Monarchy with David Starkey (2004–2007): Season 2, Episode 4 - The Stuart Succession - full transcript

James I takes the throne as the first "king of Great Britain," ruling not only England, but also Scotland and Ireland. But the Stuart reign soon turns from heady triumph to failure and civil war.

DAVID STARKEY: August 1588.

Europe is convulsed by religious war

and Protestant England faces the
world!s foremost Catholic power.

With the Spanish Armada
in the Channel

and the large and fearsomely
professional Spanish Army

in the Low Countries,

England is under dire threat.

On 18 August 1588, Queen Elizabeth l
came to review her troops

here at Tilbury.

She wore a breastplate
and carried a sword

and addressed them in words that
have echoed down the centuries.

Ffl know l have the body
of a weak and feeble woman,

ffbut l have the heart
and stomach of a king,

ffand of a king of England too,

ffand think foul scorn that Parma
or Spain or any prince of Europe

ffshould dare invade
the border of my realm.!!

But even as the Queen spoke,
the moment of danger had passed.

The English fire ships had broken up
the Armada!s invincible formation

off Calais,

and coastal storms
would do the rest.

Nevertheless, despite the defeat
ofthe Spanish Armada,

England would not escape
the horrors of religious war,

and some ofthose who!d heard
Elizabeth at Tilbury

might live long enough

to see another English monarch
raise his banner in defiance

on English soil.

But this time, the King!s enemies
would not be foreign princes,

but his own people.

Within a generation,

the monarchywas to pass
from the triumphs of Elizabeth

to the humiliation and defeat
of her Stuart successors.

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With the defeat
ofthe Spanish Armada,

Elizabeth!s reputation stood
at a zenith at home and abroad.

Even the Pope, who!d helped
finance the Armada expedition,

expressed his admiration of her,

and only regretted that theywere
unable to have children together.

Inheriting their combined talents,

their offspring would rule the world,
he said.

Defending the realm

was the most fundamental duty
of an English monarch,

and Elizabeth had acquitted herself

But Elizabeth inherited a crown,
the lmperial Crown,

whose power had been greatly expanded
by her father Henry Vlll!s decision

to make himself
Supreme Head ofthe Church

and control the religion
of his subjects,

as well as their everyday lives.

Could Elizabeth,
mere woman that she was,

maintain this lofty claim?

Known as the froyal supremacy!,

the monarch!s powers over religion
proved to be a double-edged sword,

for the Crown had taken control
ofthe Church

at a time of uniquely bitter
religious conflict.

Protestant fought with Catholic,

and different kinds of Protestant
fought with each other.

How could the monarch,
as Supreme Head ofthe Church,

avoid being drawn into this conflict

which threatened to turn
quarrels about religion

into disputes with the Crown?

Elizabeth did her best in
establishing a Church of England

that was Protestant in its doctrines

but Catholic in the appearance
of its ceremonies and clerical dress.

Elizabeth!s policywas successful in
heading off much Catholic opposition

but it had the opposite effect

of opening up divisions
on the Protestant side

between those who wanted the
rigorous, stripped-down Protestantism

ofthe Continent and Scotland,

and those who followed Elizabeth

in her attachment
to bishops and ceremonies.

This was not a struggle between
government and opposition.

Rather, it was a schism

within the highest ranks
ofthe Elizabethan establishment,

with Elizabeth!s chief minister and
eldest confidant, William Cecil,

on one side,

and her Archbishop of Canterbury,
William Whitgift, on the other.

The bad feeling between the two men
burst into the open

in the Queen!s own presence,

and Elizabeth came down publicly
and heavily on Whitgift!s side.

Matters of religion, she insisted,
were for her and her bishops alone.

Neither the Council nor Parliament
had any say in the matter.

Instead, since her supremacy over the
Church came to her from God alone,

she was answerable only to God for
how she chose to exercise it.

This was Henry Vlll!s own high view
ofthe royal supremacy

and in sticking to it,

Elizabeth showed herself
every inch her father!s daughter.

But who would continue the difficult
but necessary balancing act

ofthe middle way in religion
after the ageing Elizabeth?

Her nearest blood relation
was King James Vl of Scotland,

son of a Catholic mother but brought
up in the rigorously Protestant Kirk.

The possibility of James!s accession
aroused wildly contrasting hopes.

Whilst he was still only a claimant,
he could flatter them all.

