Whose Fault Was The English Civil War Essay Examples

English Civil Wars, also called Great Rebellion, (1642–51), fighting that took place in the British Isles between supporters of the monarchy of Charles I (and his son and successor, Charles II) and opposing groups in each of Charles’s kingdoms, including Parliamentarians in England, Covenanters in Scotland, and Confederates in Ireland. The English Civil Wars are traditionally considered to have begun in England in August 1642, when Charles I raised an army against the wishes of Parliament, ostensibly to deal with a rebellion in Ireland. But the period of conflict actually began earlier in Scotland, with the Bishops’ Wars of 1639–40, and in Ireland, with the Ulster rebellion of 1641. Throughout the 1640s, war between king and Parliament ravaged England, but it also struck all of the kingdoms held by the house of Stuart—and, in addition to war between the various British and Irish dominions, there was civil war within each of the Stuart states. For this reason the English Civil Wars might more properly be called the British Civil Wars or the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The wars finally ended in 1651 with the flight of Charles II to France and, with him, the hopes of the British monarchy.

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United Kingdom: Civil war and revolution

” The war that began in 1642 was a war within three kingdoms and between three kingdoms. There was a civil war in Ireland that pitted the Catholic majority against the Protestant minority, buttressed by English and Scottish armies. This war festered…


Personal Rule and the seeds of rebellion (1629–40)

Compared with the chaos unleashed by the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) on the European continent, the British Isles under Charles I enjoyed relative peace and economic prosperity during the 1630s. However, by the later 1630s, Charles’s regime had become unpopular across a broad front throughout his kingdoms. During the period of his so-called Personal Rule (1629–40), known by his enemies as the “Eleven Year Tyranny” because he had dissolved Parliament and ruled by decree, Charles had resorted to dubious fiscal expedients, most notably “ship money,” an annual levy for the reform of the navy that in 1635 was extended from English ports to inland towns. This inclusion of inland towns was construed as a new tax without parliamentary authorization. When combined with ecclesiastical reforms undertaken by Charles’s close adviser William Laud, the archbishop of Canterbury, and with the conspicuous role assumed in these reforms by Henrietta Maria, Charles’s Catholic queen, and her courtiers, many in England became alarmed. Nevertheless, despite grumblings, there is little doubt that had Charles managed to rule his other dominions as he controlled England, his peaceful reign might have been extended indefinitely. Scotland and Ireland proved his undoing.

In 1633 Thomas Wentworth became lord deputy of Ireland and set out to govern that country without regard for any interest but that of the crown. His thorough policies aimed to make Ireland financially self-sufficient; to enforce religious conformity with the Church of England as defined by Laud, Wentworth’s close friend and ally; to “civilize” the Irish; and to extend royal control throughout Ireland by establishing British plantations and challenging Irish titles to land. Wentworth’s actions alienated both the Protestant and the Catholic ruling elites in Ireland. In much the same way, Charles’s willingness to tamper with Scottish land titles unnerved landowners there. However, it was Charles’s attempt in 1637 to introduce a modified version of the English Book of Common Prayer that provoked a wave of riots in Scotland, beginning at the Church of St. Giles in Edinburgh. A National Covenant calling for immediate withdrawal of the prayer book was speedily drawn up on February 28, 1638. Despite its moderate tone and conservative format, the National Covenant was a radical manifesto against the Personal Rule of Charles I that justified a revolt against the interfering sovereign.

