seventeenth century… On 4 January 1642, in one of the most dramatic and iconic moments in the history of Parliament, Charles I arrived at Westminster with an armed guard.  Having entered the Commons … Continue reading Taking control: Speaker William Lenthall, precedent and the Long Parliament