Medieval Times and Tudor England

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Medieval Times and Tudor England

Postby Colin » Wed Aug 04, 2004 10:25 am

First Medieval Times

Just after Harold became king of England ('king of the Saxons'), Vikings invaded at Stamford Bridge but were defeated by Harold. Then William of Normandy invaded Britain, winning the battle of Hastings on 14th October 1066.

Harold had marched his tired army south to meet William collecting a few more soldiers on the way, and positioned his army to block the road to London. William's army was well trained and had lots of knights. Harold's army was about equal in number, but were mostly tired foot soldiers.

William tried archers first, then spearmen and then knights, and nothing seemed to be working. Then he got lucky as Harold's Breston allies ran away and some other Saxons followed them, leaving fewer to fight against William. The Norman archers could now with more success shoot at the thinner Saxon line. William then led his Norman knights in a charge at the saxons and Harold was killed.

William had won and was crowned king on Christmas Day 1066, but his problems were just starting. He built castles to try and take control of the country, and ordered the Domesday Book to record everything about England and to see how much tax he could raise. There were three serious rebellions against his rule which he put a stop to in the North, the South West and in East Anglia. In 1066 some vikings and northern England men rebelled against William, so he burned and destroyed everything in the North.

William the conqueror died in 1087 after a riding accident and the new king was his son, William Rufus. He was known as Rufus because of his red/ruddy complexion (Rufus means ''red'' in Latin). Rufus's reign was bloody, but not a total failure. He taxed people as much as he could and beat off foreign invaders and revolts at home. He conquered Cumbria and Wales and overthrew the Scottish king. Some of his Barons rebelled in support of his brother Robert, but he beat them off too. In 1100, Rufus was shot in the back on a hunting trip. Some people think that the chief suspect (Walter Tyrel) was obeying orders from the king's younger brother, Henry, who became king next.

Twenty year after the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror decided to discover who really owned what in England, mainly so he could work out who owed him taxes. His idea of a Domesday Book was not popular. It was written in 1066 and asked questions like 'How many slaves and freeman are there in your manor ?' and '.How much is your manor worth ?'. It even recorded things like how many animals were on the land.

The Doomsday Book showed how efficient the Normans were, compared to the Saxons who ruled before them. It gives us a pretty good picture of life in the country then. The overall population was around one and a half million people, with over 90% of people living in rural areas. Villages were small, averaging around 300 to 500 people. There were often one or two manors in a village (manors were basically big fortified houses that looked like castles), where a Lord or Baron lived.

Peasants living in the villages were mostly ''villeins'' having small pices of land to farm, but had to work on the Lord of the Manor's land as well. A system like this where you pay for land with work (not money) is called a feudal system and makes the landowners very powerful. Villeins had three chances of freedom they could receive it from the Lord of the Manor, save up enough to buy it, or else run away to a town and if they weren't caught for a year and a day then they became free.

The Domesday Book also tells us about town life and it recorded 100 towns. The only big towns were around cathedrals such as those of Lincoln, York and Westminster Abbey. Other towns developed around travel and meeting points such as crossroads or river crossings, and attracted villagers and merchants to trade. Craftsmen and merchants formed guilds to protect the quality of their work. Wealthy towns built large defensive walls and successful towns gained charters setting out the rights of townspeople. These were awarded by the Lord or bought from the king.

At the start of the Middle Ages, England found friends and enemies chiefly in Scandinavia. But by the end of the Middle Ages, France and Ireland were much more important to foreign policy. In between, English kings tried to conquer all of Britain.

There was lot of argument about whether Scotland was an independant country. The English thought the Scots owed them an oath of loyalty, but not all the Scots agreed. Edward 1, the ''hammer of the Scots'', conquered Scotland at the end of the 1200, but Robert the Bruce freed Scotland by 1328. Thoughout the Middle Ages there were lots of border raids (and general mischief) between the English and Scots.

