Stuart Monarchy

The Tudor line ended with Queen Elizabeth I as the King of Scotland succeeded her as King James I of England.

His conception of the royal power was none the less elevated.  He being highly educated, and considered himself the philosopher or theologian of absolute monarchy.

Since James protected Anglicanism, which enjoyed submission to the King’s will, Catholic conspirators placed barrels of gunpowder in the cellars of Westminster.  The Gunpowder Plot was discovered, and all those who took part were executed.  This enflamed public opinion against Rome, and anti-Catholic measures were put in place.  More dangerous than the Catholics were extreme Protestants.

Although many early Puritans, as they came to be known, remained inside the Anglican Church, distinguished by their piety and simplicity of life, others had already begun to show extremes of sectarian fanaticism.  The most determined among them asserted that nobody and nothing should stand between man and God.

While Puritanism gave its blessing to individual enterprises, the king sold monopolies to raise money, for he proved a poor housekeeper, and was continually in debt.

Money had to be obtained; Titles of nobility were sold, taxes placed on wood, wine and leather.  He was at loggerheads with Parliament.  When King James I died in 1625, the state of the Kingdom lay in tatters, the future of the ruling house unsettled, and the future of the Stuarts uncertain.

King James I:  James I was born on the 19th June 1566 at Edinburgh Castle, to parents Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley.  On the 29th July 1567, crowned King James VI of Scotland, after his mother Mary Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate the throne in favour of her son.  On the 24th July 1603, ascended to the English throne following the death of Queen Elizabeth I, and on the 25th July, crowned King James I of England.

James united the crowns of England and Scotland.  In 1606, James created the Union Jack flag, consisting of the flag of St.Andrew, St.Partick for Ireland and the cross of St.George for England.

King Henry VIII had commissioned the Great Bible translation in 1535 and the Bishop’s Bible in 1568.  These were replaced in 1611, by the King James Bible commissioned by James I, and still in use to this day.

James believed that King’s took their authority from God, but accepted his actions were subject to the laws of the land.  He was often in dispute with Parliament, over royal finances, as his predecessors had been, before him and would be in the future.

King James I of England who also reigned as King James VI of Scotland died on the 27th March 1625 at Theobald’s Park and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

King Charles I:  Charles I was born on the 19th November 1600, at Dunfermline Palace, Scotland to parents King James I (VI of Scotland) and Anne of Denmark.

On the 27th March 1625, his father King James I died, and he ascended to the English throne.  On the 2nd February 1626, he was crowned King Charles I of England at Westminster Abbey.

His twenty-four year reign as England’s King, saw much conflict with the government, civil unrest by his people, civil war and his own execution on the 30th January 1649 in Whitehall.

An act of Parliament was passed, on the 30th January 1649, forbidding the automatic succession of his son.  On the 7th February, the office of the King had been abolished.

On the 9th February 1649, he was buried in Henry VIII’s vault, in St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Oliver Cromwell – Lord Protector:  With the overthrow of the government and the execution of the King, power was passed to Oliver Cromwell, who became known as the “Lord Protector.”

Oliver Cromwell was born on the 25th April 1599 in Huntingdon to parents Robert Cromwell and Elizabeth Steward.

On the 18th May 1649, an Act was passed, which declared that England was a Commonwealth, governed by a council, appointed by Parliament.

On the 16th December, a reluctant Oliver Cromwell, becomes Lord Protector of England’s Commonwealth.  In the eyes of the people, Cromwell was now King of England, in all but name. 

Cromwell was nothing short of a puritanical religious zealot who became nothing short of a dictator.  He was instrumental in the genocide of thousands of Scottish and Irish Catholics.

By the time of his death on the 3rd September 1658, the people of England, Scotland and Ireland were glad to be rid of him.

Richard Cromwell – Lord Protector:  Without Oliver Cromwell, the head of England’s Republic, England’s Commonwealth, and the country gradually slipped into chaos, with his son Richard Cromwell as the new Lord Protector at its helm.

The Parliamentarians who had elected Oliver Cromwell to the post of Lord Protector, crossed swords with Richard Cromwell over his harsh treatment of the army and government.  Just nine months later, Parliament ousted him.

Richard was placed under house arrest at Whitehall Palace.  The remaining members of the old Rump Parliament were recalled, and on the 14th May the House of Commons formally destroyed Richards seal, as Lord Protector.

Parliament treated him with honour, paying off his debts, granting him a pension, upon his resignation as Lord Protector in 1659.

In the summer of 1660, Richard left his family and fled into exile on the continent until 1680, when he returned, living in Cheshunt, Herfordshire under the assumed name of John Clarke until his death in 1712.

King Charles II:  King Charles II was born on the 29th May 1630, at St.James Palace to parents Charles I and Henrietta Maria.  He ascended to the English throne on the 29th May 1660, by invitation from Parliament, and was crowned King Charles II of England, on the 23rd April 1661 at Westminster Abbey.

In 1664 English forces seized the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, and renamed it; New York.  In 1666 the forces of France and Denmark assisted the Dutch, and in 1667, Dutch forces laid siege to England, capturing the Royal Charles, England’s flagship and the sinking of three other ships on the River Medway.  Peace talks commenced in the latter part of 1667.

In 1665, the plague (Black Death) struck England, and some 200,000 are known to have lost their lives in London.  This was followed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, destroying 13,500 houses, 87 churches, and sixteen people lost their lives.

Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to rebuild much of London, including St.Paul’s Cathedral.

On the 6th February 1685, King Charles II converted to Catholicism, a deathbed conversion, and died at Whitehall Palace, and  buried at Westminster Abbey.

King James II:  James II was born on the 14th October 1633 at St.James Palace to parents Charles I and Henrietta, and the last Catholic Monarch of England, to have secretly converted to Catholicism.  He grew up in exile, first in Holland then in France, and served in the French and Spanish forces.

Following Cromwell’s death, and the restoration on the monarchy, when his brother had taken his rightful place as King of England, James returned to England, and was appointed by his brother; King Charles II as Lord High Admiral, and commanded the Royal Navy during the Anglo-Dutch conflict.

In 1673, Parliament not wanting a Catholic successor to the English throne passed the “Test Act” which excluded Catholics from political office.

In 1679, an Exclusion Bill was introduced into Parliament, adding James II, as a practising Catholic, to those excluded from holding political office… Parliament did not want a Catholic King… Charles responded by dissolving Parliament.

King Charles II died on the 6th February 1685, and James ascended to the English throne, and crowned King James II of England on the 23rd April at Westminster Abbey.

In 1688, James believed in his “Divine Right as King” and believed he had absolute power over his kingdom.  He issued the “Declaration of Indulgence,” thus suspending all laws against Catholic’s.  He went further still, by promoting Catholic supporters within Parliament.

