The Restoration of the English monarchy took place in the Stuart period. It began in 1660 when the English and Irish monarchies were all restored under King Charles II; this followed the Interregnum called the Protectorate, that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The term Restoration is used to describe both the actual event by which the monarchy was restored, the period of several years afterwards in which a new political settlement was established, it is often used to cover the whole reign of Charles II and the brief reign of his younger brother James II. In certain contexts it may be used to cover the whole period of the Stuart monarchs as far as the death of Queen Anne and the accession of the Hanoverian George I in 1714; the Commonwealth, which preceded the English Restoration, might have continued if Oliver Cromwell's son Richard, made Lord Protector on his father's death, had been capable of carrying on his father's policies. Richard Cromwell's main weakness was. After seven months, an army faction known as the Wallingford House party removed him on 6 May 1659 and reinstalled the Rump Parliament.
Charles Fleetwood was appointed a member of the Committee of Safety and of the Council of State, one of the seven commissioners for the army. On 9 June 1659, he was nominated lord-general of the army. However, his leadership was undermined in Parliament, which chose to disregard the army's authority in a similar fashion to the post-First Civil War Parliament. A royalist uprising was planned for 1 August 1659. However, Sir George Booth gained control of Cheshire. Booth held Cheshire until the end of August; the Commons, on 12 October 1659, cashiered General John Lambert and other officers, installed Fleetwood as chief of a military council under the authority of the Speaker. The next day Lambert ordered that the doors of the House be shut and the members kept out. On 26 October a "Committee of Safety" was appointed, of which Lambert were members. Lambert was appointed major-general of all the forces in England and Scotland, Fleetwood being general; the Committee of Safety sent Lambert with a large force to meet George Monck, in command of the English forces in Scotland, either negotiate with him or force him to come to terms.
It was into this atmosphere that Monck, the governor of Scotland under the Cromwells, marched south with his army from Scotland. Lambert's army began to desert him, he returned to London alone. Monck marched to London unopposed; the Presbyterian members, excluded in Pride's Purge of 1648, were recalled, on 24 December the army restored the Long Parliament. Fleetwood was deprived of his command and ordered to appear before Parliament to answer for his conduct. On 3 March 1660, Lambert was sent to the Tower of London, he tried to rekindle the civil war in favour of the Commonwealth by issuing a proclamation calling on all supporters of the "Good Old Cause" to rally on the battlefield of Edgehill, but he was recaptured by Colonel Richard Ingoldsby, a participant in the regicide of Charles I who hoped to win a pardon by handing Lambert over to the new regime. Lambert was incarcerated and died in custody on Guernsey in 1694. On 4 April 1660, Charles II issued the Declaration of Breda, in which he made several promises in relation to the reclamation of the crown of England.
Monck organised the Convention Parliament. On 8 May it proclaimed that King Charles II had been the lawful monarch since the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649. "Constitutionally, it was as if the last nineteen years had never happened." Charles returned from exile, landing at Dover on 25 May. He entered London on his 30th birthday. To celebrate His Majesty's Return to his Parliament, 29 May was made a public holiday, popularly known as Oak Apple Day, he was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1661. Some contemporaries described the Restoration as "a divinely ordained miracle"; the sudden and unexpected deliverance from usurpation and tyranny was interpreted as a restoration of the natural and divine order. The Cavalier Parliament convened for the first time on 8 May 1661, it would endure for over 17 years being dissolved on 24 January 1679. Like its predecessor, it was overwhelmingly Royalist, it is known as the Pensionary Parliament for the many pensions it granted to adherents of the King.
The leading political figure at the beginning of the Restoration was Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon. It was the "skill and wisdom of Clarendon" which had "made the Restoration unconditional". Many Royalist exiles were rewarded. Prince Rupert of the Rhine returned to the service of England, became a member of the privy council, was provided with an annuity. George Goring, 1st Earl of Norwich, returned to be the Captain of the King's guard and received a pension. Marmaduke Langdale returned and was made "Baron Langdale". William Cavendish, Marquess of Newcastle and was able to regain the greater part of his estates, he was invested in 1666 with the Order of the Garter, was advanced to a dukedom on 16 March 1665. The Indemnity and Oblivion Act, which became law on 29 August 1660, pardoned all past treason against the crown, but excluded those involved in the trial and execution of Charles I. Thirty-one of the 59 commissioners (
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England, its name, which derives from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building-complex destroyed by fire in 1834, or its replacement, the New Palace that stands today. The palace is owned by the monarch in right of the Crown and, for ceremonial purposes, retains its original status as a royal residence. Committees appointed by both houses manage the building and report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and to the Lord Speaker; the first royal palace constructed on the site dated from the 11th century, Westminster became the primary residence of the Kings of England until fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512.
After that, it served as the home of the Parliament of England, which had met there since the 13th century, as the seat of the Royal Courts of Justice, based in and around Westminster Hall. In 1834 an greater fire ravaged the rebuilt Houses of Parliament, the only significant medieval structures to survive were Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St Stephen's, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, the Jewel Tower. In the subsequent competition for the reconstruction of the Palace, the architect Charles Barry won with a design for new buildings in the Gothic Revival style inspired by the English Perpendicular Gothic style of the 14th–16th centuries; the remains of the Old Palace were incorporated into its much larger replacement, which contains over 1,100 rooms organised symmetrically around two series of courtyards and which has a floor area of 112,476 m2. Part of the New Palace's area of 3.24 hectares was reclaimed from the River Thames, the setting of its nearly 300-metre long façade, called the River Front.
Augustus Pugin, a leading authority on Gothic architecture and style, assisted Barry and designed the interior of the Palace. Construction started in 1840 and lasted for 30 years, suffering great delays and cost overruns, as well as the death of both leading architects. Major conservation work has taken place since to reverse the effects of London's air pollution, extensive repairs followed the Second World War, including the reconstruction of the Commons Chamber following its bombing in 1941; the Palace is one of the centres of political life in the United Kingdom. The Elizabeth Tower, in particular referred to by the name of its main bell, Big Ben, has become an iconic landmark of London and of the United Kingdom in general, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, an emblem of parliamentary democracy. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia called the new palace "a dream in stone"; the Palace of Westminster has been a Grade I listed building since 1970 and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
The Palace of Westminster site was strategically important during the Middle Ages, as it was located on the banks of the River Thames. Known in medieval times as Thorney Island, the site may have been first-used for a royal residence by Canute the Great during his reign from 1016 to 1035. St Edward the Confessor, the penultimate Anglo-Saxon monarch of England, built a royal palace on Thorney Island just west of the City of London at about the same time as he built Westminster Abbey. Thorney Island and the surrounding area soon became known as Westminster. Neither the buildings used by the Anglo-Saxons nor those used by William I survive; the oldest existing part of the Palace dates from the reign of William I's successor, King William II. The Palace of Westminster was the monarch's principal residence in the late Medieval period; the predecessor of Parliament, the Curia Regis, met in Westminster Hall. Simon de Montfort's parliament, the first to include representatives of the major towns, met at the Palace in 1265.
The "Model Parliament", the first official Parliament of England, met there in 1295, all subsequent English Parliaments and after 1707, all British Parliaments have met at the Palace. In 1512, during the early years of the reign of King Henry VIII, fire destroyed the royal residential area of the palace. In 1534, Henry VIII acquired York Place from Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a powerful minister who had lost the King's favour. Renaming it the Palace of Whitehall, Henry used it as his principal residence. Although Westminster remained a royal palace, it was used by the two Houses of Parliament and by the various royal law courts; because it was a royal residence, the Palace included no purpose-built chambers for the two Houses. Important state ceremonies were held in the Painted Chamber, built in the 13th century as the main bedchamber for King Henry III; the House of Lords met in the Queen's Chamber, a modest Medieval hall towards the southern end of the complex, with the adjoining Prince's Chamber used as the robing room for peers and for the monarch during state openings.
In 1801 the Upper House moved into the larger White Chamber.
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon was an English statesman who served as Lord Chancellor to King Charles II from 1658, two years before the Restoration of the Monarchy, until 1667. He was loyal to the king, built up the royalist cause, served as the chief minister after 1660, he was one of the most important historians of England, as author of the most influential contemporary history of the Civil War, The History of the Rebellion. He was the maternal grandfather of Queen Mary II and Queen Anne. Hyde was the third son of Henry Hyde of Dinton and Purton, both in Wiltshire, by his wife, Mary Langford, daughter and co-heiress of Edward Langford of Trowbridge. Henry's brother was Attorney General; the family of Hyde was long established at Norbury in Cheshire. Hyde was fond of his mother and idolised his father, whom he called "the best father, the best friend, the wisest man I have known." Clarendon's two cousins, Richard Rigby, Secretary of Jamaica, his son, Richard Rigby, Chief Secretary of Ireland and Paymaster of the Army, were successful politicians in the succeeding generations.
He was educated at Gillingham School, in 1622 entered Magdalen Hall, having been rejected by Magdalen College and graduated BA in 1626. Intended for holy orders in the Church of England, the death of two elder brothers made him his father's heir, on 1 February 1625/26 he entered the Middle Temple to study law, his abilities were more conspicuous than his industry, at the bar his time was devoted more to general reading and to the society of eminent scholars and writers than to the study of law treatises. This time was not wasted. In years, Clarendon declared that "next the immediate blessing and providence of God Almighty" he "owed all the little he knew and the little good, in him to the friendships and conversation... of the most excellent men in their several kinds that lived in that age." These included Ben Jonson, John Selden, Edmund Waller, John Hales and Lord Falkland, who became his best friend. From their influence and the wide reading in which he indulged, he doubtless drew the solid learning and literary talent which afterwards distinguished him.
The diarist Samuel Pepys wrote thirty years that he never knew anyone who could speak as well as Hyde. He was one of the most prominent members of the famous Great Tew Circle, a group of intellectuals who gathered at Lord Falkland's country house Great Tew, Oxfordshire. On 22 November 1633 he was called to the bar and obtained a good position and practice. Both his marriages gained him influential friends, in December 1634 he was made keeper of the writs and rolls of the Court of Common Pleas, his able conduct of the petition of the London merchants against Lord Treasurer Portland earned him the approval of Archbishop William Laud, with whom he developed a friendship. Hyde in his History explained that he admired Laud for his integrity and decency, excused his notorious rudeness and bad temper because of Laud's humble origins and because Hyde recognised the same weaknesses in himself. In April 1640, Hyde was elected Member of Parliament for both Shaftesbury and Wootton Bassett in the Short Parliament and chose to sit for Wootton Bassett.
In November 1640 he was elected MP for Saltash in the Long Parliament, Hyde was at first a moderate critic of King Charles I, but became more supportive of the king after he began to accept reforming bills from Parliament. Hyde opposed legislation restricting the power of the King to appoint his own advisors, viewing it unnecessary and an affront to the royal prerogative, he moved over towards the royalist side, championing the Church of England and opposing the execution of the Earl of Strafford, Charles's primary adviser. Following the Grand Remonstrance of 1641, Hyde became an informal adviser to the King, he rejoined the king at York. In February 1643, Hyde was knighted and was appointed to the Privy Council. Despite his own previous opposition to the King, he found it hard to forgive anyone a friend, who fought for Parliament, he severed many personal friendships as a result. With the possible exception of John Pym, he detested all the Parliamentary leaders, describing Oliver Cromwell as "a brave bad man" and John Hampden as a hypocrite, while Oliver St. John's "foxes and wolves" speech, in favour of the attainder of Strafford, he considered to be the depth of barbarism.
