Yorkshire - A Brief History Of Time:
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This Brief History of Time is mainly aimed at covering the History of Yorkshire, but by necessity it also covers parts of British History as well; the history has been split into three major parts; just click on the relevant link to read about that period of History:

Early History From 8000 BC to 410 AD
Middle Ages
From 410 AD to 1547 AD
Modern History
From 1547 AD to Today
Timeline History
From 8000 BC to Today

 

Middle Ages - From 410 AD The End of Roman Rule To 1547 The end of King Henry VIII's reign.

Menu:
The Anglo Saxons, The British Rulers, The Vikings, The Norman Invasion, King William I, King William II, King Henry I, King Stephen, The Battle of the Standards, The Civil War, King Henry II, King Richard I, King John I, King Henry III, King Edward I, Life in Yorkshire, King Edward II, King Edward III, The 100 Years War, King Richard II, King Henry IV, King Henry V King Henry VI, The Wars of the Roses, King Edward IV, King Edward V, King Richard III, King Henry VII, The Yorkshire Rebellion, King Henry VIII & The Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The Anglo-Saxons:

At the end of Roman rule in the 5th century, Northern Britain may have come under the rule of Romano-British Coel Hen, the last of the Roman-style Duces Brittanniarum, Dukes of the Britons; however, the Romano-British kingdom rapidly broke up into smaller kingdoms and York became the capital of the British kingdom of Ebrauc; most of what became Yorkshire fell under the rule of the kingdom of Ebrauc; at that time Yorkshire also included territory from the kingdoms of Dunoting and Elmet, which formed at around this time as did Cravenshire.

Anglo-Saxon is a term used by English historians to designate, the Angles, Germanic tribes from the Schleswig-Holstein peninsula, who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain and colonised the Wolds, North Sea and Humber coastal areas; this was followed by the subjugation of the whole of east Yorkshire and the British kingdom of Ebruac in about 560; the name the Anglo-Saxon gave to the territory was Dewyr, or Deira.

The Anglo-Saxon Era, beginning in the early 5th century AD and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest, denotes the period of English history between about 550 and 1066 AD; the term is also used for the language now called Old English, spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in much of what is now England and some of southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century.

The British Rulers:

There have been a lot of british rulers, but William the Conqueror was the first true king of Britain.

This is a Rhyme to remember the Kings & Queens of England since William the Conqueror:

Willie, Willie, Harry, Steve, Harry, Dick, John, Harry Three.
Edward One, Two, Three, Dick Two, Henry Four, Five, Six then who?
Edward Four Five, Dick the Bad, Harrys twain and Ned, the lad.
Mary, Lizzie, James the Vain, Charlie, Charlie, James again.
William and Mary, Anne o'Gloria, Four Georges, William and Victoria,
Edward Seven, Georgie Five, Edward, George and Liz (alive).

British Rulers

The Vikings:

Even though the Vikings often attacked coastal towns and villages during the 9th century; it was not until the landing of the Great Viking army in 865 that the Vikings became a threat to the established Anglo Saxons; the Viking leaders, Ivar the Boneless and his brother Halfdan, seem to have been determined to create their own kingdom in England; they landed in East Anglia in 865 and marched north to capture York the following year, which they then used as a base for campaigns against the southern English kingdoms.

In 876 Halfdan began to wage war on Bernicia (Northumbria, north of the Tees), on the British kingdom of Strathclyde and on the Pictish kingdoms further north, which gave security to the Viking Kingdom of York and allowed Halfdan to settle his followers in their newly conquered territories around York and further south.

By 916, England was divided into two parts: the Danelaw, comprising northern and eastern England under Viking rule and Wessex (which included the south-east and south-west) under English rule; though, it wasn't until the accession of Aethelstan and his success at the Battle of Brunanburh in 937, where the English defeated a combined force of Vikings and Scots, that the title 'King of England' was adopted.

In 948 Castleford was the scene of a major battle when the Northumbrians ambushed King Eadred as he travelled southwards from Ripon leading to immense slaughter on both sides, but it wasn't until 954 when Eric Bloodaxe died in fighting on Stainmoor that Northumbria was finally brought permanently under the rule of the English.

The Norman Invasion:

This is the period from 1066 after the death of King Edward the Confessor, Yorkshire became the stage for two major battles that would help decide who would succeed to the throne; Harold Godwinson was declared King by the English but this was disputed by Harold Hardrada King of Norway and by William Duke of Normandy.

In the late summer of 1066 Harold Hardrada, accompanied by Tostig Godwinson, took a large Norwegian fleet and army up the Humber towards York; there they were met by an army led by the northern earls Edwin of Mercia and Morcar of Northumbria who they defeated at the Battle of Fulford.

Harold Hardrada occupied York and the Norwegian Army encamped at Stamford Bridge; Harold Godwinson had to travel from London gathering his army as he went to face the invasion; within five days on the 25 September 1066, Harold Godwinson had reached Stamford Bridge and defeated the Norwegian Army in a battle in which both Harold Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson were killed; the battle at Stamford Bridge can be seen as one of the pivotal battles in English history, it was the last time a Scandinavian army was able to seriously threaten England; unfortunately, it also weakend the army.

King William I (1066 to 1087) House of Normandy:

The Norman Conquest of England began on the 28th September 1066 with an invasion by William the Conqueror; he defeated King Harold II of England at the Battle of Hastings, on 14 October 1066 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 25th December 1066, and by early 1071 he had secured control of most of England, although rebellions and resistance, especially in the north, continued until around 1088.

The Harrying, or Harrowing, of the North was a series of campaigns waged by William the Conqueror in the winter of 1069 to 1070 to subjugate Northern England; it effectively ended the quasi independence of the region through large scale destruction that resulted in the relative pacification of the local population and the replacement of local Anglo Danish lords with Normans.

The death toll is believed to be over 100,000, with substantial social, cultural and economic damage; because of the scorched earth policy, much of the land was laid waste and depopulated, a fact to which the Domesday Book, written almost two decades later, readily attests.

The Norman conquest was a pivotal event in English history; it largely removed the native ruling class, replacing it with a French speaking monarchy, aristocracy and clerical hierarchy; and it brought about a transformation of the English language and its culture; and it paved the way for further Norman conquests in Wales and Ireland and the extensive penetration of the aristocracy of Scotland by Norman and other French speaking families.

Feared rather than loved William left the country in very good shape when he died.

King William II (1087 to 1100) House of Normandy:

When William died his lands were divided between his two eldest sons; Robert inherited Normandy and William became king of England; he became king on the 9th September 1087 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 26th September 1087.

The following year some Normans, including Odo of Bayeux, Robert of Mortain, Richard Fitz Gilbert, William Fitz Osbern and Geoffrey of Coutances, led a rebellion against William's rule in order to place his brother Robert on the throne; however most Normans in England remained loyal to William and his army successfully attacked and defeated the rebel strongholds at Tonbridge, Pevensey and Rochester; the leaders of the revolt were exiled to Normandy.

