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Dismantling prerogative government: The Council in the Marches and the Long Parliament

Bowen, Lloyd ORCID: 2007. Dismantling prerogative government: The Council in the Marches and the Long Parliament. English Historical Review CXXII (499) , pp. 1258-1286. 10.1093/ehr/cem325

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This article re-examines one aspect of the celebrated parliamentary reform programme of 1641-2 which was designed to address Charles I's abuse of his prerogative powers during the Personal Rule. It focuses on the opposition to the Council in the Marches of Wales and revises the traditional picture of an undifferentiated and uniform attack on prerogative government by the Commons. Rather, this essay uncovers a more complex mixture of sectional interest groups coming together to oppose the Council. It reveals how long-standing local grievances in the border shires of western England were swept up and radicalised by common lawyers’ opposition to non-common law jurisdictions. An important context for the assault on the Marcher Council was the prevailing anxiety over tyranny and arbitrary government, something which had been given a sharper edge by the trial of the earl of Strafford, lord president of the Council's sister body in northern England. The article also employs new material to discuss those who struggled to defend the Council, and who marshalled creative legal arguments in an effort to salvage it from the wreckage of the king's prerogative instruments. A powerful coalition brought the Marcher Council to its knees by mid-1642, although it was never formally abolished. The article also utilises a previously unknown draft bill for removing the Council in the Marches, and reveals parliament's plans for undertaking the most sweeping transformation of the legal landscape in Wales and western England since the Acts of Union a century before.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0013-8266
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2022 09:34

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