Edward I: Interesting Facts and Stories

He lived from 1239 to 1307. He married Eleanor of Castile. Included is the opening of Edward’s tomb in 1774.

He has been characterized as a leopard. Leo = lion or bravery, and pard = inconsistent and variable.

Let’s get started.


Here’s the table by Dan Jones, The Plantagenets:

The above table gives a good overview of the entire Plantagenet family. Edward I is on the left, near top.

Source: Michael Prestwich’s biography Edward I.


No. Child’s Name Born Died
1. Katherine 1261-63 Sept. 1264
2. Joan Jan. 1265 Sept. 1265
3. John July 1266 Aug. 1271
4. Henry May 1268 Oct. 1274
5. Eleanor June 1269 Aug. 1298
6. Unnamed Daughter c. 1271 c. 1271-72
7. Joan 1272 Apr. 1307
8. Alphonso Nov. 1273 Aug. 1284
9. Margaret Mar. 1275 c. 1333
10. Berengaria May 1276 1277-78
11. Unnamed Child Jan. 1278 1278
12. Mary Mar. 1279 1332
13. Elizabeth Aug. 1282 1316
14. Edward Apr. 1284 1327

The table comes from Robert Prestwich’s biography, Edward I.

Note: it is not clear how many children he had exactly—some historians say sixteen. In any case, these children were placed in their own households. So the King and Queen were not “hands-on” parents. But he was fond of his grandchildren. When a messenger brought him word of their births, he rewarded them lavishly. He gave £126 13s 4d on the birth of a son to his daughter Margaret. But news of a granddaughter through daughter Joan did not bring as much money. News of a grandson was awarded £40–still huge!

Here is another list from Douglas Richardson’s Royal Ancestry, as follows:


But first, let’s detail Eleanor’s life. She was born about 1241. She was the daughter of (Saint) Fernando III, King of Castile (etc.). Her mother was Juana or Joan (Jeanne), Countess of Ponthieu, Montrueil, and Aumale. Queen Eleanor died at Harby, Nottinghamshire, 28 Nov 1290 and was buried at Westminster Abbey 17 Dec 1290.

Edward was born at Westminster, Middlesex, 17 or 18 June 1239. He married Eleanor of Castile at the monastery of Las Huelgas, Spain, 18 Oct 1254. He was crowned king of England at Westminster on 19 Aug 1274. He married a second time Margaret or Marguerite of France, daughter of Philip III, the Bold, King of France, by his second wife Marie, daughter of Henri III, Duke of Lorraine and Brabant. Margaret was born in about 1279. They had three children. Edward died testate at Burgh-on-Sands, near Carlisle, Cumberland 7 July 1307 and was buried at Westminster Abbey. Queen Margaret died testate at Marlborough Castle 14 Feb 1317/18 and was buried 15 Mar 1317/18.

Eleanor and Edward had 15 or 16 children, as follows.

1.. An unnamed daughter died 29 May___ and was buried at Dominican Priory Church at Bordeaux, France.

2.. Katherine: She died 5 Sept 1264 and was buried at Westminster Abbey (or this child could be the one who was born and died in Palestine in 1271).

3.. Joan: She was born Jan 1265 and died before 7 Sep 1265 and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

4.. John: He was born at Windsor Castle 13/14 Sep 1265 and died at Wallingford, Berkshire 3 Aug 1271, while in the care of his uncle, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, while John’s father was on a Crusade. He was buried at Westminster Abbey.

5.. Henry: He was born shortly before 6 May 1268 and died at Guildford, Surry 14-17 Oct 1274 and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

6.. Eleanor: She was born at Windsor Castle, Berkshire about 18 June 1269. She was contracted to marry Alfonso III, King of Aragon. He died prior to marriage at Barcelona 18 June 1291. She married Henri III, at Bristol 20 Sep 1293. He was a Chevalier, Count of Bar (etc.). He was born in 1259. They had one son Edward I, Count of Bar, etc. Their daughter Joan married John de Warenne, 8th Earl of Surrey. Eleanor died at Ghent 29 Aug 1298 and was buried at Westminster or in the Chapter House. Henri died in Naples, Italy on his return from a Crusade in Sep 1302.

7.. Daughter: She died in Palestine shortly after her parents’ arrival there in May 1271 and died there before Sep 1271 (see no. 2, above).

8.. Joan: She was born at Acre in Palestine in spring 1272. She married (1) Gilbert de Clare, Knight and Earl of Gloucester and Hertford. They had one son: Gilbert (Earl of Gloucester and Hertford); and three daughters: Eleanor, Margaret and Elizabeth.  Joan married (2) Ralph de Monthermer, Knight and First lord Monthermer. From her second marriage, she had these children: Mary, Thomas, and Edward. Joan died 7 Apr 1307 and was buried in the Austin Friars at Clare, Suffolk. Ralph died 10 May (or 5 Apr) 1325 and was buried at Grey Friars, Salisbury, Wiltshire; he left a will enrolled 15 July 1325.