But when - if- he became
king of England,

he would have to choose.

Crowned at the parish kirk
in Stirling on 29 July 1567,

James had been king of Scotland
since he was a small boy.

He was also heir to his mother!s
claims to England.

James was the only child of Mary
Queen of Scots!s disastrous marriage

to Lord Darnley.

When he was barely a year old,

his mother, widely suspected
of murdering his father,

had been forced to flee to England
by a Protestant revolt.

But cradle king though he was, James
still needed rearing and educating,

like any other child.

This boy of great rank
and greater prospects still

was largely brought up
at Stirling Castle.

It was a strange, insecure
kind of childhood.

A series of regents who ruled
Scotland on his behalf

were murdered in quick succession

and the boy!s own life
was more than once in danger.

In and among it all, James received
an impressive education

at the hands of his principal tutor,
George Buchanan.

Dour and self-opinionated,

Buchanan was a leading figure
in the Scottish Presbyterian Kirk

in which the supreme authoritywas
not the king, as in England,

but the General Assembly
ofthe clergy.

Kings also, Buchanan believed, were
mere servants oftheir people,

who could and should be punished
ifthey misbehaved.

Buchanan!s style as a teacher
was important too.

Like many 16th-century teachers,

Buchanan thought that sparing
the rod spoiled the child

and he set about beating and birching
his beliefs and learning into James,

with gusto.

This treatment, indeed, succeeded in
making James a considerable scholar,

but in terms of religion
and politics,

it produced only an equal
and opposite reaction

to which James
was able to give expression

with unusual force and clarity.

And this is the result - it!s
!The True Law of Free Monarchies!,

which James wrote and published
in 1598.

In it, he says succinctly,
ffKings are called gods.

FfThey are appointed by God
and answerable only to God.!!

James grounded these assertions,

just as Henry Vlll had his claim
to the royal supremacy,

in the Biblical story
ofthe Old Testament kings.

But James went beyond even Henry Vlll

by claiming to be absolute
in affairs of state

as well as those ofthe Church.

In 1601 , Elizabeth!s leading
ministers began to make moves

to secure James!s path
to the English throne.

The matter became pressing during
the Christmas holidays of 1603,

when both Elizabeth!s health
and her temper suddenlyworsened.

In mid-January, she moved
to Richmond for a change of air,

but, within a fewweeks,
she was clearly dying.

She lay on a pile of cushions on
the floor of her pri chamber,

refusing to eat and unable to sleep.

Finally, she was carried to her bed,
became speechless,

and died in the small hours
ofthe morning of 24 March,

after Archbishop Whitgift had lulled
her into her last sleep

with his impassioned prayers.

Elizabeth had restored Protestantism,
preserved the royal supremacy,

protected her country from invasion

and allowed nothing to challenge
either her crown or her popularity.

Above all, her studiously broad
church religious settlement

had brought peace,

though at the inevitable price of
alienating eremes of all sorts.

With the great Queen dead,

all eyes nowturned to Scotland
and to James.

James Vl of Scotland was proclaimed
King James l of England

within eight hours
of Elizabeth!s death

and his first Parliament proclaimed
that he was,

by inherent birthright
and lawful succession,

the inheritor ofthe lmperial Crown
of England and Scotland.

It sounded good, but it was
a dangerous doctrine

since it implied that James!s
title to the throne

was above and beyond the law,

as, of course, James himself,

as the author of fThe True Law
of Free Monarchies!, firmly believed.

In April 1603,
James arrived in London in triumph

as the undoubted heir of his
great-great-grandfather Henry Vll.

Henry Vll had commissioned
the lmperial Crown here

as the symbol ofthe recovery
ofthe monarchy

from the degradation
ofthe Wars ofthe Roses.

Now James, the first
ruler of all Britain,

would endow it with a larger
significance still.

James!s aim was to be
!Rex Pacificus!, the Peacemaker King.

He would reconcile
Catholic and Protestant,

thus re-establishing Christian unity
at home and abroad.

He would end England!s
debilitating warwith Spain

and, above all, he would terminate

the ancient feud between
England and Scotland

and fuse, instead,
the two warring kingdoms

into a new, greater
united realm of Britain.

It was an enormously ambitious

and, to realise it, James,
in a strikingly modern gesture,

summoned three major conferences
on peace, religion

and union with Scotland.

The peace conference and
ensuing treaty at Somerset House

were commemorated in this painting.

