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Those who read English history in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries encountered significant coverage of Wales. English readers of late fifteenth-century chronicles, however, found little sense of the situation of Wales, even regarding its role in the invasion through Wales of Henry VII, a king with Welsh ancestry. This change suggests there were limits to English fifteenth-century preoccupations with Welsh threats. It also accentuates the significance of the rediscovery of Welsh pasts that took place from the fifteen-thirties, due to the monarchy’s Welsh identity and the importance in English historical writing of men with marcher connections like Richard Grafton and Edward Hall.
The 2017 Historical Research/Wiley lecture was designed to raise some general issues about the nature of ‘civil wars’ as a prelude to a conference that looked at many examples across time and space. It takes the events of the sixteen-forties across Britain and Ireland and notes that very few participants accepted (at least publicly) that they were engaged in one or more civil wars. There was widespread seventeenth-century understanding that the term ‘civil war’ (bellum civile) had been developed in late republican and early imperial Rome but as just one of several terms used to analyse and describe internal wars and conflicts. This article explores the implications of this for our understanding of the first great crisis of the Stuart kingdoms.
This article investigates office-holding and private enterprise in eighteenth-century Sicily through a case study of the activities of Baron de Piro, a native of Malta. Based on documents held in Maltese and Sicilian archives, the article demonstrates how political developments in the kingdom both opened up and circumscribed the opportunities within which an upwardly-mobile household sought its fortune by identifying the social, political and economic contexts in which they operated. In doing so, it delivers insights into the impact of successive regime changes on the socio-economic landscape in Sicily as it passed from the Austrian Habsburgs to the Bourbons of Naples.
Princess Elizabeth Tudor’s holograph letters have long been prized, but often reveal more about her education than about her life before she became queen in 1558. Her scribal letters, by comparison, can offer more matter-of-fact insights into these years, showing how Elizabeth negotiated with the governments of her brother Edward VI and sister Mary I, how she managed her household and estate, and how she sued for property for herself and patronage for her servants. The article presents diplomatic transcriptions of seven scribal letters, written between 1547 and 1556, adding significantly to our understanding of her life during these years.
This article examines the evidence of the early medieval Latin Physiologus manuscripts for compilatory practices within the context of Carolingian ecclesiastical and educational reform in the period c.700–1000. It argues that miscellany manuscripts, in which the Physiologus is exclusively found in this period, represent a conscious and highly organized encyclopaedic drive that created multi-purpose manuals as part of the response to programmatic social change at a local level. Miscellanies are therefore a key and overlooked source for the use of knowledge in monastic writing centres, and for early medieval intellectual history more generally.
When Simon de Montfort took control of the government of England in 1264, he replaced the sheriffs appointed by Henry III. The new sheriffs were relatively obscure and have been little studied. The baronial reform movement raised expectations that sheriffs should be honest, and natives of the counties they governed. De Montfort’s sheriffs largely met these requirements, as their backgrounds and careers demonstrate. Unpublished exchequer records show that they were sometimes surprisingly successful as administrators in a time of disorder. They were men of the knightly class, serving their counties, rather than being ideologically attached to the reform movement.
This article examines how some key Conservative leaders conceptualized the problem of ‘the future’ in the final stages of the Second World War. It contends that the mental map employed by senior Conservatives for navigating the challenges of post-war national renewal has remained significantly misunderstood. The article conducts a close reading of Conservative positions on a range of issues – from economic modernization and constitutional propriety to geopolitical tensions – and highlights some previously neglected dimensions to domestic political debate. It concludes that the arguments developed by Conservative leaders were more sophisticated and coherent than has often been recognized.
