This Blessed Plot

The Irish Rebellion of 1641 offered an opportunity for the ambitions of a well-connected group of Puritan politicians and businessmen. The result was civil war.

England’s Ark Secured and the Enemies to the Parliament and Kingdom Overwhelmed, engraving, 1645-46 © Bridgeman Images.

Charles I forced his way into the House of Commons on 5 January 1642 with an armed escort and attempted to arrest five MPs and a peer for making treasonable charges against the queen, Henrietta Maria. The raid did not come as a complete surprise and Charles’ targets had time to flee onto riverboats on the Thames before melting into the London crowds. Unnerved and fearful of arrest, the remaining MPs put Parliament into recess and Westminster appeared to close down completely for a few days.

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