The Plantagenet Dynasty in the History of Great Britain

  Stubbs William The early Plantagenets. London(a.o.0, Longmans, Green and co., 1909. 43p. Green Alice Stopford, Henry the Second. Lnd. N.Y.,

The Plantagenet Dynasty in the History of Great Britain

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“Династия Плантагенетов в истории Англии”









Студент 301 а/и группы

Петрова Ю.А.

Научный руководитель

Фролова И.Г.








Institute of foreign Languages

Faculty “ Languages and Cultures”









«The Plantagenet Dynasty in the History

of Great Britain”










Student 301 a/i group

Petrova J.

Scientific supervisor

Frolova I.G.











Part I. The early Plantagenets ( Angeving kings)6-16

  1. Henry II7-11
  2. Richard I Coeur de Lion12-13
  3. John Lackland14-16

Part II. The last Plantagenets17-30

  1. Henry III17-18
  2. Edward I19-20
  3. Edward II21-22
  4. Edward III23-24
  5. Richard II25-30











The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a monarchy, now Parliamentary and once an absolute one. Thats why the history of the country closely connected with the history of Royal dynasties.

Speaking about royal dynasties in England we should take in mind the fact, that the first one appeared in the country with the Norman invasion in 1066. In the ancient time after Anglo-Saxon invasion the country consisted of small kingdoms each ruled by its own king. Their representatives (Chieftains of the kingdoms) the Witan chose king of England (for example Edward the Confessor). It was William the Conqueror, who began the first dynasty House of Normandy. William I the Conqueror Duke of Normandy (1035-1087) invaded England, defeated and killed his rival Harold at the Battle of Hastings and became King of England. With the coronation of William the new period in history of England began. England turned into a centralizes , strong feudal monarchy. The period of small kingdoms ended and started the Era of Absolute Monarchy. William was Duke of Normandy and at the same time the King of England. He controlled two large areas: Normandy inherited from his father and England he won it. Both areas were his personal possession. To William the only difference was that in France he had a King above him and he had to serve him. In England he had nobody above him. Nobody could say who he was an Englishman or a Frenchman. The Norman Conquest of England was completed by 1072 aided by the establishment of feudalism under which his followers were granted land in return for pledges of service and loyalty. As King William was noted for his efficient harsh rule. His administration relied upon Norman and other foreign personnel especially Lanfranc Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1085 started Domesday Book. In this book there was the reflection of what happened to England.

The next kings were kings of Plantagenets dynasty.

I have chosen the history of this dynasty as a subject for my course paper because, on the one hand, being a student of the English language I cant but be interested in the history of this country, and, on the other hand, not so much is written about the Plantagenets kings, among which there were such world-known persons as Richard-the-Lion Heart and John Lackland.















Part I. The early Plantagenets (Angeving kings)


House of Plantagenet.

“The Plantagenet dynasty took its name form the “planta Genesta” (Latine), or broom, traditionally an emblem of the counts of Anjou. Geoffrey is the only true Plantagenet so-called, because he wore a spring of broom-genet in his cap. It was a personal nickname, such as Henrys “Curt-manted”. Soon this nick-name habit was to die, to be replaced by names taken from ones birthplace. Members of this dynasty ruled over England from 1154 till 1399. However, in conventional historical usage , Henry II (son of Count Geoffrey of Anjou) and his sons Richard I and John are Normandy termed the Angeving kings, and their successors, up to Richard II, the Plantagenets. The term Plantagenet was not used until about 1450, when Richard, Duke of York, called himself by it in order to emphasize his royal descent from Edward IIIs fifth son, Edmund of Langley.”(1)













Henry II (1154-1189 AD)

“Henry II, the first Plantagenet, born in 1133, was the son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count Of Anjou, and Matilda, the daughter of Henry I. Henry II, the first and the greatest of three Angevin kings of England, succeeded Stephen in 1154. Aged 21, he already possessed a reputation for restless energy and decisive actions. He was to inherit vast lands. As their heir to his mother and his father he held Anjou (hence Angevin) , Maine, and Touraine; as the heir to his brother Geoffrey he obtained Brittany; as the husband of Eleanor, the divorced wife of Louis VII of France, he held Aquitaine, the major part of southwestern France. Altogether his holdings in France were far larger than those of the French king. They have become known as the Angevin empire, although Henry II never in fact claimed any imperial rights or used the title of the emperor.” (2) From the beginning Henry showed himself determined to assert and maintain his rights in all his lands.

In the first decade of his reign Henry II was largely concerned with continental affairs, though he made sure that the forged castles in England were destroyed. Many of the earldoms created in the anarchy of Stephens reign were allowed to lapse. Major change in England began in the mid 1160s. The Assize of Clarendon of 1166. , and that Northampton 10 years later, promoted public order. Juries were used to provide evidence of what crimes had been committed and to bring accusations. New forms of legal actions were introduced , notably the so-called prossessory assizes, which determined who had the right to immediate possession of land, not who had the best fundamental right. That could be decided by the grand assize, by means of which a jury of 12 knights would decide the case. The use of standardized forms of edict greatly simplified judicial administration. “Returnable” edicts, which had to be sent back by the head to the central administration, enabled the crown to check that its instruction were obeyed. An increasing number of cases came before royal court rather than private feudal courts. Henry Is practice of sending out itinerant justices was extended and systematized. In 1170 a major inquiry into local administration, the Inquest of Sheriffs, was held, and many sheriffs were dismissed.

There were important changes to the military system. In 1166 the tenants in chief commandment to disclose the number of knights enfeoffed on their lands so that Henry could take proper financial advantage of changes that had taken place since his grandfathers days. Scutage (tax which dismissed of military service) was an important source of funds, and Henry preferred scutage to service because mercenaries were more efficient than feudal contingents. In the Assize of Arms of 1181 Henry determined the arms and equipment appropriate to every free man, based on his income from land. This measure, which could be seen as a revival of the principles of the Anglo-Saxon fyrd, was intended to provide for a local militia, which could be used against invasion, rebellion, or for peacekeeping.

“Henry attempted to restore the close relationship between Church and State that had existed under the Norman kings. His first move was the appointment in 1162 of Thomas Becket as archbishop of Canterbury. Henry assumed that Becket, who had served efficiently as chancellor since 1155 and been a close companion to him, would continue to do so as archbishop. Becket, however, disappointed him. Once appointed archbishop, he became a militant defender of Church against royal encroachment and a champion of the papal ideology of ecclesiastical supremacy over the lay world. The struggle between Henry and Becket reached a crisis at the Council of Clarendon in 1164. In the constitution of Clarendon Henry tried to set down in writing the ancient customs of the land. The most controversial issue proved to be that of jurisdiction over “criminous clerks” (clerics who had committed crimes); the king demanded that such men should , after trial in church courts, be sent for punishment in royal courts.” (3)

“Becket initially accepted the Constitution but would not set his seal to it. Shortly thereafter, however, he suspended himself from office for the sin of yielding to the royal will in the matter. Although he failed to obtain fu

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