His daughter Mary married William of Orange of the Netherlands.  William of Orange, son-in-law to James II was invited to England by leading statesman to restore English liberties; Protestantism and Democracy.

William of Orange landed at Torbay on the 5th November 1688, in 463 ships with no opposition from the English Royal Navy.  His army of 14,000 men grew to 20,000 men by the time they reached London.

James tossed the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames… he had abdicated his position as England’s King, and went into exile in France.

James II lived the rest of his life in exile, until he died on the 6th September 1701, at St.Germain-en-laye in France, and buried at the Chateau de Saint Germain-en-laye.

King William III and Queen Mary II:  William Henry Stuart was born on the 14th November 1650 in the Hague, Netherlands to parents William II of Orange and Mary Stuart.  Mary was born on the 30th April 1662 at St.James Palace, London to parents James II and Anne Hyde.  William Henry Stuart (William III of Orange) married Mary II in 1677.

In 1689 Parliament declared to England, that King James II had abdicated his position as King of England.  His daughter Mary and husband William of Orange were crowned; King William III and Queen Mary II of England, on the 11th April 1689 at Westminster Abbey.

After the joint Coronation at Westminster Abbey on the 11th April 1689, King William III and Queen Mary II became the only British monarchs to have joint sovereignty and equal powers.  Their reign is probably best remembered for the 1658 Revolution, signing of the English Bill of Rights in 1689, and stamp duty in 1694, which saw the end of absolute monarchy and more power for Parliament.  Their combined reign oversaw the beginning of the Scottish Jacobite Rebellion of 1689.

In 1689, a “Declaration of Rights,” had been drawn up by Parliament, thus limiting the monarch’s power, and control of legislation, and taxes came under Parliament.

Queen Mary II dies of smallpox in 1694, and was buried at Westminster Abbey.  Mary’s untimely death left William bereft and he reigned alone for the next twelve years.

William forms alliances between England, Holland and Austria, preventing a union of French and Spanish crowns in 1701.

King William III dies on the 8th March 1702 at Kensington Palace, and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Queen Anne:  Anne Stuart was born on the 6th February 1665 at St.James Palace, London, to parents James II and Anne Hyde, and when King William III died on the 8th March 1702, Anne Stuart ascended to the English throne, and was crowned Queen Anne of England on the 23rd April 1702 at Westminster Abbey.

On the 1st May 1707, the “Act of Union” unites England and Scotland, with the seat of government for both countries, firmly set in London.  From that day forth the two countries were known as Great Britain.

Queen Anne died on the 1st August 1714 at Kensington Palace, London and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

World War Two: London Images

Every photograph ever taken freezes an image for a fraction of a second, one instant of time. Pictures demonstrate a sense of power within an image; capturing fleeting moments, fragments of history, human faces and emotions. Some photographs are so highly charged with emotion that they become unforgettable events in themselves, never forgotten through time.

The following images are a reminder of events that took place during World War Two, the human feelings… sufferings.

Tudor Monarchy

The Yorkist King, Edward IV overcame Lancastrian forces at the “Battle of Tewkesbury” in May of 1471.  The Lancastrian heir to the English throne, Edward Prince of Wales died in battle, and shortly thereafter, Henry VI was murdered in the Tower of London.

Henry Tudor became the last Lancastrian heir and threat to the Yorkist dynasty.  When Edward IV attempted to capture the fourteen year old Henry, only one option laid open to him…/ flee his home, go into exile at the Count of the Duke of Brittany, waiting for his time to come… and it would.

For fourteen long years, Henry remained in exile, waiting; and the opportunity came with the death of King Edward IV of England, on the 9th April 1483.  Edward’s brother, Richard the Duke of Gloucester, usurped the English throne that should have gone to Edward’s nine year old son.  Within months, Richard had been crowned King Richard III of England, and Edward’s sons, the two young princes had been murdered, possibly under the order’s of Richard III.

On the 25th December 1483, Henry took a solemn oath in Rennes Cathedral, that he would take Elizabeth of York, as his wife and Queen.  Yorkist’s paid homage to Henry in return.

King Henry VII:  King Henry VII:  Henry was born on the 28th January 1457 to parents Edmund Tudor the Earl of Richmond and Margaret Beaufort at Pembroke Castle in Wales. 

Henry VII possessed only his ability and the ancient name and audacity of his welsh ancestors.  His grandfather had married the widow of Henry V, and his father had Margaret Beaufort, an illegitimate descendant of Edward III.  Henry’s only claim to the English throne was his victory at the “Battle of Bosworth,” defeating the English forces and killing of Richard III.

The Tudors gave England the government it so wanted, and they got the reputation of not pushing its subjects, where they were not ready to follow.

He gained much recognition from abroad; Spain in 1489 with the Treaty of Medina del Campo, and then from France, Netherlands and Scotland.  He restored a strong government, promoted English trade which he could tax, avoided overseas wars and saved money.

On the 21st April 1509, King Henry VII the first Tudor Monach of England, died at Richmond Palace, and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

King Henry VIII:  Henry was crowned King Henry VIII on the 24th June 1509 at Westminster Abbey.  During his reign, he was responsible for the formation of the English Navy and the construction of shipyards on the River Thames.

Henry was an ambitious and bold King, different in many respects to that of his father; Henry VII.  He received much praise from the likes of Thomas More, who served in his government.

In 1513, Henry won the “Battle of the Spurs” in France and overcome the Scots at Flodden.

In the years 1514-1529 Thomas Wolsey served as his Chancellor and Archbishop of York.

Henry’s desire for a male heir blighted his reign… leading to many Queens in his quest.  Catherine of Aragon, bore him six children, but only one survived infancy; Mary I.  Anne Boleyn his next quest, led to the creation of the Church of England, and a daughter: Elizabeth I.  Henry’s third wife Jane Seymour gave birth to a son; Edward VI.

Thomas Cromwell oversaw the revolutionary changes of the 1530’s; Henry’s break from Rome and the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

King Henry VIII died on the 28th January 1547 at the Palace of Whitehall and was buried at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle alongside his third wife,; Jane Seymour.

King Edward VI:  Edward VI was born on the 12th October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace to parents Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.  He was crowned King Edward VI of England on the 20th February 1547.

Edward’s reign was overseen by a Regency Council, headed by Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset until his death in 1553, and from then by John Dudley, the Earl of Warwick.

During Edward’s short reign, he will be remembered for the introduction of the “Book of Common Prayer,” as still used today.

In 1549, an act was passed “The First Act of Uniformity” making Roman Catholic Mass illegal.

On the 6th July 1553 King Edward VI died at Greenwich Palace, and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

On the 6th July 1553, King Edward VI of England died at Greenwich Palace.  On the 9th July, Bishop Ridley stated that contenders to the English throne, Mary and Elizabeth were illegitimate by right of birth.  Then on the 10th July, proclamation of the death of King Edward VI was announced.