9.. Alphonse: He was born at Bayonne, in Gascony on 23/24 Nov 1273. He was made Earl of Chester and formally contracted to marry Margaret of Holland. But the marriage was never consummated. He died at Windsor Castle, Berkshire on 19 Aug 1284. His body was buried at Westminster Abbey and his heart in the church of the Black Friars, London.

10.. Margaret was born at Windsor, Berkshire, 15 Mar 1274/75. She married John II, the Peaceful, Duke of Lorraine (etc.) and Marquis of the Holy Roman Empire, on 9 July 1290 at Westminster Abbey. They attended the coronation of her brother Edward II in 1308. Their one  child: John III, Duke of Lorraine (etc.). He married Marie of Evreux, daughter of Louis of France, Count of Evreux (etc.) John II died at Tervueren 27 Oct 1312. His widow was alive on 11 Mar 1333. They were buried in the church of St. Gudule, Brussels.

11.. Berenger: He was born at Kempton, Middlesex, on 1 May 1276 and died before 27 June 1278 and is said to be buried at Westminster Abbey.

12.. Daughter: She died soon after birth at Westminster in early Jan 1278.

13.. Mary: she was born at Woodstock on 11 or 12 Mar 1279. In 1285 she entered the monastery of nuns at Amesbury, Wiltshire, where she was veild a nun in 1291. She died 29 May 1332 and was buried in the convent at Amesbury, Wiltshire.

14.. Son: He was born in about 1280/81 and died in infancy.

15.. Elizabeth: She was born at Rhuddlan Castle, Flintshire on 7 Aug 1282. She married Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and 9th Earl of Essex, hereditary Constable of England (etc.). The marriage date and place: 14 Nov 1302 at Westminster. She had been married before to Johann (or Jan) I, Count of Holland and Zeeland, but he died at Haarlem on 10 Nov 1299. Humphrey was born in about 1276. He and Elizabeth had six sons: Humphrey (first of the name); John (Earl of Hereford and Essex); Humphrey (second of the name and Earl of Hereford and Essex; Edward (Knight); William (Knight of the Garter and Earl of Northampton); and Eneas; they also had four daughters: Margaret (first of the name); Eleanor; Margaret (second of the name); and Isabel.

16.. Edward: He was born at Caernarvon, Caernarvonshire, Wales, on 24 or 25 Apr 1284, the eldest surviving son and heir. He was betrothed by treaty dated 6 Nov 1289 to Margaret of Norway (nicknamed the Maid of Norway, Queen of Scots, daughter and heiress of Eric II Magnusson, King of Norway. But she died at Orkney en route to Scotland on or about 26 Sep 1290. He ascended the throne 8 July 1307 and was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey on 25 Feb 1308. He married Isabelle on 25 Jan 1308 at Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais). She was the daughter Philip IV the Fair (or Handsome), King of France. She was born in 1292. Edward was murdered in Berkeley Castle on 21 Sep 1327, in an attempt to escape the castle. He was buried at St. Peter’s Abbey at Gloucester. Queen Isabel retired to Castle Rising, Norfolk, where she lived a comfortable life. She died at Hertford Castle, Hertfordshire, on 22 Aug 1358.


Edward and she had three children:

1.. Thomas of Brotherton: He was born at Brotherton, Yorkshire on 1 or 2 Jan 1300. He married (1) Alice de Hales before 8 Jan 1326. She died shortly before 12 Oct 1330. Thomas married (2) Mary de Brewes before 4 Apr 1336. He was made Earl of Norfolk 16 Dec 1312 and Marshall of England 10 Feb 1315/16. He died about 20 Sep 1338. Mary died testate 11 June 1362. His descendants have been traced.

2.. Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent: He married Margaret Wake about 25 Dec 1325. Edmund was beheaded after a trial by the Parliament on 19 Mar 1329/30, outside the gates of Winchester. He was first buried in the church of the Friars Minor at Winchester, but his widow and son petitioned to have or moved in 1331 to Westminster Abbey. Margaret died 29 Sep 1349.  Their descendants have been traced.

3.. Eleanor (born 4 May 1306 and was buried at Beaulieu Abbey, Hampshire shortly before 28 Aug 1310). Queen Marguerite died testate at Marlborough Castle on 14 Feb 1317/18 and was buried 15 Mar 1317/18, before the high altar in the choir of the church of the Grey Friars, London.


