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Transcript of Medieval Timeline
Vikings (AD 790 to 1066)
The Battle of Hastings (1066)
The First Crusade (1096 to 1099)
The First Crusade was an attempt to take control of Jerusalem. After the Muslims regained control of Jerusalem in 1076, any Christian who wanted to pay a pilgrimage (a journey to a shrine or sacred place) to the Holy Land faced a very difficult time. Muslims soldiers prevented Christian from entering Jerusalem by making the journey hard and filled with many dangers. The Christians were not happy with this, and Alexius I of Constantinople (modern day Turkey) feared that his country might fall to the Muslims and he decided to call on the pope- Urban II- to help him.
Then in 1095, Urban spoke to a great crowd at Clermont in France, called a war against the Muslims so that Jerusalem would be regained for the Christian faith. Many volunteered to go fight against the Muslims; cutting red crossed and sewed them onto their tunics.
The attack and capture of Jerusalem- the Holy Land- started in the summer of 1099. Jerusalem was well defended with high walls surround around it and due to this fact; the first Crusaders attacks were unsuccessful. A monk known as Fulcher wrote about the attack to regain the Holy City as an eye-witness of all the events that took place. He claimed that the Crusaders were able to climb over the high walls of Jerusalem and with that, the Muslim defenders ran away. The Crusaders then killed anyone in their path and the streets of the Holy Land were soon covered in blood. 70,000 people were killed mercilessly, and the Crusaders took whatever they wished from what was left from the city. After the success of the Crusaders, the Holy Land was regained and the first king was Godfrey of Bouillon. The capture of Jerusalem did not get rid of all the Muslims, and the desire to wipe out Muslims led to the next Crusades.
The Norse people were more commonly known as the Vikings between the years AD 790 and 1066. The Vikings were peaceful sea traders until the 8th century. After this period of time, they terrorized many villages and monasteries around the many lands around their homeland well over the next century. The Vikings killed innocent people, raped women and kidnapped many as slaves. The loot usually consisted of mainly gold and silver items (e.g. candlesticks, plates, goblets etc...). They used chain mail and iron helmets as their armour, but this was only worn by the wealthy, which were usually the chiefs. The Viking's raids were hit and run events, often timed to cause maximum panic (e.g dawn).
Later, the Vikings started to settle in many of these villages, with many becoming Christians, founding and influencing the early growth of a number of modern cities and towns such as York in England, Dublin and Limerick in Ireland, Kiev in Ukraine and Novgorod in Russia.
The Bayeux Tapestry (1082 to 1077)
The Bayeux Tapestry depicts the history of the 11th century Norman Conquest of England from as early as when Edward the Confessor sent Harold Godwinson on a mission to France, ending with the Normans victory at Hastings in 1066. The tapestry goes on in detail about the political court events in both England and France, as well as the appearance of Haley's Comet as a superstitious sign, finally culminating in the invasion of England and centering on the Battle of Hastings in 1066, where Harold is killed and William assumes the throne. There may have been more that had depicted but the end of the tapestry is still missing.
The Bayeux tapestry is made up of eight extensive strips of unbleached linen sewn jointly to form a continuous board, stretching up to almost 70 metres long and contains 626 people, 190 horses, 37 ships and 33 buildings. The Bayeux Tapestry was made before 1082 and said to have finished in 1077; however it is unclear exactly when the Bayeux tapestry was made and finished.
The Second Crusade (1147 to 1149)
The Second Crusade, which occured between the years of 1147 and 1149, was the second crusade that was launched by the Pope to kill the Muslims who were a threat and were suspected to be planning to regain the Holy Lands. With the fall of the Country of Edessa the previous year, the Pope and many of the Christian rulers thought that military reinforcement were becoming necessary and deemed that another crusade was needed.
Within months, large armies from England, France, Germany and other nations joined together and marched to Constantinople; these armies were led by their kings. They planned to destroy Turkish armies that had been spotted the previous year, to secure the pilgrim pass, recover the Country of Edessa, and provide reinforcement to Jerusalem- which was in great danger as most of their knights had been killed during the First Crusade in 1096. Together, there were two large armies and a few smaller independent armies that were scattered throughout the Mediterranean, but all of these armies were defeated separately by the Turks upon their arrival to Anatolia. The Second Crusade was a failure due to the fact that there was no communication between the two kings. This failure had negative effects, for Jerusalem was still weakly protected- and this resulted in a call for the Third Crusade.
