A regular podcast telling the story of England with warmth and wit and enthusiasm. The story of the great names and the events that made England the mosaic it is today; the daily lives of the people who made it so. We take a chronological approach, from the cataclysmic end of Roman Britain, all the way through to the present day – when we get there! Along the way we follow the major highways of history, and some of the side roads too – what it was like to live in the Middle Ages, why the differ...more
Cranmer's reputation has run from dishonest, ambitious politician to gentle, moderate Anglican. Prof. Diarmaid MacCulloch shed light on the life and motivations of the man central to the English Reformation.
After Mary rode into London in August 1553, Thomas Cranmer must have known he would be in the firing line - and yet at first nothing happened. And it was his own defiance that caused the queen to take action. This is story of Cranmer's defiance.
Mary was well aware that it was critical for her to establish her right and authority as equal to that of any king; and she consciously pursued that aim. Which did not stop people worrying about her choice of husband.
After her brave and audacious rebellion, Mary became Queen in 1553. Historians have not been kind to Mary for many centuries. What have they been saying? What are they saying now?
Same Hume introduces English trade and exploration in the Tudor era - the trade companies that spring up after 1550 and the discovery ventures that follow. With a bit of piracy/privateering thrown in for good measure.To listen to Pax Britannica, follow these links: iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/pax-britannica/id1451859986?mt=2 and the show page: https://cms.megaphone.fm/channel/ADL3707263633
Joseph Lancaster is little known today, but on the first half of the 19th century his name was everywhere. He was described as 'the poor child's friend' as he made education available for the first time to thousands and hastened education reform
After Mary's victory, Jane Grey was imprisoned comfortably in the Tower, and spent her time studying - and had a reasonable expectation of long, if a little dull, life. Until in 1554 Thomas Wyatt and her father Henry Grey, raised rebellion.
The game played out, the Mary entered London and the Duke was to die. But Northumberland had one more surprise to spring
Whether Jane and Guildford understood the commotion in the city outside the Tower we do not know, but it was the duty of her father, the Duke of Suffolk, to break the news
Around the 14th July a ship called the Greyhound sailed into Orwell Haven. Its captain was in gaol in Lowestoft, its crew had smashed open the cash box. Meeting with Sir Henry Jermingham may well have changed the course of history.
Northumberland made good speed towards East Anglia and Mary, and his army swelled with troops and artillery. But in London, the mood was ugly, and Mary was having some success too.
Mary's letter of 10th July brought home an uncomfortable truth that Northumberland had expected to avoid - that Jane must fight for her crown. If an army could be found
Mary had a decision to make - submit, fight or flee. She took the decision with her household - and they raised the rafters with their cheers.
On the morning of 9th July 1553 the 16 year old Jane was walking in the Grey manor at Chelsea in blissful ignorance. Then the Duke of Northumberland's daughter, Mary Sidney, came to call
The life of Lady Jane Grey to 1553, and the fate of Edward VI is settled as the vultures gather. The first in our series on the succession crisis of 1553.
Edward VI's 'Devise for the Succession' would plunge England into turmoil. Was it his own work, or was it the work of a manipulative and power hungry Northumberland? Here's what happened.
John Dudley, as Duke of Northumberland for a while dominated the King's Council - and was a man with the imagination to change the rules. And the Edwardian Reformation continued, step by step, to transform religious practice.
Diarmaid MacCulloch brings wonderful scholarship, wit and humanity with a delightfully fresh biography of Thomas Cromwell, shot through with new insights. And I got to meet him! Here is what we talked about.
In 1550 Edward's views on reformation began to harden - and brought him into conflict with his sister. Under pressure from King and Council, Mary decided that she must flee the country for the safety of the firmly Catholic Empire
Somerset came away from the Commotion Time with a wobbly reputation. Could he survive politically ?
1549 was a year of upheaval which led to rebellions which offer a fascinating window into English society. It also saw the publication of the Book of Common Prayer, Cranmer's masterpiece which would form the bedrock of the English church for centuries
Somerset was an effective soldier, and as uncle to the king he seemed like an ideal choice as Protector. Would he prove an effective political? Good Duke, Bad Duke or just Duke? Over the next few episodes, we'll find out.
Within week, Edward Seymour was safely ensconced on the seat of power. But brother Thomas was not impressed, and would involve three women - Catherine Parr, Princess Elizabeth and Jane Grey in his attempt to gain power and influence
Poor Edward's reign tends to be ignored, sandwiched as it is. This week we pay it proper respect - what has history had to say of the lad, what were the controversies of his reign and the players that trod its boards?
By 1600, the Spain and her Empire was acknowledged as the richest and most powerful state in Europe. the hardworking Phillip II worked into the night deep in his massive palace of El Escorial to keep the wheels turning. But by his death in 1598, the seeds of her fall were already apparent.
Our survey of 16th century Europe moves on to the growth of the Ottoman Empire under Suleyman, and the chaos of the French religious wars.
How the rise of Calvinism, the Catholic Reformation and the peace of Augsberg combined with attitudes towards heresy to divide Europe along harsher, confessional lines.
Alternative views of the Big Man presented in this week's megasode and your chance to vote and be entered into the prize draw for coins kindly donated by Halls Hammered Coins. Thank you Simon.Here's the link to the episode on the website https://thehistoryofengland.co.uk/2018/07/19/252-henry-viii-judgement-day/
In 1546, Gardiner and the religious conservatives moved their sights from Cranmer, to the new darling of the evangelical cause - the Queen. Getting evidence from Anne Askew was the key - and they would stop at nothing to get it.
In 1545 the struggle between conservative and evangelical, between mumpsimus and sumpsimus grew more intense as Catherine Parr's household shed an evangelical light over the court. And into this situation came a noblewoman from Lincolnshire, Anne Askew.
It's time for a naval encounter, marked by the sinking of the Mary Rose, and then we set the scene for the cut-throat politics of the last years with Richard Rich, Thomas Wriothesley and William Paget.
In 1544 Henry traveled to France and hauled himself into the saddle for his last chance to emulate Henry V. A little like his predecessor, he was also investing in a royal navy; and this time, it's an investment that would last.
The arrival of Catherine Parr (and family) and preparations for war in France. And rather a lot of digressions.
In 1542, Henry's sought war with France; but before that, he must make sure his northern borders were safe. So began the Rough Wooing, as Henry sought to bring a Pro-English part to power in Scotland, and then bully her into a marriage alliance.
In 1543 religious conservatives were in the ascendant, dominated the aristocratic Privy Council and a wave of prosecutions for heresy followed. When some of Archbishop Cranmer's own parishioners of Kent sought to discredit him Gardiner saw an opportunity to bring him down.
Catherine had made a decent start of being queen. And it was really in no body's interest to reveal her old life. But dangers and memories were all around - as were temptations
In 1540 a new member at court, Catherine Howard, caught the eye of a king struggling with his marriage to Anne. By July Anne was gone and Catherine had embarked on her new career as queen of England.
Anne arrived in England to be greeted by 6 burly disguised middle aged men. 1540 was a year neither Anne of Cleves nor Thomas Cromwell were to remember - with affection in one case, or at all in another.
Henry's attitude to illness, and possible medical explanations for his character and events of his realm. And a negotiation starts for a new wife.
The 1530's saw radical changes in both Ireland and Wales, following Cromwell's same policy as applied to the northern borders. The outcomes though, were to be very different.
Henry wanted a different relationship with his nobility - a service, court based nobility. Royal power meanwhile must be extended and enhanced. Today we look at Tudor lordship and royal power in the north of England.
In 1539, Henry became convinced that religious reform was going too far. Cromwell and Cranmer failed to see the signs and during the 1539 the act of Six Articles shocked evangelists.
At the start of 1538, the end of monasticism was widely predicted, and by 1540 the larger monasteries were all gone. Along with an assault on the veneration of relics and saints, the traditional practice of religion was deeply affected.