In 1091 William invaded Normandy and such was the size of his army that Robert agreed a peace settlement; this gave William control over large areas of Normandy; the two brothers also agreed on a joint campaign to take Maine and Cotentin, an area that Curthose had sold to their younger brother Henry and in the summer of 1091 Henry was forced to surrender Cotentin after a siege of fifteen days.

William returned to England in August 1091 and soon afterwards marched against King Malcolm III, whose Scots army had invaded the country in his absence; the campaign was a success and Malcolm was forced to submit at the Firth of Forth.

In March 1094 William Rufus went on another expedition to Normandy; to pay for the campaign he imposed heavy taxes on the people of England; some of this money was used to bribe Philip of France not to support his brother Robert; after paying his Norman soldiers to continue the war, he returned to England.

William was very unpopular with the Church; unlike his father, William the Conqueror, he was not a committed Christian and his father's policy of spending considerable sums of money on the Church was reversed; when Rufus needed to raise money, he raided monasteries; iIn 1096 William Rufus imposed a new tax on his barons; when they complained they did not have this money, William suggested that they should rob the shrines of the saints; later that year William seized the property of Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury, while he was in Rome.

Over the next few months William was involved in military campaigns in Wales, Scotland and Normandy; in January 1098 his forces captured Maine and besieged Le Mans; he also fought a war against Philip of France but after facing stubborn resistance he agreed a truce in April 1099.

On 2nd August 1100, William went hunting at Brockenhurst in the New Forest; Gilbert de Clare and his younger brother, Roger of Clare, were with the king; another man in the hunting party was Walter Tirel, who was married to Richard de Clare's daughter, Adelize; also present was William's younger brother Henry; during the hunt, Walter Tirel fired an arrow at a stag; the arrow missed the animal and hit William Rufus in the chest; within minutes the king was dead; no one knows if it was deliberate or an accident but he was very unpopular, so many people think he may have been murdered; the Rufus Stone in The New Forest marks the spot where he fell; Tirel jumped on his horse and made off at great speed; he escaped to France and never again returned to England.

King Henry I (1100 to 1135) House of Normandy:

Henry became king on the 3rd August 1100 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 5th August 1100; he was an able administrator and established a professional bureaucracy and a system of travelling judges.

He won the support of the Saxons by granting them a charter and marrying a Saxon princess, Edith, daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland; she was known as Matilda after her marriage, a name more acceptable to the Norman Barons than her Saxon name Edith; Henry's daughter was also called Matilda.

In 1101 his elder brother Robert, Duke of Normandy, attempted to seize the crown by invading England; however, after the Treaty of Alton, Robert agreed to recognise his brother Henry as King and returned to Normandy; but they fought again in 1106 at the Battle of Tinchebrai at which Robert was captured and Henry became Duke of Normandy as well as King of England.

Henry's only legitimate son and heir, William, was drowned in 1120 in the wreck of the White Ship; Henry died in Normandy in 1135 of food poisoning according to legend from eating a 'surfeit of Lampreys', an eel type fish; when he died his daughter Matilda should have become queen.

Matilda however was an unpopular choice among the English ruling class; no woman had ever ruled England in her own right and Matilda had spent almost all of her adult life outside of England; furthermore Matilda's second husband Geoffrey of Anjou did not enjoy a good reputation in England as he hailed from Anjou, whose rulers were resented by the Normans for their attempts to conquer the duchy of Normandy.

The council therefore, considered a woman unfit to rule England, so they offered the throne to Stephen, a grandson of William I; this plunged England into civil war as the country was divided over Henry's plans for his daughter Matilda to take the throne as the first ever Queen of England.

King Stephen (1135 to 1154) House of Blois:

Stephen became King on the 26th December 1135 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 26th december 1135; although he had previously recognised Henry I's daughter Matilda as heiress to the throne; however, Matilda was in France at the time of her father's death and thus unable to prevent Stephen’s usurpation; although she did protest Stephen's assumption of the throne, the situation in Anjou and Stephen's overwhelming political support prevented her from mounting an immediate military challenge of her own.

This started a Civil war in 1136 with fighting between Stephen and forces loyal to Matilda; Matilda's best hopes at the time for striking an immediate blow lay with her uncle King David I of Scotland who invaded Northumberland on her behalf; but little fighting actually took place,

The Battle of the Standards (1138):

This is sometimes called the Battle of Northallerton, in which English forces repelled a Scottish army, it took place on the 22nd August 1138 on Cowton Moor near Northallerton in Yorkshire; the Scottish forces were led by King David I of Scotland and the English were commanded by William of Aumale.

King Stephen of England, who was fighting rebel barons in the south with the main army, had sent a small force of mostly mercenaries; the English army at that time was mainly local militia and baronial retinues from Yorkshire and the north Midlands; therefore, the Archbishop Thurstan of York had exerted himself greatly to raise an army of his own, to fight with the mercenaries, preaching that to withstand the Scots was to do God's work.

The centre of the English position was therefore marked by a mast, mounted upon a cart, bearing a pyx carrying the consecrated host and from which were flown the consecrated banners of the minsters of York, Beverley and Ripon, hence the name of the battle.

David had entered England for two declared reasons, to support his niece Matilda's claim to the English throne against that of King Stephen, who was married to another niece and to enlarge his kingdom beyond his previous gains.

David’s forces had already taken much of Northumberland apart from the castles at Wark and Bamburgh; advancing beyond the Tees towards York, early on the 22nd August 1138 the Scots found the English army drawn up on open fields two miles north of Northallerton; so they formed up in to four ‘lines’ to attack it.

The first attack, by unarmoured spearmen against armoured men and dismounted knights, who were supported by telling fire from archers failed; within three hours, the Scots army had disintegrated, apart from small bodies of knights and men-at-arms around David and his son Henry.

At this point, Henry led a spirited attack with mounted knights; he and David then withdrew separately with their immediate companions in relatively good order; heavy Scots losses are claimed, in battle and in flight; though the English did not pursue them for far; David fell back to Carlisle and reassembled an army.

Within a month, a truce was negotiated which left the Scots free to continue the siege of Wark castle, which eventually fell; despite losing the battle, David was subsequently given most of the territorial concessions he had been seeking, but on his death his successor Malcolm IV of Scotland was soon forced to surrender David's gains to Henry II of England.

The Civil War (1139 to 1153):

Matilda landed in England in 1139; her arrival was part of a two pronged strategy by her and her husband Geoffrey, who were collectively known as the Angevins, after their power base in the French province of Anjou; the plan called for Geoffrey to attack Stephen's possessions in Normandy from Anjou while Matilda would attempt to overthrow Stephen in England.

She received support from her illegitimate half-brother Robert of Gloucester; Matilda was staying as a guest at Arundel Castle when Stephen's army arrived and took possession of the fortress without a fight; though Matilda was now at Stephen's mercy, astonishingly he granted her safe passage to Bristol where she was reunited with Robert of Gloucester; another prominent opposing earl, Ranulf of Chester, Robert of Gloucester’s son-in-law, moved on Lincoln and captured the castle; despite having made peace with Ranulf, Stephen responded to a plea from the citizens of Lincoln to attack the castle.

