‘Eleven Years Tyranny’

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‘Eleven Years Tyranny’ (1629–40). After the tumultuous end to the 1629 session of Parliament (see Eliot, Sir John) Charles I broke with convention—though not with law—by ruling without Parliament for eleven years. Financial needs were met through prerogative levies, the most notorious of which was ship money, and the prerogative court of Star Chamber supervised the maintenance of order in both state and church. This was hardly a tyranny, for Charles had no police force or standing army to compel obedience. Indeed, despite widespread resentment among the aristocracy and gentry, upon whom royal rule ultimately depended, they never refused to co-operate. In the end, it was Charles's own misjudgement in the Bishops' wars and not popular anger which brought the ‘Eleven Years Tyranny’ to an end.

Roger Lockyer