Plantagenet King: Henry II

1133  Henry, was born to Geoffrey, the Count of Anjou and Empress Matilda, the daughter of Henry I.

1151  Henry becomes the Duke of Normandy and Anjou, upon the death of his father, Geoffrey, the Count of Anjou.

1152  Henry marries Eleanor of Aquitaine, acquiring her duchy, giving him a powerful position in France.

1153  The Treaty of Westminster, agrees that Stephen would remain King of England until his death, upon which Henry the Duke of Normandy would be his successor.

1154  Stephen dies, and Henry accedes to the English throne; King Henry II of England.

1155  Henry appoints Thomas Becket as his Chancellor of England.

Pope Adrian IV issues the papal bull Laudabiliter, which gives Henry dispensation to invade Ireland and bring the Irish church under the Control of Rome.

1157  Queen Eleanor bore Henry a son, who was christened Richard.

1158  Queen Eleanor bore Henry a son, who was christened Geoffrey.

Following the death of his brother Geoffrey, Henry crosses to France and seizes the lands of Nantes.

1161  Theobald, the Archbishop of Canterbury dies.

1162  Queen Eleanor bore Henry a daughter, who was christened with her own name; Eleanor.

King Henry II appoints Thomas Becket as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, in the hope he will aid in the introduction of new Church reforms.

Henry showed his hand, accusing the clergy of leniency of crimes amongst their own.  He informed them, that appeals to Rome as granted by Stephen would cease.

1163  Henry put forward that those of the church who had committed crimes, should be handed over to secular authorities for punishment.

1164  Henry introduced the written “Constitution of Clarendon” which placed limitations on the Church’s jurisdiction over crimes committed by their own:

Henry passed a law which stated that any person found guilty in a Church court would be punished by a Royal court.

With no approval by the pop, Thomas Becket refused to sign the Constitution on the grounds these clerics have already been degraded by the Bishop’s Court.

In the autumn, following a stormy confrontation between Henry and Becket, Thomas Becket was forced into exile at the Cistercian Abbey of Pontigny in France.

1166  The Assizes of Clarendon establishes trial by jury for the first time, for serious crimes.

Dermot McMurrough, King of Leinster in Ireland, appeals to Henry for help in opposing a confederation of other Irish Kings.  In response to the appeal, Henry sends a force led by Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, thereby beginning the English settlement of Ireland.

Queen Eleanor bore Henry a son, who was christened John.

1167  Henry, enraged at Becket’s exile in France, decrees that all English students were to return home.

Becket remained in Exile over the King’s demand to have limitless control over the church.

1168  English scholars expelled from Paris settle in Oxford, where they found a university.

The quarrel between King Henry II and Thomas Becket assisted in the creation of Oxford University.

1170  Thomas Becket and King Henry II meet in Normandy, where they reconcile their differences.

On Christmas day, Becket returned to England, and at Canterbury Cathedral publicly excommunicates his enemies.

Thomas Becket is killed in Canterbury Cathedral on the 29th December by four of Henry’s knights; Reginald FitzUrse, William de Tracy, Hugh Mauclerk and Richard le Breton, who took the king’s words literally; “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest.”

1171-2  Henry invades Ireland and receives homage from the King of Leinster and the other Kings.  Henry is accepted as Lord of Ireland.

At Cashel Henry makes the Irish clergy submit to the authority of Rome, following the papal bull issued by the pope in 1155, giving him permission to invade Ireland.

Henry makes an agreement with Rhys ap Gruffyd, that he be the ruler of Wales in return for their loyalty.

1173  Henry’s sons; Henry, Richard and Geoffrey lead an unsuccessful rebellion against their father in Normandy.

Thomas Becket is canonized.

1176  Henry forgave his sons for turning against him… 

Henry set out what each son would receive upon his death.  Henry would rule England, Normandy and Anjou.  Richard would rule Aquitaine, Geoffrey would rule Brittany and John would rule Ireland.

Henry creates a framework of justice, creating judges and dividing England into six counties.

1179  Henry changes the law concerning the right of property.  A defendant had the right to opt for trial by jury or trial by combat.

1183  Henry’s young son; Henry dies on the 11th June.

1186  On the 19th August Henry’s son Geoffrey dies.

1189  King Henry II dies at Chinon Castle, in Anjou and is buried at Fontevraud in France.

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