The judges commented: “This article impressed the judges by offering a fresh perspective on a much studied subject: Magna Carta. The author does this by connecting two aspects of thirteenth-century history that have usually been treated separately: efforts to promulgate the definitive 1225 text of the Charter, and the Church’s concern to improve pastoral care. In particular, she argues that the inclusion of a sanction of general excommunication on breakers of Magna Carta and the Forest Charter, especially after this sanction was given written form in 1253, meant that the clergy were obliged to publicize the sentence, together with the charters, so that parishioners would avoid incurring the resulting spiritual penalties. Thus the Church’s duty of pastoral care contributed to the dissemination of political awareness. Clearly and cogently argued, firmly grounded in the primary sources, especially canon law, and engaging critically with a wide range of secondary literature in several languages, the article makes an original and significant contribution to scholarship, and the judges warmly recommend that it be selected as proxime accessit.”
This article challenges the influential revisionist interpretation of the impeachment of the duke of Buckingham in the parliament of 1626. It argues that Buckingham’s enemies sought to remove him from power rather than ‘reform’ his errors or reach a compromise settlement whereby he would give up some offices. It explores the relationship between M.P.s and their patrons in the house of lords, the ideological and religious significance of the impeachment and the reasons for the dissolution, arguing that the attack on Buckingham was much more radical, polarizing and uncompromising than has previously been acknowledged.
Since the nineteen-seventies public history has emerged as an increasingly coherent discipline in North America, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and, latterly, in a wider European context. In all of these places it has had a connected but distinctly different gestation, and the nature of how history is applied, constructed, proffered or sold for public consumption is unique to each society. In Ireland, and within the history profession connected to it, its meaning is yet to be fully explored. Recent talks, symposia and conferences have established the term in the public imagination. As it is presently conceived public history in Ireland either relates specifically to commemorative events and the effect historians might have on official discourse relating to them, or to a series of controversial and contested historiographical debates. This article, by contrast, seeks a wider, more inclusive definition that includes the ‘public’ as an actor in it.
Viking re-enactors at the Battle of Clontarf millennium commemoration, Saint Anne’s Park, Dublin, April 19th 2014
Getting out of jail: suicide, escape and release in late medieval and Renaissance Bologna. Trevor Dean
The 1553 succession crisis reconsidered. Paulina Kewes
Whose city? Civic government and episcopal power in early modern Salisbury, c.1590–1640. Catherine Patterson
‘I was no “master of this work” but a servant to it’? William Laud, Charles I and the making of Scottish ecclesiastical policy, 1634–6. Leonie James [open access]
Between tension and rapprochement: Sunni-Shi‘ite relations in the pre-modern Ottoman period, with a focus on the eighteenth century. M. Sait Özervarlı
One of the best men of business we had ever met’: Thomas Drummond, the boundary commission and the 1832 Reform Act. Martin Spychal [open access]
Charles Mason, the ‘king of China’: British imperial adventuring in the late nineteenth century. Catherine Ladds
‘That racial chasm that yawns eternally in our midst’: the British empire and the politics of Asian migration, 1900–14. Cornelis Heere
Invasion, raids and army reform: the political context of ‘flotilla defence’, 1903–5. Richard Dunley
‘And those who live, how shall I tell their fame?’ Historical pageants, collective remembrance and the First World War, 1919–39. Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Paul Readman and Charlotte Tupman [open access]
The Pollard Prize is awarded annually for the best paper presented at an Institute of Historical Research seminar by a postgraduate student or by a researcher within one year of completing the PhD.
Winner: Kenneth Duggan of Kings College, London, for ‘The Limits of Strong Government: Attempts to Control Criminality in Thirteenth-Century England’, paper given to the European History Seminar 1150-1500
Runner up: Imogen Peck of the University of Bristol, for ‘A chronology of some memorable accidents’: the representation of the recent past in English almanacs, 1648-1660, paper given to the History Lab seminar
The papers will be published in Historical Research
The Ottoman empire is known for its ethnically and religiously pluralistic social fabric, but also for defending the mainstream Sunni branch of Islam in opposition to its Iranian Safavid rival. This article revisits the Ottoman construction of Sunnism and suggests that, despite strict state policies from above to exclude Shi‘ites and communal pressures from below in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, channels of dialogue could not be closed down in the long term. By focusing on a specific intra-religious dialogue of 1743, that aimed at reconciliation between Sunnis and Shi‘ites, this article highlights a probable case of ‘de-confessionalization’. Close examination of the textual account of this inter-communal meeting demonstrates how the Ottomans were torn between defending their Sunni identity and the need for rapprochement to avoid further sectarianism in broader Muslim society.
