The English Revolution Poll and Prize Draw

This poll and prize is sponsored by Simon Hall at Halls Hammered Coins.

The Results of the Poll and Prize Draw

Here are the results of the Grand English Revolution Poll! It was close going between the big four theories…bit of a relief, I suppose, that the current orthodoxy of revisionism did win out. By a whisker. The Whig view of linear progression t modernity is remarkably resilient though.

Interesting also that the Clubman opinion won out in terms of attitudes – a plague on both your houses, let’s just get on with getting on I suppose? Significant sympathy for the Royalist cause.

Anyway thanks to everyone who took part and to the winners of the prizes. Checkout the comments on the post; loads of really interesting  thoughts and contributions which I enjoyed reading.

The winners of the prizes should have been contacted, but spam filters being what thy are, if you think you are the one implicated by the partial email below on this list and haven’t heard, drop me an email at and let me know.

Third Prize: Silver Half Groat 1625-1644 to: space****.com

Second Prize:   ‘Rose’ Style Halfpenny 1638-9 to: befroim****.com

First Prize: Silver Penny minted at Oxford, 1644 and pierced for use as a royalist badge to: ****pimm***.com


The English Revolution

The English Revolution – Why did it happen? 

This is a Poll (masquerading as a quiz – but there are no right or wrong answers here) and Prize Draw set up BEFORE the podcast hits the English Revolution – or the Good Old Cause as Cromwell’s Russet-coated Captains of the New Model Army would later call it. There are three reasons for said poll:

  1. A bit of fun
  2. I’m interested to see what your perceptions are before we go into it
  3. A bit of fun

Scroll to the bottom of the page to start the poll and register for the prize if you wish (PLEASE IGNORE ANY SCORING – THERE ARE NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWERS, ITS JUST A FUNCTION OF HOW I HAD TO SET THE WIDGET UP!

The Prize Draw

You don’t have to enter the Prize Draw to do the poll. But if you would like to be entered, indicate this by adding your email in the box below, so I have your contact details when you (inevitably) win. I make this solemn League and Covenant with you that I will use your email address for no other reason than this, and will pass it to no third parties.

There are two prizes: First prize is ****, found for us by Simon of Halls Hammered Coins, and second prize is an Edward I silver penny very generously donated by Greg of this parish – thank you Greg.

There are three questions, not necessarily in this order

  • Decide between two choices – were long term pressure behind the English Revolution or was it in the main a short term political Crisis?
  • Choose as many or few as you like – which of the listed theories provide the most satisfactory answers as to the cause of the English Revolution?
  • What would you be – Roundhead, Cavalier – or opt out of the whole thing and become a Clubman?

Have fun!

Some explanation of the Grand Unifying Theories: 

  1. Whig – this is the pressure of Constitutional change of which we saw so much in the parliaments of James, a demand for a greater say in matters of state against the imposition of royal tyranny and suppression of parliamentary liberties? Or
  2. Social & Economic change thesis; Weber, Tawny, Christopher Hill, a puritan dynamic class, political change made inevitable by economic change and the rise of capitalism, the emerging bourgoisie and Gentry OR
  3. Britain’s Religious war, just later than those on the continent, the final working through of the Reformation? Puritans completing the reformation, panicked by fear of Arminianism and the creeping return of Catholicism? Or
  4. Revolt of the Provinces – a protestant, Anglican and Godly provincial elite that saw the court as religiously pluralist and corrupt, that that the protector of their liberties was no longer the king, but parliament and the common law? Or
  5. Revisionism: Is this simply a poorly handled political crisis, caused by war, the complexity of Three Kingdoms, turned into perfectly avoidable civil wars by an inflexible and politically incompetent king?
  6. New Wave Revisionism: That Charles could only behave in the dictates of his conscience, he could not behave like a modern politician. He tried to compromise and deeply believed in his role as protector of his people – but was faced by a coterie of parliamentary malignants, out to wrest away his power in their own interests, using liberty as a blind? Back to Clarendon, 360 degrees!


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67 thoughts on “The English Revolution Poll and Prize Draw

  1. “0 out of 3 questions answered correctly,” in an opinion poll? As a former market research interviewer, I often assured respondents that there were “No wrong answers.”

