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The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1640-1660

Online Catalogue | Official Publications | History of Parliament |  The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1640-1660

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1640-1660 [9 Volume Set]
Free UK delivery on The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1640-1660 [9 Volume Set]

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1640-1660 [9 Volume Set]

The most comprehensive and complete study ever compiled about the turbulent period of the English and British Civil Wars and their aftermath.

The work of more than thirty years and multiple authors, the long-awaited nine volumes and more than 8,000 pages of The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1640-1660 make up an enormous resource that historians will regard as the most comprehensive collection of information and analysis ever compiled of the politics of perhaps the most critical and dramatic period of English and British history. During it, a political crisis became a civil war in which the Westminster Parliament confronted, and ultimately defeated King Charles I, putting him on trial and executing him in 1649. Over the following eleven years, the struggle to establish a stable and legitimate government saw the young Republic displaced in 1653 by the army under Oliver Cromwell, Cromwell's assumption of the title of Lord Protector, and, after his death a contest for power that ended with the collapse of the revived Republic and the ultimate Restoration of the monarchy under Charles II.

The work's main component is the 1,800 biographies of everyone was elected to the House of Commons between these years, including substantial reinterpretations of the lives of all of the major figures - Cromwell, Pym, Hampden and many others - as well as members of Oliver Cromwell's 'Other House', the second chamber of 1658-9. There are also accounts of the politics and elections of each constituency that returned members to the House of Commons - including the Scottish and Irish counties and towns that did so under the short-lived union constitution of 1653, the Instrument of Government. There are studies of the series of executive committees that were set up by Parliament to manage the enormous tasks of raising money for the war, directing its forces, maintaining its relationships with its allies (especially the Scots), and negotiating with foreign powers. And, finally, there is an introductory survey, summarising and analysing all this material as well as providing an essential political narrative of the period.

These volumes contain huge amounts of previously unknown information about the personalities and backgrounds of those involved in politics, and fresh and authoritative interpretation of their manoeuvrings and motivations. They include the lives of the many lesser-known, lower-status figures who came to prominence and entered national politics through service in the military or administrative roles in the parliamentarian war effort, as well as the grander gentry figures who were more familiar at Westminster. They include the charismatic and powerful men who were the backbone of the parliamentary regime such as Henry Marten, or the younger Sir Henry Vane; front-rank soldier-politicians like John Lambert, Henry Ireton or George Monck; and key polemicists such as William Prynne or Edward Hyde. The committee articles for the first time expose the administrative machinery of Parliament's war effort, together with the factional struggles of those involved. Given the detail and comprehensiveness of the biographies, the work will be vital not only for political historians, but for military, literary, social and economic historians of the period; while the constituency histories make a major contribution to local histories across the British Isles.

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1640-1660 constitutes an essential resource that will transform the way in which we study and think about the English and British Civil Wars. 
Stephen K. Roberts
Published by
Boydell & Brewer
Publication Date
May 2023
8720 pages with 9 colour illus
180 x 242 mm
Approx Weight
14.5 kg
HS Code

Volume I: Introductory Survey and Committees
Volume II: Constituencies: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
Volume III: Members, Abbot - Carew
Volume IV: Members, Carey - Fettiplace
Volume V: Members, Fielder - Hollister
Volume VI: Members, Holman - Martyn
Volume VII: Members, Marvell - Quicke
Volume VIII: Members, Radclyffe - Thistlethwayte
Volume IX: Members, Thomas - Yorke; Appendices