Edward I

Edward I

Edward I,

1272-1307

Born:

17 (or 18) June 1239, son of Henry III and Eleanor of Provence, at Westminster Palace, London

Crowned:

19 August 1274 at Westminster Abbey, London

Died:

7 July 1307 at Burgh-on-Sands, Cumbria

Buried:

Westminster Abbey

Married:

  1. 2 November 1254 Eleanor of Castile, at Burgos, Spain
  2. 10 September 1299 Margaret of France, at Canterbury Cathedral

Succeeded by:

Edward II (son)

aving taken a lead role in his father’s battles and administration, Edward came to the throne with considerable experience. He was away on crusade when Henry III died in 1272, and was not crowned until almost two years after his official reign began.

Edward (known as “Longshanks”) proved a capable and energetic king, successful in peace and war. He clarified laws, reformed the courts, and remedied long-standing grievances regarding land ownership and public safety. Constantly in need of tax money to support his military ventures, he maintained a good working relationship with Parliament. He asked for its approval for administrative initiatives and established its role in levying taxes to pay for war.

Edward’s military campaigns were first focused against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd of Wales. Defeated in 1277, Llywelyn rebelled again in 1282. Not content to merely enforce fealty, Edward incorporated Wales into England by building a ring of massive fortresses that also served as administrative centers. In 1301, he named his 17-year-old son England’s first Prince of Wales.

Edward then became embroiled in the struggle for the Scottish throne. That nation had been left without a clear heir and Edward was asked to judge among the candidates. Edward chose Edward Balliol – and expected obedience in return. Balliol instead formed what was later known as the “Auld Alliance” with France.

Edward invaded Scotland, forced Balliol’s abdication and removed the coronation stone, the Stone of Scone, to Westminster. The Scots rose under William Wallace, defeating the English at Stirling Bridge in 1297. The next year Edward defeated Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk. Eventually captured, Wallace was brutally executed in London in 1305.

Robert Bruce then arose as leader of the Scottish resistance and, on 25 March 1306, was crowned King of the Scots. Edward died on his way north, preparing to once again invade Scotland.

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