In response to the pressure of the invasion debates of 1903–1905 the Admiralty developed a new strategy, ‘flotilla defence’, to counter arguments brought forward by the War Office. This concept was a purely political one; it was a cynical bid to mislead the Committee of Imperial Defence in order to secure naval funding. By placing ‘flotilla defence’ in this context this article will demonstrate that it was not, as has been claimed, a revolutionary naval strategy, but part of the polarization of defence policy which led to a breakdown in relations between the army and the navy.
This article examines the ways in which the First World War was represented in historical pageants during the interwar period. Pageants in this period are often overlooked as sites of commemoration and dramatic representation. Three types of pageant are identified: those that portrayed the war hyper-realistically, those which relied on symbolism and allegory to convey messages about war and peace, and those which sought to incorporate the war into the longer histories of the communities whose pasts they depicted. The article argues that ‘traditional’ forms of representation of the past proved to be resilient features of popular commemoration and remembrance.
This article discusses and contextualizes a unique document: the record of an investigation into a death, apparently by suicide, in the communal prison in Bologna in 1473, with an accompanying drawing of the dead body. The credibility of this death as suicide is questioned and discussed as a possible concealed homicide. It is then further contextualized in relation to the recent, revisionist historiography of conditions in medieval prisons, and it is argued that the investigative phase of criminal justice, involving torture, increasingly generated suicides and prison escapes.
This article considers the life of a British would-be adventurer and clerk in the Imperial Maritime Service, Charles Mason, who became embroiled in an uprising against the Chinese government in 1891. By exploring Mason’s life, his writings and the diplomatic dialogue sparked by his actions, the article highlights the growing disjuncture between imperial fantasy and the reality of imperial administration. It considers how the actions of errant individuals could be used as a pretext to renegotiate the limits of British and Chinese power. As Mason’s actions and his literary career demonstrate, China and other imperial sites beyond the formal control of colonial authorities acted as ideal places for adventuring in the British imagination.
This article examines jurisdictional disputes between the city of Salisbury and its bishops in the Elizabethan and early Stuart period, showing how debates over local control articulated broader ideas of order in the state. The civic leadership identified itself closely with the monarch in its bid for incorporation, arguing that prosperity and peace could only be achieved in this way. The bishops, in contrast, claimed that their own traditional authority over the city was the surest means of order, an argument that gained greater purchase under Charles I. Local actors could shape relations between themselves and the crown, but their success rested finally on the monarch’s willingness to trust them to maintain the royal state.
This article offers a comprehensive survey of relations between the labour movement, socialists and official eugenic opinion from the late Victorian era to the Second World War. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources, it discusses both how the left regarded eugenics and the attempts by the Eugenics Society to gather support from this tendency. Although some socialists wished to utilize eugenics and some eugenists were friendly to labour, it is concluded that only peripheral labour organizations were truly attracted to the doctrine. The article provides a much more nuanced account than does the weight of past scholarship.
Building upon recent scholarship, this article presents a study of policy formation within the composite monarchy of Charles I. Through a scrutiny of the 1636 canons – a crucial but neglected aspect of the ‘Laudian’ programme in Scotland – new light is shed on the contested dynamics of the working partnership between the king and William Laud, archbishop of Canterbury (1633–45). The article also engages with the question of whether Laud can accurately be described as ‘the master’ of religious reform in Scotland and contends that he recast retrospectively his role in policy formation – not just in the canons, but in other, equally controversial, aspects of Scottish policy – thus concealing the true extent of his involvement, by presenting himself as having been a servant, not an agent. Suggesting greater involvement in Scottish affairs than has hitherto been acknowledged, these findings put Laud at the heart of a programme of religious reform that extended across the British churches during the sixteen-thirties.