Stephen's sojourn at Lincoln proved disastrous; while Stephen was besieging the castle, Robert of Gloucester arrived to lift the siege putting Stephen's army to flight and on the 2nd February 1141 Stephen was captured after suffering a head wound and sent to Bristol as a prisoner; with Stephen now effectively deposed, Matilda was declared "Lady off the English", marched on London and quickly gained control of the city.

After receiving the backing of the church she prepared for her coronation; the citizens of London however, rose up against her and she was obliged to flee the capital for Oxford; in September 1141, Robert of Gloucester fell into the hands of Stephen's wife, Matilda of Boulogne and the captain of her Flemish mercenaries, William of Ypres, Earl of Kent following the rout of Winchester.

Henry's daughter, Matilda, decided to get Robert back via a prisoner exchange for Stephen, who returned to the throne; Stephen now held the advantage and besieged Matilda at Oxford Castle; facing total defeat, she made a daring escape over the frozen Thames to Wallingford.

Matilda kept up the fight and was joined by her young son Henry Curtmantle but by this time the war was going badly for her; Matilda's army had suffered heavy losses in the Rout of Winchester and it was only by the personal bravery of Robert of Gloucester that a complete annihilation was averted; since that defeat Matilda had been reduced to fighting a defensive war; Stephen held control over the south-east of England while Matilda's forces dominated the south-west; neither side was strong enough to strike a decisive blow and the conflict lapsed into a slow and grinding war of attrition which devastated the country.

Matilda's husband Geoffrey was occupied with the conquest and pacification of Normandy and was unable to offer her any assistance; Robert of Gloucester was clearly Matilda's most valuable asset in the struggle and his death in 1147 was a disaster for the Angevin cause; following Robert's death, Matilda's forces quickly fell apart and she was forced to flee England in 1148.

After much fighting, Matilda eventually agreed with Stephen to end the wars, as long as he agreed to her son Henry becoming the next King of England and in December 1153, Stephen and Matilda's son Henry finally agreed to the Treaty of Westminster; in the treaty it was agreed, among other things that on Stephen's death the throne would go to Matilda's son, Henry.

NB. When King Stephen died in 1154, the line of Norman Kings ended.

King Henry II (1154 to 1189) House of Angevin:

Henry became king on the 25th October 1154 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 19th december 1154; he owed his Kingship of England to his Norman mother Matilda, daughter of Henry 1 and his vast lands to his father Count of Anjou and his wife Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine and Countess of Poitou; he added Ireland to this already vast empire.

His main aim was to curb the barons and the Church, both of which had become powerful under Stephen's rule; he succeeded in defeating the barons and destroyng some of their castles, but he had no sucess with the church.

Thomas A Becket was Henry's Chancellor before the king made him Archbishop of Canterbury, even though he had never been a priest; Henry is mostly remembered for his quarrel with Becket and Becket's subsequent murder in Canterbury Cathedral on the 29th December 1170; he was murdered by four knights who were acting on the rash words of the king, who is said to have proclaimed in a fit of temper: "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" Henry was devastated and ordered himself to be lashed hundreds of times as penance.

Henry introduced trial by Jury for the first time, set up civil courts in each county shire and introduced the law that no man can be tried for the same offence twice; he also brought the church under the rules of the civil courts; prior to this, backed by the Pope, the Church was literally getting away with murder.

King Richard I (1189 to 1199) House of Angevin:

Richard became king on the 6th July 1189 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 3rd September 1189; in his 10 years of reign Richard only spent 10 months in England; three of those years were spent in leading the Third Crusade (1189 to 1192) to liberate Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Islamic rule; he failed to capture Jerusalem and was captured and held for ransom for more than a year; once released he spent his last five years trying to regain the the french territory that his brother John had ceded to Philip of France; he died trying in 1199; Richard is usually remembered as a brave, warrior king and was given the nickname King Richard the Lionheart.

The Crusades were a series of nine religious wars that waged from 1095, starting with a speech made by Pope Urban II, when he called for a Crusade at the Council of Clermont in November 1095 and ending when Acre, the last Christian post in Syria, fell in 1291.

This was also the time of the legend Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest, England’s favourite outlaw; Robin Hood's name doesn't appear in history until the middle ages and then only in a ballad; whether or not he was a real person is left to conjecture; he may have been Robin of Locksley the Earl of Huntingdon, who was mentioned as a candidate in a 17th century poem by Thomas Gale the Dean of York; Gale claimed to have found a poetic epitaph with Robin's death as the 24th December 1247.

The first recorded mention of Robin Hood is in 'A Gest of Robyn Hode', which is a ballad and one of the oldest surviving tales of Robin Hood; it is a lengthy tale of “The Good Outlaw”, in which the hero of the story is an outlaw who commits actual crimes, but is still supported by the people; the hero challenges a corrupt system, which has committed wrongs against him, his family and his friends; he is depicted as showing loyalty, courage and cleverness.

See A Gest of Robyn Hode

King John I (1199 to 1216) House of Angevin:

John became king on the 6th April 1199 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 27th May 1199; he was also acting king from 1189 during his brother Richard the LionHeart's absence whilst on the Third Crusade; but by 1205 John had lost Normandy and almost all of the other English territories in France to Philip II of France.

A combination of high taxes, unsuccessful wars and conflict with the Pope made John unpopular with his barons and so by 1209 some of them began to conspire against him and in January 1215, the barons made an oath that they would "stand fast for the liberty of the church and the realm", and engaged in open rebellion against him, based around John's oppressive government.

They demanded that John confirm the Charter of Liberties, an earlier written but unsigned document; rather than do this John offered to submit the issues to a committee of arbitration with the Pope as supreme arbiter, but the barons refused and with the support of Prince Louis the French Heir and of King Alexander II of the Scots, they entered London in force on the 10th June 1215; the city showed its sympathy with the cause by opening its gates to them.

They, and many of the moderates not in overt rebellion, forced John to agree to a document later known as the 'Articles of the Barons', to which his Great Seal was attached in the meadow at Runnymede on the 15th June 1215; in return, the barons renewed their oaths of fealty to John on the 19th June 1215.

A formal document to record the agreement was created by the royal chancery on the 15th July: this was the original Magna Carta, though it was not known by that name at the time; an unknown number of copies of it were sent out to officials, such as royal sheriffs and bishops.

The Magna Carta of 1215 was meant to give justice to all; it was written in iron gall ink on parchment in medieval Latin, using standard abbreviations of the period and authenticated with the Great Seal of King John; the Magna Carta placed England on the road to a democratic state and introduced the lawyers in England to the concept of Human Rights.

The 1215 document contained a large section that is now called clause 61; this section established a committee of 25 barons who could at any time meet and overrule the will of the King if he defied the provisions of the Charter, seizing his castles and possessions if it was considered necessary; this was based on a medieval legal practice known as distraint, but it was the first time it had been applied to a monarch.