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The Magna Carta (1215)
The Magna Carta was first signed in June 1215 between the barons (a member of the lowest order of the British nobility) of Medieval England and King John (brother of Richard the Lionheart). The Magna Carta was one of the most important documents in Medieval England, containing a series of written promises between the king and his subjects that he, the king, would govern England and deal with its people according to the customs of feudal law. This document was an attempt by the barons to stop a king-in this King John- abusing his power with the people of England.
King John was not successful in his military campaigns and his constant demand for money and soldiers angered the barons. By 1204, King John lost his land in Northern France. With this, John increased the taxes without consulting the barons. This action was against feudal law and accepted custom. Not only this, King John angered the Roman Catholic Church as well. The pope then banned all church services in England in 1207. In 1209, the pope excommunicated King John. With this, King John had no other choice but to accept the power of the Catholic Church and give them many privileges in 1214. Also in the same year, King John had another military defeat in an attempt to regain his territory in Northern France. He returned to London demanding more taxes, but this time the barons did not listen. They rebelled against his power and in 1215; King John agreed to discuss issues with the barons. This resulted in the Magna Carta.
The Peasants Revolt (1381)
The Black Death (1348 to 1350)
The Black Death was a name given to a disease commonly known as the bubonic plague. It was an epidemic which broke out in Sicily and swept over Europe. The plague was introduced to Europe by Sicilian merchants returning from China. These merchants were soon forced back into their boats and out to sea after the locals saw the shocking conditions they were in. However, rats managed to jump off the ship and they were the ones that spread this horrible disease. At this time, the streets of Europe were filthy with the dead; the smell of rotting bodies was strong. The filth that littered the streets gave rats (from the ships from China) the perfect environment to breed; it was commonly thought that the rats caused the illness but in actual fact, it was the fleas on the rats. They spread the disease even quicker as they grew large in numbers.
The first signs of the plague were from the lumps on either the groin or armpits. After this, black sports appeared on the arms and thighs and other parts of the victim’s body. Not many people recovered with almost all dead within a span of only three days, normally without any fever.
The Black Death killed approximately 1.5 million people out of an estimated total of 4 million people between the years of 1348- 1350, a whole third of the population of Medieval England. Medieval physicians had absolutely no idea what was happen or how to cure the tumors and black spots that ravaged victim’s bodies. In towns and cities people lived closed together, having no knowledge about contagious diseases. Many people tried to escape the disease- flagellants were one of the extremes. By whipping themselves, they hoped that God would spare them and forgive their sins as this was a way of showing their love and loyalty to God. Many people turned on each other; parents abandoned children, husbands turning their backs on their dying wives.
After the Black Death in 1348, the population of Medieval England was cut down by a third, and this greatly affected the peasants because there was a huge labour storage. The food was scare due to this fact, and even thirty years later, life had not returned to normal. This all lead the Peasants Revolt in 1381.
In 1351, ‘The Statue of Labourers’ was a law that was passed at the end of the Black Death to stop the peasants taking advantage of the shortage of workers and demanding more money. Peasants were then forced to work for the same wages as before, even with the shortages. This meant that they had to work even harder and that the landowner would still earn as much as before the Black Death. Prices had also risen since the epidemic, leading to peasants suffering further from hunger since their wages could not afford much. Many peasants had to also work for free on church land, sometimes up to two days in a week. This only made life even harder for peasant since they had less time to work on their own land and provide enough food for their family.
During the period, Medieval England was still in a long war with France. Wars costed money; money which peasants had to provide through the taxes that they paid. By 1381, the peasants had enough and decided to rebel. That year in May, when a tax collector arrived at the Essex village of Fobbing to find out why the people there had not paid their tax, he was thrown out by the villages. Later in June, soldiers arrived to establish law and order- but they were thrown out too. By now, many villages had joined Essex. Together they marched to London to plead with the King to hear their complaints. On their way, the peasants destroyed the tax records and registers. The buildings which held these records were burnt down. By June the 14th, King met them at Mile End and gave them what they asked for and asked for them to go home in peace. Some of the peasants did but others returned to the city and murdered the archbishop and Treasure. The next day on June 15th, the King met the rebels again and this time killed their leader Wat Tyler, gave what the peasants asked for again and sent them home. By the summer of 1381, the revolt was over but the King, Richard II, did not keep any of his promises.
