m. 14 JAN 1235/36
m. 1 Nov 1254
Facts and Events
Edward I (17 June 1239 - 7 July 1307), popularly known as Longshanks, also as "Edward the Lawgiver" or "the English Justinian" because of his legal reforms, and as "Hammer of the Scots", achieved fame as the monarch who conquered Wales and who tried to do the same to Scotland. He reigned from 1272 to 1307, ascending the throne of England on 21 November 1272 after the death of his father, King Henry III of England. His mother was queen consort Eleanor of Provence. He was voted the 94th greatest Briton in the 2002 poll of 100 Greatest Britons
Edward was born at the Palace of Westminster on the evening of 17 June 1239. He was an older brother of Beatrice of England and Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster. He was named after Edward the Confessor. From 1239 to 1246 Edward was in the care of Hugh Giffard (the son of Godfrey Giffard) and his wife, Sybil, who had been one of the midwives at Edward's birth. On Giffard's death in 1246, Bartholomew Pecche took over.
Early grants of land to Edward included Gascony, but Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester had been appointed by Henry to seven years as royal lieutenant in Gascony in 1248, a year before the grant to Edward, so in practice Edward derived neither authority nor revenue from the province.
Edward's first marriage (at age 15) was arranged in 1254 by his father and Alfonso X, king of Castile. Alphonso had insisted that Edward receive grants of land worth 15,000 marks a year and also asked to knight him; Henry had already planned a knighthood ceremony for Edward but conceded. Edward crossed into Castile, Spain in June, and was knighted by Alfonso and married to Eleanor of Castile (age 13 at the time) on 1 November 1254 in the monastery of Las Huelgas
Eleanor and Edward would go on to have sixteen children, and her death in 1290 affected Edward deeply. He displayed his grief by erecting the Eleanor crosses, one at each place where her funeral cortège stopped for the night. His second marriage, (this time he was age 60 years of age at his wedding) at Canterbury on September 10 1299, to Marguerite of France, (age 20) (known as the "Pearl of France" by her English subjects), the daughter of King Philip III of France (Phillip the Bold) and Maria of Brabant, produced three children.
In 1255, Edward and Eleanor both returned to England. The chronicler Matthew Paris tells of a row between Edward and his father over Gascon affairs; Edward and Henry's policies continued to diverge, and on 9 September 1256, without his father's knowledge, Edward signed a treaty with Gaillard de Soler, the ruler of one of the Bordeaux factions. Edward's freedom to maneuver was limited, however, since the seneschal of Gascony, Stephen Longespée, held Henry's authority in Gascony. Edward had been granted much other land, including Wales and Ireland, but for various reasons had less involvement in their administration.
In 1258, Henry was forced by his barons to accede to the Provisions of Oxford. This, in turn, led to Edward becoming more aligned with the barons and their promised reforms, and on 15 October 1259, he announced that he supported the goals of the barons. Shortly afterwards, Henry crossed to France for peace negotiations, and Edward took the opportunity to make appointments favouring his allies. An account in Thomas Wykes's chronicle claims that Henry learned that Edward was plotting against the throne; and, in the spring of 1260, Henry returned to London and eventually were reconciled by Richard of Cornwall's efforts. Henry then forced Edward's allies to give up the castles they had received, and Edward's independence was sharply reduced
Edward's character greatly contrasted with that of his father, who reigned over England throughout Edward's childhood and consistently tended to favour compromise with his opponents. Edward had already shown himself as an ambitious and impatient man, displaying considerable military prowess in defeating Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, having previously been imprisoned by de Montfort at Wallingford Castle and Kenilworth Castle. He gained a reputation for treating rebels and other foes with great savagery. He relentlessly pursued the surviving members of the de Montfort family, his cousins
In 1269, Cardinal Ottobono, the Papal Legate, arrived in England and appealed to Prince Edward and his brother Edmund to participate in the Eighth Crusade alongside Louis IX of France. In order to fund the crusade, Edward had to borrow heavily from Louis IX and the French. It is estimated by scholars such as P.R. Coss that Edward raised and spent close to half a million livres.
