Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Battle of Agincourt

It was raining on the eve of October 24, 1415. In the distance the English soldiers under Henry V could here the great noise made by the French army, which outnumbered them two to one. Henry and his army had been marching through France from late September onwards, just after concluding the siege of Harfluer. They had arrived exhausted and hungry near the village of Masioncelle (just a mile or so south of the village of Azincourt) to find the French army in front of them. They made camp to wait for the battle that would take place on the following morning.

Henry found a house to lodge himself in at Maisoncelle. He prayed all night. Everything he stood for was about to be put on trial tomorrow. He was fighting to make sure that God favored him on the thrones of both England and France. If he did not, tomorrow Henry would lose the battle and be a prisoner of the King of France. He had staked everything on one big victory. He had to win or die.

On the morning of October 25, Henry, in full armor, attended three Masses and then lifted his spurs and his helmet. He detached ten men-at-arms and twenty archers to guard the baggage train. He called for a horse and rode with his councillors toward the battlefield

The French stirred on the other end of the field. The arranged their forces in a different style from the one previously agreed at Rouen a few days earlier (see 1415: Henry V's Year of Glory for more on that). The original plan was for the duke of Bourbon, the marshal of France (Boucicant) and the Guichard Dauphin to lead the vanguard, with the dukes of Orleans an Alencon as well as the constable of France ( Charles d'Albret) to lead the main battle, leaving the duke of Bar and the counts of Nevers and Vaudemont to lead the rearguard. But many noblemen were not going according to plan; the heaviest fighting would be in the vanguard, so many nobles left the rearguard for that position. In the end, the vanguard had 4,800-5,000 men in it, the main battle consisting of 3,000 men. The French had bad generalship in the positioning of their troops, and in the choice of the battlefield. Worse still, many of the generals weren't there. The duke of Brabant was at Lens, thirty miles away.

The English formed up in three battles. The vanguard under the duke of York was posted to the right, while Henry took charge of the main battle in the center, and Thomas, Lord Camoys took control of the rearguard, which took up position of the left flank. Henry made a few speeches, none like that of Shakespeare's imagination, but it was not so much the speech that he was seen by his men. He wore the royal surcoat of the English royal house, which a crowned helmet upon his head.

Henry grew impatient waiting for the French to attack, so he did the impossible. In true style, he ordered his army, mostly made up of archers to attack. That went against the great victories of Crecy and Poitiers, where the French had attacked first. But Henry couldn't wait any longer. The English archers moved their stakes and advanced forward. Then Sir Thomas Erpingham, commander of the bowmen rode out of the lines. All eyes were fixed on him. Then, at the climatic moment, Sir Thomas yelled out "Now Strike" and threw his white baton in the air. Everyone, even the king ran through the wet mud of the field.
The French were taken completely off guard. Clignet de Brabant, leader of the cavalry on the French right, rode with his men one by one. But as they did, the crashed into each other, leaving horses to run through the vanguard of the French army. The French leaders were now not as confident of victory. The English archers fired arrows a them, causing disarray and chaos. But the commanders steadied their nerves and ordered a full on onslaught of the English lines. 8,000 men charged against the English lines, ready to break them. They fought the hardest against the duke of York, as ninety men in the duke's retinue were killed, and eventually the duke himself. Other great men died as well: the earl of Suffolk, Sir John Mortimer, Sir Richard Kyghley, Sir John Skidmore, and Dafydd Gam of Breconshire.
However, it became clear that the French were faulting. They could not retreat, and the English, in a state of panic, killed every Frenchman at arms reach. The men in the rear began to withdraw and Henry and his men pushed into the central column of the vanguard. At this point the duke of Alencon and his knights rallied themselves and pushed forward towards the king. The bodyguard around the king fell back. As they did, the king's brother, the duke of Gloucester, was pushed over, wounded, and would have been killed had not Henry himself stepped forward to save his brother, fighting astride him until the bodyguard came back.
It was at this time that the duke of Brabart arrived on the field. He jumped straight into battle, leaving his troops behind him; he was killed soon after. The great men of France fell here to. The dukes of Alencon and Bar, the counts of Vaud√©mont, Roucy, and Marle, and the seigneurs of Grandpr√© and Bacqueville. The seneschal of Hainault, Philip, count of Nevers, and last, but certainly not the least, the constable of France, Charles d’Albret. 4,000 total French men lay dead, and 1,400-500 were lords. English loss amounted to 600 men.
It was a clear English victory. Henry had proven himself a great warrior king of the field of Agincourt, October 25, 1415.
notes taken from 1415: Henry V's year of Glory pgs 425-454.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Richard II-Now What a King There

