Edward I ‘Atheling’ ‘Longshanks’ “King of England” PLANTAGENET (1239 – 1309)

47 Generations of Family History

Generation 24
Edward I
Edward Atheling
Edward Longshanks
Edward Plantagenet
King of England
Duke of Aquitaine
Lord of Ireland
Duke of Glascony
Count of Ponthieu
(1239 – 1309)

Gal_nations_edward_i

Portrait in Westminster Abbey, thought to be of Edward I

Facts

Name: Edward I of England

Birth: the night of June 17/18, 1239
Place of birth: Westminster Palace, London

Parents

Father: Henry III of England;
Mother: Eleanor of Provence;

Spouse(s)

Eleanor of Castile (m. 1254; d. 1290);

Margaret of France (m. 1299);

Children:

By Eleanor of Castile:

(i) Eleanor, Countess of Bar
(ii) Joan, Countess of Hertford
(iii) Alphonso, Earl of Chester
(iv) Margaret, Duchess of Brabant
(v) Mary of Woodstock
(vi) Elizabeth, Countess of Hereford
(vii) Henry; Edward II of England

By Margaret of France:

(i) Thomas, Earl of Norfolk
(ii) Edmund, Earl of Kent.

Died: 7th July 1307
Place of Death: Burgh by Sands, Cumberland, England
Burial: 27 October 1307
Place of Burial: Westminster Abbey, London, England

Coronation: 19 August 1274

Reign: 20 November 1272 – 7 July 1307

Titles:

King of England
Duke of Aquitaine
Lord of Ireland
Duke of Glascony
Count of Ponthieu

Heraldry: Arms of Plantagenet: Gules, three lions passant guardant Or

Plantagenet Coat of Arms

Plantagenet Coat of Arms Source: Wikipedia

My Family Connection: 23rd great-grandfather

Biography

Edward I was one of the most influential of the mediaeval kings. An astute politician and skilled soldier, “Longshanks” as he became known due to his tall frame (he was 6ft 2in – a giant for the time), is notable for his place in English, Scottish and Welsh history.

Feared by his enemies for his famed height and temperamental nature, Edward is immortalised in the tales of “Braveheart” for his relentless quests against Scottish rebellions. Longshanks would earn the nickname “Hammer of the Scots” and his reign was notable for quashed baronial uprisings, a crusade to the Holy Lands and military campaigns against the Welsh, the French and the Scots.

Early life, rebellion and love

King Edward I was born in June 1239, the eldest child of King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence. His early life as a prince during a tense time in English history was marked by some sympathies with his father’s opponents.

Edward formally joined the cause of barons campaigning for greater rights in 1259. Henry would later forgive his son who would return as a defender of royal authority soon after, but Longshanks reign as king was noted for administrative and legal reform, perhaps influenced by his earlier views.

Edward married Eleanor of Castile in 1254, in a political deal to affirm English sovereignty over Gascony. The Aquitaine duchy was the last remaining relic of the old Angevin empire of Henry II. History supposes the marriage was a successful one and it bore as many as sixteen children of which six survived.

Edward was taken hostage during the second Baron’s War but escaped to take charge of the army which finally quelled the rebellion at the battle of Evesham.

A dramatic yet frustrating Crusade

Edward’s life was marked by a thirst to lead a truly successful crusade to the Holy Lands. Because of the constant threat from Wales, France and Scotland throughout his reign, Longshanks would only manage one such journey to the Middle East before he became king.

In 1268, at the age of 29, Prince Edward took the crusaders’ cross and set off to wage war against the enemies of Christianity. Reaching Tunis, to join up with Louis IX of France, the French king soon succumbed to disease and much of the crusading fleet was destroyed off the coast of Sicily.

An alliance with the Mongols followed as did military successes, but with his father ill and unrest at home, the Ninth Crusade petered out as Edward’s thoughts returned to England and a ten-year truce was signed with the Baibars.

On his way home, Edward learnt his father had died but the new king did not arrive back in England for another two years as he attended to business on the continent and settled a few old scores.

The Welsh Wars and the French problem

With political manoeuvrings in Wales peaking in the wake of the old king’s death in 1247, Llewelyn Prince of Wales refused to pay homage to Edward and tensions grew amidst a resurgence in Welsh nationalism.

Two years later, in 1276, the English declared war on the Welsh and the rebellion was stamped on quickly, partly because Edward had mobilised forces ready who were intended to wage battle in France.

With the Welsh issue solved, Edward was able to turn his attention to France, but war petered out and a truce was reached within two years. Eleanor of Castile had died in 1290 and the king was said to be grief stricken. He soon remarried for political reasons, taking the hand of the French king’s half-sister Margaret.

Braveheart and the Scottish thorn in the side

A complex succession problem exacerbated the perpetual antagonism between England and Scotland from the 1290s. The death of Alexander III of Scotland ignited years of tension and the latter years of Edward’s reign were marked by a near-constant march north to quash rebellions only for them to flare up again. In the end, the problems north of the border would finish off the “Hammer of Scotland”.

Perhaps the most famous Scottish rebellion was that led by William Wallace who was viewed as a true leader for Scotland. Edward would defeat Wallace in the Battle of Falkirk which was significant for it being the king’s final appearance on the battlefield.

Later, Edward’s final march north would prove to be the death of him. He died on July 7, 1307, aged sixty-eight, at Burgh-by-Sands, heading for Scotland once more and bringing down an extraordinary reign – one that has fascinated historians and story-tellers ever since.

 

Sources

(i) Brand, Paul (2003). Kings, Barons and Justices: The Making and Enforcement of Legislation in Thirteenth-Century England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37246-1.

(ii) The information on Edward’s children with Eleanor is based on Parsons, John Carmi (1984). “The Year of Eleanor of Castile’s Birth and her Children by Edward I”. Medieval StudiesXLVI: 245–65.

(iii) Morris 2009; Burt 2013, p. 1; Goldsmith, Jeremy (January 2009), “A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain”, Reviews in History, University of London, ISSN 1749-8155

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