Privy council

Notes on Book of Orders, Militia, 17th century society and the King's courts.

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Whig (Liberal party, beginning of the 19th century): long road to the civil war, absolutist rule leads
to progressive opposition - "Eleven Years Tyranny."
Revisionist view: short term factors led to the civil war, there was arguably successful reforms
under personal rule, and it didn't contribute to civil war.
Post revisionist: there was some progress under the personal rule in terms of reformation, civil
war causes began in 1637, however the elite wanted to work with the personal rule.
The Privy Council
The Privy council and its councillors:
Composed of the king's selected advisors who met in private to shape the monarch's wishes
into policy, and oversee its implementation. There was a trusted inner circle of people like:
Laud,Weston, Windebank and Cottington.
Major Privy councillors
Name Office Date
Sir Thomas, Lord Coventry Lord Keeper of the Great Seal 1625-40
Henry Montagu, Earl of Keeper of the Privy Seal 1628-40
Sir Richard Weston,Earl of Lord Treasurer 1628-35
William Juxon,Bishop of LondonLord Treasurer 1636-40
William Laud, Archbishop of First Lord of the treasury 1635-40
Francis, Lord Cottington Chancellor of the Exchequer 1629-40
Master of the Court of Wards
Sir Francis Windebank Secretary of State 1632-40
The Privy council had committees to deal with important aspects of government like foreign
policy and Ireland. There was a supposed distinction between the common council and the
cabinet council, who were Charles' main confidents.
The king's courts
To enforce the will of Charles and the Privy Council there were two prerogative courts called
the Star chamber and High Commission.
Star Chamber: made up of Privy councillors selected by the sovereign. Charles held key cases in
secret in front of this particular court. The advantage of the Star Chamber was that
defendant could be questioned and punished privately, however they couldn't give out a death
High Commission: it was the chief court of the Church used by Laud to enforce conformity.If a
defendant was found guilty in this court, they were sentenced by the Star chamber of which
Laud was also a member.

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In addition there was also two regional prerogative courts to impose control on the far reaches
of England.
The Council of the North: situated in York which dealt with powerful families of the North.
The Council of the Welsh Marches: which was first conceived to protect English borders from
the Welsh, but by 1625 their threat had evaporated.…read more

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He disagrees with Wedgwood's dismissal of foreign policy as "weak and egotistical" as he
believes that Charles' loyalty to Frederick, and England's powerful standing and ability to
compromise the position of other countries, was underestimated.
He viewed her perspective as refreshing. Her delegation of blame for the failures of English
campaigns on `a restive and critical Parliament refusing the necessary grants of money to
wage' them, contradicts historiographical trends.…read more


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