EI = Edward I

H3 = Henry III (Edward’s father)

  1. Feudalism means granting land in exchange for service. A lord gives land to a lesser freeman, and the lesser man swears an oath to serve the lord, especially in times of war, when the king (or lord) needed to muster the army.
  2. The upper level nobility, like an earl, would swear allegiance and fidelity to the king himself.
  3. The lesser person would go through a ceremony of swearing his oath to the earl.
  4. Sometimes kings would swear allegiance to other kings, like Edward did to the Kings of France, to keep the shrunken territory in the southwest of France—Gascony.
  5. In the thirteenth century, these terms were synonymous: Aquitaine, Guyenne, and Gascony.
  6. English subdivisions or units of jurisdictions followed this order, from smallest to biggest: vill, borough, hundred, shire.
  7. When Edward came into his own as a young adult, he was called a leopard. Leo means lion, and a pard changes and is inconsistent. Let’s see how the nickname plays out.
  8. Edward had an English name, but his family was mainly of French origins. His ancestors were buried in Fontevrault, France. His queen was of the Castilian royal house.
  9. His father H3 was in debt and incapable of getting out, so his kingship was diminished or is diminishing. But he was still God’s anointed, and that carried a lot of weight with the people.
  10. In January 1236 H3 took Eleanor of Provence as his wife, the daughter of count Ramon-Berengar IV, of Provence. She did not bring promise of land, but she had connections: Her sister Margaret was married to Louis IX, King of France; her mother’s family was connected to the Holy Roman Empire and the papacy. Her uncles, the counts of Savoy, were skilled diplomats.
  11. The king had been sleeping with fifteen-year-old Eleanor and was absent from his own bedroom when a maniac broke in and found the bed empty, in 1237. The king was spared.
  12. On June 17, 1239 Eleanor gave birth to her first royal child. What to name him? Henry, John, Richard, William or even Geoffrey? The language of the court and nobility was French of the English-Norman variety, but they gave him an English name. H3 settled on Edward, after the Confessor, the last of the Anglo-Saxon kings. He was to embody England’s ancient past and its future and a new identity for the Plantagenets.
  13. The citizens of London went out on the streets and celebrated by torchlight. But H3 instructed the messengers who announced the birth that they should not return empty-handed, but to bring back gifts.
  14. As early as August 1239 he was given a room in Windsor Castle and under the care of Hugh Giffard and his wife Sybil who had served as a midwife. His two wet nurses were Alice and Sarah; the queen was not expected to feed her own children.
  15. His own household expanded to include other children, notably Henry of Almain, son of Richard earl of Cornwall (Edward’s uncle), sent to Windsor when his mother died in 1240. Not all the children sent into his household were exalted: two sons of a crossbowman, Ferrand, and James, son of Nicholas de Molis.
  16. In October 1242 the king, H3, wrote the constable of Windsor about the low quality of wine for his son; wine was not as unhealthy as water—though they wouldn’t have recognized it at the time. He also got lampreys (eel-like creatures), scarlet robes with lavish fur trimming for both Edward and his younger sister Margaret. They got saddles equipped with two seats, so they wouldn’t ride unaided.
  17. His upbringing is not well recorded. Did he have a toy castle to play with? (He would build great castles in Wales.) What other toys? His guardians changed hands in succession.
  18. He had at least four siblings who had died in infancy, so illness was a concern. He fell seriously ill in 1246 and 1247 so the king asked all the religious houses to pray for his recovery. He became ill in 1251. These may not have been no more than usual childhood illnesses, but his doctors Thomas And Alexander were living during an absence of cures, so the illnesses were alarming. But he survived.
  19. Growing up, he came to be known as lord Edward or Dominus Edwardus. This was merely an honorific. Many shared the title “lord.” He was not granted a formal title, but was referred to in various documents merely as “Edward, first born son and heir of lord Henry, illustrious king of England.”
  20. He was taken hunting in Windsor forest. He learned how to handle a sword and lance while galloping. At seventeen he entered a special tournament at Blyth, with suit of armor and weapons. Many were injured. In the early 1250s he traveled around from one royal residence to another.
  21. In September 1249 the duchy of Gascony in southwest France was bestowed on him, but his father really controlled it. Finally just before his fifteenth birthday Edward and the queen set sail for the territory. The men of Yarmouth provided them with a ship, and when the men of Wichelsea who had been preparing their own vessels saw it, they attacked it, killing many of the sailors. It was a long feud between the Cinque Ports and Yarmouth.
  22. After being knighted, a formality rather than based on achievements, lord Edward was married to Eleanor of Castile on November 1, 1254, in the Abbey of Santa Maria la Real de las Huelgas in Castile. H3 granted the duchy to his son as a wedding gift, but his father did not stay for the wedding; he was on his way north and heard about it on November 20 at Marmoutier.
  23. In that year he was left to administer Gascony on its own. He fell into debt from borrowing heavily, so he levied taxes, to pay for the knighting ceremony.
  24. On February 14, 1254, H3 granted his son Ireland; parts of Wales; and in England the earldom of Chester, the town and castle of Bristol, Stamford and Grantham in Lincolnshire; the manor of Freemantle in Hampshire, and all the lands which the count of Eu had held. But after all that he was still without title, only lord Edward.
  25. On April 30, 1258, the barons pushed for their rights. Henry and Lord Edward swore on the Four Gospels that they would be bound a panel of twenty-four barons, half elected by the king and half by the magnates; he should not impose any taxes and he must hand over the royal seal, by which documents held royal authority.