Lady Jane Grey:  Lady Jane Grey was born in October 1537 at Bradgate Manor, Leicestershire to parents Henry Grey, Marquis Dorset and great grandson of Queen Elizabeth and her mother was Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk.

On the 21st May 1553, she married Lord Guildford Dudley, not by choice, but by request of her mother.

The Dudley’s were Protestant nobles, and as Protestant’s they feared, Mary a devout catholic, could become Edward’s successor, and so it was under pressure, his will was changed to include Lady Jane Grey as his Protestant heir.

Edward died on the 6th July 1553, and Lady Jane Grey made her claim to the English throne, by right of Edward’s will and that her grandmother; Mary Tudor was the sister of Henry VIII.

On the 3rd August 1553 Mary the people’s choice and her followers entered London; she was dressed in purple velvet and satin, receiving rejoicing from the people who had lined the streets to greet her… their new Queen.

On the 12th February 1554, Lady Jane grey and her husband Lord Guildford Dudley were beheaded at the Tower of London.  Lady Jane Grey’s body was buried in the chapel of St.Peter ad Vincula within the Tower of London.

Queen Mary I:  Mary was born on the 8th February 1516 at Greenwich Palace to parents Henry VIII and Catharine of Aragon.  When Edward VI died, she seized the crown, from the newly crowned Queen; Jane Grey, Edward’s chosen successor,  ascended to the throne on the 19th July 1553.  On the 12th February 1554, Jane Grey and her husband Guildford Dudley were executed at the Tower of London, on the orders of Queen Mary I.

In the autumn of 1554, Mary overturned acts relating to the church, and in turn, returned England to Roman Catholicism.  Many Protestant Bishops were persecuted, and some three hundred were burned at the stake.

Queen Mary I of England died on the 17th November 1558 at St.James Palace and was buried on the 14th December at Westminster Abbey.

This Queen who ruled for only five years, had attempted to return England to its Catholic roots of the past … she who was true to her faith, her beliefs.

What will she be remembered for?  Her mass burning of Protestants, who refused to turn to Catholicism.

Queen Elizabeth I:  Elizabeth was born on the 7th September 1533 at Greenwich Palace to parents Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.  She ascended to the English throne on the 17th November 1558, following the death of her half-sister, Queen Mary I, and was crowned Queen Elizabeth I of England at Westminster Abbey on the 15th January 1559.

Elizabeth would have been well aware, what this new position in life held.  She knew, she was considered an illegitimate child in the eyes of some of her Catholic subjects.  For they believed, Mary, Queen of Scotland, the Catholic daughter of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise, also the great niece of Henry VIII, gave her claim to the English throne.

Therefore if Elizabeth had died, Mary would have ascended to the English throne.  Whilst Mary lived an assassination on Elizabeth’s life, by supporters loyal to Mary existed.

Elizabeth dismantled Mary’s Catholic England, and on the 29th May 1559 Edmund Grindal became the new Protestant Bishop of London.  One by one, Catholic churches suppressed making way for Protestant England.

On the 19th June 1566, Mary, the Queen of Scots bore a son, baptised according to Catholic rites, and the child was named James, and Elizabeth was his godmother.

On the 29th July 1567, 13-month-old heir to the Scottish throne was crowned King James VI, after his mother, Mary had abdicated on the 24th July under duress. 

On the 2nd May 1568, Mary escaped from Lochleven Castle, and on the 16th May crossed the border into England.

In the October of 1586 Mary was put on trial at Fotheringale Castle for plotting against the Queen’s life.  On the 25th October she was found guilty, and sentenced to death. 

On the 8th February 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, she who sought support from England, yet being a conspirator against the life of Elizabeth lost her own life.  Spain replied on the 19th July 1588, with the Spanish Armada.

Elizabeth had not married, she had no off-spring this Virgin Queen … it was just a matter of time for James, to wait for Elizabeth to die.

On the 24th March 1603, Queen Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace and was buried at Westminster Abbey on the 28th April, alongside her half-sister Queen Mary I.

Yorkist Monarchy

The Royal House of York, consisted of three monarchs; Edward IV – Edward V – Richard III, becoming the ruling house of England and Wales from 1471 until 1485.

King Edward IV:  For the first nine years of Edward’s reign, he acted as Regent King for the mentally ill Lancastrian King; Henry VI.  Those early years consisted of constant battles, maintaining order between warring factions of the House of York and aggressors of the House of Lancaster.

With Henry VI dead, Edward was crowned King of England in 1461.  His arch enemy Margaret of Anjou, wife of the late King Henry VI was immediately arrested, and later returned to France.

The Wars of the Roses, which had taken place between the Lancastrians and Yorkists, meant Edward ruled a peaceful land.

On the 9th April 1483, King Edward IV died, and was buried at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

King Edward V:  Edward was born in 1470, in the sanctuary of Westminster Abbey, for his parents Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, feared attacks by Lancastrian supporters.

In 1483, Prince Edward was informed his father’s death was close at hand, and on the 30th April was escorted to the Tower of London, as the future King of England.  On the 16th June, Edward’s brother, Richard Duke of York, was also moved to the Tower of London.

Deceit was at hand, as Richard the Duke of Gloucester made his play for the English throne.

Evidence was produced before Parliament, by Philippe de Commines, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, that Edward V had married another, before his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville.

Parliament agreed with Richard, that the young princes be illegitimate, and Richard the Duke of York would be England’s next King.

The young Edward V and his brother Richard the Duke of York were declared illegitimate, and these young princes slowly disappeared from sight, becoming prisoner’s at the Tower of London.  It wasn’t long before they disappeared all together, believed to have been murdered upon the orders of Richard.

King Richard III:  Richard Plantagenet, son of Richard the Duke of York, was born in 1452 and by 1483 had seized the English throne through deceit, from the rightful heir; Prince Edward.

Richard III, instigated the first ever execution to be held at the Tower of London, and in 1483 held the post of Lord Protector of the Prince of Wales upon the death of his father.

Richard suffered personal losses in 1484, with the death of his son Edward of Middleham, and in 1485, his wife Anne Neville died.

Richard’s reign was overshadowed by the constant threat of a Tudor invasion.  A few months after the death of his wife, Richard clashed with Tudor forces on Bosworth Field, where he was defeated and killed.

His naked body was first buried at Greyfriars Church, and later tossed in the river after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, by an angry mob.  He would have to wait some 500 years before his remains would be buried in Leicester Cathedral in 2015.

Lancastrian Monarchy

The Royal House of Lancaster consisted of three monarchs who would rule England and Wales between 1399: Henry IV – Henry V – Henry VI.