    1. My thought too. Think there must be glitch in the system. I did it twice just to make sure, but got the same score 🙂

    2. There are always wrong answers and apparently you have all of them. I never tire or reminding work colleagues that there are many different ways of getting things done and many different opinions, but only mine is the right one.

    3. It’s just a facet of the app I used Rich – it means nothing, sorry. I did say that in the rubric

  2. I would say it was a long term resolution to that religious war, and as an agnostic non-monarchist, I would opt out entirely!

    1. Hi Kathy, are you the same Kathy whose 17x Great grandfather was Lionel De wells who fought at Towton?
      If so, we ere related as he is my lex Great grandfather and I have researched the famil tree back to 1040

  3. 0 for 3, too.
    In any conflict, the person/group with the most power holds the most responsibility. The new revisionism is really stupid, reminiscent of the historian who argues that Philip II isn’t responsible for anything that happened during the reign of Philip II.

  4. Re Question #2, I would postulate that the wars were a result of all forces combining.
    Both sides has a chance to resolve things peacefully when Cornet Joyce brought Charles I to meet with the Roundhead leaders. Unfortunately, it seems that neither side negotiated in good faith.

  5. 0 from 3 too, looking at previous comments assume everyone 0 from 3. Re question 3 I put that I would be Roundhead based on my political views, however, if had been alive at time could not have been as am Catholic of Irish descent.

  6. Love your podcast. I have been listening since the Saxons. You rank up with Mike Duncan. In many way you are better. Thank you for doing The History of England.

  7. A tight contest between my childhood sympathies stemming from the Children of the New Forest and modern sympathies of a mistrust of people named Charles, sorry Mr Dance.

  8. If I have to choose by belief: Clubman.
    If I have to choose by style: Cavalier! Who can resist those plumed hats and ringlets!?

  9. 1. As an academic, I have to thoroughly endorse your portrayal of academia, which I have taken to describing as a ‘bum fight’ thanks to this podcast.

    2. There’s actually another explanation for the English revolution, which you would not find in history, but would find among Security Studies-types. Essentially, military technology diffused and developed, allowing ever smaller groups to participate in violent conflict effectively. Military minded men like Maurice of Orange, Gustavus Adolphus, and Oliver Cromwell recognized the shift, and converted new military patterns into political power.

    I’m not sure I believe this argument, nor am I certain it has ever been specifically applied to the Revolution. The argument forms the basis of what is called “The Early Modern Revolution in Military Affairs.”

    1. I once, many moons ago, had a history teacher who earnestly assured us that the reason for WWI was that there so many weapons available…

      1. It sounds far too simple to be a sole cause, but it has to be a factor, certainly a factor in the amount of slaughter.

    2. Bit worried about the Bum fight – rather different from the Bun fight that I think David means. 🙂 But your clearly know academia well so maybe you have a point. 🙂

      1. Darn, I REALLY Need a proofreading course! Now that you’ve commented, of course, it will have to remain for evermore bum fight, can’t change it or people won’t unferstand your comment!

  10. Howdy from Texas! Q3 is my personal feeling …. How could that be “incorrect” 😉 This was fun though and hope to see more of these

    1. Sorry Laura, please ignore any marking – I did note that – it’s just an odd way I had to set the widget up! There are of course no rights or wrongs

  11. To Q3 I answered not sure because the parliamentary side of the equation is now influenced by the ‘political & bureaucratic elites’ who have usurped this power on so many levels.
    Ie. the King makers have become the kings!

  12. Having read Winnie’s version many times over my very long life, it’s been rather hard to consider other possibilities. Nevertheless, I find myself capable of blaming everybody. Might even throw in a reference to unintended consequences.

    Have loved your podcast since we were both much younger.

  13. I’d have told my kids: keep your head down! Don’t be a pawn for the royal or noble cause. We barely make a living as it is. Note: my knowledge of the revolution is very limited. Maybe this was a revolution of the masses. I guess I’ll learn more as the episodes progress.