  26. In the same year, the king and lord Edward swore by the Gospels to new provisions, the Provisions of Oxford. Four knights in each county to investigate royal abuses; they established a panel of twenty-four to oversee the government of the realm. On October 28, 1258, proclamations were sent throughout England and the king’s subjects in Ireland. This was a time of reform.
  27. By 1259, H3 was becoming irrelevant, old and broken.
  28. The future lie with soldierly, aggressive lord Edward. He was six-feet, two inches, head and shoulders above the Medieval man. He was nicknamed Longshanks by the Scots. He was broad-chested and strong. He was blond and had a droopy eyelid. In maturity his hair darkened and in old age turned white. He had a lisp, but his speeches were said to be persuasive. In old age he did not develop a stoop, and his eyesight remained keen. He could still mount a horse. He avoided luxurious purple and dyed clothes and opted for ordinary clothes. He had the Plantagenet’s temper. It was said that he actually frightened a man to death. In his younger days he spent several years abroad taking part in knightly tournaments, learning the art of war. His great-uncle Richard the Lion-heart’s images were painted all over the palaces and hunting lodges. He could impose a harsh and brutal punishment on the conquered.
  29. Ordinarily pitched battles were rare, and they certainly were for Edward. He fought only three: Lewes, Evesham, and Falkirk.
  30. Six years after the Provisions of Oxford, the Battle of Lewes erupted on May 14, 1264, between the barons led by Simon de Montfort and H3 and Edward.
  31. The following episodes is called the Barons War.
  32. The royal faction got the pope to annul the Provisions of Oxford. Edward led the cavalry charge, driving back his enemies, as he chased them far afield from the main battle. But when he returned the barons had won. For H3 to remain titular head of England, Simon de Montfort demanded that Edward and his cousin Henry of Almain, eldest son of Richard earl of Cornwall (Edward’s uncle), be handed over as prisoners or hostages, to ensure the king behaved himself.
  33. At first Edward was kept in a prison cell, but the realm of England was teeming with conflicts, castles besieged, land confiscated. De Monfort thought it prudent to let Lord Edward remain under house arrest and guarded by de Montfort’s son Henry. Edward was even allowed visitors.
  34. Here’s how Edward escaped on May 28, 1265. In Hereford he went riding with various people, under relaxed guard of Henry, de Montfort’s son. They played an amusing game of switching horses to find out which one was fastest. When Lord Edward found the one, he galloped off with an ally, shouting to his captors: “Lordlings, I bid you good day! Greet my father well, and tell him I hope to see him soon and release him from custody!” Edward raised a small army and harassed the de Montforts.
  35. On August 1, 1265, Edward’s army attacked the Montforts at Kenilworth. They sneaked up on de Montforts’ guards and captured them except Simon de Montfort, the elder Simon’s son. On August 4, the attack began in Evesham. This time they freed the king and killed key figures of the de Montforts. Power shifted to the quasi-king, lord Edward. But the casualty list in the aftermath of Evesham was long. Simon de Montfort’s corpse was mutilated: his head and genitals were sent off to a royal ally’s wife.
  36. But not entirely shifted. In September 1265 at the Westminster parliament H3 made a divisive statement that all the rebels would be disinherited and their lands would be confiscated and handed over to the loyalists. This provoked rebellions throughout the land. The king’s banner of war was a dragon standard, a device with jeweled eyes made in a way that made the tongue seem to flicker constantly.
  37. Edward and his allies had a spy among the rebels, a female transvestite named Margoth.
  38. The king and lord Edward couldn’t crush all of them. At the end of May in 1266, Edward fought a duel of hand-to-hand combat with Adam Gurdon at Alton Wood, in Hampshire. Edward won and hanged Gurdon’s friends who had been watching and turned over the defeated knight to Edward’s mother until he could buy his freedom at onerous price.
  39. On July 14, Edward and Eleanor had their first son, whom he named John. Provocative. King John signed the Magna Carta and lost the Plantagenet’s continental Empire. But he opposed the barons.
  40. Finally, since H3 and lord Edward couldn’t put out the wildfires of rebellions across the central belt of England, the rebels and the royalists settled on the Dictum of Kenilworth, set out in forty-one clauses, spelling out the king’s power and how the rebels could redeem their land. H3 affirmed the Magna Carta, but that was a formality. The dictum was made public on castle walls on October 31, 1266.
  41. In the mopping up, Kenilworth was attacked in 1266, a major stronghold for the rebels. Kenilworth was the most powerful fortification in England at that time. The royalists were unsuccessful in taking it.
  42. In September 1267, the Treaty of Montgomery was signed that brought peace to Wales and gave feudal power to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, who had been allied with de Montfort.
  43. Edward was still into fighting and proving his worth on the battlefield, but for now peace reigned over England.
  44. The Barons War is over.
  45. In 1268, he turned his sights to the Holy Land on a Crusade with Louis IX, King of France. On August 20, 1270, he and his wife and three young children (John 4; Henry 2, and baby Eleanor) left for the East.
  46. Edward couldn’t reconquer the land, but he raided Muslim territories.
  47. He was almost assassinated while on the crusade. On June 17, 1272, a renegade ambassador came to Edward bearing the secrets of the enemy. He was a turncoat. Edward received him at night since his assistants urged him. The messenger charged at Edward with a dagger and stabbed him on the hip. Edward wheeled around and hit the would-be assassin on the temple and knocked him down. Edward grabbed a dagger on the table and killed the diplomat.