The number of knights and retainers that accompanied Edward on the crusade was quite small, possibly around 230 knights. Many of the members of Edward's expedition were close friends and family including his wife Eleanor of Castile, his brother Edmund, and his first cousin Henry of Almain.
The original goal of the crusade was to relieve the beleaguered Christian stronghold of Acre, but Louis had been diverted to Tunis. By the time Edward arrived at Tunis, Louis had died of disease. The majority of the French forces at Tunis thus returned home, but a small number joined Edward who continued to Acre to participate in the Ninth Crusade. After a short stop in Cyprus, Edward arrived in Acre with thirteen ships. Then, in 1271, Hugh III of Cyprus arrived with a contingent of knights. The arrival of these additional forces emboldened Edward, who engaged in a raid on the town of Ququn and, within a short space of time, a ten year peace treaty had been signed. Upon hearing of the death of Henry III, Edward left the Holy Land and returned to England in 1274.
Overall, Edward's crusade was insignificant and only gave the city of Acre a reprieve of ten years. However, Edward's reputation was greatly enhanced by his participation in the crusade and was hailed by some contemporary commentators as a new Richard the Lionheart. Furthermore, some historians believe Edward was inspired by the design of the castles he saw while on crusade and incorporated similar features into the castles he built to secure portions of Wales, such as Caernarfon Castle
One of Edward's early achievements was the conquest of Wales. Under the 1267 Treaty of Montgomery, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd had extended Welsh territories southwards into what had been the lands of the English Marcher lords, and gained the title of Prince of Wales although he still owed homage to the English monarch as overlord. Edward refused to recognize this Treaty - which had been concluded by his father - and in 1275, pirates in Edward's pay intercepted a ship carrying Eleanor de Montfort, Simon de Montfort's only daughter, from France to Wales, where she expected to marry Llywelyn. Edward then imprisoned her at Windsor. After Llywelyn repeatedly refused to pay homage to Edward in 1274-75, Edward raised an army and launched his first campaign against the Welsh prince in 1276-77. After this campaign, Llywelyn was forced to pay homage to Edward and was stripped of all but a rump of territory in Gwynedd. But Edward allowed Llywelyn to retain the title of Prince of Wales, and the marriage with Eleanor de Montfort went ahead.
Llywelyn's younger brother, Dafydd (who had briefly been an ally of the English) started another rebellion in 1282. But Edward quickly destroyed the remnants of resistance, capturing, brutally torturing, and executing Dafydd in the following year. To consolidate his conquest, he commenced the construction of a string of massive stone castles encircling the principality, of which Caernarfon Castle provides a notable surviving example.
Wales became incorporated into England under the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284, and in 1301, Edward dubbed his eldest son Edward Prince of Wales, since which time the eldest son of most English monarchs have borne the same title, the only exceptions being Edward III and Edward VII.
The subdual of Wales and its people and their staunch resistance was commemorated in a famous poem The Bards of Wales by the Hungarian poet János Arany in 1857 as a way of encoded resistance to the suppressive politics of Alexander von Bach in Hungary and the planned visit of Franz Joseph I, instead of a poem of praise
Edward then turned his attentions to Scotland. He had planned to marry off his son and heir Edward, to the heiress Margaret, the Maid of Norway, but when Margaret died with no clear successor, the Scottish Guardians invited Edward's arbitration, to prevent the country from descending into dynastic war. Before the process got underway Edward insisted that he be recognized as Lord Paramount of Scotland, the feudal superior of the realm and, after some initial resistance, this precondition was finally accepted.
Edward presided over a feudal court held at the castle of Berwick-upon-Tweed in November 1292, where judgment was given in favour of John Balliol over other candidates. Balliol was chosen as the candidate with the strongest claim in feudal law, but Edward subsequently used the concessions he had gained to undermine the authority of the new king even summoning Balliol to do homage to him in Westminster in 1293. Edward also made it clear he expected John's military and financial support against France. But this was too much for Balliol, who concluded a pact with France and prepared an army to invade England
In response Edward gathered his largest army yet (25,000) and razed Berwick, massacring almost the whole population of 11,000 inhabitants. He then proceeded to Dunbar and Edinburgh from where the Stone of Destiny was removed and taken to Westminster Abbey. Balliol renounced the crown and was imprisoned in the Tower of London for three years before withdrawing to his estates in France. All freeholders in Scotland were required to swear an oath of homage to Edward, and he ruled Scotland like a province through English viceroys.