In 1537 and 1538 the doctrinal debate intensified with the Evangelical cause appeared to advance step by step. Cromwell discredited the monastic movement by attacking the veneration of relics.
By December 1536 there were 50,000 rebels camped around Pontefract Castle while inside their leader Robert Aske composed a petition of 24 articles, to re-instate traditional religion and the Pope. No royal army of any size stood between them and London.
It is not true to say that Henry died a Catholic without the Pope. The 1530's were a time of increasing doctrinal confusion which together with the attack on monasticism brought forth a bellow of distress.
With Anne's death the traditionalists breathed a heavy sign of relief. now all the bad stuff would stop - evangelical reform would be reversed, Mary would be re-instated. They had a shock coming.
From the mid 1520s, the church authorities began to face a more serious challenge from evangelicals like Thomas Bilney and Hugh Latimer. And in 1526 and 1534, Tyndale's New Testament in English transformed the situation
Some of the arguments about Anne Boleyn's life and career, to help you make you make your choice and vote on the History of England Facebook page http://bit.ly/THoEFBpage before 19th November. 4 Prizes to be won!
On May Day 1536 at Greenwich, Anne and Henry could put their worries aside. Everything was well with the world as they watched the joust. Then Henry left suddenly and was seen arguing with Henry Norris. Find out what happened next.
We discuss what we know about Anne as Queen consort, and chart the progress of the break with a thousand years of tradition in the declaration of royal supremacy.
The start of 4 weeks of fun, debate, voting and prizes as we consider the life of Anne Boleyn and decide whether Catherine was being fair in describing Anne as the Scandal of Christendom. This week a summary of the life of Anne to 1532. You can find out more here http://bit.ly/ABDebate
After Wolsey's fall was a period of stalemate; but between 1529 and 1532, Henry's thoughts crystalised, Anne became to be openly at his side - and a new weapon joined the king - the exocet that was Thomas Cromwell.
In 1529 the campaign for the King's great matter, his divorce came to a climax. Wolsey persuaded the Pope to allow a court to be held in England under Cardinals Campeggio and Wolsey. On its success or failure would rest Wolsey's own future.
The king's Great Matter as it was to be called, outraged and divided Christendom, and has been dividing us ever since. What motivated it? Who was responsible? The debate starts here.
In 1520 the Pope threatened an obscure Augustinian monk with excommunication. Why ? What happened next? And how did the English react?
The traditional story of the English Reformation has been of a rotten, moribund, venal church, just waiting to be toppled by reformers, the pyre ignited by Luther's teachings. But was the late medieval church really in such a rotten state?
The diplomacy of the early 1520s culminated at Pavia, with the ruin of French hopes - and also English as Hapsburg for a while reigned supreme. Domestic politics saw Wolsey discredited for the first time, and the Boleyns arrive at court.
Henry had shown a hint of the man he would become in 1510 by the execution of Empson and Dudley. In 1521, the Duke of Buckingham was in his sights, as Europe's Universal Peace sank beneath the waves.
It is in the reign of Henry VIII that we first hear of the 'masque' - entertainment that drew from Mummers, Mystery plays, and 'disguisings'. We talk about Anne and Mary Boleyn's education - and Shakespeare and the word 'bump'
Enter Thomas Boleyn, courtier, and the realities of being a courtier. And the field of the cloth of Gold; Henry and Wolsey's mission to uphold the treaty of universal peace.
Wolsey had tried war with France, they'd tried war by proxy, they'd tried peace. In 1518 the most remarkable of their plans - the Treaty of Universal peace where 20 states guaranteed the peace of Europe.
Being made a Cardinal in 1515 gave Wolsey the perfect opportunity to give the vainglorious side of his nature full reign. He made full use of it.
The story of a love affair - probably. In 1514 Henry married off his 18 year old sister to the gouty, siphilitic, toothless 50+ year old Louis and sent her to France., She came back a year later married to someone else entirely
In 1513 there were two English victories. One of them would have a profound effect on English history. The other one was mainly a mad dash in pursuit of a bunch of cavalry eager to escape.
The path of Renaissance diplomacy was both torturous and without scruple; as Henry finds out as he thirsts for glory.
Historians have identified the 16th and 17th centuries as a time of revolutionary change in Europe, driven by military technology. We talk a bit about that, and about the personalities Henry VIII was up against.
Henry VIII was released by this accession to the courtly, chivalric life of the hunt, and masque, and tournaments. In this he was encouraged by by Council - while his father's 'peace party' got on with the business of ruling.
The accession of Henry VIII was greeted with a huge sigh of relief and great enthusiasm. His court was to change immediately, and politics for ever. Although the Book of the Courtier would not appear until 1528, it could have been written for the Tudor court to explain how to win the favour of the Prince.
How Henry has been assessed by historians through the ages, and the controversies of his reign. And assessments of the man himself.
Through the 15th century, Portugal explored the African coast in search of the Indies and the fabulous wealth of the trading networks with the East - such as those of Mansa Musa from Timbuktu. Until the great expeditions of Columbus and Da Gama led to the opening of contact with the Americas and Asia.
What happened when Henry was gone. And the report card - was Henry an incompetent tyrant, a fun loving saviour of England's future - or something in between? Should we listen to Francis Bacon or to Henry himself?
While the young prince Henry built a group of aristocratic companions and longed desperately for the joust, his father drove his hatchet men Dudley and Empson ever further into the dark world of extortion and oppression. But in 1509, Henry fell ill again.
Henry had found two hatchet men to replace Reginald Bray - Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. They spread their tentacles and contacts through London and England, and used the Council Learned to drive their master's policy to extort every possible fee 'to the king's advantage'. And did pretty well for themselves too.
In the early 1500's Henry VII saw many of his closest confidentes and supporters die. Catherine of Aragon was to be one of those who suffered as a result. He also built the rather magnificent palace at Sheen, renaming it Richmond; not knowing that in a few years, it would be the place of his death.
Henry made changes to the English court, administration and legal system. He increased the health of royal finances, and tried to make the justice system work better, based around the JP. But many of his actions would be seen as setting a path to tyranny and avarice later in the reign
After negotiations that would win prizes, it was finally time for Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth's pride and joy Prince Arthur to marry the Spanish Princess, Catherine of Aragon.
The travels of Perkin Warbeck take him to Scotland, marriage and war; which leads to taxes, which leads to rebellion. T'was ever thus.
Ireland in 1495 was almost 3 societies living side by side. We take a trip to Ireland, hear about the Great Earl, and the law that became known as Poyning's law. Plus, Perkin arrives - will Ireland welcome him as it did Lambert?
The appearance of a new pretender - Perkin Warbeck in Ireland was to distort Henry VII's domestic and foreign policy for the rest of the 1490's.
Henry VII's ambitions were to rule in the French style - to better control and increase his income. He gathered around him bureaucrats - new men he could trust and who depended on him rather than the nobility of the court. We also start the story of printing.
In 1485 and 1486 Henry established the foundations of his reign through parliament, and established his household. The relationship between his wife and his mother would always be a matter of some debate.
The personality of Henry VII, the story he created of himself, and how history has treated his reputation.
England in 1485 was at once a deeply traditional medieval society - and yet poised at the edge of change - economic, social, religious and political
15th Century European kingdoms were wracked by internal division as well as international war. By the end of the century, Rome was no more, Christendom was increasingly disunited and new monarchies were on the way.
1485 was not the end of the Wars of the Roses; the fear of dynastic strife lasts well into Henry VIII's reign. But we draw a close at the battle of Stoke, and ask what the Wars changed - if anything.
In 1483, the gates of the Tower of London closed on two innocent and defenceless boys; one, Edward, captured and the other Richard, given up by his mother. As far as we know, neither of were seen outside the walls again.
At last in 1485 Richard got to meet his challenger in person at the Battle of Bosworth - a meeting he needed every bit as much as Henry Tudor.
