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Smuggled in a Warming Pan

Stephen Sedley: The Glorious Revolution, 24 September 2015

The Glorious Revolution and the Continuity of Law 
by Richard Kay.
Catholic University of America, 277 pp., £45, December 2014, 978 0 8132 2687 3
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... by a jury in June 1688 coincided with the birth of a male heir to the throne, James Edward Stuart. To the Protestant establishment this was the last straw. While gossip ran around that the child was not the royal couple’s and had been smuggled into the palace in a warming pan, ambitious politicians were converting to Catholicism. The Vicar of ...

Hugh Dalton to the rescue

Keith Thomas, 13 November 1997

The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home 
by Peter Mandler.
Yale, 523 pp., £19.95, April 1997, 0 300 06703 8
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Ancient as the Hills 
by James Lees-Milne.
Murray, 228 pp., £20, July 1997, 0 7195 5596 5
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The Fate of the English Country House 
by David Littlejohn.
Oxford, 344 pp., £20, May 1997, 9780195088762
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... houses as the background for scenes of Christmas revelry where the classes mingled in the great hall. This was a thinly veiled attack on the exclusivity of the ‘polite’, classical culture of the 18th and early 19th centuries, when magnates distanced themselves from their inferiors, ceased to share their festivities with their tenantry and either closed ...

This Trying Time

A.N. Wilson: John Sparrow, 1 October 1998

The Warden 
by John Lowe.
HarperCollins, 258 pp., £19.99, August 1998, 0 00 215392 0
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... to have had every girt handed him by the gods: unshakeable homosexuality – no pram in the hall to make war on his early promise; brutal, but stunning handsomeness; an exact and dogged intelligence, and a delight in arguing impossible positions which would have guaranteed him success at the Chancery Bar, had he wanted it; a bibliophile’s flair for ...

Escaping the curssed orange

Norma Clarke: Jane Barker, 5 April 2001

Jane Barker, Exile: A Literary Career 1675-1725 
by Kathryn King.
Oxford, 263 pp., £40, September 2000, 0 19 818702 5
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... male power, the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey. Like the third storey at Thornfield Hall from whose terrace Jane surveys the landscape, vowing to have her share of life, even if she is a female and ‘poor, obscure and plain’ to boot, Galesia’s ‘garret-closet’ occupies a symbolic space between the life she lives and the life she ...


David Edgar: The Angry Brigade, 16 December 2004

The Angry Brigade: The Cause and the Case 
by Gordon Carr.
ChristieBooks, 168 pp., £34, July 2003, 1 873976 21 6
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Granny Made Me an Anarchist 
by Stuart Christie.
Scribner, 423 pp., £10.99, September 2004, 0 7432 5918 1
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... Brigade actions’ while ‘some had not.’ This delicately equivocal formulation comes from Stuart Christie, whose hugely engaging memoir includes an account of the Angry Brigade trial. Granny Made Me an Anarchist describes how, after a short flirtation with the flute band of his local Orange lodge in Glasgow, the teenage Christie quickly ...


Peter Pulzer, 4 September 1986

Little Germany: Exile and Asylum in Victorian England 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Oxford, 304 pp., £17.50, July 1986, 0 19 212239 8
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... The Reading Room of the British Museum is now completed, and if London had nothing but this hall of the blessed, scholars would make it well worth their while to make a pilgrimage here. All the sorrows of the outside would disappear in the mighty rotunda, and it is so quiet in this region of the eternal spirits that one can follow a thought into one’s inmost recesses ...

Farewell Sovereignty

Stephen Sedley: The Case for the Regicides, 9 February 2006

The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold 
by Geoffrey Robertson.
Chatto, 429 pp., £20, October 2005, 0 7011 7602 4
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... both Milosevic and Saddam Hussein have confronted their tribunals with the same question as the Stuart monarch put to his: by what authority do you try me? The bald answer in each case has been the same: the authority of the power that has supplanted yours. Robertson embarked on this project as a result of an evening in 1999 when the Australian judge Sir ...

Dangerously Insane

Deyan Sudjic: Léon Krier, 7 October 2010

The Architecture of Community 
by Léon Krier.
Island, 459 pp., £12.99, February 2010, 978 1 59726 579 9
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... suggest such a thing?) However, there is a certain family resemblance between the languid village hall in Florida designed by Krier and the replanned Italian town of Alessandria also featured in his book. ‘Modern is chronology, while modernist is ideology,’ Krier points out, to demonstrate that he isn’t a hopeless reactionary; he is perfectly ready to ...

