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)

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

A Spectacular Memorial: the Tomb of Thomas and Edith Babington in the church of Ashover, Derbyshire

Despite their positions in Parliament, it is not uncommon to come across MPs in our research who had a reasonably mundane parliamentary career, as is the case for late 15th century MP for Nottingham, Thomas Babington. However, if his career was uneventful, his tomb paints another story, as Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project explores… The career of Thomas Babington, MP for the … Continue reading A Spectacular Memorial: the Tomb of Thomas and Edith Babington in the church of Ashover, Derbyshire

The hunting down of Queen Margaret: the battle of Tewkesbury 4 May 1471

Today we mark the anniversary of another key battle within the Wars of the Roses: the battle of Tewkesbury. As Edward IV’s forces sought to build on their earlier victory at the battle of Barnet, attention turned to Margaret of Anjou, as Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project explains… The most striking facet of the campaign that saw Edward IV win victories at … Continue reading The hunting down of Queen Margaret: the battle of Tewkesbury 4 May 1471

Bristol and the Readeption Parliament of Henry VI

This winter marks the 550th anniversary of the Readeption Parliament of 1470-1, the circumstances and proceedings of which are the subject of a recent blog. Today Dr Charles Moreton from our Commons 1461-1504 project looks closer at the Parliament’s impact in Bristol and the period of the short-lived restoration of Henry VI in which this assembly sat. There are no extant election returns for the Parliament, and the names of just 41 of its MPs survive. Forty, if not all of these men, sat for urban constituencies, the archives of which preserve their election. As it happens, the … Continue reading Bristol and the Readeption Parliament of Henry VI

The ‘lost statute’ of 1427-8: how to solve a problem like Queen Katherine

In today’s blog Dr Simon Payling, senior research fellow for our Commons 1461-1504 project, returns to our recent blog theme of marriage. When Henry V died in 1422, making his infant son and namesake king, the romantic attachments of his widow, Katherine of Valois, became of chief parliamentary concern… Amongst the many problems bequeathed to the English government by the premature death of Henry V … Continue reading The ‘lost statute’ of 1427-8: how to solve a problem like Queen Katherine

Divorce, cuckoldry and bastardy: two unhappy medieval marriages

Today’s blog comes from Dr Charles Moreton, senior research fellow in our Commons 1461-1504 project, who begins our latest blog series all about parliamentarians’ marriages. Here Dr Moreton turns his attention to two particularly unhappy marriages during the 15th century… Unlike some of the blogs to come in this series, the following offers a couple of examples of unhappy marriages. Both of the parliamentarians in … Continue reading Divorce, cuckoldry and bastardy: two unhappy medieval marriages

The brief triumph of Richard, duke of York: the Parliamentary Accord of 31 October 1460

Our latest blog comes from Dr Simon Payling, senior research fellow in our Commons 1461-1504 project. In October 1460 Richard, duke of York attempted to claim the English throne from his cousin Henry VI. He was technically unsuccessful, but Parliament agreed to an unusual arrangement… On 10 October 1460 there occurred the most dramatic event in the history of the fifteenth-century Parliament. Henry VI’s cousin, … Continue reading The brief triumph of Richard, duke of York: the Parliamentary Accord of 31 October 1460

The barbarity of the medieval criminal law: petty treason and the murders of Sir Thomas Murdak and John Cotell

In today’s blog Dr Simon Payling, senior research fellow in our Commons 1461-1504 project, once again turns his attention to crime and punishment in the medieval period. In the 14th century, the criminal law system may have worked slowly, but it was particularly harsh to those convicted of ‘petty treason’… In the first months of 1316 there was a notable series of deaths in the … Continue reading The barbarity of the medieval criminal law: petty treason and the murders of Sir Thomas Murdak and John Cotell

The constituency of Oxfordshire in the reign of Henry VI, 1422-61

This month we’re turning our attention to Oxfordshire in our local history blog series. Kicking things off today is Dr Charles Moreton, Senior Research Fellow for our Commons 1461-1504 project. In the reign of Henry VI this was one of the wealthiest constituencies in England, but how did they select their representation? While unspectacular in landscape, Oxfordshire was one of the wealthiest and most fertile … Continue reading The constituency of Oxfordshire in the reign of Henry VI, 1422-61