Kittric: Edward I ('Longshanks') of England  
EDWARD I   ('Longshanks ')
King of England (1272 - 1307)
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Edward I was the fifth King of England of the House of Plantagenet.

Although Henry III's reign is remembered for the Civil War led by Montfort, it must be remembered that he had ruled for nearly sixty years and it was only in the last decade of his reign that the troubles errupted. By the standards of the times his reign was one of peace and prosperity for England, so much so that when he died in 1272, Edward, his son and successor was far from England crusading and yet the government of the realm continued peacefully until his return to English soil.

The struggle between crown and barons continued throughout Edward's reign and, to combat it, he reformed both the law and the Great Council - the latter into a parliament which remained unaltered in its basic form for some five hundred years. In law, Edward attempted to replace certainty in those areas of law where there were uncertainty and to do so in such a manner that the interpretation favoured the crown against the barons.

EDWARD I (1272-1307)

Under Edward I, the composition of parliament was extended. Parliament had developed form the Saxon Witangamot - this having been composed of the few of thre great magnates, bishops and superior abbots. The knits of the shire, of which each shire sent two, were appointed by the King's servant, the sherrif, and not elected. Under the Norman Kings, the Witangamot became the Great Council.

Simon de Montfort had added two burgesses from each of a number of selected boroughs (large towns which which possessed charters allowing them self-government). Edward not only made the presence of the burgesses permanent, but also caused the knights of the shire to be elected rather than appointed by the sherrif of the shire.

These arrangements were settled in the Model Parliament called to sit in 1295 and so-called because this arrangement remained unchanged for some five hundred years. The elected representatives of the shire were collectively called the commons.

The greater barons, the lords or peers, were summoned to parliament personal letter from the monarch and the right to be thus summoned became a hereditary right. During the reign of Edward III it became an established custom for the 'Lords' and the 'Commons' to sit and vote in separate chambers and the clergy also separated from Parliament to sit in 'Convocation' to legislate for the Church and settle their own contributions to the exchequer (although bishops and certain abbots still sat witht the Lords).

Acts passed by parliament and confirmed by the signature of the monarch became the law which could only be altered by another Act of Parliament.

The legislation of Edward I's reign was primarily concerned with setting the laws about succession, the inheritance and alienation of land, and the king's right to lawfully enforce his claims for money to be paid to royal exchequer from which all the expenses of government had to be paid.

This amount invariably fell short of that which the monarch, for whatever reason, required and he was obliged to ask parliament for this excess. Parliament, in time, refused to vote the money the monarch demanded if it was dissatisfied with the way it was being spent and so learnt that it possessed 'the power of the purse'. The evolution of legislation and parliament itself was a process which continued throughout Edward I's reign.

EDWARD I (1272-1307)

Edward I strove throughout his reign to unify the mainland Britain into a single dominion under the English Crown. After much hard fighting, he succeeded in vanquishing the Welsh and built garissoned castles in the marches to maintain control over the country.

The Welsh Princes and Scottish Kings had occassionally agreed to acknowledge the overlordship of the English Crown to some extent, sometimes to overlordship of the person of the English king - more often they refused to do so.

Subduindg Sctoland, however, was a task of a much different order; not only was there less legal pretext for doing so, but Scotland physically a far larger and more challenging country to deal with. Two ooportunities presented themselves to Edward on the death of Alexander III of Scotland and later his infant daughter Margaret, when the Scottish nobles (many of whom were his vassals in respect of lands which they also held in England) asked him to arbitrate between rival claimants to the Scottish crown.

Many nobles held lands in the Scottish lowlands as vassals of the King of Scotland and also estates in England as vassals of the English King. The highlands remained the province of the Scots.

See also:   Scotland about the Time of the Norman Conquest

Edward I agreed to arbitrate between the contenders but only on condition that, previous Scottish Kings having done homage to the Kings of England, the successful candidate for the Scottish Crown must do likewise. Understanding Edward's claim to suzerianty over Scotland to be a formality, the Scots agreed and the decision fell in favour of John Baliol.