Through them, James ended
the 20-yearwarwith Catholic Spain.

It was an auspicious start for James,
the international peacemaker,

but the result, paradoxically,
was trouble at home.

On the one hand,
the Somerset House treaty

meant that the hotter Protestants
were shocked to discover

that England, now at peace
with the leading Catholic power,

would no longer be the champion of
their fellow Protestants in Europe.

And, on the other hand,
the eremer Catholics

were equally dismayed to find out
that Spain had not eracted

toleration for Catholics
as a price ofthe peace.

Abandoned abroad, such Catholics
turned in desperation

to self-help and direct action
at home.

At the beginning of November 1605,
James was shown a tip-off letter

warning that the political
establishment of England

would receive a terrible blow

in the Parliament he was
due to open on 5 November.

James immediately guessed
that the wording ofthe letter

pointed to an explosion,

but in order to catch
the plotters red-handed

it was decided not to search the
vaults under the parliament chamber

until the night ofthe fourth.

At 11pm, the search party entered

and found a man standing guard
over a pile of firewood,

35 barrels of gunpowder,
and with a fuse in his pocket.

His name was Guy Fawkes.

Ifthe gunpowder
had exploded as planned,

it would have been
the terrorist bombing

to end all terrorist bombings,

wiping out most of
the British royal family

and the entire English
political establishment.

Nevertheless, the immediate political
consequences were small.

To James!s credit,

there was no widespread persecution
of Catholics in England,

and the peace with Spain held,

but in the longer term,
the plot played an important part

in the development
ofthe Catholic myth in England.

The realitywas that
English Catholicism

was a beleaguered minority faith.

But in the fevered imagination
ofthe hotter sort of Protestants

it became, instead,
the fifth column

of a vast international
politico-religious conspiracy,

masterminded by the Pope in Rome

and aiming not only
at the conversion of England

but at the subversion of English
Protestantism and English freedoms

and by the foulest possible means.

And so, at the second
of James!s great conferences

to determine the nature
ofthe religious settlement

under the new king,

those hot Protestants,
known pejoratively as fPuritans!

Demanded that
the English Church be purged

ofwhat they regarded
as its damnable popish elements.

But they reckoned without
the seductive powers

ofthe English monarchy
and the English royal supremacy.

In Scotland, James Vl had sat
in the body ofthe church

to be admonished by the preacher
high in his pulpit

as fGod!s silly vessel!.

But in England, as here in
the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court,

it was this same man, now known as
King James l, who sat high above,

enthroned in this magnificent
royal pew,

whilst the preacher,
under correction,

went about his humbler task
far below.

It was the most graphic
possible illustration

ofthe power ofthe royal supremacy

which James was determined
to keep in England,

and, if he could,
to eend to Scotland.

Instead, therefore,
as the Puritans had hoped,

of making the Church of England
more like the Kirk in Scotland,

James used the Hampton Court

to proclaim that he was satisfied

with the Elizabethan
religious settlement as it stood

and was resolved
to keep it as it was.

He would not,
any more than Elizabeth,

soften Archbishop Whitgift!s
hard line

in enforcing ceremonies and vestments
which the Puritans thought popish.

And, above all, he would allow
not an inch of movement

away from the English government
ofthe Church by bishops

towards a role for presbyteries,
or assemblies of clergy,

as in Scotland.

He even managed to subvert
the Puritan demand

for a newtranslation ofthe Bible.

James eagerly agreed,
since he detested this,

the so-called fGeneva! version
ofthe Bible,

which was then used by Presbyterians
in Scotland and Puritans in England

because of its marginal notes

which showed a typically
hot Protestant disrespect

for kings and queens.

The King James version ofthe Bible,
on the other hand,

as the large and learned team
oftranslators explained

in this preface,

was to tread soberly the middle way

between popish persons
on the one hand

and the self-conceited brethren -
that is, the Puritans - on the other.

It was born out of a long-dead
politico-theological dispute

and it!s the only classic ever to
have been written by a committee.

Nevertheless, the King James version
ofthe Bible became the book

which, more than any other,
shaped the English language

and formed the English mind.

James!s other lasting legacy

was the union ofthe crowns
of England and Scotland,

and he set out his case for union
in a speech from the throne

at the opening of his first
English Parliament in March 1604.

His succession had united the
kingdoms of England and Scotland,

ending the ancient division
ofthe island of Britain.