The Normans took over bits of Wales when they first conquered England, but the pennine mountains made Wales hard to control. Eward 1 conquered Wales in the 1270s and 1280s and built concentric castles to control it. Though there were still many revolts against the English, Wales was under English control by Henry Vll's day in around 1500.

The English first got involved in Ireland when Dermot McMurrough (king of Leinster) lost his throne and asked Henry ll to help get it back. Henry was offered an oath of fealty by Dermot in return for his help (fealty = an oath of loyalty and obedience to the king). Henry built castles and sent knights to hold onto his claims, and most Irish chieftains seemed quite happy with this. Henry Vll was the first English king to call himself ''king of Ireland'' (in the early 1500s) up until then the Irish chieftains gave allegiance to the King of England, but still did what they wanted.

When the Normans conquered England in 1066, they already controlled a large part of France. Henry ll controlled Normandy and Anjou, then he married Eleanor of Aquitaine and added Aquitaine to his French Empire. But by 1216 much of this land had been lost by King John, so in 1337 Edward lll invaded France to take back the lost lands. The war lasted about 116 years. English archers, armed with longbows, won victories at Crecy in 1346, Poitiers in 1356 and Agicourt in 1415. But the war was expensive and by 1453 the English had lost eveything but Calais.

Medieval monarchs were expected to be male, as lots of people back then thought women shouldn't be positions of power. Monarchs maintain law and order in the kingdom and had to control unruly and power hungry barons that they relied upon for support.

Henry l was a strong monarch, but in 1120 a boat called The White Ship sank with Henry's sons were on it - leaving Henry grief-stricken and with no male heir. His daughter Matilda was betrothed to the German Holy Roman Emperor when she was 8 and when he died in 1125 Henry ordered her to marry Geoffrey of Anjou. In 1126 Henry got all English lords, including his nephew Stephen, to acknowledge Matilda as his heir. But when Henry died in 1135, Stephen got to London before Matilda did and had himself crowned king.

Most nobles wanted Stephen to rule, because he was a man, and this basically started off a civil war that lasted for nearly twenty years. But Stephen wasn't ruthless enough and Matilda being too vicious alienated most of her supporters. She ruled for about 8 months as 'Lady of the English', but not Queen. In the end they agreed that Stephen could remain king, but that Matilda's son Henry should be heir to the throne - suiting Stephen who didn't have any sons.

Madilda's son became King Henry ll in 1154 and was considered intelligent and determined (and also pretty moody and mean). He reformed the court system which until then had been really disorganised and complicated. There were many different courts competing for power (e.g. church courts, manor courts, etc), and Henry ll set up regular royal courts to deal with the serious offences such as murder. Judges went around the country to hold trials and trial by jury became a common way of deciding who was guilty, making trials a lot fairer.

Henry ll got his friend Thomas a Becket the job of Archbishop of Canterbury, hoping this'd mean the church and the crown would get along. But Henry and Thomas couldn't agree on anything and they argued over whether the church should be part of the kingdom or should have its own separate powers. One major issue was about how criminal priests should be punished. Henry thought they should be dealt with by the royal courts, but Thomas reckoned the church should have its own courts.

One day Henry angrily cried out to his knights, asking them how they could ''allow their lord to be treated with such shameful contempt''? (NOT, as the legend goes, ''who will rid me of this turbulent priest?''). In any case, four of his knights took that as an instruction to murder Thomas a Becket. They murdered him on the steps of Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Becket was made a saint, and in 1174, Henry himself went on a pilgrimage to the shrine. He walked up to it barefoot, confessed his sins and was whipped five times each by the monks. He stayed there all night, fasting, surrounded by pilgrims.

Henry ll had four children and the oldest, Richard, was the next king and after him came his brother John. Richard l fought lots of crusades in the Holy lands and spent less than a year in England in the 10 years he was king. He's gone down in history as a brave, strong, brilliant warrior king, but left the country in a bit of a state for his brother John. This was at the time when legend has it that Robin Hood was around, though he was probably fictional.