Unfortunately for Richard he was never able to simply concentrate of governing the realm; the hangover of his accession, the presence of Henry Tudor abroad - these things constantly took his attention away.
Some argue that in a short time Richard showed that he good have been one of England's best rulers - is there any justification for the idea of Good King Richard?
The result of the voting...and the winners of prizes!
Richard sought to start the reconciliation of the factions in the realm. But despite his triumphant progress through the Kingdom to York, trouble was brewing - including from the most unlikely quarter
3 interpretations of the events of 1483 to help your all important vote - did Richard plan to usurp the throne; fall into it by mistake; or step into the breach to save the kingdom?
The reign of Edward V is one of the great controversies of English history. This episode is as uncontroversial - just what happened. Then in 2 weeks time - we have the big debate and prizes, at THoE Facebook Page. It all starts with the death of Edward IV on 9th April 1483.
It was critical that the heir to the throne, the young Edward, was tutored and governed to be brought up to be a successful king - and so Rivers was given the job, in Ludlow on the Welsh borders, and there was time. Then in 1483 the king fell ill.
The 1470's were a marked contrast to the 1460's; a decade of complete calm, of control and authority. How did Edward do it?
Edward IV fancied himself as a latter day Edward III, and with his love of the Garter tradition on the one hand and his determination to gain revenge for French support for Lancaster, a European adventure looked on the cards.
They had a complicated relationship - Edward, Clarence and Richard; Clarence and Richard had often been left together with Cecily and Margaret while Edward was with his father. In the 1470s, things came to a head.
An odd episode, where we talk about games they played in medieval days; and then completely unconnected, some of domesticated animals and where they came from.
We know that the Magnates and peerage made some cutbacks and prettified fewer of their residences - but what of the Gentry, who by and large would have 1 or 2 manors? And the peasantry and their yardland?
Through the 15th century the Gentry become firmly established as the real rulers of the localities; and an enterprising part of England's economy. So it seems worth finding out a bit more about them.
After a period of grace, the 15th Century posed serious challenges for Magnates and the rural economy - prices fell, wages rose, Magnates had to cancel parties. But every cloud has its silvery lining; and trouble for some was opportunity for others - the new Farmers.
A rest from politics. The population of England remained stagnant or falling throughout 15th century. But that didn't meant there was no opportunity for towns or for commerce. You just had to look for it a bit harder.
Edward's troubles were not over with the victory at Barnet. He still faced two more invasions - the Queen and Prince, and Fauconberg in the South East. It was the final showdown between Lancaster and York.
In 1470, Henry VIth was released by Warwick from the Tower, and re-established as the rightful king of England. The Usurper Edward IV was banished forever. Sadly for the Lancastrians, Edward IV was determined to reclaim the throne when he landed at Ravenspur in 1471.
In 1470 the spin of the wheel of fortune was dizzying. Warwick had won, lost, won...where it ended nobody knew. But the most extraordinary thing of all was an alliance to be made, with the help of Warwick's 14 year old daughter, Anne
In 1468, Warwick had a decision to make - as he himself said, 'It is a matter of being either Master or Varlet'.
There was a new faction at court - the Woodvilles, and they were there en masse. Were they really so bad? Had Edward boobed? And what did Warwick think - what would he do?
The first three years of Edward's reign were spent dealing stamping on the fires of the Lancastrian resistance. But then, he found time for something much more controversial than dis-embowelling, and he found it under an oak tree.
In the aftermath of Towton, Edward started his work to restore a broad based regime - crushing the recalcitrant, welcoming the turncoats, re-establishing royal justice. He also had a party. Margaret meanwhile traveled to build support for another return.
In 1461 the Queen failed to seize London,and retreated to the north. Warwick and Edward walked through London's empty gates and then chased north for the largest, and bloodiest battle of English soil.
After the victory at Northampton and the Act of Accord, it looked as though all Richard of York had to do was wait or the crown to be his. But in the north and west, the Lancastrian opposition was growing.
Warwick swashed and buckled his way up and down the channel until the Yorkists were ready to invade England again. But on his return from Ireland with horns and trumpets blowing, Richard of York had a shock for his allies.
In 1459 the trigger point was finally reached; after a year of phony war, both sides preparing for war, the call for a great council in 1459 proving the trigger point. By the end of 1459 the fortune of one of the two sides would lie in ruins.
In 1455 it briefly looked as though York had won; but in fact it solved nothing - the king remained the centre of power, and the king was weak. By 1457, he had lost his status as Protector, and the Queen was effectively the new ruler of England.
In 1455, the quality and nature of the arguments and disputes about the king's fitness to reign and the need to reform the way England was governed changed very significantly. At St Albans, blood was spilled.
In 1452 and 1453 Henry enjoyed a brief spell where he was on top of his job after the events at Dartford. But fate had something in mind.
How did previous generations view the Wars of the Roses? What are the interpretations of the Wars of the Roses now? This, and an introduction to some key families, are what this week is all about.
It's still 1450. Because it was something of an eventful year. Richard of York, sat in Ireland, was worried - his name had been bandied about by Jack Cade and his rebels. See what happens...
1450 was an eventful year. The fall of Suffolk, and now Kent was once again in flames, just as it had been in 1381. This time the leader that emerged was one Jack Cade.
By 1445, William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk was clearly Henry's most trusted adviser. He faced a difficult task - to steer a bankrupt nation into the harbor of peace. Avoiding the ship of France trying to sink her on the way in. Would they make it?
Through the late 1430's and early 1440's the situation in Normandy got no better, Alice Chaucer until a failed expedition convinced Henry and Suffolk that peace was required at any price. And the result was the Treaty of Tour and a royal marriage.
In December 1431, Henry VIth became the only king of England crowned king of France in France. Which sounds great. But in fact it was a sign of English weakness than English strength. And at Arras things got substantially worse.
In 1428, the English were still sweeping all before them. Then came a figure so famous, that she was selected by Bill and Ted for their history project - and what greater recognition can there be than that?
There's really often little practical difference between what we call politics and some of what we call crime. Essentially it the history of the struggle for power by a bunch of aristocratic families. And a smidgen of life on the Borders.
While Bedford and talented commanders like Salisbury were alive, the cause of the English in France was far from dead. But in 1423, buoyed by the arrival of the Scots, the French launched a fresh campaign into Normandy, and quickly took the mighty town of Verneuil
An introduction to a new reign - Henry VIth, a name to make grown men tremble - and to the political leaders that dominated it.
Only 4% of women remained unmarried in the middle ages, and therefore for Harvestingboth men and women working life was a matter of team work. In towns in particular, women might find their opportunities for specialised work more limited than men, but not impossible - women like Margery Kempe showed how the mould could be broken.
Henry's talents ran as much to managing his back yard as it did to war; this week how Henry organised his kingdom for war, and the last days of his life. Plus a guest bonus from Kevin Stroud and 'The History of English'.
In 1420, Henry faced an uphill battle again; his negotiations had failed with both Dauphinists and Burgundians, and instead they'd patched it up. So he faced an alliance - Dauphinist, Armagnac, Orleanist, Burgundian - Scot - against the English. And then came a meeting on a bridge that changed everything
By 1417, Henry had sorted out his support in England, and was able to launch a war of conquest in Normandy. After butchery at Caen, castles and towns fell, and by June 1418 the final and biggest prize stood before Henry - Rouen, second city of France.
Medieval understanding of physiology had an impact on attitudes to sex, just as much as did the teachings of the church. Though who knows how much it had an impact on everyday life. And something about how childbirth fitted into community life, and rearing the outcome.
As far as women were concerned, was 1066 generally a Good Thing, a Bad Thing - or just a Thing? That's the main item of debate this week, along with a bit about marriage, and a toe-curling piece about how to get out of an unwanted marriage contract by proving your partner failed to live up to their, um, duties.
