It is a question thousands of examinees have had to answer over the centuries: what was the cause of the English Civil War? Marxists, rewriting history with their customary abandon, depict it in nakedly class terms: the Commons, on behalf of the people of England, rose up against a weak but absolutist King who, supported by an effete aristocracy, was no match for popular force and sentiment. This is the contention that John Adamson, in this immensely scholarly and beautifully written book, sets out to disprove: and, without doubt, he succeeds.
Adamson has trawled every imaginable archive to reconstruct the events between May 1640 and January 1642 that led, inevitably, to the confrontation between the King and Parliament. The story begins with the Scottish covenanters’ invasion of England, alarmed at their absentee King’s drift towards popery. There were many in England