English Council of State

The English Council of State, later also known as the Protector's Privy Council, was first appointed by the Rump Parliament on 14 February 1649 after the execution of King Charles I.

Charles's execution on 30 January was delayed for several hours so that the House of Commons could pass an emergency bill to declare the representatives of the people, the House of Commons, as the source of all just power and to make it an offence to proclaim a new King. This in effect abolished the monarchy and the House of Lords.

English Council of State
Executive government of the Commonwealth of England
In office
14 February 1649 – 30 April 1653
Preceded byCharles I (as King)
Succeeded byOliver Cromwell (as Lord Protector)
In office
25 May 1659 – 28 May 1660
Preceded byRichard Cromwell (as Lord Protector)
Succeeded byCharles II (as King)


The Council of State was appointed by Parliament on 14 and 15 February 1649, with further annual elections. The Council's duties were to act as the executive of the country's government in place of the King and the Privy Council. It was to direct domestic and foreign policy and to ensure the security of the English Commonwealth. Due to the disagreements between the New Model Army and the weakened Parliament, it was dominated by the Army.

The Council held its first meeting on 17 February 1649 "with [Oliver] Cromwell in the chair". This meeting was quite rudimentary, "some 14 members" attending, barely more than the legal quorum of nine out of forty-one councillors elected by Parliament. The first elected president of the council, appointed on 12 March, was John Bradshaw who had been the President of the Court at the trial of Charles I and the first to sign the King's death warrant.

The members of the first council were the Earls of Denbigh, Mulgrave, Pembroke, and Salisbury; Lords Grey and Fairfax; Lisle, Rolle, Oliver St John, Wilde, Bradshaw, Cromwell, Skippon, Pickering, Masham, Haselrig, Harington, Vane jun, Danvers, Armine, Mildmay, Constable, Pennington, Wilson, Whitelocke, Martin, Ludlow, Stapleton, Heveningham, Wallop, Hutchinson, Bond, Popham, Valentine Walton, Scot, Purefoy, Jones.[1]

When the Rump Parliament was dissolved by Cromwell with the support of the Army Council on 20 April 1653, the Council went into abeyance. It was reconstituted on 29 April with thirteen members seven of whom were Army officers.[2][3] With the failure of Barebone's Parliament, the Council was re-modelled with the Instrument of Government to become something much closer to the old Privy Council advising the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. Constitutionally between thirteen and twenty-one councillors were elected by Parliament to advise the Protector, who was also elected by Parliament. In reality Cromwell relied on the Army for support and chose his own councillors.

The replacement constitution of 1657, the pseudo-monarchical Humble Petition and Advice, authorised 'His Highness the Lord Protector'; to choose twenty-one Councillors and the power to nominate his successor. Cromwell recommended his eldest surviving son Richard Cromwell, who was proclaimed the successor on his father's death on 3 September 1658 and legally confirmed in the position by the newly elected Third Protectorate Parliament on 27 January 1659.

After the reinstatement of the Rump Parliament (7 May 1659) and the subsequent abolition of the position of Lord Protector, the role of the Council of State along with other interregnum institutions becomes confused as the instruments of state started to implode. The Council of State was not dissolved until 28 May 1660, when King Charles II personally assumed the government in London.

Lord President of the Council of State

The role of the President of the Council of State (usually addressed as "Lord President") was intended to simply preside over the Council of State.[4]

John Bradshaw, the first president, served in the office longer than any other person to do so (serving for two years and ten months total). The reason no other individual served in the position longer than Bradshaw was due to a resolution passed by the Parliament on 26 November 1651 stating that "That no Person of any Committee of Parliament, or of the Council of State, shall be in the Chair of that Committee, or Council, for any longer Time, at once, than one Month" (Commons Journal, 7:43-44).[4] Even during the Protectorate of Oliver and Richard Cromwell, the position of Lord President of the Council of State, known during this period as the Protector's Privy Council, remained in existence until the re-establishment of the monarchy in 1660.

