191 The Reign of Richard III

    Unfortunately for Richard he was never able to simply concentrate of governing the realm; the hangover of his accession, the presence of Henry Tudor abroad – these things constantly tookRead More

    190 Good King Richard?

    Part of the story to counter the propaganda of the Tudors is the view that Richard promised to be an exceptionally good ruler. The brevity of Richard's reign make an assessment difficultRead More

    158 Catastrophe at Arras

    In December 1431, Henry VIth became the only king of England crowned king of France in France. Which sounds great. But in fact it was a sign of English weaknessRead More

    141 De Heretico Comburendo

    With John Wycliffe and the Lollards in the 14th century, heresy finally came to England. Up to this point, rural England had been notable for avoiding the religious turmoils thatRead More

    134 Golden Child Made King

    The reputation of Henry IVth has changed through history – where he's remembered at all! So we look at that – we are left with those that think Henry wasRead More

    128 The Narcisist

    In 1397, Richard finally saw the chance to try to get his revenge on the Appellants – Gloucester, Arundel and Warwick. So the parliament  of September 1397 was momentus. 128Read More

    125 Accusatio

    By 1387, it was becoming clear that the Wonderful Parliament of 1385 had not solved the problem. Pressure had been building, and Gloucester, Warwick and Arundel were far from satisfiedRead More

    123 Wycliffe and the Lollards

    With the arrival of the 1380s, a reaction was in train in Oxford. The  new Chancellor, William Barton was an old friend of Wycliffe – but friend he was noRead More

    115 The Rotten Apple

    From 1371 to 1375 the army went from bad to worse. An English fleet was destroyed at La Rochelle and Poitou and the Saintonge fell to the French. The greatRead More

    112 On the Crest of a Wave

    After the victory at Poitiers and capture of the French King, the English seemed to hold all the cards, and the Treaty of Bretigny in 1360 for a while maintainedRead More

    107 The Death of Joan

    In 1348 a 14 year old royal princess, Joan, set out from Portsmouth to marry Pedro of Castile. Her route went by Bordeaux, and with the massive trousseau she carriedRead More

    106 Calais and Neville’s Cross

    By the end of the march across Normandy in 1346, Edward had accepted that he was not going to be able to hold French territory. But he had a clearRead More

    102 Highs and Lows

    In 1340 against all the odds – of numbers and quality – Edward defeated Philip VIth's Great Army of the Sea at Sluys. The impact on morale, English and FrenchRead More

    101 King of France and England

    Edward faced a weary time, a weary time. His allies demanded money, he had none to give them. So they refused to  fight, while the French closed in on GasconyRead More

    94 The Reign of Isabella and Mortimer

    After Edward II's abdication in January 1327, England was ruled on behalf of the new King Edward III by Queen Isabella. But while Isabella probably wanted a life of respect,Read More

    80 In which we Dawdle

    When Edward I arrived back in 1289 from Gascony, he was in many ways at the height of his awesomeness. A chivalric monarch, a leading statesman in Christendom, and atRead More

    79 Conqueror and Statesman

    The second Anglo Welsh war was very different in character to the first. Here was a genuinely national uprising against rule by the English. Here was a war with noRead More

    75 Nemesis

    In April 1265 Gilbert de Clare had left court in something of a huff. De Montfort was well aware that if he lost de Clare, his whole hold on powerRead More

    74 The Wheel of Fortune

     In 1264 when De Montfort set out from London he would have been conscious that this was a last throw; after losses to the Royalists in the midlands his onlyRead More

    73 Return of the Jedi

    In 1262, it looked for all the world as though the royal party was back in control and the whole struggle for reform was over. But that was before youRead More

    72 The Empire Strikes Back

     Things looked pretty good for the reformers in 1259; but at the heart of the reform movement were fault lines that weakened them, and made them vulnerable. The differing aimsRead More

    71 Enter the Leopard

    We sort of get back to the political narrative this week, but only sort of. We discuss the young prince, Edward, who will be one of England's most famous kingsRead More

    66 The Road to Revolution

    In 1258, the resentments all came together and the pot boiled over. The pope Alexander did his vassal no favours what so ever by pushing so hard that Henry hadRead More

    63 The Last Great Justiciar

    From 1227 to 1234 we are sort of in betweeners – the minority has ended, but Henry's government in still dominated by the old guard, people like Hubert de Burgh.Read More

    61 The Minority of Henry III

    The years between 1219 and 1227 saw the gradual resumption of royal power. It also saw a power struggle between Peter des Roches, the Bishop of Winchester, and Hubert deRead More

    58 Tyranny and Defeat

    From 1213 to 1214, John seemed to have got his problems more under control, and had built an alliance that looked to be capable of taking on Philip. There wasRead More

    57 The Excommunicate

    John took a detailed interest in administration, and made effective changes to the way things worked. Partly his interest was motivated by the need to raise money – as inflationRead More

    52 John Softsword

    As a younger man, John had been given the nickname Lackland because unlike his brothers he didn't have his own appanage. At the Treaty of Le Goulet in May 1200Read More

    51 The Fouler Presence of John?

    In 1199, Richard the Lion Heart died after being shot by a cook outside the castle of Chalus in the Limousin. The Empire was split between supporters of Arthur andRead More

    48 Richard and The Third Crusade

    Was the Third Crusade a success or a failure? While it failed to achieve its objective, it was the most successful after the First Crusade. It rescued Outremer from anRead More

    45 Packing the Bags

    Richard came into the lands of his father and was crowned at Westminster in 1189.  For the next 6 months he was packing his bags,  cleaning the fridge and gettingRead More

    44 Introducing the Lion Heart

    To most contemporaries, Richard I was a hero. Since then his reputation has suffered badly, until even Winston Churchill describes him as the worst of our Richards – which givenRead More

    43 The Greatest of all Monarchs

    In 1173-4 Henry was faced by a revolt by his wife, children and many of his leading barons. 1183 to his death in 1189 were years where Henry was increasingly besetRead More

    41 Murder in the Cathedral

    After Thomas recanted from his signature of the Constitutions of Clarendon, things got really nasty. Before long, Thomas was in exile, and Henry couldn't care less. But by 1167 theRead More

    40 Bishop Trouble

    The 1160's. A time of consolidation of the Angevin Empire, still ruled by a dynamic, young and aggressive Henry. But mainly remembered for the start of the  struggle between churchRead More

    25 Death of a Conqueror

    The last years of William the Conqueror's reign were mainly the meat and drink of the Norman King – beating off other feudal lords, keeping your nobles down, trying notRead More