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The Interregnum

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the unstable rule in England between the execution of Charles I and restoration of Charles II and the impact in Scotland and, infamously, Ireland

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the period between the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the unexpected restoration of his son Charles II in 1660, known as The Interregnum. It was marked in England by an elusive pursuit of stability, with serious consequences in Scotland and notorious ones in Ireland. When Parliament executed Charles it had also killed Scotland and Ireland’s king, without their consent; Scotland immediately declared Charles II king of Britain, and Ireland too favoured Charles. In the interests of political and financial security, Parliament's forces, led by Oliver Cromwell, soon invaded Ireland and then turned to defeating Scotland. However, the improvised power structures in England did not last and Oliver Cromwell's death in 1658 was followed by the threat of anarchy. In England, Charles II had some success in overturning the changes of the 1650s but there were lasting consequences for Scotland and the notorious changes in Ireland were entrenched.

The Dutch image of Oliver Cromwell, above, was published by Joost Hartgers c1649


Clare Jackson
Senior Tutor at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge

Micheál Ó Siochrú
Professor in Modern History at Trinity College Dublin


Laura Stewart
Professor in Early Modern History at the University of York

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Available now

52 minutes

Last on

Thu 27 May 2021 21:30



Clare Jackson at the University of Cambridge

Micheál Ó Siochrú at Trinity College Dublin

Laura Stewart at the University of York


Toby Barnard, Cromwellian Ireland: English government and reform in Ireland, 1649-1660 (Clarendon Press, 2000)

Caroline Boswell, Disaffection and Everyday Life in Interregnum England (Melton, 2017)

Michael J. Braddick (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution (Oxford University Press, 2015)

David Brown, Empire and Enterprise: Money, Power and the Adventurers for Irish Land during the British Civil Wars (Manchester University Press, 2020)

Aidan Clarke, Prelude to Restoration in Ireland: The End of the Commonwealth, 1659-60 (Cambridge University Press, 1999)

Barry Coward, The Cromwellian Protectorate (Manchester University Press, 2002)

David Horspool, Cromwell: The Protector (Allen Lane, 2017)

Patrick Little (ed.), Oliver Cromwell: New Perspectives (Springer, 2009)

Patrick Little (ed.), Ireland in Crisis: War, Politics and Religion, 1641-50 (Manchester University Press, 2020)

Kirsteen M. MacKenzie, The Solemn League and Covenant of the Three Kingdoms and the Cromwellian Union, 1643-1663 (Routledge, 2017)

Jane A. Mills (ed.), Cromwell's Legacy (Manchester University Press, 2012)

Micheál Ó Siochrú, God’s Executioner: Oliver Cromwell and the Conquest of Ireland (Faber & Faber, 2009)

Micheál Ó Siochrú and Jane Ohlmeyer (eds), Ireland, 1641: Contexts and Reactions (Manchester University Press, 2013)

Scott Spurlock, Cromwell and Scotland: Conquest and Religion, 1650-1660 (John Donald Short Run Press, 2007)

Timothy Venning, Cromwellian Foreign Policy (Palgrave Macmillan, 1995)

Austin Woolrych, Britain in Revolution, 1625-1660 (Oxford University Press, 2002)

Blair Worden, God's Instruments: Political Conduct in the England of Oliver Cromwell (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Blair Worden, Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England: John Milton, Andrew Marvell, Marchamont Nedham (Oxford University Press, 2007)


Oliver Cromwell: King in All But Name - Stuarts Online

1641 Depositions – Trinity College Library, Dublin

The Down Survey of Ireland – Trinity College Dublin

British Civil Wars Project

Interregnum – Wikipedia


  • Thu 27 May 2021 09:00
  • Thu 27 May 2021 21:30

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