Moreover, the King claimed, these
divisions were largely in the mind.

Were not England and Scotland already
united by a common language,

the Protestant religion
and similar customs and manners?

Was not the border practically
indistinguishable on the ground?

It was as though God had always
intended the union to happen.

To resist union, therefore,
James concluded,

was not simply impolitic,
but impious.

It was to put asunder kingdoms which
God himself had joined together.

But the English Parliament
impoliticly and impiously

decided to look the gift horse
of union in the mouth.

Partly it was a question

of straightforward
anti-Scottish xenophobia.

But more fundamental causes
were involved as well.

These centred on James!s
apparently innocuous wish

to rename the Anglo-Scottish kingdom

But a new name meant a new kingdom.

It would be like, one MP said,

a freshly conquered territory
in the NewWorld.

There would be no laws
and no customs,

and James, by his own rules in
'The True Law of Free Monarchies',

would be free to set himself up

as an absolute, supranational emperor
of Great Britain.

The English Parliament, in contrast,

would be left
as a mere provincial assembly.

It wasn!t an enticing prospect

for MPs who sawthemselves as
the fgreat council ofthe realm!.

James!s reaction was to try to enact
the union symbolically,

using his own powers
under the royal prerogative.

By proclamation, he assumed the title
of fKing of Great Britain!.

He redesigned the royal coat of arms

with the lion of England balanced
by the unicorn of Scotland.

Then he insisted on a British flag,
known as the fJack!,

after the Latin form
ofthe name James,

again by proclamation.

But not content with symbols,

James also practised
a kind of union by stealth.

The English political elite
had prevented him

from establishing an evenly balanced
Anglo-Scots council.

But a king could do what he liked
with his own court,

so, in revenge,
James filled his bedchamber,

the inner ring of his court,
almost exclusivelywith Scots.

It was a pleasure,

since James took a more-than-fatherly

in braw Scots lads with
well-turned legs and firm buttocks.

But it also suited him politically,

since it compelled proud Englishmen
to sue for patronage

to his Scots favourites.

And they had to bribe them as well.

But James!s policy of union
by stealth had a fatal flaw.

He had inherited a substantial
debt from Elizabeth,

he!d a large family to maintain,

and he wanted to continue
pouring money

on his favourites and his pleasures.

For all this, the Crown!s so-called
!ordinary income!

From land and custom duties,
was hopelessly inadequate.

There was no choice but to ask
Parliament to vote money.

But the English Parliament
saw no reason

why taxpayers! money, their money,

should end up in the pockets
of Scots favourites,

and they said so rather crudely.

FfHo!, asked one MP, ffcould
the cistern ofthe Treasury

ffever be filled up if money continued
to flowthence by private cocks?!!

!Cocks! meant taps, and, well...
what it means now.

So James!s project for British union
remained an unfulfilled dream

whilst his relations with Parliament
turned into a disaster.

By the time of his death in 1625,

he had gone into
a sort of internal exile,

abandoning the task of government

and secluding himselfwith
his favourites and his horses.

Nevertheless, James managed

by a miure oftact, duplicity
and masterful inaction

to stick to the middle ground and to
hold together the warring eremes

ofthe Church of England
on the one hand,

and the differing religious polities
of England and Scotland on the other.

The result was a smooth succession
on both sides ofthe border

of James!s son Charles

to the glittering inheritance of
the lmperial Crown of Great Britain.

But within a decade and a half,

Charles, by his intransigence
and his ineptitude,

had thrown it all away.

Charles was crowned King of England
at Westminster Abbey

on 2 February 1626.

For James, divine right had been
an intellectual position.

For Charles, it was
an emotional and religious one.

This was immediately made clear
by his coronation service,

which, meticulously choreographed

by the up and coming cleric
William Laud,

lovingly reproduced all the splendour,
solemnity and sacred mysteries

ofthe medieval Catholic rite.

The ceremony
is one ofthe best documented

as well as the best organised
of coronations

thanks to the survival
ofthese two service books here.

This is Charles!s own copy

ofthe coronation service

which he used to followthe ceremony.

And this is Laud!s version

ofthe same te

which he used like a kind of score

to conduct the service.

He also made notes in the margins
in a different coloured ink

to record unusual features ofthe
ceremony as it actually took place.

These notes take us
into Charles!s own mind.

