chapter  4
20 Pages

The Personal Rule of Charles I, 1629–40

The years of 1629-40, where Charles ruled without the aid of Parliament, are most commonly known as the ‘Personal Rule’, although some Whig authors have preferred to refer to it as ‘the Eleven Years Tyranny’. Although such a label might be appropriate if such an event were to occur in modern-day Britain, it’s worth remembering that, in Kevin Sharp’s words: ‘In 1629, Parliament was still an event; it was not an institution.’ Contemporaries would not necessarily have found it strange that Parliament should not meet. It was traditionally called to provide the King with supply, and if such supply was not needed it was not called. Parliament had not met at all between 1614 and 1621, and if one considers that the Addled Parliament lasted only two months and passed no legislation at all, it could be argued that James’s reign effectively witnessed a similar gap of eleven years between Parliaments.