  48. A famous report a hundred years later says that Eleanor sucked out the poison, but modern historians are skeptical.
  49. On November 16, 1272, H3 died of a short illness. He was buried in the tomb formerly belonging to Edward the Confessor whose remains H3 had moved to Westminster Abbey on October 13, 1269.
  50. Edward took his time coming home. He first made his way through France. He returned home on August 2, 1274 and was crowned on Sunday, August 19. Queen Eleanor was pregnant with her tenth child, Margaret.
  51. Lord Edward became Edward the First (or EI). His coronation celebration required lots of food. From Gloosteshire alone came 60 oxen and cows, 2 fat boars, 40 bacon pigs, 3000 capons and hens. There was much redecoration, and new stone thrones were set up in the great hall.
  52. Administratively, Edward I (E1) conducted large-scale and frequent investigations into the way the country was governed. He ordered surveys of England, called the Hundred Rolls, smaller subdivisions of English shires. He was heavily in debt after he returned from the Holy Land, by over £100,000.
  53. He passed the Statute of Jewry in 1270, which required them to live only in certain cities; wear the yellow badge; and levied an annual tax of three pence on all Jews over twelve. The Queen Mother, Eleanor of Provence, expelled Jews from her lands around the same time.
  54. As to his violent temper, during a hunt, one of the hunters failed to control a falcon properly, so the king forced his horse across a river and chased the man with a sword, but checked himself when the man submitted. At his daughter Margaret’s wedding he assaulted a squire with a stick, for no discernible reason, but later compensated him with a large payment of £13 6s 8d. An account book records the cost of repairing his daughter Elizabeth’s coronet in 1297, after Edward threw it into the fire.
  55. But he had a humorous side. He bet his laundry woman and lost, and she won a warhorse, which he bought back from her.
  56. He liked certain foods: whale meat, and several cows and goats were kept, to provide him with dairy products. He had a private stash of ginger. He liked apples, pears, pomegranates, figs, and raisins.
  57. He liked to play chess. He owned an ebony chess set and one of crystal and jasper. His second queen, Margaret of France, owned two sets at £40 each—a huge sum. He improved as the years went on because the account books did not record many losses—or maybe people let him win.
  58. He was a man of simple piety. The Virgin Mary intervened when a stone fell on the seat from which he had just moved, while playing chess. He refused to enter the gates of Oxford, for fear of incurring the wrath of St. Frideswide. He offered four golden statuettes set with jewels and costing £347 to Becket’s shrine in Canterbury in 1297 and 1300. In 1300 he dedicated it in the name of the baby then existing in the queen’s belly.
  59. He believed in the practice of touching the sick. Throughout his reign approximately 5,363 people received it. This is a much grander scale than any other English monarch.
  60. He liked to entertain. In the 1280s he employed four minstrels and two trumpeters and ended up with ten such men. At Christmas in 1288 at least 125 minstrels performed for him. Sometimes tumblers and acrobats performed, such as a woman named Matilda Makejoy. During the king’s eldest son’s knighting in 1306 hundreds of minstrels attended. But as the years rolled on he cut back on the lavish spectacles. He did employ a harpist to calm his nerves, when he went through a blood-letting operation in 1297.
  61. Queen Eleanor’s personality does not stand out in the records. She was probably only twelve when she married, and she was only forty-nine when she died in 1290. But she was a cultured woman. She possessed a library of literary romances, presumably some of which were Arthurian. She employed scribes to write books and a painter to illuminate them. She liked tapestries and even wove a little herself. And she liked to play chess and a game called Four Kings, probably a four handed variation of chess.
  62. As for his household staff, by the mid-1280s lists of those entitle to receive household robes run to 570 names, from high ranking bannerets to kitchen boys. So the Wardrobe Department grew in size and influence and was eventually headquartered at the Tower of London. The wardrobe clerks were responsible for drawing up the accounts of the household.
  63. Staple items of beef, pork and mutton and herring and cod (fast days); chicken and duck for poultry, eggs by the thousands; at Christmas veal, 1742 chickens and 22 pheasants, seventeen dozen partridges, sixteen dozen mallard duck and six dozen plover; rabbits occasionally, but they were expensive (!). Vinegar, verjuice and mustard were provided by the gallon; lampreys, sturgeons, salmon, eels; bread. At the end of his reign, over a six-month period 1500 cattle, 3000 sheep, 1200 pigs, 400 bacon carcasses were required; and for the horses 3000 quarters of oats (not counting the fish, poultry and wine).
  64. Members of the household: stewards, responsible for justice and the military;
  65. Marshals, responsible for household discipline; knights, squires, men-at-arms, and sergeants, responsible for military and protection, a kind of protection service in today’s terms, but with military functions;
  66. In the hunting department: in the mid-1280s twenty falconers; ten ostringers (oversaw hawks); ten braconers (oversaw hounds); three huntsmen; and one each of foxhounds and bercelets (another type of hound); later numbers remained at this level; Falconry was so popular and prestigious that there was one falconer per bird.
  67. The marshalsea oversaw the royal horses; a stable for 200 was built at Clipstone in Nottingham in 1282-83, for example.
  68. Almonry was a small and specialized department, responsible for distribution of offerings, both to the poor and religion.
  69. The king traveled a lot. It was rare for him to be at one place for more than a few days. The wardrobe department had three long carts; the pantry, buttery, and kitchen one long and short cart each; the scullery and larder also had carts—then totaling six long and seven short carts, each looked after by a carter and one fore-rider; forty-one pack horses transported the king’s personal plate, his clothes, and bed.
