The Rump/Barebones Parliaments

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The Rump and Barebones Parliaments
1649 – 53

The whole period of 1649 – 60 is known as the ‘Interregnum’, which is a period without a monarch.


T H E  R U M P

There were many different problems that the Rump Parliament of this time had to deal with:

  • EXTERNAL – the rebellion in Ireland, the Scottish and Royalist invasion and the war with the Dutch.

  • ECONIMIC – 1649 and 1650 had bad harvests and a lot of debt

  • There was still potential opposition from both conservatives and radicals so politically the country was unstable

  • A lot of people did not approve of regicide (the murder of the king) and wanted nothing to do with the government that caused it to happen

  • The Rump needed support of the army, but like before the army wanted law reforms and reforms in other political areas, but this would have upset the conservatives even more, both the Royalist and Presbyterian, who had supported parliament and so this would have meant that they would have lost a certain amount of control

  • A lot of the MP’s that were in the Rump were conservative and only agreed to have the king executed because there was no other option and did not think that there would be

  • There were some MP’s that were convinced republicans, e.g. Sir Arthur Heselrige, and did not want there to be any other political or social changes.

  • Therefore the Rump was not radical enough for those who expected many political or religious changes, but not respectable enough to attract a large amount of support from the gentry.

The Rump slowly moved towards setting up a Republic and the HOL was abolished on 6/2/1649, and the day after the monarchy was formally abolished.  On the 14th the Council of State (the executive governing body of the republic) was set up.

Over 100 of the MP’s who left during Pride’s Purge came back and they were much more conservative. Many of the excluded members didn’t even try to get back in.

T H E  E N G A G E M E N T

In Jan 1650 this happened and it was basically the legalisation of Pride’s Purge and killing the King, and it was something that all adult males to ‘engage obedience’ to the current Parliament.

This was too much for many former Parliamentarian and Royalist gentry who dropped out of public life.  They might have put up with the Rump because it was better than an anarchy or a rule by the radicals or the army, but to accept the legality of PP and the execution was unthinkable and so this alienation of these people probably lost the Republic a lot of support.

R E L I G I O U S  T O L E R A T I O N

The Rump did little to reassure the religious radicals and Independents on the question of religious toleration and introduced these


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