His view of the conflict and of his opponents was undoubtedly coloured by the death of his best friend Lord Falkland at the First Battle of Newbury in September 1643. Hyde mourned his death, which he called "a loss most infamous and execrable to all posterity", to the end of his own life, he was severe in his judgments of those Royalist commanders who in his view had contributed to the King's defeat. Indeed, his harshest words of all were reserved for George Goring, Lord Goring, whose loyalty to Charles I was not in doubt, whatever his other faults. Hyde described Goring as a man who would "without hesitation have broken any trust, or performed any act of treachery, to satisfy an ordinary passion or appetite, in truth wanted nothing but industry (for he had wit and courage and understanding and ambition, uncontrolled by any fear of God
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, 1st Duke of Buccleuch, KG, PC was a Dutch-born English nobleman. Called James Crofts or James Fitzroy, he was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II of England and Ireland, his mistress Lucy Walter, he served in the Second Anglo-Dutch War and commanded English troops taking part in the Third Anglo-Dutch War before commanding the Anglo-Dutch brigade fighting in the Franco-Dutch War. He led the unsuccessful Monmouth Rebellion in 1685, an attempt to depose his uncle, King James II and VII. After one of his officers declared Monmouth the legitimate King in the town of Taunton in Somerset, Monmouth attempted to capitalise on his Protestantism and his position as the son of Charles II, in opposition to James, a Roman Catholic; the rebellion failed, Monmouth was beheaded for treason on 15 July 1685. Born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, to Lucy Walter, her lover, Charles II, James spent his early life in Schiedam. According to biographical research by Hugh Noel Williams, Charles had not arrived at The Hague until the middle of September 1648 – seven months before the child's birth — and some unfounded voices whispered that Lucy Walter had in the summer of 1648 been mistress of Colonel Robert Sidney, a younger son of the Earl of Leicester.
When the child grew to manhood, contemporaries observed. The unfounded voices had originated from the Duke of York, brother of King Charles II, afraid of his nephew's potential claim to the throne. In 2012, a DNA test conducted on Monmouth's descendant, the 10th Duke of Buccleuch, showed that he shared the same Y chromosome as a distant Stuart cousin, providing strong evidence that Charles II was Monmouth's biological father after all, he had a younger sister Mary Crofts, who may have been a daughter of Charles, although Theobald Taaffe, 1st Earl of Carlingford is considered another potential father. Mary married the Irishman William Sarsfield and was a sister-in-law of the Jacobite general Patrick Sarsfield; as an illegitimate son, James was not eligible to succeed to the English or Scottish thrones, though there were rumours that Charles and Lucy did marry secretly. Monmouth himself always claimed his parents were married and that he possessed evidence of their marriage, but he never produced it.
Charles, as King testified in writing to his Council that he had never been married to anyone except his queen, Catherine of Braganza. In March 1658, young James was kidnapped by one of the King's men, sent to Paris, placed in the care of the Crofts baronets, whose surname he took, he attended a school in Familly. On 14 February 1663, at the age of 13, shortly after having been brought to England, James was created Duke of Monmouth, with the subsidiary titles of Earl of Doncaster and Baron Scott of Tynedale, all three in the Peerage of England, on 28 March 1663 he was appointed a Knight of the Garter. On 20 April 1663, just days after his 14th birthday, he was married to the heiress Anne Scott, 4th Countess of Buccleuch. James took his wife's surname upon marriage; the day after his marriage, the couple were made Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Countess of Dalkeith, Lord and Lady Scott of Whitchester and Eskdale in the Peerage of Scotland. Monmouth, as he became known, was popular for his Protestantism, whereas the official heir presumptive to the throne, the King's brother James, Duke of York, had converted to Roman Catholicism.
In 1665, at the age of 16, Monmouth served in the English fleet under his uncle the Duke of York in the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In June 1666, he returned to England to become captain of a troop of cavalry. On 16 September 1668 he was made colonel of the His Majesty's Own Troop of Horse Guards, he acquired Moor Park in Hertfordshire in April 1670. At the outbreak of the Third Anglo-Dutch War in 1672, a brigade of 6,000 English and Scottish troops was sent to serve as part of the French army, with Monmouth as its commander, he became Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire and Governor of Kingston-upon-Hull in April 1673. In the campaign of 1673 and in particular at the Siege of Maastricht that June, Monmouth gained a considerable reputation as one of Britain's finest soldiers, he was reported to be replacing Marshal Schomberg as commander of England's Zealand Expedition, but this did not happen. In 1674, Monmouth became Chancellor of Cambridge University and Master of the Horse, King Charles II directed that all military orders should be brought first to Monmouth for examination, so giving him effective command of the forces.
