Trial and execution of Strafford — Imprisonment of Laud — The Triennial Act — The Irish Uprising — The Grand Remonstrance

January

20 John Pym presents the list of charges against the Earl of Strafford in the House of Commons. Source: DNB
  The House of Commons passes the Triennial Bill, obliging the monarch to call a new Parliament within three years of ending the old. TKP, HCJ
23 Lord Littleton appointed keeper of the Great Seal. DBD
  The House of Commons passes an order for the destruction of superstitious religious images. HCJ
29 Oliver St John appointed solicitor-general. ODNB
30 Strafford brought before the House of Lords to hear the charges against him. TKP
 

February

  (Early February) Rory O'More and Lord Conor Maguire begin plotting against the Protestant government of Ireland. Source: CCW
5 The House of Lords passes the Triennial Bill. KCI, HLJ
10 Swearing-in of the lord justices Sir William Parsons and Sir John Borlase, who assume responsibility for the government of Ireland. ODNB
11 Sir Walter Earle draws attention to the danger to Parliament from Strafford's Irish army. DNB
13 The House of Commons petitions for the disbandment of Strafford's Irish army. DNB
15 The King reluctantly gives his assent to the Triennial Bill, ensuring a parliamentary sitting of at least 50 days every three years. KCI
19 King Charles appoints seven opposition leaders in the House of Lords to the privy council, hoping to win their support for the Earl of Strafford: Bristol, Bedford, Essex, Hertford, Saye, Mandeville and Savile. KCI
24 The Commons votes fourteen articles of impeachment against Archbishop Laud. ODNB
  Strafford reads his answer to the charges against him at the bar of the House of Lords. DNB
  The King angered at a private declaration in which the Scottish commissioners denounce episcopacy in the English church. TSR
 

March

1 Archbishop Laud imprisoned in the Tower. Source: ODNB
22 The trial of the Earl of Strafford opens at Westminster Hall. TKP
23 John Pym states the case against Strafford. DNB
 

April

5 Sir Henry Vane the elder gives evidence against Strafford, claiming that he advised the King to use the Irish army against his opponents in England. Strafford's defence against the accusations gains support amongst the Lords. Source: DNB
7 In view of Strafford's successful defence, Pym tries to present new charges against him. DNB
8 The Commons resolves to produce private state papers copied by Sir Henry Vane the younger as evidence against Strafford. DNB
10 The Lords rule in Strafford's favour in a dispute over his right to produce fresh evidence in reply to the new charges against him. The House of Commons supports a proposal by Sir Arthur Hesilrige to proceed with a bill of attainder against Strafford. DNB, KCI
13 Strafford makes a final speech in his defence in which he eloquently demonstrates that all his actions had been in accordance with law and tradition. KCI
19 The House of Commons declares Strafford to be a traitor. DNB
21 The Commons passes the attainder against Strafford by 204 votes to 59. DNB
 

May

1 The King appeals to the House of Lords not to condemn Strafford. Source: DNB
2 Captain Billingsley and a force of soldiers attempt to enter the Tower of London with orders from the King to release Strafford. The lieutenant of the Tower, Sir William Balfour, refuses them admission. The House of Lords orders the strengthening of the Tower garrison by the addition of 500 militiamen. DNB
3 The House of Commons draws up the Protestation Oath against popery. HCJ
3-4 Demonstrations at Westminster against Strafford. DNB
5 John Pym reveals details of the "Army Plot", an alleged conspiracy by Royalist officers to bring the northern army to London to use force against Parliament while Colonel Goring seized Portsmouth to receive an army from France. DNB
6 Henry Jermyn, Sir John Suckling and others involved in the Army Plot flee to France. KCI
7 The House of Lords passes the bill of attainder against Strafford by 26 votes to 19. DNB, KCI
10 After anguished hesitation, King Charles gives his assent to the bill of attainder against Strafford. DNB
  The King agrees to a bill taking from him the right to dissolve Parliament without its own consent. DNB
11 The King sends the Prince of Wales to the House of Lords to appeal for mercy on Strafford. TKP
12 Strafford beheaded on Tower Hill before a jubilant crowd. KCI
18 King Charles announces his intention to visit Scotland to conclude a final peace treaty with the Covenanters.
27 Oliver St John's bill for the abolition of episcopacy proposed in the House of Commons by Sir Edward Dering. ODNB
 