Richard spent all England's money on the crusades and this left John a bit stuck when he needed money to fight wars. England had lost lands in France and John wanted them back, but not all the barons were in favour of an expensive war. John also fell out with the Pope in Rome, over who should be the next Archbishop of Canterbury. The Pope excommunicated John (i.e. he expelled him from the church) and declared that he wasn't the rightful king of England. John also overtaxed the barons, and it wasn't long before they rebelled against him.

The rebelling barons forced John to meet them in a field at Runnymede and sign the Magna Carta in 1215. Magna Carta mean 'Great Charter', and it centred around three main points. The English church would be free from state control (i.e. from the king's control), no freeman could be arrested, imprisoned or executed withour a fair trial, and the king couldn't raise taxes without the agreement of Barons and Bishops first. There were over 63 clauses in total, and the Magna Carta laid the foundation for modern British democracy.

The Black Death killed between 33% and 50% of the population of the British Isles with many people already weakened due to poor harvests and famine. It was probably a mix of bubonic plague, spread by fleas carried by black rats, and pneumonic plague which affected the lungs and breathing. Some historians suggest other diseases were also involved for example anthrax.

In 1348 plague travels across the south of England and hits London, and in January 1349 Parliament decided to stop meeting. By spring 1349 plague had spread into East Anglia, the Midlands and Wales, and by the summer the plague hit the North and Ireland. The Scots raided Durham while England was weak, but in 1350 he plague hit Scotland and eased off in London. New plague outbreaks occured in 1361-64, 1368, 1371, 1373-75, 1390 and 1405.

People at the time had different explanations for the Black Death, having no idea about germs. Some thought it was an act of God, and that they were being punished for their sins, while some being very superstitious thought it was the result of a curse of an evil spirit and others thought they were being poisoned. Individuals and different groups were blamed by some e.g. Jews and the poor.

The Black Death killing off much of the popultion actually make life better for most of the survivors. Before the plague struck, poor people had been forced to work on their local Lord's land, but now they could ask for extra wages and better treatment. It speeded up the breakdown and end of the feudal system, and meant that ordinary peasants gained more freedom.

Feudal dues were replaced by money-rent systems as the Black Death had led to a shortage of workers and peasant labour was in high demand. The peasants thought this was pretty cool as they gained some privileges. Some peasants had been forced to work for the Church without pay, as it was said that they were doing 'God's work'. Also, everyone had to pay tithes (i.e. taxes) to the Church of one tenth of everything they produced or earned. Most people (even landowners) were unhappy that Bishops were so wealthy, while normal people had to pay lots of taxes.

Richard was only 10 when he became king, so his uncle John of Gaunt ruled for him and kept increasing taxes to pay for the army. Everyone started to get angry. In 1377 John introduced a Poll Tax, to finance a war with France, on everyone over 15 years old - the 4 pence was a pretty big deal then. Further Poll Taxes followed in 1379 and in 1381. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, and people hid in forests or fought taxman who arrived to collect what was now 12 pence off everyone. The rebellion started in Kent and Essex in June 1381, led by Walt Tyler, with rebels occupying London.

King Richard ll was still only 14 when the revolt began and the rebels killed the Archbishop of Canterbury and burned the Savoy Palace. Richard met the rebels and agreed somel of their demands. But, when most of the peasants had gone home, many of the rebel leaders were hanged, and Wat Tyler was beheaded. The Poll Tax was abandoned, but peasants were forced back under the control of the lords.

Medieval England was part of a Christendom of countries where most people were Christain and politics and society were closely linked to the Church. Christendom covered the whole of Europe, apart from bits of Scandinavia and some Muslim areas in Spain and southern Italy. The beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church controlled the way most people behaved thoughout Europe. Nearly everyone would had some link with the church - a family member being a clergyman, paying rent to a church landlord or work for the church. People had to pay annual tithes (taxes) to the church and were told they'd go to hell if they didn't support the church.

