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Life Under the Later Stuarts

The House of Stuarts was a Royal House of Scotland which later went on to rule the Kingdom of England and still later the Kingdom of Great Britain. This article will look into the lives of what were popularly termed by historians as the Later Stuarts.

James II was the crowned king of England from the years 1685 to 1688. He was the brother of Charles II who ruled England immediately preceding him.

James II was a practicing Catholic and as such sympathized with the Catholics in England. To support the Catholic faith, James II made several attempts to reinstate the rights of the Catholic Church's followers in his country. Unfortunately these attempts were largely unsuccessful at best and had the more serious result of uniting the Whigs and Tories to oppose him.

An illegitimate son of Charles II, who was the designated Duke of Monmouth, started a rebellion in 1685 with the support of a majority of the farmers and labourers of Somerset. Because this rebellious movement was comprised largely of farmers, it became known as the Pitchfork Rebellion. The end of this rebellion was marked by the Battle of Sedgemoor and this battle was widely held to be the last battle fought upon British soil. The farmers and labourers who supported the Duke of Monmouth were subsequently arrested and brought to trial after the war and many of them, numbering in the hundreds were condemned to death.

After the birth of a son to James II, fears about a continuing Catholic monarchy grew in the country and this contributed to a rising wave of dissent against James. The Parliament of England, which was already opposed to James to begin with, openly supported William and Mary of Orange (what is now Holland) in their bid for the English throne and James sought refuge in France. It was while in France that Louis XIV established the Stuart court for James.

William and Mary then presided over the throne of England together from 1689 to 1702. The English Parliament in an effort to prevent the instatement of rulers like James, established the Bill of Rights in 1689, which mandated among other things that Catholics would be prohibited from ruling over England. It was also during this time, in 1694 to be exact, that the Bank of England was established. Its key proponents were a group of merchants who were willing to support the monarchy through the granting of government loans.

After the reign of William and Mary, the second daughter of James II ascended to the throne. Queen Anne ruled over England from 1702 to 1714. Early on in her reign, Queen Anne enjoyed the support and guidance of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough as well as Sarah's husband John Churchill. (Historical note: John Churchill was an ancestor of English statesman Winston Churchill).

Queen Anne had a total of seventeen children, all of who died before her leaving no Stuart successor to the throne. As a result, after Anne's death the throne was passed on to George of Hanover.

Original Authors: Doods Pangburn
Edit Update Authors: RPN
Updated On: 26/02/2007



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