1601 – 1714 Blow up the King; watch the Fire!

Jane the Baker

Jane worked in a chocolate house before becoming homeless after the Great Fire of London.

Although there are many possible topics for the Stuart period two in particular are popular as they also relate to the National Curriculum’s topics ‘famous events’ and ‘famous people’.

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Historical Context

The Stuart period begins with the Union of Scotland and England as James VI of Scotland inherits the English throne. The religious controversy of the Tudors carries over to the new era as demonstrated in 1604 when Guido Fawkes (a.k.a. Guy Fawkes) is arrested as part of a plot to assassinate King James I.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
the Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent to blow up King and Parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below to prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s mercy he was catch’d with a dark lantern and lighted match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!

Religious tensions continue, resulting in a civil war, establishment of a commonwealth, dissolution of the commonwealth and restoration the monarchy. Just when everything is sorted The Plague ravages the country. This is followed a year later by the Great Fire of London.

“the light seen above 40 miles round about for many nights”
John Evelynn, 1666

By 1688 political and religious tensions have again reached a peak. James II is removed from the throne, Mary his daughter and her husband William of Orange are instated with Parliament given the higher power.