At A Gallop 1605-1615 Font of all Virtue

Left to right: Catherine Howard, Countess of Suffolk; Robert Kerr, Earl of Somerset; Frances Howard, Countess of Somerset


James I & VI was a canny politician helped by a master administrator in Salisbury. But the honeymoon was over with scandals at his court,  and the failure to establish a good relationship with Parliament.

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Now then, James knew all about parliaments, he knew exactly how to handle them and get the result he wanted. He knew that because he’d had loads in Scotland and managed them all with some skill. So it was to come as something of a shock to him that the English parliament turned out to be frustratingly and irritatingly difficult to control, and they’d turn out, over the next 20 years of his reign to be…well…words escaped him but could he go for ‘arsey’?

There were a few reasons for this, the subject of today’s episode I suppose. The first and simplest one was procedural. The Scottish parliament was unicameral, composed of three estates – kirk, nobility and towns – in one chamber. It was a lot smaller, so fewer people to manage; and voting tended to very much follow the example of the few great magnates – lairds tended to follow the example set by their local magnate. In addition, the parliament didn’t sit for very long and only considered the bills put before them, with little debate; and that agenda of bills to be voted on was decided by a separate committee, the Lords of the Articles. This body was easily dominated by the king. The English parliament was much bigger; let’s say 100 or so peers and clergy in the lords, but close to 500 in the Commons and so much harder to manipulate. Since it was bicameral, two chambers, the influence of the Lords and clergy over debate and decisions in the Commons were much reduced; not nothing, don’t get me wrong, but the Commons had much more scope. And the institutional power of regional lords was far less in England anyway – many of the jurisdictional rights Scottish peers enjoyed had long ago been replaced by central, royal justice. The English parliament sat much longer, with much more debate – and could propose whatever bills or matters for debate as it jolly well chose.

That is not to say that the English parliament saw itself in any way in opposition to the Crown, or indeed an executive body – absolutely not. It was an occasional constitutional body called by the king at his pleasure, when they needed it. The Commons claimed the absolute power over public taxation outside of the king’s personal feudal prerogative taxes. And it had an advisory role; each MP had a responsibility to represent their communities, and bring forward petitions and grievances for the king to consider. It was in no way an executive body – it was not the government; the government, the people who got stuff done, were the ministers, and the Privy Council, and they were appointed by the king, the whole king, and nothing but the king. So help him God. Parliament aimed and expected always to be one of the pillars of royal power and prestige, working in harmony with the king for the health of the Commonwealth and the greater glory of his or her majesty – it was there to help, it enhanced royal power, did not limit it; as the great Good King Hal of revered memory himself had said – the king was never so great as when in parliament.

Also, as will emerge over the next 20 years, no one is quite sure where the line between royal and parliamentary power lay; so as I have intimated in our last gallop, As far as James was concerned the king’s power was derived from God and no one else’s – it was, you might say, absolute. So yah, it’s good to talk n’ all but don’t tread on my shoes, blue suede or otherwise. So let’s say you did one of those exercises where you told MPs who disagreed with this, and who said the monarch was limited by rights of law and parliament, that royal power came from the people, to leave and stand outside, it would probably be the case that more than half the MPs would not move. It is difficult to over emphasise in how much reverence the monarch was held. Tricky to really feel it right now. If the Commonwealth was a body, an image often used at the time, then the king was it’s head.

Right that then is a scene setter to help put the next 20 years in context. Whiny parliaments are not, repeat not, a gimme. They are not out to limit the power of the monarch. The problem as always will be money, of which James was tragically short, and which I’ll come to presently, and the person who is going to help James navigate the shoals of parliament is one Robert Cecil, the future Earl of Salisbury. He was the son of the ultra famous William Cecil and had come to power under good Queen Bess, and rather brutally, since he was 5 foot 4 and with a hunchback, she called him ‘my pygmy’. How Robert laughed. Ha ha.

James indeed would call him his Beagle, though that might have been less the physical thing, and more the rushing around on his behalf, because what is clear that that Robert Cecil was almost as impressive a public servant as his dad, William Cecil, had been. He was an administrative genius, he was a workaholic, and a tireless servant to the king. James recognised just how much he owed his workaholic servant. There is a touching story of when Cecil fell ill and there were worries he might not make it. James came to his bedside, a remarkable honour in itself, and James begged him to get better. And he really meant it for as he said

if he should once fail there were no more safe hunting for the King of England

Ok, that’s a pretty self centred way of putting it, but once you realise just how much James loved hunting, you might appreciate just how heartfelt were his feelings. Cecil reaped the benefits of James’ appreciation, being made the Earl of Salisbury, a title the family will retain and which a successor as PM will still hold in the 1880s. He had such a celebration that the whole town of London stood there to look on, and it could be heard from the Mountains of the Mourne. Big on status was your Jacobean, the idea was not to keep up with the Jones, it was to make them eat your dust.