  14. Today we can argue about things and sometimes find an important thread that explains a lot, but there is never or at least rarely only one cause of events. I’d like to know how much of a thread runs between outbreaks of egalitarianism. Did the Grandfathers of the Levellers discuss Wat Tyler in the pub?

  15. Great poll/quiz. It really reenforces what you covered so well in the podcast. I hope that it will also give a better sense of your audiences’ prejudices, so you can beat them down!

    My own prejudice is that these conflagrations require a lot of tinder heaped up over time. Though they might be delayed or even prevented by better near-term management, sometimes it is the management systems–not just the managers–that are not up to the task.

    In picking “clubman” I was only going off what I feel are my innate proclivities, rather than any present philosophical leanings. In reality, I think it would have depended almost completely on my position in societ(ies).

  16. The failings of the Stuart monarchy must, however reluctantly, be thanked for prompting revolutionary forces in political thought in the English empire that drove the wars of the three kingdoms. The tragedy for the four nations is that thanks to that incompetence the revolution was born too soon and so as effectively the ‘first mover’ lacked the coherence to sustain itself as a political imperative; imprisoning most of the peoples of these islands to the on-going tyranny of an over mighty monarchical executive, a state religion and a bicameral system of which at least half is at best stuck in the decrepitude of the early modern era.

    1. I don’t live in the dis-United Kingdom but I hear from afar that every so often the Lords do something good.

      1. Actually, against all good democratic theory – they really do. It’s most confusing – they appear to be better at acting with disinterest

  17. I started the HoE several months back and am quite excited to finally be current! I’ve heard about so many quizzes and polls and prize draws, but of course they were well in the past by the time I got to them.

    Granted I’m from the American South, so my knowledge of the English Revolution is somewhat limited, though I did enjoy Mike Duncan’s Revolutions Podcast on it was fantastic and was enlightening. It’s difficult for me to see any civil war or conflict on the scale of the English one being the product of short-term causes. Sporadic revolts, sure, but England was hardly a stranger to somewhat inept leadership by the time the Civil War broke out, and none of the others came close to unleashing anything near the social and political change we see here. Again though, my knowledge is definitely limited.

    I also recently became a member, so I’m not yet through with the History of Scotland. Maybe my view will change as I delve into the religious friction that Charles seemed intent on forcing there.

    1. Well there are very many historians that agree with your view! It was interesting for me coming to the period from the angle of Scotland BEFORE I reached this stage in the podcast for England. Gives me a different perspective than I used to have – really drives hone the critical importance of the Scottish Revolution. And welcome – thanks for becoming a member

      1. To me it makes the most sense that long-term pressures were present and waiting for the right short-term events to ignite the conflagration. Perhaps you can’t have a revolution without both elements present. There are a number of other revolutions and/or civil wars that display this interaction between short and long term causes.

        It’s hard to see that a French Revolution takes place without decades of issues compounding and a the middle class growing in education and confidence, but even with this, it still took the completely inept decision making of Louis XVI to forcefully push everyone from reform to actual revolution. In Russia, we also see decades or more of issues building among the peasantry, working class, and the educated middle class, but it still took WWI and a woefully unprepared and out of touch Nicholas II to destroy the monarchy.

        It seems impossible to separate the two. Perhaps there must be long-term causes to provide the fuel that allows the revolution the stamina and perseverance to be carried through, but that fuel is useless without some short-term spark.

  18. The quiz was/is a great idea! Even thou I selected ‘Clubman’ as my answer I suppose my sentimentality tends to make me sympathetic to the Royals.

  19. Where do I find my “score” on the quiz … I can find only that I answered all 3 questions … (correctly I’m sure ha ha ) but can find no place to get results ?
    I want that Hammered Coun !!! He he

  20. As an American, I was surprised to learn how favorably Cromwell and the Roundheads are viewed by many English people. I grew up with a very negative image of Puritans, though I’m descended from them on my mom’s side – dour witch-hunters being their reputation here. Later, in my early 20s, I rad Jeanette Winterson’s “Sexing the Cherry,” set during the English Civil Wars, which took a very dark view of the Roundheads. Later still, I visited Winchester Cathedral and learned from our tour guide how the Parliamentary forces had used their stained-glass windows for target practice. In school, somewhere along the way, I came to understand that the English Civil Wars were equivalent to the religious wars on the continent – delayed but not denied. I still tend to see things that way. And it certainly doesn’t help that Cromwell hammered on the Irish and lived like a king at Hampton Court.

