Thursday, January 19, 2017


I am continuing the story of Edward I.  We had reached the part where John Balliol had been proclaimed King of Scotland who had paid homage to Edward along with the Scottish peers. 

Edward's subsequent colonialisation of Scotland led to a revolt which the English king overcame.  In 1296 he deposed Balliol proclaimed himself King of Scotland, and carried off the Coronation Stone of Scone and the Great Seal.  In the following year Sir William  Wallace organised a fresh revolt but was eventually defeated.  He retired to France, and after five years returned to wage guerilla warfare, but he was captured and executed  In 1306 Robert BrUce was crowned at Scone as King of Scots, and the de facto Scottish monarchy began anew. In the ensuing war he was at first defeated but it was while Edward I was leading a further campagn to crush his resurgence that the Ebglish king died at Burgh by Sands having reigned 35 years.

Continuous warfare on the part of Edward - in Gascony and Flanders and on the French coast as well as his own borders - led to a continuous lack of funds.  He made a number of questionable impositions on the country and borrowed heavily from the Jews, the only section of the population who were then allowed to make heavy financial loans.  Because of this monopoly and their restricted social function which had barred them from productive enterprise, the Jews charged high rates of interest and, using other expertise in their role as currency manipulators, were involved in the common crime of clipping the coinage.  This was the most flagrant inflationary act possible at a time when the gold or silver coin had a value corresponding to its initial weight in precious metal.

Soon after his accession, Edward passed legislation banning usury and encouraging the Jews to take up productive occupations, but, in the conditions of the time, there was more profit to be made out of the old vocation of the Jews and the temptations which it provided.  Over the next 15 years they did not move into agriculture or manufacture - nor did they get any local encouragement.  Their unpopularity, heightened by sensational charges alleging the ritual murder of Christian children, increased in authoritarian circles when Edward's rare "Parliaments" realised that the king was still borrowing from the Jews instead of making concession in return for parliamentary consent to taxation.   In 1290 Edward reacted by approving an ordinance expelling the Jews from England.  Consequently, in 1295, he was forced to call what is termed the first Model Parliament, summoning the representatives of the towns and rural areas as well as the lords spiritual and temporal.  He wanted support to raise taxes.

With such an apparent detailed personal history of aggression, it is difficult to justify summarily the reputation which Edward earned in his own lifetime and later as a lawgiver and administrator, with the interests of the people of England truly at his heart.  He is acknowledged ass having enlarged 'freedom from fear' by firm extension of public order; as having rewritten the land laws (as much in the interests of the tenants against the encroachment of the Church and other spreading landlords as to clarify his own position as primary patron); as having reshaped the organisation of the law courts; redefined the military obligations of the people with a view to speedier reaction in emergency; and as having accepted, however reluctantly, the broad principle of parliamentary consent to national taxation.

He was a man who chose to lead by personal example.  In his youth he made a trunk road safe by challenging the leader of the harassing highwaymen, an outlawed knight, to personal combat. and beating him.  In his old age he mourned his dead wife - the Eleanor Crosses erected from Grantham to the old Charing Cross were her visible memorial - and yes, in the cause of national diplomacy, he sealed a necessary peace treaty by marrying the French King's sister.  He stamped the seal by fathering three strong children in his seventh decade.

A couple of weeks back SBS (TV) were showing some Shakespeare stories and one involved this Edward and his son.  We thoroughly enjoyed them and regretted they were on so late at night.  We watched them with enjoyment and slept in the following day because we could.  😌😩  
As we move forward to the more 'modern' kings their stories are quite long and so much more was known about them.  I will probably have to cut them into 2 or even 3 sections.  Do those who have followed the royals of the UK do you want me to continue to the present day or have we had enough history for now?   Your answer will determine whether I am continue or not.  Thank you.


  1. I find this information very interesting. I do have short term memory loss, so I don't know if I retain much. It's up to you if you wish to continue.
    Not sure if I can understand what "Clipping the coinage" is. Were they hoarding or literally making the coins lighter?
    Corruption hasn't changed much, has it?

    1. I will continue with this as soon as my finger decides I can type for a while.
      Clipping the coinage is the practice of cutting small pieces from coins. Coins were made of gold or silver and were subject to every day wear. It was not unusual to receive a coin which was not completely round. Cutting or filing a small amount from the coin would usually go unnoticed. The cut off pieces would then be melted into a bar and sold or used to make counterfeit coins.

  2. I'd like to know what "clipping the coinage" is too.
    I don't mind reading these entries but I do find them a bit long. I don't turn on the computer until mid-afternoon usually, because I do everything else I need to do first and get rather tired after lunch. Perhaps you could keep them a bit shorter? Parts 1 and 2 or even 3 if the information is very long.

    1. See above reply re coin clipping.
      I am going to make future royal stories much shorter as my hand really is playing up so the less I type the better.