| About this project
| Main galleries
| Document studies
| Local history sections
| Quick Ref
| Images & transcripts
| Exhibition credits
House of Lords Record Office
‘Citizenship: a history of people, rights and power in Britain’
explores the development of the rights and responsibilities of subjects
and citizens throughout a millennium of British history. The broad
theme addressed here is the shaping of relations between the individual
and the state. Within this, ‘Citizenship’ looks at struggles
to attain political, economic and social rights and how the state
dealt with them; at the engagement of the population with the state;
and at changing definitions of citizenship and citizens.
||A resource for all lifelong learners (whether
with a general interest in history, citizenship or local history,
or involved in formal study), the exhibition presents a selection
of fascinating documents from The National Archives and Parliamentary
Archives, many of them made available online for the first time. Each
document is explained and firmly set in its historical context, providing
a unique insight into the past as seen through the records of the
‘Citizenship’ looks at
the changing demands for collective and individual rights as Britain
- and, before that, England, Scotland and Wales - ceased to be a
static and interdependent feudal society and became an industrialised
and then post-industrial one. It explores ideas of what the subject
or citizen owed to the state, whether in terms of feudal dues, obedience
to the law, or payment of taxes. And it looks at the shifting dividing
line between citizens and non-citizens, whether between ‘subjects’
and ‘aliens’ (including Scots in England) in the medieval
period or those divided into three groups by the British Nationality
Act of 1981.
||The exhibition also addresses the question ‘Citizen
of what?’ Britain was created gradually, through conquest, royal
marriage alliances, and the Acts of Union of 1707 and 1800. In more
recent times, the development of Britain as an imperial power and
the subsequent entry of post-imperial Britain into Europe raised new
questions regarding the nature of British citizenship.
About this project
‘Citizenship: a history of people, rights and
power in Britain’ is a partnership between The National Archives
(formerly the Public Record Office) and the House of Lords Record
Office (The Parliamentary Archives), funded by the New Opportunities
The digitised documents presented in this exhibition
are held either by The National Archives or by the House of Lords
You can access the exhibition’s four main galleries by clicking
on the icons on the home page, or on the name of the relevant gallery
in the menu bar at the head of any of the other pages throughout
The various sections within each gallery are reached from the menu
on the left-hand side of each page. To go back to the home page,
click on the ‘Citizenship’ icon in the top left-hand
& local history sections
These are intended for general readers, as well as students and
those pursuing a special interest. As with other sections within
each gallery, you can reach document studies and local history sections
via the menu on the left-hand side of each page.
The local history sections can also be accessed by clicking on
the 'Local history' button on the home page and then on the relevant
icons on the local history menu page.
Document studies These sections
provide resources for people studying particular topics in depth.
Local history sections These pages
suggest how citizenship was established on the local as well as
the national stage. Birmingham is used as a case study to suggest
relevant records for local historians.
Quizzes, Quick Ref &
Quizzes Intended to educate as
well as entertain, the quizzes can be accessed from the home page
and also via the menu on the left-hand side of each page.
Quick Ref This provides definitions
of unfamiliar terms, together with concise details of some of the
historical events mentioned in the main text. You can also access
the 'Quick Ref' section by clicking on the 'Glossary' links in the
text throughout the exhibition.
Feedback This gives you a
chance to tell us what you think of the exhibition.
Images & transcripts
To download an image, click either on the small (‘thumbnail’)
reproduction of the image or on the document link below it. If above
120k, the 'byte size' of the image is given below it (the larger
images may take some time to download).
To access a transcript (and/or translation), click on the transcript
link below the thumbnail. The transcript can also be accessed from
the image 'window' - and after looking at the transcript, you can
return to the image or to the main text.
The aim has been to provide transcripts that reflect
the original documents as accurately as possible. However, documents
are not always clearly legible, especially if handwritten, and for
research purposes the transcripts are not a substitute for examining
the original documents. In the transcripts, obvious typing errors
have occasionally been corrected for the sake of clarity and in
places extraneous notes have been omitted.
When words in an original document are incomplete or abbreviated,
where necessary in the transcript the 'missing' letters have been
added in square brackets. Because of the way browsers 'wrap' words
at the end of lines, in some places words containing square brackets
may be split between lines in printouts or on screen.
