On This Day - 19th May

Home » Latest News » On This Day - 19th May

The 19th of May 1649 — England became a Commonwealth

It is hard to define the precise moment at which Civil War England became a republic, or Commonwealth as Cromwell and his allies dubbed it.

Beheading Charles I may be rather more than a clue, but even before his execution at Whitehall on January 30 1649 Parliament on January 4 had to decide that power derived from the people — still perhaps a revolutionary principle in British constitutional terms (and where do we get the idea we have never had a revolution by the way?) — thus justifying the trial of the reigning monarch for treason.

After the death of Charles the monarchy was abolished, as was that other anomalous institution The House of Lords. But perhaps the decisive moment was on May 19 1649, when the Rump Parliament passed an act that in stark and formal terms declared England to be a Commonwealth, a momentous step.

Unlike the situation that would apply 140 years later in France, the upper middle classes very much retained their grasp on power in England — the leadership of the far more democratically inclined Levellers was arrested at the end of March, and just five days before the declaration of the Commonwealth the Levellers in the army were hit at Burford . And of course the Rump Parliament was packed with the landowning gentry.

Still, for a brief decade England managed without a monarch, bringing Scotland and Ireland into the republican fold as Cromwell marched on. But the Commonwealth was soon not to his liking, and the land slipped into a Protectorate, for which read dictatorship.

popular recent storiesAlso in the news

Audlem Methodist Church
Mon 17 Jun 6:08am  |  hits: 881

John Wright (Jack) 7th June 2019Suddenly passed away at home aged 65 years. Jack, of Audlem, the loving husband of Sue and much loved dad of Joanna and Nic.Funeral Service at Audlem Methodist Church on Wednesday 26th June 2019 at 2.30pm, followed by a private family burial service at Audlem Cemetery.Family Flowers only please and donations if desired to Cancer Research UK.Any enquiries...

Dod Mess
Sun 16 Jun 6:09am  |  hits: 773

Dog Mess endangering Children's Health on Playing FieldHi,I am a coach with Audlem Saints football club and have to say that it is a real pleasure coaching these local kids, they really are coming on by leaps and bounds and are going from strength to strength.However this season more than most we are having real problems with dog owners letting their pets foul on the sports field. We...

turnpike field
Tue 18 Jun 6:06am  |  hits: 748

Turnpike Field- tree surgeryFollowing on from the recent survey, a contractor has been appointed to carry out the work recommended. Old Vicarage Tree Surgery, are initially planning to be on site Tuesday 18th, Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th June to work on trimming back the trees as identified in last years report.Signs will be placed at the field entrances so as to warn people and during...