    1. Hi Ken – and yes you definitely share a strong tradition. John Morrill remarked that he’d made over 120 presentations about Cromwell all over the world; the reaction in the UK was mixed, broadly positive in Europe, almost always negative in the US, largely due to the Irish connection. But also because my daft theory is that he always disappoints us – we want him to be what he was never, a thorough going social revolutionary. The thing is that it’s very, very complex and nuanced, and the attitudes were so different; also Puritans were seen also as agents of change; and look at the flowering of culture and ideas in the Republic and Protectorate! I suspect I’d not have liked the Puritans either though in practice!

  21. Very hard to pick…because I am actually relatively newly SLIGHTLY better versed, or actually A LOT better informed on it than i was previously (though am still not claiming to actually be at ALL informed) SO it means my ‘gut’ feelings are v different to what they would have veen very recently…and are sufficiently conflicting to make answering hard!
    eg…i picked SHORT term causes but i am talking about the War not the results…i feel the resulting change of system had long term causes…BUT that could have happened more in line of Magna Carta

  22. Another American here……and most certainly grew up in an ”anti-Cromwellian” milieu. However, this was not from any Irish American connection, but rather from a pretty strong ”anti-Puritan” one as my hometown is Salem, Massachusetts! (need I say more?)

    1. Indeed – The fact that my mom’s people were Puritans in 17th century Massachusetts does not predispose me toward them – quite the opposite. Everything I learned about that bunch inclined me against them. And, then, before I was born, my family moved from the Bay State to Cleveland, Ohio, where they call their most successful sports franchise The Cavaliers. 🙂

  23. I should add that my later History training at Boston University didn’t change my views much as my mentor was the late Professor Sydney Burrell, author of “The Role of Religion in Modern European History”… David, I am hoping now to level my bias a bit by hearing a more balanced view of Thomas & his Roundheads from the shedcast.

  24. I listened to the podcast “Revolutions” by Mike Duncan, he empathized the battles and the religious conflicts. At university, (in 1974!) my professor emphasized the parliamentary maneuvers. I hope you are going to cover both.

  25. Thoroughly enjoyed the quiz. Reading a lot of the comments reminds me of a college professor that I had. Before handing out a test he repeatedly said to read all instructions thoroughly before starting. Several of us did so, dated it signed our names and turned it in and walked out. Most stayed and did the test. Last line of the test instructions was that you just had to sign and date the test and turn it in to score 100. Seems like he might be related to our host. LOL

    1. Ha, that’s very good! I did bold and red, and yet still…oh well, my own record with checking, things like typos, is execrable.

  26. I’ve always felt that this all overtly began under Henry VIII, not as much by by creating the Church of England, as by the active dismantling of an old system This stoked a spirit of the people against one plank of their lives (The Church) which they felt repressed by, and their feelings- supported by their liege. As time went on Henry tried to repress the intensity of that movement, in order to be in control of it. But the Genie was out of the bottle, and it is obvious as his reign went on to his son’s then. As society moved on in this, other changes in society happened and the Monarch changed also. Each reacted to this change so it brewed underneath the surface all along. Charles I problem was that he dared to question that change in society, as well as to question anyone else’s right to question his position in all of that (Much like Henry VIII). Once Charles was gone, a sort of visceral rage commenced, And it blazed into Scotland and Ireland because of these peoples difference in perception of what these changes meant to them. So, the 1630’s-1640’s were more of a Vesuvius moment, that brewed well before Charles, and it lasted brewing once again well, well after he. I suggest at least well into the 1800’s if not even to today, guessing by the plurality of ones perception of the Monarchy, today. So, is it a English Revolution? I’m thinking the whole ball of wax is The English Evolution and things such as the Return of the Stuarts after Cromwell, or the national reactionary gut reaction of what was going throughout the world in 1848 are two good examples of the undertows that wash us back from anarchy. Or perhaps they are seismometers, built into the psyche of English Society that allows that Evolution to continue and prevent the Volcano that was the War of the Three Kingdoms.