Distrust between the two sides was overwhelming, because what the barons really sought was the overthrow of the King; the demand for a charter was a "mere subterfuge"; Clause 61 was a serious challenge to John's authority as a ruling monarch and he renounced it as soon as the barons left London; Pope Innocent III also annulled the "shameful and demeaning agreement, forced upon the King by violence and fear."; he rejected any call for restraints on the King, saying it impaired John's dignity; he saw it as an affront to the Church's authority over the King and the 'papal territories' of England and Ireland and he released John from his oath to obey it; the rebels now knew that King John could never be restrained by the Magna Carta and so they sought a new King.

John hired mercenaries to help him crush the rebellion and England was subsequently plunged into a civil war, known as the First Barons' War; with the failure of the Magna Carta to achieve peace or restrain John, the barons reverted to the more traditional type of rebellion by trying to replace the monarch they disliked with an alternative and in a measure of some desperation, despite the tenuousness of his claim and despite the fact that he was French, they offered the crown of England to Prince Louis of France, who sent a small army to support the Barons in London.

However, instead of striking at London, to wipe out the rebellion, John began ravaging the rebels' heartlands, which gave Louis time to muster a larger army and on the 22nd May 1216, he landed at Sandwich; John had been ready to receive them, but overnight his navy was scattered by a storm and his supporters, unwilling to trust his army made up of largely mercenaries, advocated retreat, so John decided to withdraw rather than fight.

Disenchanted by the perceived cowardice of their king, fully two thirds of the English barony threw in their lot with Louis and John was harried northwards; it it is during these dark days that he lost his entire treasury and his collection of jewellery to the sea and as a result of over indulgence he contracted dysentery and died during the night of the 18th October 1216.

With John out of the way, the regency council, led by William Marshal, declared John's son as king Henry III and reissued the Magna Carta, but not before removing a major part of the rebels' platform; all those barons who had been prepared to oppose John now flocked to his son's standard and the conflict shifted from a civil war over baronial rights, to a war of resistance against foreign invasion; Louis was defeated at Lincoln and Sandwich, by land and sea, and agreed to withdraw in September 1217.

King Henry III (1216 to 1272) House of Plantagenet:

Henry became king on the 28th October 1216 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 17th May 1220; his reign lasted fifty six years, making it the longest of any English monarch, so far; due to still being a child the royal powers were exercised by a regency until 1232 by two French nobles, Peter des Roches and Peter des Rivaux; the barons forced their expulsion in 1234, marking the start of Henry's personal rule.

On the 25th September 1237 the Treaty of York, was signed between Henry and Alexander II of Scotland; the Treaty was an agreement between Henry III of England and Alexander II of Scotland; it detailed the future status of several feudal properties and addressed other issues between the two kings and indirectly marked the end of Scotland's attempts to extend its frontier southward, though it did not address any issues of the future determination of the Anglo Scottish border.

The treaty was one of a number of agreements in the ongoing relationship between the two kings, but is not particularly notable otherwise; the Papal legate Otho was already in England at Henry's request to attend a Synod in London in November 1237 and had been informed by Henry of the September meeting at York, which he attended; this meeting became more notable due to the writing of the contemporary chronicler Matthew Paris, who disparaged both Alexander and Otho; his untruthful allegations towards Alexander, portraying him as boorishly uncivil and aggressive, have been repeated uncritically in historical accounts; the Treaty fixed the Anglo-Scottish border and has remained unaltered ever since, with the exception of the disputed town of Berwick; Berwick alternated between English and Scottish control before its final capture by the English in 1482.

Henry became embroiled in funding a war against the Hohenstaufen in Sicily on behalf of Pope Innocent IV in return for the Hohenstaufen title King of Sicily for his second son Edmund, duly invested on the 14th May 1254, a state of affairs which made many barons fearful that Henry was following in the footsteps of his father King John and, like him, needed to be kept in check; when Henry's treasury ran dry, Innocent withdrew the title and in regranting it to Charles of Anjou in effect negated the sale.

His financial commitments to the papacy and his foreign favourites antagonized the barons who were led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester; the barons wanted to reassert the Magna Carta and force the king to surrender more power to the baronial council, so they issued the Provisions of Oxford in 1258 and forced him to take part in the swearing of a collective oath to uphold the Provisions of Oxford; this effectively abolished the absolutist Anglo Norman monarchy, limited Henry's power and forced him to accept a new form of government in which power was placed in the hands of a council of twenty four members, twelve selected by the crown, twelve by the barons.

The twenty four members selected were to pick two more men to oversee all decisions; the selected men were to supervise ministerial appointments, local administration and the custody of royal castles; Parliament, meanwhile, which was to meet three times a year, would monitor the performance of this council; the Provisions of Oxford are often regarded as England's first written constitution; the significance of this treaty was that, for the first time, the crown was forced to recognise the rights and powers of the English Parliament and at that time no other European country had tried such an audacious governmental experiment and no other king had been subject to such humiliation.

A written confirmation of the agreement was sent to the sheriffs of all the counties of England in Latin, French and, significantly, in Middle English; the use of the English language was symbolic of the Anglicisation of the government of England and an antidote to the Francization which had taken place in the decades immediately before; the Provisions were the first government documents to be published in English since the Norman Conquest two hundred years before.

The Provisions of Oxford were replaced in 1259 by the Provisions of Westminster; these Provisions were overthrown by Henry's refusal to accept the provisions and the fact that he obtained a papal bull in 1261 exempting him from his oaths; due to this both sides began to raise armies, which seeded the start of the Second Barons' War, a revolt of nobles led by Henry's brother-in-law Simon de Montfort (1263 to 1267); the Royalists were led by Edward Longshanks, Henry's eldest son.

Initially, de Montfort was triumphant, his forces captured most of southeastern England by 1263 and at the Battle of Lewes in 1264, Henry was defeated and he and Edward were taken prisoner by de Montfort's army; Henry was reduced to a figurehead king and de Montfort forced Henry to set up a 'Parlement' at Westminster, the start of the House of Commons, which broadened parliamentary representation to include groups beyond the nobility, members from each county of England and many important towns.

Henry and Edward continued under house arrest; the short period which followed was the closest England was to come to complete abolition of the monarchy until the Commonwealth period of 1649 to 1660 and many of the barons who had initially supported de Montfort began to suspect that he had gone too far with his reforming zeal and so de Montfort's victory was shortlived.

The Barons argued amongst themselves and Gilbert, Earl of Gloucester and Roger Mortimer joined the Royalists, by then led by Prince Edward, the future Edward I, who fifteen months after the battle of Lewes had escaped captivity to lead the royalists into battle again, defeating and killing de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham in 1265.

The Civil War had been won by the King and his royalist supporters; peace was proclaimed on the 16th September 1265 and Henry was restored to the throne; following this victory, savage retribution was exacted on the rebels and full authority was restored to King Henry; the casualties of war are estimated at around 15,000; the Civil War didn't really finish until 1267, some time after the end of the siege of Kenilworth, where de Montfort's son was besieged, and the last resistance were wiped out.

During Henry's reign the Oxford and Cambridge universities were firmly established and many cathedrals were enlarged, or created from scratch including, Westminster, Wells, Lincoln, Peterborough and Winchester (The Great Hall); he also started the building of Salisbury cathedral.

King Edward I (1272 to 1307) House of Plantagenet:

Edward became king on the 20th November 1272 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 19th August 1274; Edward 'Longshanks', so called because he was over 6ft tall, conquered Wales and fought wars against the Scots King Robert the Bruce; Edward was one of Scotland's greatest adversaries; through his campaigns against Scotland he would come to be known after his death as 'Scottorum malleus', the Hammer of the Scots.

Welsh Wars:

Llywelyn ap Gruffudd was recognised as the Prince of Wales in the aftermath of the second Barons' War, but armed conflicts continued with certain dissatisfied Marcher Lords, such as the earl of Gloucester, Roger Mortimer and Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford; problems were exacerbated when Llywelyn's younger brother Dafydd and Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn of Powys, after failing in an assassination attempt against Llywelyn, defected to the English in 1274.

Citing ongoing hostilities and the English king's harbouring of his enemies, Llywelyn refused to do homage to Edward; for Edward, a further provocation came from Llywelyn's planned marriage to Eleanor, daughter of Simon de Montfort, so in November 1276, war was declared.

Edward invades Wales and makes huge gains against Llywelyn, taking a number of castles and prompting many barons previously loyal to the Welsh prince to swear loyalty to him; the campaign ended fairly quickly and Llywelyn was forced to submit, through the Treaty of Aberconwy; as one would assume, the terms of the treaty were extremely harsh to the Welsh prince as he was forced to give up any claim to a number of Welsh castles, to release his brother Owain from prison, he had been jailed for the past twenty years, to pay an astronomical fine and, most significantly, to fully acknowledge that he was a vassal of Edward I and must pay homage to him.

Llywelyn was, however, allowed to retain the title of Prince of Wales and to marry Eleanor de Montfort; the peace between England and Wales would prove to be an uneasy one and excessive English interference in the Welsh justice system, in particular, the Arwystli case, a land dispute between Llywelyn and another Welsh nobleman, which Edward had direct involvement in, led many of the Welsh lords who had supported the English king in 1277 to defect from him.

By 1282, war had once again broken out between the two countries; this time, surprisingly, it was Llywelyn’s brother Daffydd who was the main antagonist; in addition to the English interference in Wales, Daffydd had been none too happy with his lack of rewards for supporting Edward and attacks Hawarden castle.

Edward was not taking any chances this time and declares war on Wales, this time with intentions of bringing the entire country under his control; events go well for the English, at first, as they are able to make significant gains in conquering Wales; however, the Welsh are given new life when they defeat an English army under Luke de Tany at the Battle of Moel-y-don; the victory would be short lived however, as the Welsh suffered a devastating setback when Llywelyn is killed, under extremely obscure circumstances, at the Battle of Irfon Bridge, Cilmeri; Dafydd continues the rebellion but, with Llywelyn now dead, Edward is easily able to conquer all of the territories he once held.

Dafydd is finally captured the following year, given a show trial and executed as a traitor, by way of hanging, drawing and quartering; Edward spends the next several years consolidating his power in North Wales by giving out large grants of land to English and Welsh lords who had aided him in the Welsh wars of 1277 and 1282 to 1283 and by building a vast number of castles in the conquered principality, to be used to subdue the population.

Believing the situation in Wales to be under control, Edward leaves for Gascony in 1286 and remains there for the next three years; whilst Edward is away in his continental territory, another Welsh revolt occurs, this time led by Rhys ap Maredudd, a Welsh magnate who had fully supported Edward in the previous Welsh wars but had become disillusioned with the English king’s lack of appreciation, and rewards, for his services; the rebels are able to make small gains and take control of several English controlled castles, but the English act quickly enough and are able to erase any gains that Rhys had made and force him to go into hiding; Rhys would remain at large for the next five years before being betrayed by his own men and given a traitor’s death; Wales was now controlled by 'Edward, the scourge of Wales' and it was the first time that Wales had become a unified area under one monarch.

Edward Plots Against Scotland:

In 1287 Alexander III, King of Scots, died and the succession crisis that followed presented Edward with a golden opportunity to expand on his conquest of Wales; with the absence of an immediate heir Edward planned to wed his own son Edward to Margaret and thus control Scotland via matrimonial rights; this led to battles against the Scots King Robert the Bruce; Edward became one of Scotland's greatest adversaries and would come to be known after his death as the Hammer of the Scots.

In July 1290 Edward had an edict issued that expelled all Jews from England; the bulk of the Jewish community in England had arrived from France in the 11th century and acted as bankers to the ruling and business classes; but in an atmosphere of growing anti-semitism, Edward I turned against the Jews; in 1275, he prohibited Jewish traders from lending on interest, depriving them of their primary means of earning a living and in 1287, he imprisoned and ransomed 3,000 Jewish people; the ransom was paid, but he still had them expelled from England in 1290.

In 1295 he formed the Model Parliament, bringing together the knights, clergy, nobility and burgesses of the cities, bringing the Lords and Commoners together for the first time; he was also a noted castle builder, building the northern Welsh Conway castle, Caernarvon castle, Beaumaris castle and Harlech castle.

In 1301 Edward imposed his infant son Prince Edward, the future King Edward II on the Welsh as their new Prince of Wales, since then, only one domestic warlord, Owain Glyndwr has had a claim to the title and was proclaimed as such in 1400; however, his defeat in 1409 marked the end of domestic princes for good and since then the eldest son of the reigning monarch has been made Prince of Wales, daughters of the reigning monarch do not become Princess of Wales, as it is only given to a male heir; the title isn't automatic, however; it has to be created each time by the reigning monarch and as such is not an hereditary title.

Life in Yorkshire:

During this period the majority of the Yorkshire population was engaged in small scale farming; a growing number of families were living on the margin of subsistence and some of these families turned to crafts and trade or industrial occupations; by 1300 Yorkshire farmers had reached the present day limits of cultivation on the Pennines.

Both lay and monastic landowners exploited the minerals on their estates; there were forges producing iron and lead was being mined and smelted in the northern dales and in the West Riding there were numerous small coal workings.

Until the late 12th century the cloth industry was mostly urban, focussed on York and Beverley, but by 1300 the towns of Hedon, Masham, Northallerton, Ripon, Selby, Whitby and Yarm were also involved in cloth manufacture; around this time the balance of cloth manufacturing was changing in favour of the West Riding rural communities where it was a cottage industry and free of the restrictions of town guilds.

Sheffield, situated amongst a number of fast-flowing rivers and streams surrounded by hills containing raw materials such as coal, iron ore, ganister and millstone grit for grindstones, made it an ideal place for water-powered industries to develop; water wheels were often initially built for the milling of corn, but many were converted to the manufacture of blades; as early as the 14th century Sheffield was noted for the production of knives, as noted in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Reeve’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales.

