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Starts the English Civil War?
- William Laud was the son of a Reading clothier.
He was born over his father’s shop in Broad
Street in Elizabethan times. His uncle was the Lord Mayor of
He studied at the Reading School (in
the old Abbey guesthouse) and then at
- He got a job in charge of one of the university colleges and then
became a bishop. He had very strong ideas about how the Church of
England should be run. He was anti-Puritan and some people thought
he was a secret Roman Catholic.
- He was good friends with King Charles I, who eventually made him
Archbishop of Canterbury. This meant he was in charge of the Church
- William could now make all the church rules the way he wanted
them. He arrested many puritans. He made lots of enemies.
- He still had some friends. He would visit Sir Francis Windebank at
Haines Hill in Hurst and preached in the church.
- The Church of Scotland was different from England. It was a
‘presbyterian’ church. This meant that all the church members
were equal. There was no single person in charge and they had no
- William Laud tried to make the Scots accept bishops to run their
church. They were not happy. They started the ‘Bishops’ Wars’
against the English.
- King Charles was trying to rule Britain without Parliament; but
the war made him short of money. Eventually he asked them to meet,
so they could pay his bills.
When the ‘Long Parliament’ met in 1640, they had Laud arrested.
They blamed him for the war. The King was not happy.
- This was just one of many things that led King Charles to start
the English Civil War. During the war,
Parliament tried Laud and had his head cut off!