The following is a list of those who served as the Lord President of the Council of State.[4]

Start End Name Note
17 February 1649 12 March 1649 vacancy Pro tempore Oliver Cromwell
12 March 1649 29 December 1651 John Bradshaw
29 December 1651 26 January 1652 Bulstrode Whitelocke
26 January 1652 23 February 1652 Sir Arthur Haselrig
23 February 1652 22 March 1652 Philip Sidney, Lord Lisle
22 March 1652 19 April 1652 John Lisle
19 April 1652 17 May 1652 Henry Rolle
17 May 1652 14 June 1652 Sir Henry Vane the younger
14 June 1652 12 July 1652 Philip Herbert, Earl of Pembroke
12 July 1652 9 August 1652 Denis Bond
9 August 1652 7 September 1652 William Purefoy
7 September 1652 5 October 1652 Sir James Harrington
5 October 1652 25 October 1652 Sir William Constable
25 October 1652 22 November 1652 Sir William Masham
22 November 1652 1 December 1652 Sir William Constable
1 December 1652 29 December 1652 unknown
29 December 1652 26 January 1653 Henry Rolle
26 January 1653 23 February 1653 John Bradshaw
23 February 1653 23 March 1653 Thomas Chaloner
23 March 1653 20 April 1653 Denis Bond
20 April 1653 29 April 1653 Dissolved along with the Rump Parliament by Cromwell with the support of the Army Council
29 April 1653[a] 6 May 1653 John Lambert Reconstituted with thirteen members of whom nine were Army officers.[b]
6 May 1653 13 May 1653 Sir Gilbert Pickering
13 May 1653 27 May 1653 unknown
27 May 1653 10 June 1653 John Desborough
10 June 1653 24 June 1653 unknown
24 June 1653 5 July 1653 Philip Jones of Fonmon Welsh
8 July 1653 21 July 1653 Sir Gilbert Pickering
21 July 1653 4 August 1653 Edward Montagu
4 August 1653 17 August 1653 unknown
17 August 1653 31 August 1653 Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper
31 August 1653 14 September 1653 Robert Tichborne
14 September 1653 28 September 1653 unknown
28 September 1653 14 October 1653 Charles Howard
4 October 1653 3 November 1653 Samuel Moyer acting
14 October 1653 3 November 1653 Samuel Moyer
3 November 1653 6 December 1653 Edward Montagu
6 December 1653 12 December 1653 Walter Strickland
December 1653 6 May 1659 Henry Lawrence During the Protectorate
7 May 1659 18 May 1659 Replaced by a Committee of Safety
19 May 1659 25 October 1659 Josiah Berners (or Barnes) Members of the Council known to serve as president during most of 1659 the first year of the second period of the Commonwealth, which started in May when the Protectorate of Richard Cromwell came to an end.[c]
Sir James Harrington,
Sir Arthur Hesilrige
Archibald Johnston, Lord Warriston (Scot)
Richard Salwey
Thomas Scot
Sir Henry Vane the younger
Bulstrode Whitelocke
26 October Late December Replaced by another Committee of Safety
30 December 1659 23 February 1660 unknown
23 February 1660 28 May 1660 Arthur Annesley Anglo-Irish


  1. ^ The precise date of the reconstitution varies between sources:
    • 29 April 1653 with Lambert chosen as president (Jenkins 1890, pp. 67–68) cites Calandar, vol. v, pp. 300, 301
    • 29 April 1653 (Tanner 1928, p. 168)
    • 29 April 1653 (Emerich & Acton 1934, p. 437)
    • 30 April 1653, with Lambert appointed president of the council a day later on 1 March 1653 (Schultz 2010)
  2. ^ The thirteen members were Captain-General Oliver Cromwell; Major-Generals John Lambert, Thomas Harrison, John Desborough and Matthew Thomlinson; Colonels Anthony Stapley, Robert Bennet, William Sydenham and Philip Jones; and four civilians, Walter Strickland, Sir Gilbert Pickering, John Carew and Samuel Moyer. (Jenkins 1890, p. 67)
  3. ^ The presidents of the council during this period are listed in alphabetic order—as is done by the source (Schultz 2010)—not in the chronological order of the rest of the list.
  1. ^ Hume 1983, Chapter: LX: The Commonwealth: Endnote [a].
  2. ^ Tanner 1928, p. 168.
  3. ^ Emerich & Acton 1934, p. 437.
  4. ^ a b c Schultz 2010.


  • Emerich, John; Acton, Lord Edward Dalberg, eds. (1934), The Cambridge modern history, 5, CUP Archive, p. 437
  • Hume, David (1983) [1778], "Chapter: LX: The Commonwealth: Endnote [a]", The History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1688, Foreword by William B. Todd, 6 vols., 6, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, retrieved September 2013 Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  • Jenkins, Edward (1890), The Constitutional Experiments of the Commonwealth: A study of the Years 1649–1660, Cambridge historical essays, III, CUP Archive, p. 67
  • Schultz, Oleg, ed. (13 March 2010), Commonwealth of England: Council of State: 1649-1660, Archontology.org, retrieved September 2013 Check date values in: |accessdate= (help); External link in |publisher= (help)
  • Tanner, Joseph Robson (1928), English Constitutional Conflicts of the Seventeenth Century, 1603-1689 (reprint ed.), CUP Archive, p. 168, ISBN 9780521065986

Further reading


The 1650s decade ran from January 1, 1650, to December 31, 1659.