The house of Lancaster, was created from a branch of the Plantagenet Dynasty: King Edward III married Philippa of Hainault, and their son John of Grant married Blanche, the Duchess of Lancaster.  Their first born, Henry Bolingbroke became King Henry IV of England, the first monarch of the newly created House of Lancaster.

King Henry IV:  Henry of Bolingbroke was not in line, to become King at the time of his birth on the 13th April 1367.  However, events changed when King Richard II was deposed by John of Gaunt, Henry’s father and former Regent to Richard II.

Henry’s cousin, King Richard II, son of Edward the Black Prince and grandson of Edward III, became a child King in 1377 aged just ten.

Henry joined the “Lords Appellants,” in 1386, they who outlawed many of Richard’s closest associates, forcing the King to accept counsel.  By 1388, many of Richard’s friends and adviser’s had either been executed or exiled.

Richard sought revenge, against members of the Lords Appellants, watching and waiting to take his revenge.  In 1389, Richard discharged his counsel, and ruled England as King.

In 1390 Henry joined the Teutonic Knights, and in 1392, joined the crusades to the Holy Land, before returning to Richard’s political court.

In 1398 Henry Bolingbroke questioned Richard’s rule and Thomas de Mowbray, interpreted it as treason, and challenged him to a duel.  Richard stopped the duel, and banished Henry to France for ten years, seizing his lands, and exiled Mowbray for life.

In 1399, Henry’s father, John of Gaunt died, and Richard seized the family estates…  Henry had been deprived of his inheritance.  Richard had thrown down the gauntlet, if you want your inheritance, you have to come before me, and beg for what is yours.

Richard’s actions had dire consequences, for Henry Bolingbroke landed at Ravenspur in Yorkshire, with a French army.  Richard was captured and confessed before Parliament of being unworthy to reign as England’s King, surrendering his crown in August 1399 to Henry Bolingbroke.

Henry was crowned on the 13th October, and his first issue, was what to do with Richard II.  He was imprisoned in Pontefract Castle, and died of starvation on the 14th February 1400.

As Henry’s health began to deteriorate, a power struggle evolved between Thomas Arundel, Henry’s half brother and his son Prince Henry.  The struggle led to arguments about France and the Civil War.  Prince Henry wanted war with France, whilst Henry his father favoured peace.

On the 20th March 1413, King Henry IV died and was buried at Canterbury Cathedral.

King Henry V: King Henry IV died on the 20th March 1413, and was succeeded by his son Prince Henry, who was crowned King Henry V of England on the 9th April 1413.

The first battle of his reign was in 1414, with Sir John Oldcastle and Sir John Acton, known heretics.  Along with their band of followers, they made war against the Church, Priests, King and Kingdom.  The rebels were seized close to Westminster, and crucified, as for their leaders they underwent days of torture, until death was a blessing.  King Henry V had achieved victory against these heretics for Church, Priests and their faith.

On the 14th August 1415 Henry landed near Harfleur at the mouth of the Seine, where an encounter took place between English and French troops, where England was the victor.

On the 25th August 1415, one of the most famous battles took place, between the English and the French: the “Battle of Agincourt,” where the English became victorious over the French forces, thanks to the English longbow… Henry had demoralised the French, and laid the path for subsequent triumphs in France…

In 1420, King Henry V was officially recognised as heir to the French throne as agreed by the “Treaty of Troyes.”  The treaty was cemented with his marriage to Catherine of Valois, daughter of King Charles VI.

The Treaty of Troyes placed Henry in control of France for the  remainder of Charles VI’s life and promised that the English line would succeed to the French throne.   

On the 31st August 1422, King Henry V died at Bois de Vincennes, and was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 7th November 1422.

King Henry VI: Henry was born on the 6th December 1421 at Windsor Castle, to parents Henry V and Catherine of Valois.  He ascended to the English throne, on the 1st September 1422, and was crowned King Henry VI of England on the 6th November 1429 at Westminster Abbey.

John, the Duke of Bedford was appointed his Regent of France, and Humphrey the Duke of Gloucester his Regent of England. 

On the 29th April 1429, English forces at the Siege of Orleans, witnessed the peasant girl, Joan of Arc, leading the French forces, giving them the will to fight.  On the 23rd May 1430, Joan of Arc was captured at Compiegne, put on trial and found guilty of witchcraft.  Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake as a heretic on the 30th May.  Joan of Arc legacy to her people, she had created a French army with the will to fight, and England’s position in France became increasingly precarious.

On the 16th December 1431, Henry became King of France, and in 1437, he took over power of England.

In 1453, the houses of Lancaster and York started a feud, and in 1454 Richard the Duke of York, is named Regent and Protector of the realm during Henry’s mental breakdown.  He sees his chance, and makes a claim towards the throne.

Henry VI recovers from his illness, and it is left to his wife Margaret of Anjou to dismiss Richard, the Duke of York from Henry’s court.  The Lancastrians aided by Margaret of Anjou had regained power.

The Duke of York raises an army in 1455 defeating the Kings Lancastrian army at the “Battle of St.Albans” on the 22nd May.

The Duke of Somerset, the Lancastrian leader is killed in battle as the Duke of York takes over England’s Government. 

On the 10th July 1460, Yorkist army led by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick clash with Lancastrian forces.  King Henry VI is captured, and Richard, the Duke of York is England’s Protector once again.

In October 1460, the “Act of Accord” named Richard, the Duke of York as successor to the English throne.

Richard, the Duke of York is killed at the “Battle of Wakefield” by Lancastrian forces, and so it was, his son pressed home his claim for the English throne.

Queen Margaret and her Lancastrian army heads south, defeats the Earl of Warwick at St.Albans, releasing Henry VI.

Edward of York defeats Margaret’s Lancastrian forces on the 29th March 1461 at the “Battle of Towton,” and Henry VI and Margaret flee to Scotland, as Edward declares himself King Edward IV.

In 1470 a rebellion led by the Earl of Warwick, and the Duke of Clarence, failed forcing them to take refuge in France and make an alliance with Margaret of Anjou… The French supported an English invasion, led by Margaret, Warwick and Clarence.

King Edward IV fled as news reached him that the Duke of Clarence, had changed sides supporting the Lancastrians.  On the 3rd October 1470, King Henry VI was reinstated as England’s King.

On the 14th April 1471 at the “Battle of Barnet” King Edward IV is triumphant, and King Henry VI is imprisoned in the Tower of London.

On the 4th May 1471, the Lancastrian line is all but destroyed, as Edward, the Prince of Wales is killed in the “Battle of Tewkesbury.”  Queen Margaret and her daughter-in-law Anne Neville are taken prisoner.

