To mark the centenary of the Easter Rising we have put together a collection of previously published articles from Historical Research and podcasts from the IHR research seminar series on the theme of Anglo-Irish relations. This content can be accessed freely for a limited period.
This article explores the violence surrounding the collapse of the Munster plantation in 1598. It situates this event in the wider context of violence in early modern Ireland, and highlights both similarities and differences in the behaviour seen there, and in other, better-explored Irish episodes of violence. It also argues that while the memory of those earlier settlers was apparently forgotten or silenced, violence in 1598 played a significant part in how later violent incidents in Ireland were narrated, particularly the 1641 rebellion, and that consequently Munster played an important role in New English identity-building in the early modern period. OPEN ACCESS.
n 1891, southern Russia experienced a famine which affected 30–40 million people in an area the size of France, killing 650,000 in the highest estimates. The response of the Russian government was widely criticized by both opponents within Russia and observers abroad. This article analyses the response of the British liberal press and the Quaker relief fund, considering how the famine and its causes were presented with respect to the tsarist government’s culpability and ideas of Russian backwardness. It goes on to show how the framing of Quaker relief work highlighted these ideas of Russian underdevelopment and mismanagement, and advanced a liberal internationalist position within Britain. It is argued that we cannot explain the appeal of humanitarianism purely by its aesthetics of suffering and sympathy, but must also look to a wider range of social and political values held by its protagonists.
This article is a reassessment of Anne of Kiev as mother and guardian in the early years of the minority reign of her son, Philip I of France. The available chronicle evidence is re-examined and more emphasis is given to documentary sources which have previously been disregarded or overlooked. The article addresses outdated judgements about Anne’s role which are still prevalent in the historiography and aims finally to put them to rest, while arguing that Anne played a far more active role than has been suggested before. [OPEN ACCESS]
A comprehensive analysis of Bede’s references to ‘hides’ provides insights into his sources. Bede’s references are of two different types, revealing two different kinds of sources, which might most simply be termed ‘charter type’ and ‘tribute type’. Examining the first set reveals that in writing the Historia Ecclesiastica and especially the Historia Abbatum, Bede had access to documentary sources, some of the language of which is probably preserved in his works. In the absence of separately surviving Northumbrian charters, these elements give hints about the nature and content of such texts. The second group, the ‘tribute type’, points to Bede’s possession of a document along the lines of the ‘Tribal hidage’, probably originating in one of the periods of Northumbrian hegemony in the mid seventh century.
This article explores the problem of recovering early modern utterances by focusing upon the issue of how the ‘kingship debates’ of 1657 between Oliver Cromwell and a committee of ninety-nine M.P.s came to be recorded, reported and printed. Specifically, it investigates the two key records of the kingship debates which, despite being well known to scholars, have extremely shady origins. Not only does this article demonstrate the probable origins of both sources, but by identifying the previously unknown scribe of one of them it points to the possible relationship between the two. It also questions whether the nature of the surviving sources has exacerbated certain interpretations about the kingship debates and their outcome.
Isaac Nelson’s response to the civil war represented the fruit of twenty years’ reflection on the issues of slavery and emancipation. Perhaps surprisingly, he did not support the Federal government’s efforts to restore the Union, even after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Nelson’s analysis of the struggle helpfully illuminates the complexity of radical abolitionist responses to the civil war, while it also serves to correct hasty generalizations concerning British and Irish evangelical support for the Federal government. Thus, by means of a biographical case study of Ulster Presbyterianism’s most zealous abolitionist, a wide number of thematic issues can be freshly examined.
Across the seventeenth century medical self-help manuals noted that aromatic substances were a suitable remedy for female barrenness. It has often been suggested that in the early modern period physicians did not touch their patients but instead relied upon patient narrative to diagnose and treat the sick body. This article problematizes this issue by investigating the multi-sensory approach to treating infertility, a disorder invested with concerns of gendered bodily access. It will be demonstrated that the recommendation of aromatic treatments for infertility allowed male physicians a means to negotiate the complex gender boundaries that restricted their access to women’s bodies
This article examines associations between fat bodies and reproductive dysfunction that were prevalent in medical, midwifery and other literature in early modern England. In a period when fertility and successful reproduction were regarded as hugely important for social, economic and political stability such associations further contributed to negative attitudes towards fat bodies that were fuelled by connection with the vices of sloth and gluttony. Fat bodies were categorized as inherently, constitutionally, less sexual and reproductively successful. Consequently they were perceived as unhealthy and unfit for their primary purpose once they had reached sexual maturity: marriage and the production of children.
This article highlights the parameters of a lifecycles project that was funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, entitled ‘From the cradle to the grave: lifecycles in modern Ireland (pilot study: maternity)’. The project used individual hospital records to bring the regional effects of ‘medicalization’ outside metropolitan areas into a sharper focus. With an emphasis on rural Ireland from 1926 to 1956, this ‘pilot’ study used longitudinal data modelling to explore the medicalization of the female reproductive cycle in a general hospital and again in a psychiatric hospital setting. The project team chose disparate clinical settings to test how people understood their functions, to see, for example, if medical cases were presenting to the psychiatric setting. This article describes the digitization and data modelling processes and the parameters of the research agenda. It locates the broader medical and statistical findings of the project in their socio-economic context to highlight whether such matters conditioned when and how women resorted to medical care. It discusses the analytical challenges that the project posed and points to avenues of further research and future publications. It concludes that for historical reasons, in the rural Irish context, people engaged more freely with the asylum than the general hospital setting.