The Third Crusade (1189 to 1192)
The Hundred Years War (1337-1453)
The Battle of Crecy (26th August 1346)
The Battle of Crecy was the first major engagement of the Hundred Year War. King Edward III landed in Normandy, France in June 1346, quickly capturing Caen the 26th of July that year and traveling east toward the Seine (a 776km long river). Edward III’s army crossed the Somme after winning the Battle of Blanchetaque on August 24, the English army then camped near the Forest of Crecy. King Philip traveled to Crecy with his men after hearing this, eager to defeat the English and disappointed that he had not trapped them between the Seine and Somme. Altered by the steady approach of the French army, King Edward III divided his army and assigned the right division to his sixteen year old son Edward (The Black Prince) and the left division to the Earl of Northampton, while King Edward himself retained leadership of the reserve. These divisions were also supported by large numbers archers equipped with the English longbow.
The English army busied themselves by digging ditches in front of their position while waiting for the French army to arrive. When the French arrived, the two armies charged at one another. The English archers were able to bring down most of the attacking knights, and were at an advantage since they could fire arrows faster, with their English longbow, than the French’s bows. Cut down in number by the English archers, the felled knights and horses blocked the advance of those to the read, and as darkness fell, Philip accepted his defeat and ordered a retreat and moved back to the castle of La Boyes. During this battle, King Edward only lost 100 to 300 of his soldiers while King Philip suffered a loss of around 13,000 to 14,000.
The Battle of Poitiers (19th September 1356)
Battle of Agincourt (1415)
The War of the Roses (1455)
The Domesday Book (1085)
Joan of Arc's Execution (1431)
The Domesday Book was ordered to be made by William the Conqueror to serve the purpose of creating an accurate document that reordered in detail about the ownership of animals and land throughout the country. The Domesday Book holds in account of the landholdings and resources of the people living in the late 11th century England. This document also shows the power and strength of the William I and its commitment to the hunt for useable data. The book was able to tell William I who owed him what in tax and because the information was on record, nobody could dispute or argue against tax demand. This the main reason why the book brought doom to the people of England, and the Domesday Book soon developed a brand new nickname- ‘The Doomsday Book’. There are a total of 913 pages in the Domesday Book, in which more than two million words are written in Latin. There are a total of 13,418 settlements were reviewed and written about in this document, and the first draft was delivered in less than 9 months after the book was first commissioned. As you can imagine, the Domesday Book would have been a massive undertaking for the administrators. A huge amount of energy and resources would have gone into the information gathering and recording.
The Battle of Hastings took place in the year of 1066 for succession of the England throne. When King Edward died without children in 1066, the throne was then given to Harold Godwinson who was an English earl. However, King Edward also had a cousin: William, the Duke of Normandy. William claimed that before his death, Edward had promised the throne to him, but his claims were quickly dismissed by Harold who had no contention of letting William become king. Harold also based his claim on the close friendship that he had with Edward and his wife. On October 14th, 1066, William placed 7000 of his soldiers and began his advance on the bench of Penvensey- all while Harold was completely unaware. William’s army then set up and battled the next day, burning down south and south-eastern England at William’s command. By Christmas, William was crowned King of England..
The Hundred Years’ War was a series of wars between England and France during the years of 1337- 1453 for control of the French throne; going back as far as to the reign of William the Conqueror who became king in 1066 after his victory at the Battle of Hastings. William that Conqueror united England with Normandy in France while he was in his rule, and he ruled both. In 1328, Charles IV of France died, and since he did not have any sons to take over as King, Edward III, son of Isabelle the sister of Charles, thought that he should be crowned king. However, the French choose a cousin of Charles, Philip, to be crowned as king.
Edward was angered by this, and by 1337, he declared a war against Philip’s right to the French throne and raised an army. Over the one hundred years, the two countries fought over control of the French throne, the certain areas of land, valuable wood trade and the support for Scotland by the French.