On the 22nd May 1471, King Henry VI prisoner at the Tower of London is murdered, stabbed to death and buried at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Plantagenet Monarchy

The Plantagenet Dynasty ruled England from 1154-1399, a period of 245 years by way of eight kings.  Henry II (Henry Plantagenet) came to the English throne with an Empire which stretched from the Scottish borders down to the Pyrenees.  He began his reign by destroying castles built by rebellious barons during Stephen’s reign, and then set about regulating the power of the church.  He introduced reforms, laying the foundation for the common law.

Yet Henry II will be most remembered, for the death of Thomas Becket in 1170, murdered on the altar of Canterbury Cathedral, by Henry’s own knights.

King Henry II: Henry, the son of Matilda ascends to the English throne upon the death of Stephen, he who had stolen the position of England’s ruler, from the rightful heir; Matilda his mother.

In 1155, Henry appoints Thomas Becket as his Chancellor of England, and in 1162 he becomes the Archbishop of Canterbury.  In 1164 Henry introduced the “Constitution of Clarendon” placing limitations on Church jurisdiction over crimes committed by their own.

Henry and Thomas Becket started out as friends, but when Thomas Becket became Archbishop of Canterbury, all that changed.  From that day forth they were always at odds with each other, leading to the death of Thomas Becket in 1170.

In 1171-72 Henry invades Ireland and receives homage from the King of Leinster and other kings.  Henry is accepted by the Irish as Lord of Ireland, and the clergy are forced to submit to the authority of Rome.

In 1176, Henry creates a framework of justice, creating judges and dividing England into six counties.  In 1179, Henry gave the defendant, the right to opt for trial by jury or trial by combat.

In 1189, King Henry II died at Chinon Castle in Anjou, and is buried at Fontevrault Abbey in France.

King Richard I: Henry II died on the 6th July in France and is succeeded to the English throne by his son Richard in 1189.  Within months, Richard left England, on the Third Crusade to the Holy Land.

Richard’s appointed Chancellor of England during his absence was William Longchamp, but Richard’s brother Prince John stepped in and removed him in 1191.

In 1192, Richard I is captured by Henry VI Holy Roman Emperor of Germany, and held for ransom.  Prince John had sought to be king, and with Richard’s imprisonment, this could come soon…   What John hadn’t bargained on was the people of England had raised the 100,000 marks to release their king.

Richard and John came face to face on the 12th May 1194.  John sought clemency for his actions in the King’s absence… Richard forgave his brother, and named him as his successor.

On the 26th March 1199, King Richard I of England died in battle at Chalus in France, and was buried at Fontevrault Abbey.

King John: Prince John had previously acted as King during his brother’s absence, during the Third Crusade and fighting in France.  Richard I died in 1199, and John became King of England.

By 1204, following years of fighting, John had lost much of the French Empire, to King Philip II of France, land secured by his father and brother.

With the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1205, a dispute arose between King and monks, as to the rightful successor.

John alienated the Pope, by refusing to accept the elected replacement, Stephen Langton as the new Archbishop of Canterbury.  In 1207, Langton was consecrated as Archbishop in Rome, and a betrayed John expelled the Monks of Canterbury.

In 1208, the Pope issued a ban against England; no church services, except baptisms and funerals.  In 1209 John is excommunicated for confiscation of church possessions.  Then in 1212, the Pope declared John is no longer fit to be King of England.

King John believed he himself was the only ruler of England, but hadn’t counted on the power of the church and Rome.  John was forced to accept the authority of the Pope in England, or face war with France backed by the Pope… to remove him as King.

After years of fighting in France, John was defeated in 1214 by Philip Augustus at the “Battle of Bouvines.”  John returned to England to face his nobles and answer to them how he had lost their lands in France.

In 1215, rebellion broke out, which led to the signing of the “Magna Carta” at Runnymede.  The intention was to bring peace, but John didn’t abide by its terms.

King John fled north, and died on the 19th October at Newark Castle, and was buried in Worcester Cathedral.

King Henry III: Henry was the son of King John, and ascended to the English throne, upon his father’s death in 1215, and crowned in 1216, aged nine. 

With much guidance from William Marshall, the Earl of Pembroke and Hubert de Burgh, the King’s Regents, Henry brought stability to England.

In 1227, Henry took control of the government and his kingdom in his name, retaining Hubert de Burgh as his chief adviser until 1232, when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for squandering royal money and lands.

In 1237 “The Treaty of York,” created an Anglo-Scottish border.

Henry’s reign was dogged by civil strife from England’s barons, led by Simon de Montfort who defeated Henry at the “Battle of Lewes” in 1264 and took Henry prisoner.

In 1265 Simon de Montfort took control of the government, and called the first elected English Parliament.  Simon de Montfort died in the “Battle of Evesham,” leading to Henry’s release.

On the 16th November 1272, King Henry III died at the Palace of Westminster and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

King Edward I: In 1274, Edward son of Henry III was crowned King Edward I of England, upon his return home from the Holy Land Crusade.

Edward would best be remembered for his conquest of Wales (1277-1283) through a number of bitter battles between England and the Welsh princes.

William Wallace wanted freedom for all Scots, and took on the mighty English forces.  In 1305 Wallace was betrayed by one of his own, captured and executed by the English.  In 1306 Robert the Bruce rebelled and was crowned King of Scotland.

On the 7th July 1307, the aged Edward I died at Burg-on-Sands, and buried at Westminster Abbey in a black marble tomb.

King Edward II: On the 25th February 1308, Edward the son of Edward I succeeded his father as King Edward II of England.

Edward was a practicing homosexual, who had many affairs during his reign, but his favourite was Piers Gaveston.  The Earl of Pembroke captured Gaveston and had him executed, for he was a bad distraction for the King.

His homosexual affairs saw his own wife take a lover, one Roger Mortimer.  Edward was forced to abdicate as King, in favour of his son Edward III with his mother Isabella of France and her lover Roger Mortimer acting as Regents.  Edward II was murdered in Berkeley Castle upon the orders of his wife on the 21st September 1327, and was buried at Gloucester Cathedral.

King Edward III: Edward ascended to the English throne on the 25th January 1327, after his father had renounced his throne, and ruled England with his mother; Isabella of France and her lover Roger Mortimer as his guiding regents.  Edward was crowned King Edward III of England on the 1st February 1327 at Westminster Abbey.

In 1330 Edward takes over power, as ruler of his kingdom, after three years of governing by his regents.  No longer was he prepared to be the face to his people, whilst his mother Isabella and Roger Mortimer plundered royal finances and lands.

Edward was convinced that his father was murdered on the orders of his mother… he wanted justice.

Roger Mortimer was executed, and as for his mother, he allowed her to live at Castle Rising, but never leave the grounds… she remained a prisoner for the rest of her life.

