Category Archives: History

The BBC’s History Fail

The BBC needs to brush up on their history. When discussing possible outcomes for tomorrow’s General Election, they made the following claim: The prime minister could resign, after being defeated on the Queen’s Speech for example, and hand power to the … Continue reading

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Why Is Simon de Montfort’s Parliament Significant?

Today is the 750th anniversary of the meeting of Simon de Montfort’s Parliament. In honor of the occasion, the BBC teamed up with both Houses of Parliament for ‘Democracy Day,’ a series of events and discussions focusing on the past, … Continue reading

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A Labyrinth of Words

In honor of the Queen giving her Royal Assent and License to Amending Canon No. 33, I thought I’d post this delightfully arcane example of similar instrument from Queen Victoria’s reign. It is, without a doubt, one of the most grandiloquent documents … Continue reading

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The Road Not Taken: the Government of Scotland Bill

The years leading up to World War I were a time of great constitutional upheaval in the United Kingdom. The protracted struggle over Irish home rule is well known.[1] But while Parliament was agonizing over Ireland, backbench Liberal MPs were … Continue reading

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Cracking a Nut With a Sledgehammer: The Public Worship Regulation Act 1874

On August 7, 1874, one of the most ill-conceived pieces of legislation in history received Royal Assent. The Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 (37 & 38 Vict. c. 85) was a surprisingly un-Anglican attempt to stamp out liturgical pluralism, and it … Continue reading

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“WTF is the Lord Privy Seal?”

When I was going through my inbox, I discovered a question from the contact form that Gmail had squirreled away. Adrian wrote: WTF is the lord privy seal? As my loyal readers know, the office of Lord Privy Seal (or, to … Continue reading

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The Melancholy Case of Archbishop Abbot

On July 24, 1621, the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbot, killed a gamekeeper named Peter Hawkins while hunting in Bramshill Park. That unfortunate accident was the first scene in a protracted legal drama that would become a cause célèbre in … Continue reading

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James I and Executive Overreach

As I listened to President Obama strike a defiant tone in the face of Speaker John Boehner’s criticism of his use of executive orders, I was reminded of a similar dispute that raged in Jacobean England. Then as now, hostile members of … Continue reading

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