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Why did people go to war in 1642?

Case study 1: 1637-39 – Source 3

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An engraving of a protest in Edinburgh in 1637

(By permission of The British Library, E.365 (6))

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BL.E365.(6); protest in Edinburgh, 1637

What is this source?

This picture describes events that happened in Edinburgh in 1637. It shows the reaction of Scottish Protestants when the head of the church in Scotland tried to use a new prayer book for church services.


What's the background to this source?

Throughout the 1630s Charles and his Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, brought changes to the organisation of the church and also to the way people worshipped in church. The Scots did not like Laud’s new prayer book or his other ideas. They also disliked an Englishman making decisions about the church in Scotland.


It's worth knowing that...

In February 1638 Scottish rebels formed themselves into a National Assembly. They signed a Covenant (agreement) banning the new prayer book.


Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. Describe the scene as though you were reporting it for a radio broadcast.
  2. What is happening?
  3. How would you describe the feelings of the crowd?
  4. Do you think this was simply a small number of people causing the trouble?
  5. Does this source give us any clues about why the kingdom went to war in 1642?