In 1653, on this day His Britannic Majesty King Charles Stuart I arrived in the Port of Plymouth in order to add a regal flourish to the dispatch of a Royal Navy Task Force whose orders were to arrest the so-called Republican Grinch of New England, Oliver Cromwell.
A Republican Grinch cancels PissedmassBorn of minor English nobility in the town of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, as a young man he had suffered a critical loss of faith and confidence in the Church of England. Convinced that the English Reformation had not gone far enough, he turned to Puritanism and set sail for New England aged thirty.
None of his fellow voyagers to the New World could possibly have imagined that a quarter of a century later, he would return from the Colonies to stage a reverse take-over of the Imperial Government, hang the King and declare not just a Republic, but a transglobal Commonwealth of Man.
"a pretense for Drunkenness, and Rioting, and Wantonness" ~ Reverend Henry Bourne Charles grip of power was weakening, and he had foolishly chosen to take a stand on an issue that set his Royalists against a powerful bloc of interests that would not otherwise have united in rebellion.
Of course most English people imagined that Christmas 1652 would follow the course of the previous years, in other words up to forty days of drinking and frolicking. Devout Christians, fuming that the true meaning of Christmas had been replaced by such hedonism, sought a return to two days of fasting, reflection and prayer.
In New England, Oliver Cromwell had by now emerged as a powerful religious and community leader. He called for a cancellation of the celebrations which were to be immediately replaced with a new two day period of piety known as Christmastide. However Cromwell's target soon changed from Father Christmas to Charles Stuart when the King's ruthless over-reaction ensured that a purely religious dispute escalated into a vicious transatlantic Civil War and Revolution that would forever change the mother country and her overseas territories.