The English Revolution (1642-1660)


Why Charles Was Executed

"Man of Blood" Ideology
- Its origin is biblical and means that once a King has killed innocents he will continue to kill
- It began to be linked to Charles following the First Civil War, as he did not accept any settlements
- It was exacerbated further by the Second Civil War
- It helped turn ordinary people against the King, as they feared further wars

Prides Purge
- This was when Colnel Pride and his soldiers prevented political Presbyterians from entering the Commons.
- Around 180 MP's were barred from parliament, this led to a more hardline body (The Rump)
- Following the purge, a new Vote of No Addresses was signed

The Rump
- This undoubtedly was a factor in Charles execution. The Rump was more radical, including Henry Marten, Cromwell and Ireton.
- The Rump passed the neccessary policies through to put Charles on trial and ultimately execute him.

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Radical Groups Pt 1

- The levellers were made up of both NMA and ordinary citizens who beleived in a level society
- In March 1647, they created the Large Petition, which attacked the House of Lords + monopolies
- The Levellers attacked the Rump as it did not address parliamentary representation and saw the Rump as an oppressive body
- Lilburne and other leading levellers were arrested in March 1649. This provoked two mutinies in April and May. Leaders of the mutinies were executed

The Fifth Monarchists:
- They were radical both religiously and politically. They had a millenarian theology. They believed that the civil war was the presage of Christs kingdom

- They believed in millenarian theology
- During the Rump parliament they began grouping their churches into associations which preached their values such as Christian fellowship

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The Second Civil War

- Charles had negotiated with the Scots whilst improsoned in Carisbrooke Castle in 1647-48
- The Vote of No Addresses was passed. This meant that no further negotiation would take place
- This made it clear that further discussions would not take place, meaning arms were needed.
- There was growing anti-parliamentarianism in 1647, giving Charles hope
The Canterbury Rising:
- On Christmas Day 1647, Canterbury citizens irked by the abolition of Christmas festivities began rioting. They expelled the parliamentary garrison
- Parliament sent 3000 soldiers and Canterbury surrendered

Rebellion in South Wales:
- In March 1648 Pembroke Castle declared for the King due to them not receiving finance
- The castle was beseiged and fell 7 weeks later

The Seige of Colchester took place in August 1648, it led to propaganda due to the brutality

The Scots under Langdale let a Royalist force to seize Berwick. They were weak due to lack of morale as fiances. At the Battle of Preston in August, the Scots were defeated, essentially ending the Second Civil War.

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Cromwell in Ireland

The Second Ormond agreement ensured:
- Equality for Catholics
- Dissolution of the Confederate government
- Re-structuring of the Royalist Irish army

The resurgance of Royalism from Ireland provoked the English parliament to rout out oppostion, led by Cromwell around 12,000 troops landed in Ireland to defeat Ormond

The Massacres of Drogheda and Wexford
- Cromwells strategy in Ireland was to seize towns quickly. In October 1649 Wexford was taken, reducing Ormonds army to 3,000.
- In September 1649 Drogheda was taken, cutting Dublin off from help from Ulster.
- Cromwell slaughtered the citizens of these two towns

Ormond was demoralised by the lack of support from foreign countries and Charles Stuart. His soldiers were also forced to choose between Royalism or survival

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Politicisation of the New Model Army Pt 2

In June 1647, there was rumours that Charles was close to agreeing a deal with the Presbyterians, spurring the NMA, led by the Agitator Cornet Joyce to seize the King and take him to their HQ. It was suspected Cromwell and Ireton orchastrated the seizure.

The Humble Remonstrance and Solemn Engagement took place during the NMA rendezvous in June. Following these acts soldiers began marching on London, demanding pay

The Army released "A representation of the Army" in June 1647. This demanded that parliamentarians who wanted the disbandment of the army be purged and the right to petition parliament. This shows how politicised the NMA had become.

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Radical Groups Pt 2

The Diggers:
- They were an offshoot of the Levellers emerging in late 1648.
- They believed that property should sold and distributed amongst everyone
- People accused them of being Ranters limiting their popularity

The Quakers:
- In 1647, George Fox spread Quaker ideology around the country, convincing people that they had a "inner light".
- Quakers believed that military service was wrong and oaths should not be taken
- By 1660 there was approximetly 20,000 Quaker converts in England

- Their beliefs were unique, believing that doctors were witches, pacifism and that the devil is simply a mans sinful thoughts
- In 1653, Muggleton was convicted of blasphemy.