Who is Richard II? A king with a very hard line, who could lash out at people, yet be witty and playful. Many say he's gay; I say he's more of a bisexual kind of guy. Many say he was crazy; I think so too. Many believe he was a tyrant; that is absolutely true.
Richard II of England is a very distressing figure. As in my last post on Henry V, you could say that Richard was a monster. At least Henry was just chaste when it came to women; Richard was probably a bisexual, whose supposed partner, Robert de Vere, was known to be a rapist. Richard didn't pick the best friends. Maybe if he'd been friends with his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, Henry wouldn't have come back from exile in 1399 to take Richard's crown!
Richard is not know for any specific political achievement, besides his truce with France in 1396, which was more likely the work of his uncle, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and Aquitaine. John worked out most of the truces and treaties that Richard put his name to. John had run the country from 1377-1384, because Richard was only ten when he came to the throne in 1377 and by 1384, when he was seventeen, he claimed to have reached his majority.
Richard had no interest in running the country of England at first. He liked to spend time listening to Chaucer or spending time designing flamboyant cloths with his first wife, Anne of Bohemia (who probably knew her husband was a just as interested in other men as in her). Richard did try to run his country, but in this period England needed a repeat of the last king- Edward III, the famous warrior king who was said to be the most successful king in Christendom. Richard was no warrior; he couldn't joust, far less win a pitched battle. He did lead an expedition to Scotland and two expeditions to Ireland, but these weren't glorious campaigns like those of his grandpa (Edward III). In 1387, five major lords of England rebelled against Richard and in 1388, in what was called the 'Merciless Parliament', they executed all of Richard's close friends, some of whom deserved it. But in 1397, Richard struke back: the leader of the opposition, Thomas, duke of Gloucester, was taken from his home at night and later murder in Calais, France; the earl of Arundel was beheaded; the earl of Warwick was exiled to the Isle of Wight; and finally Henry Bolingbroke, duke of Hereford and Thomas Mowbray, earl of Nottingham fell out with each other and were ordered to fight a duel; but at the last moment Richard stopped the event and exiled Henry for ten years as well as Mowbary for life.
Richard would be deposed in 1399. His had been a reign of terror against the people of England. It's hard to find such an example of a small, blond boy who became such a villian. But then, there's always Darth Vader

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Henry V: A Cold Monster of a King

How many people have read Henry V by Shakespeare. How many more have read of the legendary battle of Agincourt and how six thousand English soldiers took on sixty thousand French. Did you think it was all remarkable. Guess what:
Henry was not the cheerful Prince Hal or the glorious Henry V. He was a brute, overly prideful and ambitious, started a war for himself, and was capable of acts of horrible cruelty. When, in 1417, he laid siege to the city of Caen, he ordered that every male over the age of twelve be put to the sword. 1,800 men and boys were killed. When a friar asked how Henry could perpetrate such a crime, Henry responded 'I'm the scourge of God sent to punish people for their sins against him.'
It is very hard to accept this image of Henry. Shakespeare's portrait of him was of a kind man who cared for his soldiers and was pious to God. Henry was certainly pious, but he was more of a religious fanatic, who believed that he could kill large numbers of people in God's name. God will never approve of that. Nevertheless, Henry was a warrior of God, be it a brutal one.
Henry was also never on friendly terms with women. He never slept with a woman between the year 1413 to 1420, the year he married the French Princess Katherine. He was fearful of women, probably because of a bad experience with one. He was reputed to have 'sown his wild oats' when he was Prince of Wales.
It is far to say Henry had some good qualities: tenacious, courageous, pious, series, faithful, chaste when he became king, and shrewd. However he has more bad qualities than good ones. Ruthless, cruel, severe, and unfriendly towards most. He was a monster of a king.
P.S. For more information on the true Henry V, read 1415: Henry V's Year of Glory by my favorite historian, Dr. Ian Mortimer