June

1 Publication of George Digby's speech against the attainder of Lord Strafford in an attempt to rally support for the King. Source: ODNB
9 Digby raised to the peerage as Baron Digby of Sherborne to rescue him from the anger of the Commons. ODNB
11 The Committee of Estates orders the arrest of the Earl of Montrose and other Royalist sympathisers for alleged slanders against the Earl of Argyll. TSR
22 The King gives his assent to a bill to abolish tonnage and poundage. KCI
25 The King obliged by Parliament to dismiss the papal envoy Count Rossetti from court. KCI
 

July

5 Parliament abolishes the courts of High Commission and Star Chamber; the Council of Wales and the North abolished; powers of the Privy Council suppressed. Source: KCI
13 Parliament orders Digby's speech against the attainder of Strafford to be publicly burnt by the hangman. ODNB
  The Scottish Parliament assembles at Edinburgh and rejects the King's order that it be prorogued for another month. TSR
16 Five "Incendiaries" denounced in the Scottish Parliament for causing friction between Scotland and the the King: Lord Traquair, Sir John Hay, Sir Robert Spottiswood, Walter Balcanquhal and the Bishop of Ross. TSR
19 The Scottish Parliament agrees rules and procedures for regulating its meetings. TSR
21-3 John Stewart stands trial in Edinburgh for spreading rumours that the Earl of Argyll intended to depose the King. TSR
24 The Scottish Parliament approves the draft of the treaty negotiated in London. TSR
28 Execution of John Stewart. TSR
  (End of July) The King appoints the Earl of Essex lord chamberlain in an attempt to gain his support. ODNB
 

August

  (Early August) Impeachment of thirteen bishops who had countenanced the sitting of Convocation after the dissolution of the Short Parliament. Source: TKP
7 The Westminster Parliament annuls all ship-money proceedings. KCI
9 The King appoints the Earl of Essex commander of all forces south of the River Trent for the duration of his journey to Scotland. ODNB
10 King Charles signs the Treaty of London with the Scottish commissioners. He then leaves London for Scotland, hoping to come to terms with the Covenanters. TSR
  The Westminster Parliament declares knighthood fines illegal. KCI
14 The King arrives in Edinburgh. TSR
17 King Charles ceremonially enters the Scottish Parliament House. He declares that his intention is to clear up all misunderstandings between himself and his Scottish subjects. TSR
21 The Army of the Covenant leaves Newcastle and marches back to Scotland. TSR
26 The Scottish Parliament ratifies the Treaty of London. TSR
27 The Army of the Covenant disbands at Leith. Three regiments remain in arms. TSR
28 King Charles ratifies all legislation recently passed in the Scottish Parliament. TKP
 

September

1 The House of Commons passes a resolution for the destruction of altar rails, crucifixes and other 'innovations' introduced under the Laudian reforms. Source: HCJ
8 The Westminster Parliament adjourns, passing its business to a committee which includes many critics of the King. KCI
16 King Charles concedes that he will consult the Scottish Parliament over the appointment of government officials in Scotland. TSR
30 The Earl of Loudoun appointed lord chancellor of Scotland. TSR
 

