Honour, Interest and Power: an Illustrated History of the House of Lords, 1660-1715

Honour, Interest and Power: an Illustrated History of the House of Lords, 1660-1715

Edited by Ruth Paley, Paul Seaward


Boydell Press



The House of Lords presented the stage on which some of the critical confrontations in English and British constitutional and political history were played out in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. Published for the History of Parliament Trust.
Condemned as 'useless and dangerous', the House of Lords was abolished in the revolution of 1649, shortly after the execution of King Charles I. Reinstated, along with the monarchy, at the Restoration of 1660, the House of Lords vigorously renewed its involvement in the political life of the nation. This highly illustrated book presents the first results from the research undertaken by the History of Parliament Trust on the peers and bishops between the Restoration and the accession of George I. It shows them as politicians at Westminster; as members of an elite intensely conscious of their honour and status; as a class apart, always devising new schemes - successful and unsuccessful - to increase their wealth and 'interest'; and as local grandees, to whom local society looked for leadership and protection. From the proud duke of Somerset to the beggarly Lord Mohun, from the devious earl of Oxford to the disgruntled Lord Lucas, the material here presents initial insights into the nature of the Restoration House of Lords and the men who formed it, showing them in their best moments, when they vigorously defended the law and the constitution, and in their worst, as they obsessively concerned themselves with honour and precedence and indefatigably pursued private interests.

RUTH PALEY is editor, and BEVERLY ADAMS, ROBIN EAGLES and CHARLES LITTLETON are senior research fellows, for the House of Lords, 1660-1832 section of The History of Parliament. PAUL SEAWARD is director of The History of Parliament.


October 2010
180 colour illustrations
416 pages
24x17.8 cm
History of Parliament
ISBN: 9781843835769
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
History of Parliament
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Table of Contents

Foreword by Patrick Cormack, the Chairman of the History of Parliament Trust
'The ancient landmark': the House of Lords in the Constitutional Landscape
The Peerage: recruitment, extinction and the inflation of honours
Getting and spending
The Lords in Parliament
Honour, Power and Privilege
The House of Lords at work
The business of the House
Interest: the lords and the nation
Epilogue: The Hanoverian succession and the 1719 peerage bill


A resounding success: wide-ranging, deceptively deeply researched and often very droll. (.) Huge credit is due to the editors for mandating such a heavily illustrated text (.) and to Boydell for producing such a beautiful volume. (.) Overall, this wholly admirable book makes readily accessible a wealth of detail for specialists, a helpful range of digestible topics for students and an intelligent guide for all those interested in a powerful institution during a period when it may have been at the peak of its political significance. HISTORY
Honour, Interest and Power tells in lavish detail the story of the survival and revival of the House of Lords in the period from 1660 to 1714. It is published by the History of Parliament Trust, best known for its indispensable reference works on Members of Parliament. This volume is a welcome foray into attracting a general audience. The authors have used their immense knowledge of the period to bring the peerage alive. The book is sumptuous, richly illustrated with the works of the age's great portrait and landscape artists and no less with the authors' succinct depictions of its leading peers. HISTORY TODAY
A dish of delights to dip into...With illustrations including prints, maps, book plates and portraits, events are well anchored in time and place. COUNTRY LIFE, January 2011

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