So the biggest problem Salisbury had to solve in this parliament and the next was money, because it was a rich mans’ world. There are two angles to this. The first was that whereas in France their medieval parliaments had been quietly dropped, in England it survived still, and there were few prerogative taxes to exploit, so parliament held the purse strings. And parliament was mean with a capital M, and in fact with a capital MEAN. A king was expected to ‘live of their own’ as it was called, to live off the income from crown lands and a few ancient feudal dues, unless there was some sort of crisis like, I don’t know, a crushing need to go and beat up the French at which point the parliament would pony up and strap on their spurs ready for the fun. The refusal of the English nobility and gentry to accept the enormously increased cost of the early modern world, transformed by the military revolution, would be a critical factor in the crises of the 17th century. If it had not been for that narrow stretch of water and the fact that the French wrongly believed that our cheese was not worth eating, we’d have been trampled all over and would speak better French. Our cheese, by the way, is of course excellent.

The other part of the problem was that James was relentlessly and heroically profligate, just could not keep it in his trousers. He just could not stop himself giving money away; let us take the Earl of Northampton, one of his chumps, on whom he showered money – in the form of a lump sum of £6,000 and annual pension of £3000; control of lucrative wardships which could have delivered crown income; and monopolies to sell certain good. These last could have been the worse; traders and people hated monopolies, they pushed prices up and stifled trade, though sometimes could encourage innovation. With these and other goodies, Northampton died with £80,000 all in, about £10 million. Also, the households of the king, of Queen Anne, and even of the children were far from small and neatly formed; Henry, James and Anne’s heir, the next king in theory, had a household of 500 people. 500 people for a lad who was 12 in 1606. Wow.

So given that the English parliament was already suitably miffed by handouts to Scottish courtiers and extravagant expenditure that had taken the debt to £500,000, getting money from them was not going to be easy. Parliament was already deeply suspicious that the king and his government were more than a little incontinent. There seemed little point to vote any subsidies, taxes essentially, especially at a time of peace, since the king would probably ensure it was more comprehensively fittered than a slice of spam.

It was this challenge that James’ peerless servant, Salisbury, set out to tackle, to find a permanent solution to replace the current, down the back of the sofa, go and beg parliament for some handouts strategy. Look he said to himself in the mirror one morning, parliament is mean and as tight as a gnat’s backside, it is therefore my mission in life to endow the monarchy with a source of income that will make it secure whether parliament pays up or not. Think of our Salisbury as a Jacobean version of Thomas Cromwell. It has to be said that it was not just parliament at fault Elizabeth and William Cecil of blessed memory had resolutely failed to tackle the growing inefficiency of the old assessment system, not wanting to lose the Good Queen Bess tag, and there’d been inflation too. The long and short, the broad and wide is that the Crown’s ordinary revenue of £357,000 in 1600 was worth 40% less in real terms than it had been at the end of Henry VII’s reign.

Ok, So Salisbury tackled this problem in a number of ways. Firstly – and bravely – he read the riot act to his king. He wrote a series of tracts, with the burden of his message that may be sufficiently summarised in one of his lines

It is not possible for a king of England to be rich or safe but by frugality

That’s something deliciously emotional and even childlike about James, with all his extravagant affection for his favourites, mania for hunting and incontinent spending. Plus he was horrified to learn that the sweetie shop that was England had fewer jars in it than he’d imagined and anyway who would dare clip the wings of God’s anointed? So he took some persuading – but in the end he seems to have managed it, when James sorrowfully wept with despair that

The glorious sunshine of my entry here should be so overcast with dark clouds of irreparable misery

So he repented. And then made himself feel better by some retail therapy.

Salisbury did everything he could to make his king solvent; he sweated the crown lands for income, but James had sold £682,000 worth of undervalued crown land by 1613, losing annual revenue of £27,000 before Salisbury started. He and James introduced a new rank of baronet – not a peer who sat in parliament, but higher status than a knight; Jacobean England as I have mentioned was very status conscious, so that sold like warm buns – for a while until the market was saturated. He did his best to sweat the customs dues raising new impositions on a range of new goods and hiking the rates of duties. This led to a massive cause celebre which went through the courts and got everyone aerated – you can hear about that, and the financial fallout out, in episodes 331 and 32.