Unaccustomed as I am to social and economic history...here is the first of a bit of a thread over the next few weeks and months about some social stuff, and indeed with a bit of a focus on women. Due to popular demand. We start of this thread with a look at the status and role of women in Anglo Saxon England.
And so at last to one of England's most famous battles. Outnumbered and trapped, Henry and his English and Welsh faced the cream of the French warrior class.
Henry probably now intended to be King of France or Duke of Normandy as a minimum. So what he planned was a war of conquest, not just the traditional chevaucee. It's likely that he planned to start with Harfleur, take it quickly and then advance to the capital of Normandy - Rouen - before winter. But Jean d'Estouteville, captain of Harfleur, had other ideas.
There is little doubt that Henry Vth always intended to fight in France - unless they completely rolled over. Which was unlikely; the French were perfectly ready to fight and on the surface at least united in the face of the English threat, and looking forward to giving them a beating. This week, Henry prepares.
Last week we wondered about Henry - Monster or Hero...? This week you could look at it either way, as Henry faces the Lollards and his old pal, Sir John Oldcastle.
Henry Vth is a man who has a reasonable claim to be the greatest of English kings. But what did contemporaries think of him? Successful he was no doubt - but in his rigid piety and ruthlessness was he also a monster?
And here we are with the second installment of the Romans in Britain, taking us to the fall of the western Empire.
For some reason, don't know why, my interest in English and British history starts with the Anglo Saxons. Not before. Don't ask me why - no idea. I love Ancient Greece, Rome etc etc - but no interest in the British stuff. Sorry. Fortunately, Richard Norton does! yay! so here we are, part 1 of a 2 part overview of the Romans in Britain by Richard Norton....
With John Wycliffe and the Lollards in the 14th century, heresy finally came to England. Up to this point, rural England had been notable for avoiding the religious turmoils that sprung up from time to time through the continent.
In his final years, Henry faced a new challenge - from his ambitious son Henry. Ill and tired, For a while he loses control to the young bucks, the new generation, the men of his son.
The younger Henry enters our story full time as he leads to fight to Glyn Dwr. And for the alternative Prince of Wales after the failure of the French invasion the light went out of his rebellion. It wasn't all over yet - Harlech and Abersytwyth still stood - but without external help things looked pretty desperate.
In 1405, yet more rebellion in England, this time from the north led by an Archbishop; and the crowning glory of Glyn Dwr's diplomacy led to the arrival of the French on the shores to wipe the English out in Wales
The battle of Shrewsbury of 1403 is one of those battles that deserves to be more remembered than it is - along with Lincoln in 1217 for example. The issue at Shrewsbury was who would rule England - Henry IVth or the Mortimers and Percies.
In 1402 and 1403 Glyn Dwr's power and influence grew. As Glyn Dwr looked for foreign allies, Henry was forced to look north, and look closely at the loyalty of those around this.
As he looked around after dust of the Epiphany Rising had settled, Henry began to realise that he had problems that would make his life difficult; a mega fall in royal revenue, a restricted group of magnates to call on. Plus, things were stirring in the West...
The reputation of Henry IVth has changed through history - where he's remembered at all! So we look at that - we are left with those that think Henry was inadequate, and those that he did the best job possible in the circumstances. And then we deal with the first challenge of Henry's reign - the Epiphany Rising.
This week we finish off our survey of Europe, bringing us up to date with Byzantium, and the threat from the East. But we'll also bring you up to date with Scandinanvia, Russia and France.
The growth of Aragon and its mediterranean empire, consolidation and political change in Northern Italy, fragmentation in Germany; Jan Hus, heresy and the Council of Constance.
Ths episode is the first of 3 to bring us up to date with the history of Europe to the time of Henry IVth. This week it's all about the Economic development of Europe, and about some of the technological change that impacts on it
In 1399 Bolingbroke and Richard were locked in a struggle - who would rule England and how.
At last in 1397 Richard would have felt that he had put his past humiliation from the Appellants behind him. But he was no happier or secure. He gathered his private army of Cheshire Archers around him and looked out at the world outside the court with mistrustful eyes.
In 1397, Richard finally saw the chance to try to get his revenge on the Appellants - Gloucester, Arundel and Warwick. So the parliament of September 1397 was momentus.
Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby, son of the most powerful magnate in England, was a golden child blessed with every advantage. While Richard tried to get his royal feet under the throne, Bolingbroke left the wife to bring up the children and headed out to fulfil the image of the perfect medieval knight.
Between the Appellants crisis of 1388 and 1397, Richard ruled with increasingly confidence. He was hardly the most impressive English king but he appeared to have cast off the wildness of his early days, and accepted the need to rule together with his leading magnates.
By 1387, it was becoming clear that the Wonderful Parliament of 1385 had not solved the problem. Pressure had been building, and Gloucester, Warwick and Arundel were far from satisfied - and felt far from safe. The showdown came at the Merciless Parliament of 1388.
From the end of the Peasant's Revolt in 1381, England continues to be managed by the Council, but the young Richard began to have more and more influence. And despite his youth and lack of sole control, what he does manages to raise concern rather than to re-assure. As the war with France goes from bad to worse, by the time 1387 comes around there are more than a few murmers of discontent around.
Wycliffe's views finally began to attract the enmity of the church; and the crown, in the form of Richard, was no longer prepared to protect him - though unexcited about suppression. By 1384, open discussion at Oxford University of Wycliffe's ideas were a thing of the past, and Wycliffe was dead - but a new religious movement called Lollardy was precariously alive. It was helped by the first Bible in English - Wycliffe's Bible. Along with Chaucer, Gower, Langland - English was back to stay. ...more
Wycliffe's writings were to prove controversial and proved an interesting early echo of the Reformation. They heavily influenced the view of Jan Hus and the movement in Bohemia. And his ability to develop and present those views owed a lot to Oxford University, and its desire to protect intellectual debate and investigation.
After Richard had broken the revolt in London at Smithfield it was time to tackle the chaos outside London. The Counter Revolution took something between 1,500-7,000 judicial executions, and did nothing to solve the breaches in a divided society. Also this week, a look at the state of the nation of the medieval English church, as we approach the story of John Wyclif and the Lollards.
In June 1381 the revolt came to London. Before long, London was in flames, and the qualities of the young king Richard, and his advisors, were tested to the limit as they were made prisoners in their own castle.
On a hill outside Blackheath, just to the south of London, a hedge priest called John Ball is preaching to a massive crowd of pesants. When Adam delved and Eve span, he asked, who was then the Gentleman? What a great question. So why are there thousands of peasants sitting on a hill outside London?
Richard arrived with the expectation of a nation on his shoulders - the son of the illustrious hero Edward the Black Prince. So what was Richard like, and how has history treated him?
The rythmn of the year would have been far more important to most medieval people that the goings on at Westminster and the court of the king. The stream of Christian festivals, the odd old survival from days pagan, the demands of the natural world - these were the things that really mattered.
There were now unusual expecations for the parliament of 1376. But in fact a revolt from the Commons was brewing, dismayed by the failures of the war. The Good Parliament set a number of precedents but John of Gaunt did not allow it to stand for long. And by June 1377 both the King and his son the Black Prince were dead.
From 1371 to 1375 the army went from bad to worse. An English fleet was destroyed at La Rochelle and Poitou and the Saintonge fell to the French. The great counter attack by Gaunt in 1373 was a disaster. And in 1374 the end of English rule in Gascony looked on the cards. The truce of Bruges in 1375 saved the English position - but it all looked very temporary. And back at home, Alice Perrers tightened her grip.
On the face of it, the 1360's were a continuation and celebration of the great victories of the 40's and 50's. In 1364, Charles of Blois was defeated and killed at Auray. In 1364 John II died, to be replaced by Charles Vth, and in 1367 the Black Prince won a brilliant victory at Najera. But in fact the English apple had the worm of decay in its centre.
