The eye of the storm?
Westminster, 1640–42
in Westminster 1640–60
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This chapter examines the experience of the town of Westminster during 1640-42, when it was the stage upon which the national political crisis unfolded. Forms of local opposition to Personal Rule policies, and the highly contested local parliamentary elections, are noted, while particular attention is paid to the ways in which fears of Roman Catholics in the area, partly whipped up by local MPs, helped to heighten political tensions. The chapter also analyzes the complicated ways in which Westminster’s inhabitants, and particularly its trained bands, sought to negotiate the polarizing political situation, demonstrating how Westminster’s trained bands were deployed in different ways by both sides, and how in the aftermath of the King’s flight a number of Westminster inhabitants petitioned parliament assuring it of their support. While this has been presented by historians as a ‘radical’ petition, analysis here demonstrates that it reflected a much broader cross-section of local society, principally motivated by a desire to assure parliament of local support so that it would not relocate to London.

Westminster 1640–60

A royal city in a time of revolution

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