Sir Job Charlton and the Declaration of Indulgence 1672-3

As we continue our recent blog series exploring the careers of notable people to occupy the role of Speaker, here History of Parliament director Dr Paul Seaward examines the debates behind appointing this influential job in the 17th century and a Speaker often forgotten about… Speakers of the Commons in the seventeenth century were, though notionally elected by the House, effectively government appointees. At the … Continue reading Sir Job Charlton and the Declaration of Indulgence 1672-3

‘Robin the trickster’ versus ‘Stiff Dick’: the election of Robert Harley as Speaker of the Commons in 1701

In the latest in our series discussing some of the notable figures to occupy the role of Speaker of the House Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, discusses the contested election that led Robert Harley to the chair… From 1704 to the spring of 1705 Robert Harley was both Speaker of the House of Commons and one of the secretaries of state. … Continue reading ‘Robin the trickster’ versus ‘Stiff Dick’: the election of Robert Harley as Speaker of the Commons in 1701

A Speakership that never was: Sir Thomas Hungerford and the Parliament of 1378

Throughout 2022 we have been looking into the careers of some of the people to occupy the role of Speaker- a title first recorded as being attributed to Sir Thomas Hungerford in 1377. But this did not mean that Hungerford’s place in the House of Commons was guaranteed, as Dr Hannes Kleineke, editor of our Commons 1461-1504 project, explores… There is a modern-day convention that … Continue reading A Speakership that never was: Sir Thomas Hungerford and the Parliament of 1378

‘Why not you?’ Sir John Cust, reluctant Speaker of the House of Commons

It is one of Westminster’s many traditions that, when an MP is elected to the role of Speaker of the House of Commons, they must show reluctance to accept the title and even be ceremonially dragged to the chair. However as Dr Robin Eagles from our Lords 1715-1790 project explores, Sir John Cust, Speaker 1761-1770, may not have been faking his lack of enthusiasm for … Continue reading ‘Why not you?’ Sir John Cust, reluctant Speaker of the House of Commons

‘So much dignity and efficiency’: John Evelyn Denison, Speaker of the House of Commons, 1857-72

The new year calls for a new blog series, so throughout 2022 we’re taking a closer look at some of the figures who held the post of ‘Speaker’. Today we hear from Dr Kathryn Rix, assistant editor of our Commons 1832-1868 project, who explores the career of J. E. Denison, Speaker of the House of Commons from 1857-72. On 8 April 1857 John Evelyn Denison … Continue reading ‘So much dignity and efficiency’: John Evelyn Denison, Speaker of the House of Commons, 1857-72

“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

‘It was the dissimulation of this one man that stirred up that whole plague of evils which followed’: William Catesby, Speaker in the Parliament of 1484, and the accession of Richard III

On 25 August 1485 William Catesby, Speaker of the House of Commons, was executed. But what brought about the downfall of this once influential Member of Parliament? Dr Simon Payling from our Commons 1461-1504 project explores… In his account of the accession of Richard III, written in the 1510s, Sir Thomas More assigned a pivotal role to an unlikely candidate, William Catesby, a lawyer educated … Continue reading ‘It was the dissimulation of this one man that stirred up that whole plague of evils which followed’: William Catesby, Speaker in the Parliament of 1484, and the accession of Richard III

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