Responses

There are not necessarily any right answers to these questions and a variety of different, but good responses would typically be given by interview candidates, so here is some of what you might have thought of:

1)    Document 1 says that the king has been badly advised, and has oppressed his subjects. As a result he and his office have been brought into disrepute, with England on the verge of rebellion, and some of his lands elsewhere are on the verge of being lost.

Document 2 says that the king has been badly advised, but also controlled by others, without being willing to behave properly, or take the advice of the ‘great and wise men of his realm’. This king has lost Scotland and other territories, he has not dispensed justice to his subjects, and has tyrannised his people. The document indicates there is now no hope of reform, and there is a finality about its tone which did not characterise Document 1.

Document 3 describes a king who seems to be more of his own master than the king/s in the previous two documents. He has threatened and terrorised his judiciary, and, despite pardoning the duke of Gloucester for an earlier offence and pretending to be friendly towards him, he had him executed later. He also changed the records of parliament and took people’s land from them arbitrarily. He has again tyrannised his people but more than in document 2 this king clearly feels that he does not need to be governed by the law and his judiciary.

2)    a) Document 1 refers to lands in France, Ireland and Scotland and illegal taxes so one could look at when the English king had lands in those places and whether there were any ‘illegal’ taxes during that period.

Document 2 refers to the loss of Scotland and other territories, so one would need to ask when they were lost. There might be more than one time, if they were lost, re-conquered and then lost again.

Document 3 refers to a king during whose reign an earl of Gloucester was beheaded so one would need to see when an earl of Gloucester was beheaded, and also any kings known to have had the proceedings of parliament changed or who had threatened their judges. Since it refers to parliament, it might be worth finding out when parliament came into existence.

b) You might use the fact that lands in France are referred to, which would place this earlier than the sixteenth century. But it would be perfectly logical if you didn’t know this, to wonder if this was Stuart England. Not an easy question, so don’t worry if you didn’t make any more headway with it than this!

3)    Since document 2 says Scotland and other lands have been lost and document 1 says they are on the point of being lost, it would seem logical for document 2 to date from later than document 1 if it is the same king. Document 3 is harder to place. It might be the same time as document 2 or it might be a completely different king.

4)    All sound like documents of accusation written to justify opposition to the king or criticism of him. All might be chronicles from the time, or official documents produced by opposition.

5)    Document 2 implies the king should take advice from the ‘great and wise men of his realm’, and all imply that he should abide by the law and not oppress his people. The comments on the loss of territory make clear that it is the king’s job to hold on to territory that belongs to his crown.

6)    The use of words like ‘cruelty’, ‘ruin’ of his realm and people, ‘greed’, ‘terrors’, ‘arbitrary will’ suggest tyrannical kings, or dictators in modern terms. In document 1, the king is described as being more incompetent than tyrannical, though there is mention of ‘oppressive’ measures.

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