The Apprentices’ Parliament of 1647

Steven R. Smith describes the Apprentices’ part in the political struggles that followed the King’s defeat in the Civil War.

Mass petitions, street demonstrations, riots, and tumults in London played an important role in the Puritan Revolution, and the apprentices of London, young men in their teens and early twenties, drawn from all over England and from every social strata, took a leading role in much of the political activity of the era. Like youth of the twentieth century, the apprentices were involved in local and national politics, often following adult leadership, but they also had interests and grievances of their own.

An example of this dual interest and of the power of the apprentices occurred during the summer of 1647 when the young men forced Parliament to reverse itself on an important issue, purged some Members, drove both Speakers from London, and, in the process, secured for themselves a monthly holiday. The purged Parliament of July 26th-August 6th was known to contemporaries as the ‘Apprentices’ Parliament’ and marked the highwater of the apprentices’ politics.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.