The Short Parliament — England defeated in the Second Bishops' War — The Long Parliament — Impeachment of Strafford and Laud


12 Sir Thomas Wentworth elevated to the position of lord-lieutenant of Ireland and created Earl of Strafford. Source: DNB
  (Mid January) The Estates give additional instructions to the commissioners appointed to go to London. New taxes imposed to pay for preparations for war. TSR
17 John Finch appointed Lord-Keeper of the Great Seal through the influence of Queen Henrietta Maria. ODNB


  (Early February) Ships arrive at Leith with 100 English soldiers, ammunition and other supplies for Edinburgh Castle. Source: TSR
3 Against Strafford's wishes, Sir Henry Vane the elder is appointed Secretary of State. TKP
19 A letter signed by seven Covenanter lords sent to Louis XIII of France requesting his intercession on Scotland's behalf. TSR
20 King Charles receives a delegation of four Scottish commissioners in London. TSR


  (Early March) A copy of the Covenanters' letter to Louis XIII handed to King Charles. Source: TSR
  (Early March) Strafford leaves for Dublin with the King's authority to raise the Irish army with subsidies from the Irish Parliament. TKP
10 Meeting of Covenanter noblemen at Edinburgh alarmed at the strengthening of the castle garrison. Guards are posted to watch developments, leading to a confrontation with Patrick Ruthven the castle governor. TSR
15 William Hamilton, Earl of Lanark, appointed Secretary of State for Scotland through the influence of his brother the Marquis of Hamilton and the Queen. ODNB
16 The Irish Parliament meets in Dublin. Coerced by Lord Strafford, Parliament grants subsidies to recruit an Irish army of 9,000 men to serve the King against Scotland. TKP
31 The Irish Parliament prorogued. Strafford returns to England. ODNB


11 The King orders the arrest of Lord Loudoun and the Scottish commissioners in London. Other signatories of the Covenanters' letter to Louis XIII refuse the King's summons to answer charges in London. Source: TSR
13 The Short Parliament meets. King Charles demands subsidies to continue the war against Scotland but MPs question the legality of the dissolution of the 1629 Parliament and criticise the King for imprisoning MPs who had opposed him. The Covenanters' letter to the King of France ignored by Parliament. TKP, TSR
14 The Convocation of the Church of England meets in London with authority from the King to make new canons to legitimise Laud's ecclesiastical reforms. HCE
16 The Covenanters appeal to the English Parliament emphasising their wish for friendship and closer union between the two kingdoms. Most of the King's opponents in Parliament regard the Covenanters as allies. TSR
  The Estates re-appoint General Leslie commander of the Army of the Covenant. Lord Almond appointed lieutenant-general; William Baillie and Robert Monro major-generals. TSR
17 John Pym attacks the King's policies in a two-hour speech. The House of Commons refuses to grant any money for the Scottish war until civil and ecclesiastical grievances in England are addressed. ODNB, HCJ
22 The Convocation agrees to grant subsidies to the King. HCE
24 The King appeals in person to the House of Lords for support against the Commons. HLJ
25 A conference held between members of the Lords and Commons. The Lords support the King in insisting that money for the wars should be granted before Parliament's grievances are addressed. JHSP
27 The House of Commons protests that the Lords' interference is a breach of privilege. JHSP, TKP