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Battle of Bosworth

On this day, August 22, a battle took place that changed the history of England. It brought the Tudors, under Henry VII, to power, and brought defeat to the Plantagenet's, under Richard III. This battle changed history, and without it, I believe, the English would never colonized America. I may have not liked the end of the Plantagenet era, but it had to die.
The site today has a magnificent visitors' center and museum that explains what happened on that momentous day. The battle was sort of a cliff hanger. It is one of the worth documented battles in medieval history. There is no eyewitness account of it. It could have gone either way, since Lord Stanley had not committed himself to either side. Richard had 12,000 men on his side; Henry Tudor could have had as little as 4,000 to as much as 10,000 men with him.
The battle was not dramatic in any way. Shakespeare gave it some gallantry in his Richard III
, but he was a propagandist, not a historian. Richard did not yell out "my horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse" after he was dismounted. And he and Henry Tudor did not duel each other.
In the middle of the battle, Lord Stanley and the Earl of Northumberland defected to Henry's side. Richard led a charge of 200-300 of his personal knights down to try to engage Henry Tudor in combat. He was wearing his battle crown, and was a prime target. He managed to cut down Henry's standard bearer, but he was dismounted and run through by a pike. His naked carcass was dragged off to a neighboring church later that day.
It is said that Lord Stanley found Richard's crown under a bush and crowned Henry on the spot. The Plantagenet's were dead

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Battle of Winchelsea

Edward III's battle of Winchelsea is not very known. It took place on August 29, 1350. Edward was fighting the Castilian navy, sent from Spain under the direction of King Alfonso XI, who had been paid a massive sum by King Philip VI of France. The Castilian ships were famous and dreaded. They were know as castles of the sea, and because they were so large, the crossbowman could shoot down at the English longbowman without risking death. The English thought of this navy as a potential invasion threat.
Edward, however, had been busy rearming his kingdom's navy. On March 26, orders had been sent for men to assemble by June 6 at Sandwich, Kent, England. On June 23, the king ordered that no one should leave the country. On August 10, he sent word to the archbishop of Canterbury, desiring prayers for the forthcoming battle.
The Castilian fleet numbered around forty-four ships. Edward had fifty, but they were much smaller. On the prince of Wales galley, there was Edward, the prince and Edward's eldest son, and his younger son, ten-year old John of Gaunt, who had asked to follow his twenty year old elder brother into battle (he was serving in the prince's household as a squire). The other vessels were commanded by Knights of the Garter and other military heroes: the earls of Lancaster, Northampton, Warwick, Arundel, Salisbury, and Huntington, Sir Reginald Cobham, Sir John Chandos, and of course, Lord Walter Manny. Crowds gathered in the harbor and the Sussex cliffs were crested with people hoping to see another English victory. Among them were men and women from the queen's household. Philippa herself was six miles away from Winchelsea, worried for Edward and her sons.
If the English wanted to engage the Castilians, you had to collide with them or sail ahead of them and furl the sails in order to meet them. The longbowman in the raised wooden forecastles and rear castles waited until the Castilians were in range, and then loosed their arrows. However, firing a longbow is not easy at the best of times, and it would have been much more difficult on a ship. Some crossbowman were picked off by the English, but the choppy waters of the Channel were not as calm as the land around Sluys, which had allowed Edward's archers to massacre the French ten years earlier. The Castilian ships would have to be defeated the old fashioned way. : catching it, throwing grappling irons on board, climbing up and over the other side and attacking those on decks with swords.
Edward led by example, as he usually did. Picking out a very large galley, he ordered his captain to sail straight for it. He presumed his ship, the Thomas was sufficent enough to withstand the collison. But when the two vessels crashed into each other, timbers shook, the hull cracked and immediatly the Thomas was in danger of sinking. However, the Thomas's forecastle tore away that of the Castilian ship, and left its front mast dangling. Edward was all for drawing alongside and boarding it, but the knights with him urged him to engage another ship, for this one was already damaged enough. So Edward disengaged from the first vessel and targeted another, his knights reduced to bailing out water with the sailors. Another large galley, saw the royal standard, sailed directly for the Thomas, and its captain had every intention of boarding it. As the two ships came alongside and grappled one another, the Castilain crossbows rained bolts down on to the English decks and their experienced archers picked off the longbowman in the rigging. Rocks piled on the decks of the galleys were hurled down on to the English men-at-arms as the tried to scale the sides of the vessel. Edward was with them as the fierce fighting erupted, and as many men died on both sides. But Edward's men once more prevailed. Having gained the new vessel, he hoisted the flag from the Thomas, announcing that the king had been victorious.
The battle continued until night. For a while the prince's ship was in trouble of sinking, which would have instantly meant the loss of two of Edward's sons, but the earl of Lancaster saw the danger, and sailed to help the prince. Contemporaries suggest that over the course of the battle, between fourteen to twenty-four Castilian ships were captured, and the remainder fled. No English vessels were seized. Some were sunk on both sides, but it was a great victory for the English, hailed as great a success as Crecy. On landing a little after dark, Edward returned both Edward and John to Philippa. No doubt she kissed her husband too. It had been a day of courage, destruction, and near disater, but ultimatly it was one more victory for Edward.