During the 5-hour-long ceremony,

the King was invested

with the carefully preserved
robes and regalia

of Edward the Confessor,
the last sainted Anglo-Saxon king.

And Charles!s attitude to these
ancient relics was unique.

Here Laud notes that he insisted
on placing his feet

inside the sacred buskins or sandals

that were normally only touched
against the royal leg.

And here, that he actually used,

apparently for the only time in the
1 ,500-year history ofthe coronation,

the Anglo-Saxon ivory comb

to tidy his hair after
he!d been anointed on the head.

This wasn!t mere idle curiosity.

Instead, Charles was treating each
and every item ofthe regalia

as a sacrament of monarchy.

With each touch ofthe precious oils
and the ancient fabrics and jewels,

God was washing away
the merely human in him

and leaving him purely, indefeasibly
and absolutely a king.

Or so Charles, at least, thought.

Charles, as his behaviour
at his coronation would suggest,

was an aesthete, a lover of beauty,
elegance and order.

His tutor had been chosen
not for his scholarship,

but for his taste in fashion,

and Charles himself grew up to be not
only fastidious in dress and manners,

but also the greatest connoisseur

ever to have sat
on the throne of England.

He built up a staggering collection
of old master paintings

and he commissioned portraits
of himself and his family

from the greatest contemporary
artists like Sir Anthony Vandyke.

And it is Vandyke above all who shows
us Charles as he wanted to be,

suggesting the grandeur
of his kingship on the one hand

and the Christ-like
wisdom and self-sacrifice

with which he hoped to rule
on the other.

Like most royal heirs,
Charles defined himself

by espousing policies which were
the opposite of his father!s.

He was pro-war, but Parliament,

despite its vocal enthusiasm
for a Protestant crusade in Europe,

was never prepared to vote enough tax
to make war a serious option.

Frustrated by Parliament!s

to put its moneywhere
its Protestant mouth was,

Charles, instead of fighting
the Catholic French,

married the French, and of course,
Catholic, princess, Henrietta Maria

in 1626.

On account of her religion,

the marriage was eremely unpopular
with Parliament.

It didn!t even succeed in cementing
an alliance with France.

The result was that Charles
soon found himself

in the worst of all possible worlds -

without tax, with a Catholic wife,

and fighting a hopeless war against
both major Catholic powers -

France and Spain.

Charles, looking for a scapegoat
for the debacle,

found it in what he saw as
Parliament!s sullen obstructiveness.

Charles decided that parliaments were
more trouble than theywere worth

and that, in future,
he would rule without them.

All over Europe, monarchs were
dispensing with parliaments,

so in attempting personal rule,

Charles was simply following
the European trend,

but unlike his European counterparts,

Charles lacked the legal ability
to tax his subjects at will.

Only a parliament could
legislate newtaxes,

so, like his father before him,

Charles!s only recourse
was to squeeze more revenue

out of his customary
rights and prerogatives.

Fortunately, he got
a crack team of lawyers to help him.

The most ingenious was the
Attorney-General, William Noy.

Ffl moyl in the la! was the
contemporary anagram of his name,

and he fmoyled!, that is,
toiled or laboured,

in the legal archives
to great effect,

but his masterpiece was ship money.

Ship moneywas a traditional le
imposed on the port towns

to raise vessels for the na
in time ofwar,

as, for example,
against the Spanish Armada

in the heyday
of Elizabethan England.

This was uncontroversial,
even popular.

But Attorney-General Noy said
that the law allowed the King

to eend ship money from the ports
to the inland counties

and to impose it in peacetime
as well as during war.

All this at the King!s mere say-so.

The eended ship money
was first imposed in 1634

and, within a year, it was yielding
over £200,000 annually

and producing 90olo
ofwhat the King demanded.

This was the Holy Grail

which had eluded English kings
ever since the Middle Ages -

a large-scale, permanent income

which came in regularly,
year by year,

without the bother
of consulting parliaments.

The idea oftaxing without
parliamentary consent

was bound to cause grievance,

and Charles exacerbated matters

by attempting religious innovation
as well.

Whatever the formal rules
ofthe Church of England,

much ofthe country had seen
the development

of a stripped-down, fundamentalist

very little different in practice
from the Scottish Kirk.

But a richer, more ceremonious vision
had been preserved

in a handful of places,

in particular, in the chapels royal
and the greater cathedrals.

