Exiting the English Republic, part 1: political flux in early 1660

Continuing the series on the turmoil of 1659-1660, which saw a retreat from radicalism and political experiment, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of the Commons 1640-1660 section, looks at the manoeuvrings of politicians and army officers in a period of great tension and uncertainty… By late January 1660 the English republic had entered its last days – although its imminent extinction was probably not inevitable, … Continue reading Exiting the English Republic, part 1: political flux in early 1660

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

The Cavalier Parliament

Our ‘Named Parliaments’ series continues. Today Paul Seaward, British Academy/Wolfson Research Professor at the History of Parliament Trust explores the Cavalier Parliament, the first Parliament after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660… The Parliament elected in April 1661 was designed to sweep away the last vestiges of the English Revolution and restore the monarchy to its pre-Civil War glory. It was the Convention of … Continue reading The Cavalier Parliament

Alternative uses for the palace of Westminster: the early 17th-century picture

With the palace of Westminster requiring a major restoration programme, and some people suggesting that Parliament should permanently relocate to a new home, Dr Paul Hunneyball of the Lords 1604-29 section considers some of the uses to which the old Palace was put 400 years ago… Since the 19th century, the palace of Westminster has been synonymous with Parliament – but that wasn’t always the … Continue reading Alternative uses for the palace of Westminster: the early 17th-century picture

Nancy Astor: A Mother in the House

Last week we heard about the Father or ‘Grand Old Man’ of the Long Parliament, so this week we have a blog about the first mother in the House of Commons. Along with PhD student, Kate Meanwell, Dr Jacqui Turner from the University of Reading and Astor 100 project, discusses Nancy Astor’s role as a mother to her five children as well as a representative … Continue reading Nancy Astor: A Mother in the House

The Grand Old Man of the Long Parliament

In earlier centuries politics might be seen as a young man’s game, but here Dr Andrew Barclay of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section looks at a veteran Member of the 1640s who had first sat in the 1570s… MPs in the seventeenth century tended to be rather younger than they are today. The median age of those elected to the Long Parliament in 1640 … Continue reading The Grand Old Man of the Long Parliament

How long is a Parliament?

In this blog for the ‘Named Parliaments’ series, Dr Paul Hunneyball, Associate Editor of the House of Lords 1604-29 project, explores the length of parliaments, paying particular attention to the Short and Long parliaments of the 1640s and 1650s… Down the centuries, the length of parliaments has varied enormously, from a few days to a decade or more. That being the case, it’s perhaps surprising … Continue reading How long is a Parliament?

Fasting and political crises in the 1640s: no beer ‘till the publike exercises and religious duties … be past and over’

As Parliament engages in momentous decision-making about the future of the country, Dr Vivienne Larminie of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section marks the season of Lent with consideration of the solemn and austere approach of early modern Parliaments to periods of political and social crisis… After the feasting of ‘Pancake Day’ (Shrove Tuesday, this year on 5 March), the six weeks of Lent – … Continue reading Fasting and political crises in the 1640s: no beer ‘till the publike exercises and religious duties … be past and over’