Out of the blue

Mark Ford, 10 December 1987

Meeting the British 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 53 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 571 14858 1
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Partingtime Hall 
by James Fenton and John Fuller.
Salamander, 69 pp., £7.50, April 1987, 0 948681 05 5
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Private Parts 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Chatto, 72 pp., £4.95, June 1987, 9780701132064
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Bright River Yonder 
by John Hartley Williams.
Bloodaxe, 87 pp., £4.95, April 1987, 1 85224 028 8
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... they can think of – in Fenton and Fuller’s collaborative book of light verse, Partingtime Hall. I especially enjoyed the public-school master Mountgrace-church MacDiarmid’s taste in literature: Selected John Ashbery, Schuyler, O’Hara, Gravity’s Rainbow, and End as a Man, Young Torless, Cavafy and others bizarrer, Lord Weary, Das ...


Donald Davie, 21 March 1991

The Oxford Book of Essays 
edited by John Gross.
Oxford, 680 pp., £17.95, February 1991, 0 19 214185 6
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... only nor mostly by sociologists – on just how the British class system works. And is the music-hall artist Marie Lloyd, overt topic of Eliot’s essay, its real topic? Or does she not serve, as token-figure and pretext, to fill in one otherwise unoccupied corner of the Eliot persona? ‘You say he has no demotic sympathies? Why, look here.’ An ...


Richard Jenkyns: George Grote’s ‘A History of Greece’, 9 August 2001

A History of Greece: From the Time of Solon to 403 BC 
by George Grote, edited by J.M. Mitchell and M.O.B. Caspari.
Routledge, 978 pp., £60, September 2000, 0 415 22369 5
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... as a dutiful widow is the best source for his life. He did not have to worry about the pram in the hall, and his wealth enabled him from the age of 50 to devote his time to the ancient world. But even with these advantages, the History of Greece, ranging ‘from the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great’, was a ...

Less than Perfectly Submissive

Susan Pedersen: No Votes, Thank You, 20 March 2008

Women against the Vote: Female Anti-Suffragism in Britain 
by Julia Bush.
Oxford, 340 pp., £35, October 2007, 978 0 19 924877 3
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... and the coterie of Oxford women who had been instrumental in founding Somerville and Lady Margaret Hall must have given suffragists pause. For a time, then, and as Bush implies, the suffrage battle was less a ‘sex war’ than an argument among women – and one that did not divide neatly along progressive v. reactionary lines. Busy running settlement houses ...

Reduced to Ashes and Rubbage

Jessie Childs: Civil War Traumas, 3 January 2019

Battle-Scarred: Mortality, Medical Care and Military Welfare in the British Civil Wars 
edited by David Appleby and Andrew Hopper.
Manchester, 247 pp., £80, July 2018, 978 1 5261 2480 7
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... and a date: 1633. This was the year a local gentleman, Sir John Reresby of Thrybergh Hall, began to note the contents of his garden. Every peach, pear and plum is catalogued, as are herbs, shrubs, bulbs – ‘Kentish Codlings’, ‘the Granado Gilliflower’, ‘Melincholly Munkes hoode’ – and attempts at grafting and inarching. According ...

I have no books to consult

Stephen Sedley: Lord Mansfield, 22 January 2015

Lord Mansfield: Justice in the Age of Reason 
by Norman Poser.
McGill-Queen’s, 532 pp., £24.99, September 2013, 978 0 7735 4183 2
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... three years since the first Jacobite Rising had attempted to place the Old Pretender, James Edward Stuart, on the throne, and although the Murrays were well-known Jacobites, the family was well enough connected to ensure that, when he reached London, William was able to enter Westminster School and then Christ Church, Oxford, at both of which he shone as a ...

Agh, Agh, Yah, Boo

David Wheatley: Ian Hamilton Finlay, 4 December 2014

Midway: Letters from Ian Hamilton Finlay to Stephen Bann, 1964-69 
edited by Stephen Bann.
Wilmington Square, 426 pp., £25, May 2014, 978 1 905524 34 1
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... where poetry was concerned: Bunting broke a long silence with Briggflatts in 1965 (published by Stuart Montgomery’s Fulcrum Press); Prynne’s Kitchen Poems (1968) was exciting readers in the CB2 postcode; the TLS was publishing concrete poems; and in 1971 Eric Mottram would begin his influential tenure at Poetry Review. But it wasn’t to last. ‘The ...

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