Here there were choirs,
organs and music,

candles and gold and silver plate
on the communion tables,

and rich vestments for the clergy.

William Laud, now Charles!s
Archbishop of Canterbury,

determined to use the royal supremacy

to impose this opulent religious
tradition on the whole country.

He did so because he thought religion
should be about sacraments

as well as sermons,

and appeal to the senses
as well as to the mind.

In England, the policy, despite
some foot-dragging and protest,

aroused little overt resistance.

Indeed, manywelcomed it.

Emboldened, Charles and Laud decided

that it should be eended
to Scotland as well.

Here, the Reformation had been
far more thoroughgoing and radical

and the risks of change
were correspondingly greater.

But Charles, confident as ever
in his God-given rightness,

was undeterred.

He decided that a barely modified
version ofthe English prayer book

should be used throughout Scotland,

and he did so
on his own personal authority,

without consulting either
the Scottish Parliament

or the General Assembly ofthe Kirk.

Charles was behaving as though
he were the supreme governor

ofthe Scottish Kirk indeed.

But would the Scottish Presbyterians
accept his authority?

The answer came
on Sunday 28 July 1637,

when the new prayer book
was used for the first time

here in St Giles Cathedral
in Edinburgh,

in the presence ofthe assembled
Pri Council of Scotland.

But as soon as the dean
had begun the service,

a great shout erupted from the crowds
at the back ofthe church.

Hea clasped Bibles
and folding stools

were hurled at the councillors
and the clergy

and the rioters were only ejected
from the church with difficulty

by the guards.

And, even outside,

they continued pounding on the doors
and pelting the windows

until the service was finished.

Then the protest turned political,

and here in Greyfriars Kirk
in Edinburgh,

an influential group
of citizens and noblemen

drew up and signed an undertaking
to resist Charles

and the innovations and evils
he!d introduced into the Kirk.

Borrowing the name
from God!s solemn compact

with the Jews in the Old Testament,

the undertaking was known
as the fCovenant!,

and its adherents were
called fCovenanters!.

The scene at Greyfriars was repeated
in churches all over the Lowlands.

It was nowthe Covenanters,
not Charles, who controlled Scotland.

Britain, which so far had escaped
the wars of religion

that had devastated
much ofthe rest of Europe,

now faced the horrors of
sectarian conflict on its own soil.

By 1640, Charles!s religious policies

had brought about a crisis
throughout Britain.

Scotland was in the hands
ofthe Covenanters,

whilst in England, Charles!s
opponents drew strength

from events north ofthe border.

But it was the recall of Parliament
after 11 years

which brought things to a head.

Charles had no choice,

since only Parliament
could vote the money needed

to suppress the Covenanters,

but equally, Parliament
proved an unrivalled forum

for the King!s opponents.

The most dangerous ofthese
was the hitherto obscure lawyer

and MP for Tavistock, John Pym.

Pym believed that Charles!s policies
in Church and state

were the result
of a Catholic conspiracy

to subvert the religion
and liberties of England.

But instead ofwasting his time
in fruitless opposition,

he!d used the 11 years
without a Parliament

to build up a compelling dossier
for his case.

In the 1630s, Pym read voraciously,

followed every detail of politics
at home and abroad

and noted down
useful headings and eracts

in this little book here.

The result was that when Charles
was forced to recall Parliament,

Pym was the best-informed and
the best-prepared man in the House,

readywith both a rhetoric of
opposition to Charles!s government

and a plan of action
for curbing royal power.

Charles hoped to prey
on English xenophobia

to persuade Parliament to impose
an immediate vast tax

to crush the traitorous Scots.

Pym countered
by dragging up his list

of political and religious grievances

against Charles!s government
ofthe 1630s.

Charles then tried
to break the deadlock

by hinting at the surrender
of ship money,

but the hint only emboldened Pym.

Finally, Charles lost patience
with a Parliament

which had, once again,
failed to deliver,

and dissolved it
after less than a month.

He would fight the Scots
without a parliamentary grant.

It was a catastrophic decision.

These are the mighty ramparts
of Berwick-on-Tweed...

...the border fortress
built by King Henry Vlll

to protect England from the Scots.

Expensively refortified by Charles,

it stood as a seemingly impregnable
barrier between the two countries.

But in August 1640, the Scots Army -

large, well-disciplined,
well-armed and well-provisioned -

took the daring decision
to outflank Berwick,

cross the River Tweed
further upstream

and head straight for Newcastle,

which, in contrast to Berwick,
was only lightly defended.