Notes taken from the Perfect King pgs 274-276

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Questions on Edward III

Hi, Taylor here. You may have questions on Edward III, his life, his family, his politics, and his wars. If you do, click on the title of the post, and write a comment. My email address is Email me, and I promise to get back as quick as I can.
I have some good reading on Edward III if anyone is interseted. Here's a list

Ian Mortimer The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation Random House
W. M. Ormrod The Reign of Edward III Tempus

These are the best books. Again, leave a email or comment and I'll follow up as soon as possible.

Taylor Kniphfer

Edward's Foreign Policy

Edward III had an aggressive foreign policy toward Europe. Since England was isolated from the rest of Europe by the Channel, foreign policy was very important for a stable English monarchy. Edward III's foreign policy is important not because of its makeup, but because of how it was exercised by the three groups that governed England: king-Edward, lords-House of Lords, and commons-House of Commons.
England was unique in Europe with its governmental system. Most of the other countries in Europe, France especially, had a parliament that was just a sitting assembly that exercised the king's will in law. England was different. Their parliament was the highpoint of democracy in the Medieval world. Most of the other monarchies were absolute and no one could challenge the king's commands, but parliament under Edward III would become a second branch of government. It would make its own demands, whether the king approved of them are not. This was defiantly a new experiment.
It should be pointed out that Edward did not approve of every new development that was taking place in parliament. He, like the rest of Europe's great monarchs, wanted to be absolute monarch with an inflexible will. But he was not like the other monarchs because he allowed this new trend to take place.
For a price
Edward would allow parliament to have its way if he got what he wanted out of parliament: money. Edward, for the first decade of his reign was always desperately short of money. He actually caused a Lombard banking family, based in London, to go bankrupt because he couldn't pay his dept of 900,000 pounds. Therefore he needed parliament to raise taxes for his war with France. It wasn't the best solution. Edward and parliament both new that the country might erupt in protest, but they had to try. And they were lucky. Thanks to Edward's huge popularity with the masses for letting the House of Commons come into its own, they never faced a rebellion.
Edward's new policy at home, and especially his victory-winning foreign policy abroad allowed him unprecedented access to England's cash. In the 1352, at a parliament meeting, Edward was granted a six year access to finances; access to the kingdom's purse strings. But parliament didn't just give stuff away. Edward had to sign a butch of statues for this gift. Edward's statues have come down to use; the Statue of Treason, Statue of Laborers, and many others.
Many believe Edward's reforms are dead, that they never traveled far. But in America today, our senate is based on the House of Commons. They traveled far indeed.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Edward III's Birth: A Scottish Savage or a French Lover

Edward III has a very mixed up parentage. His father is Edward II and his mother is Queen Isabella of France. But in 1995, the film Braveheart (which i did not like one little bit), portrays William Wallace as Edward III's father. This theory must be destroyed and I attend to do it.
First, in the year 1298 (which is not the year Wallace died; he was killed in 1305. Edward I wasn't sick on that day, but out hunting.) Isabella was a six year old girl, living in her fathers kingdom of France. Her marriage to Prince Edward wouldn't be discussed till the next year and she wouldn't come to England or marry her suitor until 1308, at the age of sixteen. Edward III wasn't born until four years later. So in no way could William Wallace be the father of Edward III. It's a good fiction, but a fiction nonetheless.
But there are other theories. One, given to me by my cousin last year was that Edward III and his siblings were a result of an affair between their mother and an unknown Frenchman. This is more plausible. Edward II was not a very good husband, and didn't pay much attention to his wife. He was to be found more often in the company of his favorites, like Piers Gaveston. He was even rumored to be bisexual. It is easy to see why Isabella might have thrown herself into the arms of a handsome Frenchman. The problem is she didn't. She was a loyal wife and did not get involved with Roger Mortimer, her known lover, until 1323, two years after her last child, Joan was born.
In this explanation we can be sure of two things. First, Edward, John, Eleanor, and Joan were all fathered by Edward II. He may have not doted on his wife, but he did sleep with her. The second thing is that all these stories were fictions; one in a movie, another in a negative chronicle. Edward III was not illegitimate. There is no 'if' in that answer.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Tragic Death of King Edward III

On this day, in 1377, Edward III breathed his last. He died at his palace at Sheen. I was unable to go their for in 1394, Richard II tore the palace down. It was later rebuilt as Richmond Palace by Henry VII.
Edward's life was glorious, but his death was not. He was at Sheen for weeks, just waiting to die. On June 21 itself, he suffered a stroke and became speechless. The only two people in the room were his mistress, Alice, and a local priest. Alice, it is said, took the rings from Edward's fingers and then left the palace, no longer caring about the man who loved her and all of his kindness to her.
After Alice, only the priest remained. He urged Edward to repent for his sins, and he alone heard the dying kings words. "Jesus have pity."
The legend was dead, but he would not be forgotten.
But thats a story for another time. Till then, long live KING EDWARD.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Trip in Edward's Footsteps

Between May 22 to June 1, I was in London, following in the footsteps of the Favored One himself. I saw his tomb in Westminster Abbey, his Jewel Tower, his entrance to the Tower of London, and his birthplace at Windsor Castle.
For me, this was a trip of a lifetime. I was able to walk in the life of the man who inspired me to be a historian and gain a huge amount of knowledge along the way. It was truly a great trip, and I fill very privileged to have gone.
Perhaps it is fitting to end this post with a promise. As I left the Abbey, I lite a candle for Edward and his wife, Philippa. As I turned to leave, I whispered to Edward's spirit. "You haven't seen the last of me my friend. I will return."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Treaty of Bretigny

It was on this day in 1360, in Bretigny, France that a treaty was agreed between Edward and the Dauphin of France, Charles. This agreement gave Edward 1/3 of France, through inheritance or conquest.

Since 1354, Edward had been looking for a permanent peace agreement between England and France. He had sent his greatest friend, Henry, duke of Lancaster, chief general and diplomat of the Hundred Years War to try and negotiate a permanent peace settlement; so far each side had not been able to compromise. Edward was around 42, and had been fighting France for 17 years. For the last 4 years, since his battle with the Castilian fleet in August 1350, he had been relatively passive, staying in England and building splendid palaces: Windsor, Westminster, Henley, Sheen, and Eltham. The War had gone on in many territories, mainly Brittany since 1352. John II, son of Philip, had wanted to outdo his father and had launched multiple attacks that had been, on the whole, successful.
In 1354, Charles of Narrave and his brother, Philip had murdered a close friend of John: the Constable, Charles of Spain. When John retaliated, Charles fled to the duke of Lancaster, imploring for Edward's help. When Edward heard this, he gave orders for an army to muster, only to find out that Charles had been payed off by John.
Edward was not to be outdone. In 1355, he launched an attack from Calais, while his son, the Black Prince, launched one from his territory of Aquitaine. Edward spent his three weeks in France milling around and accomplishing nothing, and having to eventually to return to England to protect it from Scotland. His son had more success when he fought John at Poitiers in 1356, capturing the French king himself. This gave Edward a chance to reclaim all his ancestors had lost.
Edward demanded the following territories: Aquitaine, Saintonge, Angoumois, Poitou, Limousin, Quercy, Perigord, Bigorre, Guare, the Agenais, Ponthieu, Calais and Guines. In January 1359, John added Normandy, Brittany, Maine, Touraine and Anjou. Edward was impressed and set John's ransom down from 666,667 pounds to 500,000 and threw in all the other French prisoners for free.
In 1359, Edward, outraged at the French not accepting his proposal, laid siege to Rheims, and then failing that, Paris. After much deliberation, on May 8, 1360 Edward and the French came to agreement. On May 18, he landed at Rye harbor. He had returned in triumph.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

New Warfare

Edward's military exploits still invoke awe to this day. He did more than any other individual in history to take war from hand-to-hand fighting to projectile warfare. His methods were kill or be killed. He encouraged chivalry, yet he Edward, the great knight, with his new methods, brought about the end of the knightly age.

Gunpowder had been known in Europe for around eighty years by the time Edward started using it in 1333. The first test of a cannon had been in 1326. This cannon fired a full three quarters of a mile (or so modern test show).
Edward wanted to combine the use of guns with another element: archery. His fabled grandfather, Edward I, had conquered Wales and in his conquest he had acquired a very valuable asset : Welsh longbowmen. A longbow reached a full six feet in height and an expert at this bow could get of 10 to 12 shots every minute. They could fire seven arrows before a crossbowman could fire one bolt.
The first real test of the of the longbow came in 1332, when Edward Balliol, who was being supported as King of Scots by Edward, found himself trapped at a place called Dupplin Moor. The English were outnumbered by 10 to 1, yet through a last ditch defense by archery, the English won the day. Edward heard about this and when he seiged Berwick in 1333 and was given battle at Halidon Hill on July 19 he put the same work into effect.
Edward's army was 9,000 strong. The Scots were about 20,000 strong. They charged up the hill to the English position and found themselves facing English longbowmen. The Scots couldn't muster their courage and were beat down the hill.
Edward hadn't watched the carnage. He was to busy being the first man to throw himself into the fray and cutting down Scots with his sword.

