A Cavalier Defence

Decadent, effeminate, outdated, the image of the Cavalier remains that of his enemies, victorious in the Civil Wars. John Stubbs offers a rather more complex corrective view.

In May 1641 Sir John Suckling (1609-42), ‘a great gamester’, fled London on a charge of treason. He was wanted by Parliament for his part in a plot to seize the city for the beleaguered king. Charles I’s struggle with his reformist opponents at Westminster was entering its second year and his position seemed increasingly hopeless. Suckling had been at the centre of a plot to bring the English army, which was scattered and depressed after a catastrophic showing against Scottish rebels at Newcastle, south to the capital. There loyalists would see to the release of Charles’ condemned chief minister, Strafford, and put the upstarts in Parliament back in their place.

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