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English Civil War Timeline

English Civil War

On the 24th March 1603 Queen Elizabeth I dies without an heir, and the throne passes to her cousin, James VI of Scotland, who takes the title of King James I of England.  With the ascension of James, the three separate kingdoms; England, Scotland and Ireland, are now united under a single monarch.

In August of 1604, James brought an end to a twenty-year war with Spain by way of the “Treaty of London,” Spain’s hope of bringing England under their control was over.

On the 5th November 1605 English Catholic’s, angered by James I failure to relax penal laws, hatched an audacious plan to blow up the King and Parliament in a single action.  The Gunpowder Plot was averted.  The conspirators were apprehended and executed.

In September of 1607, Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone and Rory O’Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell was defeated in the Nine Year War.  The victorious English government treated them leniently and they retained their lands and titles, until the appointment of Arthur Chichester the new Lord Deputy.  Fearing arrest, they fled Ireland for pastures new with their families, thus marking the end of the power of Ireland’s Gaelic aristocracy.

James I created a settlement program to secure Ulter for the crown in 1609, by encouraging Protestants from England and Scotland to re-locate.

By the end of the 16th century, several different English Bibles were in circulation.  In 1604 the King James Bible was commissioned and published in 1611.

On the 14th February 1613, Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I and Anne of Denmark married Frederick V, Elector of the Rhine Palatinate.  Frederick was elected King of Bohemia in 1619, but driven out of the country by Catholic forces.

It was through Elizabeth’s descendants, that the “House of Hanover” inherited the English throne.

William Shakespeare, English poet and playwright, died on the 23rds April 1616.

In 1619 Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, not to work as slaves, but indentured servants.  During the 17th century this changed, as more and more became slaves.  Slavery became part of the economy of the British Colonies in North America.

The Pilgrim Fathers sailed to America aboard the Mayflower, in August of 1620, fleeing England and religious persecution, landing at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.  Often portrayed as founders of modern America, but in reality one Captain John Smith, founded the first British Colony at Jamestown in North America.

King James I dies on the 27th March 1625, and is succeeded by his son Charles I.

Captain John Powell lands in Barbados and claims the island as a British Caribbean colony on the 14th May 1625.  In 1427 English settlers developed the island for the growing of sugar using indentured slaves and later slaves captured in West Africa.

King Charles I assisted French Protestants of La Rochelle who were being besieged by Catholic forces in October of 1627.  English forces were defeated, and the Duke of Buckingham who commanded the English Army was forced to evacuate, the nearby island of Rhe.

King Charles creates unrest, as he pushes through a tax to raise funds for war, without parliamentary consent.  Parliament replies on the 26th May 1627 by issuing a Petition of Rights, that he needs their permission to levy taxes on his subjects.  Also he cannot impose martial law on civilians or imprison them without due process.

George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham was stabbed to death by John Felton, a discontented former soldier, on the 23rd August 1628.

In January of 1629, the House of Commons delegates voice their opposition, in having goods confiscated, for failure to pay tonnage and poundage, believing it to be a breach of the Petition of Right Act.

Charles I was disillusioned with parliament, and further outraged by their actions, when on the 2nd March 1629, they held the Speaker of the House down in his chair, passing three resolutions on the King’s financial and religious policies.  Charles took matters into his own hands, and on the 10th March dissolved the assembly, imprisoning eight parliamentary leaders, and chose to rule without a parliament, it became known as “Personal Rule.”

In 1633 Charles I appoints William Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury.  Laud visits each and every diocese to enforce conformity in services across the land.  Some regarded this, as moving closer to Roman Catholicism.

In 1635, King Charles issues a writ, aimed at collecting “Ship Money” tax, under the pretext of fighting off piracy.  He took this tax a step further, by imposing it inland, one’s goods could be seized for non-payment of tax.

Charles I ordered the introduction of a new prayer book in Scotland on the 23rd July 1637, in a bid to secure a greater degree of religious conformity across his three kingdoms… angry crowds protested in Edinburgh.

In 1638, Charles I attempted to force the “Book of Common Prayer” upon Scotland, and the Presbyterians opposed it.