- They believed in predestination, so their behaviour on Earth was irrelevant

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The Third Civil War

Issues Charles Stuart faced:
- He was based in the Dutch republic
- Had little financial support

The Scots required Charles Stuart to suscribe to the Covenant and maintain to the presbyterian church settlement. Charles ochastrated the Montrose Rising to improve his bargaining power. The Montrose rising was an attempt to sweep Charles into a coronation, it failed.

The Treaty of Breda was signed in May 1650, it required Charles to condemn his father and lose control of his political appointments

In June 1650, Parliament launched a pre-emptive attack on Scotland, Leslie used a scorched-earth policy and kept the NMA at bay. However, at Dunbar the Scots were outflanked and they were pushed back to Scotland

In Summer 1651 Charles led an army to attack England. In September the NMA and Charles fought at Worcester. It was a huge defeat for Charles and he was forced to flee back to mainland Europe.

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Politicisation of the New Model Army Pt 1

In February 1647, Parliament ordered some NMA regiments to Irelandand had plans to disband others. In March 1647 a purge of the officer ranks was ordered.

The NMA responded with the "Humble petition of the officers and soldiers" in March 1647. This petition requested that the soldiers be paid, indemnity for acts commited in wartime and provisions be made for widows and orphans.

Holles responded aggressively with the "Declaration of Dislike" in March 1647, which labelled the petitioners as enemies of the state. Parliament created tension between the NMA and parliament.

In April 1647, the Agitators began to make sure the soldiers voices were heard in parliament. The Agitators presence shows there was grass root support for the NMA amongst the population. The Agitators supported the Humble petition through the Vindication in April.

In May, disturbed by the NMA's growing presence some MP's considered raising an army to fight the NMA. On the 25th May Parliament voted to disband the New Model Army, which catalysed the army into becoming a political force.

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Parliamentary Cause

Early Strengths:

Control of London
- This allowed for political prowess and huge financial resources
Finance and Funding
- Parliament raised funds through the poeple of London and heavily taxed former Royalists Support of the Scots
- In August 1643, Parliament signed the "Scottish League and Covenant"
- This stopped Royalists from leaving the Northern border undefended

Early Weaknesses:

Political Issues
- There was the "War" , "Peace" and "Middle" group, who all had different aims, this meant the parliamentarians had no real strategy and were not unified
Poor Morale 
- The initial losses meant morale was very low, in August 1643 the Impressment Ordinance was signed, giving parliament the right to conscript

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The Royalist Cause Pt 2

How the Royalists Lost their Advantage:

Political Division:
- The leadership split into the "War" and "Peace" factions who had different views.
- The "War" party wanted to crush the parliamentarians, the "Peace" faction wanted to settle

Failure to Capitalise on Strengths:
- By the summer of 1643 the Royalists had taken many strategic positions and Parliament looked weak, with only Hull holding for parliament in Yorkshire
- The seige of Gloucester ended the momentum

The Oxford Treaty
- Following the Battle of Edgehill and Turnham Green, Parliament proposed a treaty which was a slightly moderated version of the 19 propositions.

Consequences of this:
- He was unable to negotiate a better settlement as 1643 was the height of his power
- Allowed parliament the time to regroup and sort themselves out

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The New Model Army

In December 1644 the "War" party introduced the Self-denying Ordinance. This seperated political leadership from military command. This was causing issues on the battlefield.

The New Model Army was established through the New Model Ordinance in Feb 1645. The New Model Army was financed by the use of assessments (essentially taxation) meaning it was a proffessional army.

The NMA was well equipted and the soldiers were happy as they were paid a salary.The NMA's strength was seen in the Battle of Naseby in June 1645, where the Kings forces were destroyed.

There was religious radicalism in the NMA, spurred on by zealous commanders such as Cromwell. They were mainly Puritans, and believed that they were fighting against the anti-christ.