This article builds upon recent scholarship on the recycling – or ‘salvage’ – schemes organized by the British government during the Second World War. Viewing the act of recycling as part of an interactive ‘communications circuit’, it uses records produced by the Ministry of Information to analyse the development of publicity produced for the national salvage campaign. Particular attention is paid to the public’s role in shaping the course of the campaign. By demonstrating that a disjuncture between publicity and perceptions of inaction led to a sense of frustration, the article suggests that this example complicates the notion of a ‘people’s war’.
Combined operations in Britain’s pre-1914 strategy have been portrayed as fantastical, envisioning troop landings on Germany’s Baltic coast. These plans were apparently much in vogue during Admiral Sir John Fisher’s first term as first sea lord. Recent interpretations have also argued that Fisher never seriously considered amphibious projects over an economic strategy. This article will demonstrate that amphibious plans were central to the royal navy’s strategy against Germany but were limited to supporting a North Sea/Baltic observational blockade. Significantly, in 1905 and 1908, it was the army that proposed landings in northern Germany and Denmark, not the admiralty.
During the Second World War, the Ministry of Information occupied London’s Senate House. The University of London Library continued to function in the building, primarily to serve the Ministry. A wartime diary, memoirs and general correspondence supplement library committee reports and minutes to record this period of the library’s history unusually richly, and this article uses archival sources to describe the library’s operations during the war. It thereby not only opens up a hitherto unexplored area of the library’s history, but sheds light on daily institutional life in central London, and on the human side of the Ministry of Information.
Recent literature has explored the substantial autonomy Hong Kong enjoyed under British imperial rule in the post-war period. We are, however, left without an understanding of the precise parameters in which colonial authority could be exercised autonomously, and how and why it could be compromised. An investigation of the imprisonment in Beijing of British Reuters journalist Anthony Grey from 1967 to 1969, in retaliation for the arrest in Hong Kong of journalists for their part in the 1967 disturbances, demonstrates that the extensive autonomy of the Hong Kong authorities could be compromised if colonial policy contravened British foreign policy objectives towards China.
This article examines how political, theological and cultural factors formed confessional identity in Elizabethan England. It explores the rite of ‘reconciliation’ – usually the means by which Protestants converted to Catholicism – and its peculiar significance to English Catholics. The author argues that due to its illegal status in England, as well as the wider context of post-Reformation Catholicism, reconciliation became blurred with auricular confession and was adapted into a rite of passage for lifelong Catholics as well as converts. Reconciliation illustrates how political conflicts shaped the religious culture of English Catholics; it is also a striking example of how religious groups respond to minority status, modifying their traditions in order to create and preserve collective identity.
This article analyses rare surviving adulterous love letters alongside published epistles and trial reports to reveal the practical and emotional importance of letter-writing in conducting an affair in England c.1740–1830. While attitudes to adultery have received widespread scholarly attention, illicit letters remain largely overlooked. The article is the first to outline distinguishing features of adulterous letters, and the language of infidelity. It distinguishes missives from courtship letters as a secretive genre carefully shielded by writers. By scrutinizing the letters which sustained affairs, the article rediscovers the happiness, jealousy and desire of illicit love in the words of lovers themselves. [Open Access]
In March 1849 Alexander Maconochie, the former superintendent of the Norfolk Island penal settlement in colonial Australia and inventor of the ‘mark system’ of reformative penal discipline, was appointed by the Birmingham magistrates as the governor of the borough’s newly constructed prison. This article tells the story of the two years Maconochie spent at Birmingham prison, highlighting the illegal and abusive practices that he introduced there. It argues that, despite the reformative rhetoric portraying his approach to penal discipline as benevolent and humanitarian, Maconochie’s regime relied heavily on coercion and corporal punishment.
This study focuses on how the English crown identified and categorized French-born people in the kingdom during the preliminaries and first stage of the Hundred Years War. Unlike the treatment of alien priories and nobles holding lands on both sides of the Channel, the attitude to laypeople became more positive as the period progressed. In particular, the crown was prepared to grant wartime protections to French-born residents based on evidence of local integration. Analysis of the process reveals the flexibility with which the government considered national status before the emergence of denization at the end of the fourteenth century. [Open Access article]
Fire disasters were a perennial threat to urban life in early modern England, but are yet to receive sustained attention from historians. By analysing popular literature, charitable collections and relief distribution this article reveals how urban fires were interpreted and what effect they had on individuals and specific communities in England between 1580 and 1640. Some aspects of the experience of fire disasters in early modern England are illuminated through detailed contextual readings of contemporary news reports, quantitative analyses of the collection and distribution of charitable funds, and attention to the fortunes of individual survivors of fires.
Utilizing a handful of succession treatises from the first decade of Elizabeth I’s reign, this article analyses the multiplicity of ways in which early modern Englishmen and Scotsmen conceived of parliament’s fundamental characteristics and decision-making processes, as well as the relationship between the changeability of the law and parliamentary authority. It argues that Elizabeth’s refusal to allow her parliaments to discuss the succession opened up a discursive space in which resurrected and potential future parliaments served as logical, forward-thinking arbiters of this sensitive issue, and both pro- and anti-Stuart tract writers could identify at least one version of the Lords, Commons and crown that either had endorsed or supposedly would endorse their respective positions.