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Why did people go to war in 1642?

Case study 1: 1637-39 – Source 6

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A rude poem sent to Sir John Coke, 4 May 1639

(Catalogue ref: SP 16/420/48)

SP16/420/48; letter and rude poem, 1639
SP16/420/48; letter and rude poem, 1639
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SP16/420/48; letter and rude poem, 1639
 

What is this source?

This report was sent to Sir John Coke in May 1639 by a local judge. Coke was Secretary of State to Charles I.

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What's the background to this source?

In 1639 Charles I’s kingdoms were very tense. Charles was facing a major rebellion in Scotland. There was also tension in England. One of the biggest concerns was religion. The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, was bringing in changes to the English church that some people were against.

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It's worth knowing that...

Charles had no time for opponents of his policies.

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Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. What is the judge sending to Coke?
  2. Do you think the alehouse keeper and his wife really found the poem in the road?
  3. Try to guess - what does this poem mean when it talks about bishops? Which bishop might it be referring to?
  4. What does this poem mean when it says: ‘we are of great might, we mean to make you a bloody fight’? Who will fight whom?
  5. Does this source give us any clues about why the kingdom went to war in 1642?