The Children's Crusade (1212)
The Children’s crusade was a strong indicate of the religious faith in Christians and how much Jerusalem, the Holy land, meant to them; taking place after the Fourth Crusade. In 1212, two armies- one from France, the other from Germany- set off on a crusade to the Holy Land to fight the Muslims. The only odd thing about this army was that it was made entirely of young children, whom all were convinced that they were protected by God and travelled to the Holy Land to take Jerusalem back for the Christians. Stephen of Cloyes, a boy of 12 years, led this army of children, having a peasant’s background and not being able to read or write. Stephen was able to persuade 30,000 children to go to the Holy Land and to capture Jerusalem- even despite the King’s warning to stay away until he was older. As the army of children marched south through France, they had no idea what to expect. Many of the children had never walked such a long distance before and many dropped out or died of exhaustion during the journey from Vendome to Marseilles. After this, the children boarded seven boats in Marseilles that was the last that was heard of them. Many years later, a priest returned from his travels in northern Africa and he claimed to have met some of the surviving children, whom were now adults. He claimed that two of the seven ships had sun, killing everyone on board while pirates captured the other five ships and the children were sold into slavery. There is still no proof if his account of the tale is true.
There was also a Children’s Crusade in Germany much reflecting the one in France. This crusade was also in 1212 and was led by a boy named Nicholas who had 20,000 followers. Much like the crusade in France, this one ended in a disaster as well.
The Battle of Poitiers was the second major engagement of the Hundred Year’s War. After six whole years without war, Edward, better known as the Black Prince, now 26 years of age, raided France in 1356. The king of France, John II pursued Edward and outside of Poitiers the forces met and the French quickly dismounted and attacked. The French’s efforts almost succeed but Edward’s army was able to break the French line and counterattack. During the battle, the King of France was captured along with two thousand members of the French aristocracy, and they were taken back to England. The English demanded the French to cough up an enormous ransom for their safe return, something they could not afford. The French were paralysed without a king, and didn’t mount a counter-attack until the 1370’s.
The War of the Roses was a civil war in England that lasted from the years of 1455-1487. Throughout these thirty years, more destruction was brought to England than even the one Hundred Year War in the previous century, since most of the One Hundred Year Old War took place in France, meaning that most of the military damage affected the French peasants rather than the English. This battle was to win the English throne between the descendents of Edward III and the families descended from Henry IV: the House of Lancaster and the House of York. The War of Roses was given its name based to the badges worn by the two sides: the red rose for the Lancastrians and the white rose for the Yorkists. There were no battle fought until the year of 1455, and the cause of the beginning of warfare goes back as far as to the reign of Edward III and the battle for power between his sons after his death. Since his eldest son, Edward or better known as the Black Prince, died during the plague of 1367, the Black Prince’s son, Richard II became king. However, since Richard II was only 10 at the time, was too young to rule and so his uncle, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, took over. Richard II rebelled against his uncle as he grew older and made decisions that the most powerful men in the country disapproved of.
In 1399, John of Gaunt died and his son, Henry IV, raised an army, forcing Richard II to surrender. After this, the throne was given to Henry IV. Richard II was then imprisoned in Pontefract castle and mysteriously died in February 1400. Henry IV faced many challenged during his rule, since he was not a natural successor like Richard II. When he died in 1413, the country was at peace and his son Henry V, succeeded without any objection. Henry V was a strong leader, winning many battles (e.g. The Battle of Agincourt in 1415), conquered Normandy and Rouen for England and joined England and France through marriage .Henry V died in 1422 and the throne was given to his son Henry VI. Since Henry VI was only four months old, his father’s brother ruled England and France. However, the French monarchy was restored when Joan of Arc raised an army against the English. The first battle of the War of Roses took place at St Albans on 22nd May 1455. The Yorkists defeated the King’s army and Henry VI was injured and taken prisoner. In 1455, Richard Duke of York was made protector of England since the King was injured. In 1456, Henry recovered and retook the throne. There were further battles in 1459 and Richard was killed.
Then in 1461, Richard’s son Edward defeated the King’s army and took the King prisoner and made himself King Edward IV. He remained king until his sudden death in 1483. Edward IV had two sons who were both too young, and were taken to the Tower of London in 1483 and mysteriously disappeared. It was believed that their uncle (Richard III) killed them. Richard III was killed by Henry Tudor in 1485, and the Yorkists were defeated. Henry Tudor then crowned himself king, Henry VII, and married Edward IV’s daughter, Elizabeth of York- a move that ended the War of Roses.