For most of the medieval period, the church was richer than the king was. The clergy didn't pay taxes, and ordinary people had to pay for baptisms, weddings and funerals. The Church could afford to build impressive stone churches and cathedrals that have lasted for centuries (most other buildings were cheaper wood). Bishops became political figures, some of them controlled important areas of England.

The Church had a organised structure with the Pope in Rome as its head, and a network of bishops and senior clergy helping to maintain power. At the bottom the parish priest told the villagers what to do and how to behave. Priests weren't supposed to get married, though some did, and earned an income from farming done by others on church land (called the glebe). They were expected to teach local children, and help the sick and the poor and some priests did that. But many priests were greedy, lazy, uneducated and cared more about money, women and pleasure than they did about the Church.

Before the Romans came to Britain, most of the population was pagan and worshipped their a variety of gods. But by the early 300s there were already some Bishops about in Lincoln, London and York- and in 400, St Ninan set up a monastery at Whithorn in Scotland. The Romans left in 410 when Christianity was only really popular in Wales. Then in 597, a missionary called St Augustine landed in Kent becoming the first Archbishop of Canterbury and monasteries were set up which followed the 'Benedictine Rule' i.e. rules St Benedict made for a holy life. Most Medieval monasteries after this followed the Benedictine Rule. Another important monastery was set up by St Columba and St Aidan at Lindisfarne in 635.

Many different monastic orders developed as the Cluniacs who came from the Benedictine abbey at Cluny, in France, with a very strict form of Benedictine Rule. Even stricter were the Cistercians, who also came from France. The Gilbertines started in England. Carthusians also came from France and were a very strict oder who fasted and took vows of silence. Boys as young as 7 could become monks, but most newcomers joined when they were a bit older. Vows taken at 16 included chastity (no wives or girlfriends), obedience (obey all church orders), stability (never leave the monastery) and poverty (never own anything). Monks had to pray many times a day, starting at 2am and ending at 8pm when they went to bed.

Many abbeys claimed to own a religious relic such as the bone of a saint or a splinter from Christ's cross, and people made pilgrimages to look at them. Pilgrims were also attracted to the tombs of saintly people, such as Thomas a Becket and bought badges and other souvenirs from the shrines they visited. The first great work of English literature, written in English rather than Latin, was 'Canterbury Tales' by Geoffrey Chaucer an account of a group of pilgrims travelling to the shrine of Thomas a Becket.

Since the 1000s there had been an important Jewish community in England since the 1000s, providing finance for trade and wars by lending the money. They played a vital role in maintaining the British treasury and also brought many new skills and crafts into England. Some disliked them, probably beacause they were jealous and didn't like owing them money.

In the Middle Ages, lending money for interest was called usury and considered to be a sin by the Church. Christians were forbidden to lend money, allowing Jews to become the money-lender and allowing them to set high interest rates. The Crown watched over Jewish financiers and their property, and taxed tham harshly and were forbidden to own land.

In 1190 there were many incidents of anti-Semitic behaviour and attacks on Jewish people. The biggest tragedy occured at Clifford's Tower in York, on 16th March 1190 (a jewish feast day) when Richard Malebisse, a local landowner, whipped up anti-Jewish feelings. About 150 Jews gathered together for protection in the wooden structure known as Clifford's Tower. Rather than face the mob that had gathered outside, many took their own lives and those who surrendered were massacred by the waiting mob.

The incident was partly motivated by the desire not to repay money they had borrowed from Jews, and after the massacre the mob moved on to the cathedral, York Minster, to destroy the records of their debts which were kept there. Not all Jews in York were killed, and some of the survivors paid for the repairing of damage to York Minster.

When Henry lll was king, 1216-1272, Jewish bankers gave him much-needed loans and finance as he struggled to control his powerful barons. His successor Edward l passed an Act of parliament in 1275 banning Jews from lending money for interest. He had begun to borrow money from Italian bankers and so no longer felt that he needed English Jews.

