Charles I: Personal Rule 1629-38


Charles as a King

  • Eventually made peace with France and Spain in 1629.
  • Attended Privy council regularly and followed up decisions. Increased the amount of Bishops in the Privy council too.
  • Strengthened his personal deputies William Laud and Thomas Wentworth.
  • Relied of Henrietta Maria.
  • Wanted a image of honour, (Van Dyck paintings).
  • Justice was given via Prerogative courts like Star Chamber.


  • Dissolved Parliament from 1629-40.
  • Said they never understood him.
  • Attempted Absolute Monarchy.
  • Merchant Richard Chamber refused to pay Tunnage and Poundage was imprisoned.
  • 9 MPs were arrested forcing the speaker to sit in his place.
  • Sir John Elliot was imprisoned. Moved prison to prison to avoid Habeas Corpus.
  • Habeas Corpus could release him as trial was unfair.
  • Charles could rule personally if financially independent.
  • King prerogative could allow him to change right/power of Church and state how he liked.
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How England was Governed:

  • Privy councils with key officials and advisers of King.
  • Lord Lietenant in counties controlled by Privy council. 
  • Responsible for raising troops.
  • Individual privy councillors were incharge of Prerogative courts, i.e. Star chamber, Chancery Regional councils of North.
  • This structure helped royal control.
  • Charles made sure his ideas were understood.
  • Laud and Wentworth were his key advisers. 
  • Their detail on policies was nicknamed Thorough.
  • Wentworth worked in Ireland and the North, made sure royal authority was achieved.
  • Laud worked in the Churches, responsible for 'Book of Orders'. 1631.
  • Book of Order instructed JPs how to collect poor laws, treat beggars, move goods etc.
  • Government, Council and Prerogative courts were effective
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How England was Governed Controversy:

  • But in 1635, JPs had to collect Ship money, issue Book of Orders and Supress a Scottish Rebellion in 1637.
  • Unsuccessful  attempt to help the poor when JPs had to set wages when they were going to pay them.
  • Overode local interests to benefit the King and advisers.
  • Star Chamber unheld rights of nobility.
  • 1632 damaged the Earl of Suffolk John Saville for his rivalry against Wentworth
  • They eventually supported Parliament in the civil war.
  • Wentworth was less sympathetic to Irish.
  • Used Irish Parliament for money and alienated relgious groups there.


  • Resented no. of Bishops in Privy council.
  • In 1632 Laud made his friend Francis Windebanke Secretary of the state.
  • In 1635 when Lord treasurer Weston died, he was replaced with Cleric William Juxon and was resented by many as this was usually a position for nobility.
  • Churches were decorated again.
  • Authors that criticised them were punished in Prerogative Courts.
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Finance and Money without Parliament:


  • Without Parliament funds he had to fix financial weaknesses.
  • William Noy helped him find various way of ancient money making.
  • Charles best money making scheme was a new tax called ship money.
  • Ship Money was significant.
  • Ship Money targets were set by the King to be collect from country as a whole.
  • Placed a burden on Local justicies.
  • Offered a real financial independence. 
  • Earned £100,000+ a year.
  • Was used for Navy defence but was extended to inland areas.


  • Political elite resented it.
  • John Hampden 1637 refused to pay and was put on trial.
  • Was succefully collected until 1637 civil war.
  • Distracted the privy council.
  • 1635 saw £5,000/200,000 was collected.
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Other Financial methods besides Ship Money


  • 1630, Commission for detective titles examined titles and leases on tenants.
  • New rents were imposed..


  • Men owning freehold land of £40 a year meant that they had to pay for a Knighthood title.
  • Raised £165,000 in 1635.
  • Court of Wards and Liveries collect £50,000.


  • East Indian Company monopoly given.
  • Worst scanda was Popish Soap when a group of Catholics were fraudulent.


  • Tunnage and Poundage continued to be collect and price rose via trade.
  • New Impositions made £50,000 from 1631-35.
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Religion and the Church


  • Laud became Archbishop of London in 1633. 
  • Put in new rules for Bishops.
  • Preaching only allowed in Sunday mornings/evenings.
  • Catechism replaced afternoon, placed key belief from Anglican prayer books in forms of QandA.
  • Catechism replacing Preaching showed Laud emphasis on ritual and authority.
  • Weekday lectures banned removing a favourate Puritan demand.
  • Foeffes were challenged, a group of Puritan who bought Parishes to allow good quality preaching were bought/banned by Laud.
  • Puritans felt attacked.
  • Churches were decorated, music was played, Church bells restored.
  • Charles and Laud saw this as bringing beauty to the Church.
  • Replaced preaching with ceremonies.
  • Music and ritual caused a joy for worship.
  • Catechism brought unity
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Intentions and Reactions of Laud Reforms:

  • Many thought banning preaching was devil works.
  • Left many in darkness.
  • Decorations and Statues were seen as symbol worshipping.
  • Purtians saw that the Catholic mass was idol worshipping.
  • Protestant faith felt attacked.
  • Fact that Clergy railed off by Clergy saw them superior than Laity.
  • Charles and Laud saw this a way off improving religious supervisions.
  • Many Laymen saw this as way to renew Catholic Church Clerical Pretensions.
  • Bishops in the Privy council, Catholic traditon being reimposed and new clergy status saw this as restoring absolutism and Catholicism.


  • Catholic influence at court created fears.
  • Henreitta Maria could be Catholic, her priests were allowed to convert others and Lord treasurer Weston was Catholic.
  • 1635 Charles and Pope's Ambassador wanted a growing friendship.
  • Those who didn't obey were prosectued in High Church and Star Chamber like Burton, Bastwick and Prynne who attacked Laud and the Queen.
  • They were gentry but were  still mutilated, crowd was horrified.
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Growing Opposition

  • Many opposed Charles and Laud.
  • Radical Puritans saw Church as Unacceptable. 
  • Bancrofts persectution in 1605 led to small congregations in Holland.
  • Many formed Millinarian and Baptist Ideas from John Smyth.
  • John Lulburne was a protege of Bastwick.
  • He tried to smuggle Dr Bastwick's sermons from Holland which was printed with no license.
  • He was sentenced to be pillored.
  • He warned everyone about the evils of Bishops, he was imprisoned but freed by MP Oliver Cromwell when a Long Parliament was called.
  • Radicals and Separatists were isolated.
  • Moderate Puritans posed a real threat.
  • Saw Laud and Charles as a threat to England.
  • Charles overrode law and Parliaments to get a Absolute monarchy.
  • Leaders of Puritan interests, e.g. Earl of Bedford fled to New England.
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