1653 (MDCLIII)

was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar, the 1653rd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 653rd year of the 2nd millennium, the 53rd year of the 17th century, and the 4th year of the 1650s decade. As of the start of 1653, the Gregorian calendar was

10 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury

Anthony Ashley Cooper, PC (22 July 1621 – 21 January 1683), known as Anthony Ashley Cooper from 1621 to 1630, as Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, 2nd Baronet from 1630 to 1661, and as The Lord Ashley from 1661 to 1672, was a prominent English politician during the Interregnum and during the reign of King Charles II. A founder of the Whig party, he is also remembered as the patron of John Locke.

Anthony Ashley Cooper was born in 1621 and had lost both of his parents by the age of eight. He was brought up by Edward Tooker and other guardians named in his father's will, before attending Exeter College, Oxford, and Lincoln's Inn. After he married the daughter of Thomas Coventry, 1st Baron Coventry, in 1639, Coventry's patronage secured Cooper a seat in the Short Parliament, although Cooper lost a disputed election to a seat in the Long Parliament. During the English Civil War, Cooper initially fought as a Royalist, before departing for the Parliamentary side in 1644. During the English Interregnum, he served on the English Council of State under Oliver Cromwell, although he opposed Cromwell's attempt to rule without parliament during the Rule of the Major-Generals. He also opposed the religious extremism of the Fifth Monarchists during Barebone's Parliament.

As a member of Parliament, Cooper opposed the New Model Army's attempts to rule the country following the downfall of Richard Cromwell, and he encouraged Sir George Monck's march on London. Cooper served as a member of the Convention Parliament of 1660, which determined to restore the English monarchy, and Cooper was one of twelve members of parliament who travelled to the Dutch Republic to invite King Charles II to return to England. Shortly before his coronation, Charles created Cooper Lord Ashley, so when the Cavalier Parliament assembled in 1661 he moved from the House of Commons to the House of Lords. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1661–1672. During the ministry of the Earl of Clarendon, Shaftesbury opposed the imposition of the Clarendon Code and supported Charles II's Declaration of Indulgence (1662), which the king was ultimately forced to withdraw. After the fall of Clarendon, Ashley was one of the members of the so-called Cabal Ministry, serving as Lord Chancellor 1672–1673. He was created Earl of Shaftesbury in 1672. During this period, John Locke entered Ashley's household. Ashley took an interest in colonial ventures and was one of the Lords Proprietor of the Province of Carolina; in 1669, Ashley and Locke collaborated in writing the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina. By 1673, Ashley was worried that the heir to the throne, James, Duke of York, was secretly a Roman Catholic.

After the Cabal Ministry ended, Shaftesbury became a leader of the opposition to the policies pursued by Thomas Osborne, Earl of Danby. Danby favoured strict interpretation of the penal laws, enforcing mandatory membership of the Church of England. Shaftesbury, who sympathised with the Protestant Nonconformists, briefly agreed to work with the Duke of York, who opposed enforcing the penal laws against Roman Catholic recusants. By 1675, however, Shaftesbury was convinced that Danby, assisted by the bishops of the Church of England, was determined to transform England into an absolute monarchy, and he soon came to see the Duke of York's own religion as linked to this issue. Opposed to the growth of "popery and arbitrary government", throughout the latter half of the 1670s Shaftesbury argued in favour of frequent parliaments (spending time in the Tower of London, 1677–1678 for espousing this view) and argued that the nation needed protection from a potential Roman Catholic successor to King Charles II. During the Exclusion Crisis, Shaftesbury was an outspoken supporter of the Exclusion Bill, although he also endorsed other proposals that would have prevented the Duke of York from becoming king, such as Charles II's remarrying a Protestant princess and producing a Protestant heir to the throne, or legitimising Charles II's illegitimate Protestant son the Duke of Monmouth. The Whig party was born during the Exclusion Crisis, and Shaftesbury was one of the party's most prominent leaders.

In 1681, during the Tory reaction following the failure of the Exclusion Bill, Shaftesbury was arrested for high treason, although the prosecution was dropped several months later. In 1682, after the Tories had gained the ability to pack London juries with their supporters, Shaftesbury, fearing a second prosecution, fled the country. Upon arriving in Amsterdam, he fell ill, and soon died, in January 1683.

