17Th Century England: The 17th century was a span of enormous political and social disturbance. From an age represented by the Crown’s strong control of the state, the century witnessed years of war, terror, and killing that surrounded the kingdom, as well as the execution of Charles I and the inauguration of a republic. Yet all this was again to be deposed with the renovation of Charles II: a short-lived return to imperious royal impact finally swept away with the establishment of William and Mary as ruling monarchs.

In the midst of the seventeenth century, the span of price and population rises quitted and the country introduced a span of strength in both, that was to last until the mid-eighteenth century. The development of the landowning classes went on until the mid-century but consequently, this group faced developing pressure. Absolutely apart from those who lost land or had to pay taxes as a result of the disturbance of the Civil War, from 1660, tax collection continued at a high level.

17Th Century England: Quick Timeline

1600: The East India Company is founded
1601: The Poor Law is passed. People are made to pay a rate to support the poor.
1603: In March Queen Elizabeth dies. James I becomes king.
1605: The gunpowder plot, a Catholic conspiracy to blow up parliament, is discovered.
1607: Jamestown, the first successful British colony in North America, is founded
1608: John Milton is born
1611: The King James Bible is published
1625: James I dies. Charles I becomes king.
1628: William Harvey publishes his discovery of the circulation of the blood, The Petition of Right is presented to the king by parliament, George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham is assassinated in Portsmouth
17th-century houses in Portsmouth
1629-1640: The Eleven Years Tyranny. Charles I rules without parliament.
1632: The great architect Christopher Wren is born
1633: William Laud becomes Archbishop of Canterbury
1641: MP’s draw up a list of grievances called the Grand Remonstrance.
1642: The Civil War, The English Civil War between king and parliament begins. They fight the indecisive battle of Edgehill.
1643: Isaac Newton is born
1644: Parliament wins the battle of Marston Moor
1645: Parliament wins the battle of Naseby, William Laud is executed
1646: Charles I surrenders to the Scots and the first civil war comes to an end
1648: Charles I starts another civil war. The Scots intervene on his behalf. However, the battle of Preston ends hopes of restoring Charles I to power. Pride’s Purge. Thomas Pride removes some Presbyterian MPs from parliament.
1649: King Charles I is beheaded
1651: A Scottish army invades England in an attempt to put Charles II on the throne. The Scots are defeated at Worcester and Charles flees abroad. Thomas Hobbes publishes his work Leviathan
1652: Architect Inigo Jones dies
1652-1654: The first Anglo-Dutch war is fought
1653: Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England
1655-1657: Rule of the Major-Generals in England
1658: Oliver Cromwell dies. His son Richard takes over.
1659: Richard Cromwell resigns. His fall from power is so swift he becomes known as ‘Tumbledown Dick’.
King Charles II
1660: Charles II becomes king
1661: Robert Boyle publishes his great work The Sceptical Chemist

  • The Royal Society (a scientific organization) is given its charter by Charles II
  • Charles II marries a Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza
  • The Act of Uniformity is passed

1663: The first turnpike road is opened. (Turnpike roads were owned by turnpike trusts that maintained them. You had to pay to use them).
1665: The plague kills many people in London. This is the last outbreak of bubonic plague in England.
1665-1667: The second Anglo-Dutch war is fought
1666: The Great Fire of London. Much of the city is destroyed but it is soon rebuilt.
1667: John Milton publishes Paradise Lost
1670: Hudsons Bay Company is formed
1672-1674: The third Anglo-Dutch war is fought
1673: The Test Act is passed. Catholics and Protestant dissenters (who do not belong to the Church of England) are prevented from holding public office.
1670: The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is founded
1679: The Act of Habeas Corpus. Imprisonment without trial is outlawed.

  • Charles II dies. James II (a Roman Catholic) becomes king.
  • The Duke of Monmouth (Charles II’s illegitimate son) leads an unsuccessful rebellion in Southwest England.
    1686 ‘Hanging’ Judge Jeffreys sentences many of the rebels to death.

