Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!

Home > History > The Tudors and Stuarts > Charles I and the Civil War

History

Charles I and the Civil War

Print

Overview

Charles came to the throne in 1625. Relations between Charles I and Parliament gradually got worse. There were clashes about foreign policy and many Puritan [puritan: Strict Protestants who wanted to get rid of ritual in church services and lead a plain and simple life. Protestants disliked Charles's religious policy. Charles revived old laws and taxes without the agreement of Parliament. When Parliament complained in 1629, he dismissed them. Until 1640, Charles ruled without a Parliament – the 'Eleven Years' Tyranny'.

War with Scotland forced Charles to recall Parliament. Instead of granting Charles money, Parliament sent him the Grand Remonstrance (1641). This was a list of 204 complaints about the way he was running the country. After Charles had tried and failed to arrest the five leaders of the Parliament, a civil war [civil war : A war between groups of people from the same country. broke out.

Parliament had the support of the south-east of England, merchants, London and the navy. Charles's forces were gradually worn down. After Oliver Cromwell set up the New Model Army, Parliament won decisive victories at Marston Moor (1644) and Naseby (1645).

Charles surrendered in 1646. He failed a second time to defeat Parliament during the the Second Civil War in 1648. Parliament put him on trial for treason and he was executed in 1649.

Historians in the past portrayed the Civil War as the time when Parliament defeated the power of the king. England was a republic [republic: A country where the leader is elected or nominated by the people. for the next 11 years ruled by Oliver Cromwell. The Civil War, however, achieved no permanent change in the balance of power between king and Parliament.

In 1660, Charles II was restored to the throne and continued, as his father had done, trying to rule without Parliament.

You can to compare the Civil War with the Glorious Revolution – which was the time when Parliament really reduced the power of the monarchy.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.