Friday, 5 December 2014

A statute of Henry III repealed - after 247 years

I've had my attention drawn to a fascinating post on the BBC website. The Statute of Marlborough  dating from is to have all but four of its clauses repealed - after a mere year-247-year-old-gap. I'm glad they didn't rush this clearly very important change

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Charles I: problems with parliaments (1625-9)

Charles’s inheritance

Charles as he liked to be portrayed,
by Anthony Van Dyck
His inheritance was complex and potentially problematic. It included:

  1. Multiple monarchies: the fact that he was king of three kingdoms (England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland)
  2. Financial problems: the inability of the Crown to make ends meet
  3. The growth of religious dissent:  Charles was the first monarch to be brought up in the Church of England. His reign saw rise of Arminianism, a theology that originated in Holland, which was a reaction to the extremes of Calvinism. In England this also entailed the bringing in of more ‘high church’ practice into Anglican services
  4. Charles exacerbated these potential problems when at the beginning of his reign he married the Catholic princess, Henrietta Maria of France. When she refused to attend Charles’s coronation in 1626 she became the first consort in English history to dissociate herself from the ceremony.

Henrietta Maria of France,
Charles' Catholic wife

James VI and I

James I in his coronation robes
by Daniel Mytens

James had been King of Scots (James VI) since his mother’s abdication in 1567. He became King of England in 1603.  He was a foreigner, but otherwise he had many positives. He was an adult male and England had not had an adult male ruler since 1547. He had three children, two of them boys. He had successfully governed Scotland.

His reign is important in British history for three reasons:
He was the first joint ruler of both England and Scotland and would have created a united country if the respective parliaments of the two kingdoms had permitted it. See here for what happened when he tried to achieve union.
His reign saw the plantation of Ulster with English and Scottish settlers, superimposed on a native Irish Catholic population.
His reign saw the foundations of the colonies of Virginia and Massachusetts.
Seal of the London Virginia Company.
Note James's title as King of 'Great Britain'.