Edward I Plantagenet "Longshanks (King of England)
- Born: 17 Jun 1239, Westminster, Middlesex, England
- Marriage (1): Eleanor (Alianore) De Ponthieu on 18 Oct 1254 in Burgos, Burgos, Castilla-Leon, Spain
- Marriage (2): Eleanor of Bourgogne
- Marriage (3): Eleanor (Alianore) De Ponthieu on 18 Oct 1254 in Las Huegas, Burgos, Spain
- Died: 7 Jul 1307, Burgh On Sands, Cumberland, England at age 68
The House of Plantagenet (pronounced /plæntædÊ’É¨nÉ¨t/), or First House of Anjou, was a royal house founded by Henry II of England, son of Geoffrey V of Anjou. The Plantagenet kings first ruled the Kingdom of England in the 12th century. Their male line originated in Gâtinais, while their direct ancestors had ruled the County of Anjou since the 9th century. The dynasty gained several other holdings building the Angevin Empire, which at its peak stretched from the Pyrenees to Ireland.
In total, fifteen Plantagenet monarchs, including those belonging to cadet branches, ruled England from 1154 until 1485. The initial branch ruled from Henry II of England until the deposition of Richard II of England in 1399. After that, a junior branch, the House of Lancaster, ruled for some fifty years, before clashing with another branch, the House of York, in a civil war known as the Wars of the Roses over control of England. After three ruling Lancastrian monarchs, the crown returned to senior primogeniture with three ruling Yorkist monarchs, the last of whom, Richard III, was killed in battle during 1485.
The legitimate male line went extinct with the execution of Richard's nephew, Edward, Earl of Warwick, in 1499, although an illegitimate scion, Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle, was active at the court of Henry VIII of England, and several illegitimate lines persist, including the Dukes of Beaufort.
A distinctive English culture and art emerged during the Plantagenet era, encouraged by some of the monarchs who were patrons of the "father of English poetry", Geoffrey Chaucer. The Gothic architecture style was popular during the time, with buildings such as Westminster Abbey and York Minster remodelled in that style. There were also lasting developments in the social sector, such as John of England's signing of the Magna Carta.
This was influential in the development of common law and constitutional law. Political institutions such as the Parliament of England and the Model Parliament originate from the Plantagenet period, as do educational institutions including the universities of Cambridge and Oxford.
Edward I (17 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), popularly known as Longshanks, the English Justinian, and the Hammer of the Scots (Scottorum malleus), was a Plantagenet King of England who achieved historical fame by conquering large parts of Wales and almost succeeding in doing the same to Scotland. However, his death led to his son Edward II taking the throne and ultimately failing in his attempt to subjugate Scotland. Longshanks reigned from 1272 to 1307, ascending the throne of England on 16 November, 1272 after the death of his father, King Henry III. His mother was queen consort Eleanor of Provence.
As regnal post-nominal numbers were a Norman (as opposed to Anglo-Saxon) custom, Edward Longshanks is known as Edward I, even though he was England's fourth King Edward, following Edward the Elder, Edward the Martyr, and Edward the Confessor.
Childhood and marriages
Edward was born at the Palace of Westminster on the night of 17/18 June 1239, to King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence. Henry was devoted to the cult of Edward the Confessor, and for this reason decided to name his firstborn son Edward – not a common name among the English aristocracy at the time. Edward was in the care of Hugh Giffard – father of the future Chancellor Godfrey Giffard – until Bartholomew Pecche took over at Giffard's death in 1246. Among his childhood companions was his cousin Henry of Almain, son of King Henry’s brother Richard of Cornwall.
In 1254 there were fears that Castile might invade the English province of Gascony. As a preventive measure, it was agreed that Edward should marry Eleanor, half-sister of King Alfonso X of Castile. As part of the marriage agreement, Alfonso insisted that grants of land worth 15,000 marks a year be made to the young prince, not yet fifteen years of age. Though the endowments King Henry made were sizeable, the independence they provided for Edward was limited. He had already received Gascony as early as 1249, but Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester had been appointed to serve as royal lieutenant there the year before, so in practice Edward derived neither authority nor revenue from this province. The grant he received in 1254 included most of Ireland, and much land in Wales and England, including the earldom of Chester. The king maintained much control of the land in question, however, and particularly in Ireland was Edward’s power limited.
Eleanor and Edward were married on 1 November 1254 in the monastery of Las Huelgas in Castile. They would go on to have at least fifteen (possibly sixteen) children, and her death in 1290 affected Edward deeply. He displayed his grief by erecting the Eleanor crosses, one at each place where her funeral cortège stopped for the night. His second marriage (at the age of 60) at Canterbury on 10 September 1299, to Marguerite of France (aged 17 and known as the "Pearl of France" by her husband's English subjects), the daughter of King Philip III of France (Phillip the Bold) and Maria of Brabant, produced three children.