The Bishops’ Wars and the return of Parliament (1640–42)

The turn of events in Scotland horrified Charles, who determined to bring the rebellious Scots to heel. However, the Covenanters, as the Scottish rebels became known, quickly overwhelmed the poorly trained English army, forcing the king to sign a peace treaty at Berwick (June 18, 1639). Though the Covenanters had won the first Bishops’ War, Charles refused to concede victory and called an English parliament, seeing it as the only way to raise money quickly. Parliament assembled in April 1640, but it lasted only three weeks (and hence became known as the Short Parliament). The House of Commons was willing to vote the huge sums that the king needed to finance his war against the Scots, but not until their grievances—some dating back more than a decade—had been redressed. Furious, Charles precipitately dissolved the Short Parliament. As a result, it was an untrained, ill-armed, and poorly paid force that trailed north to fight the Scots in the second Bishops’ War. On August 20, 1640, the Covenanters invaded England for the second time, and in a spectacular military campaign they took Newcastle following the Battle of Newburn (August 28). Demoralized and humiliated, the king had no alternative but to negotiate and, at the insistence of the Scots, to recall parliament.

A new parliament (the Long Parliament), which no one dreamed would sit for the next 20 years, assembled at Westminster on November 3, 1640, and immediately called for the impeachment of Wentworth, who by now was the earl of Strafford. The lengthy trial at Westminster, ending with Strafford’s execution on May 12, 1641, was orchestrated by Protestants and Catholics from Ireland, by Scottish Covenanters, and by the king’s English opponents, especially the leader of Commons, John Pym—effectively highlighting the importance of the connections between all the Stuart kingdoms at this critical junction.

To some extent, the removal of Strafford’s draconian hand facilitated the outbreak in October 1641 of the Ulster uprising in Ireland. This rebellion derived, on the one hand, from long-term social, religious, and economic causes (namely tenurial insecurity, economic instability, indebtedness, and a desire to have the Roman Catholic Church restored to its pre-Reformation position) and, on the other hand, from short-term political factors that triggered the outbreak of violence. Inevitably, bloodshed and unnecessary cruelty accompanied the insurrection, which quickly engulfed the island and took the form of a popular rising, pitting Catholic natives against Protestant newcomers. The extent of the “massacre” of Protestants was exaggerated, especially in England where the wildest rumours were readily believed. Perhaps 4,000 settlers lost their lives—a tragedy to be sure, but a far cry from the figure of 154,000 the Irish government suggested had been butchered. Much more common was the plundering and pillaging of Protestant property and the theft of livestock. These human and material losses were replicated on the Catholic side as the Protestants retaliated.

The Irish insurrection immediately precipitated a political crisis in England, as Charles and his Westminster Parliament argued over which of them should control the army to be raised to quell the Irish insurgents. Had Charles accepted the list of grievances presented to him by Parliament in the Grand Remonstrance of December 1641 and somehow reconciled their differences, the revolt in Ireland almost certainly would have been quashed with relative ease. Instead, Charles mobilized for war on his own, raising his standard at Nottingham in August 1642. The Wars of the Three Kingdoms had begun in earnest. This also marked the onset of the first English Civil War fought between forces loyal to Charles I and those who served Parliament. After a period of phony war late in 1642, the basic shape of the English Civil War was of Royalist advance in 1643 and then steady Parliamentarian attrition and expansion.

The first English Civil War (1642–46)

The first major battle fought on English soil—the Battle of Edgehill (October 1642)—quickly demonstrated that a clear advantage was enjoyed by neither the Royalists (also known as the Cavaliers) nor the Parliamentarians (also known as the Roundheads for their short-cropped hair, in contrast to the long hair and wigs associated with the Cavaliers). Although recruiting, equipping, and supplying their armies initially proved problematic for both sides, by the end of 1642 each had armies of between 60,000 and 70,000 men in the field. However, sieges and skirmishes—rather than pitched battles—dominated the military landscape in England during the first Civil War, as local garrisons, determined to destroy the economic basis of their opponents while preserving their own resources, scrambled for territory. Charles, with his headquarters in Oxford, enjoyed support in the north and west of England, in Wales, and (after 1643) in Ireland. Parliament controlled the much wealthier areas in the south and east of England together with most of the key ports and, critically, London, the financial capital of the kingdom. In order to win the war, Charles needed to capture London, and this was something that he consistently failed to do.

