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What kind of king was Charles I?

Case study 1: Monarchs before Charles I - Source 2

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The first Great Seal of James I

(Catalogue ref: SC 13/N4)

SC 13/N4; first Great Seal of James 1
SC 13/N4; first Great Seal of James 1
 
SC 13/N4; first Great Seal of James 1
 

What is this source?

This is the Great Seal of James I. The main job of a seal was to seal up a document. The king rolled or folded the document, poured hot wax on the join and then pushed this seal into the hot wax.

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What's the background to this source?

James ruled from 1603-25 and he was the father of Charles I. James had a poor reputation as a monarch in some ways.

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It's worth knowing that...

The other job of the seal was to send very strong messages to people about the ruler. It was packed full of symbols.

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Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

James had some very strong ideas about what it meant to be a monarch. See if you can find the symbols on the seal that show his views.

  1. He saw himself as an emperor, a king who rules more than one kingdom.
  2. He wanted the three kingdoms he ruled to be united as one state rather than seeing themselves as three different countries.
  3. He was a committed Protestant and took his duty to run and protect the church very seriously.
  4. He saw himself as the defender of his people against the enemies of his kingdoms.
  5. He believed in law and justice.