1687: Isaac Newton publishes his great work Principia Mathematica. He lays the foundations of modern physics.
1688: The ‘Glorious, Bloodless Revolution’. James II flees abroad and William and Mary become the new monarchs.
1689: The Bill of Rights is passed
1694: Queen Mary dies of smallpox aged 32, The Bank of England is founded
1698: Thomas Savery invents the first steam engine

17Th Century England History
17Th Century England History

History of England: Early 17th Century

  • In 1603 King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England. He began a new dynasty – the Stuarts.
  • James, I never had the duplicate magnetism as Elizabeth I and never enjoyed the same popularity. However, among his successes, he finished the long war with Spain in 1604. He was also pled for a new translation of the Bible, the King James Version, which was published in 1611.
  • Meanwhile, in 1605 James lived an assassination attempt The Gunpowder Plot However, King James came into dispute with parliament. The cost of government (and of fighting wars) was growing but the government’s income did not keep up. Rents from royal lands could only be lifted when the lease ended. Parliament was therefore in a strong position. MPs could reject to raise money for the king unless he hunched to their demands. So the king was forced to look for new ways to raise money.
  • The condition was convoluted by arguments over religion. Many MPs were puritans. They preferred to ‘purify’ the Church of England of its remaining Catholic elements. Although he was a Protestant James diverged with many of their views.
  • Furthermore, James believed in the divine right of kings. In other words, God had chosen him to rule. James was prepared to work with parliament but he admitted ultimate authority rested with him.
  • King James, I died in 1625. He was 58. His son Charles followed him.
  • Like his, father Charles I was a firm supporter in the spiritual right of kings. From the start, he differed with parliament.
  • At the beginning of his reign Charles I married a French Roman Catholic princess, Henrietta Maria. However, marrying a Catholic was a very dumpy move with the Puritans.
  • King Charles also clashed fruitless wars. In 1625 he sent a quest to Cadiz, which ended in failure. Parliament strongly chastised his policies and dismissed them to raise extra taxes to pay for the Spanish war.
  • Charles furiously softened parliament and raised money by collecting forced loans. He apprehended, without trial, anyone who turned down to pay.
  • In 1627 a quest was sent to La Rochelle in France. It was attended by the king’s favorite the Duke of Buckingham and it finished in failure.
  • By 1628 the cost of wars meant Charles was dary for money and he was enforced to call a parliament. This time MPs drew up the Petition of Right, which prevented the gathering of taxes without parliament’s sanction. It also forbade irrational imprisonment.
  • However, the king and parliament collided over the issue of religion. In the 17th century, religion was far more important than it is today. It was a vital part of everyday life. Furthermore, there was no toleration in matters of religion. By law, everybody was pretended to belong to the Church of England (though in practice there were many Roman Catholics especially in the Northwest).
  • In 1629 William Laud was Bishop of London. He was strongly inimical to the Puritans and Charles supported him wholeheartedly.Parliament excoriated Laud and Charles called it an impertinence. (He did not think Parliament had any right to do so). In return, the parliament declined to grant the king taxes for more than one year. Charles sent a mediator to parliament to announce it was softened. However, members of the Commons physically held the speaker down until they had passed three resolutions about Laud and religion. Only then did they dissolve.
  • In 1633 Laud was made Archbishop of Canterbury. Laud was resolute to suppress the Puritans and he sent commissioners into almost every parish to make sure the local churches came into line.
  • Furthermore, the Puritans had their own evangelists called lecturers. These men were separate from the Church of England. Laud tried to put a stop to these evangelists with some success.
