the English Civil War (timeline)


13th June 1625. King Charles I married Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV of France at St Augustine’s Church, Canterbury, Kent. The marriage was not popular because she was a Catholic.



May. Parliament were unhappy with the activities of Charles’ chief minister, the Duke of Buckingham. (Buckingham had led a failed mission to Cadiz and it appeared that he was planning to help the French to put down the Protestant Huguenot uprising).
Parliament moved to have Buckingham dismissed from office.
Charles retaliated by dismissing parliament.


13th March. Charles needed money to finance the war with France and Spain and reluctantly recalled Parliament.


Charles re-issued the Thirty Nine Articles into the Church of England. This was seen as a move towards Rome and evidence of the King’s Catholic leanings.

7th June 1628. Parliament formed a committee of grievances and prepared a Petition of Right which was presented to the King. The Petition was designed to protect subjects from any further taxation unauthorised by Parliament.
Charles signed the document reluctantly.


March. Parliament passed three resolutions:
1.That they would condemn any move to change religion.
2. That they would condemn any taxation levied without Parliament’s authority.
3. That any merchant who paid ‘illegal’ taxes betrayed the liberty of England.
Charles dismissed Parliament. 

March. Charles arrested nine members of the Commons for offences against the state.  The King, defended his action by stating his belief in his own divine right saying that ‘Princes are not bound to give account of their actions, but to God alone.’


Charles was crowned King of Scotland


Charles imposed the Ship Money on inland towns as well: it was a tax  paid by coastal towns to pay for the upkeep of the Royal Navy.


Charles demanded that the Book of Common Prayer be used in the Scottish Kirk.
The Calvinist-dominated Scottish church resisted the move.
There were riots and a National Covenant was formed which protested against any religious interference in Scotland by England.


In order to raise an efficient army Charles was forced to recall Parliament.


13th April. The new Parliament refused to authorise any new taxes until the King agreed to abandon ‘ship money’. The King said that he would only abandon ship money if Parliament would grant him enough money to re-open the war with Scotland. Parliament refused and was dismissed after three weeks (Short Parliament)

1aa9a444000005dc-0-image-m-4_1445949167756Oliver Cromwell was elected to Parliament for the second time. He openly criticised Charles taxes and the level of corruption in the Church of England.

November. Charles needed money to  defeat the Scots.
Parliament presented some demands which included an Act which stated that parliament should meet once every five years.
Charles had no choice but to comply (Long Parliament).


Triennal Act allowed Parliament to be summoned without royal command
and declared ‘ship money’ to be illegal.

Late summer. A revolt broke out in Ireland. Parliament critical of the King’s handling of matters in both Ireland and Scotland, passed propositions that the Parliament and not the King should be responsible for the country’s defence.

22 october. A Catholic rebellion broke out in Ulster and quickly spread across the country. Many Protestant settlers were driven from their homes and the rebellion became war. 

november. Grand Remonstrance, put together by Pym, listed parliament’s grievances against the King since his reign began.



Charles instructed his attorney-general to issue a charge of treason against one peer and five members of the Commons including Pym and Hampden.
When Parliament refused to recognise the charge, Charles sent a troop of horsemen to make the arrests.

Although both sides were now preparing for war, negotiations continued.

June. The Nineteen Propositions were issued by Parliament in the hopes of reaching a settlement with the King. They called for a new constitution recognising their own supremacy; demanded that ministers and judges should be appointed by parliament not by the King and also that all Church and military matters should come under the control of Parliament.

22 August. Charles raised his standard at Nottingham formally declaring war.
A Civil War.


It looked as if the king might be about to defeat his opponents,
but later that year the Parliamentarians concluded a military alliance with the Scots.

The Battle of Naseby1645

Charles was defeated by parliament’s New Model Army at Naseby
and it became clear that the Royalist cause was lost. 


6th may. Unwilling to surrender to the Parliamentarians, the king gave himself up to the Scots.

24th June. Oxford, Charles I’s capital surrendered to Parliament


30 january. The Scots handed Charles over to parliament wich imprisoned the king

The Putney debate  was a series of debates held by different Parliamentarian forces to try to decide on a new constitution.

november. Charles I escaped imprisonment and fled to Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight.


december. Charles was recaptured and sent to Windsor Castle


The Rump Parliament began. All members of Parliament who were in favour of negotiating with the King had been expelled.
The Rump Parliament gave parliament the right to make new Acts of Parliament without the king’s approval.

King Charles was tried for treason by a High Court of Justice specially set up for the trial.

The court found Charles guilty and sentenced him to death.

King Charles I was executed by beheading, outside Whitehall Palace, London. He was buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

In the wake of the king’s execution, a republican regime was established in England, a regime which was chiefly underpinned by the stark military power of the New Model Army.




Overview: Civil War and Revolution, 1603 – 1714
By Professor Mark Stoyle on the BBC History Channel

 The Causes Of The English Civil War
By C. N. Trueman on The History Learning Site






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