Charles I - Religious Matters

Charles I (1625-49) religious notes with explaintion.

* Common Entrance 13+ essay *

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  • Created by: Lucas
  • Created on: 09-06-12 16:56

Charles I Religious Essay - Introduction & Thesis

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Charles I refused to seek comprimise and instead inforced his policies and views.

Unlike James I (1603-25), Charles could not keep the peace between the High Church and Low Church Protestants.

During his reign he proved to upset the delicate balance formed by James and drew significant opposition through his actions and reforms.

He evidently caused the Civil War (1642-52) by the instability of the country.
He was low on money and raised unpopular taxes like the Ship Tax.
The Puritans in England were becoming increasingly important and held many seats in Parliament - John Pym, John Hampden, Oliver Cromwell and many others influential Puritans or extreme Protestants.

He was forced to make decisions that caused many problems religiously and politically during his reign. He had many forces to deal with: the growing denomination of Puritanism, the still remaining Catholic stronghold, especially in Ireland, and his many Parliaments that he was pushing for money. 

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Charles' Religious Faith

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Charles himself had a strong religious faith:

  • He kept a copy of the gospels on his bed and carried it around often and even held it as he was executed 
  • He strictly observed the Christian calendar 
  • He wanted to restore "decency, order and uniformity to services"
  • He confronted the Puritans and criticised the Catholics
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Charles - Sympathy to Catholics

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Several actions undertaken by Charles I allowed Puritans to suggest he was too sympathetic to Catholics:

  • He promoted many anti-puritan ministers such as Laud (1633) who attempted to enforce uniformity - Laudian Church
  • He married a strong Catholic, Henrietta Maria and allowed her, her own chapel through which she encouraged Catholic reformation
  • He didn't help the other Protestant countries during the Thirty Years War in Europe - e.g Spanish Netherlands (Protestant population)
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Charles - Anti-puritan

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Many of his measures and policies were anti-puritan in nature:

  • He re-introduced the "Book of Sports" - 1633 - allowing for leisure and other activities on the sabbath 
  • He increased clergy salaries and tithes 

Charles thought that strong puritan preachers were leading the country astray and unbalancing the religious faith of the country:

  • He restricted these preachers and their lecturing 
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Charles - Scottish Prayer Book Controversy

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Charles was not pleased with the situation in Scotland where Puritanism was flourishing:

  • Charles, after being coronated "King of Scotland" entered a service at St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • He was not pleased and ordered the refurbishment as well as a change-of-service in many Scottish churches
  • He had become aware of the situation of Puritan conversion here and ordered for a Scottish Prayer Book to be printed and issued across Scotland
  • This was done with great reluctancy.  When it was first introduced, riots broke out at St. Giles.  The bishop leading the service was attacked, and benches and pews were even thrown at them
  • The Scots drew up a National Covenant refusing to accept the new book, thinking it was too Catholic in nature - they would not give way to what they viewed as the 'new errors and corruptions'
  • However, Charles refused to stand for this and sent in an army to enforce the book. Surprisingly the army was overcome by the Scots
  • This was the First Bishops' War
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Charles - Success or Failure

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Success:

  • His reign lasted as long as it did
  • Entered his death graciously
  • He had vision and was committed and steadfast in his views and ways

Failure:

  • Disrupted the delicate balance formed by James I (1603-25)
  • His success as an enforcer of rule was poor
  • He gained more enemies and united Scotland together against him during the Scottish Prayer Book Controversy 
  • He refused to compromise outside his narrow-minded view on what he desired - he immediately sent an army to oppose the opposition in Scotland and on entering one service he enforced a new service and book altogether
  • Ultimately, he showed himself to be too stubborn and unwilling to compromise.  Thus he encouraged others to remain entrenched in their own views.  This ultimately led to his downfall and execution
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Comments

Lucas

Awesome!

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