Now imposing new customs dues willy nilly ensured that the honeymoon between king and parliament was over. The king was treading on the toes of parliamentary rights. Debates raged in parliament, petitions were sent to the king; in 1610 the French Ambassador was with James when he received such a petition and noted that he received it with an angry face, said acidly that the petition of grievances from the Commons was long enough to be his chamber tapestry. Parliament was getting tiresome.

Well, solutions not problems, Salisbury sought a way round this, with a bid to free the Crown from it dependence on parliament.  He called his plan it his Great Contract, and actually it was a pretty good idea. Parliament would give up this business of voting a subsidy only when the king demanded it because he was at war; they would give him an assured income every year from taxation in addition to the income from customs, and a one off extra subsidy to clear his debts and steady the ship of state. In return, the king would drop a whole tranche of out of date feudal dues such as wardships, and purveyance, the right to commandeer lodgings and food for his household as he passed. And right enough these were really irritating.

Now, this is actually a little talked about but I would argue surprisingly critical point in English history, so sit up straight and listen in. If the Great Contract passed, the independence of the English crown would be massively enhanced; no more going cap in hand to parliament all the time, the proper income to build a modern state and military. I would contend that it would have removed one of the major causes of the English Revolution – the constant friction of money, and the power taxation right gave parliament to extract and force concessions from the king.

Salisbury was a master manager, and many came round to his side. But a substantial faction did not. Among them Was a man called Thomas Wentworth – this is noteworthy, because Wentworth would become Charles I’s greatest ally, the earl of Stafford. But now he, and others like him could not get past their outrage at James’ flouting of their rights by posing new custom dues without parliamentary consent. They saw in it a creeping tyranny and denial of their ancient rights.

James was furious at their objections. As far as he was concerned this was none of parliament’s business, they should not even be discussing the king’s rights. So he called parliament to him and carpeted them, told them it was

Not lawful to despute what a king may do

And that

You must not set such laws as make shadows of kings and dukes of Venice …only papists and puritans were of that opinion

And further, that

If a king be resolute to be a tyrant all you can do will not hinder him. You may pray to God that he may be good and thank God if he be

The response to this from parliament in the mouth of Thomas Wentworth was equally uncompromising.

The difference between England and France was that by the law of England no imposition can be made without assent of Parliament

And while we are at it, don’t tell us what we can and can’t talk about, because there was

An ancient and undoubted right of Parliament to debate freely all matters which do properly concern the subject

The Great Contract failed in this difference of view, James dissolved parliament in 1610, and it would be another 4 years, before in desperation, with debts rising around his ears, that James tried again.

He was persuaded to do so by the rather lovely Francis Bacon, one of those genuine renaissance folk that occasionally cross our path. Bacon as you may know was both a natural philosopher and statesman, credited as making a major early contribution towards the development of the scientific method. Bacon was a dyed in the wool believer in the harmony that should exist within England’s constitution, a partnership between king, church and commons for the greater good of the Commonwealth. In 1607, the Midlands Riots had erupted as villagers protested against the enclosure of common land and conversion of arable land to pasture, taking away their livelihoods and way of life; they took matters into their own hands, tore down fences and started to dig the land; you can hear about Captain Pouch and the Midlands rising of 1607 in episode 331. For Bacon, enclosure was a betrayal of the social contract between gentry and villagers in pursuit of money. He protested that

Treasure and Moneyes, in a State, be not gathered into few Hands. Money is like Muck, not good except it be spread’

And persuaded the parliament to legislate against enclosure. Sadly, even the English parliament was powerless in the face of economic forces and landowner greed. Anyway, Bacon believed deeply in both ambition, and public service and became Attorney General and Lord Chancellor under James. And it was he that in 1614 persuaded James that he must work in harmony with his parliament, that MPs longed for consensus and to support the crown. A theme is emerging here by the way; the king was surrounded by men like Bacon who sought to emphasise the critical importance of the ancient ways of king and parliament working together; against hard liners who considered parliamentary concerns, about the sanctity of law and rights of the people as represented in parliament, as just one step removed from rebellion. That parliament must learn obedience, or be ignored. We’ll hear that one again a few times!