In the 1280s as England struggled with war and financial difficulties, anti-Semitism continued to rise and in 1287 Edward l arrested and imprisoned 3,000 Jews and demanded ransoms for their release. Finally in 1290 Edward issued an edict (command) that expelled all Jews from England.

Second Tudor England

Religion was important in Tudor Britain because it was linked to politics. In the 1500s there was very little religious tolerance and Rulers wouldn't allow their subjects to follow other faiths as this was seen as being disloyal and subversive.

Tudor England followed the Catholic Church until Henry VIII who had been called Defender of the Faith by the Pope. But his Catholic wife Catherine of Aragon didn't give him a son and Henry decided he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn instead. The Pope wouldn't let him get divorced so, though Henry stayed Catholic, he broke away from Rome and took over the monasteries. He wanted a son to follow him and was short of money. With the extra power of controlling the Church, he could also keep the nobles happy by giving them church lands.

1532. Henry stopped all payments going from the Church in England to Rome.
1533. His marriage was annulled and he married Anne.
1534. Henry made himself Head of the Church in England and the Act of Supremacy made this official.
1536 on. He attacked the Church monasteries and took their valuables and land.
1539. Bible translated into English. Act of Six Articles was passed which supported Catholicism.

Since Catherine of Aragon was the widow of Henry's elder brother Arthur, Henry used a Bible extract that says you can't marry your brother's widow to annul his marriage. But Catherine was the aunt of Charles V, one of the most powerful rulers in Europe who now became an enemy.

Many Catholics remained loyal to the Pope and many resented the nobles getting the Church lands and wealth. The dissolution of monasteries provoked the Pilgrimage of Grace a revolt of 40,000 people in the north of England. And the break away from Rome encouraged Protestants.

In the 1500s people in Northern Europe started getting seriously concerned about corruption and superstition in the Roman Catholic church. Religious thinkers like Martin Luther (a German friar) and John Calvin (a French priest) wrote protesting about it. Protestants like Calvin and Luther wanted to Christainity made easier for ordinary people to understand e.g. by translating the bible from Latin. The Catholic church saw Protestants as heretics, and some were executed though not Luther or Calvin.

England's Henry Vlll died in 1547 and his 9-year old son Edward had been brought up by a Protestsnt and introduced partly Protestant reforms when he became king. He allowed priests to marry and introduced a new Book of Common Prayer in 1549, written in English. He also passed the Act of Uniformity to make everyone use the new Book of Common Prayer and made church services simpler and churches barer in a Protestant fashion.

Edward died young in 1553 and his sister Mary, who became queen and ruled until her death in 1558, was a strong Catholic who tried to reverse these religious changes. She got rid of the Book of Common Prayer and the Act of Uniformity, and restored the rule of the Pope over the Church in England in 1554. Mary also married the Catholic Philip ll of Spain and had about 300 Protestants burnt including famous churchmen like Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley. This led her to be labelled 'Bloody Mary' by Protestants like John Foxe, whose Foxe's Book of Martyrs tells of many who died for their religion.

After Mary, Elizabeth l (1558-1603) supported Protestanism and wanted all her subjects including Catholics to follow it - but any supporting Catholic or other faiths were punished. The Jesuit (Catholic) priest Edmund Campion was executed as a traitor during Elizabeth's reign. Some extreme Protestants, like the Puritans, wanted stronger anti-Catholic policies than Elizabeth was prepared to allow and John Stubbs had his hand cut off for printing a book that supported Puritanism.

She called herself Governor of the Church of England, rather than Head, by an Act of Supremacy (1559). A new Act of Uniformity the same year insisted that everyone used a new prayer book, but was worded in a way that wouldn't offend Catholics too much. But later there were threats to her life from Catholics and she became harsher in her treatment of them, so that many Catholics found themselves having to worship in secret.

