The Parliament of 1626

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Date of writs of election: 26 Dec. 16251

Session dates:

6 Feb. 16262

8 Feb.-5 Apr. 1626 (adjourned for Easter)3

13 Apr.-17 May 1626 (adjourned for Ascension Day)4

19 May-25 May 1626 (adjourned for Whitsun)5

1 June-15 June 1626 (dissolved)6

Despite the refusal of the 1625 Parliament to vote more than two subsidies, Charles and Buckingham pressed on with their war preparations, as they now had at their disposal the £120,000 paid by France for Henrietta Maria’s dowry. In October 1625 ten thousand English troops led by the veteran soldier Sir Edward Cecil and accompanied by an Anglo-Dutch fleet descended on the Spanish port of Cadiz, but although the town was largely undefended Cecil failed to exploit the element of surprise, and by the time he landed his army Cadiz had been reinforced. During the subsequent return journey to England Cecil’s forces, which also failed to seize the Spanish Plate Fleet, were battered by winter storms, and the soldiers and seamen were reduced to eating rotten victuals, as a result of which many of them died. Meanwhile, in the Channel, English merchant shipping continued to fall prey not only to north African corsairs but also to the privateers operating out of the Spanish-held ports of Dunkirk and Nieuwpoort.

Even before Cecil’s fleet sailed for Spain, Charles turned his thoughts towards a fresh meeting with his subjects. Convinced that the attacks on Buckingham at Oxford had been the work of only a handful of malcontents, he ‘pricked’ the individuals concerned as sheriffs, thereby ensuring that they would be incapable of sitting in the forthcoming Parliament. However, far from making the Commons more amenable to the royal will, the removal of some of