Fashion finally comes to town in the 14th Century. At the start of the century people are wearing what they've been wearing for centuries. By the end of it there are a wide variety of styles people may choose.
After the victory at Poitiers and capture of the French King, the English seemed to hold all the cards, and the Treaty of Bretigny in 1360 for a while maintained this illusion. Edward basked in his glories, and made sure he had provided for his thre eldest sons - Edward, Lionel and John.
1356 saw one of the greatest exchange of arms of the war. Early in the year, the Duke of Lancaster attacked into Normandy and with lightening marches ran rings round the French King. Then in the south the Black Prince attacked into the Poitou, seeking to link up with Lancaster on a march towards Paris. The campaign would end of the field of Poitiers as once again an English army faced a much bigger French opponent.
In 1354 - 1355 Edward and his court wavered between optimism that a negotiated settlement was within their grasp - and determination to continue to prosecute the war. The Treaty of Guines looked to have given Edward more than he could have hoped for - Aquitaine, Anjou and Calais in return for peace and the renunciation of his claims. But in the end it was to be war again. The Black Prince started things off with the Great Chevaucee
The period between 1347 and 1353 was one of low level war and violence; punctuated by more or less effective truces. But even the truces don't stop the low level local violence that saw a creeping chaos in areas of France. Meanwhile at home, Edward's parliaments of 1351-3 introduced a range of legislation and saw the Commons become a more unified coherent unit.
The theory runs that the Black Death transformed medieval society. With a dramatic shortage of labour, the English peasant was able to demand whatever wages and terms they wanted - liberating hte English from serfdom. Is this true? And what other impacts did the Black Death have on the medieval mind.
In 1348 a 14 year old royal princess, Joan, set out from Portsmouth to marry Pedro of Castile. Her route went by Bordeaux, and with the massive trousseau she carried - enough to fill an entire ship - she would have expected a comfortable journey. But Joan never arrived.
By the end of the march across Normandy in 1346, Edward had accepted that he was not going to be able to hold French territory. But he had a clear objective - Calais. Philip meanwhile now hoped that the Scots would invade an empty, defenceless England and Edward would have to abandon his plans and rush back home.
In 1346 Edward invaded finally launched the invasion he had hoped to lead in 1345. The target was Normandy a devastating raid through northern France, a glorious victory in battle followed by - well who knows. There followed a tense camapign that tettered on the edge of disaster until the two armies finally met outside the village of Crecy on 26th August 1346
Edward had little intention of keeping the truce for long. After a brief period of reconstruction, he repudiated the truce a year early. And so enters one of the most attractive figures of the hundred years war - Henry of Grosmont, the Earl of Derby, the Earl of Lancaster. His campaign in 1345 finally proves that the English can win.
1341 saw a serious political crisis - Edward returned home determined to put his English administration, parliament and particularly Archbishop in their places. In fact it's Edward who is forced to back down and accept a punitive legislative programme to rebuild his partnership with the political community. With a truce in place, Edward was saved from a life of fun and luxury by the start of civil war with a disputed succession to the Duchy of Brittany.
In 1340 against all the odds - of numbers and quality - Edward defeated Philip VIth's Great Army of the Sea at Sluys. The impact on morale, English and French was dramatic. But none the less Edward's campaign still failed at the walls of Tournai, and his problems of debt and discordant allies rose like a flood around him.
Edward faced a weary time, a weary time. His allies demanded money, he had none to give them. So they refused to fight, while the French closed in on Gascony and raided the south coast of England. Edward handed out impossible orders, sacked perfectly competent ministers and became increasingly isolated from his parliament, magnates and ministers. Against this background, in the Friday market at Ghent in 1340, Edward declared himself king of France.
Edward had traditionally received much of the blame before the start of the Hundred Years War. But in fact there were many reasons why France and England ended up going to war, and many of them relate to French aggression and support for the Scots. And in fact the catalyst for war is the declaration by Philip VI that he has removed the Duke of Aquitaine from his lands - i.e. Edward. This is as straightforward a declaration of war as you are ever likely to see.
There were many reasons why France and England went to war, relate to French aggression. The trigger was the declaration by Philip VI that he has removed the Duke of Aquitaine (Edward) from his lands. A pretty clear declaration of war.
In the early 1330's, Edward was a hero searching for a way to undo the humiliations visited on him by Mortimer and by the French. And Edward Balliol, son of the ex king of Scotland John Balliol, gave him his chance. At the battle of Dupplin Moor, Balliol against all the odds defeated a much large Scottish army, but could not hold Scotland. Edward now had the chance to prove himself - if he could keep the French as bay.
In 1330 a group of Edward's friends gathered together at the foot of the rock on which Nottingham castle stands. They had learnt of a secret passage that led to Mortimer's private chambers, and were looking to free their lord from Mortimer's fierce grip. This week, then, the start of Edward's majority, a survey of how history has treated Edward, and a few of the Chroniclers we will talk about.
With the defeat of the Hohenstaufen, surely the Papacy had finally won it's battle for supremacy? Actually not. A new challenge rode into town in the form of Phillip IVth of France. And meanwhile the very success of the struggle against the Emperor was to contribute towards the start of the end for that most medieval thing - the unity of Christendom.
Frederick II renewed the argument that had been going on since the time of Otto the Great - Emperor or Pope? This time there would be a solution one way or t'other. Meanwhile the unity of Christendom itself was under threat - ironically from one of it's greatest thinkers.
Listen, think and vote at www.thehistoryofengland.com or The History of England Podcast facebook group Now, traditionally, Edward II is supposed to have died after an unfortunate meeting with a red hot poker. Which has always been my firmly and fondly held belief. But ladies and gentlemen,History sleuths, other views are, in fact, available. So this episode is all about whether Edward was A) Murdered in 1327 on the orders of Roger Mortimer OR B) Escaped and with the active conivance a...more
After Edward II's abdication in January 1327, England was ruled on behalf of the new King Edward III by Queen Isabella. But while Isabella probably wanted a life of respect, comfort and personal wealth Mortimer was hungry for power. This wasn't to be a story about the forces of life overturning the power of darkness. It was to be a new tyranny.
With the fall of Lancaster, the Despencers were off the leash, and able to vent the full force of their avarice on England. Their power and Edward's inability to control them even came between the king and Isabella - so that after a diplomatic mission to France Isabella refused to return. And then in 1326, she landed in England with 1,500 men and her rebel lover, Roger Mortimer.
In 1322, things finally came to a head, and rebellion was out in the open. Lancaster must have had a fighting chance, but it all goes to show that the reign of Edward is essentially about a struggle between mediocrities.
In the 1310's, Robert Bruce's ambitions grew - not simply content with throwing the English out of Scotland, or burning the north of England - he now wanted to establish his own Empire. And so his brother Edward was sent to invade Ireland, where he would face the king's friend - Roger Mortimer. Meanwhile in England Edward and Lancaster tried to work it out and live together in peace and harmony - and failed.
The modus tenendi parliamentum is a very unusual document from around this time. It describes how parliaments should be held, but also includes a number of very interesting claims about the primacy of the commons. It's interesting for the procedures and atmosphere around parliaments - as long as we take it with a pinch of salt. Also this week we hear and the political war with Lancaster, the physical war with the Scots and defeat at Bannockburn.
For a long time we have been having a ball, economy wise - the medieval warm period, towns springing up all over the place, prices gently rising, population growing. So the Great Famine of 1315-1317 came as a terrible shock. Over 500-750,000 people died, as years of bad weather destroyed the feeling of economic well being. The question is whether or not this was a blip or part of a wider trend?
The period between 1308 and 1311 was dominated by the attempts of the barons to resolve the issues left unsolved from Edward I's reign; and by the scandal and disruption caused by the king's favourite, Piers Gaveston. The conflict and turmoil led to another constitutional shuffle forward with the powers and role of parliament in the Ordinances of 1311.