  • Most of all Laud asserted the ceremony and decoration in churches. These parts were strongly opposed by the Puritans. They worried it was the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ and Catholicism would ultimately be recovered in England.
  • Meanwhile, for 11 years Charles ruled without parliament. This period was called the eleven years autocracy. Charles had various ways of raising money without parliament’s consent. In the Middle Ages men with property worth, a certain amount of money a year were expected to serve the king as knights. Under this old law, Charles fined their offspring for not doing so. Furthermore, all wasteland had once been royal land. In time some landowners had taken parts of it into farming. Charles fined them for doing so. Using these dubious methods by 1635 Charles was solvent.
  • However, things came to a head in 1637. In 1634 the king began collecting ship money. This was a conventional tax raised in coastal towns to enable the king to build ships when more was needed. However, in 1635 Charles began collecting ship money in inland areas.
  • A Buckinghamshire squire called John Hampden rejected to pay. In 1637 he was taken to court and although he lost his case he became a hero. Ship money was very creepy with the propertied class.Worse in 1637 King Charles and Laud exasperated the Scots by proposing religious changes in Scotland. Laud and Charles tried to propose a new prayer book in Scotland. There were riots in Edinburgh. In February 1638 Scottish nobles and ministers signed a document called the National Convention.
  • Charles made two tries to bring the Scots to heel. Both were embarrassing failures. The first Bishops War of 1639 ended with the peace of Berwick but it was only inhaling space for both sides.
  • In April 1640 Charles invited parliament again, hoping they would agree to raise money for his Scottish operation. Instead, parliament simply reviewed its many objections. Charles dissolved parliament on 5 May and it became known as the Short Parliament because it met for such a short time.
  • The Second Bishops War followed in 1640. In August 1640 the Scots violated England and they captured Newcastle. Charles was forced to make peace with the Scots. By the compact, they occupied Durham and Northumberland. Charles was imposed to pay their army’s costs.
  • Finally, in August 1641, Charles was imposed to quit all attempts to levy religious changes in Scotland. In return, the Scots departed from northern England.Meanwhile, desperate for money, Charles was required to call parliament again in November 1640. This parliament became known as the Long Parliament.
  • Parliament passed the Triennial Act, which described that parliament must be called every three years. A Dissolution Act stated that parliament could not be softened without its sanction.
  • Fining people who had not retrieved knighthoods was declared illegal, so was fining landowners who had intruded on royal land. Ship money was also abolished parliament also took revenge on the king’s hated adviser, Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford. They passed a special act declaring Strafford was a traitor. The people of London took to the streets demanding his execution. Charles worried about his and his family’s safety and he was forced to sign the act. Strafford was accomplished on 12 May 1641.
  • Unfortunately, parliament then divided. Opponent to the king was forced by John Pym but many began to fear he was going too far.In November 1641 a list of grievances called the Grand Remonstrance was dragged up but it was passed by only 11 votes. Pym then claimed that the king hand over control of the militia. For many, that was a step too far. They worried that Pym might replace the arbitrary royal government with something worse.
  • Meanwhile, parliament and the country split cover religion. Some wished to return the Church of England to the state of affairs before Laud. Others wished to abolish bishops unconditionally. The country was becoming desperately divided.
17Th Century England
17Th Century England