Yet Charles prevented the Parliamentarians from smashing his main field army. The result was an effective military stalemate until the triumph of the Roundheads at the Battle of Marston Moor (July 2, 1644). This decisive victory deprived the king of two field armies and, equally important, paved the way for the reform of the parliamentary armies with the creation of the New Model Army, completed in April 1645. Thus, by 1645 Parliament had created a centralized standing army, with central funding and central direction. The New Model Army now moved against the Royalist forces. Their closely fought victory at the Battle of Naseby (June 14, 1645) proved the turning point in parliamentary fortunes and marked the beginning of a string of stunning successes—Langport (July 10), Rowton Heath (September 24), and Annan Moor (October 21)—that eventually forced the king to surrender to the Scots at Newark on May 5, 1646.

It is doubtful whether Parliament could have won the first English Civil War without Scottish intervention. Royalist successes in England in the spring and early summer of 1643, combined with the prospect of aid from Ireland for the king, prompted the Scottish Covenanters to sign a political, military, and religious alliance—the Solemn League and Covenant (September 25, 1643)—with the English Parliamentarians. Desperate to protect their revolution at home, the Covenanters insisted upon the establishment of Presbyterianism in England and in return agreed to send an army of 21,000 men to serve there. These troops played a critical role at Marston Moor, with the covenanting general, David Leslie, briefly replacing a wounded Oliver Cromwell in the midst of the action. For his part, Charles looked to Ireland for support. However, the Irish troops that finally arrived in Wales after a cease-fire was concluded with the confederates in September 1643 never equaled the Scottish presence, while the king’s willingness to secure aid from Catholic Ireland sullied his reputation in England.

Conflicts in Scotland and Ireland

The presence of a large number of Scottish troops in England should not detract from the fact that Scots experienced their own domestic conflict after 1638. In Scotland loyalty to the Covenant, the king, and the house of Argyll resulted in a lengthy and, at times, bloody civil war that began in February 1639, when the Covenanters seized Inverness, and ended with the surrender of Dunnottar castle, near Aberdeen, in May 1652. Initially, the Scottish Royalists under the command of James Graham, earl of Montrose, won a string of victories at Tippermuir (September 1, 1644), Aberdeen (September 13), Inverlochy (February 2, 1645), Auldearn (May 9), Alford (July 2), and Kilsyth (August 15) before being decisively routed by the Covenanters at Philiphaugh (September 13).

Like Scotland, Ireland fought its own civil war (also called the Confederate Wars). Between 1642 and 1649, the Irish Confederates, with their capital at Kilkenny, directed the Catholic war effort, while James Butler, earl of Ormonde, commanded the king’s Protestant armies. In September 1643, the two sides concluded a cease-fire, but they failed to negotiate a lasting political and religious settlement acceptable to all parties.

Second and third English Civil Wars (1648–51)

Although the Scottish Covenanters had made a significant contribution to Parliament’s victory in the first English Civil War, during the second (1648) and third English Civil Wars (1650–51) they supported the king. On December 26, 1647, Charles signed an agreement—known as the Engagement—with a number of leading Covenanters. In return for the establishment of Presbyterianism in England for a period of three years, the Scots promised to join forces with the English Royalists and restore the king to his throne. Early in July 1648, a Scottish force invaded England, but the parliamentary army routed it at the Battle of Preston (August 17).

The execution of Charles I in January 1649 merely served to galvanize Scottish (and Irish) support for the king’s son, Charles II, who was crowned king of the Scots at Scone, near Perth, on January 1, 1651. Ultimately, the defeat of a combined force of Irish Royalists and Confederates at the hands of English Parliamentarians after August 1649 prevented the Irishmen from serving alongside their Scottish and English allies in the third English Civil War. As it was, this war was largely fought on Scottish soil, Oliver Cromwell and his New Model Army having invaded Scotland in July 1650. Despite being routed at the Battle of Dunbar (September 3, 1650), which Cromwell regarded as “one of the most signal mercies God hath done for England and His people,” the Scots managed to raise another army that made a spectacular dash into England. This wild attempt to capture London came to nothing. Cromwell’s resounding victory at Worcester (September 3, 1651) and Charles II’s subsequent flight to France not only gave Cromwell control over England but also effectively ended the wars of—and the wars in—the three kingdoms.