Documents that have the prefix HLRO are held by the House of Lords
Those that have Catalogue reference prefixes are held by The National
Archives (formerly the Public Record Office). The following abbreviations
are used in these references: f. (folio), ff. (folios), m. (membrane),
p. (page), pp. (pages), q. (quire), and rex rot. (‘king’s
rotulet’, a membrane that forms part of the collection
of cases concerning offences against the king’s peace
on the roll of pleas for the court of King’s Bench).
Where relevant, Old Style and New Style dates have been given. In
1752 England adopted the New Style calendar (introduced by Pope Gregory
XIII in 1582). New Year’s Day - previously celebrated in the
spring - was moved from 25 March to 1 January (a change adopted in
Scotland in 1600). Consequently, to avoid ambiguity, dates prior to
1753 falling between 1 January and 25 March are expressed as (for
example) 6 January 1648/1649 or 6 January 1648 Old Style calendar,
1649 New Style.
Metadata (information about the images) is given on each page.
To see this information, go to 'View', then 'Source', and you will
find it in the code for the page.
The majority of documents and images reproduced in this exhibition
are either Crown copyright or Parliamentary copyright. For other
items reproduced here, we would like to thank the copyright holders
for granting us the necessary permissions.
Copyright has expired for some older works, and others are covered
by an exception in copyright law that permits publication without
permission. In other cases, despite our best efforts we have not
always been able to locate the copyright holders. If you believe
that any rights that are yours have inadvertently been infringed,
we would ask you to contact us and to accept our apologies.
For details of the individual images, see Acknowledgements
& copyright details. For private study or noncommercial
educational or research purposes as defined in the Copyright, Designs
and Patents Act 1988 (as amended), material included in this exhibition
may be reproduced without seeking permission. For all other purposes,
permission to reproduce or quote from copyright material included
in the exhibition must be obtained from The National Archives, the
House of Lords Record Office or other copyright holders, as appropriate,
and full acknowledgement must be made.
A project of The National Archives, in partnership with the House
of Lords Record Office, with external funding from the New Opportunities
Exhibition designed and created by: Anya Langmead
Project management: Marion Wallace
Writing and research: Adrian Ailes, Jenny Bunn, Sean Cunningham,
Alan McDougall, Malcolm Mercer, Jason Peacey, David Prior, Richard
Smith, Mari Takayanagi, James Travers
Advice, support and additional research: Adrian Ailes, Linda Ali,
Amanda Bevan, Vanessa Carr, Paul Carter, John Cassidy, Steve Chamberlain,
Ann Claiden, Lynne Cookson, David Crook, James Dowling, John Fisher,
Meryl Foster, Maurice Garman, Guy Grannum, Alistair Hanson, Susan
Healy, Jacqueline Jenkinson, Hilary Jones, Hilda Kean, Hannes Kleineke,
Peter Leek, Eugenia Low, Ann Morton, Stephen O’Connor, Tim
Padfield, Bruno Pappalardo, Annie Pinder, Paul Seaward, Ruth Selman,
William Spencer, Nigel Taylor, Emma Willson, Tony Woodiwiss
Transcripts and translations: Adrian Ailes, Barbara Arent, Amanda
Bevan, Harry Cobb, Lynne Cookson, Sean Cunningham, Malcolm Mercer,
David Prior, Stephen O’Connor, James Travers
Reference works: The Batsford Companion to Local History,
Chambers Biographical Dictionary, Collins English Dictionary,
Hutchinson Softback Encyclopedia, Oxford Encyclopedic
English Dictionary, Oxford English Dictionary
and Wordsworth Dictionary of British History have been
of great value in compiling the Quick Ref/Glossary section
Editor: Peter Leek
Project support: Barbara Arent, Ann Claiden, Lynne Cookson
Proofreaders: Monica Allen, Pandora Kerr Frost
Image production: Graeme Hill, Christian Potter, Lowell Potter,
Website management: Angela Mullen
Special thanks to David Prior, Mari Takayanagi, Steve Chamberlain,
Harry Cobb and Annie Pinder at the House of Lords Record Office
and to Andrea Allen at the New Opportunities Fund.
House of Lords Record Office (The Parliamentary Archives)
provides access to the historic records of the House of Lords
and the House of Commons, including Acts, journals, committee
records, deposited plans, private Bill evidence, administrative
papers and Appeal cases. It also provides access to collections
of private papers, including those of Lloyd George.
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