Mary Stuart, the Catholic daughter of James V of Scotland, married the French king and returned to Scotland when her husband died. By then, Protestant leaders like John Knox had become powerful in Scotland. She married Lord Darnley, who was murdered in 1567, and then married the unpopular Earl of Bothwell. She was forced to flee from Scotland to England, asking for Elizabeth's help. But her name was associated with several Catholic plots to kill Elizabeth, so she imprisoned her and eventually agreed to having her beheaded.

1561 Mary returns to Scotland as Queen.
1565 Marries Lord Darnley. Has a son called James.
1567 Darnley murdered. Mary marries Bothwell.
1568 Flees to England. Kept under Elizabeth l's protection for 19 years.
1587 Mary is executed.

The king of Spain, Philip ll got on well with Elizabeth to begin with, and even asked her to marry him, but relations between the two countries gradually got worse. Philip had been married to the former English queen Bloody Mary, and wanted his power in England back. Many people in Catholic Spain thought that Protestant Elizabeth should not be on the throne. Elizabeth had been secretly encouraging attacks on Spanish ships, and had been quietly helping Spain's enemies in the Netherlands. Then in 1587 she executed the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots and the Pope had wrote an open letter (papal bull) to all Catholics, saying that they shouldn't obey Elizabeth.

In May 1588 Philip sent the Spanish Armada (a fleet of ships) against England, but within weeks what was left of the defeated fleet was limping home. It was a disaster partly because the Armada was led by Medina Sidonia, a soldier rather than a sailor, and the English had faster ships and better sailors. Spanish soldiers who were supposed to meet up with the Armada couldn't, and the English crippled the Spanish fleet while it was in Calais harbour by sending in fire-ships. The Armada could only escape by sailin all the way round Britain, when more ships were destroyed on rocks.

Over twenty-six important men asked to marry Elizabeth l, and she refuse all of them. She felt she had to be careful about her choice of husband for lots of reasons. Elizabet put England first and didn't want to marry a foregin king if it meant a foreigner gaining power over England, especially from countries the English hated like Spain. She also felt she had to be careful that her furture husband's religion wouldn't cause trouble. She reared marrying an English nobleman like Lord Dudley (who she really fancied) because that would make the other nobles jealous.
But she was the last of Henry Vlll's children alive and wanted a child so there would be an heir to the throne that would avoid people fight over the throne after she died.

In the end, Elizabeth stayed single, although she wasn't all that happy about it. Her councillors were worried about the succession, and kept trying to get her to marry.

Elizabeth faced a growing problem with poverty in England, partly from the closure of monasteries by Henry Vlll which had helped poor people and also from an increasing population. Rich landowners were also fencing off common land that many poor people had made a living from. Sheep farming was also increasing and needing a lot less workers than growing wheat.

Many poor people moved to the towns, where there were few jobs and crime increased. Fear of increased crime made the government bring in harsh new poor laws that divided poor people up into 'sturdy beggars' thought to be skiving who were made to live and work in workhouses and 'the deserving poor' who couldn't work through no fault of their own and were given some money and could stay in their homes. The Poor Acts of 1597 and 1601 lasted for over 200 years, though not without problems.

Reigning fron 1625 to 1649, Charles l waged expensive wars with France, Spain and Scotland and also had to deal with rebellions in Ireland. When Parliament refused to let him raise more taxes, he resorted to * taxation and tried to rule without Parliament. Charles supported a 'high church' christianity and some worried he wanted to make England Catholic again. He made enemies by setting a regular ship money tax which was formerlyy only collected when these was a war on.

Charles built up great debts, had poor relations with Parliament, caused uncertainty about religion and was beaten in war by the Scots. He was an old-fashioned monarch living in changing times. Charles thought he had a divine right to rule, with no need to share power with Parliament just like in earlier times. Charles tried to do without Parliament for 11 years (1629-40), and this finally in 1642 led to seven years of civil war between Royalists and Parliamentarians.