Cost and legacy

While it is notoriously difficult to determine the number of casualties in any war, it has been estimated that the conflict in England and Wales claimed about 85,000 lives in combat, with a further 127,000 noncombat deaths (including some 40,000 civilians). The fighting in Scotland and Ireland, where the populations were roughly a fifth of that of England, was more brutal still. As many as 15,000 civilians perished in Scotland, and a further 137,000 Irish civilians may well have died as a result of the wars there. In all nearly 200,000 people, or roughly 2.5 percent of the civilian population, lost their lives directly or indirectly as a result of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms during this decade, making the Civil Wars arguably the bloodiest conflict in the history of the British Isles.

These were the last civil wars ever fought on English—but not Scottish or Irish—soil, and they have bequeathed a lasting legacy. Ever since this period, the peoples of the three kingdoms have had a profound distrust of standing armies, while ideas first mooted during the 1640s, particularly about religious toleration and limitations on power, have survived to this day.

Jane H. Ohlmeyer

BRIT POLITICS:The Monarchy - Kings and Queens:The English Civil War:Causes of the Civil War


Causes of the Civil War

The Civil War did not start as a revolution. Those involved did not set out to remove the Monarchy and replace it with a Republic.  Conflicting attitudes towards Royal authority and religion brought about a series of events which escalated into armed conflict.

Charles I believed he ruled with the Divine Right of Kings. This meant he thought he was King by the will of God and therefore his decisions could not be challenged or questioned.  This ideology was opposed by those who believed there should be a limit to Royal authority; that the people and their representatives, that is Parliament should have more say in how the nation was governed.  Tied up with this were arguments over the Church and religion. There were deep divisions over what religious practices, forms of worship and organisational structure the Church should have.

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Religion was a major cause of the English Civil War. It was part of a Europe wide conflict between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

At the start of his reign (1625) King Charles I had married the Roman Catholic Henrietta Maria of France. Included in her marriage treaty were provisions that she be allowed to practice her religion freely at Court. It was also made a condition of the treaty that King Charles I set about lifting restrictions for recusants (that is Catholics who refused to attend Anglican Church services). The marriage was not a popular one. At this time Roman Catholics were distrusted and feared. The reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary as she came to be known) had seen the persecution of Protestants. Within living memory there had been the attempted invasion of England by Roman Catholic Phillip II of Spain in 1588 (The Spanish Armada); the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a Catholic plot to blow up James I in the Houses of Parliament; and the on-going Thirty Years War, ultimately a religious conflict which saw Roman Catholic nations trying to wipe out Protestantism in Europe.

King Charles I was deeply religious. He believed that he ruled with the Divine Right of Kings. He preferred a High Anglican form of worship, with ceremonies, rituals and lavish ornamentation.  Charles thought the hierarchy of bishops and priests to be important. This caused alarm for some Protestants as it appeared that Charles was leaning towards Catholicism. The Puritans, who were extreme Protestants, considered all of this to be forms of ‘Popery’. They wanted a purer form of worship without rituals and without religious icons and images. Puritans believed that they had a personal relationship with God and did not need bishops.

