Edward I

Edward I ruled from 1272 to 1307. He is known as Longshanks due to his height. Under Edward I’s rule, England saw Parliament develop into a more representative body. Edward led successful campaigns against the Welsh, whom he conquered. In 1290 Edward became overlord of Scotland as a result of his involvement in the Scottish succession. The Scottish King, John Balliol, then objected to Edward’s demands. There followed a series of campaigns against the Scots, in which Edward nearly completed a total conquest.

Edward I

As prince, Edward gained experience of military and political issues during the baronial wars. When the barons rebelled under the leadership of Simon de Montfort, Edward initially fought on the side of the rebels. He then switched sides and was the commander of Royal forces at the decisive victory in the Battle of Evesham.

Edward was participating in a Crusade when his father died. Upon his return he set about imposing himself on the government and the British isles. Feudal ties to the land were amended under his stewardship. The crown strengthened it’s control over the court. Law, order and taxation were administrated more effectively and efficiently than under his fathers rule.

In 1277 Edward set about ensuring total domination of Wales. His army routed those of Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. In 1282-83 his armies returned and established a series of Castles around areas in which there was a history of Welsh resistance. These Castles dominate the landscape, particularly of Northern Wales, to this day. These conquests followed Welsh attempts to take advantage of the baronial wars during Henry III’s reign. Llywelyn had seized the opportunity to extend his lands, in doing so breaking peace agreements. He then failed to attend Edward’s coronation and was not accepting Edward I as his overlord.

In 1290, Margaret of Scotland died. Edward was asked to decide whether John Balliol or Robert Bruce should become King. Edward’s choice was Balliol. Following this decision, Edward asserted English overlordship. When the Scots protested, Edward attacked, capturing Balliol and imprisoning him in the Tower of London. Rebellions against Edward’s rule in Scotland continued after the appointment of three regents, Robert Bruce being one of them. William Wallace led attacks against the English at the Battle of Falkirk and then attacked Stirling Castle.

By the end of his life Edward had conquered all of Wales. His son, who later became Edward II, was the first English prince to be given the title Prince of Wales. Much of Scotland was under English control, though the threat of rebellion remained. There was an attempt by the Welsh to wrestle off English control: Madog ap Llywelyn’s uprising against Edward Longshanks.

Interesting facts:

As Crown Prince Edward was authorised to set off on Holy Crusade alongside the King of France. Parliament granted a special tax to fund Edward’s Crusade. It was one twentieth of all possessions. An unprecedented amount at the time.

When Edward’s first wife died he ordered commemorative crosses to be made at each place where her body had stayed overnight on the route to her funeral. From these crosses come the names Charing Cross and Waltham Cross.

Edward I is the tallest monarch England has had, standing at 6’2″. (Prince William is actually an inch taller than this, so will overtake).

Nicknamed Longshanks due to his height and long arms.

Known as Hammer of the Scots.

Even though he was away from England for the first two years of his reign, his right to be King was never challenged: highly unusual for this time!

History Today – brief biography.

History Channel – Biography.

The Plantagenets
Henry IIRichard IKing John
Henry IIIEdward IEdward II
Edward IIIRichard II
House of Lancaster
Henry IVHenry VHenry VI
House of York
Edward IVEdward VRichard III
Murder of Thomas BecketMagna CartaTen Facts about the Black Death
Edward I's Conquest of WalesMadog ap LlywelynCauses of the Peasants Revolt
Timeline of the Peasants Revolt
Sources and Interpretations
Paston LettersJohn Rous
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