However, the extent of this radicalism is debatable, in December 1646 there was a petition calling for its disbandment due to its heretical nature

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Settlements Proposed to Charles

Oxford Treaty January 1643:
- This was when the Royalists were at their peak. This settlement was essentially a moderated version of the 19 propositions. Charles rejected as Charles was optimistic that he would complete a military victory

Uxbridge Proposals February 1645:
- This agreement demanded that the King suscribe to the Solemn league and Covenant. There would be a Presbyterian church in England. Charles rejected again due to the growing division in Parliament and the radical nature of the proposal.

Propositions of Newcastle July 1646:
- This was drawn up by parliament and included that Charles should accept Presbyterianism for 3 years, Parliament would control the militia for 20 years and the Triennial act would remain. Charles rejected again, he was hopeful parliament would fracture

Four Bills December 1647:
- Outlined the conditions in which Charles could come to London and negotiate. Included control of the army for 20 years and prevented the king from adjourning parliament. Charles rejected in favour of the "Engagement" with the Scots.

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The End of the First Civil War

In 1644 the Political Independants (former War party) and Political Presbytarians (former peace party) formed, as there was little leaderhsip followign Pyms death in 1643

Political Presbyterianism was the stronger voice amongst the people as well as in parliament

The Capture of Charles I:
- Following Charles handing himself over to the Scots in Apr 1646 there was no progress in reaching a settlement
- In August 1646 the sum of £400,000 was agreed to hand Charles over to parliament
- Following Charles refusal of one last settlement Charles was handed over and Scottish troops returned home.
- Charles lived in luxury, yet was controlled by parliament

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The Royalist Cause Pt 1

Early Strengths of the Royalists

Loyalty and Tradition
- Conservative nature of Stuart England alliegance lay with Charles.

Access to Resources
  - Earl of Worcester donated over £300,000 to the cause
  - Evelyn family produced gunpowder for the Royalists

Access to Tax Revenues

Unified Command
  - Charles was the undisputed leader
  - Charles begin promoting nobles with a good military record
  - However, Rupert and Lindsey disagreed at the Battle of Edgehill in Oct 1642

  - The Royalists had a clear strategy, to defeat the parliamentarians and reclaim London

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Divisions Within the Army

Many in the Army were upset with the Heads of Proposals because it was such a moderate settlement. Therefore they published the Agreement of the People which set out their grievances and accused the Grandees of betraying the army

The Putney Debates (1647):
- As there was so much dissent in the ranks a meeting was called in Putney. Themes included:
  - The basis of Parliaments authority (debates over what should happen next)
  - The right to suffrage (should all have the right to vote)
  - Cromwells efforts to maintain unity (Cromwells voice held poeple together)

In October, a leveller pamphlet was published which incited soldiers to mutiny and accused Cromwell and Ireton of betraying the army.

In November Cromwell and Fairfax halted the debates and sent Agitators back to their regiment, fearing Charles was planning something as well as Leveller disruption.

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Pamphlets and Propaganda / Radicalism

Radicalism is either
- A departure from tradition
- Support for political or social reform

In London there was numerous displays of radicalism. For example the formation of the London Mob following the Failed arrest in 1642

- They were invented in the early years of the civil war, pro- parliament titles were typically more accurate and Royalist one more humerous

- Following the Battle of Naseby in June 1645, "The Kings Cabinet Opened" was published, associating the King with catholicism.
- Parliament began regulating propaganda through the Licensing Act of 1643
- There was also radical propaanda promoting religious tolerance

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Strengths and Weaknesses of the Rump + Its Dissolu

Strengths of the Rump include:

  • The Rump's Navigation Act of 1651 boosted national morale as it brought England back onto the continental stage as a main player
  • Careful handling of local circumstances prevented serious opposition from the localities. Royalists were typically treated gently with minimal purges
  • There was no good alternative and the Rump held off the threat of the army's ambition
  • The Rump was able to raise enough money to finance the army

Weaknesses of the Rump include:

  • Taxes of necessity, remained very high
  • Attendance at the Rump was always low with only 70 active MPs out of 210
  • The passage of new legislation dropped steadily throughout the Parliament

In April 1653, Cromwell entered Parliament and dissolved the Rump. The Nominated Assembly was formed which although not a parliament pushed through reforms promoting the Godly Reformation. In December 1653 the Assembly was closed down whilst the radicals were praying.

