1066 - St. Edward the Confessor was followed by 'King Harold'
Godwinson (and after token Edgar the Atheling). The
Norman Conquest saw William the Conqueror invade and defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings. England
was under French rule and Norman replaced English as the language
of the ruling classes. Due to continued resistance mainly in the
north, as many as one fifth of the people of England were killed
during these years by war, massacre, and starvation. William commissioned
the Domesday Book to survey England for taxation.
events of this year are recorded in the famous Bayeux Tapestry including
Harold being killed by an arrow in the eye.
|1087 - William II, Rufus, son of William the Conqueror.
|1100 - Henry I, Beauclerc, also known as the
Lion of Justice.
The first Norman King born in England. He battled his brother Robert
for control of England and Normandy. He granted the Charter
of Liberties to the barons which laid the foundation for
future challenges to the King's power.
Henry reformed the treasury, creating the Exchequer. He reduced
corruption of officials which pleased the population. He blurred
the distinction between Anglo-Saxons and Normans. He made peace
with the church.
|1135 - Stephen was a weak ruler and although was supported
initially by the Barons this gave way to war with claimant to the
throne Matilda. His reign was frought with troubles including the
Barons and attempted invasions. Stephen was even defeated at one
point and imprisoned but rival Matilda was forced out from taking
the throne. He eventually compromised and allowed her son to take
the throne on his death...
|1154 - Plantagenets - Henry II - One of England's
greatest medieval kings.
Henry's marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine suddenly
made him a greater territorial power than the King of France at
a time when England was a satellite of France.
The barons were put in their place by Henry tearing down their unauthorised
castles. He streamlining taxation and gave local magistrates power.
He made trial by jury the norm. Legal improvements weakened the
church leading Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury to become erksome and was removed after seeking help from the Pope...
"Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?"
II was the focus of at least one TV series starring Patrick Stewart
as the King. The Devil's Crown was on BBC2.
The famous line about the priest should not be confused with its
use by the King in The Black Adder!
|1189 - Richard I, the Lionheart fought
to surpress barons. He attempted to steal the throne and Henry conceded.
He massacred English jews and raised a Crusader army with high taxes
and selling offices. He spent only six months of his reign in England.
the Lionheart was played twice by Julian Glover including in the
1965 Doctor Who The Crusades.
|1199 - John, Lackland His acsession was challenged by
nephew Aruthur of Brittany and conflict upset French barons who
drew support from French King Phillip II resulting in loss of John's
land. In response John strengthened the navy. He caused conflict
between church and crown. His settlement with France upset his own
Barons who made him sign the Magna Carta reducing King's power.
Failure to adhere led to Baron wars.