The Third Crusade (also known as the King’s Crusade) was a military expedition to recapture the Jerusalem, the Holy Land, after the Muslims under Saladin had taken Jerusalem in 1187- sharing the same goal as the previous crusade. Richard the Lionhearted, the king of England, Philippe Augustus, the king of France and Frederic Barbarossa, king of Germany and Holy Romance Emperor, united together and went to Jerusalem. However, the King of Germany drowned in a creek while taking bath and most of his soldiers returned home. Richard and Philippe’s armies went by boat to Jerusalem. Richard the Lionheart was able to conquer the island of Cyprus on his way to Jerusalem. Philippe soon grew tired of the crusade and returned home to France, leaving Richard and his English soldiers alone: now they couldn’t defeat Saladin and his army. In 1192, Saladin made peace with his own terms. Christian pilgrims could come and go freely to Jerusalem, and Saladin promised to not attack the Christian kingdom. During his journey home across Germany, Richard the Lionheart was captured by the new German emperor, Heinrich VI. Richard was kept in jail, and Heinrich sent messengers to Richard’s brother John demanding a ransom in exchange for the safe return of their king. John managed to pay, and Richard returned home in 1194. This failure led to the Fourth Crusade six years later.
King Henry V and his army landed in France on the August 14th near the mouth of the Seine River, with the main goal of regaining English territory lost to France over a period of centuries. However, during the English army’s journey, the French were able to move ahead and blocked Henry IV’s path at Agincourt. On the morning of October 25, the two armies stood facing each other. The Majority of Henry IV’s army was made of archers, while the French army had both knights on foot and horseback, supported by archers. It was no doubt that the English were outnumbered. The French however were met with another disadvantage, due to the stormy night before and the limited space, they fell over in the mud and were unable to swing their swords effectively, for the fear of hitting their comrades be hide them. Since the English had many archers (not requiring movement), they were able to fire storms of arrows on the French and avoid falling in the mud. In the end, the English had a easy win- leaving the French devastated.
Siege of Orleans (1428-1429)
The Siege of Orleans was the turning point of the Hundred Year’s War. The French had a victory in this battle, gripping the upper hand after over 80 years of warfare with the English. Thomas de Montacute and 5000 English soldiers began the Siege of Orleans, continuing on for months following this. Then, Joan of Arc appears at the court of Charles, asking to lead a relief force in April to which Charles agrees to. Joan attacks the English with a force from Orleans, forcing the English away from their position. The following day, the English abandoned the Siege, with the French holding military advantages.
Joan of Arc was only a 17 year old peasant girl, who led a French force in relieving the city of Orleans. At the young age of 16, Joan claimed that she heard voices telling her to aid Charles in gaining the French throne and banishing the English from France. Charles was convinced by this, providing Joan with troops. During the next five weeks, Joan of Arc led the French forces to various victories over the English and Charles VII was crowned king of France. In May 1430, Joan was captured by Bourguignon soldiers while leading a military expedition and was sold to the English, who put her on trail. She was accused of being a heretic and a witch, and on May 30th 1431, burned at the stake at Rouen. Over hundreds of years later in 1920, Joan was finally recognized as a saint.
The Great Famine (1311 to 1315)
The Great Famine of 1311 to 1315 was a natural disaster that greatly affected northern Europe. In the 1310’s, the climate was bizarre: having rained heavily constantly for much of the summer of 1314 and most of 1315 and 1316. This affected peasants, since crops and livestock drowned in the waterlogged fields. Not only this, the Great Famine also killed at least five percent of Medieval England’s population. The other parts of Europe were affected greatly as well, with death tolls around England’s. By the spring of 1317, all social classes were suffering, especially the peasants. Draft animals were slaughtered; infants and younger children were abandoned on church doors and the side of roads. Elderly would starve themselves to provide for the younger members of the family who had to work in the fields. There were reports of cannibalism, and even infanticide.
The Battle of Bosworth (August 22nd 1485)
The Battle of Bosworth was fought on the 22nd August 1485. Henry Tudor had marched with his army from Milford Haven, Wales where he landed 2,000 men. The Battle of Bosworth was a battle that ended the Richard III’s rule and led Henry Tudor to become King Henry VII- the first of the Tudor monarchs. Charles VIII of France financed Henry’s campaign, hoping that a conflict in England would divert attention from his intention to take Brittany. Henry travelled with 500 of his followers and 1500 French soldiers, landing at Milford Haven on August 7th. Henry then won support from many influential people who helped his cause, and was provided with another 5,000 men, while Richard’s army was approximately around 12,000. On the 22nd of August, the battle began. Henry’s army had to charge up a hill to attack Richard’s army, and sustained heavy casualties. However, Henry had archers that inflicted damages on Richard’s army who suffered just as much. The battle lasted for two to three hours, Richard was killed and his forces broken up and fled. The defeat of Richard ended his reign, and so began the reign of the Tudors. The Battle of Bosworth was also the last signigcant battle of the War of Roses.
