England, My England

with links to Synopsis and Cast Listthe music used in the film, plus CD notes by Michael WhiteHistorical background - plus chronological timelineComing soon - Biographies of all the main charactersContemporary quotes on people and events in the filmSets and Locations - links to sites used in filmPlease sign my guestbookSources, links and credits

1642    Unrest in England, Scotland and Ireland result in the outbreak of the English Civil War.  Charles I heads the Royalist (Cavaliers) army against the Parliamentarians (Roundheads), who wish to rein in the power of the monarchy, in favour of a more democratic process of government.

1644    Queen Henrietta Maria flees England to reside in exile in France, as the war continues, battles lost and won on both sides.

1645    Oliver Cromwell leads the New Model Army to success over the Royalists.
Charles I
1646    Charles I surrenders to the Roundheads at Oxford and is presented with the Newcastle Propositions, a list of demands for religious reform and surrender of control of the armed forces.  Debate and negotiations continue.

1647    Charles I is imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle.  He agrees to some religious reform demands.

1648    More concessions are rejected by Parliament, and a vote is made to put Charles I on trial.

1649    January sees the trial and beheading of the king.  The Prince of Wales, in exile in The Hague, assumes the title Charles II.  In Edinburgh, he is proclaimed King of Scotland, in his absence.  England is declared a Commonwealth.  Cromwell leads an invasion of Ireland.

1651    Charles is crowned in Scotland, but flees to France following defeat by Cromwell at Worcester.

1653    Cromwell is mde Lord Protector.

1657    Cromwell's power increases, but he refuses to take the title of King.

1658    Oliver Cromwell dissolves Parliament.  Later that year he dies and is succeeded by his son, Richard.

1659    Increasing unrest with rule by the Protectorate results in Richard Cromwell's resignation.  Birth of Henry Purcell.

1660    Parliament invites Charles II to return to England.  The Long Parliament dissolves itself, ready for  the restoration of  monarchical rule, ending the Interregnum.  The first actresses appear on the English stage.  Samuel Pepys begins his diary (ends in 1669).

1661    Coronation of Charles II.  Sir William Davenant opens Lincoln's Inn Theatre, London - the first stage with proscenium arch.  Matthew Locke (1603-77) made Court Composer.

1662    The future Mary II is born, daughter of James, Duke of York.  Charles marries Catherine of Braganza, Portuguese princess.

1663    The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, opens.

1664    British annexe parts of North America, taking control of Dutch territory, renaming New Amsterdam, New York, after James, Duke of York, A scene from the film - the boys of the Chapel Royal are rowed to safetythe King's brother.

1665    The Great Plague of London - between July and October, 68,596 people die.

1666    The Fire of London rages 2-9 February.

1667    A secret treaty is made between Louis XIV and Charles II, against Spain, without Parliament's knowledge.  Rumours about the secret alliance with the French King, fuel popular belief that Charles may be a secret Catholic, creating more religious unrest.

1670     John Dryden is made historiographer royal and poet laureate.

1672    Declaration of Indulgence (withdrawn 1673).  First public concert given at Whitefriars, London, by violinist John Banister (1630-1679).

1673    The Test Act excludes Roman Catholics from taking office in England, part of the many official moves to protect Protestant England from takeover by Catholic countries, and Catholic influences.

1674    Theatre Royal, Drury Lane rebuilt and reopened following the Fire of London.

1675    Charles borrows money from Louis XIV, enabling him to prorogue Parliament for 15 months.  With private finances, Charles could do without Parliament, normally needed to vote for new taxes and funds.  Sir Christopher Wren begins rebuilding St Paul's Cathedral - completed 1710.

1677    Princess Mary marries William of Orange.

1678    Roman Catholics are excluded from both Houses of Parliament, and the importation of all French goods into England is prohibted (until 1685).Harry plays the organ whilst enjoying proceedings below.

1680    Purcell made organist of Westminster Abbey.

1682    The Rye House Plot is discovered.  Plans to assassinate Charles II, are part of a Catholic plot to replace the King with his Catholic brother, James.  Purcell made court composer.

1685    Charles II dies.  With no legitimate offspring, he is succeeded by James II.  The Earl of The execution of the Duke of MonmouthShaftesbury heads a plot to replace James with Charles's eldest illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth.  The Monmouth Rebellion ends in defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor.  The 'Bloody Assizes', headed by Judge Jeffreys, takes action against Monmouth's followers.

1686    Roman Catholics are readmitted to the English army.

1687    Declaration of Indulgence - an act passed for liberty of conscience.  James receives the Papal nuncio.  Nell Gwynne dies.

1688    The Glorious Revolution - seven English lords invite William of Orange to England, to replace James II.  William arrives in Torbay and enters London in December.  After a minimum of defence, James flees to France, dying in exile at Versailles, two years later.  The revolution was dubbed 'glorious' because there was no actual fighting.  After years of uncertainty over the succession, and fears of increasing Catholic influence in state matters, William and Mary were broadly welcomed.Coronation of William III and Mary II

1689    The abdication of James II is confirmed in Parliament.  Before William and Mary are crowned, they sign the Declaration of Rights, giving Parliament more power than previously held under a monarchy. Louis XIV declares war on Britain.  Purcell writes Dido and Aeneas.

1690    The Act of Grace is passed.  War in Ireland, led on the English/Protestant side by William III, with James II leading the Catholic contingent, including help from the French.  Failure and success on both sides, but the Battle of the Boyne is still commemorated by Orangemen to this day. Purcell's The Prophetess, or The History of Diocletian is performed at the Dorset Gardens Theatre.

1691    The Treaty of Limerick brings the Irish rebellion to an end.  Purcell writes King Arthur, or The British Worthy, with a libretto by Dryden.

1692    A French invasion of England is aborted when the English navy destroy the French at La Hague.  Purcell writes The Fairy Queen.

1694    Mary II dies.  Purcell writes the incidental music for Dryden's Love Triumphant and Te Deum for St Cecilia's Day.

1695    William on military campaigns in Holland, against France.  Press censorship by the government is ended in England.  Purcell writes The Indian Queen.  He dies in November.

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Copyright belongs to Deborah Norris, 2001