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Sir Simonds D’Ewes (1602-50), MP for the Suffolk borough of Sudbury, is the best-known and most prolific of the Long Parliament diarists. Often castigated by historians as opinionated, pompous and egotistical, his journal of events in the Long Parliament is the bedrock of sources beyond the official record. Only a proportion of his daily write-ups in English are available in modern print editions of proceedings, and less familiar still are his parallel journals, in Latin and in cipher. This paper seeks to illuminate D’Ewes’s motives, methods and formats in his overall, evolving, diarizing habit, seeking to locate them not only in the context of his changing political views, but also in his openness to capturing his self-reflections in writing.  

Stephen Roberts is emeritus director of the History of Parliament Trust, and editor of The History of Parliament: The House of Commons, 1640-1660 (9 vols, 2023).

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