History KS3 & KS4/GCSE: Magna Carta and the Stuart kings - England in a century of crisis

Clashes between King and Parliament had their origins in the battle for rights at Runnymede.

By the late 1620s, the myth of Magna Carta gave strength to opponents of Charles I, who believed that the Stuart King had rode roughshod over the rights of his subjects.

A believer in his own right to rule without Parliament, Charles found himself at odds with his subjects over issues as diverse as taxation and how religion should be practiced in England.

By 1642, the country was deadlocked as neither Charles nor his parliamentary critics could agree on how the country should be governed, and 7 years of Civil War followed.

After Charles’execution in 1649 was followed by 11 years of parliamentary rule, the monarchy was restored in 1660.

However, fears that James II would restore Catholicism to England led his opponents to invite the Protestant William of Orange and his wife Mary to take the English throne.

In return, they were forced to accept the notion of a limited Monarchy.

This clip is from the series David Starkey's Magna Carta.

Teacher Notes

Pupils could investigate the causes of unrest between kings and Parliament during the seventeenth century.

Using other resources, pupils could be asked to assess how Charles I and Oliver Cromwell might have viewed the charter?

Curriculum Notes

This clip is relevant for teaching KS3 and KS4/GCSE History in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 in Scotland.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC in England and Wales, CCEA in Northern Ireland and SQA in Scotland.

More from David Starkey's Magna Carta

The Charter’s first century
The Birth of Magna Carta
Magna Carta: liberty and legacy