The Scots soon found to their surprise that Edward I had intended his claim as no formality but expected a very real acceptance of his authority over Scotland and John Baliol rebelled. Baliol's revolt was crushed by Edward who resumed the Scottish Crown as his right by forfeit of his vassal's rebellion. The lands of Baliol's supporters were also forfeited and English officers and garrisons were sent to Scotland were they behaved as rulers of a vanquished foe, much as the Normans had done following their conquest of England in 1066.

With no king to lead them, the Scots followed William Wallace who raised an army of followers and, for a time, drove the English from Sctoland. Edward vowed vengeance for the revolt and Wallace's army was overwhelmed by the skill of the English archers at the battle of Falkirk. Wallace himself was taken to England as a captive to die a traitor's death. The Scots again found themselves under the harsh rule of the English.

Edward I died of dysentery on July 7th, 1307, at Burgh on the Sands near Carlisle. He was aged 68.

Robert Bruce, grandson of the claimant to the Scottish throne, committed a murder for which he could have no hope of pardon and made his own bid to liberate Scotland from the grip of the English and the Scottish crown which had been forfeited by Baliol. The aged Edward I assembled a great host to crush the new rebellion but died before he could reach Scotland and his army of invasion was disbanded. He was succeeded to the throne by his son as Edward II.

To his contemporaries, Edward was known as "The Lord Edward".

Child marriages were the custom of the time. Alphonso of Castile had claimed Gascony in France and Henry went to war in retaliation, demanding Eleanor as a bride for prince Edward, aa guarantee of good intentions. Alphonso stipulated that the marriage should take place "five weeks before Michaelmas Day, 1254."

The marriage would not normally be consummated until the girl was about 14 or 15 years old; in the case of Eleanor and Prince Edward, it would appear that she didn�t live with her husband until she was about 18 or 19 as her first child was not born until she was 20 years old.

In a marriage of convenience to settle the war over the possession of Gascony, prince Edward (aged fifteen) was married at Las Huelgas in October 1254 to Eleanor, 'The Infanta of Castile ', the ten-year-old sister of King Alphonso of Castile. Eleanor was sent to London to recieve an education in the customs and language of England.

Despite the political nature of their marriage, it appears that Eleanor and Edward I became very much devoted to each other; it is said that she went on crusade with Prince Edward in 1270 (they were crowned as king and queen in Westminster Abbey on August 19th, 1274) and Eleanor died at Harby in Nottinghamshire following Edward's march to Scotland shortly after having given birth to their fifteenth child.

The acre was fixed by Edward I in 1305 established the acre as an area 4 rods wide by 40 rods long - that which could be ploughed in a day by a man and two oxen.

LYME REGIS (1284)   Dorset


Edward's expulsion of the Jews


King Edward I granted a general royal charter confirming the liberties of the Cinque Ports in 1278. The charter was granted to the Cinque Ports collectively.

John de Kirkeby, acting on the King's behalf, granted the ihabitants of Old Winchelsea the land on the Plateau of Iham in East Sussex to build the town of Winchelsea in 1288 as Old Winchelsea was claimed by the sea.

NEWTON,   Poole Harbour, Dorset
The king attempted to establish a new port on the Purbeck side of Poole Harbour to handle the trade in Purbeck Stone but the settlement was never a success and only a single cottage marked its site by the time of Queen Elizabeth I

WINCHELSEA,   East Sussex
The carved head of King Edward I appears at the springing of the canopy over the tomb of Gervase Alard in the parish church of St. Thomas, Winchelsea. His second wife, Queen Margaret of France is also depicted on the canopy.As the Chantry Licence was granted in 1315, the carving of the head is prior to this date; it is used in History Today and other historical books as an authentic likeness of the King.


Twelve English Statesmen Edward I

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Edward I was the first English King to sieze the alien priories in 1285 on the outbreak of war between England and France. This was repeated by Edward II and Edward III.

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