Manual Fourteenth Century England IV (v. 4)

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  1. The escheator: a short introduction
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Friction intensified between the barons and the king. Henry repudiated the Provisions of Oxford and obtained a papal bull in exempting him from his oath. Both sides began to raise armies. Prince Edward , Henry's eldest son, was tempted to side with his godfather Simon de Montfort, and supported holding a Parliament in his father's absence, before he decided to support his father. The barons, under Montfort, captured most of south-eastern England.

The war, its prelude and aftermath, included a wave of violence targeting Jewish communities in order to destroy evidence of the Baron's debts, a particular grievance of the rebels.

The escheator: a short introduction

Montfort summoned the Great Parliament , regarded as the first English Parliament worthy of the name because it was the first time cities and burghs sent representatives. He defeated and killed Montfort at the Battle of Evesham in Edward, having pacified the realm, left England to join Louis IX on the Ninth Crusade , funded by an unprecedented levy of one-twentieth of every citizen's movable goods and possessions. He was one of the last crusaders in the tradition aiming to recover the Holy Lands. Louis died before Edward's arrival and the result was anticlimactic; Edward's small force limited him to the relief of Acre and a handful of raids.

Surviving a murder attempt by an assassin , Edward left for Sicily later in the year, never to return on crusade. The stability of England's political structure was demonstrated when Henry III died and his son succeeded as Edward I; the barons swore allegiance to Edward even though he did not return for two years. From the beginning of his reign Edward I sought to organise his inherited territories. As a devotee of the cult of King Arthur he also attempted to enforce claims to primacy within the British Isles.

Wales consisted of a number of princedoms , often in conflict with each other. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd held north Wales in fee to the English king under the Treaty of Woodstock, but had taken advantage of the English civil wars to consolidate his position as Prince of Wales and maintained that his principality was 'entirely separate from the rights' of England. Edward considered Llywelyn 'a rebel and disturber of the peace'.

Edward's determination, military experience and skillful use of ships ended Welsh independence by driving Llywelyn into the mountains. Llywelyn later died in battle.

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The Statute of Rhuddlan extended the shire system, bringing Wales into the English legal framework. When Edward's son was born he was proclaimed as the first English Prince of Wales. Edward's Welsh campaign produced one of the largest armies ever assembled by an English king in a formidable combination of heavy Anglo-Norman cavalry and Welsh archers that laid the foundations of later military victories in France.

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Because of his legal reforms Edward is sometimes called The English Justinian , [18] although whether he was a reformer or an autocrat responding to events is debated. His campaigns left him in debt. This necessitated that he gain wider national support for his policies among lesser landowners, merchants and traders so that he could raise taxes through frequently summoned Parliaments. To gain financial support for the war effort, Edward summoned a precedent-setting assembly known as the Model Parliament, which included barons, clergy, knights and townspeople. Edward imposed his authority on the Church with the Statutes of Mortmain that prohibited the donation of land to the Church, asserted the rights of the Crown at the expense of traditional feudal privileges, promoted the uniform administration of justice, raised income and codified the legal system.

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He also emphasised the role of Parliament and the common law through significant legislation, a survey of local government and the codification of laws originating from Magna Carta with the Statute of Westminster Feudal jurisdiction was regulated by the Statute of Gloucester and Quo Warranto. The Statute of Winchester enforced Plantagenet policing authority. The Statute of Westminster kept estates within families: tenants only held property for life and were unable to sell the property.

Quia Emptores stopped sub-infeudation where tenants subcontracted their properties and related feudal services.

The oppression of Jews following their exclusion from the guarantees of Magna Carta peaked with Edward expelling them from England. In turn the Plantagenets took advantage of the Jews' status as direct subjects, heavily taxing them at will without the necessity to summon Parliament. However, popular prejudice made Jewish movement into mercantile or agricultural pursuits impossible. This proved widely popular and was quickly carried out. Edward asserted that the king of Scotland owed him feudal allegiance, which embittered Anglo-Scottish relations for the rest of his reign.

Edward was invited by the Scottish magnates to resolve the dispute. Edward obtained recognition from the competitors for the Scottish throne that he had the 'sovereign lordship of Scotland and the right to determine our several pretensions'. He decided the case in favour of John Balliol , who duly swore loyalty to him and became king. At the urging of his chief councillors, John entered into an alliance with France in Edward was less successful in Gascony, which was overrun by the French.

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  8. His commitments were beginning to outweigh his resources. The clergy refused to pay their share of the costs, with the Archbishop of Canterbury threatening excommunication; Parliament was reluctant to contribute to Edward's expensive and unsuccessful military policies. Humphrey de Bohun, 3rd Earl of Hereford and Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk , refused to serve in Gascony, and the barons presented a formal statement of their grievances. Edward was forced to reconfirm the charters including Magna Carta to obtain the money he required. A truce and peace treaty with the French king restored the duchy of Gascony to Edward.

    Meanwhile, William Wallace had risen in Balliol's name and recovered most of Scotland, before being defeated at the Battle of Falkirk. The new government in Scotland featured Robert the Bruce , but he rebelled and was crowned king of Scotland. Despite failing health, Edward was carried north to pursue another campaign, but he died en route at Burgh by Sands. He was succeeded by his son as Edward II. Edward II's coronation oath on his succession in was the first to reflect the king's responsibility to maintain the laws that the community "shall have chosen" " aura eslu ".

    In the spring of unusually heavy rain began in much of Europe. Throughout the spring and summer, it continued to rain and the temperature remained cool. These conditions caused widespread crop failures. The price of food began to rise, doubling in England between spring and midsummer. All segments of society from nobles to peasants were affected, but especially the peasants who were the overwhelming majority of the population and who had no reserve food supplies.

    Finally, in the summer the weather returned to its normal patterns. By now, however, people were so weakened by diseases such as pneumonia , bronchitis , and tuberculosis , and so much of the seed stock had been eaten, that it was not until that the food supply returned to relatively normal conditions and the population began to increase again.

    The Ordinances were published widely to obtain maximum popular support but there was a struggle over their repeal or continuation for a decade. Edward's humiliating defeat at the Battle of Bannockburn in confirmed Bruce's position as an independent king of Scots. In England it returned the initiative to Lancaster and Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick , who had not taken part in the campaign, claiming that it was in defiance of the Ordinances.

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    The French monarchy used the jurisdiction of the Parlement of Paris to overrule decisions of the nobility's courts. As a French vassal, Edward felt this encroachment in Gascony with the French kings adjudicating disputes between him and his French subjects. Without confrontation he could do little but watch the duchy shrink. Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent , decided to resist one such judgement in Saint-Sardos with the result that Charles IV declared the duchy forfeit.

    Charles's sister, Queen Isabella , was sent to negotiate and agreed to a treaty that required Edward to pay homage in France to Charles. Edward resigned Aquitaine and Ponthieu to his son, Prince Edward , who travelled to France to give homage in his stead. With the English heir in her power, Isabella refused to return to England unless Edward II dismissed his favourites and also formed a relationship with Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March.

    He is generally believed to have been murdered at Berkeley Castle by having a red-hot poker thrust into his bowels. Mortimer was executed, but although removed from power, Isabella was treated well, living in luxury for the next 27 years. Edward was not content with the peace agreement, but the renewal of the war with Scotland originated in private, rather than royal initiative. A group of English magnates known as The Disinherited, who had lost land in Scotland by the peace accord, staged an invasion of Scotland and won a victory at the Battle of Dupplin Moor in The English king responded by laying siege to the important border town of Berwick and defeated a large relieving army at the Battle of Halidon Hill.