Introductory Survey, 1604-1629

Published in 2010.

The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629 edited by Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, was published in six volumes in November 2010.

In a wide-ranging Introductory Survey, Andrew Thrush examines the House of Commons as an institution, exploring its Members and officials from a variety of angles, many of them unfamiliar.  There are chapters on the shifting powers and functions of the House; on the reasons which led some men to stand for election and others to avoid doing so; on elections themselves; and on the composition of the House.  Moreover, fresh light is cast on the changing shape of the parliamentary day, on levels of attendance and on the rules which governed membership, speechmaking, legislation and conferences.  The topography of the House and the duties of the Commons' officials are also covered in depth.  In the longest chapter, Thrush documents the Crown's increasing inability to manage the Commons and argues that the period witnessed a dramatic decline in the authority of the Speaker. This view is reinforced in a final essay on representation, where it is shown that during the 1620s it became more and more difficult for courtiers to gain election.  The Introductory Survey is completed by a series of useful appendices listing the holders of key government offices, failed candidates and various types of Members.