  70. When the king went to France on a diplomatic mission, May 13, 1286, it took several days to transport the royal household. About 1000 horses were taken across, twenty-four per ship. Eight vessels carried the kitchen equipment and other household items.
  71. In the early part of his reign, the expanded wardrobe department required about £8,000 per year; in the 1280s the expenditures climbed to £19,302 to £30,992. New taxes were needed.
  72. Borrowing was done through Italian bankers. Riccardi, a banking family, paid £22,476 into the wardrobe.
  73. New laws were developed, and hopefully improved, such as anti-rape laws. Rape was treated as a serious felony, punishable with loss of life and limb. The statute was not restricted to violating virgins, but theoretically protected all women. Kidnapping a nun would result in three years of prison.
  74. It was difficult to get convictions. In 1286, in the Huntington eyre (a court), 190 men were accused of homicides, but only a third was brought to trial and less than nine percent convicted.
  75. Protection rackets abounded. In York, the wealthy citizens under the guise of a religious guild strangled the city; after royal investigations, 300 men were outlawed.
  76. E1 fostered the legends and myths of King Arthur and tried to merge his Plantagenet dynasty with him.
  77. E1 fell ill in spring 1275, possibly from the assassination wound, but he recovered.
  78. In 1276 Edward attended a great ceremony at Chichester, where the remains of St. Richard, who had died in 1253, were translated to a new shrine.
  79. In 1275 Queen Eleanor and her brother Amaury tried to get to Wales by sea, but they were captured by the Welsh.
  80. For years Llywelyn the Welsh prince avoided coming to Edward to swear allegiance to him or even attending various ceremonies and court functions.
  81. Llewlyn invaded baronies of Marcher lords. He refused to pay the 15,000 marks (one mark = two-thirds of a pound). He refused requests to appear before EI under the terms of the Treaty of Montgomery. He began negotiations with Eleanor de Montfort, daughter of Edward’s old enemy, Simon de Montfort, to marry her, since he had not produced an heir.
  82. On November 12, 1276, E1 formally decided to invade Wales, but it takes a while to get the supplies and troops together.
  83. E1 invaded Wales in 1277 in a well organized campaign. On November 9 Llewelyn agreed to a truce at Rhuddlan. Almost everything was taken from him.
  84. E1 planned castles in Aberystwyth and Builth, Flint, and Rhuddlan.
  85. Back in England, the pope promoted John Pecham to archbishop of Canterbury. He wanted to hang copies of the Magna Carta in the cathedral and collegiate churches. But Edward pressured him and so the archbishop didn’t follow through.
  86. In 1282 Llewelyn’s brother Dafydd stormed the castle at Hawarden, the residence of E1’s ally Roger Clifford. The raiders tabbed the royal officials.
  87. Edward launched a punitive invasion and ambushed Llewelyn at Irfon Bridge and killed him in battle on December 11, 1282. His head was decapitated and sent to London.
  88. In April 1283, Dafydd was betrayed by Edward’s Welshmen and taken to Shrewsbury for trial. He was hanged, but before he was dead his intestines were cut out and burned in front of him. His body was hacked into four pieces and sent to four English cities. His head was put on display in London with his brother’s head.
  89. E1 built up the earlier castles, but also commissioned ones at Denbigh, Harlech, Conwy, and Caernarfon; he begun another one at Anglesey at Beaumaris in 1295.
  90. Queen Eleanor visited Caernarfon and gave birth possibly to her sixteenth child on April 25, 1284 (the sons John and Henry had died in infancy, though daughters Eleanor, John, Margaret, Mary, and Elizabeth survived). He was named Edward. His older brother Alfonso died in August 1284, so Edward became the sole heir.
  91. Since baby Edward was born in Wales, he became known as the Prince of Wales. He was the “successor” of King Arthur.
  92. Parliaments were mainly held in Westminster and negotiations held in smaller rooms like the Painted Chamber.
  93. For royal convenience sometimes parliament was held away from Westminster: Gloucester, Shrewsbury, Cliptsone, Ashbridge, Bury St. Edmunds, Salisbury, York, Lincoln, and Carlisle.
  94. When parliament was held in Lincoln, in 1301, the sheriff had to round up these provisions: 386 quarters of wheat, 810 quarters of oats, 89 quarters of malt, 100 oxen (10 of them live), 400 sheep (20 of them live), and 100 pigs (75 of them alive, and 10,032 gallons of ale. Most of the county of Lincoln was hit hard by these demands.
  95. On May 13, 1286 King Edward I left for Gascony in the south of France to settle matters in his Duchy and raise money from it, unsuccessfully. His reforms still cost money. On his return to England on August 12, 1289 he owed the Riccardi banking family 100,000 pounds.
  96. During E1’s reign only 2000-3000 Jews lived in England in about fifteen communities. Following a rise in anti-Semitism, he mistreated them, even killing some, and expelled them through the Edict of Expulsion, issued on July 18, 1290. It ordered the Jews to leave on November 1, or face death.
  97. On July 18, 1290, the Treaty of Birgham tied in marriage six-year-old Margaret, granddaughter of Alexander III, Scottish king (d. 1286), the Maid of Norway, soon to be the Lady of Scotland and Edward of Caernarfon, E1’s. Sadly she died, probably of acute food poison on the ship going from Norway to Scotland.
  98. Queen Eleanor died on November 28, 1290. E1 rushed to be by her side to grieve—genuinely. She was forty-nine years old and they had been married thirty-six years old; she bore fourteen (one historian says sixteen) children. Her body was embalmed and stuffed with barley. When she died, Edward mourned her and built the most elaborate series of monuments for an English King and Queen.
  99. On September 10, 1299 E1 married Margaret of France at Canterbury in a ceremony led by Archbishop Winchelsey. Splendid feasts and entertainment by hosts of minstrels were provided. Jousting and other sports took place over three days, with prizes given to the winners by the king himself.