This week, and introduction to Edward II, quite probably the most reviled king in English history. So this week he have a bit of a survey of how history has treated the lad, and the chroniclers that have given him his reputation. And then we kick of the reign.
In 1305 two Scottish lords had a fall out next to the altar of a church in Dumfries. One them, Robert Bruce, resolved the argument by sticking a knife in the other, John the Red Comyn. Robert then raised the standard of rebellion and with the support of Robert Wishart, and the Scottish war was back on. Two years later, campaigning in Scotland, Edward finally reached the end of his death. Hate him or loathe him, Edward can at least say that no-one could ignore him. And there is something relentle...more
A digression this week - the state of the crime and punishment in 14th century, and the story of the theft of the crown jewels in 1303. We also get the final and rather gruesome end of William Wallace in 1305.
We spend a bit of time in this episode having a bit of a catchup up - about arms, armour and armies, and about warfare for real and for pretend. Despite that we also find time to talk about the seeming final surrender of the Scots in 1305 - so how about that for value then?
From 1297, things became harder for Edward. The relentless pressure of external wars led to increased taxation. This continuous pressure on the magnates, church and people eventually led to a resistance. Edward's personality didn't help; up to now, he had carried everything before him - now, suddenly, he's faced with the concept of compromise. Meanwhile in the north it's come-uppance time for Wallace at the battle of Falkirk.
Since the Treaty of Paris in 1259, England and France had been friends, united by a monarchy with close ties and relationships. So when in 1293 a dispute blew up over a sea fight in the Channel, Edward clearly didn't expect it to become a problem. But in fact Phillip IV (the Fair) of France was keen to strengthen the power of the French monarchy - and that didn't include having Gascony controlled by a foreign king.
Through a stunning piece of bad luck, Alexander III left no heirs. And now there was no clear successor to his throne of Scotland. For the search for the right successor, the Scottish Guardians of the Realm turned to Scotland's friend - England. But Edward had other plans - for him this was a great opportunity to revive the claims of the kings of England to be overlords of all Britain.
When Edward I arrived back in 1289 from Gascony, he was in many ways at the height of his awesomeness. A chivalric monarch, a leading stateman in Christendom, and at least partly responsible for legal reforms, that will cause a historian to call him 'the English Justinian'. But he also had problems. He was strapped for cash. There was a background of discontent against the firmness of Edward's rule. But Edward was a clever politician as well as a chivalric monarch, and knew how to negotiate his ...more
The second Anglo Welsh war was very different in character to the first. Here was a genuinely national uprising against rule by the English. Here was a war with no compromise - where Edward clearly decided from the start that the only long term issue was complete conquest.
In 1270, you would have been more likely to pick Alexander, king of Scotland or Llewellyn of Wales as the leader most likely to breach the peace. Edward looked more like a candidate for a peace prize. And, Wales was more united than ever; at the Treaty of Montgomery in 1267 Llewellyn had been confirmed as Prince of Wales. So the events of 1277 was something of a surprise.
The country Edward came back to in 1274 wasn't in particularly good nick. Crime was on the rise, with a general disaffection with the regime as the benzedrine of de Montfort's years continued to race through the nation's veins. The magnates were used to ignoring Henry and his royal officials. There was no money in the treasury. With the help of Robert Burnell and his close circle of magnates, in the first few years of his realm Edward re-established a good degree of firm government, financial st...more
The last 5 years of Henry's rule were pretty eventful. The Statute of Marlborough confirmed the changes of the Provisions of Westminster, but royal power remained based on the pre-Provisions of Oxford basis. Edward whiled away his time by going on crusade, returning in August 1274 for his coronation.
In April 1265 Gilbert de Clare had left court in something of a huff. De Montfort was well aware that if he lost de Clare, his whole hold on power would be threatened.
In 1264 when De Montfort set out from London he would have been conscious that this was a last throw; after losses to the Royalists in the midlands his only chance was a decisive victory. Lewes gave him that victory, and opened a remarkable period in England's history, a period of constitutional monarchy.
In 1262, it looked for all the world as though the royal party was back in control and the whole struggle for reform was over. But that was before you take into account the ability of Henry, Eleanor and their son to get up the collective English nose. So de Montfort was able to return and once again the battle was on. This time though, the royal party fought back right away, and won a string of victories. By March 1264, De Montfort was drinking at the last chance saloon.
Things looked pretty good for the reformers in 1259; but at the heart of the reform movement were faultlines that weakened them, and made them vulnerable. The differing aims of the magnates; the avarice of de Montfort; and the fact that would pague the civil war 400 years later - how ever many times they defeated the king, he would still be the king. And in 1261, the royal fight back began.
We sort of get back to the political narrative this week, but only sort of. We discuss the young prince, Edward, who will be one of England's most famous kings at some point and is already an important political player, and we bring oursleves back up to date with the relevance of the provisionf of Oxford
The 13th Century sees the start of changes that will come to full fruit in the 14th Century - the development of the role of the knight in the shires, the appearance of the 'Gentleman', Bastard Feudalism.
Wool was the wealth of England, the great trade that brought wealth and prosperity to England. The people who really made the money were the big ticket Italian Merchants. This week we also look at the life of Magnates, the super-rich during the period, and their households.
Being a Peasant was no doubt a pretty hard existance. But they were not without their methods of fighting back, and protecting their rights. This week also we look at the history of towns in the 13th century, as the economy continues to grow.
Over the 13th century, economic growth continued. For the Peasantry, this gave some opportunities; more chance to sell their produce and get involved in a wider range of money making ventures. It meant that population growth continued, since cottagers and wage earners were able to make enoiugh to get by on small plots of land; and so the density of landholding grew. During the 13th century all of this is fine - but there could be trouble ahead.
In 1258, the resentments all came together and the pot boiled over. The pope Alexander did his vassal no favours what so ever by pushing so hard that Henry had to ask his great men for more money.Together with some blazing rows between the Lusignans and the English barons, the spark had been applied to the powder keg. The result was the hobbling of the king by the Provisions of Oxford.
It seems strange. Henry III was a likeable enough chap, who did his best to keep a harmonious court, and gave England an extended period of peace. And yet it's all going to go up in flames around him. So the question is, why was he so unpopular?
Henry III brushed off his great officers of state and the priod of 1234 to 1258 is a period of personal rule. Henry finds himself a wife, a new personal favourite in the form of Simon de Montfort, and makes one last attempt to regain Poitou.
From 1227 to 1234 we are sort of in betweeners - the minority has ended, but Henry's government in still dominated by the old guard, people like Hubert de Burgh. But it doesn't go well - money is still tight, Henry's campaigns in France aren't great, and in 1232 Peter des Roches, the old enemy, is back in town.
Harmony with Scotland, the career of Llewellyn the Great, the loss of Poitou. During the minority of Henry, English prestige and power was at something of a low point - with the one exception of Gascony, where a supreme effort brought one success. And meanwhile in Souther France, the Cathars burned.
The years between 1219 and 1227 saw the gradual resumption of royal power. It also saw a power struggle between Peter des Roches, the Bishop of Winchester, and Hubert de Burgh the Justiciar. By January 1227 when Henry took control of the royal seal, that struggle at least seemed to be fully resolved in favour of Hubert.
A man was needed to guide England through a civil war and minority. So who do you think they picked? The answer was of course William the Marshal who was now a very old man by the standards of the time. The Earl of Chester was politely asked, given the size of his holdings, but there was no holding William. In the two and a half years left to him, William was able to throw Louis out of the England and establish Henry as the rightful king. But he left an awful lot more for his successors to do. ...more
Bouvines wasn't the cause of the Baronial revolt, but it probably was John's last chance to avoid it. In 1215 at Runymede Magna Carta was signed. It's extremely unlikely that John ever intended to allow the treaty to survive - and his untimely death at Newark was the biggest single factor in Magna Carta's survival.
