"Into Another Mould": Aspects of the Interregnum

By Ivan Roots | Go to book overview

2
Religion, Politics and Welshness,
1649–1660

Stephen Roberts

A recent theme in treatments of the English Revolution of the 1640s and 1650s has been the emphasis on what is sometimes called the ‘British dimension’. Professor Ivan Roots in this volume explores the relationship between constituent parts of Britain, and Professor Russell has in two major books constructed a view of the English Civil War as essentially a British war, produced by a crisis of government and a loss of confidence in Charles I by his subjects in the three kingdoms.1 Wales is conspicuously absent from these discussions. The reason for this is not hard to find: Wales after the 1530s was not a kingdom. In 1603 there had been a union of crowns between Scotland and England, in which Scottish identities were recognised as separate and continuing. Ireland, too, was another kingdom, with the King of England at its head. Under the Instrument of Government of 1653, the paper constitution forming the foundation of the Cromwellian Protectorate, there was a de facto union of England with Scotland and Ireland. There was to be one parliament, with Irish and Scottish representation, but separate administrations for the two Celtic countries persisted.2 The aim of this chapter is to suggest ways in which Wales and the identity of the Welsh were affected by wider developments in the British nations, and by events in England in particular, and to show how the 1650s in this respect, as in so many others, produced new ideas and perceptions. How was ‘Welshness’ affected by the experience of the Commonwealth and Protectorate?

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