The Fourth Crusade (1204)
The Fourth Crusade was called to recapture the Muslims-controlled Jerusalem, initiated by the Pope Innocent III in 1202. The crusaders who arrived in Venice expected to invade the Holy Land through Egypt but the Venetians of this crusade took control and diverted the crusade toward Constantinople. The great city was then mercilessly sack in 1204, leading to a form a grudge between Eastern and Western Christians. The Fourth Crusade is also seen as one of the final acts in the Great Schism between the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church, and a key turning point in the decline of the empire and of Christianity in the Near East.
The Fifth Crusade (1217 to 1221)
The Fifth Crusade from the years of 1217- 1221 was another attempt to recover the Holy Land by first conquering the powerful Ayyubid state in Egypt, led by the kings of Hungary and Cyprus. After the disaster of the Fourth Crusade, where the crusaders did not reach their destination- the Holy Land- but also attacked by their fellow Christians, Egypt was united as ever. In 1213, Pope Innocent II called another crusade, not wanting a defeat- especially after their defeat in the Second, Third and Fourth Crusades. The leaders of the armies forgot to take the flooding of the Nile River into account, and many Christians retreated. So in the end, the strength of the army that was form was wasted, since all their efforts resulted into nothing.
The Renaissance (1350 to 1550)
The Renaissance Period (1350-1550) was the transition period between the Medieval Era and the modern world. The Renaissance began in Italy, Florence when the Bubonic Plague (The Black Death) changed the economic system and the decline of feudalism in Western Europe. The Renaissance changed the way people thought; they studied the writings and works of the Greeks and the Roman, realizing that earlier civilizations had lived differently. This new kind of thinking was called Humanism, and they no longer believed that life was supposed to be hard. People started to think that life could be enjoyable and they could have comforts, and there was an increase in people wanting to be educated in art, music, and science that could make life better for everyone. Florence then became a very rich city, with wealthy businessmen and merchants who were able to hire artisans and craftspeople. This only inspired completion among the artists and thinker. Art began to flourish and new thoughts began to emerge.
William the Conqueror (1066 to 1087)
King William I of England was not only known as William the Conqueror but also known as William the Bastard. He was born in Falaise in 1028, and his parents were unmarried, resulting in his nickname. His father was Robert the first, the sixth Duke of Normandy and his mother was named Herleva, the daughter of a Tanner called Fulbert. King William’s father died in 1035, and William became the Duke of Normandy only at the age of seven years old. Since he was so young and the fact that he was born out of marriage, made many lords in Normandy disapprove of him ruling them. The lords then tried to kill him in the year of 1040, but that attempt was fruitless. In 1047, the lords in western Normandy rebelled against him again- ending in a failure again.
Edward the Confessor was William’s cousin, and he promised William the throne of England after his death. There was only one problem- there were no other witnesses to this meeting. When Edward died, the throne was given Harold Godwinson. This led to the Battle of Hastings: a fight over the throne of England. William the Conqueror was the victor at the Battle of Hastings, introducing modern castle building techniques into Medieval England, and by the time of his death in 1087, he had financially tied down many people with the Domesday Book. William died after suffering from major internal injuries when his horse, scared by the embers in a burning Norman village, reared and rammed the saddle into William’s stomach. Several days later, he died and was buried in the ground without a coffin- since he could not fit inside.
King William II, Rufus (1087-1100)
William II was the second surviving son of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders, having the sternness and military of his father but not the same sense of justice. William Rufus or also known as the Red was born in 1056, and was educated by Lanfranc of Pavia as a child. William II’s court was renowned for its brutality and was very unpopular with the Church. Unlike his father, William the Conqueror, William II was not a committed Christian. His father’s policy of spending huge sums of money on the Church was reversed. When William II needed raise money, he raided monasteries. On the 2nd August 1100, King Rufus went hunting at Brokenhurst in the New Forest. During this hunt, Walter Tirel fired an arrow at a stag. The arrow missed the stag and hit William II in the chest. Within minutes the king was dead.
