Interregnum: The Rump Parliament 1649-1653

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The Rump Parliament 

  • The name given to the Long Parliament after Pride's Purge, December 1648. Also known as the "Purged Parliament," it consisted of a small group of Independent MPs. 
  • With the support of the Army, the Rump declared itself "the supreme power in this nation" on 4th January 1649, with powers to pass Acts of Parliament without the consent of the King or the House of Lords. 
  • One of the first actions was to set up the High Court of Justice, especially convened for the trial of the King.
  • Following the King's execution, the Rump abolished the House of Lords and the Monarchy itself. 
  • The Rump was in an unprecedented constitutional position. For the first time, Parliament was solely responsible for governing the nation.
  • There were no clear administrative guidelines for this new combination of executive and legislative powers. Much of its work was done through committees. 
  • This frequently led to problems of co-ordination and communication, made worse because the boundaries between the Rump and the Council of State were not clearly defined.

Rump Parliament and Religion

  • The Rump was generally conservative. Most MP's wanted to promote Puritan "godliness," and to curb the excesses of the various millenarian sects. 
  • Acts were passed imposing penalties on adultery and fornification - the Blasphemy Act of 1650 was aimed at curbing religious extremism. 
  • Censorship was imposed in order to limit the propagation of millenarian pamphlest and a government journal giving the official version of events was published. 
  • An Act was passed in 1650 repealing the statute that required compulsory Sunday worship. This statute dated back to the reign of Elizabeth I, and had been a mainstay of the power of the Anglican Church. 
  • In 1652, a "Committee for the Propagation of the Gospel" was formed as a means of controlling the appointment of clergy. 
  • In general, the Rump was cautious in implementing Church reform, making few concessions to the


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