In March 1677, he became Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire. In 1678, Monmouth was commander of the Anglo-Dutch brigade, now fighting for the United Provinces against the French, he distinguished himself at the Battle of St Denis in August that year during the Franco-Dutch War, further increasing his reputation; the following year, after his return to Britain, he commanded the small army raised to put down the rebellion of the Scottish Covenanters and despite being outnumbered, he decisively defeated the Covenanter rebels at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge on 22 June 1679. It was at about this time that he was first proposed as the rightful heir to the Crown, despite the obvious problem of his illegitimacy, his father's refusal to acknowledge that he had married Lucy Walter. Monmouth may hav
Battle of Bothwell Bridge
The Battle of Bothwell Bridge, or Bothwell Brig, took place on 22 June 1679. It was fought between government troops and militant Presbyterian Covenanters, signalled the end of their brief rebellion; the battle took place at the bridge over the River Clyde in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire near Bothwell in Lanarkshire, Scotland. The battlefield has been included in the Inventory of Historic Battlefields in Scotland and protected by Historic Scotland under the Historic Environment Act 2011. Following the Restoration of King Charles II, the Presbyterians in Scotland were persecuted for their beliefs, a small armed rising had been put down in 1666. Although some Presbyterian ministers were "Indulged" by the government from 1669, allowing them to retain their churches without having to accept Episcopacy, the more hard-line elements continued to hold illegal outdoor meetings, known as conventicles; these were broken up by squads of government dragoons, including those led by John Graham of Claverhouse.
On 1 June 1679, Claverhouse had encountered such a gathering near Loudoun Hill, but his troops were routed by armed Covenanters at the Battle of Drumclog, he was forced to flee to Glasgow. Following this initial success the Covenanters spent the next few weeks building their strength, as did the government. Charles' son James, Duke of Monmouth was sent north to take command, the militia were raised; the Covenanters had established their camp on the south bank of the Clyde, north of Hamilton. The rebels numbered around 6000 men, but were poorly disciplined and divided by religious disagreements, they had few competent commanders, being nominally led by Robert Hamilton of Preston, although his rigid stance against the Indulged ministers only encouraged division. The preacher Donald Cargill and William Cleland, the victor of Drumclog, were present, as were David Hackston of Rathillet and John Balfour of Kinloch, known as Burley, who were among the group who murdered Archbishop Sharp on 3 May; the government army numbered around 5000 regular troops and militia, was commanded by Monmouth, supported by Claverhouse and the Earl of Linlithgow.
The royalist troops were massed on the northern or Bothwell bank of the river Clyde on sloping ground that included a field that has since become known enough, as the Covenanters Field - not because the battle was fought there but because for many years it was the venue for a covenanters conventicle organised by the Scottish Covenanters Memorial Association. The battle centred on the narrow bridge across the Clyde, the passage of which Monmouth was required to force in order to come at the Covenanters. Hackston led the defence of the bridge and had some initial success in the initial skirmishes at the bridge itself, but his men lacked artillery and ammunition, were forced to withdraw after around an hour. Once Monmouth's men were across the bridge, the Covenanters were routed. Many fled into the parks of nearby Hamilton Palace, seat of Duchess Anne, sympathetic to the Presbyterian cause, it was in this area that the final engagements took place; the numbers of covenanters who were killed varies with estimates ranging from 7 - 700 according to the Scottish Battles Gazetteer.