From 1213 to 1214, John seemed to have got his problems more under control, and had built an alliance that looked to be capable of taking on Philip. There was trouble in the background caused by the tyranny of his rule and relationship with his barons, but his reconciliation with the Papacy and his international alliance held it at bay. But his hopes died on the field of Bouvines.
John took a detailed interest in administration, and made effective changes to the way things worked. Partly his interest was motivated by the need to raise money - as inflation ate away at his earnings, and his desire to reconquer France magnified his need. The break with the church from 1208 to 1213 actually helped his need for money, and doesn't appear to have materially damaged his reputation in England.
The Holy Roman Empire to the death of Barbarossa, the briefest of histories of Norway, Denmark and Spain, and the 4th Crusade. It's action packed.
From Charles Martel and the battle of Tours in 732, through Charlemagne and Otto the Great, the first installment concentrates on France, Germany and Italy and takes us to the shores of Gregory VIIth.
John immediately launched attempts to get his lands back - and ran into the Barons. He does run up a pretty good Navy though. And we hear of Roland the Farter.
After the defection of William des Roches the military situation was poor for John but not irretrievable. Unfortunately, John failed to provide the leadership needed. He distrusted his barons; he panicked and had no coherent strategy. When he killed Arthur, he pushed the self destruct button, and Normandy collapsed from with - the Barons no longer supported the descendants of William the Bastard.
As a younger man, John had been given the nickname Lackland because unlike his brothers he didn't have his own appanage. At the Treaty of Le Goulet in May 1200 he acquired the name Softsword - people couldn't understand why he'd signed away Gisors, parts of Berry, £20,000 and bent his knee to Phillip. On the other hand, John probably felt he'd had a good deal. Then John caused fury with the Lusignan by stealing their bride, they appealed to Phillip and and Phillip declared John to be stripped of...more
In 1199, Richard the Lion Heart died after being shot by a cook outside the castle of Chalus in the Limousin. The Empire was split between supporters of Arthur and supporters of John. Philip was for himself, with a bit for Arthur. That year was one of John's best years, where he showed that he could be effective.
The war between Richard and Phillip went on from 1194-1198 in fits and starts; usually there was no more than 3 months of fighting before a truce came along. But the general flow was steadily in Richard's favour when in 1198 they agreed to make peace. Meanwhile in England Hubert Walter ran an efficient administration that fed Richard with troops and arms.
Richard set off from Outremer right at the end of the sailing season - October. He knew the Duke of Austria, the Holy Roman Emperor, Count of Toulouse and King of France were out to get him, so very sensibly tried to slip across their lands in disguise. Rubbish plan, predictable revolt. Meanwhile back in England John was making a bit for power, Phillip making his first attempt to bring down the Angevin Empire - and Robin Hood might have been hanging out in Sherwood Forest. Richard eventually arr...more
Was the Third Crusade a success or a failure? While it failed to achieve its objective, it was the most successful after the First Crusade. It rescued Outremer from an eradication that looked all too likely in 1190. The Crusade was controversial even at the time - in the eyes of most of Christendom it made Richard a hero - the victor of Acre and Arsuf. But to Philip's friends, Richard had failed, and betrayed Christendom to the Turk. To my mind it gave Outremer another century of life until the ...more
For 50 or so years after the capture of Jerusalem, Outremer was a part of the political and military dance between Christian and Muslim states. Then in 1144, signs of Muslim unity begin to appear through Nur ed Din when Edessa falls, and by 1150 one of the states is wiped off the map. Outremer has passed it's high point. But it's not until the 1170's that Saladin, as leader of unified empire that included Egypt and Syria, was able to really threaten the Christian states. In 1187, after the dra...more
Richard set off from Sicily probably intending to go straight to the Holy Land. But a chance storm enforced a landing at Cyprus, where the locals were not friendly. Which meant that Richard ended up conquering the place in it's entirety, putting it's ruler Isaac Comnenus in chains of silver, and selling the island to the Templars.
Richard came into the lands of his father and was crowned at Westminster in 1189. For the next 6 months he was packing his bags, cleaning the fridge and getting ready to go. He sets up his administration, makes sure his borders are safe and sets off for Sicily. So was Richard a feckless warrior who had no interest in administration ? We talk about this and also about the Jewish communities in England in the 11th and 12th Centuries. AND Don't forget to go to www.thehistoryofengland.com post for...more
To most contemporaries, Richard I was a hero. Since then his reputation has suffered badly, until even Winston Churchill describes him as the worst of our Richards - which given the other two is going some. So we look at how history has treated the guy, his early years, and what he was like. And we look at how to behave in medieval company.
So here are two completely unconnected subjects then! Henry is responsible for reforms to the process of English justice that had a long lasting impact on English Justice - including the development of Common law and the Jury system. OK, so he wasn't thinking about the long term futuire, all he wanted to do was to bring more royal revenue in, and more quickly; but none the less, a long term impact he had. The events of his reign would also have a long term impact on Irish politics and society. i...more
After Thomas recanted from his signature of the Constitutions of Clarendon, things got really nasty. Before long, Thomas was in exile, and Henry couldn't care less. But by 1167 the political situation had changed - Henry wanted to crown his son, and the Archbishop of Canterbury wasn't around to do...
The 1160's. A time of consolidation of the Angevin Empire, still ruled by a dynamic, young and aggressive Henry. But mainly remembered for the start of the struggle between church and state - or more accurately, the struggle between Henry and Thomas Becket. We start that well trodden paths, with...
Bear in mind at all times that Henry, while being a Good King, was a tyrant. Still, he was a tyrant who ran a mean administrative system for the time. This week, the nature of the Angevin empire, how it was ruled, and a bit about travel and economy. Click...
Geniuses, devils, spoilt brats, villains, heroes; war, sex, violence, bravery, treachery, peace, reform... the Angevins that founded the Plantagenet dynasty have it all, in spades. Not so much history, as soap opera. This week we kick things off with the arrival of Henry II and Eleanor on the English throne....
12th Century England was envied for it's fertility and yes it's climate. Any during the 12th century, the population of England and its towns and villages expand. But by and large, this is expansion without growth, and for many average income falls. 37 12th C Life - Village Town and...
After joining Henry II's household, William's rise was steady - but with the arrival of Richard the Lion Heart it really took off. By the time of his death he was one of the most powerful men of the realm. We also look at the church - the village priest, monasteries, and what went on under a monk's habit.
Medieval England thought of it's people in 3 estates - those who fight (nobles), those who pray (churchmen) and those who work (peasants). This week in the history of England we look at the life of the nobility, through the life of William the Marshal. Click and play podcast: 35...
Stephen and Matilda fought themselves to a standstill, until the Empress tires of the struggle, and essentially leaves the stage around 1149. Many of her key supporters die - Miles of Gloucester and Robert of Gloucester - weakening her resolve and strength. Thereafter her son Henry picks up the baton....
1141 was a turbulent year in England's history. The Civil war had reached an early deadlock, dramatically broken by the capture of the king at the Battle of Lincoln, and the defeat of the Empress at Winchester. 33 Anarchy II - Matilda's big chance Download 33 Anarchy II - Matilda's...
'...they said openly that christ and his saints slept'. This stunning phrase gives us an image of devastation hat led to the period being called 'The Anarchy'. In this episode, we look at how the Stephen came to power and how the whole thing started. Click and play podcast: 32...
Henry was a Norman king like any other - Normandy was in his blood. For 30 years, he controlled the diplomatic game to keep Normandy in the Empire. The one thing he couldn't control was the succession. When William the Atheling died in the disaster of the White Ship, William...
The fight with Robert gave Henry a great chance to replace the old conquest families with his own men, and particularly in the Welsh Marches. And this week we also do a catch up on what’s changed in warfare since Anglo Saxon times, and look at the situation that faced...