1641-42. Conflict between Charles I and Parliament over war and taxes.
1642-48. Civil War between Royalists and Parliamentarians.
1648. Charles l defeated by Cromwell's New Model Army at Preston. England became know as ''The Commonwealth'' with Cromwell as President.
1649. Charles l tried for treason and executed.
1651. Cromwell crushes attempt to get throne by Charles l's son, Charles ll.
1658. Cromwell dies.
1660. Monarchy restored and Charles ll becomes the new King.

Parliamentarians called the Royalists 'Cavaliers' after the Spanish word 'caballeros', which means armed horsemen. Royalists called the Parliamentarians 'Roundheads' because of the close cropped heads of London apprentices who supported Parliament. Puritans saw Charles as having Catholic sympathies. He was spending more money than he collected in taxes, and under him taxes were high. Parliament thought it should have more power. The population of England was growing quickly contributing to poverty and unemployment, and while the middle classes getting richer, the nobility were declining.

Some historians say the problems leading to the civil war were longer-term and went back to James l's conflicts with Parliament over religion and finance. And class and other social tensions had been developing since the reign of Queen Elizabeth l. But most historians blame the short-term factors.

1639-1640 England was defeated by Scotland in the religious Bishops' Wars.
1640. Charles called a Parliament in 1640. MPs began to demand political and religious reforms.
January 1642. Charles tries to arrest five MPs by taking 400 soldiers into the House of Commons but they escape.
March 1642. Rebellion in Ireland, but Parliament won't give Charles an army to crush it as that would give him more power.
June 1642. Parliament pass the 19 Propositions demanding an increase in Parliament's power.
August 1642. Charles raised an army in Nottingham, while Parliament raised an army in London.
October 1642. Battle at Edgehill, but no clear result.
1643. Many more battles, including Newbury, but still no clear outcome.
June-July 1645. Parliament used the New Model Army to win important victories at Naseby and Langport.
1646. Charles fled to Scotland where he was captured and sold back to Parliament.
1647. Charles rejected a deal to give Paliament control of the army for 10 years and to allow freedom of worship. He escaped from prison and made a new deal with the Scots.

In the summer of 1648 Royalists had victories in the north but were defeated by Cromwell and the New Model Army at Preston. Finally, in January 1649 the House of Commons set up a high court of justice which found him guilty and sentenced him to death. Parliament's charge against Charles were 'Wicked design' to create unlimited and tyrannical power, trying to overthrow the rights and liberties of the people, fighting a traitorous war against Parliament and People, responsibility for treasons, rapes, burnings and damages of war.

Parliamentarian support was strongest in the South and East, from small farmers, merchants and townspeople. Royalist support was strongest in the North, the West and in Wales, from the nobility and the gentry. But religion was the most important factor deciding which side people took. Parliament was supported by most Puritans, while most Catholics and less radical Protestants supported Charles - at times splitting families.

The Royalists had good generals, brave troops and were skilled horsemen. Parliament had skilled generals like Fairfax and Cromwell, and a well organised, trained and disciplined New Model Army and Navy and was able to block French supplies to Charles. It was able to use taxes for finance, while the King had to rely on friends and supporters. Charles proved to be a poor leader and made bad tactical decisions.

The Parlimentary winners soon began to argue amongst themselves, with different groups having different ideas. Parliament's rule wasn't by a full Parliament, as MPs who supported the King and all of the House of Lords were excluded. It was called the Rump Parliament and in 1648 set up a republic known as the Commonwelth. It had an exevutive Council of State with Oliver Cromwell as President.

Royalists looked forward to a return to monarchy. In 1651 Charles l's son, Charles ll, tried to regain the throne but was crushed by Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester and fled abroad. The army, especially the generals, wanted to keep the power and influence they had during the civil war.
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Postby GrimDad » Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:34 am

:?:
I wonder why The Doomsday Book was called that ?

Was it named that by others who saw William the Conqueror as some awful French devil then, or did he name it The Doomsday Book himself ?

Certainly a strange name for a census ?! Anybody know ?
:?:
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