Although our project is currently focused primarily on the seventeenth-century, one of the project team – Sharon Howard – is also undertaking her own research on eighteenth-century petitioning using material digitised by the London Lives project. In a new post on her blog, she presents some of her most recent analysis of ‘when and why petitioning mattered’ for the ordinary people of the metropolis.
Using the 10,000 petitions sent to London’s local magistrates between 1690 and 1800, she shows this sort of ‘everyday’ petitioning was far from static and unchanging across the period. Instead, there seem to have been spikes in petitioning in particular decades, a long-term decline in petitioning per capita, and a shift in the types of petitioners. Specifically, the proportion of women petitioners declined dramatically, the proportion of individual male petitioners declined more moderately, and the proportion of institutional petitioners – such as parishes – increased substantially.
Read the whole post on ‘Gender, institutions and the changing uses of petitions in 18th-century London’ to find out more, but the key lesson is that analysing 10,000 petitions across 110 years shows that even ‘prosaic’ petitioning changed remarkably.
‘The Power of Petitioning’ officially began as an AHRC-funded project in January 2019, but it has a long ‘pre-history’. In an earlier post on the Many-Headed Monster history blog, Brodie Waddell explains how the project came to be. He also discusses some of the lessons he learned while putting together the application and includes a link to the full text of the funding proposal which might be useful for other people seeking external support.
Here you can read his full post on ‘The Power of Petitioning in Seventeenth-Century England: The Long Road to a New Project’.
Welcome to the blog of ‘The Power of Petitioning in Seventeenth-Century England’, a two-year project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council which began in January 2019.
We will to use this space to publish a wide range of information about the history of petitioning and various aspects of the project itself. There are already several planned posts which will appear soon, including a very short introduction to petitioning in early modern England and an annotated bibliography of key scholarship on this topic. We will also be blogging about some of the petitions we come across in our research, reviews of new scholarship, and guides to further research.
In the meantime, you can use this site to learn more about the project team, our partners and funders, our publications and events, and the substantial number of online resources for researching petitions.
You can also find hundreds of micro-posts about the history of petitioning on twitter using our project tag: #PowerOfPetitioning.
And, just to whet your appetite, here is the full title page from which we took our header image: The Humble Petition of Jock of Bread, Scotland (1648). Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.