4 Oliver St John moves that Parliament should vote to overturn the judgement on the legality of ship-money. Source: ODNB
5 The Short Parliament dissolved. King Charles prepares to attack Scotland (the Second Bishops' War). TKP
  Strafford negotiates with Spanish ambassadors for a loan from the King of Spain in exchange for English protection for Spanish ships in the Channel en route to the Netherlands. TKP
  The Earl-Marischal William Keith occupies Aberdeen in a show of strength for the Covenanters. TSR
6 The Earl of Warwick, Lord Brooke, Lord Saye, John Pym, John Hampden and Sir Walter Earle arrested; their lodgings in London searched for evidence of correspondence with the Scots. TKP
10 The Mayor and alderman of London refuse to loan money for war against the Scots. TKP
11 Riots in London in protest at the dissolution of Parliament. Lambeth Palace attacked by a crowd of apprentices and others hunting Archbishop Laud. GFEF
12 The Privy Council authorises the Convocation to continue sitting as a Synod (i.e. it is not dependent upon Parliament being in session). HCE
  (Mid-May) Negotiations for a Spanish loan break down under pressure from the Dutch. In desperation, the King permits Henrietta Maria to approach the Pope's emissary on the possibility of a loan from the Vatican. TKP
21 Two of the London rioters brought to trial for treason. One, named Archer, is tortured on the rack in an attempt to discover the ringleaders (the last use of judicial torture in England. GFEF
22 The bishop of Gloucester protests against the new canons agreed by the Convocation. Archbishop Laud orders his imprisonment. HCE
28 Major-General Monro reinforces the Earl-Marischal at Aberdeen and occupies the lands of the Royalist Gordons in north-eastern Scotland. TSR
29 Members of the Convocation subscribe the seventeen new Canons of the Church of England, which include an affirmation of the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings, and the introduction of an oath to be taken by all members of the learned professions in which they swear never wittingly to subvert established doctrine. This oath, known as the "Etcetera Oath", provokes widespread opposition. HCE
  (Late May) Covenanters besiege Edinburgh Castle when Patrick Ruthven refuses their summons to surrender. TSR


1 Covenanter leaders meet to discuss strategy for the forthcoming Parliament in Edinburgh. Source: TSR
2 The Scottish Parliament meets despite the King's order that it should be prorogued for another month. The Committee of Estates appointed to govern Scotland and to prepare for war with England. TSR
  Thomas Benstead, a ringleader of the May riots, hanged, drawn and quartered in London. KCI
12 The Earl of Argyll granted a commission of "fire and sword" against the Royalist clans in the Highlands. TSR
18 The Earl of Argyll musters 4,000 Campbells at Inverary Castle and marches into the Highlands. TSR
  (Late June) Argyll arrests the leaders of the Stewart clan. TSR


  (July) Strafford's Irish army assembles at Carrickfergus in preparation for invading Scotland. Source: TCW
  (July) Violent disorders reported from all parts of England as the troops levied for war against Scotland make their way north. TKP
  (Early July) The Army of the Covenant begins to muster. TSR
  (Early July) Major-General Monro marches north, plundering the lands of the Gordons and other Royalists. TSR
  (Early July) Argyll's forces turn out a garrison placed by Montrose at the House of Airlie to subdue the Royalist Ogilvy clan. The House of Airlie plundered and burnt to the ground. TKP
28 The General Assembly of the Scottish Church convenes in Aberdeen. TSR
  (End of July) The Army of the Covenant encamped at Duns near the English border. TSR


  (August) The Cumbernauld Band signed in secret between the Earl of Montrose, the Earl Marischal and other Scottish noblemen vowing to defend the interests of the King and Covenant against the Earl of Argyll and his supporters. Source: TSR
2 The Earl of Argyll besieges Dumbarton Castle to prevent Strafford's Irish army from landing in Scotland. TSR
3 The Committee of Estates unanimously decides to mount a pre-emptive invasion of England. TSR
  The Earl of Strafford appointed Captain-General of the Irish army which the King still expects to invade Scotland. ODNB
5 The General Assembly of the Scottish Church dissolves itself until July 1641. TSR
20 The Army of the Covenant crosses the Tweed and marches into England. TSR
  King Charles leaves London and sets out for York. TSR
23 The King arrives in York. KCI
26 In failing health, the Earl of Strafford arrives at York. ODNB
27 The Covenanter army reaches the River Tyne. TSR
  Dumbarton Castle surrenders to Argyll. TSR
28 The battle of Newburn; Lord Conway fails to prevent the Covenanters from crossing the River Tyne. The English army abandons Newcastle and withdraws to Durham. TKP
  Twelve English peers sign a petition drafted by John Pym and Oliver St John calling for a new Parliament in England. KCI, GFEF
30 The Covenanters march into Newcastle unopposed. TKP


4 The Covenanters send their demands to King Charles at York. The King agrees to negotiate providing the Scottish army advances no further into England. Source: TSR
7 The King sends out writs calling his peers to a Great Council to be held at York. TKP
13 King Charles confers the Order of the Garter on the Earl of Strafford. TKP
15 Patrick Ruthven surrenders Edinburgh Castle to Argyll. TSR
  (Mid-September) The Scottish army in Northumberland obliged to demand supplies from the local population because of a shortage of supplies from Scotland. TSR
22 A deputation of Londoners arrives at York to petition the King to call a new Parliament. TKP
24 King Charles convenes the Great Council of Peers at York. The peers unanimously advise him to call a truce with the Scots and summon a Parliament. TSR
29 The King gives his instructions to sixteen commissioners appointed to negotiate with the Covenanters. TSR