Anyway, Bacon persuaded James to hold another parliament in 1614, that parliament really wanted to help him govern and solve his money problems and James explained he’d been persuaded

That my subjects did not hate me, which I know I did not deserve

Which is a bit sad. Anyway, the parliament was, in fact, so disastrous that it achieved nothing, and passed no laws at all, and became known as the Addled Parliament as a result. Parliament noted that the king had ridden roughshod over their objections to his making new customs impositions without consent, James refused to back down and just asked for more cash, and it turned once more into an argument about royal rights, with one MP objecting that

If the king may impose by his absolute power, no man can be certain what he has, for it shall be subject to the king’s pleasure

James dissolved parliament, and would try to reign without it for seven years. Through the death of the Great contract, and parliamentary refusal to accept the legality of taxation without consent,  a blow was struck against James’ attempt at absolutism. The rest of his reign would be troubled by constant arguments about the respective rights of king and parliament, and parliament would continue to wield its sharpest sword – their king’s financial dependence.

Money and the rights of parliament were not the only problems James faced. Although he was a canny politician, he lacked that great talent of the most successful Tudors – the ability to project a glorious image of the Crown as the defining apex and heart of the nation, in all its shining glory and majesty. Henry VII, VIII and Elizabeth had all been masters of the art. And part of that was that, despite all the factions and reformations and disputes we talk about, all those monarchs kept a tight rein on the visible behaviour of their couriers public behaviour. They were kept rigorously in line according to the religious orthodoxy of the time, even despite the national struggle of the Reformation; and by the end of Elizabeth’s time, orthodoxy meant Protestantism.

The court was, in brief, supposed to be the fountain head of all virtue, composed of the brightest and most shining members of society, who considered themselves an example of nobility and the best values to all. Yup. No Really. Certainly, James thought so. Here he is, in his own words

This glistening worldly glory of kings is given them by God, to teach them to press so to glister and shine before their people, in all works of sanctification and righteousness, that their persons as bright lamps of godliness and virtue, may, going in and out before their people, give light in all their steps.

The trouble is that James’ court increasingly seemed to those outside it to be anything but said virtuous font. James was surrounded by ministers deeply distrusted and disliked by the political nation – so much so that they became known as the Three Knaves – the Earls of Suffolk, Northampton and Salisbury. Yes, I know Salisbury was a genius, but taxing people never makes them popular. When he died a libel appeared which didn’t seem upset at his passing:

The king’s misuser,

The parliament’s abuser,

Hath left his plotting,

… is now a-rotting.

He was also suspected of having an affair with Catherine Howard – who also happened to be the Earl of Suffolk’s wife. Now Catherine Howard was a card make no mistake – hie to episode 329 to find out more – beautiful, and lively, entertaining, vivacious, charismatic, ambitious, political she used the influence of her husband and of her, ahem, ‘friend’; Salisbury to gain an excellent position in Queen Anne’s household, and was obviously a bit of a hit there. She was also avaricious, unscrupulous, and ultimately corrupt, using her position to create networks to wield power and influence along the corridors of power. Most historians conclude that Salisbury and Catherine Howard were probably not having an affair; rather they were in a political partnership, that Howard helped Salisbury embed and maintain his political influence in the bear pit of court.

Then there was religion. By and large, James convinced everyone that he was a good protestant, and James was keen to maintain that view; but again, James was no persecutor

No torrent of blood: penalties to the few

He declared. On that line, the new oath of allegiance James introduced has been quoted as evidence of a more relaxed attitude towards Catholics; the oath of allegiance did not talk about the king as the governor of the church, a big sticking point for the previous oaths for Catholics since that was of course the Pope. So the wording probably meant that Catholics could take the oath. Hurray! But hang on a minute – it also said Pope had no authority over the king or power to depose bad kings. The Pope was livid – of course he had the right to remove bad eggs, of course temporal lords were subservient to papal power he responded. So Catholics were now in a quandary – did they take this apparent royal olive branch? Or did they adhere to the strict letter of the Pope’s law? Once again, Catholics wriggled on the thorn of dilemmna like a bee in a Shrike’s larder.

And other interpretations have been applied to James’ thinking with the oath; maybe it was his intention not only to reconcile loyal Catholics – but also to flush out those who he would consider as disloyal – because they recognised a higher authority. And so the oath was meant to divide. Interesting…but the point to take away, really, is that James  was not virulently opposed to Catholics per se – it was loyalty to the crown he demanded; apart from that he would turn a blind eye. This is a consistent feature of royal attitudes to religion. For many others, the attitude was a good deal more uncompromising – that you could not be a catholic, which by definition required loyalty to an external foreign power, the Pope, and yet be a loyal citizen.

