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Why did people go to war in 1642?

Case study 2: 1640-42 - Source 9

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Petition from the confused gentry of Somerset, August 1642

(Catalogue ref: SP 16/491/117)

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SP 16/491/117; petition from Somerset, 1642

What is this source?

This petition or request was presented to a court in Somerset to be sent on to the king.


What's the background to this source?

By 1642 relations between Charles and Parliament were disastrous. Both sides were preparing for war. Both sides had plans for the militia.


It's worth knowing that...

The gentry of Somerset were not the only group who were confused in 1642 about whether to obey the Parliament or the king.


Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. What does this source tell us about the feelings of the Somerset gentry in August 1642?
  2. What do the Somerset gentry want?
  3. Does this source give us any clues about why the kingdom went to war in 1642?