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The National Archives Civil War
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Why did people go to war in 1642?

Case study 2: 1640-42 - Source 4

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Images from the trial of Thomas Wentworth, the Earl of Strafford

(4a: John Rushworth, The Trial of Thomas Earl of Strafford. Published in London, 1680. 4b: SP 16/479/28, 4c: Wenceslaus Hollar D1317, 1641 National Portrait Gallery)

Source 4a

Sir Thomas Wentworth, knight, Earl of Strafford, Viscount Wentworth, Lieutenant General of the Kingdom of Ireland, Lieutenant President of the Council in the North of England, Lieutenant of York, one of his Majesty’s Privy Council, and Knight of the Order of the Garter.

[The Privy Council was the monarch’s private council, made up of important men who advised the king. Being a knight of the Order of the Garter was the highest honour for an Englishman.]

Source 4b

You, your lands, your heirs, all are at stake

I leave it to your Lordships to foresee what may be the result of so dangerous recent legal decisions. These gentlemen tell me they speak in defence of the country against any high-handed laws. Give me leave to say that I speak in defence of the country against their high-handed treason. For if this is allowed to happen, what harm shall follow to the king, to the country, if you and your heirs are disqualified in the same way from the greatest affairs of the kingdoms.

Source 4c

The true manner of the execution of Thomas, Earl of Strafford, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, upon Tower Hill, the 12th of May, 1641.

The punishment of the ruler of Ireland

  1. Doctor Usher, archbishop in the Church of Ireland,
  2. the officials of London,
  3. the Earl of Strafford,
  4. his family and friends.