A family affair? Sir Robert Walpole and the ‘Robinocracy’, 1721-1742

The History of Parliament

April 3 marks the 300th anniversary of Robert Walpolebecoming first lord of the treasuryand, with it, assuming the title ‘Prime Minister’ for the first time. In today’s blog Dr Robin Eagles, editor of our Lords 1715-1790 project, explores Walpole’s rise to power and the familiarity of his surname within the walls of Westminster…

Sir Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford, Jean-Baptiste van Loo, Government Art Collection via ArtUK

On 3 April 1721, 300 years ago today, Robert Walpole was handed the seals of office as first lord of the treasury. He was also appointed chancellor of the exchequer (the two jobs frequently went in tandem in this period). It was not the first time he had held the post, having been first lord of the treasury earlier in the reign of George I: a time when politics was dominated by two pairings – the partnerships of Charles Spencer…

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