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Oliver Cromwell and the Protectorate

The Instrument of Government

  • A Lord Protectoate would hold executive power Cromwell held this for his entire lifetime.
  • A Council of State of upto 21 members would handle finance, appointments and the army
  • A Parliament would sit for atleast 5 months with re-elections every 5 years
  • The settlement tackled key areas of contention such as liberty of worship for all but Roman Catholics and extended suffrage to the emerging middle class

The First Protectorate Parliament (Sep 1654 - Jan 1655)

  • The Parliament was brought foward repeated attempts to amend the Instrument to bring power back to itself
  • The "Commonswealthmen" strongly opposed Cromwells dissolution of the Rump
  • "Godly Reformation" was not persued and instead tolerance was narrowed
  • No legislation was enacted during the whole Parliament
  • Electoral reform had redistributed power away from the towns and into the counties
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The Major Generals

Reasons for Military Government:

  • In March 1655 John Penruddock attempted a Royalist uprising in WIltshire, it was put down bbut created significant anxiety
  • In April 1655 the Western Design was carried out which included attacking Cuba, however it was repelled by the Spanish making Cromwell believe in counter-providence

Issues With Rule by the Major Generals:

  • Lambert was a major player in developing the Major General style of rule. England was split into 11 districts under a major general and 500 supporting soldiers
  • They caused social disruption as hte Major Generals were often of a lower social status than JPs who they had authority over
  • It was a huge financial burden and Decimation Tax was levied on Royalist estates removing 10% of their revenue

In September 1656 Cromwell called the Second Protectorate Parliament to finance the war against Spain. Cromwell excluded members which had previously opposed him.

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The Limits of Religious Toleration


  • Prefered the established church as well as discipline and order
  • Included Royalists who wanted to uphold an Anglican settlement and Presbyterians who wanted to extend a Presbyterian settlement
  • Key figures included Prynne, Thomas Edwards and Robert Baillie

Conservative tolerationists

  • Prefered the Established Church and belived in independance and orthodoxy
  • Key figures included Cromwell and John Owen

Radical tolerationists

  • Believed that religious faith and practise to be removed from oversight by secular powers
  • Key figures included George Fox and Henry Vane
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The Limits of Religious Toleration Pt 2


  • As a Protestant Independant Cromwell was anti-catholic but reconsidered his stance due to his commitment to liberty of conscience
  • Thomas White (Paris based catholic) accepted that Cromwell was Protector and signed a Parliamentary Oath of Allegiance for all English Catholics
  • Jews were also officially banned from England but Cromwell ensured that they were quietly allowed back in

John Biddle

  • Biddle was a Socinian who had been able to hold church services during the war. However, he published an pamphlett outlining his Socinian beliefs. Parliament initiated proceedings against him under the Blasphemy Act. The Biddle case was a reason in Cromwells decision to dissolve the First Protectorate Parliament

James Naylor

  • Naylor was a dedicated Quaker and former soldier. In 1656 he rode into Bristol on a donkey in a re-enactment of Jesus. The Blasphemy ordinance was passed against him.
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Cromwell's Refusal of the Crown

The Humble Petition and Advice

The terms were relitively conservative which were mostly acceptable to Cromwell, including:

  • A new definition of religious liberty and tolerance
  • The establishment of a national Church with a wide Confession of Faith
  • The reduction of the Council of State to a small group more reminiscent of the Privy Council
  • The creation of an Upper Chamber whos members would be nominated by Protector
  • The right of the Lord Protector to nominate his successor

Haslrig was opposed to the petition due to the introduction of an Upper Chamber, despite being a part of it. He did not want a higher authority than the Commons

On 13th April 1657 Cromwell rejected the crown as he was anxious God may tiurn against him if he commited sins of pride and ambition

In June Cromwell accepted the new petition which removed the offer of the crown. Cromwell died in September 1658 and his son Richard became the new Lord Protector.

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Richard Cromwell's Protectorate

Richard Cromwell had been involved in the running of the country since 1657. Richard Cromwell had played a part in very few events up to that point, working as a JP in Hampshire. Richard Cromwell was not a politically minded man and was neither opposed or supported

Weaknesses with Richard Cromwell's Protectorate:

  • Finance (War with Spain put the government system under strain with army pay going into arrears)
  • Divisions (Richard was unable to exclude MP's from the Third Protectorate Parliament meaning there was many divisions within Parliament. Haselrig continued to oppose the constitutional settlement as it was too monarchial.

