Explore the BBC
3 Oct 2014
Click for a Text Only version of this page
BBC Homepage
BBC Radio

Radio 4
Radio 4 History
BBC History

This Sceptred Isle


55 BC - 1087

1087 - 1327

1327 - 1547

1547 - 1660

1660 - 1702

1702 - 1760

1760 - 1792

1792 - 1837

1837 - 1861

1861 - 1901

1901 - 1919

1920 - 1939

1940 - 1959

1960 - 1979

1980 - 1999


Contact Us


Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

This Sceptred Isle

Unholy Trinity - Church, Law and Medicine
The Clarendon Code is the name given to the four Acts passed by Charles II and Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon which reinforced the established Church and restricted the activity of dissenters. Clarendon had hoped for a union in Church and State but these Acts were more brutal than he ever intended and would not lead to the cooling of religious fervour. Meanwhile Nicholas Culpeper was revolutionizing the medical profession by rewriting the medical textbook the Pharmocoepia Londinensis opened medical mysteries to non Latin speakers and the Royal College of Surgeons lost their monopoly in all medical fields but surgery. The third important profession in the 17th Century were the lawyers. Relative peace gave time to the rewriting of the common law, often in favour of commercial interest. With no police force everything had to be proved by lawyers, who grew rich on delays and obfuscation. As it cost £40 a year to send a son to one of the Inns of Court law students were almost all sons of gentlemen and peers.

Nicholas Culpeper
Nicholas Culpeper

  • Cambridge physician
  • Born in London and practiced astrology and physick in Spitalfields in 1640
  • Against the "closed shop" of medicine
  • In 1649 published his English translation of the College of Physicians' Pharmacopoeia, A Physical Directory
  • In 1653 published The English Physician Enlarged and The Herbal - the basis of herbalism in the English-speaking world

did you know?
Nicholas Culpeper remarked: "The liberty of our Commonwealth is most impaired by three sorts of men, priests, physicians, lawyers."

Charles II adored his dogs. According to John Evelyn's diary "He took delight in having a number of little spaniels follow him and lie in his bedchamber, where he often suffered the bitches to puppy and give suck, which rendered it very offensive, and indeed make the whole court nasty and stinking."

The Corporation Act was to confine municipal office, closely connected with the election of Members of Parliament to Royalist Anglicans.

The Act of Uniformity imposed upon the clergy the Prayer Book of Queen Elizabeth, with some excisions and additions. One fifth of the clergy, nearly two thousand ministers, refusing to comply, were deprived of their livings.

The Conventicle Act sought to prevent the ejected clergy from preaching to audiences of their own.

The Five Mile Act forbade them to go within five miles of any city or town corporate or borough or any parish or place where they had preached or held a living.

Select historical period

/home/system/data/timb/kwikquiz.dat does not exist

/home/system/data/timb/kwikquiz.html does not exist

1645New Model Army is established
Laud is executed
Use of the prayer book is forbidden
1646Charles I surrenders to the Scots
Receives propositions of Newcastle
1647Scots hand Charles I over to the English
1649Charles I is tried and executed
The monarchy and the House of Lords are abolished
The Commonwealth is declared.
1658Oliver Cromwell dies
1660Charles II signs the Declaration of Breda
Charles II is restored to the throne
1662Charles II marries Catherine of Braganza
1665The Great Plague
1666The Fire of London
1672Charles II issues the Declaration of Indulgence
1677Princess Mary marries William of Orange
1685Charles II dies
James II becomes king of England

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy