Edward I of England

Edward I
A man in half figure with short, curly hair and a hint of beard is facing left. He wears a coronet and holds a sceptre in his right hand. He has a blue robe over a red tunic, and his hands are covered by white, embroidered gloves. His left hand seems to be pointing left, to something outside the picture.
Portrait in Westminster Abbey, thought to be of Edward I
King of England (more...)
Reign20 November 1272 – 7 July 1307
Coronation19 August 1274
PredecessorHenry III
SuccessorEdward II
Born17/18 June 1239
Palace of Westminster, London, England
Died7 July 1307 (aged 68)
Burgh by Sands, Cumberland, England
Burial27 October 1307
Westminster Abbey, London, England
SpouseEleanor of Castile
(m. 1254–1290)
Margaret of France
(m. 1299–1307)
Issue
among others
By Eleanor of Castile
Eleanor, Countess of Bar
Joan, Countess of Hertford
Alphonso, Earl of Chester
Margaret, Duchess of Brabant
Mary of Woodstock
Elizabeth, Countess of Hereford
Henry
Edward II of England
By Margaret of France
Thomas, Earl of Norfolk
Edmund, Earl of Kent
HousePlantagenet
FatherHenry III of England
MotherEleanor of Provence

Edward I (17/18 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots (Latin: Malleus Scotorum), was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The Lord Edward.[1] He spent much of his reign reforming royal administration and common law. Through an extensive legal inquiry, Edward investigated the tenure of various feudal liberties, while the law was reformed through a series of statutes regulating criminal and property law. Increasingly, however, Edward's attention was drawn towards military affairs.

As the first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons. In 1259, he briefly sided with a baronial reform movement, supporting the Provisions of Oxford. After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons' War. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and joined the fight against Simon de Montfort. Montfort was defeated at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, and within two years the rebellion was extinguished. With England pacified, Edward joined the Ninth Crusade to the Holy Land. The crusade accomplished little, and Edward was on his way home in 1272 when he was informed that his father had died. Making a slow return, he reached England in 1274 and was crowned at Westminster on 19 August.

After suppressing a minor rebellion in Wales in 1276–77, Edward responded to a second rebellion in 1282–83 with a full-scale war of conquest. After a successful campaign, Edward subjected Wales to English rule, built a series of castles and towns in the countryside and settled them with English people. Next, his efforts were directed towards Scotland. Initially invited to arbitrate a succession dispute, Edward claimed feudal suzerainty over the kingdom. The war that followed continued after Edward's death, even though the English seemed victorious at several points. Simultaneously, Edward I found himself at war with France (a Scottish ally) after the French king Philip IV had confiscated the duchy of Aquitaine, which until then had been held in personal union with the Kingdom of England. Although Edward recovered his duchy, this conflict relieved English military pressure against Scotland. At the same time there were problems at home. In the mid-1290s, extensive military campaigns required high levels of taxation, and Edward met with both lay and ecclesiastical opposition. These crises were initially averted, but issues remained unsettled. When the King died in 1307, he left to his son Edward II an ongoing war with Scotland and many financial and political problems.

Edward I was a tall man for his era, hence the nickname "Longshanks". He was temperamental, and this, along with his height, made him an intimidating man, and he often instilled fear in his contemporaries. Nevertheless, he held the respect of his subjects for the way he embodied the medieval ideal of kingship, as a soldier, an administrator and a man of faith. Modern historians are divided on their assessment of Edward I: while some have praised him for his contribution to the law and administration, others have criticised him for his uncompromising attitude towards his nobility. Currently, Edward I is credited with many accomplishments during his reign, including restoring royal authority after the reign of Henry III, establishing Parliament as a permanent institution and thereby also a functional system for raising taxes, and reforming the law through statutes. At the same time, he is also often criticised for other actions, such as his brutal conduct towards the Scots, and issuing the Edict of Expulsion in 1290, by which the Jews were expelled from England. The Edict remained in effect for the rest of the Middle Ages, and it was over 350 years until it was formally overturned under Oliver Cromwell.

Early years, 1239–63

Childhood and marriage

Inside an initial letter are drawn two heads with necks, a male over a female. They are both wearing coronets. The man's left eye is drawn different both from his right and those of the woman.
Early fourteenth-century manuscript initial showing Edward and his wife Eleanor. The artist has perhaps tried to depict Edward's blepharoptosis, a trait he inherited from his father.[2]

Edward was born at the Palace of Westminster on the night of 17–18 June 1239, to King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence.[3][a] Edward is an Anglo-Saxon name, and was not commonly given among the aristocracy of England after the Norman conquest, but Henry was devoted to the veneration of Edward the Confessor, and decided to name his firstborn son after the saint.[4][b] Among his childhood friends was his cousin Henry of Almain, son of King Henry's brother Richard of Cornwall.[6] Henry of Almain would remain a close companion of the prince, both through the civil war that followed, and later during the crusade.[7] Edward was in the care of Hugh Giffard – father of the future Chancellor Godfrey Giffard – until Bartholomew Pecche took over at Giffard's death in 1246.[8]

There were concerns about Edward's health as a child, and he fell ill in 1246, 1247, and 1251.[6] Nonetheless, he became an imposing man; at 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) he towered over most of his contemporaries, and hence perhaps his epithet "Longshanks", meaning "long legs" or "long shins". The historian Michael Prestwich states that his "long arms gave him an advantage as a swordsman, long thighs one as a horseman. In youth, his curly hair was blond; in maturity it darkened, and in old age it turned white. [His features were marred by a drooping left eyelid.] His speech, despite a lisp, was said to be persuasive."[9]

In 1254, English fears of a Castilian invasion of the English province of Gascony induced Edward's father to arrange a politically expedient marriage between his fourteen-year-old son and thirteen-year-old Eleanor, the half-sister of King Alfonso X of Castile.[10] Eleanor and Edward were married on 1 November 1254 in the Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas in Castile.[11] As part of the marriage agreement, the young prince received grants of land worth 15,000 marks a year.[12] Although the endowments King Henry made were sizeable, they offered Edward little independence. He had already received Gascony as early as 1249, but Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, had been appointed as royal lieutenant the year before and, consequently, drew its income, so in practice Edward derived neither authority nor revenue from this province.[13] The grant he received in 1254 included most of Ireland, and much land in Wales and England, including the earldom of Chester, but the King retained much control over the land in question, particularly in Ireland, so Edward's power was limited there as well, and the King derived most of the income from those lands.[14]

From 1254 to 1257, Edward was under the influence of his mother's relatives, known as the Savoyards,[15] the most notable of whom was Peter of Savoy, the queen's uncle.[16] After 1257, Edward increasingly fell in with the Poitevin or Lusignan faction – the half-brothers of his father Henry III – led by such men as William de Valence.[17][c] This association was significant, because the two groups of privileged foreigners were resented by the established English aristocracy, and they would be at the centre of the ensuing years' baronial reform movement.[19] There were tales of unruly and violent conduct by Edward and his Lusignan kinsmen, which raised questions about the royal heir's personal qualities. The next years would be formative on Edward's character.[20]

Early ambitions

Edward had shown independence in political matters as early as 1255, when he sided with the Soler family in Gascony, in the ongoing conflict between the Soler and Colomb families. This ran contrary to his father's policy of mediation between the local factions.[21] In May 1258, a group of magnates drew up a document for reform of the King’s government – the so-called Provisions of Oxford – largely directed against the Lusignans. Edward stood by his political allies and strongly opposed the Provisions. The reform movement succeeded in limiting the Lusignan influence, however, and gradually Edward's attitude started to change. In March 1259, he entered into a formal alliance with one of the main reformers, Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester. Then, on 15 October 1259, he announced that he supported the barons' goals, and their leader, Simon de Montfort.[22]

The motive behind Edward's change of heart could have been purely pragmatic; Montfort was in a good position to support his cause in Gascony.[23] When the King left for France in November, Edward's behaviour turned into pure insubordination. He made several appointments to advance the cause of the reformers, causing his father to believe that his son was considering a coup d'état.[24] When the King returned from France, he initially refused to see his son, but through the mediation of the Earl of Cornwall and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the two were eventually reconciled.[25] Edward was sent abroad, and in November 1260 he again united with the Lusignans, who had been exiled to France.[26]

Back in England, early in 1262, Edward fell out with some of his former Lusignan allies over financial matters. The next year, King Henry sent him on a campaign in Wales against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, with only limited results.[27] Around the same time, Simon de Montfort, who had been out of the country since 1261, returned to England and reignited the baronial reform movement.[28] It was at this pivotal moment, as the King seemed ready to resign to the barons' demands, that Edward began to take control of the situation. Whereas he had so far been unpredictable and equivocating, from this point on he remained firmly devoted to protecting his father's royal rights.[29] He reunited with some of the men he had alienated the year before – among them his childhood friend, Henry of Almain, and John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey – and retook Windsor Castle from the rebels.[30] Through the arbitration of King Louis IX of France, an agreement was made between the two parties. This so-called Mise of Amiens was largely favourable to the royalist side, and laid the seeds for further conflict.[31]

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Eduard I. (England)
Bân-lâm-gú: Edward 1-sè
беларуская: Эдуард I
български: Едуард I
čeština: Eduard I.
eesti: Edward I
Bahasa Indonesia: Edward I dari Inggris
íslenska: Játvarður 1.
lietuvių: Eduardas I
македонски: Едвард I
Bahasa Melayu: Edward I dari England
norsk nynorsk: Edvard I av England
русский: Эдуард I
Simple English: Edward I of England
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Edward I od Engleske
Türkçe: I. Edward
Tiếng Việt: Edward I của Anh