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Paul Seaward

Paul Seaward Paul Seaward has been Director of the History of Parliament Trust since August 2001. The Trust is an independent organisation which researches and publishes a major scholarly reference work consisting of lives of members of both Houses, and accounts of politics and elections in each constituency from the origins of Parliament up to the nineteenth century. It has 23 research staff and is funded by both Houses of Parliament.

He holds MA and DPhil degrees from the University of Oxford. He was A.H. Lloyd Junior Research Fellow at Christ’s College, Cambridge 1984-88. Before becoming Director at the Trust, he was a Clerk in the House of Commons for 13 years, 1988-2001. The Department of the Clerk of the House of Commons manages the procedural aspects of the business of the House and its committees, and provides the secretariat to Select Committees. He worked in a number of roles, including as the first clerk of the Public Administration Select Committee.

He has been a member of the Advisory Council of the Institute of Historical Research (2002-8), a Vice President of the Royal Historical Society (2004-7), Member of the Direction of the International Commission for the History of Representative and Parliamentary Institutions since 2007; on the Board of the network of European institutes concerned with parliamentary history, EuParl.net, since its beginning, in 2009; on the Editorial Board of the academic peer-reviewed Journal Parliamentary History since 2001; Councillor and Trustee of the Hansard Society for Parliamentary Government (1997-2005); Treasurer and Executive Member of the Study of Parliament Group (1996-2000), and has served on various project boards for the UK Parliament and academic projects.


Books on seventeenth century English politics and political thought include: The Cavalier Parliament and the Reconstruction of the Old Regime (Cambridge University Press, 1989); The Politics of Religion in Restoration England (a multi-authored volume of essays, edited with Mark Goldie and Tim Harris, Basil Blackwell, 1990); The Restoration, 1660-1688 (Macmillan, 1991); Thomas Hobbes: Behemoth (a volume in the Oxford edition of the complete works of Thomas Hobbes, with introduction and notes, Oxford 2009); Clarendon: The History of the Rebellion: a new selection (a volume in the Oxford World series, consisting of extracts from Clarendon’s History and Life, with introduction and notes, Oxford 2009). Recent articles include ‘Davila, Clarendon, and the Civil Wars of France and England’, in The Uses of History in Early Modern England, edited by Paulina Kewes (Huntingdon Library Quarterly, 68, 1 & 2 (2005)).

Works on the history of Parliament include Speakers and the Speakership (a multi-authored volume of essays edited, published as Parliamentary History, 29, 1 (2010)); Honour, Interest and Power: An Illustrated History of the House of Lords, 1660-1715 (a summary of the work currently being undertaken by the History of Parliament’s House of Lords 1660-1832 project, edited by Ruth Paley, and other staff of the project, published by Boydell, 2010); ‘The House of Commons, 1660-1707’ and ‘The House of Commons since 1949’, in A Short History of Parliament, ed. Clyve Jones (Boydell, 2009); and ‘The House of Commons in the Twentieth Century’ (with Paul Silk), in The British Constitution in the Twentieth Century edited by Vernon Bogdanor, Oxford/The British Academy, 2002.

Current research

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. He is also planning a multi-volume project on the place of Parliament within the British mind from the seventeenth century to the present day. Among the projects included are work on institutional memory, including the development of procedural memories and mythmaking about Parliament, and work on visual representations of Parliament. He is also interested more generally on the history of institutions and how they have operated, a concern stimulated by writing chapters on the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in a History of Oriel College, Oxford, edited by Jeremy Catto.

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