Determined not to accept the new prayer book which Charles I was trying to impose on them, the Scots had drawn up a “National Covenant” which bound its signatories to resist all religious innovations.  Scottish gentleman began signing the document in Grey Friars Church in Edinburgh, on the 28th February 1638.  The General Assembly of the Kirk declared episcopacy (Bishops) abolished and Charles prepared to send troops into Scotland to restore order.

In the summer of 1639, Charles puts together an English force, and the Bishop’s Wars with Scotland began in earnest.

King Charles summoned the Short Parliament in 1640 bringing an end to eleven years as solo ruler, after only three weeks it was dissolved on the 5th May, when he was refused funds for his war with Scotland.

Having advanced deep into England, the Scottish army found the army of Charles I waiting for them on the southern bank of the River Tyne at Newburn.  Charging across the river under cover of artillery fire, the Scots swiftly put the English infantry to flight, and Charles was forced into agreeing a humiliating truce.

On the 3rd November, King Charles, close to bankruptcy summons the Long Parliament, another of his request for funds.  At this time Parliament declares his “Ship Tax” illegal, and on the 11th November they impeach the Earl of Stafford and Archbishop Laud on the 18th December.

On the 16th February 1641, the Triennial Act is passed, which states by law that Parliament has to sit at least once every three years.

A reluctant King Charles is forced into agreeing to the new Act of Attainder on the 5th May against the Earl of Stafford, who was executed on the 12th May.

On the 5th July Parliament dissolves: Courts of High Commission, Star Chamber, Council for Wales and suppression of powers of the Privy Council.  Then on the 1st September the House of Commons passes a bill, which saw the destruction of altar rails, crucifixes etc as introduced by Archbishop Laud.

On the 4th January 1642, Charles feared that his opponents in Parliament were intent upon seizing political control, but were prepared to go a step further and impeach his Catholic wife; Henrietta Maria.  Charles had to act first, and so he marched into the House of Commons, intent on arresting five members of parliament, but they had been warned and escaped and Charles left empty handed.

On the 10th January, King Charles and the Royal family leave London and set up court in York.

In March Parliament announces they would be acting independent of the English King, in matter relating to the defence of the realm.

On the 1st June Parliament issues nineteen propositions, requiring the King to relinquish military control and the right to appoint ministers.  On the 18th June Charles rejected the request.

On the 22nd August King Charles raised his standard at Nottingham, and so the English Civil War between Parliament and the King had begun.

Although Parliament had initially managed to gain control of major parts of southern England, there were pockets of resistance.  In the October some 10,000 Cornishmen rose up in arms for Charles I and drove parliament’s local supporters across the River Tamar.

Royalists won a tactical victory over Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Edgehill” led by Oliver Cromwell.

Royalists won another victory over Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Chalgrove Field” in 1643, and went on to capture Bristol.

In the spring Oliver Cromwell is promoted to Colonel of Horse, and on the 2nd July Oliver Cromwell’s forces achieve victory over the Royalists at “Marston Moor,” and later in the year Cromwell is promoted to Lieutenant General and Governor of Ely.

Charles I ordered James Butler, Marquis of Ormond to arrange a ceasefire with Catholic confederates in Ireland, so that the English Protestant soldiers fighting there could be shipped home to serve against the Parliamentarians.

Parliamentarian forces negotiated a treaty with the Scots, where they would send mighty Scottish forces across the border to northern parts of England to face Royalist forces.  In return they would keep Scottish Protestantism.

In 1644 the northern forces of King Charles were besieged at York by Parliamentarians and Scots fighting alongside each other.  Royalist support came to bear in the shape of the King’s nephew; Prince Rupert.  Triumph by Royalist forces turned in favour of Parliamentarians at the “Battle of Marston Moor,” and northern England was lost to the King.

In the February of 1645, Cromwell gets what he has called for: The New Model Army, created by Parliament, made up of fully trained soldiers, with General Fairfax as Command-in-Chief and Oliver Cromwell as Lieutenant General, in charge of cavalry.

On the 14th June, Cromwell’s New Model Army proves its worth, crushing Royalist forces at the “Battle of Naseby.”

