Why did Britain become a republic?
Investigate this document
(Catalogue ref: LR 2/124/5)
This document is part of an inventory from 1651. Whenever a person died it was normal to make a list, or inventory, of all their possessions. This helped the relatives to decide who would inherit particular items. If the dead person owed any debts, the inventory also showed what money and goods there were to pay the debts.
- What did this person own when they were alive? Click on the interactive button to explore this document.
- What kind of goods are listed here? (Clue: What are Holbein, Leonardo and Michelangelo famous for?)
- What can you tell about the person from these goods? To give you an idea of values, £2 in 1651 would be worth around £200 today.
- An inventory was a normal document in 1651. Yet this document would have been very shocking to people in 1651. Can you guess why?
Did you guess? This is part of the inventory of the goods of King Charles I. The goods listed here were a small part of the king’s valuable art collection, which he took great pride in.
Why was it shocking in 1651?
- In the 1640s nobody in Britain would have even considered that the king would be dead. The execution of the king by his own people in 1649 was an incredible thing to happen.
- In those times monarchs were seen as almost like gods. Most people would have been deeply shocked to think that anyone would dare to go through the king’s possessions and make a list of them to be sold.
This shows how much had changed in Britain by 1651.
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