In the years from 1254 to 1257, Edward was under the influence of the court faction known as the Savoyards, relatives of his mother, Eleanor of Provence. The most notable of this group was Peter of Savoy, the queen’s uncle. From 1257 onwards, he increasingly fell in with the Poitevin, or Lusignan faction – the king's half-brothers – led by men such as William de Valence. Both these groups were considered privileged foreigners, and were deeply resented by the established English aristocracy.
 Early ambitions
Edward had shown independence in political matters as early as 1255 when he took sides in a local conflict in Gascony, contrary to his father’s policy of mediation. In May 1258 a group of magnates drew up a document for reform of the king’s government – the so-called Provisions of Oxford – largely directed against the Lusignans. Edward stood by his political allies, and strongly opposed the Provisions. The reform movement had success, however, and gradually Edward’s attitude started to change. In March 1259 he entered into a formal alliance with one of the main reformers Richard de Clare, earl of Gloucester. Then, on 15 October, 1259 he announced that he supported the barons' goals, and their leader, Simon de Montfort.
The motive behind Edward’s change of heart could have been purely pragmatic; Montfort was in a good position to support his cause in Gascony. When the king left for France in November, Edward's behaviour turned into pure insubordination, as he made several appointments to advance the cause of the reformers. King Henry started believing that his son was plotting to depose him. When the king returned he initially refused to see his son, but through the mediation of the Earl of Cornwall and the archbishop of Canterbury the two were eventually reconciled. Edward was sent abroad, and in November 1260 he once more united with the Lusignans, who had been exiled to France.
Back in England, early in 1262, Edward fell out with some of his former allies over financial matters. A year later he led a campaign in Wales against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, with limited results. Around the same time Simon de Montfort, who had been out of the country since 1261, returned to England and reignited the baronial reform movement. The king gave in to the barons’ demands, but Edward – who was now firmly on the side of his father – held out. He reunited with some of the men he had alienated the year before – among them Henry of Almain and John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey – and retook Windsor Castle from the rebels. Through the arbitration of the King Louis IX of France, an agreement was made between the two parties. This so-called Mise of Amiens was largely favourable to the royalist side, and laid the seeds for further conflict.
 Civil war
The years 1264–1267 saw the conflict known as the Barons' War, where baronial forces led by Simon de Montfort fought against those who remained loyal to the king. The first scene of battle was the city of Gloucester, which Edward managed to retake from the enemy. When Robert de Ferrers, earl of Derby, came to the assistance of the rebels, Edward negotiated a truce with the earl, the terms of which he later broke. Edward then proceeded to capture Northampton from Montfort's son Simon, before embarking on a retaliatory campaign against Derby's lands. The baronial and royalist forces finally met at the Battle of Lewes, on 14 May 1264. Edward's forces performed well, but the king's army nevertheless lost the battle. Edward, along with his cousin Henry of Almein, was given up as prisoners to Montfort.
Edward remained in captivity until March, and even after his release he was kept under strict surveillance. Then, on 28 May, he managed to escape his custodians, and joined up with the earl of Gloucester, who had recently defected to the king's side. Montfort's support was now dwindling, and Edward retook Worcester and Gloucester with relative little effort. In the meanwhile, Montfort had made an alliance with Llywelyn, and started moving east to join forces with his son Simon. Edward managed to make a surprise attack at Kenilworth Castle, where the younger Montfort was quartered, before moving on to cut off the earl of Leicester. The two forces then met at the second great encounter of the Barons' War – the Battle of Evesham, on 4 August 1265. Montfort stood little chance against the superior royal forces, and after his defeat he was killed and mutilated in the field.
Medieval manuscript showing Simon de Montfort's mutilated body at the field of Evesham.
The war was not over with Montfort's death, and Edward participated in the continued campaigning. At Christmas he came to terms with the younger Simon de Montfort and his associates in the Isle of Axholme in Lincolnshire, and in March he led a successful assault on the Cinque Ports. A contingent of rebels held out in the virtually impregnable Kenilworth Castle, and did not surrender until the drafting of the conciliatory Dictum of Kenilworth. In April it seemed as if Gloucester would take up the cause of the reform movement, and civil war would return, but after a renegotiation of the terms of the Dictum of Kenilworth the parties came to an agreement. Edward, however, was little involved in the settlement negotiations following the wars; at this point his main focus was on planning his upcoming crusade.