2 Treaty negotiations begin at Ripon in Yorkshire. Source: TSR
17 The King and peers at York agree to bear the cost of supplying the Scottish army. TSR
26 The Treaty of Ripon signed to end the Bishops' Wars. The Scots occupying Northumberland exact an indemnity of £850 a day until a final settlement is agreed and confirmed by the English Parliament. TSR
22 A London mob breaks into the Court of High Commission and sacks it. TKP


3 The Long Parliament meets. Source: TKP
6 Parliament appoints committees for religion, grievances, trade, privileges and Irish affairs. HCJ
7 MPs from around the country begin to present petitions against various aspects of the King's government. John Pym warns of a Roman Catholic design to alter the fundamental laws and religion of England. KCI, ODNB
  Parliament approves petitions for the release of Henry Burton and John Bastwick. HCJ
9 Parliament approves a petition for the release of William Prynne. HCJ
  Oliver Cromwell presents a petition for the release of John Lilburne. HCJ
10 At the King's request, the Earl of Strafford arrives in London. TKP
  George Digby, MP for Dorset, proposes that a remonstrance against the government should be presented to the King. ODNB
  Scottish commissioners arrive in London to negotiate the finalisation of the Treaty of Ripon. They are welcomed by London Puritans. TSR
11 The impeachment of the Earl of Strafford begins with an accusation by Sir John Clotworthy that Strafford had urged the King to use an Irish army against England. The charge is presented in the House of Lords and Strafford arrested. TKP, HCJ
13 John Lilburne released from the Fleet prison. ODNB
19 The Scottish commissioners in London hold their first meeting with their English counterparts. The Scots refuse to negotiate with the King in attendance and he is obliged to stay away from future meetings. TSR
25 Strafford imprisoned in the Tower. TKP
28 Released from prison and exile, William Prynne and Henry Burton arrive in London to great popular rejoicing. KCI


3 The King agrees to ratify the Acts passed by the Scottish Parliament of June 1640. Source: TSR
  Death of Sir Christopher Wandesford, Strafford's vice-deputy in Ireland. Sir William Parsons and Lord Dillon appointed Lord-Justices to govern Ireland, but the Westminster Parliament objects to the appointment of Dillon and he is replaced by Sir John Borlase. ODNB
4 John Bastwick returns to London from imprisonment in Cornwall. KCI, ODNB
7 The House of Commons declares ship-money to be an illegal tax. TKP
10 Fearing persecution for his association with Catholicism, the King's Secretary of State Francis Windebank flees the country. KCI
11 London alderman Isaac Penington presents the Root and Branch Petition in Parliament, calling for overall reform of the Church and the abolition of episcopacy. TKP
18 Impeachment by the House of Commons of Archbishop Laud for high treason. TKP
21 Impeachment of Lord Keeper Finch and other judges who had upheld ship-money. Finch flees abroad. TKP
30 The Scottish commissioners agree to drop their demand that "Incendiaries" who had caused the recent wars should be liable to punishment by the Parliaments of England and Scotland. TSR


DNB: Dictionary of National Biography

GFEF: God's Fury, England's Fire, Michael Braddick (London 2008)

HCJ: House of Commons Journal

HLJ: House of Lords Journal

HCE: History of the Church of England, from the death of Elizabeth to the present time, vol.i, Rev. G.G. Perry (London 1861)

JHSP: John Hampden in the Short Parliament, Paul Hooper, (Archives)

KCI: King Charles I, Pauline Gregg (Berkeley 1984)

ODNB: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

TCW: The Civil Wars, a military history of England, Scotland & Ireland 1638-60, Kenyon and Ohlmeyer (eds) (Oxford 1998)

TSR: The Scottish Revolution 1637-44, David Stevenson (Newton Abbott 1973)

TKP: The King's Peace 1637-41, C.V. Wedgwood (London 1955)

< 1639 1641 >