In the early decades of the 14th century Yorkshire suffered from a series of poor harvests, cattle disease and plundering Scottish armies and the Black Death reached Yorkshire in the spring of 1349; the population was reduced drastically by these misfortunes and consequently more land became available for the survivors.

The following decades saw the rise of relatively wealthy farming families who founded dynasties of yeomen and minor gentlemen; the large Honours that were created in Yorkshire and the North of England by William I after the Conquest made them attractive for succeeding monarchs to give to their sons to support a royal lifestyle; these honours were, in some cases, combined to form Duchies, the most notable of which were the duchies of York and Lancaster.

King Edward II (1307 to 1327) House of Plantagenet:

Edward became king on the 8th July 1307 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 25th February 1308; he was called Edward of Carnarvon after his birthplace in Wales and was created the first Prince of Wales in 1301; he invaded Scotland in 1314 to suppress a revolt, which resulted in a defeat at Bannockburn and Scotland regained independence, which lasted around 300 years.

Between 1315 and 1322 millions died in the Great European Famine; the famine was the product of a cooler and damper climate, coupled with the medieval inability to dry and store grain effectively; colder winters and the fact that it rained heavily and constantly for much of the summer of 1314 and most of 1315 and 1316, severely affected the harvest and millions died of starvation.

When cattle and crops were no longer available, imminent starvation drove people to first eat pets and horses, but when these were gone as well, cannibalism began; it was reported in some places that people were being murdered and eaten and that some people even resorted to eating children.

After the famine came a "severe pestilence", which claimed many more victims; dead bodies were so numerous they could hardly be buried; in their misery and starvation, many people begged for food, stole whatever they could and murdered others for what little food they had; London later made bread available for the people, but many were trampled to death in the bread queues.

Edward was deposed in 1327 by his wife Isabella (1292 to 1358), daughter of Philip IV of France and her lover Roger de Mortimer; according to historians, he was either spirited away to a secret captivity to enable Isabella and Mortimer to rule the country, or he was murdered in Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, where he was skewered with a red hot spitting iron.

King Edward III (1327 to 1377) House of Plantagenet:

Edward became king on the 25th January 1327 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 29th January 1327; Edward's mother Isabella and Mortimer ruled while Edward was in his minority; however, in 1330 when Edward turned 17 and assumed Royal Powers, he arrested and executed Mortimer and put his mother under life time house arrest; he fought many battles against the Scots and the French and he created The House of Lords thus separating elected members or “commoners” from Lords and Bishops.

His eldest son Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Prince of Aquitaine, (1330 to 1376), also known as the 'Black Prince' because of the colour of his armour, was an exceptional military leader, his victories over the French at the Battles of Crécy and Poitiers made him very popular during his lifetime.

On the 24th June 1348 he set up the Order of the Garter and became the first Knight of the Garter; he died one year before his father, becoming the first English Prince of Wales not to become King of England.

The 100 Years War (1337 to 1453):

The 100 Years War actually lasted 116 years from 1337 until 1453, and was fought between England and France; it was a series of plundering raids, sieges and naval battles that was broken up by temporary truces and uneasy peace times; it all started in May 1337 when King Philip VI of France attempted to confiscate the English territories in the duchy of Aquitaine, in South western France.

John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster had senior influence over many people in the North of England and consequently, Yorkshiremen fought under his command in the Hundred Years' War.

In 1338 French fleets invade England around Southampton, Dover and the Thames Estuary heading for London but are effectively beaten off; in fact from the beginning of the war until the battle of Orleans (1428 to 1429), the English won many victories including the decisive battles of Crécy, Poitiers and Agincourt; this was mainly due to employing a new method of warefare with a great success that combined forces of longbowmen with dismounted men-at-arms.

However, in 1429 the French eventually gained the upperhand, at the siege of Orleans, when Joan of Arc led a relief force which successfully defeated the English; over the next 25 years the French won many battles and slowly forced the English to retreat; the war ended in July 1453 when the French finally drove the English from all of France save Calais. See a summary of the 100 Years War.

In 1348 the Bubonic Plague, known as 'The Black Death' arrived in Bristol and spread to the rest of the country; it died out in 1350, but not before wiping out around half the population of England.

King Richard II (1377 to 1399) House of Plantagenet:

Richard became king on the 22nd June 1377 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 16th July 1377; his uncle, John of Gaunt, whose son Bolingbroke eventually murdered Richard and later became king Henry IV, ruled while Richard was in his minority, he was 10 when he became king.

In 1381 Richard was faced with 'The Peasants' Revolt', a result of both the imposition of the Poll Tax in 1380 and because of day-to-day prices rising sharply due to the black Death and wages not following in line; the leader of the Revolt, Wat Tyler, was killed at Smithfield by the Lord Mayor of London, supposedly fearing for the safety of the king.

Richard tried to rule without parliament and so abused his powers that the barons rose up against him and with their help his cousin Henry of Lancaster seized the crown in 1399; Richard was murdered a year later in Pontefract castle, the fist casualty of the War of the Roses.

King Henry IV (1399 to 1413) House of Lancaster:

Henry became king on the 30th September 1399 and was crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 13th October 1399.

Henry's mother was Blanche, heiress to the considerable Lancaster estates, thus he became the first King of England from the Lancaster branch of the Plantagenets, one of the two family branches that were belligerents in the War of the Roses; the other one was the York branch, initiated by his uncle Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York.

Henry's brief reign was one of rebellions; on Henry's seizure of the crown, Richards II's family rose up against him and in Wales Owen Glendower led a national uprising that was not finally quelled until 1410; this made Henry desperately short of money and parliament refused to help him.

In 1413 Henry died of leprosy in Westminster Abbey.

King Henry V (1413 to 1422) House of Lancaster:

Henry became king on the 20th March 1413 and was Crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 9th April 1413; he was knighted aged 12 by Richard II on his Irish expedition in 1399 and experienced war early; he was wounded in the face by an arrow fighting against his military tutor Harry 'Hotspur' at Shrewsbury; campaigns in Wales against Owen Glendywr taught him the realities of siege warfare.

Henry strengthened the Lancastrian hold on the throne, during the War of the Roses, but there was one conspiracy against him during his nine year reign: a Plot led by Richard, Earl of Cambridge, who was executed in 1415 for treason at the start of the campaign which led to the Battle of Agincourt.

Henry was a cold and ruthless soldier, respected by contemporaries as a chivalric warrior; he was determined to revive the war in France, his invasion of 1415 was impressively organized, he captured Harfleur, but his siege took too long, reducing his intended grand chevauchée, raid through enemy territory, to a reckless dash to Calais; although his tiny, bedraggled army was cut off by a superior French force, it achieved a surprising victory at Agincourt.

When Henry returned in 1417 to 1419, it was with serious intent to reduce Normandy, which he did, including a long, bitter siege of Rouen, which he captured; his military victory forced the French into the favourable Treaty of Troyes in 1420, which gave Henry control of the French government; he married Catherine of Valois in 1420 and gained recognition as heir to the French throne by his father-in-law Charles VI, but he contracted dysentery conducting the siege of Meaux and died before him.

King Henry VI (1422 to 1471) House of Lancaster:

Henry became king on the 31st August 1422 and was Crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 6th November 1422 he was only 8 months old when he succeeded to the throne, and shortly afterwards, by the death in 1422 of his maternal grandfather, Charles VI, he became titular king of France.

He was a kind and gentle man, who was scared of girls; he once saw the body of a traitor quartered on a stake and ordered that nobody was ever to be treated like that again in his name.

Uunlike his father, Henry was disinclined to warfare and when Joan of Arc revived French patriotism the English gradually began to lose their French possessions; by 1453 only Calais remained of his father's conquests; the unpopularity of the government, especially after the loss of the English conquests in France, encouraged Richard, Duke of York, to claim the throne for himself in 1455, the worst of the War of the Roses followed during which Henry suffered frequent periods of captivity, and though Richard was killed in 1460, his son Edward IV finally proclaimed himself king in 1461.

Henry was murdered in the Tower of London in 1471.

The Wars of the Roses (1455 to 1485)

When conflict arose between the two Dukes during the Wars of the Roses much of the fighting took place in Yorkshire, where their estates were interlocked and woven together; the leading families in the East and West Ridings supported the House of Lancaster overwhelmingly, but in the North Riding loyalty was divided.

The Nevilles of Sheriff Hutton and Middleham, the Scropes of Bolton, the Latimers of Danby and Snape and the Mowbrays of Thirsk and Burton in Lonsdale supported the House of York; the Nevilles’ great rivals, the Percies, together with the Cliffords of Skipton, Ros of Helmsley, Greystock of Hinderskelfe, Stafford of Holderness and Talbot of Sheffield fought for the Lancastrians.

The wars were fought in several sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1485, although there was related fighting both before and after this period; the final victory went to a relatively remote Lancastrian claimant, Henry Tudor, who defeated the last Yorkist king Richard III and married Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth of York to unite the two houses; the House of Tudor subsequently ruled England and Wales for 117 years.

King Edward IV (1461 to 1483) House of York:

Edward became king on the 4th march 1461 and was Crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 28th June 1461; his position was secured by the defeat of the Lancastrians at Towton in 1461 and by the capture of Henry in one of the many battles of the War of the Roses; Edward was a fine warrior and intelligent strategist, with victories at Mortimer's Cross and Towton in 1461, Empingham in 1470.

His chief ally, and strongest supporter, in the early years was the Earl of Warwick, who after quarrelling with Edward later turned against him; and in 1470 to 1471 temporarily restored Henry to the throne; Edward managed to defeat Warick and recover the throne by his victories at Barnet and Tewkesbury in 1471 and shortly afterwards Henry was murdered in the Tower of London.

In 1477 Wiiliam Caxton, a former head of the merchant adventurers in Flanders, published the first ever printed book in England, the 'Dictes of Sayengs of the Philosophres'; he established his press at Westminster after returning from Bruges in 1476; he subsequently printed some works of the 14th century poets Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower and some chivalric literature including his contemporary Sir Thomas Malory's 'Morte d'Arthur'.

King Edward V (1483) House of York:

Edward became king on the 9th April 1483 at age 12, but he was deposed three months later in favour of his uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester; his mother immediately summoned Edward to London in order to protect him from his father's Yorkist brother; however Richard captured Edward on his way to London.

Richard took the crown, became king and imprisoned Edward in the Tower of London; shortly afterwards Edwards younger brother was also brought to London and imprisoned alongside him; it is believed that the young princes were murdered, in the Tower of London, on Richard's orders on the 25th June 1483; their skeletons were discoved in 1674 during rebuilding work at the Tower; they are now buried in Westminster Abbey; Edward was never crowned.

King Richard III (1483 to 1485) House of York:

Richard became king on the 26th June 1483 and was Crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 6th July 1483; he was created Duke of Gloucester by his brother Edward IV, and distinguished himself in the Wars of the Roses.

On Edward's death in 1483 he became protector to his nephew Edward V and soon secured the crown for himself on the plea that Edward IV's sons were illegitimate; he proved a capable ruler, but the suspicion that he had murdered Edward V, and his brother, undermined his popularity.

Henry was the son of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who died before Henry was born and Margaret Beaufort, a descendant of Edward III through John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; although the Beaufort line, which was originally illegitimate, had been specifically excluded in 1407 from all claim to the throne, the death of the imprisoned Henry VI in 1471 made Henry Tudor head of the house of Lancaster; at this point, however, the Yorkist Edward IV had established himself securely on the throne and Henry, who had been brought up in Wales, fled to Brittany for safety.

The death of Edward IV in 1483 and the accession of Richard III, left Henry the natural leader of the party opposing Richard; Henry made an unsuccessful attempt to land in England during the abortive revolt in 1483 of Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham; thereafter he bided his time in France until 1485 when aided by other English refugees, he landed in Wales.

In 1485, at the battle of Bosworth Field, Leicestershire, he defeated the royal forces of Richard; Richard was so unpopular at that time that some of his allies, rather than help, simply stood by and watched Richard as he charged to his death; his naked body was slung over a horse and displayed in Leicester for two days before being buried in an umarked grave; after the battle Henry advanced to London and was crowned king.

King Henry VII (1485 to 1509)House of Tudor:

Henry became king on the 22nd August 1485 and was Crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 30th October 1485; he was the last English monarch to seize the crown by force; when he ascended the throne in 1485 the earldom of Richmond merged into the crown; his dynasty then began systematically to destroy or remove local resistance to their rule by confiscating their religious rights and economic livelihood.

In 1486 Henry Tudor fulfilled a promise made earlier to the War of the Roses Yorkist dissidents to marry Edward IV's daughter, Elizabeth of York, and by marrying her he united the houses of York and Lancaster, founding the Tudor royal dynasty; the House of Tudor subsequently ruled England and Wales for 117 years.

Although Henry's accession marked the end of the Wars of the Roses, the early years of his reign were disturbed by Yorkist attempts to regain the throne; the first serious attempt, an uprising in favour of the imposter Lambert Simnel, was easily crushed in 1487.

When Henry died in 1509, he left the country in a stable and prosperous condition for the first time in a hundred years.

The Yorkshire Rebellion in 1489:

Henry's reign is famous for two rebellions that had political ambitions, Lambert Simnel’s and Perkin Warbeck’s, but his reign also experienced rebellions over a much more basic reason, money, or the lack of it; the first of these rebellions was in Yorkshire and was in 1489, when Henry made plans to assist Brittany, which was allied to Britain in the war against France, in the region’s efforts to maintain its independence within France, the only area still to have this status; he believed that if Brittany maintained its independence and relied on England, he would have a potential foothold and ally in France.

That year the Parliament voted that Henry could have £100,000 in his quest to support Brittany; however, this had to be raised via taxation and the tax, an early form of income tax, caused much resentment, taxes prior to this could be paid in kind as opposed to cash; the tax was the least welcome in Yorkshire, where there was a strong resentment about having a Lancastrian monarch, especially seeing as a Yorkist one had just been overthrown.

Henry sent Percy, Earl of Northumberland to collect the taxes from the North to help raise the money; however, many of the people in Northumberland and Yorkshire claimed to have already paid their part through local taxes and were unwilling to give more money to defend a country of no geographical threat to them.

Plus those in Yorkshire were also annoyed that other northern counties were exempted from the tax because they were expected to use their finances to defend the country from the Scots and to make matters worse Yorkshire had been badly hit by a poor harvest, so many in Yorkshire saw this tax as the straw that broke the camel's back.

Percy put the case of the people before the king; however, Henry was in a very difficult position, first, he believed that if he did not assert his authority so early into his reign, others would view him as a weak leader and take advantage of it, second, Henry believed in the reason for which the money was being raised, to support Brittany, which might help England in the future.

Therefore, he refused to listen to Percy’s arguments and the Earl returned north with nothing to offer the people and after informing them that the king would not change his mind, he was murdered, almost certainly by those who were most angered by the news, as opposed to any other reason; it probably didn't help that Percy was known to support the tax, presumably to keep well in with Henry.

Sir John Egremont then led an uprising of rebels from York, but the Earl of Surrey easily put down their rising and Egremont fled to Flanders; Henry in a conciliatory gesture travelled north and issued many pardons for those who had been involved in the uprising; the new Earl of Northumberland was only a minor and the Earl of Surrey was made Lieutenant in the area governed by the murdered Earl; Surrey had no reason not to be loyal to Henry as his own social and political advance rested with the king and Henry faced no more problems in the north though he failed to collect the region’s tax quota for the Brittany campaign and only raised about £27,000.

In 1494, Henry sent Sir Edward Poynings to Ireland to consolidate English rule there; Poynings drove the Yorkist pretender Perkin Warbeck out of Ireland, who then sought support from the Scottish king, James IV, who attempted in 1496 to invade England, but the next year, under pressure from Spain, he expelled Warbeck.

The latter was defeated shortly thereafter in an attempted invasion of Cornwall; a truce in 1497 between England and Scotland was followed by the marriage in 1503 of Henry's sister Margaret Tudor, to James, a marriage that led ultimately to the union of the monarchies of England and Scotland.

Henry succeeded in crushing the independence of the nobility by means of a policy of forced loans and fines; his chancellor, Cardinal Morton, was made responsible for the collection of these fines, and they were enforced by the privy councillors Empson and Dudley.

Henry married his son Arthur to Catharine of Aragón, daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragón and Isabella of Castile, his daughter Margaret to James IV of Scotland and his youngest daughter Mary to Louis XII of France; after Arthur died in 1502, an agreement was reached by which Catharine of Aragon married Arthur's brother Henry, later to be Henry VIII.

King Henry VIII (1509 to 1547)House of Tudor:

Henry became king on the 21st April 1509 and was Crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 24th June 1509.

During the period 1513 to 1529 Henry pursued an active foreign policy, largely under the guidance of his Lord Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey, who shared Henry's desire to make England stronger; Wolsey was replaced by Thomas More in 1529 for failing to persuade the Pope to grant Henry a divorce.

The English Reformation (1529):

By this time Henry's policy had become dominated by his desire to divorce Catherine because she was too old to give him an heir and he was determined to marry Anne Boleyn; at first there seemed a possibility that the divorce might be granted; the papal legate journeyed to England to hear the case, but Catherine appealed directly to the pope and the court was adjourned.

The position was complicated by the fact that Charles V, Catherine's nephew, controlled Rome as the main defender of the Catholic Church; Henry then proceeded to act through Parliament and had the entire body of the clergy in England declared guilty of treason in 1531; the clergy were suitably cowed and agreed to repudiate papal supremacy and recognize Henry as supreme head of the church in England; the English ecclesiastical courts then pronounced his marriage to Catherine null and void and he married Anne Boleyn in 1533; The English Reformation had started; Henry married another four times to Jane Seymour in 1536, Anne of Cleves in 1540, Kathryn Howard in 1540 and Katherine Parr in 1543, making a total of Six Wives.

The Dissolution of the Monasteries:

Between 1536 and 1540, the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII of England had a profound and permanent effect on the Yorkshire landscape; many religious houses were destroyed and thousands of acres of monastic property was divided and sold to form the estates of the gentry and the newly rich industrial entrepreneurs.

This happened right across the county from Guisborough Priory in the north through to Rievaulx Abbey on the North York Moors, Jervaulx Abbey and Fountains Abbey in the dales and Roche Abbey in the south; in all 120 religious institutions were closed in Yorkshire; the unpopularity of the Tudor royals resonated in the Pilgrimage of Grace and the Rising of the North, but despite rebellions, by 1540 over 800 monasteries around the kingdom had been dissolved; the process had taken about 4 years.

However, although Henry had laid the ground for the English Reformation with the suppression of the monasteries in 1536 to 1540 and the separation from Rome, he had little sympathy with Protestant dogmas and created "Catholicism without the Pope", meaning that through the Act of Supremecy, and his Church of England, he could keep many of the Catholic Traditions in place.

As early as 1521 a pamphlet which he had written against Lutheranism had won him the title of Fidei Defensor from the Pope, and Henry's own religious views are quite clearly expressed in the Statute of Six Articles in 1539 which instituted the orthodox Catholic tenets as necessary conditions for Christian belief; as a result Protestants were being burnt for heresy even while Catholics were being executed for refusing to take the oath of supremacy.

In 1528 another outbreak of Plague, known as the 'The Sweating Sickness', erupted; it first showed itself in London at the end of May, and speedily spread over the whole of England, though not into Scotland or Ireland; many people in Henry's court fell sick with the sweating sickness and Henry developed a morbid fear of contracting the disease himself; he would change residences every other day in an effort to avoid coming within contact with those of his court who became infected.

Anne Boleyn was beheaded in 1536, ostensibly for adultery; Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour gave him a son, Edward, Jane died in 1537; he then married Anne of Cleves in 1540 in pursuance of Thomas Cromwell's policy of allying with the German Protestants, but rapidly abandoned this policy, divorced Anne and beheaded Cromwell; his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was beheaded in 1542 and the following year he married Catherine Parr, who survived him.

The Treaty of Greenwich:

Mary, Queen of Scots was born on the 8th February 1542, the child of King James V; she was 6 days old when he died and she was crowned nine months later; as Mary was still an infant, Scotland was ruled by regents until she became an adult.

Henry took the opportunity of this regency to propose that England and Scotland be united through the marriage of Queen Mary and his own son, Prince Edward and on the 1st July 1543 the Treaty of Greenwich was signed, which among other points, promised Mary would be married to Edward.

Henry ended his reign with the reputation of a tyrant, despite the promise of his earlier years, in 1536 the rebellion known as the Pilgrimage of Grace was viciously suppressed and advisers of the calibre of More and Bishop John Fisher had died rather than sacrifice their own principles to Henry's will; but the power of the crown had been considerably strengthened by Henry's ecclesiastical policy and the monastic confiscations gave impetus to the rise of a new nobility which was to become influential in succeeding reigns.


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