  100. The Great Cause: Scotland was kingless. Should the new king be John Balliol, the lord of Barnard Castle in County Durham or Robert Bruce, an aged nobleman? EI saw this dispute as an opportunity to exert his control over Scotland. He saw himself as the feudal lord over the Scottish crown.
  101. While there was no monarch, six Guardians were chosen: two bishops, two earls, and two barons.
  102. At Norham Castle on the English – Scottish border, on November 30, the Scottish lords, after much debate, decided on John Balliol. On that date he was inaugurated as King John of Scotland, in the capital of Scottish kingship, Scones. Ten days before his inauguration, Balliol had sworn fealty to EI. The Scots saw it was a formality; EI did not.
  103. Edward lived in a time when men didn’t want a show of respect of their authority; they wanted to exercise it.
  104. EI planned on going to the Holy Land on a crusade. But then some skirmishes between private English and Norman armies erupted, by the activities of pirate traders. The crusade was called off. The French and English Crowns had to get involved. Philip IV, King of France, summoned EI to appear before the French parlement, but he sent his brother Edmund. Negotiations broke down.
  105. EI made plans to invade the Plantagenet’s old territories, but this was stopped because the Welsh rebelled. Edward took action and invaded Wales, yet again, in December 1294. By mid-June 1295, Wales was subdued. The English war machine and secure infrastructure was too powerful.
  106. Again EI wanted to control the old territory: Gascony. The Treaty of Paris of 1259 said Edward held it as a vassal of the king of France. And one-fourth of the English magnates didn’t want another overseas invasion. EI appealed to a sense of national danger—France would invade. The French had recently raided Dover and burned it. EI was set to try to take back Gascony.
  107. Then Scotland erupted. The Scottish magnates concluded that if King John of Scotland couldn’t resist their neighbors to the south, then he was no king. They stripped him of his power. In February 1296, Scotland and France signed the Treaty of Auld. Allies. But apparently it didn’t last.
  108. In the Middle Age, it was a well-known myth that the English had tails, so the Scots threatened them with death and the amputation of their tails.
  109. EI invaded Scotland on March 30, 1296, burning the town of Berwick and slaughtering its citizens by the thousands. Scottish earls had taken the castle at Dunbar, but the English besieged it. Another humiliating defeat for Scotland. The resistance melted away.
  110. The Stone of Destiny was taken south to Westminster Abbey and integrated into the special Coronation Chair.
  111. The English conquered Scotland in twenty-one weeks.
  112. Berwick was rebuilt, becoming the center of English power. Thousands of Scots went south to swear the fealty to E1 Robert Bruce asked permission to take over the throne, but EI contemptuously dismissed him. “Do you think we have nothing better to do than to win kingdoms for you?”
  113. EI was now ready to take the fight to France. But wars are expensive, and the magnates and barons and earls resisted. On the brink of another civil war, EI took an expeditionary force to France on August 24, 1297, but the whole project was a failure. France and England signed a truce to halt hostilities in January 1298.
  114. On September 11, 1297, a Scottish rebellious force routed the English. The army was led by William Wallace, a popular fold hero. He was knighted by his countrymen and declared sole guardian of Scotland, during Balliol’s absence.
  115. Before EI’s invasion of Scotland, he had to sign the Confirmation of Charters, on October 10, 1297. It reaffirmed the Magna Carta and Charter of the Forests, which had resurveyed the forests owned by the king.
  116. Wallace withdrew deep into Scottish territories, waiting for his chance to confront the English. Meanwhile the supply lines were in a muddle, and the Welsh and English allies were fighting each other. Disunity. Then EI heard that Wallace was camped at Callendar Wood, near Falkirk. He marched his army overnight and on the morning of July 22, 1298. The Scots were defeated.
  117. Wallace escaped.
  118. He was captured in 1305 and violently executed, his head put on a spike on London Bridge. In March 1306 Robert Bruce made himself king in Scone Abbey. The Scottish war was reignited.
  119. Between the years 1294 and 1298, after all the conflicts, the total cost was £750,000, when the economy per years circulated £1 million. A rich man could build a hall and chamber for £12, a cottage for £1.2s.4d, and a water mill for £9.6s.4d. Edward’s debts were massive. Huge.
  120. Edward Caernarfon and three hundred other young men were knighted at Westminster. The ceremony was known as the Feast of The Golden Swans because EI had a pair of golden swans brought into the assembly. It is not clear whether the swans were inanimate symbols or living. Nonetheless, EI and Edward of Caernarfon didn’t get along. The younger was thought too soft and favored Piers Gaveston too much.
  121. Edward Caernarfon asked his father that his friend Piers Gaveston should get the county of Ponthieu or the earldom of Cornwall. The king, still strong in his 60’s, attacked his son and tore out handfuls of his hair and ordered Gaveston exiled.
  122. On July 7, 1307, Edward the First died at Burgh-by-Sands, a few miles northwest of Carlisle, on his way north, leading another huge army to invade Scotland.
  123. Edward told earls and other lords to look after the welfare of Edward Caernarfon, but not to allow Piers Gaveston to return to court.
  124. On May 2, 1774, the dean of Westminster and learned antiquaries opened up the tomb. The corpse was in excellent condition. It was dressed in a red silk tunic, an elaborately decorated stole, a mantle of red satin, and the lower part of the body was covered with a cloth of gold. A scepter with a cross in the right hand; in the left a scepter surmounted with a dove. An open crown sat on the head. The corpse really did measure 6’2”.