History Of England: Civil War

Worrying for his own safety, in 1642 Charles departed London, first controlling north to where he admitted his main support lay. At Hull, the king has turned down entry to the city by the Lord Mayor, and later that year, in Nottingham, Charles set up his royal specification: the first design of open warfare with Parliament. On 23 October 1642, the first true battle of the Civil Wars took place, at Edgehill in Warwickshire, emerging in the standoff between Parliamentarian and Royalist forces.

For four years afterward wrangling and warfare detonate across the nation, as Roundheads (specified for the Parliamentarians’ short-cropped hair) and Cavaliers (a sarcastic term describing the courtly dress of Royalists) fired themselves against each other. Families have torn apart as uncles, sons, brothers, and fathers took up arms against one another. In total, perhaps 100,000 soldiers and civilians disintegrated during the wars, and 10,000 houses were ruined.

History Of England: Late 17th Century

  • In 1662 he wedded a Portuguese Princess, Catherine of Braganza.
  • However, Charles had many mistresses. They passed a series of acts called the Clarendon code, a series of laws to pursue non-conformists (Protestants who did not belong to the Church of England).
  • The Corporation Act of 1661 said that all administrators in towns must be members of the Church of England.
  • Finally, the Five Mile Act of 1665 forbade non-Anglican diplomats to come within 5 miles of incorporated towns. (Towns with a mayor and corporation).
  • However, these quotas did not stop the non-conformists meeting or teaching. In 1670 Charles made an undisclosed treaty with Louis XIV of France. It was called the Treaty of Dover. By it, Louis agreed to give Charles money (so he was no longer vulnerable to parliament).
  • Charles admitted to join with Louis in another war with Holland and to announce he was a Roman Catholic (Louis agreed to send 6,000 men if the people overthrew when he did so).
  • Meanwhile, in 1672 Charles II issued the Royal Declaration of Privilege dangling the laws against oddballs. (Charles believed that as king he had the right to suspend laws).
  • In 1673 they passed the Test Act, which banned nonconformists and Catholics from holding public office.
  • Meanwhile, there was a query of exclusion. Charles II had no sensible children and when he died his Catholic brother James was next in line for the throne.
  • Some people, forced by the Earl of Shaftesbury, said James should be prohibited from the succession. They were known as Whigs. King Charles II died in 1685. He was 54.
  • Moreover in 1679 parliament passed the Act of Habeas Corpus preventing imprisonment without trial. Following the death of Charles II in 1685 his brother James became king.
  • However, Charles II’s unauthorized son the Duke of Monmouth settled in Dorset and led a dissent in Southwest England. He was an affirmed king in Taunton but his army was crushed at the battle of Sedgemoor.
  • Afterward, George Jeffreys (1648-1689), known as the hanging judge presided over a series of trials known as the Bloody Assizes. About 300 people were hanged and hundreds more were displaced to the West Indies.

The Succession Crisis and The Glorious Revolution

  • The extension of James II in 1685 once again thrust British politics into turmoil.
  • With bouncy trade creating relatively healthy returns, the newly crowned king felt less urged to consult with Parliament than his brother once had, particularly when it came to mapping foreign policy.
  • During the early years of his reign, the Army increased in strength by some 20,000 men (largely as a measure required to crush two significant rebellions), creating nervousness among MPs about James’s wilfulness in omitting their views.
  • It was matters of religion, however, that was to prove James II’s undoing. As a devoted Roman Catholic, the new king sought to remove laws hindering Catholics from office and to reverse the laws of religious toleration previously established by Charles II.
  • By pursuing to pack Parliament and local government with Catholics, he further wished that more of his subjects would flock to his own faith. Most parliamentarians, however (a large bulk of whom were contradicting Presbyterian Protestants), were not able to tolerate such steps.
  • The further alarm was created in June 1688, when a Catholic line of sequence materialized to be confirmed with the birth of a new son to James. Parliament began to move quickly against the king.
  • A group of seven Protestant noblemen contacted William, Prince of Orange – the husband of James’s eldest daughter Mary – requesting him to ravage Britain, a move which they certified would remain unopposed by English forces.
  • In November 1688 William crossed the English Channel followed by a huge invasion fleet, landing at Torbay in Devon. Appreciating his forlorn situation, James threw his badge of office, the Great Seal, into the river Thames, and fled the country, someday finding exile in France.
  • William III and Mary II were to be crowned joint sovereigns in April 1689.
  • The relatively peaceful overthrow of James II in 1688, identified the ‘Glorious Revolution’ by later historians, marks the establishment of a lasting Protestant settlement in British politics.
17Th Century England Power Of Petitioning
17Th Century England Power Of Petitioning

FAQ’s About 17th Century England

Who Ruled England In The 17Th Century?

King James Vi Of Scotland – England In The Early 17Th Century. In 1603 King James Vi Of Scotland Became King James I Of England. He Began A New Dynasty – The Stuarts.

What Was The 17Th Century Called?

1600S May Refer To: The Period From 1600 To 1699, Synonymous With The 17Th Century. The Period From 1600 To 1609, Known As The 1600S Decade.

What Was England Called In The 1700S?

The Kingdom Of Great Britain, Officially Called Great Britain, Was A Sovereign State In Western Europe From 1 May 1707 To 1 January 1801.

What Age Is The 17Th Century?

The 17Th Century Was The Century That Lasted From January 1, 1601, To December 31, 1700.