 Crusade and accession
See also: Eighth Crusade and Ninth Crusade
Edward took the cross in an elaborate ceremony on 24 June 1268, along with his brother Edmund and cousin Henry of Almain. Among others who committed themselves to the cause were former adversaries like the earl of Gloucester, though the earl did not end up going. With the country pacified, the greatest impediment to the project was providing sufficient finances. King Louis IX of France, who was the leader of the crusade, provided a loan of about £17,500. This, however, was not enough; the rest had to be raised through a lay tax, something which had not happened since 1237. In May 1270, parliament granted a tax of a twentieth, in exchange for which the king agreed to reconfirm Magna Carta, and to impose restrictions on Jewish money lending. On 20 August Edward sailed from Dover for France. It is impossible to determine the size of the force with any certainty, but Edward probably brought with him around 225 knights and all together less than 1000 men.
The original goal of the crusade was to relieve the beleaguered Christian stronghold of Acre, but Louis had been diverted to Tunis. The French king and his brother Charles of Anjou, who had made himself king of Sicily, decided to attack the emirate in order to establish a stronghold in North Africa. The plans failed when the French forces were struck by an epidemic which, on 25 August, took the life of King Louis himself. By the time Edward arrived at Tunis, Charles had already signed a treaty with the emir, and there was little else to do than to return to Sicily. The crusade was postponed until next spring, but a devastating storm off the coast of Sicily dissuaded Charles of Anjou and Louis's successor Philip III from any further campaigning. Edward decided to continue alone, and on 9 May 1271 he finally landed at Acre.
Operations during the Crusade of Edward I.
The situation in the Holy Land at the time of Edward's arrival was a precarious one. Jerusalem had fallen in 1187, and Acre was now the centre of the Christian state. The Muslim states were on the offensive under the Mamluk leadership of Baibars, and were now threatening Acre itself. Though Edward's men were an important addition to the garrison, they stood little chance against Baibars' superior forces, and an initial raid at nearby St Georges-de-Lebeyne in June was largely futile. An embassy to the Mongols helped bring about an attack on Aleppo in the north, allowing the crusading armies a distraction. In November, Edward led a raid on Qaqun, which could have served as a bridgehead to Jerusalem, but both the Mongol invasion and the attack on Qaqun failed. Things now seemed increasingly desperate, and in May 1272 Hugh III of Cyprus, who was the nominal king of Jerusalem, signed a ten-year truce with Baibars. Edward was initially defiant, but an attack by a Muslim assassin in June forced him to abandon any further campaigning. Even though he managed to kill the assassin, he was struck in the arm by a poisoned dagger, and became strongly reduced physically over the next months.
It was not until 24 September that Edward left Acre. Arriving in Sicily, he was met with the news that Henry III had died on 16 November. Edward was deeply saddened by these news, but rather than hurrying home at once, he made a leisurely journey northwards. This was partly due to his health still being poor, but also due to a lack of urgency. The political situation in England was stable after the mid-century upheavals, and Edward was proclaimed king at his father's death, rather than at his own coronation, as had up until then been customary. The new king embarked on an overland journey through Italy and France, where among other things he visited the pope in Rome and suppressed a rebellion in Gascony. Only on 2 August 1274 did he return to England, and was crowned on 19 August.
The eventful political climate of the day saw the Hundred Years' War, where the Plantagenets battled with the House of Valois for the control of the Kingdom of France, as both claimed House of Capet seniority. Some of the Plantagenet kings were renowned as warriors; Henry V of England left his mark with the victory against larger numbers at the Battle of Agincourt, while earlier Richard the Lionheart had distinguished himself in the Third Crusade and was later romanticised as an iconic figure in English folklore.
Edward married Eleanor (Alianore) De Ponthieu on 18 Oct 1254 in Burgos, Burgos, Castilla-Leon, Spain. (Eleanor (Alianore) De Ponthieu was born in Oct 1244 in Castle Burgos, Castilla-Leon, Spain and died on 29 Nov 1290 in Herdeby, Lincolnshire, England.)
Edward next married Eleanor of Bourgogne, daughter of Fernanco III Alfonsez Bourgogne and Jeanne De Dammartin. (Eleanor of Bourgogne was born in Oct 1244 in Burgos, Castilla-Leon, Spain and died on 29 Nov 1290 in Herdeby, Lincolnshire, England.)
Edward next married Eleanor (Alianore) De Ponthieu on 18 Oct 1254 in Las Huegas, Burgos, Spain. (Eleanor (Alianore) De Ponthieu was born in Oct 1244 in Castle Burgos, Castilla-Leon, Spain and died on 29 Nov 1290 in Herdeby, Lincolnshire, England.)