Thursday, 30 January 2014

King and..... Martyr?

I think it's generally known we at the Beaker Folk prefer Charles II over the his dad. An impetuous bloke with an over-high opinion of his own office, Charles I. Whereas Charles II was racy and exciting, and interested in the snails at Stonehenge, and climbed trees.

But still, on this day at the Banqueting House in Whitehall, Charles I lost his throne, his crown and his head at the end of the most vicious of all our wars. And that fun-killing, self-important-yet-ever-so-humble, Irish-murdering, maypole-axing, joy-hating, Christmas-banning, arrogant, throne-grabbing ratbag, Oliver Cromwell became king in all but name. And in his purge of Parliament a bunch of useless yes-men, the man whose statue is outside Parliament achieved a massive reduction in democracy - such as that tender shoot was. Why on earth is he there? He should be dragged down and thrown in the Thames.

Today, to mark a man whose most impressive action in this world was the way he left it, we're going to be dragging the grubby regicide who succeeded him in effigy around the Moot House, before leaving him on a gibbet as a warning to all power-hungry wannabe Puritan tyrants. And putting up a maypole. And lighting some candles in front of some saints. He'd hate that.


  1. Celebrating Charles 1st as King and Martyr ignores his actions which tried to convert England (via his Catholic wife) back to a faith, which at the time was discredited by it's own actions.

    He still lived in the delusion that he was anointed by God as King, which made him omnipotent - which did nothing for his people and his denial of the established democratic parliament was his down fall.

    While removing his bonce was a bit drastic, banishing wouldn't have worked and imprisoning him would have made him a focus for ongoing problems with plots (a bit like his Grand Mother, Mary Queen of Scots) so, silencing him permanently was the only viable option.

    Ollie Cromwell was quite a humourless bloke, but in some ways his actions allowed parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarch to become the norm, and the fact that it's survived for 400 years or so speaks for itself.

    And you mention of Charles 2nd's proclivities towards the fun end of the market, ignore the good stuff he did to bring the CofE in line, updating the prayer book and instituting a golden age of nothing happening for generations. He should be thanked for that.

  2. I'm surprised to read so much hate here. King Charles started a war on his own people and their elected representatives. He was a bit like the Bashar Assad of his day. Cromwell did what he needed to do to defend democracy, human rights and freedom of religion. Of course he wasn't perfect, and eventually let power go to his head. But he certainly wasn't evil personified as you try to make him out. Thank God that the restored Stuart tyrants lasted less than 30 years and we then got a more or less freedom loving constitutional monarchy.

    1. I reckon a quarter of a million dead or deported Irish Catholics was some power-trip.

      And those elected representatives were elected only by landowners, and represented only their own class.

  3. After commenting here I read the God and Politics in the UK post Is open political debate the final Christian taboo?, in which Gillan wonders why Anglicans tend to vote Tory, and non-conformists Lib Dem. I blame the Kings Charles. After all the Church of England as we know it, 1662 and all that, is largely their legacy, and the Tory party started as those who wanted to preserve and restore the Stuarts - whereas the non-conformists persecuted by the Stuarts always supported the Whigs, ancestors of the Lib Dems. As we see from this thread, the English Civil War is still a hot issue today, and positions on it probably correlate well with both political and religious divisions. (Yes, this discussion ignores the Roman Catholics, originally Tory leaning, but then most of them in Britain today are descended from post-Civil War Irish immigrants.)

  4. To be fair to Oliver C & his lot, they did allow Charles I to take his pet dog for a farewell walk in Hyde Park before the chop. - I learned that from Simon Parke.

  5. Before Dunbar Cromwell asked the elders of the Scottish kirk if they would not consider 'in the bowels of Christ' if it were possible that they had been mistaken in their views..not the act of a tyrant.


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