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Why did people go to war in 1642?

Case study 1: 1637-39 – Source 8

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Report of a discussion between Charles I and Sir Thomas Wilford on the situation with Parliament, 28 May 1639

(Catalogue ref: SP 16/422/65)

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SP16/422/65; Discussion on Parliament, 1639
 

What is this source?

This report in the State Papers must have been written by a person at Charles’s court in Newcastle, probably a noble loyal to Charles.

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What's the background to this source?

In 1639 Charles I was in the north of England facing a major rebellion in Scotland. Wars were very expensive, so Charles was forced to call a Parliament in April 1640 to ask them for money.

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It's worth knowing that...

Although many MPs criticised Charles’s policies in the 1630s, many other MPs remained loyal to him. Some stayed neutral if they could, taking neither side (we do not really know exact numbers on each side). Charles didn’t like the criticism, so he ended the Parliament in 1640 after a few weeks.

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Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. Why do you think Sir Thomas Wilford brought men and horses to Charles I?
  2. What was the attitude of Wilford towards Charles?
  3. Was he afraid to criticise Charles?
  4. What was his advice to Charles?
  5. What was his attitude to the MPs who opposed Charles?
  6. How useful is this source in telling us how much support Charles had?
  7. Does this source give us any clues about why the kingdom went to war in 1642?