Only the River Tyne now stood between
the Scots and Newcastle.

They forced a crossing at Newburn

and entered Newcastle, which had been
abandoned by its garrison,

in triumph on 30 August.

Never had so many run from so few,

and never had Scotland won a greater
victory on English soil

or one with such
momentous consequences.

With the Scottish Army
encamped on English soil,

Charles was forced
to call Parliament again.

Once again, Charles faced Pym.

Pym cleverly focused

on the financial and constitutional
grievances against Charles.

Here, Parliament was united
in its opposition,

and Charles was forced
into a wholesale surrender

of ship money and the rest.

Boxed in by his opponents
in the English Parliament,

Charles tried to break out by coming
to terms with the Scots.

In the summer of 1641 ,
hejourneyed to Edinburgh,

and, in an astonishing
change of front,

accepted the religious and political
revolution ofthe last three years.

He worshipped in the Kirk,
agreed to the abolition of bishops

and filled the government of Scotland
with the leading Covenanters

and his own sworn enemies.

The King also played
several rounds of golf,

and, reasonably confident that he!d
solved one of his problems,

returned in an excellent mood
to England.

Events in England also seemed to be
moving in Charles!s direction,

for, with Charles!s surrender
of ship money and the like,

the religious divisions in the
Commons between Puritans, like Pym,

and those, known as Episcopalians,

who were sympathetic to Charles!s
ceremonious religion,

were opening up.

Pym tried to whip
his troops into line

by forcing the Grand Remonstrance
to the vote.

This was a searing condemnation
of Charles!s policies in state,

and, especially, in Church.

These amounted,
the Remonstrance claimed,

to an all-embracing
Catholic conspiracy

to subvert the religion
and the liberties of England.

The King himself,
it was careful to point out,

had only been the unwitting agent
ofthe conspiracy.

Charles!s gullibility meant

that he could never be trusted
to choose his own advisers

or to command his own troops again.

The Remonstrance was
nominally addressed to the King

but, in fact, it was a manifesto for
a constitutional revolution at least,

perhaps even for an armed revolt.

The Remonstrance was
also bitterly divisive,

and, after days
of acrimonious debate,

it was only passed
by 159 votes to 148 -

a bare majority of 11 .

The vote showed that the broad-based
opposition to Charles had broken up,

and the more Pym pushed the Puritan
attack on Charles!s Church,

the more his majority risked
disappearing entirely.

But then,
Charles overreached himself.

Convinced, probably correctly,
that amongst MPs were traitors

who colluded with the invading Scots,

Charles determined to bring
five members of Parliament,

including Pym, to trial
on charges of high treason.

On 4 January 1642,

King Charles strode into the chamber
ofthe House of Commons

to arrest his principal opponents.

His guards stood outside
fingering theirweapons,

as, in an uneasy silence, the King
sat himself in the Speaker!s chair.

FfWhere are the five members?!! the King
demanded, calling them by name.

In response, the Speaker
fell on his knees,

protesting that he could answer only
as the House directed him.

In fact, the five members, forewarned
ofthe King!s movements,

had made good their escape by boat

from the back of
the Palace ofWestminster

as Charles and his guards had entered
on the landward side at the front.

Instead, it was Charles himself
who had walked into a trap.

By trying to seize
the five members by force,

he!d shown himself
to be a violent tyrant.

By failing, he!d revealed himself
to be impotent.

As Charles left the chamber

he murmured disconsolately,
ffAll my birds have flown.!!

So too had most of his power.

Battle lines were now drawn up.

Charles!s violent,
ill-thought-out gesture

not only preserved Pym!s
parliamentary majority,

but also turned London decisively
against the King.

In the country, however,

Pym!s increasingly ereme
Puritan attack on the Church

won Charles a devoted following.

But, in fact, Charles was no longer
really king of Great Britain,

or even of England.

Instead, he was only
the leader of a faction.

For history had come
almost full circle.

The attempt to expand the powers
ofthe lmperial Crown

so as it ruled both Church and state
and Scotland as well as England

had backfired.

Instead, England was about to return
to the factional strife

ofthe Wars ofthe Roses,

and Britain to the national struggles
ofthe Anglo-Scottish wars.

And it began at Nottingham,
when Charles raised his standard

in a war against his Parliament
and half his people.