Drawing of Edward when tomb was opened in 1774



Henry II Plantagenet: Interesting Facts and Stories

Eleanor of Aquitaine: Interesting Facts and Stories (married to Henry II)

King Richard I, Lion-Heart: Interesting Facts and Stories

King John: Interesting Facts and Stories

Henry III: Interesting Facts and Stories

Eleanor of Provence: Interesting Facts and Stories (married Henry III)

Edward I: Interesting Facts and Stories

Eleanor of Castile: Interesting Facts and Stories (married to Edward I)

Edward II: A King of Bad Judgment

Edward III: Better Than Most

Richard II: The Weak King

Henry IV King of England

Henry V King of England

Henry VI King of England

Edward IV King of England

Edward V: Prince in the Tower

Richard III, King of England


Rolf or Rollo the Viking



(They lived before Henry II, above)

Richard I, Norman Marquis and Count

Richard II, Duke of Normandy

Robert I, Duke of Normandy

William the Conqueror: Interesting Facts and Stories

Matilda: Wife and Queen of William the Conqueror

King William II, Rufus: Interesting Facts and Stories

King Henry I: Interesting Facts and Stories

King Stephen: Interesting Facts and Stories

Empress Matilda and Three Henrys


Jim Bradbury, The Capetians: Kings of France (Continuum, 2007).

Stephen Church, Henry III: A Simple and God-Fearing King, Penguin Monarchs, (UK: Penguin Random House and Allen Lane, 2017).

Ian Crofton, The Kings and Queens of England (New York: Metro Books, 2006).

Margaret Howell, Eleanor of Provence: Queenship in Thirteenth-Century England (Blackwell, 1998, 2001).

Dan Jones, The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England (New York: 2014).

Medieval France: An Encyclopedia, eds. William W. Kibler and Grover A. Zinn (New York: Garland, 1995).

John Carmi Parsons, Eleanor of Castile: Queen and Society in Thirteenth-Century England (St. Martin’s, 1995, 1998).

Charles Philips, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Royal Britain (New York: Metro Books, 2009).

The Plantagenet Encyclopedia: An Alphabetical Guide to 400 Years of English History, gen. ed. Elizabeth Hallam, (Crescent Books, 1996).

Michael Prestwich, Edward I, Yale English Monarchs (Yale UP, 1997, 1998).

Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols. (Salt Lake: Published Privately, 2013).

Desmond Seward, The Demon’s Brood: A History of the Plantagenet Dynasty (Pegasus, 2014).

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