The English Civil War

Why did England become a republic in 1649?

This workshop is based on original Stuart documents and Civil War propaganda posters and leaflets, held here at The National Archives. It aims to consider why England became a republic in 1649, and how these documents can help us to understand the causes behind this event.

The workshop begins with a detailed study of specific parliamentary documents that describe the arrests of the five MPs in 1642. The education officer leading the session will help students to understand the language of the documents and to compare their purpose and tone.

Students then conduct their own investigation into the causes and effects of the Civil War, by studying a range of selected propaganda leaflets and original documents. Students will also consider the usefulness of each document for studying different aspects of the Civil War.

At the end of the session, students are given the opportunity to feedback and discuss their findings. They are then given the rare opportunity to see the original Great Seals of Charles I and the Commonwealth, as well as the trial notes of Charles I that led to his execution.

This session is delivered as a workshop. Find out more about the types of session we offer.

Session options

This session is delivered as a:


2 hours

at The National Archives

Available: Not currently available

Cost: Free to UK schools

Age: Key stage 5

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Contact us

All activities must be booked in advance.

Tel: +44 (0)20 3908 9162