James' Reign 1603-25

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  • Came from Presbyterian Scotland
  • very well educated but a lack of practical sense
  • 'wise and experienced king' - he believed he would have no trouble in England
  • he was paranoid after various plots as a child
  • very extravagant
  • believer in divine right but did not want to be absolutist


  • Spanish War in a stalemate
  • In debt because of the war
  • stable budget in royal household
  • subsidies and rent of crown land were not keeping up with inflation
  • Cecil as chief minister was competent bu vindictive with personal issues
  • puritans hoped for a Presbyterian system to be introduced
  • catholics hoped he would loosen penal laws as his mum was catholic
  • Parliament were quick to enforce their privileges as parliament in Scotland had very few rights
  • the Main Plot tried to replace James with Arabella Stuart - sir Walter Raleigh and others imprisoned

The Overbury Scandal 

  • 1615-16
  • Robert Carr (james' fave) was having an affair with Lady Essex
  • Overbury aided the situation
  • Lady Essex was granted an annulment from her husband
  • Overbury then tried to stop Carr and Essex from getting married 
  • James got angry at overbury and sent him to the tower of London
  • in 1615 lady Essex sent a poison pie to the tower = dead overbury
  • Carr and Lady Essex were charged with murder but James pardoned them
  • Carr was no longer james' favourite and James and his court lost respect 

Rise of Villiers

  • From 1618 to 1628 Villiers was the chief minister and therefore the most powerful man
  • He was made the duke of buckingham in 1623
  • He was in control of patronage which led to the sale of titles which was scandalous and led to wide resentment in the gentry
  • He was responsible for foreign policy and changed his mind for peaceful to pro Spanish war 
  • became just as close with Charles as he had been with James


  • The Howard Faction - led by the earl of Northampton, pro catholic and pro Spanish policies
  • Anti-Howard Faction - Led by Abbott the archbishop of Canterbury, wanted an end to James' pro Spanish policies

Finance 1611 to 1616

  • Essentially no parliament
  • corruption due to Howard influence
  • Suffolk - Lord Treasurer - could not stop James overspending 
  • there was a debt of £160,000

Cockayne Project

  • 1615-17 City of London
  • A Howard merchant (Cockayne) proposed that England made finished wool in England 
  • City of London lent James £100,000 to launch the idea
  • But he had no money for wool, no expertise in finishing the wool and no contacts to sell it to
  • in 1618 there was a collapse of the cloth trade making social distress and export of cloth to northern Europe never reached 1614…


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