07 May 2020
The Dating Game
By Chin Chin
The dates of eight Kings already learned? Make it up to the round dozen with four more Plantagenets. Remember the rules of the game. You have to learn the dates of each king and the date of one event (to be chosen by you) in each reign. Then you can patronise whoever you like with your new-found knowledge. The next instalment takes you to 1399 with an increasing number of landmarks which are still about. Go and look at the Edward I castles in North Wales. Visit the Temple Church. Have a ball.
Edward I, 1272-1307
Edward began his reign by going on holiday. He had been over to Acre for a spot of crusading but was on his way back as a peace treaty and injuries sustained in an attempted assassination had put a stop to his campaigning. Hearing of his father’s death on the way home, he took a tour of Italy and France before arriving in his kingdom in 1274. Standing at 6’2” and with a ferocious temper he could be frightening and tore out chunks of his son Edward’s hair when the latter sought an earldom for his favourite Gaveston. On the other hand he loved his first wife Eleanor so much that he had 12 crosses erected following her death. Charing Cross has gone but those at Geddington, Hardington and Waltham Cross survive. What about:
The statute of Rhuddian 1284 which incorporated Wales into England following the defeat of the Welsh leader Llewelyn and his family? To secure his hold Edward built a series of castles, including Caernarfon, Harlech, Beaumaris and Conway, and created his baby son Edward Prince of Wales, declaring that he had been born in Wales and spoke no English.
The Auld Alliance made between France and Scotland in 1295? Edward had chosen Balliol to be King of Scotland but then overegged the pudding by trying to get the Scots to join his campaigns against the French. The Auld Alliance was the result and although Edward later crushed Scottish resistance, his approach lead to the Scots taking the French side in the hundred year’s war.
Expulsion of the Jews 1290? The game was of course to nick their assets and there were similar expulsions in France.
Edward II, 1307-1327
Everyone remembers the spectacular story of his Edward’s death. Held down while a red hot poker was pushed through a funnel up his rectum, screams heard for 30 miles from Berkeley Castle, it is hardly the equivalent of drifting away gently with the family weeping about your bed. The question is whether it is true or not, historian Ian Mortimer putting the case for a release from Berkeley followed by wanderings on the continent, which some – presumably not Edward himself – will find disappointing. Quite apart from losing Scotland, Edward had favourites, Piers Gaveston and the Despensers who he loaded with honours and power, upsetting the nobles and his wife Isabelle and leading to his being deposed. What about:
Marriage in 1308 to Isabella, daughter of Philip IV of France. On the good side that gave him an heir, Edward III. On the bad side he so upset her by showing his preference for his favourites that she began an affair with Roger Mortimer, the pair returning to dispose him and rule England in the name of her infant son.
Dissolution of the Knights Templar by Clement V in 1312? This order of military monks had already been suppressed on trumped up heresy charges in France where Philip IV bagged their assets. Much of the English property passed to the Knights Hospitaller and in England many of the Templars were acquitted of all wrongdoing.
Battle of Bannockburn 1314? Edwards defeat by Robert the Bruce lost all the Scottish conquest made by his father.
Edward III, 1327-1377
Edward was a spectacular king. His seizing of Mortimer at Nottingham castle at the age of 17 when he took power, his casual “let him win his spurs” when his son came under pressure at Crecy, his pardoning of the six burghers of Calais who had been sent out with ropes round their necks under the terms of surrender, his invention of the Order of the Garter to help cement the aristocracy into a “band of brothers”, the PR was superb, as were his victories in the hundred years war which he started with France. But in the end it went pear shaped as an increasingly sick king relied more and more on his sons. The Black Prince, ruling Aquitaine, overextended himself financially and also militarily by campaigns in Spain. John of Gaunt was unsuccessful in France. The hapless John II of France was replaced by Charles V who employed the great general du Guesclin. By the end all that remained to England were Calais, Bordeaux and Bayonne. What about:
Crecy 1346, the victory leading to the capture of Calais?
The Black Death which in 1348 killed at least one third of the population of England?
Poitiers 1356, the Black Prince’s victory at which the French King john was captured?
Richard II 1377-1399
The Black Prince having died before Edward III, his son Richard became king at the age of ten, the country being controlled by his uncles acting as regents. Still, at the age of 14 he personally defused the Peasant’s revolt by himself riding into the hostile crowd whose leader Wat Tyler had just been struck down, calling out: “I am your captain, follow me!” A good start but unfortunately Richard didn’t get on with his nobles and his confiscation, following the death of Gaunt, of the Lancaster estates, resulted in Gaunt’s heir, Henry Bolingbroke, returning from exile to depose him and grab the throne. What about:
Peasant’s Revolt 1381, in which both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord High Treasurer were murdered?
Banishing of Henry Bolingbroke 1397, which lead to the confiscation of the Lancaster estates and thus to Richard’s deposition and subsequent death?
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