In 1332, he divided Parliament into two houses; the Lords and Commons, and English became the common language, replacing the Norman-French language.

He started the Hundred Years War with France, when he attempted to claim the French throne in 1337, as grandson of Philip IV.

In 1348 he founded the “Order of the Garter, and in 1351 adapted St.George as the patron Saint of England.

On the 21st June 1377, King Edward III died at Sheen Palace, and buried at Westminster Abbey.

King Richard II: Richard the grandson of Edward III ascended to the English throne in 1377.  Being only ten years old, the young King had adviser’s to decide policy, as no regent could be agreed upon.

In 1380, he introduced the controversial Poll Tax, which led to the Peasants Revolt of 1381, led by rebel leader Watt Tyler.

In 1395, Richard invaded Ireland, creating an alliance between England and Ireland.

In 1399, Richard confessed before Parliament, of being unworthy to reign, and passed the English crown to Henry Bolingbroke.

King Richard II abdicated his throne in 1399, as an unfit king to rule his kingdom and people.  Richard was imprisoned at Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire, where he died of starvation, and buried at Westminster Abbey.

My Life: Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was born on the 16th October 1854 in Dublin, to parents William Wilde an eye surgeon, and Jane Francesca Wilde, a literary writer, better known by her pseudonym “Speranza.”

His early education, commenced at home, learning French and German, until he was nine.  Then he attended the Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, then onto Trinity College in Dublin from 1871-1874, where he read the classics.

His tutor J.P.Mahaffy enlightened Wilde about all things Greek, and they worked together on the book “Social Life in Greece.”  In a quote Wilde referred to Mahaffy, as my first and best teacher, whilst Mahaffy is quoted as saying; I created Oscar Wilde.

During his time at Trinity College he became an active participant of the Philosophical Society and went on to present a paper, “Aesthetic Morality.”  He won the Berkeley Gold Medal for his studies, and went on to study at Magdalene College, Oxford, from 1874-1878.

His life at Oxford would change his outlook on life, and where he was going…

Wilde had wit, talent and charm, and had a place in London’s society life, and styled himself upon Bunthorne, from the Gilbert and Sullivan opera “Patience.”

However, there was more to Wilde, than the man associated with London’s society life.

Wilde, was a member of Oxford’s Apollo Masonic Lodge, and let it be known, he was in the process of considering leaving, for it was his intention to convert from the Protestant faith to Catholicism.  Shock waves would rumble at such a suggestion among his peers.

Pope Pius IX granted Wilde an audience in Rome in 1877.  Then he went on to have meetings with the Reverend Sebastian Bowden, a priest from the Brompton Oratory. 

So what changed his mind on the subject of converting from Protestant to Catholic, one will never know, all we can do is surmise.  One suggestion could be the threat by his father to cut off his allowance, and the loss of money is a powerful persuasion.  Whatever the actual reason, he backed out at the last minute, maybe he came to his senses before it was too late.  Wilde may not have converted to Catholicism, but he retained a keen interest in the faith.

In 1877 he met Walter Pater, writer of “Studies in the History of the Renaissance” which was published in 1878.  A copy of which he would always carry with him in later years.

1878 was a good year for Wilde.  He won the Newdigate Prize for his poem “Ravenna” which he read at Encaenia.  Then in November graduated from Oxford with a B.A. in “Classical Moderations and Literature Humaniores.”

Following his graduation, Wilde returned to Dublin, wanting to share his success with his childhood sweetheart; Florence Balcombe.  His intentions had been honourable, but her love led her into the arms of another; Bram Stoker, who became a well known writer of horror stories.  A gutted and distraught Wilde, felt he had no choice but to return to England.  As his funds faded, he earned money, delivering lectures in London, Paris and New York.  He was now living a hand to mouth existence.

In the summer of 1881, he published a collection of poems, and went on to present copies to many of his peers.  The Oxford Union rejected the book on the grounds of plagiarism, yet the public loved them.

That same year a caricature of Wilde appeared in the Punch magazine.  Part of his caption read: “What’s in a name.  The poet is Wilde.  But his poetry’s tame.”  For they were less enthusiastic of his works.

In 1882, Wilde was invited to tour North America by Richard D’oyly Carte, with the aim of selling his charm to the American public.  It became an overnight success, and a four month tour lasted over a year.

His aim was to take the beauty from art, and add it to daily life.  He had a reputation whilst at Oxford, for surrounding himself with blue china and lilies, and gave lectures on the merits of interior design.  For he believed, pleasure and beauty put forward in an artist’s work, were not limited to one’s individual ethical beliefs.

The Springfield Press, criticised his behaviour in Boston with caricatures, and comments, saying his actions had more to do with notoriety, than the true devotion to that of beauty.  Press receptions were often hostile, yet he drank with local miners, and often frequented fashionable drinking houses, making a name for himself.

In the early part of 1883, he moved to Paris, where he met Robert Sherard, and they wined and dined often, and Wilde was often heard to say: “We are dining on the Duchess tonight,” it was a reference to his play, “The Duchess of Padua.”

In August 1883, he returned to New York for the production of his play, “Vera” the audience loved it, but the critics review killed it, and it closed its doors within a week.

In 1884 he lectured in Dublin, there he met his future wife; Constance Lloyd, and they were married on the 29th May 1884 at St.James Church in Paddington.  They were blessed with two children; Cyril (1885) and Vyvyan (1886), for whom he wrote “The Happy Prince,” a book of fairy tales.

Wilde’s marriage was falling apart before his very eyes, just after his second child was born.  Robert Ross initiated Wilde into the life of homosexuality, and this change his future life.

During the years 1885-1887, Wilde became a regular contributor to the Pall Mall Gazette, sharing his views on art, literature and life.  Like his parents before him, he supported the cause of Irish Nationalism.  It was at this time, Charles Stewart Parnell was falsely accused of inciting murder, and Wilde defended his actions in the Daily Chronicle, with a collection of articles.

In the summer of 1887, Oscar Wilde the family man became editor of “The Lady’s World Magazine,” and promptly renamed it, “The Woman’s World,” in an attempt to raise its tone, with serious articles on parenting, politics, life and art.  Some two years later in the autumn of 1889, he left to concentrate on prose writings.

Between 1889 and 1891, Wilde published: Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime, The House of Pomegranates, which he dedicated to his wife Constance.  Along with The Portrait of Mr. W. H. This is based upon the theory that the Sonnets written by William Shakespeare were written out of the poet’s love for one Willie Hughes, designed as a rather controversial story asking more questions about the character, than giving answers.  Wilde’s interest in journalism had wavered somewhat, which saw a collection of longer prose pieces being published.