  27. I didn’t see that I received a score (maybe I’m too late). I had that same professor that Poindexter Goodfellow had. However, I was one of the people took the test and didn’t get 100! Oh well.

    David – I’ve been listening for years. I started by binging on the first 236 episodes in 2017 and haven’t stopped listening since. This is the first time, though, that I’ve taken a quiz and the first time that I’ve posted. Thanks for all you do via HOE. I love it! As a fairly uninformed American in regard to the English Revolution, I’ll be interested to see if my answers change as the episodes continue. I probably will remain a clubman (though I will admit to a bit of cavalier sentiment).

    1. Hi and welcome! The poll isn’t meant to be a quiz; there’s a score, annoyingly because of the widget I used. If you look on the site ‘resources’ section though there are some other quizes that are meant to be scored you can try! Thank you for your kind comments – I love a compliment! Hope you keep enjoying it as we get into the Revolution!

  28. I’ve always thought it was a bit backward to present the historiography of an event, period, or person before we learn the facts. Having grown up in a former colony and thus not having been schooled in this event from an early age, I had little to rest on. Perhaps after we’ve learned more about this period I’ll go back and give more informed answers!
    PS The one thing we did learn in school was that the Puritans came to America to “escape religous persecution.” Clearly it was not that simple!

    Don Falk

    1. Yes, it’s certainly good to revisit the historiography at the end. The puritans did in a way come to escape persecution but only because they were unable to impose their own persecution in England. I prefer to think that in their minds they left to built their own vision of city on a hill.

  29. As a Quaker, I am glad there is a “Clubman” option, though I cannot unite with their willingness to use violence to keep out war from their territories. Seems a bit contradictory to me! I wonder if Margaret Fell or George Fox considered themselves to be Clubmen (I doubt it; at the end of the day, their only alignment was with Friends). I will listen eagerly for any mention of the development of Friends in the coming podcasts!

    1. Hi Marilyn, and yes I am also eager to introduce the topics of Quakers! The Clubmen of course weren’t necessarily quietist; though usually they managed to reach an accommodation with the likes of Fairfax and Cromwell, who had no great desire to use violence on them either. The Quakers appear very early in Henley, my local town; there’s still a meeting house there. they turn up preaching at Henley market in 1655, and annoy the traders; a meat pie is thrown… though of course (as you’ll know better than I) in those days the Quakers were not the quietists they became, anything but, and delighted in cause trouble at church services. Anyway yes, among all the fascinations of the period, Quakers will be right up there!

  30. Its purely based on my personnal reasons for voting as I did but I feel the popularity of the Clubmen is probably based on trying to be honest/having a somewhat lower opinion of oneself (depending on how one whish to look at it).

    If I had been an English gentry knight who inherited his estate just in time for the crisis to began I would like to believe that I would have been a card carrying Roundhead, one who called upon the better angels of the Good Old Cause and spoke again religious extremism, authoritanism and vindictivness who I noticed it in my faction and that I would go on being a good proto-Whigh and then Whig in the same fashion later in life.

    If I am honest with myself though, I would have probably just tried to stay out of dodge for most of the period, preffering the Roundheads and their successors a bit in the grand scheme things but not enough to risk my neck, and trying to preserve my wealth and status. Only as an old man, when James II/VII started to really push things to say the least, would I actually have found it in myself to take a clear stand, thanks to things actually being sufficiently clear cut that time around, the fact that not acting might very well be more dangerous in the mid to long run in the circumstances and James’ opponents reaching a kind of critical weight the Roundheads probably never really did in term of support in the political classes.

    1. I think neutralism is one of the really interesting aspects of the English Civil Wars; the extent to which people REALLY, really, REALLY did not want to fight abut this. The famous correspondence between Waller and Hopton is a case in point.It makes it hard to present the events like the American Revolution or the an early French Revolution. If you look at local histories (I spent a bit of time noodling around the archive in Henley for example) it feels like when you look at the traders, merchants, boatmen you are looking at ocean depths; while a storm rage p there on the surface of the sea, almost entirely disconnected. I would have wanted desperately not to fight.

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