Historians’ evolving views of John Pym

John Pym was one of the most influential Parliamentary leaders of the Opposition to the arbitrary rule of Charles the First in the years preceding the outbreak of civil war in 1642.

And after the conflict began, he was an influential and widely respected figure in the development of the strategy developed by the Parliamentarians, particularly the negotiation of the Solemn League and Covenant with the Scottish Presbyterians.

In later centuries, interpretations of Pym’s legacy and importance have evolved with historians from different times often taking contrasting views.

To unravel this historiography Contributing Editor, Professor Andrew Hopper, sat down with Dr Stephen Roberts, the distinguished Emeritus Editor of The History of Parliament.

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The World Turned Upside Down - The British Civil Wars 1638-1651
Historians' evolving views of John Pym
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Andrew Hopper

Andrew Hopper

Professor of Local and Social History

Andrew Hopper is Professor of Local and Social History in the Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Kellogg College. He…

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Stephen K. Roberts

Stephen K. Roberts

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Historical Society and the Learned Society of Wales

Stephen K. Roberts has deep roots in and around Bridgend, Glamorgan, and was educated there and at the Universities of Sussex, Exeter and London. His doctoral thesis…

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The Speech or Declaration of John Pym, Esq www.british-history.ac.uk/rushworth-papers/vol8/pp661-671
The Protestation of 1641/2: Fifth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts (London, 1876), part I, appendix III.
‘I, A.B., do in the presence of Almighty God, promise, vow and protest to maintain and defend, as far as lawfully I may, with my life, power and estate, the true reformed Protestant religion, expressed in the doctrine of the Church of England, against all popery and popish innovations within this realm, contrary to the same doctrine, and according to the duty of my allegiance, his majesty’s royal person, honour and estate, as also the power and privileges of parliaments, the lawful rights and liberties of the subjects, and every person that maketh this protestation, in whatsoever he shall do in the lawful pursuance of the same; and to my power, and as far as lawfully I may, I will oppose and by all good ways and means endeavour to bring to condign punishment all such as shall, either by force, practice, counsels, plots, conspiracies, or otherwise, do anything to the contrary of anything in this present protestation contained; and further, that I shall in all just and honourable ways, endeavour to preserve the union and peace betwixt the three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland: and neither for hope, fear, nor any other respect, shall relinquish this promise, vow and protestation.’