In 1890, Wilde published his one and only novel: “The Picture of Dorian Gray.  His critics gave it bad reviews, possibly because of its links to homosexuality.  Wilde responded to the comments made by the Scots Observer, and revised the story, adding six new chapters in time for its 1891 release.

In October 1891, Wilde returned to Paris, this time as a respected and published writer.  During his time there wrote the play “Salome.”  The then Lord Chamberlain refused a licence for it to be performed in England, since it depicted characters from the bible.  The play was published in Paris and London in 1893, and performed in Paris in 1896.

Wilde irritated Victorian England with his outrageous dress sense, then took it a step further with his novel: Dorian Gray, based on the world of vice, hidden beneath art.

In 1892, “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” the first in a collection of comedies was performed at St.James Theatre, and became an overnight success as it toured the country.  In 1893, “A Woman of No Importance,” was released, then followed by “An Ideal Husband,” in 1894, and “The Importance of Being Ernest,” in 1895.

In the summer of 1891, Wilde was introduced to Alfred Douglas, and their friendship grew into an affair.  Wilde was discreet, but Douglas was reckless, for he did not care who knew.  It wasn’t long before he was introduced into the world of gay prostitution.

Wilde having been accused by Alfred’s father the Marquess of Queensbury of the intense friendship came to a head in 1895, when he was imprisoned for homosexual offences, and served two years hard labour.

On the 19th May 1897, Wilde was released and it was obvious his health had suffered from such an experience.  He left for France, and would never set foot on English soil for the remainder of his life.

He lived in Dieppe for two years, during which time he wrote of the cruelties of prison life, which led to the Prison Act of 1898.  He followed up by writing “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” whilst he stayed in the village of Bernaval-sur-Mer.  In May 1899, returned to Paris, and lived the life of a beggar. 

He knew his life was coming to an end.  His last act before death, was being baptised into the Catholic Church on the 29th November, and on the 30th November 1900, he died of cerebral meningitis aged 46.

His tomb can be found in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Oscar Wilde lived life to the full, yet his downfall was one of his own making.  It is sad that such a distinguished writer should die in poverty, an outcast in his time. 

He will always be remembered for his works…

My Life: William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth 1770-1850: Appointed Poet Laureate in 1843

William Wordsworth, the son of an attorney, was born on the 7th April 1770 at Cockermouth in Cumbria.  His early life was cut short; for his mother died in 1778, and his father shortly afterwards in 1783.

Wordsworth was educated at Hawkshead Grammar School in the Lake District, where he showed a keen interest in the works of John Milton (1608-1674), and then onto St.John’s College, Cambridge.  It was here his political side emerged, and he became an early supporter of the French Revolution.

In 1790, Wordsworth went on a walking holiday to France, who would have believed, the effect it would have on him, and he returned there in November 1791.  For he wanted to improve his knowledge of France, and its language.

Whilst there, he had an affair with Annette Vallon, which resulted in an illegitimate daughter: Ann Caroline, born in December 1792.

The French Revolution had moved into a period of bloodshed, and Wordsworth was ever so involved.  Had it not been for his cautious uncles, stopping his allowance, which compelled him, to return home, which no doubtedly saved his life, the outcome could have been far worse.

In 1793, Wordsworth was forced to leave France and his loved one: Annette Vallon and his daughter.

The separation for him was painful, and left him with a sense of poetic guilt, and resulted in an important theme in his work, to that of abandoned women.  He wrote the poem; “Guilt and Sorrow” which revealed that he still had strong views on social justice.

In 1796, Wordsworth set up home at Alfoxden in Somerset, with his sister Dorothy.

It was in 1798, that William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge published the “Lyrical Ballads” book, which contained “Tintern Abbey.”  Described by Wordsworth as a successful blending of inner and outer experience, of sense, perception, feeling and thought.  A poem with imaginative thoughts about man and the universe.  Along with the acclaimed poem the “Ancient Mariner” by Coleridge.

In 1799 William and his sister Dorothy moved to Grassmere in the Lake District.

It was in 1802, William married Mary Hutchinson, but what should have been a time of happiness for William, saw much sadness and pain over the next five years.  Two of his children died, his brother drowned at sea, and his sister Dorothy had a mental breakdown.

In 1807, he published the poem “Ode to Duty” based on his brother’s death.  At the same time, “Resolution and Independence” along with “Intimations of Immorality” were also published, which brought out Lord Byron on the attack against his work.  However, he was popular with most critics.

At the time of writing “Lyrical Ballads” he eagerly wanted to push the boundaries of his work experiences within a philosophical lyrical manner, to include abstract impersonal speculation.

In the summer of 1802, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy went to Calais, renewing his contact with France.  This confirmed his disappointment of the outcome of the French Revolution.  The realities of life were in stark contradiction to his visionary expectations of his youth.

Wordsworth’s friend Coleridge, had slipped deeper into his dependency upon Opium, which would see their friendship slipping further and further apart in the coming years.

In 1802, Wordsworth took a new direction.  He wrote poems on England and Scotland, with delight and solace, and France was symbols of oppression.

Wordsworth shared thoughts, that personal experience is the only way to gain knowledge, as detailed in the poem: “The Prelude” completed in May 1805.

In 1813, Wordsworth was appointed to a Government position … alongside his love as a poet.  In 1832, he opposed the Reform Bill, which merely transferred political power from land owners to the manufacturing class.  Till the day he died, he never stopped pleading for better conditions for victims of the factory system.

William Wordsworth’s crowning moment of his life came in 1843, when he succeeded Robert Southey as Poet Laureate. 

William Wordsworth died at Rydal Mount in 1850 at the age of 80.

My Life: Agatha Christie

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, was born on the 15th September 1890, at Torquay, in Devon, to Frederick and Clarissa Miller.  Being one of three children, she had an older sister Madge, and a brother Monty.  Sadly in 1901, her childhood came to an abrupt end, when her father died, leaving her mother to raise them.

Writing was a family trait, as her sister Madge sold several short stories in her teenage years.

Agatha had received much encouragement in her early years from Rudyard Kipling, leading to her first publication; a poem printed in a local newspaper, at the age of 11, which was to be the start of her writing career.

In 1912, she became engaged to an army officer, but this was not to last, for while he was away in Hong Kong, she met Lieutenant Archibald Christie, formerly of the Royal Artillery and later of the Royal Flying Corps.  At the out break of the First World War, Agatha wanted to do her part, joined the Voluntary Aid detachment, and married Archibald whilst he was on leave at Christmas.

The inspiration of the Belgium refugees she came into contact with, whilst working at the Red Cross Hospital in Torquay, led to the character of ‘Hercules Poirot’, the famous Belgian detective, which was to feature in many of her books.

In 1919, Agatha gave birth to a baby daughter, Rosalind, and in 1920, whilst the Christie’s lived in London, her first book was published.  This was quickly followed by another in 1922, ‘The Secret Adversary’.  From then on she published one almost every year there afterwards, and stated that she ate apples in the Bath, whilst dreaming up plots.

