'The Gentry are sequestred all': A study of English Civil War sequestration.

Charlotte Young

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The policy of sequestration was implemented by Parliament during the English Civil War and Interregnum as a method of punishment and financial gain. It enabled them to legally confiscate the real and personal property of anyone supporting King Charles, as well as all Catholics, irrespective of whether they were actively involved in the war or not.

Sequestration was one of the most vital Parliamentarian wartime policies, and yet it has been largely overlooked in the existing historiography. This thesis will undertake the first study of the implementation of sequestration at national and county level, and shed new light on an unexplored aspect of the infrastructure of English Civil war government. It will explore how the legislation governing the policy changed as the war progressed, and who the men involved in its administration were.

A new database of sequestration appellants compiled during this research is a groundbreaking resource for understanding how warfare affected far more people than just the soldiers, and it adds to our knowledge of how the contest between crown and parliament was fought away from the battlefields. The database has revealed the statistics of sequestration appeals for the first time, and has provided an absolute minimum number of 3,895 appellants, which is an invaluable start for assessing the scope and impact of the policy.

This research also highlights John Bradshaw’s forgotten role as a legal adviser to the sequestration committee, and demonstrates that he was the single most important man in the policy’s machinery during the 1640s. Although after the Restoration his reputation was thoroughly blackened as that of a ruthless and bloodthirsty traitor, his work for the committee presents an alternative character for him as a fair and honest lawyer who was trusted by both Parliament and the people.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Champion, Justin, Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Mar 2019
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019


  • English Civil War
  • Sequestration
  • Legal history
  • Property law
  • 17th century
  • John Bradshaw
  • Charles I
  • House of Commons
  • House of Lords
  • Committee for Sequestration
  • Committee for Compounding
  • County committees

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