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The Civil War
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Lancelot Andrews, the last bishop of Winchester to live in Winchester Palace, died in 1626 and The Clink might have declined into a minor and unremarkable manorial lock-up but for a major national upheaval. King Charles I quarrelled with Parliament from the very start of his reign. He dismissed the MPs and ruled alone from 1629 to 1640. When the MPs were finally recalled to raise taxes in 1640, they demanded a Bill of Rights. Charles refused and attempted to make people obey by military might. The resulting civil war cost Charles his throne - and his head.


The Civil War



Like the City of London, Southwark supported Parliament throughout the war and Winchester Palace was seized to serve as a state prison to hold Royalist prisoners of war, mostly officers who were kept in rooms above The Clink. Thomas Devenish was appointed their keeper, much to the annoyance of the keeper already serving, who demanded compensation. The most prominent prisoner was Sir Kenelm Digby, highly regarded by friends and captors alike. John Ogle was another. Parliament won the war in 1646, but now some of its more radical supporters - known as Levellers - began to demand the right to vote for their MPs! Their leader, ‘Free Born’ John Lilburne, was imprisoned in the Tower and his family were held in Winchester Palace, where he was occasionally permitted to visit them. The Levellers never got the rights that they demanded.

King Charles I was executed in 1649 and under the 11 years of strict Puritan rule that followed, the Bankside stews, bear gardens and cock pits were all closed. When the monarchy was restored with the new King Charles II in 1660, Bankside revived for a little while. After the Great Fire of 1666 London had to be restored and once again builders needed Bankside as a base from which to build a city.



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