England is a home country that is part of the Commonwealth It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers much of the central and southern part of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic; and includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight.
A Return to Peacetime
During the British Civil Wars (1636-1651), England was the home country most affected by the armed conflagration. Crops were laid to waste, cities and villages destroyed, and obligatory conscription has displaced men and artisans from their villages. Some regions, loyal to the Cavaliers, passively resisted the instauration of the Commonwealth. However the triumphant Commonwealth under the Cromwell's (Oliver and Henry) successfully exerted the return to normality. The religious and political conflict were largely solved.
Ordinary people took advantage of the dislocation of civil society during the 1640s and afterwards to derive advantages for themselves. The contemporary guild democracy movement won its greatest successes among London's workers and artisans, later spreading to the Midlands and the North. Rural communities seized timber and other resources on the sequestrated estates of royalists and Catholics, and on the estates of the royal family and the church hierarchy. Some communities improved their conditions of tenure on such estates.
Merchants, tradesmen and artisans, thanks to the relatively low suffrage requirements had now a say in government.
England and Wales are under the full jurisdiction, on all matters, of the Commonwealth Parliament and the State Council, there is no regional administration has in Scotland and Ireland.
The main subdivisions are counties, ridings, parishes, boroughs and county corporate.
The English counties are:
The county corporate are the following, with date of their Letters patent:
- Borough and Town of Berwick upon Tweed (1551)
- County of the Town of Bristol (1373, City since 1542)
- County of the City of Canterbury (1471)
- County of the Town of Chester (1238/1239, City since 1541)
- County of the City of Coventry (1451)
- County of the City of Exeter (1537)
- County of the Town of Gloucester (1483, City since 1541)
- Kingston upon Hull, County of Hullshire (1440)
- County of the City of Lichfield (1556)
- County of the City of Lincoln (1409)
- City of London (1132)
- County of the Town of Newcastle upon Tyne (1400)
- County of the City of Norwich (1404)
- County of the Town of Nottingham (1448)
- County of the Town of Poole (1571)
- County of the Town of Southampton (1447)
- County of the City of Worcester (1622)
- County of the City of York (1396)
During the medieval period many towns were granted self-governance by the Crown, at which point they became referred to as boroughs. The formal status of borough came to be conferred by Royal Charter. These boroughs were generally governed by a self-selecting corporation (i.e., when a member died or resigned his replacement would be by co-option). Sometimes boroughs were governed by bailiffs or headboroughs.
The Church of England is the Protestant national church. Other denominations of importance and followed by part of the population are the Independents or Congregational Churches, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, Baptists, Quakers and other sects.
The Church of England since 1666 is conjoined polity or Ussher scheme, a via media of church governance. The conjoined polity mandates a synodical form of church government whereby both presbyters and bishops would share the governance of the church. At each level, the bishop (or the rector of the parish) presides over a council of presbyters who offer advice and share in making decisions. All members have equal vote with matters being decided by majority vote. Canon law and church policy are decided by the church's General Synod. It appoints its Bishop-President as Archbishop of Canterbury. The Church of England embraces three orders of ministry: deacons, priests (or presbyters) and bishops. These orders are distinct from positions such as rector, vicar or canon.
The main associations or voluntary associations are the Congregational Fellowship of England, Baptist Union of England, Episcopalian Church of England and Wales, and the London Yearly Meeting (Quakers)
Of the home countries alone England is the richest and largest economy and its the main party to the national trade and economy of the British Commonwealth.
The British Agricultural Revolution and its increase in the food supply contributed to the rapid growth of population in England and Wales.
Besides woollens, cotton, silk and linen cloth manufacturing became important after 1600, as did coal and iron.
The parliamentary representation of England is the following:
|House of Commons|| Boro'|
|House of Commons (1654-...)||104||44||2||150||131||242||2||375|
|House of Commons (after Universities Constituencies Act)||104||44||3||151||131||242||3||376|
- ↑ The wider series of conflicts that spanned the entire British Isles, involving Scotland and Ireland as well as England and Wales was initially called the Civil War, The Great Rebellion or The Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Some more radical groups speak of the The English Revolution or Puritan Revolution.