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How Successful was the Period of Personal Rule Between 1629-1637?

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Introduction

How Successful was the Period of Personal Rule Between 1629-1637? In 1629, Charles I dissolved parliament and embarked on an eleven year period of personal rule. The aims behind personal rule were to rule without calling parliament, to establish his financial independence, make peace in Europe and to enforce uniformity and order, particularly within the church. The first of these aims was certainly achieved. Charles used the prerogative courts (such as the Court of Star Chamber) as well as the regional courts (such as the Council of the North) to enforce the powers of the royal prerogative and punish offenders. He also relied on his privy council to investigate aspects of the government and punish offenders. By governing without parliament, Charles faced less grievances and was able to rule single-handedly, which, due to his belief in divine right, suited him perfectly. In 1630-1631 Charles made peace with both France and Spain. Without parliaments funding, there was simply no way he could afford to continue to intervene in the Thirty Years war. Other advantages from ending the war can be found, such as increased trade which was beneficial to England's economy. Certainly a success of the period of personal rule between these years is the peace and tranquillity England found with foreign policy. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore what became known as the "perfect militia" was introduced. This meant that pressure was put on the Lord Left Lieutenants to collect the taxes that would finance the militia and organise meetings of those involved. Perhaps the most successful achievement of personal rule was that Charles managed to impose Laudian control over and the church and achieve stronger uniformity. Examples of this include moving the altar from the centre of the church towards the East where it was railed off from the congregation, removing the pews used by the gentry which were located at the front of the church and were more luxurious and made the church services more ceremonial. Laud also managed to raise the status of the clergy and prevented sermons being given by lecturers. This meant that what was preached in the church was more directly controlled by the King and Laud, therefore giving them more power to influence the people. However, there are also many counter-arguments to suggest that personal rule was not effective in achieving its aims. Although peace brought a relaxation in tensions between England and Europe, it also caused resentment within the country. Many people believed that England should have been supporting the Dutch and the fears of Catholicism were only heightened by the Spanish neutrality policy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Due to the Thirty Years War and previous events (such as Laud being offered a cardinal position by the Pope), many of the puritans in England were becoming unnerved. Decisions taken such as moving the altar and the shift in focus towards ritual and ceremony seemed to suggest a tendency towards Catholic Church traditions. This, combined with the King's marriage to Henrietta Maria (who was a practicing catholic), Charles's firm belief in divine right and Charles' persisting in surrounding himself with courtiers known to be sympathetic towards Catholicism (such as Gregorio Panzani) lead some people to the conclusion that Popish plots were being created. Durston suggests examples such as parishioners from Nottingham and Somerset being willing to risk serious punishment in order not to rail off their altars to show the resentment that the religious reforms met. Re-introducing the Book of Sports and the punishment of Burton, Basquick and Prynne were also resented. Overall, although it could be suggested that there was a build up of resentment in England during the period 1629-1637 due to issues such as ship money and the religious reformations, this period of personal rule was largely successful. Evidence for this is to be found in Charles managing to fulfil his aims of ruling without parliament, gaining financial independence and imposing uniform on religion in England. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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