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Starts the English Civil War? 

Archbishop Laud from Reading - © Nash Ford Publishing


  • William Laud was the son of a Reading clothier. He was born over his father’s shop in Broad Street in Elizabethan times. His uncle was the Lord Mayor of London.
    He studied at the Reading School (in the old Abbey guesthouse) and then at Oxford University. 
  • He got a job in charge of one of the university colleges and then became a bishop. He had very strong ideas about how the Church of England should be run. He was anti-Puritan and some people thought he was a secret Roman Catholic.
  • He was good friends with King Charles I, who eventually made him Archbishop of Canterbury. This meant he was in charge of the Church of England.
  • William could now make all the church rules the way he wanted them. He arrested many puritans. He made lots of enemies.
  • He still had some friends. He would visit Sir Francis Windebank at Haines Hill in Hurst and preached in the church.
  • The Church of Scotland was different from England. It was a ‘presbyterian’ church. This meant that all the church members were equal. There was no single person in charge and they had no bishops.
  • William Laud tried to make the Scots accept bishops to run their church. They were not happy. They started the ‘Bishops’ Wars’ against the English. 
  • King Charles was trying to rule Britain without Parliament; but the war made him short of money. Eventually he asked them to meet, so they could pay his bills.
    When the ‘Long Parliament’ met in 1640, they had Laud arrested. They blamed him for the war. The King was not happy.
  • This was just one of many things that led King Charles to start the English Civil War. During the war, Parliament tried Laud and had his head cut off!


    © Nash Ford Publishing 2015. All Rights Reserved.