The English Civil War started in 1642 and ended in 1651. It was between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians. The Royalists supported Charles I, the king at the time. The Parliamentarians supported the English parliament.
One of the main causes was religion. In the 17th century, there were three main religious groups: Catholics, Protestants and Puritans, who were very strict Protestants. They believed in different approaches to issues such as divorce and the ways that churches should be decorated.
Catholics thought that churches should be filled with colourful stained glass windows and other decorations. On the other hand, Protestants thought that churches should be plain and free of decoration so they can focus on praying to God.
Charles I was executed in 1649. A few years later, in 1653, Oliver Cromwell became the leader of England, Scotland and Ireland. He called himself the “Lord Protector”. Cromwell was a Puritan, meaning he thought that activities such as theatre and having parties were sinful. Puritans thought that if you were sinful, you would go to hell after you died.
What did Oliver Cromwell ban?
- Colourful clothes
He also introduced a day every month where you would not eat or drink, known as fasting. He did this because he wanted to celebrate the saints.
Oliver Cromwell believed that women and girls should dress properly. This meant that make-up was banned. Soldiers would patrol the streets and scrub off make-up that was found. Dresses that were too colourful were banned. Puritan women would have worn a long black dress that covered nearly all of her body, as shown below.