|The Vicar of Bray|
|Directed by||Henry Edwards|
|Produced by||Julius Hagen|
|Music by||Marcus De Wolfe|
Twickenham Film Studios
|Distributed by||Twickenham Film Distributors|
|9 May 1937|
The Vicar of Bray is a 1937 British historical film with songs, directed by Henry Edwards, and starring Stanley Holloway, Hugh Miller, Felix Aylmer and Margaret Vines.These songs include the melody and first verse of the traditional English song which gives the film its title, along with a new verse on Cromwell's rule.
During a visit from his governor in Ireland the Earl of Brendon, Charles I asks advice on finding a new tutor for his wayward son Prince Charles and accepts Brendon's recommendation of the vicar of Bray, County Wicklow. On returning to Ireland Brendon passes on news of the appointment to the vicar, who travels to London to take up the post, promising to return one day. He falls asleep during his first lesson with the Prince, allowing the latter to slip away to see his actress lover Meg Clancy. The vicar follows the Prince and mildly reprimands him before they are reconciled.
Just before the outbreak of the English Civil War, the vicar heads back to Bray, gaining a promise from his friend the Prince that he will rule mercifully when he succeeds his father. Meanwhile the Royalist Brendon finally breaks from his Parliamentarian friend Sir Richard Melross, whose son Dennis seeks the vicar's help to be married to his childhood sweetheart Norah, Brendon's daughter. The vicar accepts but Brendon discovers and breaks up the wedding ceremony before it is complete. Sir Richard is killed in the war, Charles I is executed and Dennis and Oliver Cromwell find themselves in Ireland. In a meeting arranged by Dennis, the vicar uses his blarney to convince Cromwell that he is apolitical and thus worthy of exemption from a decree dismissing all clergy appointed by Charles I.
News of the imminent Restoration reaches Ireland and Dennis accepts the vicar's entreaties not to oppose it. However, he ignores his advice to flee straight to France and instead is captured in a failed attempt to spring Norah from Brendon's castle, before being sent to the Tower of London to await execution. The vicar and Norah manage to reach Dover, where the new king has just landed. The vicar reminds him of his promise to him just before the war and gains a pardon from him for Dennis, who swears loyalty to the new king.
A 21st-century review in the Radio Times gave the film two out of five stars, writing "Mercifully this period drama is the kind of film they don't make any more, but it's not without moments of interest as a historical artefact," with the reviewer concluding "The songs are ghastly and the period trappings cheap and inaccurate, but Felix Aylmer and Garry Marsh go some way towards atoning for the film's deficiencies";while TV Guide also rates it two out of five stars, noting "An entertaining role for Holloway, but the accompanying musical numbers are pretty sour."
The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of England's governance and issues of religious freedom. It was part of the wider Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The first (1642–1646) and second (1648–1649) wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third (1649–1651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The wars also involved the Scottish Covenanters and Irish Confederates. The war ended with Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.
Oliver Cromwell was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies of the Parliament of England against King Charles I during the English Civil War, subsequently ruling the British Isles as Lord Protector from 1653 until his death in 1658. He acted simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republican commonwealth.
Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, KB, PC was an English Parliamentarian and soldier during the first half of the 17th century. With the start of the Civil War in 1642 he became the first Captain-General and Chief Commander of the Parliamentarian army, also known as the Roundheads. However, he was unable and unwilling to score a decisive blow against the Royalist army of King Charles I. He was eventually overshadowed by the ascendancy of Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Fairfax, and resigned his commission in 1646.
The Battle of Naseby took place on Saturday 14 June 1645 during the First English Civil War, near the village of Naseby in Northamptonshire. The Parliamentarian New Model Army, commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, destroyed the main Royalist army under Charles I and Prince Rupert. Defeat ended any real hope of Royalist victory, although Charles did not finally surrender until May 1646.
The Vicar of Bray is a satirical description of an individual fundamentally changing his principles to remain in ecclesiastical office as external requirements change around him. The religious upheavals in England from 1533 to 1559 made it impossible for any devout clergyman to comply with all the successive requirements of the established church. The original figure was the vicar Simon Aleyn, although clerics who faced vicissitudes resulted in revised versions of the story.
George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle JP KG PC was an English soldier, who fought on both sides during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. A prominent military figure under the Commonwealth, his support was crucial to the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, who rewarded him with the title Duke of Albemarle and other senior positions.
Henry Ireton was an English general in the Parliamentarian army during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and the son-in-law of Oliver Cromwell. He died of disease outside Limerick in November 1651.
Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery, styled Lord Broghill from 1628 to 1660, was an Anglo-Irish soldier and politician who sat in the House of Commons of England at various times between 1654 and 1679. Boyle fought in the Irish Confederate Wars and subsequently became known for his antagonism towards Irish Catholics and their political aspirations. He was also a noted playwright and writer on 17th century warfare.
"The Vicar of Bray" is an eighteenth century satirical song recounting the career of The Vicar of Bray and his contortions of principle in order to retain his ecclesiastic office despite the changes in the Established Church through the course of several English monarchs. The song is particularly interesting because of the number of allusions to English religious and political doctrines and events crammed into it, justifying the close reading and annotation given here.
The 1648 Second English Civil War was part of a series of connected conflicts in the British Isles, incorporating England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Known collectively as the 1638 to 1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms, others include the Irish Confederate Wars, the 1638 to 1640 Bishops' Wars, and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.
The Second Battle of Newbury was a battle of the First English Civil War fought on 27 October 1644, in Speen, adjoining Newbury in Berkshire. The battle was fought close to the site of the First Battle of Newbury, which took place in late September the previous year.
Cromwell is a 1970 British historical drama film written and directed by Ken Hughes. It is based on the life of Oliver Cromwell, who rose to lead the Parliamentary forces during the later parts of the English Civil War and, as Lord Protector, ruled Great Britain and Ireland in the 1650s. It features an ensemble cast, led by Richard Harris as Cromwell and Alec Guinness as King Charles I, with Robert Morley as Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester and Timothy Dalton as Prince Rupert of the Rhine.
The Battle of Rathmines was fought on 2 August 1649, near the modern Dublin suburb of Rathmines, during the Irish Confederate Wars, an associated conflict of the 1638 to 1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It has been described as the 'decisive battle of the Engagement in Ireland.'
Events from the year 1645 in England. This is the fourth year of the First English Civil War, fought between Roundheads (Parliamentarians) and Cavaliers.
Events from the year 1658 in England.
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Richard Molyneux, 1st Viscount Molyneux (1594–1636) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1614 and 1629.
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.
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