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Уƒинасти€ ѕлантагенетов в истории јнглииФ

—тудент 301 а/и группы

ѕетрова ё.ј.

Ќаучный руководитель

‘ролова ».√.

ћќ— ¬ј-2002

Institute of foreign Languages

Faculty У Languages and CulturesФ


ЂThe Plantagenet Dynasty in the History

of Great BritainФ

Student 301 a/i group

Petrova J.

Scientific supervisor

Frolova I.G.



Introduction 4-5

Part I. The early Plantagenets ( Angeving kings) 6-16

1. Henry II 7-11

2. Richard I Coeur de Lion 12-13

3. John Lackland 14-16

Part II. The last Plantagenets 17-30

1. Henry III 17-18

2. Edward I 19-20

3. Edward II 21-22

4. Edward III 23-24

5. Richard II 25-30

Conclusion 31-33

Bibliography 34-35

References 36-38


The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a

monarchy, now Parliamentary and once an absolute one. ThatТs why the

history of the country closely connected with the history of Royal


Speaking about royal dynasties in England we should take in mind the

fact, that the first one appeared in the country with the Norman invasion

in 1066. In the ancient time after Anglo-Saxon invasion the country

consisted of small kingdoms each ruled by its own king. Their

representatives (Chieftains of the kingdoms)Ц the Witan Ц chose king of

England (for example Edward the Confessor). It was William the Conqueror,

who began the first dynasty Ц House of Normandy. William I the Conqueror

ЦDuke of Normandy (1035-1087) invaded England, defeated and killed his

rival Harold at the Battle of Hastings and became King of England. With the

coronation of William the new period in history of England began. England

turned into a centralizes , strong feudal monarchy. The period of small

kingdoms ended and started the Era of Absolute Monarchy. William was Duke

of Normandy and at the same time the King of England. He controlled two

large areas: Normandy Ц inherited from his father and England Ц he won it.

Both areas were his personal possession. To William the only difference was

that in France he had a King above him and he had to serve him. In England

he had nobody above him. Nobody could say who he was Ц an Englishman or a

Frenchman. The Norman Conquest of England was completed by 1072 aided by

the establishment of feudalism under which his followers were granted land

in return for pledges of service and loyalty. As King William was noted for

his efficient harsh rule. His administration relied upon Norman and other

foreign personnel especially Lanfranc Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1085

started Domesday Book. In this book there was the reflection of what

happened to England.

The next kings were kings of PlantagenetТs dynasty.

I have chosen the history of this dynasty as a subject for my course

paper because, on the one hand, being a student of the English language I

canТt but be interested in the history of this country, and, on the other

hand, not so much is written about the PlantagenetТs kings, among which

there were such world-known persons as Richard-the-Lion Heart and John


Part I. The early Plantagenets (Angeving kings)

House of Plantagenet.

УThe Plantagenet dynasty took its name form the Уplanta GenestaФ

(Latine), or broom, traditionally an emblem of the counts of Anjou.

Geoffrey is the only true Plantagenet so-called, because he wore a spring

of broom-genet in his cap. It was a personal nickname, such as HenryТs

УCurt-mantedФ. Soon this nick-name habit was to die, to be replaced by

names taken from oneТs birthplace. Members of this dynasty ruled over

England from 1154 till 1399. However, in conventional historical usage ,

Henry II (son of Count Geoffrey of Anjou) and his sons Richard I and John

are Normandy termed the Angeving kings, and their successors, up to Richard

II, the Plantagenets. The term Plantagenet was not used until about 1450,

when Richard, Duke of York, called himself by it in order to emphasize his

royal descent from Edward IIIТs fifth son, Edmund of Langley.Ф(1)

Henry II (1154-1189 AD)

УHenry II, the first Plantagenet, born in 1133, was the son of

Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count Of Anjou, and Matilda, the daughter of Henry I.

Henry II, the first and the greatest of three Angevin kings of England,

succeeded Stephen in 1154. Aged 21, he already possessed a reputation for

restless energy and decisive actions. He was to inherit vast lands. As

their heir to his mother and his father he held Anjou (hence Angevin) ,

Maine, and Touraine; as the heir to his brother Geoffrey he obtained

Brittany; as the husband of Eleanor, the divorced wife of Louis VII of

France, he held Aquitaine, the major part of southwestern France.

Altogether his holdings in France were far larger than those of the French

king. They have become known as the Angevin empire, although Henry II never

in fact claimed any imperial rights or used the title of the emperor.Ф (2)

From the beginning Henry showed himself determined to assert and maintain

his rights in all his lands.