James’ relative toleration for Catholics  has an impact; because to the good folks outside the court, James advisers’ began to look a little suspect on the religious front. One of the three knaves, the earl of Northampton, was not only laden with goodies, but also basically a catholic. And to have the king advised by Catholics – for most people, that was a bad thing, in spades.

The virulent anti Catholicism of English and Scottish protestants will be a major and recurring Faultline of politics and culture, so good to explain in a couple of lines. Firstly it is theological, and the word Papism is often used for good reason. It was not just that protestants believed catholic had got it wrong with their beliefs, ceremonies and images, none of which, they claimed, were justified by scripture. They believed that the poor catholics had been duped into these erroneous beliefs by the Church. The purpose of the duping was the devil’s works, and the Pope was his brother in arms, and the aim of pope and devil was to drag good people to hell. The Pope was in fact the anti pope. Not a rude insult – you anti pope you – but THE actual anti pope. It’s very specific. There’s a political angle too; They believed themselves to be part of an international, movement of free protestant, with the freedom to commune directly with God and his word; foreign Catholic powers were intrinsically seen as tyrants to their own people by not allowing this freedom, and through Spain’s aggression had proved Catholicism as a threat to their survival. So the sight of Catholics like Northampton enjoying the run of the court was scary – might he be plotting to overturn the protestant state?

And as time went by more and more evidence seemed to confirm this notion of a religiously pluralistic and corrupt court, not the fount of virtue at all. There was James’ behaviour – gone was the strict formality of the Tudor court; James was clubbable, chatty, informal with all his courtiers; and in particular, he hung on the shoulder of his favourite, Robert Kerr, openly resting his arm on his shoulder, kissing him full on the lips in greeting.

Robert Kerr had come with James from Scotland, and had acquired a mentor called Thomas Overbury. Overbury had encouraged and supported the young Kerr, and Kerr was a good learner; under his guidance, the beautiful young man attracted James’ attention, and began to win honours and favour, promoted to Viscount Rochester, and increasingly James relied on him. It’s a common story of the rise of the favourite; James came to depend on him, and the king’s confidence meant courtiers had to beat a path to his door to get access to the king, and so Kerr began to control factions, appointments and wield power. James it has to be said never liked Overybury, and saw him as a competitor for Kerr’s affections. There would be trouble ahead from that.

Meanwhile Kerr revelled in his power, taking up with another Howard, Frances Howard, daughter of the earl of Suffolk. This really was naughty – Frances was already married to the earl of Essex. And we have this quite extraordinary affair, which unwinds in episodes 333-335 – the Thomas Overbury affair.

In brief then – and do listen to the full story it is a hoot – the ambitions of Kerr and his lover Frances Howard escalates and escalates and grows and grows until they explode like a vast balloon inflated with blood and pus – and soak the entire king and court in corruption. Kerr’s power could only grow after the death of Salisbury in 1612. And the lovers swore they must be together, and there’s was an open secret

The world speaks liberally of their love for each other

Was the word. In 1613, here was outrage – Frances Howard filed for annulment of her marriage to the young Earl of Essex, on the ground of his impotence; and all of this was dragged through the public eye as she bid for the annulment, people loved the gossip and wallowed in it like pigs in muck. Everyone heard Essex complain that Frances

reviled him, and miscalled him, terming him a coward, and beast.

The annulment was granted, and Essex would be called a cuckold for the rest of his life, all through the civil wars. And the story of corruption seemed confirmed when shortly afterwards, surprise, surprise, Frances and Robert got married. And hey the King seemed to think all this was fine – Robert was made Earl of Somerset. The favourite had the kingdom at his feet, the rich and powerful beat a path to his door.

The drama of the fall was therefore all the greater. We have here a love quadrangle. James loves Somerset, Somerset loves Frances ad Thomas Overbury. The king and Frances both hate Overbury, as competition for the object of their affections. By ‘eck.

The same year, James tried to get rid of Overbury by sending him on a diplomatic mission overseas; Overbury, unbelievably, refused to go. I mean  you just didn’t do that in those days, an appointment to serve by the king was not optional. So before you could say diplomatic immunity, Overbury’s arse hit the inside of a prison cell in the Tower. There he languished until 1615 when – scandal! Overbury was found murdered in his cell, murdered by a poison delivered by an apothecary boy through an enema. Yuk.

