Charles I, king of Scotland, England and Ireland
Author: Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists   -   Wednesday April 12, 2017
March 10th 1629, Charles I, king of Scotland, England and Ireland, dissolved the English parliament and began the eleventh year period known today as the personal rule. The king was entitled to do this because of his royal prerogative. At the time parliament did not meet regularly and was usually summoned only when the king needed additional revenue, usually for military purposes. 


England was among one of the least taxed countries in Europe at the time. However, if funds were needed Charles could not raise them without parliament. Therefore, the government resorted to reviving old taxation measures which had not been used in decades or even centuries. Some dated back to the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). The revival of many of these measures tended to affect the aristocracy most. The king also found more revenue through the selling of monopolies to various companies. This ended price competition on some items and led to higher prices. While certain groups were not happy with the king’s methods, on the whole taxation was kept at a low level for the great majority of the English people. These practices along with the king’s cost cutting measures kept things functions fairly well and the country prospered. As long as England was not involved in any military conflicts.


This all came to an abrupt end when the Scottish Revolt, also know as The Bishops Wars, broke out in the north in 1637. Charles lacked the funds to pursue a conflict with Scotland and thus needed to call parliament to find the funds necessary. In 1640 parliament was summoned, but numerous grievances had developed over the years and erupted in the House of Commons. Charles quickly lost control over the institution. By 1642 parliament had turned against the king and the English joined the Scots in a revolution which would eventually cost Charles his kingdoms and his life.
Below is a gold medallion of Charles I iisued in 1639. It was made by Nicholas Briot (who was also employed as an engraver at both the Edinburgh and London mints). The obverse reads: 1639 (in very small letters) CAROLVS I DG MAG BRITANN FRAN ET HIB REX around a right facing bust of the king wearing the St. George of the Order of the Garter held by a ribbon around his neck. The reverse has the legend NEC META MIHI QVÆ TERMINVS ORBI (Nor is a limit to me that which is a boundary to the world) around a warship sailing to the right. This medal was to imply that Charles had rule over all the seas. But, in lieu of how much he had to cut English defences to balance the budget such a claim was hollow.

Further Reading:
E. Hawkins, A.W. Franks and H.A. Grueber, Medallic Illustrations of the History of Great Britain and Ireland to the Death of George II, 2 vols [text] (London, 1885).
E. Hawkins, A.W. Franks and H.A. Grueber, Medallic Illustrations of the History of Great Britain and Ireland to the Death of George II, 19 vols [plates] (London, 1904-1911).
J. Peacock, ‘The visual image of Charles I,’ in The Royal Image. Representations of Charles I, ed. T.N. Corns (Cambridge, 1999), pp.176-238.
J.J. Platt and A.K. Platt, The English Civil Wars: Medals, Historical Commentary and Personalities, 2 vols. (London, 2013).
K. Sharpe, The Personal Rule of Charles I (London, 1992).
Image Wars: Promoting Kings and Commonwealth in England 1603-1660 (London, 2010).

 
 
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