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3 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

The Death of Charles II
For the final two years of his reign Charles lived peacefully at home. The gentry were restored as the social leaders of the nation. Gentry and parish responsibilities merged providing the social structure of the English Church and often the whole community which was to survive as a parochial pecking order into the 20th Century. February 1685 saw the end of the reign that restored the monarchy. Nothing would induce the King to betray the succession. The Protestants voted against James, Duke of York becoming King. The clergy tried to induce James to return to the English Church. He refused.

James II
James II
JAMES II (1633-1701)

  • King of England, Ireland and Scotland 1685-1688
  • Charles II's brother
  • During Civil War, captured in 1646
  • escaped to Holland in 1648
  • Married Anne Hyde in 1660, their daughters Mary and Anne were brought up as Protestants
  • Became a Catholic in 1660s
  • In 1673 Anne Hyde died and he married Mary Beatrice of Modena, a Catholic
  • As King, he was committed to reviving Catholicism and promoted Catholics to important posts
  • In 1688 the birth of a male heir (James Edward Stuart) was announced
  • Conspirators believed this was to continue the Catholic line and offered to help James's protestant son-in-law William of Orange, to invade England
  • Made some concessions but William invaded in November 1688 and with his wife Mary took the throne
  • In 1690 James and his forces including French troops, were defeated at the Battle of the Boyne and returned to France

did you know?
The Exclusion Bill was drafted by the Country Party, later the Whigs and denied James II the succession.

The population was more than five million:

  • 7000 lords, temporal and spiritual;
  • 7,800 knights
  • 70,000 lawyers
  • 52,000 clergymen
  • 250,000 shopkeepers
  • 750,000 farmers
  • 2.5 million labourers, outservants, cottagers and paupers
  • 30,000 vagrants, gypsies, thieves and beggars.
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

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