In the first decade of his reign Henry II was largely concerned with

continental affairs, though he made sure that the forged castles in

England were destroyed. Many of the earldoms created in the anarchy of

StephenТs reign were allowed to lapse. Major change in England began in the

mid 1160s. The Assize of Clarendon of 1166. , and that Northampton 10 years

later, promoted public order. Juries were used to provide evidence of what

crimes had been committed and to bring accusations. New forms of legal

actions were introduced , notably the so-called prossessory assizes, which

determined who had the right to immediate possession of land, not who had

the best fundamental right. That could be decided by the grand assize, by

means of which a jury of 12 knights would decide the case. The use of

standardized forms of edict greatly simplified judicial administration.

УReturnableФ edicts, which had to be sent back by the head to the central

administration, enabled the crown to check that its instruction were

obeyed. An increasing number of cases came before royal court rather than

private feudal courts. Henry IТs practice of sending out itinerant justices

was extended and systematized. In 1170 a major inquiry into local

administration, the Inquest of Sheriffs, was held, and many sheriffs were


There were important changes to the military system. In 1166 the

tenants in chief commandment to disclose the number of knights enfeoffed on

their lands so that Henry could take proper financial advantage of changes

that had taken place since his grandfatherТs days. Scutage (tax which

dismissed of military service) was an important source of funds, and Henry

preferred scutage to service because mercenaries were more efficient than

feudal contingents. In the Assize of Arms of 1181 Henry determined the arms

and equipment appropriate to every free man, based on his income from land.

This measure, which could be seen as a revival of the principles of the

Anglo-Saxon fyrd, was intended to provide for a local militia, which could

be used against invasion, rebellion, or for peacekeeping.

УHenry attempted to restore the close relationship between Church and

State that had existed under the Norman kings. His first move was the

appointment in 1162 of Thomas Becket as archbishop of Canterbury. Henry

assumed that Becket, who had served efficiently as chancellor since 1155

and been a close companion to him, would continue to do so as archbishop.

Becket, however, disappointed him. Once appointed archbishop, he became a

militant defender of Church against royal encroachment and a champion of

the papal ideology of ecclesiastical supremacy over the lay world. The

struggle between Henry and Becket reached a crisis at the Council of

Clarendon in 1164. In the constitution of Clarendon Henry tried to set down

in writing the ancient customs of the land. The most controversial issue

proved to be that of jurisdiction over Уcriminous clerksФ (clerics who had

committed crimes); the king demanded that such men should , after trial in

church courts, be sent for punishment in royal courts.Ф (3)

УBecket initially accepted the Constitution but would not set

his seal to it. Shortly thereafter, however, he suspended himself from

office for the sin of yielding to the royal will in the matter. Although

he failed to obtain full papal support at this stage, Alexander III

ultimately came to his aid over the Constitutions. Later in 1164 Becket was

charged with peculation of royal funds when chancellor. After Becket had

taken flight for France, the king confiscated the revenues of his province,

exiled his friends, and confiscated their revenues. In 1170 Henry had his

eldest son crowned king by the archbishop of York, not Canterbury, as was

traditional. Becket, in exile, appealed to Rome and excommunicated the

clergy who had taken part in the ceremony. A reconciliation between Becket

and Henry at the end of the same year settled none of the points at issue.Ф

(4) When Becket returned to England, he took further measures against the

clergy who had taken part in the coronation. In Normandy the enraged king,

hearing the news, burst out with the fateful words that incited four of his

knights to take ship for England and murder the archbishop of Canterbury


Almost overnight the martyred Thomas became a saint in the eyes of

the people. Henry repudiated responsibility for the murder and reconciled

himself with the church. But despite various royal promises to abolish

customs injurious to the church, royal control of the church was little

affected. Henceforth criminous clerks were to be tried in church courts,

save for offenses against the forest laws. Disputes over ecclesiastical

patronage and church lands that were held on the same terms as lay estates

were, however, to come under royal jurisdiction. Finally Henry did penance

at Canterbury, allowing the monks to scourge him. But with Becket out of

the way, it proved possible to negotiate most of the points at issue

between church and state. The martyred archbishop, however, was to prove a

potent example for future prelates.

