Charles: Failure of the Personal Rule, 1638-1640

Situation in 1637

  • At the start of Charles reign he had everything under control.
  • Ship Money was coming in.
  • Polixy of throrough modernised administration.
  • Ireland was under control and Laud effectively eliminated opposition
  • He was becoming financially independent, didn't need Parliament.
  • But he wanted to extend reform to his other kingdoms shows he lacked political awareness.
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Scottish rebellion, 1637-39

  • Charles had Strafford supress any resistance in Ireland. Irish Catholics had religious freedom to an extent.
  • But, Scotland had strength and independence with the Presbyterian Kirk/Church, it was free from the King and bishops. 
  • James I wanted links with Scotland, wanted Bishops in office only to advise, not to change belief. 
  • Charles was less tact than James, in 1621 James withdrew from imnposing the English prayer book due to making opposition.
  • 1637, Charles wanted new Prayer Book like in England to be put in Scottish Churches in Edinburgh.
  • This was done without telling the Scottish Parliament/Kirk Assembly.
  • Once read by a Bishop in St Giles Cathedral, Bishops were attacked and the Prayer book was opposed.
  • Riots were caused because of the Book and how it was implamented.
  • But Charles wanted his orders carried out, Scottish clergy and nobles united in anger.
  • 1638 , Those against Charles united to sign a document known as Covenant to protect the Kirk.
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The First Bishop War 1637-39

  • Charles rose an army to stop the rebellion.
  • He lacked money to raise a well skilled army, relied on English support.
  • Nobility didn't want to fight, the JPs were to busy with collecting Ship Money.
  • Militia was local and men didn't want to leave homes.
  • Scots felt their religion and culture was being attacked by an Anti-Christ like Charles.


  • Scots were allowed to decide own religious settlement.
  • They abolished the Prayerbook and Bishops in Scotland.
  • Charles opposed this, and merchant refused to give money for new army.
  • Charles was struggling, he called Thomas Wentworth (Strafford) back from Ireland to help.
  • He advised him to call Parliament hoping the anti-Scot feeling would aid Charles.
  • The war caused all of Charles financial gains to be wiped out.
  • When things didn't go well he said "You have an army in Ireland you may use to reduce this Kingdom". This would affect him later.
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The Short Parliament, April 1640

  • He need money to stop the crises he created.
  • Parliament only lasted for a month and nothing was met.
  • Key figures in the HofL were Saye, Sele and Lord Montague.
  • Key figures in the HofC werer John Pym and Nathaniel Fiennes.
  • They were in touch with the Scottish army and if Charles had known they'd be charged for treason.
  • It's like they wanted Charles to dissolve Parliament.
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The Second Bishop's War, June 1640

  • Charles was still determined to assert his authority.
  • he was stubborn and lacked political awareness.
  • He borrowed from Catholics and used Catholci officers.
  • The English was was unmatched for the Scots, they entered England and took over Newcastle, rich in coal which helped keep London warm in the winter.


  • Charles agreed to pay Scottish army whilst they occupied England.
  • Scottish wouldn't leave until Charles called Parliament.
  • He delayed talks for ending the war.
  • Charles then knew he had to call another Parliament which would be known as the 'Long' Parliament.
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