Around 1200 were taken prisoner. The prisoners were taken to Edinburgh and held on land beside Greyfriars Kirkyard, an area now known as the Covenanters' Prison. Many remained there for several months, until the last of them were transported to the colonies in November. However, a ship wreck allowed 48 of the 257 prisoners to escape. All those who had taken part on the Covenanter side of the battle were declared rebels and traitors, the repression during this period has become known as "the Killing Time" in Covenanter histories. A core of hard-line rebels remained in arms, became known as the Cameronians after Richard Cameron their leader. Cameron was killed in a skirmish at Airds Moss the next year, but his followers were pardoned on the accession of William III of England in 1689; the battle is a central event in Old Mortality. Scott fictionalises the battle and the events leading up to it, introducing real people who were not present, such as General Tam Dalyell, as well as his own fictional characters.
However, his description of the flow of the battle is considered accurate. In 1903, on the 224th anniversary of the battle, a monument was dedicated on the site; this stands beside Bothwell Bridge, rebuilt in the 19th century. Scott, Walter Old Mortality. "Bothwell Bridge Battlefield". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2010-02-18. Scottish Covenanter Memorials Association. "Covenanters' Prison, Greyfriars Churchyard". Covenanter Memorials Association. Archived from the original on 23 October 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2011. Thomson, J. H The Martyr Graves of Scotland "Broadside ballad entitled'New Scotch Ballad: Call'd Bothwell-Bridge: Or, Hamilton's Hero'", National Library of Scotland Historic Environment Scotland. "Battle of Bothwell Bridge"
Walter Chetwynd FRS, of Ingestre Hall, Staffordshire was an English antiquary and politician. He was the only child of Walter Chetwynd, the eldest son of Walter Chetwynd, who built Ingestre Hall, he was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1657, but returned his native Staffordshire and occupied various local offices. In 1674, he was elected as Member of Parliament for Stafford when the sitting member died, but lost his seat in the second election of 1679. During the Popish Plot, he supported Titus Oates, but in 1682, he was providing information on the Staffordshire activities of the Duke of Monmouth, he regained Stafford in 1685 though he had been appointed Sheriff of Staffordshire for that year. His attitude the Glorious Revolution was cautious, reporting the passage through Staffordshire of troops hostile to James II and did not sit in the Convention Parliament, but was elected for Staffordshire in 1690, greeting William III on his arrival at Lichfield in 1690. Chetwynd was significant as a historian of his native county, building on the work of Sampson Erdeswicke.
He worked on it for the rest of his life. In doing this, he was following on the work of William Dugdale on Warwickshire, his writing of'A Short Account of Staffordshire' began in 1679, but by 1688, he had only covered Pirehill Hundred in the northwest of the county. This remained unpublished until the early 20th century, when William Salt Archaeological Society published it in two of their volumes in 1909 and 1914, he took little part in its activities. He knew Christopher Wren, the architect of his new church at Ingestre, started in 1673 and completed in 1676; this interests were widespread, including numismatics, theology, but above all antiquities and natural history. Thus he gave hospitality and help to Robert Plot while he wrote his Natural History of Staffordshire from 1679, he was a convivial man. He was buried at Ingestre. On 14 Sept. 1668, he married Anne, eldest daughter of Sir Edward Bagot, 2nd Baronet, of Blithfield, leaving an only daughter, who died in her infancy. The Ingestre estate passed to his cousin Walter Chetwynd, created Viscount Chetwynd.
Goodwin, Gordon. "Chetwynd, Walter". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 10. London: Smith, Elder & Co. M. W. Greenslade, ‘Chetwynd, Walter ’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed 16 November 2008 M. W. Greenslade, The Staffordshire historians, chaps. 4–5
George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys
George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem, PC known as "the Hanging Judge", was a Welsh judge. He became notable during the reign of King James II, his conduct as a judge was to enforce royal policy, resulting in a historical reputation for severity and bias. Jeffreys was born at the family estate of Acton Hall, in Wrexham, in North Wales, the sixth son of John and Margaret Jeffreys, his grandfather, John Jeffreys, had been Chief Justice of the Anglesey circuit of the Great Sessions. His father John Jeffreys, was a Royalist during the English Civil War, but was reconciled to the Commonwealth and served as High Sheriff of Denbighshire in 1655, his brothers were people of note. Thomas Sir Thomas, was English Consul in Spain and a Knight of Alcántara. William was vicar of Holt, near Wrexham, from 1668 to 1675, his younger brother, made a good ecclesiastical career, becoming Vice-Dean of Canterbury in 1685. George was educated at Shrewsbury School from 1652 to 1659, his grandfather's old school, where he was periodically tested by Philip Henry, a friend of his mother.