After the initial struggle for succession and baronial revolt, England itself was pretty peaceful during Henry’s reign. The church & state debate needed fixing. And Normandy was a constant battle, and so big taxes were needed to pay for war. Henry was an efficient man, and many themes that lead...
The youngest of William the Conqueror’s sons, Henry, wasted no time shedding tears for his brother Rufus. He got himself crowned, anointed and blessed. The next 6 years were to be dominated by the struggle with his other brother for control. Download 28 The Lion of Justice Click and play...
Rufus fell out big time with Anselm, his Archbishop of Canterbury. Unusually for Medieval Man he was impious and irreverent. Meanwhile, the Welsh struggled for independence against Norman tyranny, and make a better fist of it than the English. This week in the History of England Podcast we get to...
William Rufus was a flamboyant, red faced, pudgy and irreverant bloke, but none the less his father's favourite son. So Dad tipped him the wink and he left the death bed to take the throne of England from his older brother. And spent his reign trying to re-unite England and...
The last years of William the Conqueror's reign were mainly the meat and drink of the Norman King - beating off other feudal lords, keeping your nobles down, trying not to let your sons eat you. But plus there was, of course, the super-famous Domesday Book. This week at the...
It took William the Conqueror a few more years until he felt safe from the English. But when the Revolt of the Earls collapsed in 1075, English revolution was over - and we are into the continual cycle of feudal rebellion. This week in the History of England we've also...
After 1066 William the Conqueror set about ruling his new kingdom. The impression we get is that England rolls over rather easily - where was the heroic struggle we might have expected? This isn't the full story; the Conqueror spent the first years stamping out forest fires all over the...
1066 was a year that changed a lot of things - though not as much as you might think. 3 experienced war leaders fought for control of England - and we all know who won, so no need to worry about plot spoilers. The History of England podcast takes us...
The Normans made a massive impact on Europe, not just England. They went on to establish a kingdom in Southern Italy, and lead the Crusades and the resulting state of Outremer. So the History of England looks at where they came from, with a brief history of Normandy before 1066....
Anglo Saxon England has been seen by some commentators as a bit of a basket case by 1066 - out of date and ready to be conquered. But actually England had its great strengths that would have been the envy of continental monrach, if they'd spent any time thinking about...
Edward enjoyed one year of indpendendance in 1051-2, before the retun of Godwin forced him into humiliating submission. But after Godwin's death the following year, the rest of his reign was broadly peaceful and prosperous, with the odd local difficulty. The History of England podcast takes us up to 1064....
Cnut's dynasty survived him by only 7 years, and in 1042 the house of Cerdic returned in the form of Edward the Confessor. Edward is an enigma - weak man or determined survivor? This week the History of England podcast looks at how he came to the throne and his...
Cnut was pretty much the complete king. Conqueror of the English, ruler of a Scandinavian empire that spanned 4 countries. And a man who knew how to win the peace as well as the war. The History of England podcast this week looks at his reign. Cnut was probably born...
In 1012, Aethelred looked down and out. But Svein died, and Edmund Ironside appeared on the scene. Suddenly, Aethelred was a real king and all action, and Cnut was forced to flee. But he came back, and 1016 saw one of the great confrontations of English History, and a great...
The Danish threat is notched up a few levels, and Aethelred the Unready and the English state is brought to it knees. The Vikings are too fast, skillful and mobile, and are much better led. Podcast: Download 15 Aethelred, Svein Forkbeard and years of misery Click and Play: 15 Aethelred,...
Aethelred's mother gets her son onto the throne at last. But it's not long before the disadvantages of kingship become clear, as the Danes begin to return with increasing force. Aethelred turned 18 in 983, and by 984 has sent his mother away and reigns with his own men. But...
Edgar the Peaceable's reign was a golden age of peace, prosperity and monastic reform. Unfortunately, once he'd gone his wife stuck a knife into her stepson, and the trouble starts over. But his reign should be remembered as the apogee of the Anglo Saxon state. Click and play: 13 Another...
Edmund the Magnificant and Eadred finally defeat Eric Bloodaxe, the last king of Jorvik. But there are some social clouds on the horizon in the History of England. Download Podcast 12 The last king in Jorvik Click and Play: 12 The last king in Jorvik
A Athelstanthelstan was a dynamic and effective ruler, in war, law, and diplomacy. As a war leader he established at least nominal overlordship of all Britain; his marriage alliances included the greatest of European rulers; and he increased the age of legal responsibility from 12 to 16.
The story of a brother and a sister - Æthelflæd and Edward, and their bid to reclaim the lands of the Danelaw, the north and east of England being settled by the Danes. Northumbria had it's own problems with migration of Norse from Ireland.
In 892, the vikings returned - and found a very different, much better prepared Wessex waiting for them. Until in 899, Alfred died to be succeeded by his Son, Edward, who would in the end turn the tables on the Vikings.
Alfred had earned Wessex and period of respite, between 878 and 892. In this time, Alfred laid the foundations not just for the defense against renewed invasions, but for the successes of the 10th century.
Between 871 and 878, Wessex came close to extinction, as the Great Heathen Army, the Great Summer Army, and Guthrum the Dane came to conquer.
Everything changed for Anglo Saxon England in 866; the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok came for conquest, not just treasure and slaves.
Æthelwolf hasn't always had the best press. None the less he laid the basis of an effective and well organised state centred on the traditional heartlands of Wessex, and one better placed to meet the Viking threat than other kingdoms.
The Vikings visited fire, destruction - and trade - on a bemused and terrified 8th C Europe. Who were they, where did they come from, where did they go and and why?
The death of Offa & his son led to the bloodletting normal when the succession was a bun fight. But this time round, it would have longer term consequences for the balance of power.
After Wulfhere, Aethelred and Aethelbald laid the foundations, a prince from the Hwicce, Offa, took Mercia to its greatest achievements.
Pretty much a century in just one, fun-filled episode - 650 ish to 750 is. It's Mercia's turn - an increasingly integrated Mercia, growing in power. With yer Wulfhere's and Æthelbalds, Mercia's hegemony was held back only by Ine of Wessex and Wihtred of Kent.
Towns had simply disappeared along with the post Roman economy by 500. But slowly by 600 there's tiny shoots of recovery discernible - so we talk about towns. And we have a hack at something a little tiny bit more literary, and talk of Continental Missionaries.
At the start of the 7th century England was a basically pagan country; by the end of it it was officially at least Christian. While no doubt many pagans still held on, Whitred of Kent's laws began to embed Christianity into the fabric of English kingdoms.
Through much of the 7th Century, Penda increased the power and influence of the Mercians. He built his kingdom as a traditional warrior, tribal leader - defeating the Northumbrians, and East Anglians, raiding and gathering treasure, rewarding his followers; spreading his influence by marriage, exercising control by influence where he could, by force where he could not. In the long run, Penda was part of the past, rather than the future - the role of leadership was changing for those that call...more
7th Century England was inherently unstable, populated by a patchwork of communities, petty kingdoms successful and less so. Into this pagan mix also comes the lure of Christianity again. Meanwhile, in central England a pagan warrior called Penda became king, probably in 626.
It's difficult to know how much to believe of the stories relayed in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle about the formation of the early kingdoms - do they simply reflect the history they wished they'd had? Plus, was Arthur a legend or reality?
What kind of society had arrived in Roman Britain? How how did societies and communities form and become the kingdoms before the days of the Heptarchy?
The traditional story of the arrival of the Anglo Saxons is one of death and destruction, and the catastrophic and complete replacement of a British population by a new Germanic race within a generation. But there are other theories too - much more peaceful, much more gradual.
This is the story of late antique Britain. How in the 3rd to 5th centuries, Britain went through two waves of economic dislocation and transformation, that changed the face of British society.
The people who kept a written record of the Anglo Saxon age, and what later generations thought about the Anglo Saxons.