October

5 Sir Phelim O'Neill, Lord Maguire and other conspirators finalise plans for the Irish Uprising. Source: CCW
11 Colonel Hurry, Lieutenant-Colonel Home and Captain Stewart inform General Leslie of a Royalist conspiracy against leading Scottish nobles. TSR
12 The Marquis of Argyll, the Marquis of Hamilton and the Earl of Lanark flee from Edinburgh on learning of the plot against them. King Charles comes to the Parliament House to declare his innocence of involvement in the conspiracy but he is widely perceived as supporting it. TSR
20 The Westminster Parliament re-assembles. TKP
21 The King reluctantly agrees to allow an investigation into the plot against Argyll, Hamilton and Lanark. The conspiracy is known as "The Incident". TSR
22 The Irish uprising breaks out in Ulster: Sir Phelim O'Neill and his followers seize Dungannon and Charlemont Fort. TCW, CCW
23 The plot to seize Dublin Castle betrayed; Lord Conor Maguire and Hugh MacMahon arrested. CCW
24 Sir Phelim O'Neill issues a proclamation declaring that he and his associates have taken up arms only for the defence and liberty of themselves and the native Irish; the insurgency is in no way directed to the harm either of the King or any of his subjects, English or Scottish. ODNB
26 Armagh captured by Irish insurgents. TCW
28 King Charles appeals to the Scottish Parliament for an army to crush the Irish uprising. The Covenanters mistrust the King's motives and insist on obtaining the consent of the English Parliament before intervening. TSR
31 Dundalk captured by Irish insurgents. CCW
 

November

  (November) Protestant settlers at Portadown massacred by Irish insurgents. Source: TCW
1 News of the Irish uprising reaches London. TKP
2 Sir Charles Coote appointed governor of Dublin. HACD
4 At Newry, Sir Phelim O'Neill publishes a forged commission purporting to come from the King authorising the Irish to rise in defence of their liberties against Parliament. TCW
  Sir Henry Tichborne reinforces the garrison at Drogheda against the insurgents. ODNB
5 John Pym proposes that Parliament should only co-operate in suppressing the Irish rebellion if the King appoints advisers approved by Parliament. TKP
6 Oliver Cromwell proposes that the Earl of Essex takes command of all armed forces in southern England, answerable to Parliament. ODNB
8 John Pym brings the Grand Remonstrance before the House of Commons.
  Sir Phelim O'Neill's initial attack on Lisburn repulsed. CCW
9 At a conference with the House of Lords, Pym claims that the Irish uprising is the result of a popish conspiracy and implies that the conspiracy was favoured by some who are close to the King. ODNB
11 The King appoints the Earl of Ormond Lieutenant-General in Ireland. TCW
12 The Westminster Parliament votes to send troops to Ireland without consulting the King. TKW
13 The King agrees to remove a number of Royalist nobles from the Scottish Privy Council and replace them with Covenanters. Four committees appointed to govern Scotland after the dissolution of Parliament; they are almost entirely dominated by Covenanters. The King ennobles a number of leading Covenanters in an attempt to gain their support. TSR
15 Denzil Holles proposes the mobilisation of all Trained Bands and that the Earl of Essex should take command. ODNB
  Insurgents capture Lurgan in Armagh. The town of Dromore burnt. DNB
16 Sir Robert Stewart commissioned to raise an army to defend Donegal and north-west Ulster (the Lagan Army). ODNB
17 The King dissolves the Scottish Parliament. TSR
18 The King sets out for England. TKW
19 Colonel Goring, governor of Portsmouth, appears before the House of Commons to answer accusations of disloyalty. He convinces the House of his loyalty. HCJ
21 Irish insurgents besiege Drogheda. TCW
22 The Grand Remonstrance carried by 159 votes to 148, affirming Parliament's belief in a long-standing conspiracy amongst the King's advisers to overthrow the Protestant constitution, and requesting that the King appoints no-one to high office without their approval. TKP
  Second attack on Lisburn repulsed. CCW
25 King Charles returns to London. TKW
28 Sir Phelim O'Neill's forces driven back from Lisburn. DNB
29 Insurgents led by Rory O'More defeat government troops sent to relieve the siege of Drogheda at Julianstown in County Meath to secure the southern approach to Drogheda. CCW
  The Westminster Trained Bands called out to clear unruly apprentices from the vicinity of Parliament. TKW
30 Publication of The Heads of Several Proceedings in this Present Parliament — the first weekly public newsbook. This was soon followed by several others and marks the beginning of the English press. TKW
  (End of November) Sir Charles Coote garrisons Newcastle in County Wicklow and relieves the siege of Wicklow Castle. TCW
 

