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3 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

The First Sir Winston Churchill
The suspicion that Catholicism was gaining hold of the King and the country grew. The King was attracted to Rome, the queen was a Catholic, the Duke of York was a convert and because the Queen had no children, he was heir to the throne. Added to this the Treaty of Dover with the French provided England with much needed cash in return for the promise of help in a third war against the Dutch and a secret clause - "The King of Great Britain, being convinced of the truth of the Catholic Faith, is determined to declare himself a Catholic as soon as the welfare of his realm will permit". Early in 1670 Henry Bennett, Earl of Arlington confessed this secret clause to Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury. Shaftesbury set up in opposition, he demanded that every man who held office or a King's commission, declare his disbelief in the doctrine of Transubstantiation. This was known as the Test Act. It applied to James, the Duke of York, heir to the throne. He laid down his post of Lord High Admiral rather than submit to the Test - the nation was faced with a Catholic heir.

John Churchill
John Churchill

  • British history's finest general
  • An ancestor of Winston S Churchill
  • Secretly married Sarah Jennings a close friend of Princess, later Queen, Anne in 1677
  • In 1685 led the attack on the Monmouth rebellion and was rewarded with an English barony
  • Supported William of Orange and was made Earl of Marlborough
  • His most famous victory was at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704
  • A grateful nation built him the grand house at Woodstock, which was named Blenheim Palace
  • The Marlboroughs fell from favour in 1711 and the duke was charged with embezzlement of public monies
  • Dismissed from office and went abroad
  • With the accession of George I he was restored to power

did you know?
John Churchill's father was the first Sir Winston Churchill, an impoverished Devonshire Royalist.

Charles II was called by some "the Merry Monarch".

Select historical period

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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

Louise de Keroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth
Eleanor ('Nell') Gwynn
Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland and Countess of Castlemaine
Lucy Walter, mother of James Scott, Duke of Monmouth

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