In 1633 William Laud was appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury by King Charles I.  William Laud was a Protestant but thought the Puritans too extreme. Like King Charles I, Laud also favoured a High Anglican form of worship. William Laud wanted to impose uniformity of worship based on The Book of Common Prayer. Bishops were considered important to the running of the Church. Laud also wanted to bring back some of the ceremonies and rituals. Decorative features such as statues and stained-glass windows were reintroduced. Priests were to wear vestments as a sign of their elevated status as members of the clergy. William Laud saw this as the ‘beauty of holiness’. Puritans saw this as an attempt to make the Church more Roman Catholic.  There was much opposition to this religious change. William Laud saw Puritans as a threat to the Church and pursued his critics in the courts. In 1637 William Prynne, John Bastwick and Henry Burton were convicted in the Star Chamber of seditious libel for criticising Laud’s policies in a pamphlet. They had their cheeks branded and their ears cropped.

In 1637 King Charles I and Archbishop Laud imposed a new Prayer Book on the people of Scotland. It was a revised edition of the English Prayer Book. When it was introduced riots broke out in Edinburgh. The Scottish Presbyterians thought that the new Prayer Book had too many similarities to Catholicism. They saw it as an attack on the true Protestant religion and on their freedom to choose how they worshipped. Although Scotland had Charles I as its King, it was still a separate kingdom from England. Scotland had its own government, laws and established church – The Kirk. Charles’ response was to insist on the full implementation of the new Prayer Book and punishment for those who refused. He considered their refusal to be an attack on his Royal authority.

In 1638 the Scottish people signed a Covenant in which they promised before God to defend and preserve the true religion and pledged loyalty to the King.

In 1639 King Charles sent an army to try and enforce the new Prayer Book in Scotland. King Charles already distrusted by some as having leanings towards Catholicism was now declaring war on his loyal, Protestant subjects.

The English army was easily defeated in what was later known as the First Bishops’ War. In 1640 King Charles was defeated in the Second Bishops’ War. He was forced to sign the Treaty of Ripon in October 1640, which stipulated that the Covenanter (Scottish) troops were to be paid £850 a day in maintenance while they still occupied northern England.


A key factor which led to the outbreak of the Civil War was King Charles and his lack of money.

Charles’ father King James I, had led a lavish, extravagant lifestyle, which had left the Royal treasury depleted. The cost of running the Royal household of Charles I was similarly expensive. King Charles was a patron of the arts and spent vast sums of money on musicians to entertain his Court and in buying works of art.

King Charles needed to call Parliament to ask for money. In June 1625 Parliament had only granted the King tonnage and poundage (income from customs duties) for a single year, rather than for life as was customary. This meant that Charles would be forced to call Parliament again to grant further taxes.

Parliament refused to grant King Charles enough money to finance military campaigns against Spain and France. Charles dismissed Parliament and sought to raise income through a Forced Loan. That is money from taxes levied without the consent of Parliament. Refusal to pay often resulted in imprisonment without trial. This caused much discontent.  In 1628 a Commons’ Petition of Right was drawn up which stated that the king could not levy taxes on his subjects without the assent of Parliament, nor arbitrarily imprison them. Although King Charles initially agreed to the Petition it was never properly enacted as a statute.

In March 1629 Charles dismissed Parliament and began what he called his ‘Personal Rule’ and what his opponents called the ‘Eleven Years’ Tyranny’.  As only Parliament could legally grant taxes King Charles had to find other non-Parliamentary sources of revenue.  Charles exploited the Royal prerogative and imposed knighthood fees on landowners worth £40 or more a year (distraint of knighthood). Monopolies were sold to rich merchants, even though this was forbidden by Parliamentary Statute. Forest boundaries were reinstated to their ancient limits, so that forest fines could be levied on those who now found themselves within the new boundaries. In 1635 the King demanded ship money from all the counties of England and not just those on the coast.  Wealthy land owner, John Hampden MP, was tried in court for non-payment of ship money as he believed the King had no legal right to collect it. King Charles made himself very unpopular amongst those people who were traditionally royal supporters.

After his defeat in the First Bishops’ War, King Charles called Parliament in April 1640 to raise money for another campaign against Scotland. Not having been called for eleven years Parliament had a long list of grievances they wished to present to the King. Parliament refused to grant the money and Charles dissolved Parliament after less than a month.

After defeat in the Second Bishops’ War, the terms of the Treaty of Ripon stated that King Charles had to pay the Scottish Covenanters £850 a day while they occupied northern England. With huge debts the only option King Charles had was to call Parliament and ask for money.  This became known as the Long Parliament. King Charles’ financial situation meant that only Parliament had the means to raise enough money to pay the Covenanters and cover the costs of the unsuccessful Bishops’ Wars.  Parliament finally had the opportunity to present their grievances and push through reforms.


Under the reign of James I there had been a breakdown in relations between Parliament and the Monarchy.  Charles I had a similar negative view of any interference by Parliament in his rule. It was within the King’s royal prerogative not to call Parliament but they did have their purpose. As well as being necessary for raising taxes and passing legislation they could also be used as a source of advice and as a means of getting grievances heard.

The Short Parliament

King Charles called Parliament in April 1640 to raise money for the Second Bishops’ War. He needed Parliament to grant taxes to finance an army. Parliament expressed concern over King Charles and his administration and wanted their grievances heard.   The Puritan MP, John Pym was particularly outspoken in the call for reform. King Charles dissolved Parliament after only three weeks when his request for money was refused. [S. R .Gardiner, 1884]

The Long Parliament

After the defeat in the Bishops’ Wars, King Charles was forced to call Parliament in November 1640. The Members of Parliament now had the opportunity to have their complaints about Charles’ Personal Rule heard.  Their list of grievances concerned Archbishop Laud and his religious reforms, which were considered to be too Catholic; The use of the Royal prerogative to raise money, such as ship money; Dissolving Parliament rather than allow grievances to be heard and arresting Members.

One of the main complaints of Parliament was that King Charles was unduly influenced by some of his closest advisors.  Parliament blamed bad advice rather than the King himself for most of the problems.  

In December 1640 Archbishop Laud was impeached for High Treason. One of the charges brought against him was that he gave wicked and traitorous advice to the King. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London in March 1641. His trial finally began in March 1644. Unable to find any evidence that would prove him guilty of Treason Parliament passed a Bill of Attainder against him. William Laud was executed in January 1645.

In 1641, John Pym MP accused Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford of Treason and had him impeached. The Earl had been recalled as Lord Deputy of Ireland to become one of Charles’ chief ministers during the Bishops’ Wars. When the attempts to impeach him failed, the House of Commons passed a Bill of Attainder. Charles I tried to rescue Strafford by sending troops to the Tower of London. The attempt failed and resulted in demonstrations in London, with the protestors demanding justice. The House of Lords passed the Bill of Attainder and King Charles signed it. Strafford was executed in May 1641. 

Parliament wanted to see its place in the running of the country made more secure. It also tried to remedy the religious and political problems that had arisen during the king’s Personal Rule. Some of these measures would also reduce the Kings’ ability to rule without Parliament. King Charles agreed to some of these reforms.

Non-Parliamentary forms of taxation, such as ship money, were declared illegal. The court of Star Chamber, which sat without a jury, was abolished.

King Charles also agreed that the English Parliament could not be dissolved without the consent of Parliament itself. Furthermore, Charles gave Royal Assent to the Triennial Act of 1641, requiring that Parliament be called at least once every three years.

The Puritan members of Parliament were still calling for further reforms, particularly of the Church and religious practices in England. Divisions began to appear within Parliament and within the wider population. The more moderate Protestants believed that religious reforms had gone far enough and did not agree with the more radical changes the Puritans were demanding. It was these who would emerge as supporters of the King.

Road to war

The Irish rebellion broke out in October 1641.  Irish Catholics had risen up and massacred Protestant settlers in Ulster. King Charles needed to raise an army to put down the rebellion. This led to heated debates as to whether the King or Parliament should control the army. John Pym MP argued vociferously that “…mischievous counsels…” would influence the king. Pym and his Puritan supporters were worried that the army might be turned against Parliament after the Irish rebellion had been supressed. The Irish rebellion had also re-ignited fears of a Roman Catholic plot against Protestantism in the three kingdoms (England, Scotland and Ireland). 

