‘Death-bed disinherison by so foul a practice’: Parliament, the Vanlore heiresses and an early modern whodunnit

In Women’s History month, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-1660 section, looks at how petitions to Parliament can lift the lid on the private lives of privileged women and, in the struggle to secure property rights, reveal a dark underside of manipulation, prejudice, violence, the desperation of the childless and even murder … Throughout the turmoil of the civil wars and interregnum, … Continue reading ‘Death-bed disinherison by so foul a practice’: Parliament, the Vanlore heiresses and an early modern whodunnit

Cancelling Christmas? William Prynne, kill-joy and martyr, and the onslaught on ‘pagan Saturnalia’

With the government currently recommending scaled-back Christmas celebrations, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of our Commons 1640-60 project, considers a man who advocated scrapping Yuletide festivities for a quite different reason… The idea that ‘the puritans cancelled Christmas’ has widespread acceptance. Indeed it surfaced in the House of Commons recently in debate over what kind of celebration might be prudent … Continue reading Cancelling Christmas? William Prynne, kill-joy and martyr, and the onslaught on ‘pagan Saturnalia’

Of Puritans and Pilchards

In recent years, following the impact of Brexit, fishing regulation has become a recurring topic in the UK’s political discussions. Similarly, in the 17th century control over piscatorial exports was controversial. In our latest blog Dr Patrick Little, from our Commons 1640-1660 section, looks to the Cornish coast and the politicisation of their local delicacy, pilchards… In the Parliaments of the 1650s it is rare … Continue reading Of Puritans and Pilchards

‘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

Ourselves alone? The General Convention of Ireland of 1660

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Today’s Irish themed blog from Dr Patrick Little of our House of Commons 1640-60 project considers the difficulties of governing Ireland during the restoration of the Monarchy and the General Convention of Ireland … The restoration of the Rump Parliament in May 1659 had thrown Ireland into disarray. The long-established settlers, known as the ‘Old Protestants’, had generally been supporters of … Continue reading Ourselves alone? The General Convention of Ireland of 1660

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

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?

Crashing out of Monarchy: February 1649 and the making of the English republic

For the final blog in our series on the events during the winter of 1648-9, Dr Patrick Little of the House of Commons 1640-1660 section considers the transition from monarchy to republic after the execution of Charles I…  After the dramatic events of December 1648 and January 1649, which saw the purging of Parliament and the trial and execution of the king, the far-reaching, ‘hard’ revolution that some hoped for … Continue reading Crashing out of Monarchy: February 1649 and the making of the English republic

MPs as art collectors in the 1650s

As the Royal Academy’s Charles I: King and Collector exhibition comes to a close, Andrew Barclay, Senior Research Fellow with the Commons 1640-1660 Section, considers how a number of the king’s paintings passed into the collections formed by MPs of the period… The Royal Academy’s Charles I exhibition deliberately ignores the fate of the king’s art collection after his execution in 1649. Yet the story … Continue reading MPs as art collectors in the 1650s