King Henry I (1100 to 1135)
King Henry the First was the younger brother of King William Rufus, but with a keen sense of justice. The first seven years of his rule was spent in protecting England and then conquering Normandy from his eldest brother Duke Robert. He ruled like his father and looked secure both in England and on the Continent until 1120 when his inky legitimate son and heir was killed in a tragedy, King Henry then settled the Welsh rebellion of his brother’s reign and fortified Wales with many castles. The end of King Henry I’s reign was dominated by a succession crisis where Henry forced his barns to support his daughter, Matilda, as heir.
King Stephen (1135 to 1141)
The Empress Matilda (1141 to 1142)
Stephen was born in 1097 in Blois,, France and was the son of the Count of Blois and Adela, the daughter of William the Conqueror. He was sent to England to be raised at the court by his uncle, Henry I. Stephen and other nobles had pledged to support Henry’s daughter, Matilda, as Henry’s successor- no one was happy that they would be ruled by a woman. Consequently, King Henry I died in December 1135 and the leading lords and bishops made Stephen the new king. Matilda landed in England in 1139 and a civil war disrupted the country with the fighting between Stephen and forces loyal to Matilda. Stephen was briefly taken prisoner and Matilda was declared Queen until she was defeated at the Battle of Farringdon in 1145. Stephen was released from captivity a year later and continued his reign from the years of 1142 to 1154.
Matilda, or also known as Maud, was born on the August of 1102, the daughter of King Henry I of England his Queen, Edith of Scotland. Matilda was sent to marry the Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich V at the age of twelve, and becoming the Empress of Germany. The pair was married for some years, but produced no children. At the age of 23, her elder brother Prince William drowned at sea in a wreck of the White Ship. Since William was to be Henry I’s heir, Henry found himself in an increasingly unstable throne. At this time, Matilda’s husband died and her father arranged a marriage for her with Geoffrey V Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou, who was eleven years younger than Maud. The couple produced a son and heir, Henry, who was born in 1133. When King Henry I passed away in 1135, Matilda’s cousin Stephen seized the throne and declared himself as the King of England, This pushed England into a civil war with Matilda’s and Stephen’s armies. King Stephen was captured by Matilda’s army and Matilda was declared Queen for only a brief year before Stephen was realised from captivity and continuing his reign. Matilda died on the 10th September, 1167 in Norte Dame, France.
King Henry II (1154 to 1189)
King Henry II of England was the son of Matilda and Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou. Henry succeeded King Stephen in October 1154, after surviving a poisoning attempt by Stephen’s supporters. He ruled the Empire of Britain, Normandy, Anjou, Maine, Poitou and Aquitaine and was the first king of England to add Ireland to his domains. Henry proved to be worthy king to be reckoned with, and for 35 years he dominated Western Christendom as the most influential monarch of the day. He restrained the power of the barons, but his attempt to bring the church courts under control was abandoned after the murder of Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170. The English conquest of Ireland began during Henry's reign. On several occasions his sons rebelled, notably 1173–74. Henry was succeeded by his son Richard (I) the Lionheart.
King Richard the First, also known as King Richard the Lionheart, was the second and eldest surviving son of Henry II. He was born on 8th September 1157 in Oxford, and as king, his main ambition was to join the Third Crusade that was prompted by Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem in 1187. To finance the Third Crusade, King Richard I sold shrieffdoms and other offices in 1990 and departed for Jerusalem, the Holy Land. King Richard married Berengaria, the daughter of the King of Navarre in the year of 1991. During the journey home after making a truce with Saladin at the Holy Land, he was imprisoned by the Duke Leopold of Austria before being handed over to the German emperor Henry VI, who ransomed him for a huge sum of money. In February 1194, Richard was released after the ransom was paid. He at once returned to England and was crowned for the second time but the next month he went to Normandy and never returned. He was succeeded by his younger brother John, who had spent the years of Richard's absence scheming against him.
King Richard the Lionheart (1189 to 1199
King John, Lackland (1199 to 1216)
King John, also known as Lackland or Softsword, was the youngest son of Henry II. He was born in 1167, the youngest son of Henry Ii and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and was one of the most controversial monarchs of Medieval England that was associated with the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. As a child, John tended to be overshadowed by his older brother Richard. Like his father, John developed a reputation for violent rages which lead to him foaming at the mouth. Henry left no land to John when he died so John was given the nick-name John Lackland. In 1189, all of Henry's territory went to his oldest son, Richard I, better known as Richard the Lionheart. When Richard was imprisoned by Duke Leopold of Austria as he returned from the Third Crusade, John tried to seize the crown from his brother but his attempt failed. In 1194, John was forgiven by Richard when he finally came home.