Sadly, by the time she published her sixth novel in 1926, ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’, her marriage was all but over, and she had become an established author.

The events following her disappearance made her a household name world-wide, guaranteeing the success of her books for years to come.  Late one December evening in 1926, Agatha left her home in Sunningdale, Berkshire.  Shortly there afterwards, her car was found abandoned, leading to a nation-wide search for her, even local ponds and lakes were dragged in search of her body.  At one point, even her husband was suspected of murdering his wife, following a letter received by the Chief of Police, hinting her life was in danger.  She was later found, staying in a Yorkshire Hotel, booked in under the name of ‘Theresa Neele’, the same name as her husband’s mistress.

According to Archibald Christie, Agatha was suffering from amnesia, but she had advertised to the world, that her husband was having an affair, leading to their divorce in 1928.

The distinguished archaeologist Max Mallowan, married Agatha in 1930, and she was to spend her remaining years travelling to and from the middle east with him, cataloguing his finds, from excavation sites in Syria and Iraq and gathering material for her books.  Agatha turned to playwriting, whilst still turning out a few novels each year.  Her famous mystery play ‘Mousetrap’, was originally entitled ‘Three Blind Mice’, was first performed on radio.  Its West End debut was on the 28th November 1952, it must have been a proud day for her.  As a ninth birthday present to her grandson; Mathew, she signed the rights of the ‘Mousetrap’ over to him.

Agatha became Lady Mallowan in 1968 when her husband was knighted, and Dame Agatha Christie in 1971.

By the time of her death in 1976, she had published 78 crime novels, 19 plays, an assortment of short stories and poems, plus six novels under her pen name ‘Mary Westmacott’, and her biography which was published in 1977, the year following her death.

Agatha remained a shy person, and disliked personal publicity.  She believed she was here to entertain her readers, and she certainly did that!

Norman Monarchy

The Normans originated from the Vikings who took up occupation in the early part of the 10th century in north-east France.  A powerful state was created around the mouth of the Seine.

In 1035, the Duchy passed to William, an illegitimate son of Duke Robert of Normandy, and anarchy reigned.  In 1047 he proved himself a skilled military leader, by defeating his enemies, and uniting the Duchy behind his rule.

William offered land hungry lords, large areas of England in return for military assistance to overcome Anglo-Saxon resistance.  Edward the Confessor had told William, that upon his death, the English crown would pass to him.  William expected resistance from the English, and was prepared to do battle, to claim what is his by right.

King William I: The year 1066, became a turning point in England’s history.  William the illegitimate son of Duke Robert the Devil of Normandy invaded England, defeating King Harold II (Harold Godwinson) at the Battle of Hastings.  On the 25th December William was crowned King William I of England at Westminster Abbey.

Norman feudalism became the basis for redistributing the land among the conquerors, giving England a new French aristocracy, and a new social and political structury.

William faced Saxon revolt in the south, and responded by driving out Anglo-Saxon lords from their lands.  In the northern areas he created mass starvation by burning houses, barns crops and killing livestock.

His power and efficiency can be seen in the Domesday Book, a census for taxes, listings manors and shires across the land.

He appointed Lanfranc, an Italian clergyman to the post of Archbishop of Canterbury, and promoted church reform, with the creation of separate church courts, whilst retaining royal control.

King William I (William the Conqueror) died in battle at the French city of Mantes; his horse stumbled amongst the ruins, and he is unhorsed, causing a fatal stomach injury.  William was buried at the Abbey Church of St.Etienne, Caen.

King William II: When William I died in 1087, he gave England to his second son, William II and Normandy to his eldest son Robert.  To his third son Henry, he left nothing, for he was supposed to enter the church.

William II ascended to the English throne upon the death of his father William I in 1087, and was crowned King William II of England on the 26th September at his coronation at Canterbury Cathedral.

William faced rebellion from his brother Robert, urged on by his uncle Odo of Bayeux, the revolt quickly collapsed.  William responded by waging war against Robert in 1089, laying claims to the lands of Normandy, and defeating him in battle.

William faced hostile opposition from Scotland in 1091, and was forced to take action, forcing Malcolm III, King of the Scots to acknowledge him as King of England and the lands of Scotland.  In November 1093, Malcolm III and his forces revolted, taking on the might of William II near Alnwick, where Malcolm died on the battlefield.

William was always at odds with the church, he being a practicing homosexual, his interest lay in the revenue the church raised, not the faith itself.

On the 2nd August 1100, King William II was killed when an arrow penetrated his lung in a hunting accident.  Walter Tirel, nobleman and friend of the King fired the fateful arrow, missing a stag and killing the king.  Tirel fled to France, fearful of his life. 

King Henry I: Henry, the third son of William the Conqueror received nothing at his father’s death, but thing’s changed, when his brother William was killed in a hunting accident, he swiftly moved being crowned King in a matter of a few days.

Henry’s brother Robert, landed on English shores in 1101, claiming he was the rightful heir of England.  Conflict was averted, Henry’s territories in Normandy passed to Robert, along with 2,000 marks a year.  In 1106, Henry invaded Normandy and captured Robert at the “Battle of Tinchebrai,” and imprisoned him for life.

In 1110 Henry created a financial counting system, a chequered cloth was used by the Royal Treasury, a central point for discussions on finance.

In 1121, Henry’s heir William died, and he had no male successor, and proposed his daughter Matilda would be Queen of England upon his death.  Henry’s barons swore an allegiance to Matilda, yet their promise was never kept.

In 1135 King Henry I died in Rouen, France and was buried at Reading Abbey.

King Stephen: With Henry I dead, the last thing English barons wanted, was to be ruled by a woman, which led to conflict over succession…  So it was, on the 22nd December 1135, Stephen the nephew of Henry I seized the English throne with the backing of barons and nobles, and was crowned on the 26th December.

Henry had so desired his daughter should be his successor, the actions taken by Stephen, led to Civil War as to who should be the rightful ruler; Stephen or Matilda.

Matilda received support from King David I of Scotland, as he invaded English lands.  In 1138 Robert the Earl of Gloucester rebels against Stephen.  In 1141, Matilda was elected as Queen, but driven out of London by its people who wanted Stephen, prior to her coronation.

This Civil War was tearing England apart, as Henry’s Royal Government lay in tatters.  The church played one side against the other, extending its authority.  It all came to a head, under the “Treaty of Westminster.”  Stephen would remain king for the remainder of his life, and upon his death the English throne would pass to Matilda’s son, Henry Plantagenet and he would take the title; King Henry II of England.

In 1154, King Stephen of England died, and was buried at Faversham in Kent.

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