It was in 1346 that Edward met his greatest military success at Crecy, in northern France. The English army was 10,000 strong while the French army, under Philip VI was 30,000 strong( there may have been as many as 80,000). The English were divided into three battalions: The Earl of Northampton on the left, Edward in the middle( really in reserve), and Edward, Prince of Wales, Edward's son, on the right. The crossbowman advanced forward, but their bowstrings were wet and they couldn't fire. The longbowmen ripped the 6,000 crossbowmen apart. Almost all of them were killed.
The knights were horrified when they saw the crossbowman run, but they quickly steadied their nerves and charged at the English. A total of fifteen charges were beaten back by the archers. At one point the French broke through the vanguard. The prince was in command, and although only sixteen, rushed at the knights, slashing at them with his sword. He was knocked to his knees, and his standard-bearer was forced to put his standard down so he could draw his sword and defend his master. A knight was sent back to Edward to ask for help. Edward asked the Bishop of Durham to lead twenty knights to help his son. The prince was laughing and leaning on his sword by the time the knights found him.
About 100-300 Englishmen died. The entire French army was gone, with nearly 30,000 men killed.
Edward did not fight at Crecy. There was no need to. He had commanded operations and become Edward the Conqueror. His new war policy had helped make him a legend.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Edward and Women

Edward III has always been accused of being a womaniser. This however is made up from theories from the 19th century.

Edward was married to Philippa of Hainault for 41 years. He adored her and she presented him with 12 children (7 sons and 5 daughters). She was know to be gladsome, kind, generous, wise, pious, tall, and beautiful (not to mention very buxom. She married Edward when she was 13 and he 15. They always loved each other and were devoted to one another.

Edward, however, did have a very sexual court where men could be found 'entertaining ladies'. Edward probably did not take part in this, though many of his friends did. Despite being very religious, Edward was unashamed about his court

In 1363 Edward finally became attracted to one of Philippa's ladies in waiting. Her name was Alice Perrers. It wasn't long before Edward brought her to the bed that had once been occupied by Philippa. She gave him a son and 2 daughters: John, Joan, and Jane. She stayed with him until his death when she took the rings from his fingers. She was extremely unpopular for her affairs in Parliament.

In 1369, Queen Philippa died of cancer. Edward was with her and cried while she told him her last requests. He loved Alice, but he would always love Philippa more. The only reason Alice caught his eye was because Philippa was sick.

Edward was not a womaniser. He loved his wife to deeply

Monday, April 27, 2009

Edward III and Language

Hello bloggers. This is for Edward III fans or English history fans. Edward III is an amazing character. I think i'll start this blog commenting on his reforming of the English Langage.

Edward III was born in a time where most of the English nobility(including his parents) spoke French not English. The common people spoke it, but not the aristocrats. It was in 1362 that all of that changed. For a long time (23 years to 1360), England had been fighting a war with France. Edward III had a better claim to be king of France, but Philip VI didn't see it that way. Edward showed his military command at three great battles: Sluys (1340) Crecy (1346) and Calais (1347). His son defeated and captured the French king, John II, at Poitiers. By 1362, Edward was tired of the nobility speaking French (langauge of his former enemy), so in the Parliament that met on his 50th birthday (November 13, 1362), a law read out that 'pleas shall be pleaded in the English tongue and enrolled in latin. It was labeled the Statue of Pleading. By 1400, everyone of importance spoke English

Edward was behind many personal reasons for the main langauge changing from French to English. He spoke it and used it in all of his 4 mottos. His greatest friend, Henry, duke of Lancaster had spoken it (he having died in 1361). His grandson, Edward of York, translated Gaston Phoebous's treatise on hunting into english. John Wycliffe-who first translated the new testament into English was Master of Balliol College in 1362. Probably most important was Geoffrey Chaucer, who was the first poet to write in English since Saxon times, was in royal service.

This is just one of many of Edward's cultural acheivments