December

  (December) The Irish Uprising spreads to Counties Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo, Kilkenny and Tipperary. Source: TCW
  (Early December) Negotiations between the Ulster Irish and "Old English" noblemen of the Pale held at Knockcrofty and Hill of Tara. TCW
1 The Grand Remonstrance presented to King Charles at Hampton Court. TKW
  Sir Charles Coote skirmishes with insurgents at Kilcoolie in County Wicklow before returning to Dublin. TCW
7 First reading of the Militia Bill passed by 158 votes to 125; all military and naval appointments to be controlled by Parliament. TKW
9 MPs Wilmot, Ashburnham and Pollard expelled from Parliament for complicity in the Army Plot. TKW
10 The "London Petition" with around 15,000 signatures for the exclusion of Bishops and Catholics from the House of Lords presented at Whitehall. TKW
  The Earls of Lothian and Lindsay begin negotiations in London for sending a Scottish army to Ireland. TSR
14 The King appeals in the House of Lords for an end to unnecessary disputes until the situation in Ireland is resolved. He makes no mention of the Grand Remonstrance and will only assent to the Militia Bill if his prerogative rights are safeguarded. TKW
15 William Purefoy proposes that the Grand Remonstrance be printed and circulated. The proposal carried by almost 100 votes. TKW
20 Irish insurgents assault Drogheda in the expectation that Catholic citizens would seize the town, but the plan fails when all Catholics are ordered to stay indoors on pain of death. CCW
21 A number of Royalists replaced by Puritans in elections to the Common Council of London. TKW
22 The King dismisses Sir William Balfour from the lieutenancy of the Tower of London, and appoints the notorious Colonel Thomas Lunsford in his place — causing alarm amongst the King's opponents and even amongst his more moderate supporters. ODNB
23 The King presents a reasoned and conciliatory reply to the Grand Remonstrance. Drafted by Edward Hyde, the King's reply is calculated to strengthen patriotic loyalty amongst MPs. TKW
  The Lord Justices commission eight clergymen headed by Henry Jones to record the losses of those dispossessed by the Irish rebels. 1641D
26 The King replaces Colonel Lunsford with Sir John Byron as Lieutenant of the Tower. Lunsford remains in favour with the King and heads an unofficial royal guard at Whitehall. TKW
27-29 Riots at Westminster against bishops and papists. Lunsford's troops twice disperse rioting apprentices at sword point. TKW
30 John Williams, Archbishop of York, draws up a protest against the exclusion of bishops from the House of Lords. The Commons demand the impeachment of all the bishops who had signed the protest; twelve bishops arrested and imprisoned. TKW
  Sir Simon Harcourt arrives in Dublin at the head of an army of 1,100 foot raised by Parliament from voluntary subscriptions. TCW
  The first depositions taken from dispossessed Protestant settlers in counties Cavan and Fermanagh. 1641D
  (End of December) Viscount Mountgarrett assumes command of Irish rebel forces in County Kilkenny. ODNB
 

Sources:

1641D: 1641 Depositions website, www.1641.tcd.ie

CCW: Confederate Catholics at War 1641-49, Pádraig Lenihan (Cork 2001)

DBD: The English Civil War Day By Day, Wilfrid Emberton (Stroud 1995)

DNB: Dictionary of National Biography

HACD: History and Antiquities of the City of Dublin by Walter Harris (Dublin 1766) www.chaptersofdublin.com [no longer available]

HCJ: House of Commons Journal www.british-history.ac.uk

HLJ: House of Lords Journal www.british-history.ac.uk

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)

TKW: The King's War 1641-47, C.V. Wedgwood (London 1958)

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