He attended St Paul's School, from 1659 to 1661 and Westminster School, from 1661 to 1662. He became an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1662, leaving after one year without graduating, entering the Inner Temple for law in 1663. Jeffreys after being granted the title 1st Baron of Wem, took the residence of Lowe Hall in Wem, Shropshire; the extant Wem Hall was built in 1666, although it has subsequently been remodelled. He had Bulstrode Park built for him in 1686. In 1667, he married Needham, by whom he had seven children, she was the daughter of the impoverished vicar of Thomas Neesham. A story is published, that Jeffreys sought to marry a daughter of a rich City merchant and had a secret correspondence with her, through Sarah, her kinswoman and companion; when the merchant discovered the plot he refused his home to Sarah and George did a noble act by marrying her. They married in the church of All Hallows-by-the-Tower in the City of London, he married secondly in 1679, daughter of Sir Thomas Bloodworth, Lord Mayor of London 1665-6.
Being only 29 at the time of her second marriage, she was described as a'brisk young widow' and there were some rumours about her. She was said to have a formidable temper: Jeffreys' family went in awe of her, it was said she was the only person he was afraid of. A popular ballad joked that while St. George had killed a dragon and thus saved a maiden in distress, Sir George had missed the maiden and married the dragon by mistake, he embarked on a legal career in 1668, becoming a Common Serjeant of London in 1671. He was aiming for the post of Recorder of London, but was passed over for this in 1676 in favour of William Dolben, he turned instead to the Court and became Solicitor General to the Duke of York and of Albany, the younger brother of Charles II. Despite his Protestant upbringing, he found favour under the Roman Catholic Duke. Jeffreys distinguished himself with black humour, for example noting that two brothers convicted of stealing lead from the roof of Stepney Church had "zeal for religion...so great as to carry you to the top of the church", noting that they had narrowly avoided committing a capital offence.
Jeffreys was knighted in 1677, became Recorder of London in 1678 when Dolben resigned, by 1680 had become Chief Justice of Chester and Counsel for the Crown at Ludlow and Justice of the Peace for Flintshire. During the Popish Plot he was on the bench which condemned numerous innocent men on the perjured evidence of Titus Oates; these condemnations were remembered against him in 1685 when he secured the conviction of Oates for his perjury at the same trials. Charles II created him a baronet in 1681, two years he was Chief Justice of the King's Bench and a member of the Privy Council. Jeffreys became Lord Chief Justice in 1683 and presided over the trial of Algernon Sidney, implicated in the Rye House Plot. Sidney was convicted and executed: Jeffreys' conduct of the trial caused some unease, in particular his ruling that while two witnesses were required in a treason trial, the Crown had only one, Sidney's own writings on republicanism were a second "witness" on the ground that "to write is to act".
John Evelyn, meeting him at a wedding two days thought his riotous behaviour unbecoming to his office so soon after Sidney's trial. Jeffreys' elevation was seen by many as a reward for the successful conviction of Lord Russell in connection with the same conspiracy as Sidney: Jeffreys, who had led for the prosecution at Russell's trial, replaced Sir Francis Pemberton, who had presided at the same trial and made clear his doubts about Russell's guilt, much to the King's displeasure. Jeffreys conducted the prosecution with far more dignity and restraint than was usual with him, stressing to the jury that they must not convict unless they were certain of Russell's guilt. A less well known act of Jeffreys occurred on assize in Bristol in 1685 when he made the mayor of the city sitting robed beside him on the bench, go into the dock and fined him £1000 for being a'kidnapping knave'; some Bristol traders were known at the time to kidnap their own countrymen and ship them away as slaves. James II, following his accession to the throne, named Jeffreys as Lord Chancellor in 1685, elevated him to the peerage as Baron Jeffreys of Wem.
In 1687 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire a