HENRY II   Plantagenet
King of England (1154-1189)
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Henry Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, succeeded King Stephen on his death on October 25th, 1154 as the first Angevin or Plantagenet king of England. The son of Henry I's daughter and sole heir Mildred or Maud by her second husband Geoffrey, Count of Anjou.

Henry II's father was Geoffrey, duke of Anjou after whose emblem, the Broom - formerly known as "Planta genista", Henry chose the family name of "Plantagenet".  

Before her brother perished in the sinking of the White Ship, Mildred had been ignored by her father Henry I; aged 14 years, she was married to the Holy Roman Emperor but, widowed, was recalled to the English court on her brothers death and, aged 25 years, married to Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, then only a boy of fourteen.

Henry was Duke of Normandy through his mother and through his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, he was the count or duke of so many provinces that he was lord of half of France (and thus vassal of the French King). The conflict between his position as King of England and yet vassal of the French Crown for his French possessions would dominate not only his foreign policy, but that of all the Plantagenet Kings for over two centuries.

Almost 20 years of Civil War had wrecked all but the simplest of organisation in the charismatic Henry's new kingdom and he immediately set about restoring order; within two years he had subdued the more turbulent of his barons and over-awed the remainder. Pulling down the unauthorised castles which the magnates had erected in the turbulent and lawless reign of Stephen, he re-instated the laws of his grandfather Henry I.

The shire-levies were also re-organised to ensure that any man called up by the sheriff (the shire-reeve, an officer appointed by the king for various administrative purposes within each county) appeared armed according to his means.

In Ireland, Henry established an English government although it jurisdiction covered only a small area known as the English pale. William the Lion of Scotland had been captured while raiding northern England and was forced to do homage to Henry as his overlord.

Henry II is perhaps best remembered, however, for his abortive attempt to bring the clergy, subject only to ecclesiatical courts, within the jurisdiction of the King's courts. The attempt brought him into conflict with the Archbishop of Canterbury - Thomas-a-Becket. When a group of ther King's knights brought him ill news from Canterbury, Henry in a moment of anger asked whether there was none is his kingdom who might rid him of the troublesome cleric. The loyal knights took Henry's ill-guarded words as their command and murdered Becket in his cathedral. Misconstrued the monarch might have been but, by his martyrdom, Becket so stirred up popular feeling against the monarch that the Church could not fail but win the battle.

Toward the end of his reign, the country was again thrown into turmoil as Henry II warred with his turbulent sons - and such was the state of affairs when he died in 1189. He was succeeded by his eldest son Richard I, later surnamed the Lion-Heart, who attacked and defeated Henry on July 4th, 1189 (aided by Philippe II Auguste).

Henry's Sons

While Henry II granted his sons considerable power, he refused to grant any of them complete independance.

Henry the Young King   (1155-1183)

Crowned king in 1170 although he never ruled and is thus not counted amongst the kings of England. The young Henry demanded either Normandy or England as a separate kingdom together with his wife, Margaret of France, in 1172.

Richard, later Richard I, was appointed governor of Aquitaine and Poitou. Geoffrey, Count of Brittany, also wanted independence. They were encouraged to rebel by their mother Eleanor.

Henry II tried to arrange a marriage for John (nicknamed "Lackland" as no land had been assigned to him) with the daughter of the Count of Maurienne, and promised him part of Anjou.

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1142.OctGeoffrey of Anjou refuses to aid his wife, Matilda, sending instead their 9-year-old son Henry (later Henry II) with Earl Robert to inspire the magnates
1144Louis VII of France formally grants Henry of Anjou (Henry II of England) the Duchy of Normandy
1153End of The Anarchy as Stephen, sufering from ill-health, accepts Matilda\'s son, Henry Plantagenet, as his heir by the Treaty of Wallingford
1154.Jan.13English magnates do homage to Henry
1154.Apr.04Henry of Anjou returns to Normandy after the discovery of a plot by William to kill him
1154.Oct.25Death of King Stephen of chronic flux of haemorroids or an heart attack at Dover.
Henry II becomes the first Plantagenet king of England (as settled by the Treaty of Wallingford the previous year)
As count of Anjou, Henry II possessed almost half of France as a vassal of the French King
1154.Dec.04Nicholas Breakspear begins his reign as the only English Catholic Pope Adrian IV
1154.Dec.19Henry II crowned as the first Plantagenet king of England
1155Cricklade, Wilts., recieves its first charter from King Henry II
1155Bristol recieves charter from King Henry II affirming their rights as freemen
1155Birth of Prince Henry (crowned in 1170, Henry the Young King, d.1183) to King Henry II by Queen Eleanor
1157Birth of the future king Richard I, the Lion-Heart to king Henry II (1154-1189)
1158Henry II and Queen Eleanor visit the shrine of Bishop Wulfstan at Worcester Cathedral
1162Henry II concieved Common Law
1164Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury flees to France
1166.Dec.24Birth of the future King John, fifth and favourite son of Henry II (1154-1189) by Eleanor of Aquitaine
1170William the Marshal enters the service of Henry the Young King as captain of the guard
1170Crowning of Henry the Young King
Although crowned, Hnery never ruled and is thus not counted amongst the kings of England
1171Henry II visits Ireland to receive the submission of Irish bishops and chieftains
He also `granted, to his men of Bristol, his city of Dublin to be inhabited, together with all the liberties and free customs they had at Bristol and throughout his entire land`
1172Henry the Young King demanded either Normandy or England to trule as a separate kingdom with his wife, Margaret of France, from his father, Henry II
He was supported by William the Marshal
1173Henry II plans to assign to John (John I)extensive lands on his marriage to the daughter of Humbert III, count of Maurienne (Savoy)
The scheme is thwarted by the rebellion it provoked among John's elder brothers, Henry and Richard
1177Prince John made lord of Ireland
1179Publication of The Dialogue of the Exchequer by Richard Fitz Nigel, treasurer of the exchequer and bishop of London
1183Death of Henry the Young King (1155-)
1185.AprPrince John visits Ireland
As Lord of Ireland, he acquires a reputation for reckless irresponsibility
circa 1188William the Marshal taken into royal service by Henry II
1189.JunHenry II's favouritism of Prince John contributes to the rebellion of his elder brother Richard, later Richard I
For reasons which remain obscure, John deserted his father for the cause of his brother
1189.Sep.03Death of Henry II. His son Richard I becomes king of England

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1155   Cricklade, Wilts.

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