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Why did people want the king back in 1646?

Case study 1: Effects of war, 1642-45 - Source 1

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A letter written by a Parliament officer, Nehemiah Wharton, 13 September 1642

(Catalogue ref: SP 16/492/11)

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SP16/492/11; letter by army officer, 1642
 

What is this source?

These are sections from a letter by Nehemiah Wharton, a Parliamentary officer in the Civil War, written to George Willingham, a merchant.

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What’s the background to this source?

This source comes from an early stage of the war – less than one month in and a month before the first big battle at Edgehill in October. As well as the big battles, there was a lot of smaller fights or skirmishes in the Civil War.

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It's worth knowing that...

Wharton was a Puritan, a hard-line Protestant. During the war Puritans became increasingly powerful and important in the army.

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Your turn: What can we learn from this source?

  1. What happened to Justice Edmonds?
  2. Is it possible to say whether this kind of thing happened a lot?
  3. Do you think the countryman had much choice in becoming Wharton’s guide?
  4. According to this source, what did Prince Rupert do?
  5. Do you think this source gives a reliable view of the impact of the war?
  6. What does this source tell you about Nehemiah Wharton?
  7. Why did nothing happen on Sunday?
  8. Study the source and the supporting notes. Why did so many soldiers begin to see themselves as ‘soldiers of god’?
  9. How does this source help to explain why many people were supporting Charles in 1646?