Commonwealth of England

The Commonwealth was the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales, later along with Ireland and Scotland, were ruled as a republic following the end of the Second English Civil War and the trial and execution of Charles I. The republic's existence was declared through "An Act declaring England to be a Commonwealth", adopted by the Rump Parliament on 19 May 1649. Power in the early Commonwealth was vested primarily in the Parliament and a Council of State. During the period, fighting continued, particularly in Ireland and Scotland, between the parliamentary forces and those opposed to them, as part of what is now referred to as the Third English Civil War.

In 1653, after the forcible dissolution of the Rump Parliament, the Army Council adopted the Instrument of Government which made Oliver Cromwell Lord Protector of a united "Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland", inaugurating the period now usually known as the Protectorate. After Cromwell's death, and following a brief period of rule under his son, Richard Cromwell, the Protectorate Parliament was dissolved in 1659 and the Rump Parliament recalled, the start of a process that led to the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. The term Commonwealth is sometimes used for the whole of 1649 to 1660 – a period referred to by monarchists as the Interregnum – although for other historians, the use of the term is limited to the years prior to Cromwell's formal assumption of power in 1653.

Council of State

A Council of State is a governmental body in a country, or a subdivision of a country, with a function that varies by jurisdiction. It may be the formal name for the cabinet or it may refer to a non-executives advisory body associated with a head of state. In some countries it also has a function as a supreme administrative court and sometimes regarded as the equivalent of a privy council.

HMS Dartmouth (1655)

HMS Dartmouth was a small frigate or fifth-rate ship, one of six ordered by the English Council of State on 28 December 1654 and built in 1655.

Henry Lawrence

Henry Lawrence may refer to:

Henry Lawrence (President of the Council) (1600–1664), English statesman who served as President of the English Council of State

Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence (1806–1857), British soldier and statesman

Henry F. Lawrence (1868–1950), American politician from Missouri

Henry Lawrence (American football) (born 1951), American former American football player

Henry Arnold Lawrence (1848–1902), English rugby union player

Henry Sherwood Lawrence (1916–2004), American immunologist

Henry Staveley Lawrence (1870–1949), governor of Bombay, 1926–1928

Henry Neville (writer)

Henry Neville (1620–1694) was an English politician, author and satirist, best remembered for his tale of shipwreck and dystopia, The Isle of Pines published in 1668.

In 1651, he was elected to the English Council of State, where he played a part in foreign policy. Later, he was in opposition to Oliver Cromwell, against whom he wrote some political pamphlets.

Italian Council of State

The Consiglio di Stato (English: Council of State) is a legal-administrative consultative body that ensures the legality of public administration in Italy. The council has jurisdiction on acts of all administrative authorities, except when these authorities lack discretionary power, in which case the dispute is considered to be one of civil law.

List of English monarchs

This list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of England begins with Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, one of the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms (Heptarchy) which made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King of the Anglo-Saxons from about 886, and while he was not the first king to claim to rule all of the English, his rule represents the start of the first unbroken line of kings to rule the whole of England, the House of Wessex. The last monarch of a distinct kingdom of England was Anne, who became Queen of Great Britain when England merged with Scotland to form a union in 1707.

Arguments are made for a few different kings deemed to control enough of the Heptarchy to be deemed the first king of England. For example, Offa, king of Mercia, and Egbert, king of Wessex, are sometimes described as kings of England by popular writers, but it is no longer the majority view of historians that their wide dominions are part of a process leading to a unified England, as highlighted by historian Simon Keynes stating, for example, that "Offa was driven by a lust for power, not a vision of English unity; and what he left was a reputation, not a legacy." This refers to a period in the late 8th century when Offa achieved a dominance over many of the kingdoms of southern England, but this did not survive his death in 796. In 829 Egbert of Wessex conquered Mercia, but he soon lost control of it. It was not until the late 9th century that one kingdom, Wessex, had become the dominant Anglo-Saxon kingdom. Its king, Alfred the Great, was overlord of western Mercia and used the title King of the Angles and Saxons, but he never ruled eastern and northern England, which was then known as the Danelaw, having earlier been conquered by the Danes from Scandinavia. His son Edward the Elder conquered the eastern Danelaw, but Edward's son Æthelstan became the first king to rule the whole of England when he conquered Northumbria in 927, and he is regarded by some modern historians as the first true king of England. The title "King of the English" or Rex Anglorum in Latin, was first used to describe Æthelstan in one of his charters in 928.