In November 1641 the Grand Remonstrance was presented to the House of Commons by John Pym.

This document suggested that King Charles had been ill-advised by “…malignant parties…” which included Bishops, “Jesuited Papists” and counsellors who were serving the interests of foreign powers.  These persons “…for the advantage and increase of Popery…” had been attempting to undermine the political and religious reforms approved by Parliament and create conflict between the King and Parliament.  The Remonstrance listed 204 instances from the beginning of Charles’ reign onwards.  It demanded that the King remove these advisors and replace them with ones approved of by Parliament.

It was passed by the House of Commons, but with only a very small majority of eleven. The House of Lords and the King rejected it. [www.parliament.uk] In December the House of Commons voted to have the Grand Remonstrance printed and made available to ordinary members of the public.

King Charles in his response to the Remonstrance declared that there was no Church which practiced “…the true religion with more purity of doctrine than the Church of England…” Not everyone in Parliament or in England was a Puritan. His stance on religion gained King Charles much support, especially in the House of Lords.

On the 4th January 1642 King Charles entered the House of Commons with an armed escort of soldiers to arrest five Members of Parliament on charges of High Treason. These MPs were John Pym, John Hampden, Denzil Holles, Sir Arthur Haselrig and William Strode.  Having been forewarned, the MPs were not there.  The Speaker of the House of Commons, William Lenthall, defended Parliamentary privileges and refused to assist the King as to their whereabouts.

“May it please your majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as this house is pleased to direct me whose servant I am here…”

This abuse of Parliamentary privileges by King Charles lost him political support. Some of the MPs already believed that the King could not be trusted and were worried that he might try and re-instate his ‘Personal Rule’. Bringing armed soldiers into Parliament only made these fears worse. When riots broke out in London King Charles fled to Hampton Court.  The rift between Parliament and the King had become more obvious and people were being forced to take sides.

The London Trained Bands were brought out to guard Parliament with the consent of both Houses.  Crowds gathered in London to have their opinions heard and voice their concerns. In February King Charles sent Queen Henrietta Maria to the Netherlands for her own safety and to raise foreign support for the war. 

In March 1642 Parliament passed the Militia Ordinance which put the local militias under the control of Parliament. As it was passed as an Ordinance and not as an Act, Parliament decided that it did not need Royal Assent. They claimed they were acting for the safety and defence of the nation.

King Charles headed for York.  His supporters among the Lords and the gentry began to rally to him. Some supported the Royalist cause as they disagreed with the Puritans demands for radical reforms and did not like the influence they had in Parliament. Others came out of loyalty to the Crown even if they did not necessarily agree with the King’s actions.

In June 1642 Parliament presented the Nineteen Propositions to King Charles at York in an attempt to prevent the “…imminent dangers and calamities…”. It proposed that Parliament would control all military resources. Parliament would approve all ministers and officials chosen by the King. Parliament would decide how the Church was to be reformed. Laws against Catholics were to be strictly enforced. Parliament would have a say in the education and marriage arrangements of the King’s children.

King Charles rejected the propositions.

Parliament was mustering troops under the authority of the Ordinance. King Charles reinstated the outdated Commissions of Array to raise men. Individuals now had to choose whether to mobilise under the Commissions of Array or the Militia Ordinance.  Royalist and Parliamentarian forces seized military strongholds and raided stores for arms and munitions.

The nation was becoming increasingly polarised. It was more difficult to remain neutral.

On 12 July Parliament voted to raise an army under the command of the Earl of Essex, for the “… preserving of the true religion, the laws, liberty and peace of the kingdom.”

On 22 August 1642 King Charles I raised his Royal standard at Nottingham. Civil War had been openly declared.


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