Edward's plan to conquer Scotland never came to fruition during his lifetime, however, as he died in 1307 at Burgh-by-Sands, Cumberland on the Scottish border, while on his way to wage another campaign against the Scots under the leadership of Robert the Bruce. According to chroniclers, Edward desired to have his bones carried on Scottish military campaigns, and that his heart be taken to the Holy Land. Against his wishes, Edward was buried in Westminster Abbey in a plain black marble tomb, which in later years was painted with the words Scottorum malleus, Latin for Hammer of the Scots. He was buried in a lead casket wishing to be moved to the usual regal gold casket only when Scotland was fully conquered and part of the Kingdom of England.
To this day he still lies in the lead casket — although the thrones of Scotland and England were united in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I and the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne, and the Kingdom of Great Britain was created in 1707 by the Acts of Union 1707, uniting Scotland and England in an incorporating union, the conquest Edward envisaged was never completed. His son, King Edward II of England, succeeded him
Unlike his father, Henry III, Edward I took great interest in the workings of his government and undertook a number of reforms to regain royal control in government and administration. It was during Edward's reign that Parliament began to meet regularly. And though still extremely limited to matters of taxation, it enabled Edward I to obtain a number of taxation grants which had been impossible for Henry III.
After returning from the crusade in 1274, a major inquiry into local malpractice and alienation of royal rights took place. The result was the Hundred Rolls of 1275, a detailed document reflecting the waning power of the Crown. It was also the allegations that emerged from the inquiry which led to the first of the series of codes of law issued during the reign of Edward I. In 1275, the first Statute of Westminster was issued correcting many specific problems in the Hundred Rolls. Similar codes of law continued to be issued until the death of Edward's close adviser Robert Burnell in 1292
In 1290, by the Edict of Expulsion, Edward formally expelled all Jews from England. In the course of this persecution, he arrested all the heads of Jewish households. The authorities took over 300 of them to the Tower of London and executed them, while killing others in their homes. All money and property was confiscated.
The exact reason behind this expulsion has been a subject of some speculation, ritual murder being one such assertion in reference to the Jew, Isaac de Pulet, who was contained for the murder of a young Christian boy in Oxford. It has been also claimed, for example, that the persecution was for financial gain. But despite the fact that the Jewish community was thought to deal exclusively in moneylending, it is evident that by the time of Edward's reign, there was little left of the community to be made useful for the Crown financially. (Jews had been harshly squeezed by King John and Henry III). Furthermore, Edward I had adequate financial resources from the Italian banking company of Riccadi before 1292, therefore there was virtually no financial motive behind Edward's persecution of the Jews.
The expulsion can also be viewed in the context of the 13th century's growing movement of anti-Jewish feeling; France, for example, had expelled all Jews from its cities. Edward's mother, Eleanor of Provence had expelled Jews from her estates in 1275. And it was Edward who introduced to England the practice of forcing Jews to wear denotive yellow patches on the outer garments, a barbaric practice to be taken up by Adolf Hitler over six centuries later
Edward I is sometimes referred to as "the English Justinian". He had a love for justice, honor, and order in his affairs. At one point in his reign, he faced a declaration of war with France and rebellions from the Welsh and Scots. He decided that the only way to overcome his difficulties would be to elicit the support of his people. In 1295 he called together a parliament consisting of representatives of the nobility, the church, and the common people. This "Model parliament" marked the beginning of parliamentary government in England, a system which has continued to the present day. "What touches all," Edward proclaimed, "should be approved by all, and it is also clear that common dangers should be met bymeasures agreed upon in common." He restricted the power of the king by accepting the rule that taxes could not be levied or laws made except by the consent ofparliament. Sixty-two of the families in Royal Ancestors are shown to descend from Edward I.
Notable American Descendants
Edward I is the ancestor of at least 16 American presidents: