The Personal Rule of Charles I, 1629-1640

The Personal Rule of Charles I - AS leve History AQA

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  • Created by: Clodagh
  • Created on: 09-05-13 14:22
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  • The Personal Rule of Charles I, 1629-1640
    • Elements to the Personal Rule
      • Length of time: 11 years that Parliament had not met for
      • Sources of finance: Charles was obliged to look for new sources of finance in the absence of parliamentary subsidies. New schemes indicated that he was prepared to mess with his subjects
      • Foreign Policy: This was basically English neutrality that would favor Spain
      • Religion: The religious policies of Charles and Laud were destructive of the 'broad church' that Elizabeth had created
    • The Running of Government
      • Charles was suspected of trying to establish absolutist government on the continental model
        • It was unlikely that he had a grand plan to abolish parliament, he just ruled without them for a while
      • The Privy council were a clique of people who met twice a week and handled routine business of government
        • This was essential for the smooth running of the country. In the 1630's the advising of the monarch became much less important
      • The Justice's of the Peace were the local government that met four times a year for a quarter session
        • The sessions provided a court of law and an administrative forum which could ensure that the localities were being well run
          • It was also the occasion to pass on directives to the Privy Council
      • The harvest of 1630 was the worst of the early Stuart period and with food riots in the worst affected parts of the West Country, there were fears of more unrest unless effective poor relief could be organised
        • In 1630 and 1631 the directions were to see that justices prevented vagrancy and placed poor children in apprenticeships
          • This was relatively unsuccessful after being initially successful in solving immediate crisis
    • The Royal Court
      • The Court mirrored Charles' personality as it was formal, dignified and elegant but also remote, in-ward looking and rigid
        • Charles was not an intellectual and did not enjoy vigorous debate
          • He surrounded himself with men who shared his interests and beliefs
      • After an unfortunate beginning, his marriage to Henrietta Maria warmed. Their first child was born in 1630 and they had a further seven children up to 1644
        • The other consuming interest of Charles' life was patronage of the visual arts
          • In the 1630's Charles spent a lot of time developing his art collection. He had a lot of Rubens Flemish artwork that made Charles seem pro-Spanish
            • After his death it was estimated that there were 1,760 paintings and sculptures in the royal collection
      • The court in the 1630's bore little resemblance to the lives, prejudices and beliefs of the majority of Charles' subjects
        • Too many, it appeared extravagant and papist as it was Catholic factioned
          • The death of Gustavus Adolphus in 1632, when Charles refused to allow the court to mourn and the event when two papal ambassadors attended the court in the late 1630's    strengthened this view of Catholic faction
            • The court became isolated from the nation
              • In 1632 Charles ordered the gentry to leave court and live on their estates
    • Raising Finance
      • Customs finance: Trade was important for Spain, and England had hit a high in military trade during the Thirty Years War. A tax was imposed
        • This was relatively successful and the crown erased debts by the 1630's
      • Royal spending cuts: Weston's aim was to curb royal expenditure. The household accounted for £260,000 a year, about 40% of the king's income
        • This wasn't very successful as he tried to diet the amount of food. There was no fundamental reform of expenditure
      • Prerogative right - Distraint of knighthood: Every man with an income of more than £40 per annum was supposed to present himself at the coronation to be knighted
        • Inflation had eroded the value of £40 and the practice had gradually fallen out of use, so many were not knighted despite being eligible
          • These could be summoned and fined and fined for failing to show support the king
            • The system was unpopular
      • Prerogative right - Forest law: The boundaries of the royal forests were declared to be those of the time of Henry II. Many found that they were technically living in a royal forest and could be fined
        • Offences included 'engaging in agriculture'. Rockingham forest was enlarged from 6 to 60 square miles and the Earl of Salisbury was fined £20,000
          • It was considered a social evil as it enclosed common land and could force small farmers into vagrancy. This was not successful
      • Prerogative right - Court of Wards: Revenue was increased to a maximum of £83,000 in 1638-40 compared to £35,000 in in 1617-22. Wardship fines increased and there was an improvement in efficiency in the operation of the court
        • It was fairly successful in terms of raising money. Families in political classes were hit hard and it was quite unpopular with upper classes
      • Monopolies and grants: Charles found a loophole and it was a system in a way of rewarding people - the king liked this
        • It was unpopular
      • Ship money: This was a levy which was accepted a necessary in times of emergency for the defense of the seas
        • It was levied in coastal counties in 1634 in need to build up the fleet to uard against pirates who regularly raided the south coast
          • Coastal counties paid the tax and Charles expanded it in 1635 to the whole country. This was demanded until; 1640. It was very unpopular


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