In April of 1646, King Charles barely escapes with his life from the “Siege of Oxfird,” surrendering at Newark to Scottish forces.

In 1647 King Charles prisoner of the Scots, was handed over to Parliamentary forces in northern England, on the 30 January for the sum of £400,000.

Whilst King Charles is held prisoner at Holmby House, he plots his restoration and return to King and ruler of England.  In the June he is moved to Hampton Court Palace, and then Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight.

Charles makes an agreement with Scotland to attack England, leading to the second English Civil War.

King Charles turns down Parliament’s proposals for peace.  Cromwell steps in, and leads the New Model Army, crushing Royalist forces in Wales, and putting a stop to the Scottish invasion of England.  So it was, the Second English War ended on the 28th August 1648.

In the December, the New Model Army enraged by Parliament’s opposition to their political ideas, moved in and removed parliamentary members they considered untrustworthy.  Some 180 members were removed and 40 were arrested; the result the “Rump” Parliament of 160 members.

In January of 1649, a court of justice had been convened by the House of Commons, to hear the case against King Charles I.  For, he had been accused of treason against England; pursuing his own objectives, rather than those of England.

Charles, refused to plead, in the belief the court was unlawful, and that the monarch, had absolute authority of his kingdom, granted to him by God.

The court challenged the question of sovereign immunity, stating the King of England, was not a person, but an office to govern by the laws of the land.

On the 26th January 1649, the court had found him guilty, and sentenced him to death.  On the 30th January 1649 King Charles I of England was beheaded in front of the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London.

An act of Parliament was passed, on the 30th January 1649, forbidding the automatic succession of the son of Charles I.  On the 7th February, the office of the King had been abolished.

On the 9th February 1649, King Charles I was buried in Henry VIII’s vault, in St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

On the 18th May, an Act was passed, which declared that England was a Commonwealth, governed by a council, appointed by Parliament.

The Scottish and Irish, proclaimed they would assist Charles II, claim his rightful place, as King of England.

Determined to subdue Irish rebellion, parliament ordered Oliver Cromwell to lead an expeditionary force across the Irish Sea.  After landing at Dublin, Cromwell moved on to Drogheda where he massacred the 3,000 strong garrisoned army and defenders of the town.

Then in July of 1650, Cromwell’s army crushed loyal Scottish supporters of Charles II.  Defeating Dunbar and entering Edinburgh as the victor.

Desperate to recover his father’s throne, the heir of Charles I struck a bargain with the Scots in 1651, and was crowned King Charles II of Scotland at Scone Castle.

On the 3rd September, Scottish forces led by Charles II, come face to face with Cromwell’s forces at the “Battle of Worcester.”  Charles II had no choice, but flee into exile in Holland.

In 1653 Oliver Cromwell, a successful leader in the English Civil War, became one of England’s most powerful men.  On the 20th April angered that Parliament are stopping many reforms, marches into Parliament and dissolves it.

On the 16th December, a reluctant Oliver Cromwell, becomes Lord Protector of England’s Commonwealth.  He wore a purple robe, lined in velvet and carried a golden sceptre at the ceremony.  Similarities to a coronation were there, but the oath changed to “Save the Lord Protector.” In the eyes of the people, Cromwell was now King of England, in all but name.

In 1657 supporters of Cromwell put forward that he should appoint himself as, King Cromwell, but he rejected the offer.

On the 3rd September 1658, Oliver Cromwell dies at Whitehall and is buried at Westminster Abbey.

In 1659 Richard Cromwell (Lord Protector) son of Oliver Cromwel resigned in the May.

Parliament and the Monarchy were restored under King Charles II in 1660.

On the 30th January 1661, twelve years to the day, of King Charles I execution.  The bodies of Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector), John Bradshaw (President, at trial of Charles I) and Henry Ireton (Cromwell’s son-in-law and General in the English Civil War), were removed from Westminster Abbey.

They were hung from Tyburn gallows in chains, and beheaded at sunset.  Their bodies tossed into common graves, and heads placed on spikes at Westminster Hall from 1661-1685.

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