1685 – 1688 James II – Loxwood during the Restoration

Introduction

James was a Stuart king of England, Scotland and Ireland who in 1688 was overthrown in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ by William III.

This did not impede his succession to the throne on Charles’ death in 1685.

Later that year James faced rebellion, led by Charles II’s illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth. The rebellion was easily crushed after the battle of Sedgemoor in 1685, and savage punishments were imposed by the infamous lord chief justice, Judge Jeffreys, at the ‘Bloody Assizes’.

This, together with James’s attempts to give civic equality to Roman Catholic and Protestant dissenters, led to conflict with parliament. In 1685, James prorogued it and ruled alone. He attempted to promote Catholicism by appointing Catholics to military, political and academic posts. In 1687, he issued a Declaration of Indulgence aiming at complete religious toleration and instructed Anglican clergy to read it from their pulpits.

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Timeline

1685

Charles II died and James II accended to the throne.

Denis Papin, a French scientist working in England, demonstrated a pressure cooker fitted with a safety valve.

1687

Newton published Principia Mathematica, which proved gravity was a constant in all physical systems.

1688

James II had married Mary of Modena, a Catholic, in 1673 and the birth of a son to the royal couple in 1688 provoked popular outrage. Their son was named James Francis Edward, many of James II’s opponents, furious that their Catholic king now had a male heir, denounced the infant as an imposter, and claimed that the baby had been smuggled into the queen’s bedroom in a warming-pan.

William of Orange, Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, was implored by Protestant conspirators to ‘deliver’ them from the Catholic James II. William, who had a legitimate claim to the throne through his grandfather, Charles I, raised an army in the Netherlands and transported it across the English Channel to Devon. As nobles and officers defected to William, James II lost his nerve and eventually fled abroad, leaving William free to take the crown.

 

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