Rebellion of HenryТs sons and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

HenryТs sons, urged on by their mother and by a coalition of HenryТs

enemies, raised a rebellion throughout his domains in 1173. King William I

the Lion of Scotland joined the rebel coalition and invaded the north of

England. Lack of cooperation among the rebels, however, enabled Henry to

defeat them one at a time with a mercenary army. The Scottish king was

taken prisoner at Alnwick. Queen Eleanor was retired to polite imprisonment

for the rest of HenryТs life. The kingТs sons and the baronial rebels were

treated with leniency, but many baronial castles were destroyed following

the rising. УA brief period of amity between Henry and Louis of France

followed, and the years between 1175 and 1182 marked the zenith of HenryТs

prestige and power.Ф (5) In 1183 the younger Henry again tried to organize

opposition to his father, but he died in June of the year. Henry spent the

last years of his life locked in combat with the new French king, Philip II

Augustus, with whom his son Richard had entered into an alliance. Even his

youngest son, John, deserted him in the end. In 1189 Henry died a broken

man, disappointed and defeated by his sons and by the French king.


Henry II was succeeded by his son Richard I, nicknamed the Lion Heart.

Richard was born in 1157, and spent much of his youth in his motherТs court

at Poitiers. УRichard, a renowned and skillful warrior, was manly

interested in the Crusade to recover Jerusalem and in the struggle to

maintain his French holdings against Philip Augustus.Ф (6) He spent only

about six mouths in England during his reign. УDuring his frequent absences

he left a committee in charge of the realm. The chancellor William

Longchamp, bishop of Ely, dominated the early part of the reign until

forced into exile by baronial rebellion in 1191. Walter of Coutances,

archbishop of Rouen, succeeded Longchamp, but the most important and abled

of RichardТs ministers was Hubert Walter, archbishop of Canterbury,

justicial from 1193 to 1198, and chancellor from 1199 to 1205. With the

king's mother , Eleanor, he put down a revolt by RichardТs brother John in

1193 with strong and effective measures. But when Richard returned from

abroad, he forgave John and promised him the succession.Ф (7)

УThis reign saw some important innovations in taxation and military

organization. Warfare was expensive, and in addition Richard was captured

on his return from the Crusade by Leopold V of Austria and held for a high

ransom of 150 000 marks. Various methods of raising money were tried: an

aid or scutage; tax on plow lands; a general tax of a fourth of revenues

and chattels (this was a development of the so-called Saladin Tithe raised

earlier for the Crusade); and a seizure of the wool crop of Cistercian and

Gilbertine houses. The ransom, although never paid in full, caused

RichardТs government to become highly unpopular.Ф (8) Richard also faced

some unwillingness on the part of his English subjects to serve in France.

A plan to raise a force of 300 knights who would serve for a whole year met

with opposition led by the bishops of Lincoln and Salisbury. Richard was,

however, remarkably successful in mastering the resources, financial and

human, of his kingdom in support of his wars. It can also be argued that

his demands on England weakened that realm unduly and that Richard left his

successor a very difficult legacy.

John Lackland (1199-1216 AD)

Richard, mortally wounded at a siege in France in 1199, was succeeded

by his brother John, one of the most detested of English kings. John was

born on Christmas Eve 1167, Henry IIТs youngest son. JohnТs reign was

characterized by failure. Yet, while he must bear a heavy responsibility

for his misfortunes, it is only fair to recognize that he inherited the

resentment that had built up against his brother and father. Also while

his reign ended in disaster, some of his financial and military measures

anticipated positive development in Edward IТs reign.

Loss of French possessions.

УJohn had nothing like the military ability or reputation of his brother.

He could win a battle in a fit of energy, only to lose his advantage in a

spell of indolence. After repudiating his first wife, Isabella of

Gloucestor, John married the fiancйe of Hugh IX the Brown of the Lusignan

family, one of his vassals in Poitou. For this offense he was summoned to

answer to Philip II , his feudal ovelord for his holdings in France. When

John refused to attend , his land in France were declared forfeit.Ф (9) In

the subsequent war he succeeded in capturing his nephew Arthur of Brittany,

whom many in Anjou and elsewhere regarded as Richard IТs rightful heir.

Arthur died under mysterious and suspicious circumstances. But once the

great castle of Chateau Gaillard, Richard IТs pride and joy, had fallen in

March 1204, the collapse of Normandy followed swiftly. УBy 1206 all that

was left of the inheritance of the Norman kings was the Channel Islands.

John, however, was determined to recover his losses.Ф(10)

Revolt of the barons and Magna Carta.

For 200 years of ruling of Norman kings the country was ruled over on such

principles: King took money from barons, especially for wars. Those who

refused to pay were arrested and kept in prison and they could not defend

themselves. Their children or their relatives had to pay for them. The end

of such situation came at reign of John Lackland. He was very unpopular

with his barons. In 1215 John called on for his barons to fight for him in

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