The End of the Protectorate:

  • Richard did not have the leverage that his father had with the army and became distant. He allowed parliament to reduce the army and religious toleration.
  • In April 1659 general Desborough forced Richard to dissolve the Third Protectorate and placed him under arrest.
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Recall and Explusion of the Rump

The army was divided whether to continue supporting the Protectorate, it ideologically agreed but some feared it was too monarchial. John Lambert retuned to the Army Council and many wanted him to become the new Protectorate.

The old Rump parliament was recalled in May 1659 with Lenthall as chair. The Rump abolished the Protectorate system. The Rump was a fraction of its former strength with only 42/78 MP's sitting on the 7th May.

The Humble Petition and Addresses of the Officers was presented by Lambert on the 13th May. It contained the 15 articles of the "Fundamentals of our Good Cause". They also made plans to make a Senate, composed of godly and faithful persons. Haselrig opposed this as it reduced the authority of the Commons and counter-argued a purge of the military.

George Booth's Rising, August 1659 was born out of opposition to the Commonwealth. Furthermore, Charles Stuart was begining to develop a meaningful force on the continent. Uprisings were planned in Surrey, Oxford, Cheshire. However, only Booth in Cheshires rising occured and the rebellion was put down.

The Rump was dissolved shortly after, the regime was penniless. Haselrig ordered the closure of the Commons. Furthermore, Lambert rallied troops in London and prevented them from entering

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The Committee of Safety

On the 27th October an interim government was put in place as a "Committee of Safety". It was under the leadership of Fleetwood and members included Henry Vane jr, Ludlow, Desborough and Lambert.

The Committee created numerous problems and almost brought the country to civil war. Riots were occuring in London and the Committee was reluctant to crush opposition, leading to further unrest. Tax revenues reduced significantly and many wanted the return of the secluded members.

There was also division in the army with army regiments demanding a "free parliament" and by December it wa clear that Fleetwood had failed to create a government alternative

The Rump returned on the 26th December 1659 but found itself out of touch with the public, who wanted an end to the turbulance. Generak Monck linked up with Fairfax's troops and marched towards London. Lambert raised a force to fight but they drifted away. Monck allowed the excluded members to be reinstated and appointed himself as Commander-in-chief of all Land-Forces.

The Parliament composing of the excluded members began on February 1660 and was Presbyterian in nature, they were considerably older.

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Return of the Monarchy Under Charles II

Charles Stuart had abandoned the idea of taking the country by force, seeking a political takeover instead. He collaberated with Holles and the Earl of Manchester who had sought a settlement in 1648. Charles also build ties with Monck.

Charles Stuart moved his court from Catholic Spain to the Dutch Republic and working with Hyde, Ormond and Nicholas they began to draw up a proposal for his restoration, which was issued from Breda in April 1660.

On the 25th April 1660, fresh elections returned a new House of Commons back to Westminster. It was called the Convention Parliament and became a parliament in June after Charles gave his assent. On the 8th May Charles Stuart was declared King Charles II. The monarchial agreement was much more favourable to Charles as he had control over his ministers and the militia.

Those who signed the death warrant of Charles I were excluded from the Indemnity Act and they were executed as traitors. Cromwells body was dug up, hung and quartered. Henry Vane Jr was also charged with treason.

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The Legacy of the English Revolution by 1660

Revolution Reversed:

  • The concept of Parliament as the prime authority based on natural law, with guarranteed sessions every three years
  • Centralised practise of law and the legal process across the Three Kingdoms
  • Religious tolerance for all but the most extreme

Revolution Sustained:

  • By 1660, pamphleteering, newspapers and other polemic expressions were established part of the cultural life of the nation.
  • The issue of religion was not solved and Charles promises of tolerance came to nothing
  • The role of women was changed by their representation in radical sects such as the Quakers. Women consolidated their position in the non-conformist churches despite conservatism
  • The concept of the "Good Old Cause" began to take permanent shape. The cause was sticking to Parliament to stand up for religion and their civil liberties.
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