Dr Paul Seaward

History of Parliament Research

I’ve been director of the History since 2001, responsible for the smooth running, steady progress and quality of the History. Moving to the History followed a 13 year career as a clerk in the House of Commons, serving as Clerk of the Public Administration and Employment Committees, and in a number of procedural offices. Being director involves administration and meetings, rather than research, although I am – very slowly – writing entries for the House of Lords 1660-1715 volumes on the first Earls of Clarendon and Shaftesbury, and have undertaken just one interview for our current oral history project.

Research and Publications

My research has focussed on mid-to-late seventeenth century English politics and political thought and on parliament as an institution from the seventeenth century to the present day. Current research projects include a biography of the statesman and historian Edward Hyde, first Earl of Clarendon (1609-1674) and (together with Martin Dzelzainis, University of Leicester) an Oxford Edition of Clarendon’s works, including The History of the Rebellion, and The Life of Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon. I’m also planning a project on the place of Parliament within the British mind from the seventeenth century to the present day, including work on institutional memory such as the development of procedural memories and mythmaking about Parliament, and work on visual representations of Parliament, especially the paintings by John Singleton Copley of Charles I attempting to arrest the five members (Boston Public Library, 1786-93) and Karl-Anton Hickel, William Pitt addressing the House of Commons (NPG, 1793).

Publications include:

- Chapters on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in A History of Oriel College (Oxford, forthcoming),

- (ed.) Speakers and the Speakership (a multi-authored volume of essays published as Parliamentary History, 29, 1 (2010)),

- (ed., with Ruth Paley and Beverly Adams, Robin Eagles and Charles Littleton) Honour, Interest and Power: An Illustrated History of the House of Lords, 1660-1715 (Boydell and Brewer 2010),

- ‘The House of Commons, 1660-1707’ and ‘The House of Commons since 1949’, in A Short History of Parliament, ed. Clyve Jones (Boydell and Brewer, 2009),

- (ed.) Thomas Hobbes, Behemoth (Oxford, 2009) (volume XI in the Clarendon edition of the works of Thomas Hobbes),

- (ed.) Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon The History of the Rebellion: a new selection (Oxford World’s Classics, 2009),

- ‘Clarendon, Tacitism, and the Civil Wars of Europe’, in The Uses of History in Early Modern England, edited