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EDWARD, the eldest son of Henry III. and Eleanor of Provence, was born at Westminster, June 18, 1239, and baptized four days after in the conventual church. early as 1249 the nominal government of Gascony was bestowed on him, and his marriage in 1254 with Eleanor of Castile, sister of Alphonso IV., was attended by the resignation of the pretensions of that monarch to the province.
Edward took a very active part in the transactions of the latter years of his father's reign, and having replaced him on the throne by the death of De Montfort, he soon after went on the crusade with Louis IX. of France, but his force was too small to effect anything of consequence, for the French abandoned the enterprise on the death of Louis. The prince's reputation was such that fealty was sworn to him in his absence, and he did not return to his
These claims were founded on an alleged grant by Henry II. to Alphonso III., who married his daughter Eleanor, and they were favoured by the Gascons, who greatly disliked their English rulers.
kingdom till nearly two years after his father's death, employing the interval in reducing the Gascons to obedience, and settling some commercial disputes between his subjects and the Flemings.
Llewelyn, prince of Wales, had been an active ally of De Montfort, and he had been included in the peace made before Edward's departure for the crusade, on promising fealty to the king. He was now summoned to attend the English parliament, his refusal was punished by the invasion of his country, and he was speedily reduced to subjection; the unbearable oppressions of the marchers compelled him to resume his arms, in the year 1282, but this step was soon followed by his own death in the field, and the execution as a traitor of his brother David, when the land was filled with English strongholds, and the title of Prince of Wales was bestowed on the heir-apparent of the English crown.
Edward thus destroyed the Welsh princes for disputing his feudal superiority, but he resisted a similar claim on himself from the king of France. A piratical war having broken out between the Normans and the Cinque Ports men, Edward was summoned to Paris to answer for the conduct of his subjects; he refused, and his fiefs were declared forfeited. Gascony was, in consequence, overrun by the French, and Prince Edmund died in an attempt to recover it, but Edward allied himself with the Flemings, carried on a fierce war with his liege lord, and eventually obtained peace on his own terms, Gascony being restored to him, and the sister of the French king becoming his wife.
The success of his iniquitous enterprise against Wales probably inspired Edward with the hope of uniting the
whole island of Britain under his sway, and this he at first attempted by peaceable means, afterwards by violence, but in neither was he successful.
Alexander III. of Scotland died in 1287, and his crown fell to his grand-daughter, a child, named Margaret, the Maid of Norway; a marriage treaty, which was intended to unite the two kingdoms, was concluded between her and Prince Edward, but this arrangement failed through her premature death. Numerous competitors arose for the crown, and to avert the danger of civil war the states of Scotland unwisely referred the decision of their claims to Edward. He had recently arbitrated between the kings of France and Arragon concerning the isle of Sicily, but here he was too deeply interested to be just. Having assembled a large army on the border, his first step was to assert that he came to decide the dispute in his quality of sovereign lord, a demand which excited much surprise and remonstrance, but to which the states and the competitors were ultimately obliged to agree, as also to place in his hands the royal castles. A decision was at length given in favour of John Baliol, who did homage for his kingdom; but though acquiesced in for a while, this state of vassalage was odious to the great body of his people: they, rather than the nobles, took up arms, formed an alliance with France, and superseded Baliol. Edward advanced against them, mercilessly ravaged their country from one end to the other, and formally annexed it to England. Very many of the nobles submitted to him, but Wallace and Robert Bruce kept the field. Wallace was captured and executed; Bruce assumed the crown, and though most of his family fell into the hands of Edward, he still stub
bornly maintained the contest, until at length his great enemy died on his borders, in the twelfth year of the war, without having accomplished his object.
The statute law of England assumed much of its present shape in this king's reign, but his own proceedings were frequently of as arbitrary a character as those of any of his predecessors. His wars caused him to resort to the most violent means for raising money; he was obliged solemnly to confirm Magna Charta, to allay the discontents thus occasioned, but he paid little regard to its provisions, and is accused by the archbishop of Canterbury (Robert Winchelsey) of imprisoning freemen unconvicted of any offence for the mere purpose of extorting heavy ransoms from them, whilst his judges scrupled not to declare that it was for the common good that the king should be considered as above the laws and customs of the kingdom.
Edward died at Burgh on the Sands, near Carlisle, July 7, 1307, and was buried, contrary to his own directions, at Westminster, on Oct. 27.
His first wife, Eleanor of Castile, accompanied him to the Crusade, bore him four sons and eight daughters, and died at Grantham, Nov. 28, 1290. He afterwards married Margaret, sister of Philip IV. of France, who bore him two sons and a daughter, and survived him, dying in 1317.
Of his children, John, Henry, Alphonso, Berengaria, See pp. 353, 355, 358.
Several elegant crosses, known by her name, yet mark places where her corpse rested on its way to Westminster; these are not tokens of the affection of her husband, as usually supposed, but were erected by her executors in compliance with directions in her will.
and three others whose names are uncertain, died young.
EDWARD OF CAERNARVON became king.
Thomas of Brotherton, born June
1, 1300, was created earl of Norfolk
in 1313, and had the office of Marshal
Arms of Edward of Caernarvon. of England bestowed on him in 1315; he died in 1338, and was interred at Bury St. Edmund's.
Edmund of Woodstock, born Aug. 5, 1301, was created earl of Kent. He was beheaded at Winchester, March 19, 1330, on a charge of conspiracy against his nephew Edward III.; his daughter Joan became the wife of Edward the Black Prince.
Eleanor, born 1264, married Henry III., duke of Bar, and died in 1298.
Joan of Acre, born in Palestine in 1272, first married Gilbert, earl of Clare and Gloucester, and afterwards Ralph Monthermer, a private gentleman of her retinue; she died in 1307.
Margaret, born 1275, married John II. duke of Brabant, and died in 1318.
Mary, born 1278, became a nun at Amesbury in 1285, and died there, probably in the year 1332.
Elizabeth, born 1282, married first John, count of Holland, and afterwards Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford, who was killed at Boroughbridge, in 1322; she died in May, 1316.
Edward I. bore the same arms as his father and grandfather, but the badge ascribed to him is a rose or, stalked proper.