Great Strafford?

C.V. Wedgwood analyses the life, death, and influence of Thomas Wentworth, first earl of Strafford.

‘Great Strafford! worthy of that name though all Of thee could be forgotten, but thy fall...’

So wrote the Royalist poet Sir John Denham who was one of the many spectators of Strafford’s trial in Westminster Hall in 1641. Denham proved a prophet, for Strafford’s trial and execution assured him of far greater fame than he would have gained had he avoided his fate by a timely flight and died in exile of natural causes. Then he would have left only the memory of an energetic, efficient and unpopular administrator. But the last six months of his life made him a memorable and dramatic figure in the conflict between King and Parliament.

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