William Sterling

William and Mary

I first ran this course at Crayford Manor in January 2003 but the latest manifestation was on Saturday 14th March 2020 at the City Lit just before the great lockdown.

Following the attempt by James II to re-establish Catholicism in Britain his daughter and son-in-law were invited to oust him to protect the Protestant church. To do so they had to grant more power to Parliament.

This course is a survey of the Life & Times of Britain’s only Joint Monarchs. They came to power in what was called the Glorious Revolution and although they only reigned a short while they laid the foundations for modern Britain. It was also the period of Wren & Purcell. The latter wrote much of his best music for the Queen.

We covered the family background of William and Mary and how they came to be heirs to the throne, the situation in England following the Restoration of the Monarchy, the difficult relationship between Holland and France, the religious tensions and conflicts in England during the reigns of Charles II and James II, why the English supported James’s succession but soon turned against him, the unusual settlement of having joint monarchs, the relationship between the king and queen and with Parliament and the queen’s sister, the role of Queen Mary in promoting music and architecture, the position of the king after her death and his responsibilities as king of England and ruler of the Netherlands, his hatred of Louis XIV and the wars he fought against him.

These are the handouts from the day

The Letter from the Immortal Seven dated 18 June 1688

Letter of invitation


The Declaration of the Lords Spiritual and Tempora

William’s speech

Chronology of Invasion

O dive custos auriacae domus

cabinet ministers 1689-1702

Part of the music written by Purcell for Queen Mary’s funeral

These are the slides as PDFs which you can print or expand on screen.  I shall amend them later with more labels.  In the meantime if there is anything you cannot recall please email me below.

W&M 2020 1 Mary’s background

W&M 2020 2 William’s background

W&M 2020 3 reign

W&M 2020 4 Arts

And some podcasts from Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time series

The Dutch East India Company

The Glorious Revolution

The Treaty of Limerick

The Glencoe Massacre