Well, the trial of Overbury’s killers Weston and Anne Turner were all over the place; the court rooms were packed, the newsheets, broadsheets, libels ballads – all went wild. Once upon a time such a scandal would have been less public, behind closed doors, just a local matter; but we are in a time where a public sphere was growing, meaning that information was more widely available, and open for public debate. You can hear more about the growth of a public sphere and literacy in episode 334. News could now spread quickly within London; St Paul’s Walk was becoming known as a notorious place when the better off shared and amplified gossip. From there gossip made its way into newsheets and spread throughout the country. It’s not just that literacy was growing; probably to 30% across England, but much higher in towns and among the merchant and gentry classes. But these newssheets would be read out in pubs to those who could not read, and there were reports of the trial, which spread by private newsletters through a network of the gentry, and into villages and market towns, carried by Chapmen and traders. Essentially – ordinary people now knew much more of the goings on of the great and the good; and the opinion of ordinary people had to be courted, and public opinion began to matter.

So the trial of Weston and Turner unfolded – and bit by bit, by one nugget of juicy evidence after another, the threads of the unravelling jumper lead to the Earl of Somerset and his Countess Frances Howard; it seems Frances had been involved in witchcraft, and she had obtained the poison. Somerset was strongly suspected of encouraging the whole idea through his wife. Weston and Turner went to their deaths; but in 1616 at last the Somersets came to trial themselves in front of the highest court in the land, the House of Lords. As you can imagine, the eyes of all England were turned on them. And they were convicted and sentenced to die. The ball was now in James’ court – would be confirm the death sentence and protect the good name and probity of the court? Or would the stench of favouritism extend to the king, and would he commute the sentences of his friends?

Can you imagine the amount of breath holding going on? Now by this stage, James had rather moved on, emotionally speaking. Somerset had become unbearable arrogant, and it was irritating James and anyway, another nice young man was replacing Somerset in his affections – a young beauty called George Villers.

James’ court, had he understood it, was on trial and awaiting sentence. In terms of groceries – this case was just the tip of the iceberg.

Beside this sin of blood there are divers others, which are accessories thereunto

One libel wrote. Would the king, supposedly the font of all virtue – would he cleanse his court?

Well, no, actually. James comprehensively bottled it. Both the Somersets were pardoned. Politically they were finished, but the evil was not scotched, not punished.

Few now would hold up the royal court as the font of virtue, a shining example of moral and cultural excellence for the nation to follow, and trust in. It appeared to many that God had deserted the king and his court, leaving them rudderless. In 1612, many saw God’s displeasure in the death of the kingdom’s heir. Prince Henry had been the protestant darling, and great hope – a martial, dashing, impeccably protestant young man struck down in the prime of life. A rumour circulated that on his death bed, Henry had cursed his father’s court

‘religion lay a bleeding and no marvel…when divers councillors hear Mass in the morning, and then go to a court sermon and so on to Council, and then tell their wives what passes…and they carry it to their Jesuits and confessors’

Well. By 1615, then, the honeymoon period was well and truly over. It’s important not to over emphasise these things; worth remembering that for most people, the events and goings on at court and parliament were vanishingly remote. But, the growth of literacy and news channels made them less remote, much less – news got around. The apparent religious pluralism. Louche behaviour and corruption at James court, worked hand in glove with the worries in parliament that James was proving horribly inclined to deny his responsibilities to custom and law, and show a distinct leaning to Catholicsm and tyranny. This never takes over as it does in Charles’ reign, but it does have an impact. There begins to be a significant feeling that the king and court, once the unchallenged leaders and head of the nation, no longer quite fit the bill, they were tainted. The gentry of the country saw themselves as respectable, upholders and lovers of the law and impeccably protestant, against a corrupt centre.

The court and king no longer matched their national image. It was now to the law and to parliament that many began to look for leadership, where lay true reliability and prestige. If it came to a faceoff, it was no longer clear people would automatically choose loyalty to their king over parliament.






2 thoughts on “At A Gallop 1605-1615 Font of all Virtue

  1. David,
    You asked at the start of this series for comments about the value of the AAG sub-series. I have had no opinion, until today, when I realized that I did not have a good handle on the Irish situation during the Stuaart rein. I have now gone back to the first AAG to begin to understand what the heck was going on in Ireland prior to the 17th century. I may even have to write this stuff down and make maps. England-Wales, I got. Scotland, I mostly got. Ireland is a mess and a fantasy land. Thank you for offering these summaries to those of us trying to better understand. I will be signing up under Patreon this week.

    1. Hi Frank, and thanks! I’m glad they are proving useful, I rather enjoy writing them also. And yes…Ireland…what a rolling tragedy the story is.

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