The Principality of Wales was incorporated into the Kingdom of England under the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284, and in 1301 King Edward I invested his eldest son, the future King Edward II, as Prince of Wales. Since that time, except for King Edward III, the eldest sons of all English monarchs have borne this title.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth I without issue, in 1603, King James VI of Scotland also became James I of England, joining the crowns of England and Scotland in personal union. By royal proclamation, James styled himself "King of Great Britain", but no such kingdom was actually created until 1707, when England and Scotland united to form the new Kingdom of Great Britain, with a single British parliament sitting at Westminster, during the reign of Queen Anne.

List of ambassadors of the United Kingdom to Spain

The Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Spain is the United Kingdom's foremost diplomatic representative in the Kingdom of Spain, and in charge of the UK's diplomatic mission in Spain. The official title is Her Britannic Majesty's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain.

The British ambassador to Spain is also non-resident ambassador to the Principality of Andorra.

In 1822, Foreign Secretary George Canning downgraded the Embassy to a Mission, and the Head of Mission from an Ambassador to an Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, to reflect Spain's decreased importance on the world stage. The Mission in Madrid was upgraded to a full Embassy once more on 9 December 1887.

Patcham Place

Patcham Place is a mansion in the ancient village of Patcham, now part of the English city of Brighton and Hove. Built in 1558 as part of the Patcham Place estate, it was owned for many years by Anthony Stapley, one of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant. It was extended and almost completely rebuilt in 1764, with traces of the older buildings remaining behind the Classical façade with its expanses of black glazed mathematical tiles—a feature typical of Brighton buildings of the era. Contemporary uses have included a youth hostel, but the house is currently occupied by live-in security. English Heritage has listed it at Grade II* for its architectural and historical importance.

Peter Sterry

Peter Sterry (1613 – 19 November 1672) was an English independent theologian, associated with the Cambridge Platonists prominent during the English Civil War era. He was chaplain to Parliamentarian general Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke and then Oliver Cromwell, a member of the Westminster Assembly, and a leading radical Puritan preacher attached to the English Council of State. He was made fun of in Hudibras.

Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke

Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke and 1st Earl of Montgomery, KG (10 October 1584 – 23 January 1650) was an English courtier, nobleman, and politician active during the reigns of James I and Charles I. Philip and his older brother William were the 'incomparable pair of brethren' to whom the First Folio of Shakespeare's collected works was dedicated in 1623.

Pickering baronets

There have been two baronetcies created for persons with the surname Pickering, one in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia and one in the Baronetage of England. Both creations are extinct.

The Pickering Baronetcy, of Titchmarsh in the County of Northampton, was created in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia on 5 June 1638 for Gilbert Pickering, subsequently a member of the English Council of State during the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The third baronet sat as a Knight of the Shire for Leicestershire. The fourth baronet represented Mitchell in Parliament. The title became extinct on his death in 1749. John Pickering, brother of the first baronet, also fought as a Parliamentarian in the English Civil War.

The Pickering Baronetcy, of Whaddon in the County of Cambridge, was created in the Baronetage of England on 2 January 1661 for Henry Pickering, Member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire. His son, the second baronet, represented Morpeth and Cambridge in Parliament. The title became extinct on the latter's death in 1705.


The president is a common title for the head of state in most republics. In politics, president is a title given to leaders of republican states.

The functions exercised by a president vary according to the form of government. In parliamentary republics, they are limited to those of the head of state, and are thus largely ceremonial. In presidential and semi-presidential republics, the role of the president is more prominent, encompassing also (in most cases) the functions of the head of government. In authoritarian regimes, a dictator or leader of a one-party state may also be called a president.

Sir Gilbert Pickering, 1st Baronet

Sir Gilbert Pickering, 1st Baronet (1611 – October 1668) was a regicide, a member of the English Council of State during the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, and a member of Cromwell's Upper House.

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is a medieval castle developed from a wooden fort, originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068. Warwick is the county town of Warwickshire, England, situated on a bend of the River Avon. The original wooden motte-and-bailey castle was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. During the Hundred Years War, the facade opposite the town was refortified, resulting in one of the most recognisable examples of 14th-century military architecture. It was used as a stronghold until the early 17th century, when it was granted to Sir Fulke Greville by James I in 1604. Greville converted it to a country house and it was owned by the Greville family, who became Earls of Warwick in 1759, until 1978 when it was bought by the Tussauds Group.

In 2007, the Tussauds Group was purchased by The Blackstone Group which merged it with Merlin Entertainments; Warwick Castle was then sold to Nick Leslau's investment firm Prestbury Group under a sale and leaseback agreement. Merlin continues to operate the site under a renewable 35-year lease.

William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Salisbury

William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Salisbury, (28 March 1591 – 3 December 1668), known as Viscount Cranborne from 1605 to 1612, was an English peer, nobleman, and politician.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.