However, in the year of 1199, Richard was killed in France and John became the king of England. His reign started in an unfortunate way. In 1202, John's nephew, Arthur of Brittany, was murdered. Many in Brittany believed that John was responsible for his murder and they rebelled against John. In 1204, John had no choice but to retreat when his army was defeated in Brittany. His military standing among the nobles fell and he was given a new nickname - John Softsword. The defeat in north France was a major blow for John and a costly one. To pay for the defeat, John increased taxes which were not popular with anybody other than John and his treasurers.
King Henry III (1216 to 1272)
King Henry was born on the first of October 1207, in Winchesters and was the son of King John. Henry was nine when he came to the throne when his father died. However, the country was ruled by a series of regencies until 1234, when Henry was old enough to rule. The problems began as early as 1237, when his barons objected to the influence of Henry’s Savoyard relatives. The marriage arranged in 1238 between Henry's sister and English nobleman Simon de Montfort only made relationship between Henry and his leading nobles worse. He spent much of his reign fighting the barons over Magna Carta and the royal rights, and was imprisoned by rebel leader Simon de Montfort, leader of the baronial cause. Henry passed away peacefully in November 1272, leaving the government of the kingdom in the hands of the regency council until the return of his son Edward two years later.
Edward I was the first son of Henry III, born in June 1237 at Westminster. He married Eleanor of Castile in the year of 1254, and spending his early adulthood taking place against a backdrop of a civil strife between his father and rebel barons. Edward left England to join the Eight Crusade in 1270, and when his father died in 1272, he returned to London, arriving in August 1274. The first part of his reign was dominated by his campaigns in Wales. He invaded in 1277, defeated the Welsh leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffyd and built a ring of castles to enforce his authority. Edward invaded and conquered Scotland. Opposition gathered around William Wallace, but he was captured by the English and executed in 1305. In 1306, the Scottish nobleman Robert the Bruce rebelled. Edward was on his way to fight Bruce when he died, on 7 July 1307.
King Edward I, the Hammer of the Scots (1272 to 1307)
King Edward II (137 to 1327)
Edward the Second was the successor f King Edward I, but was unlike him in many ways. Edward had few of his father’s features and much more resembled his grandfather. He spent most of his time was living on his own play farm for fun while the government of the kingdom was left to less than honest favourites. As a result his reign was punctuated by explosions amongst his discontented baronage and the rise of a new movement called the Ordainers, who in many respects were the descendants of the reformers of 1258. The Ordainers were however, defeated in 1322, but Edward failed to capitalize on his success. Instead he was overthrown by his queen.
King Edward III was only 14 when he was crowned King and assumed government in his own right in 1330. He was the son of Edward II and in 1337 he laid claim to the French throne and so began the Hundred Years’ War. Edward was the victor of Halidon Hill in 1333, Sluys in 1340, Crécy in 1346, and at the siege of Calais 1346–47, and created the Order of the Garter. He was succeeded by his grandson Richard II. King Edward the III of England, provoked by French attacks on lands he owns in France, decides upon a gamble. He declares himself King of France, arguing that he can legally claim the French throne through line of descent via his mother, Isabella of France. Edward II played an important part in the Hundred Year’s War throughout the years.
King Edward III (1327 to 1337)
King Richard II (1377 to 1399)
Richard was the grandson of King Edward III and the son of Edward, the Black Prince and was born on 6 January 1367 in Bordeaux. Richard was the younger brother of Edward, but due to his elder brother’s death, Richard- at the mere age of four- became second in line to the throne after his father. However, Richard became first in line after his father death and so Richard succeed to the throne at the age of ten. The first major challenge of the reign was the Peasants' Revolt in 1381. The young king played a major part in the successful suppression of this crisis; he made various promises to the rebels and along with the death of Wat Tyler, the Peasant Revolt ended. The new king was soon set on a path of tyranny and clashed often with his parliament, being defeated by them in 1388 at the battle of Radcot Bridge. Declaring himself of age, he then proceeded to rule by fear and attempted to reduce parliament to a talking shop. In 1399 Henry Bolingbroke landed at Ravenspur while the king was in Ireland, and rapidly had the country rise in Henry Bolingbroke’s favour. At the end of September Henry Bolingbroke, in English rather than French, declared himself king as heir of Henry III and by right of conquest. Richard died at Pontefract Castle on the 14th February 1400.