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

    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

    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

    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

    62 The Minority Abroad

    Harmony with Scotland, the career of Llewellyn the Great, the loss of Poitou. During the minority of Henry, English prestige and power was at something of a low point –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

    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

    50 Defence of the Empire

    The war between Richard and Phillip went on from 1194-1198 in fits and starts ; usually there was no more than 3 months of fighting before a truce came along.Read 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

    46 Richard and the Road to Outremer

    Richard set off from Sicily probably intending to go straight to the Holy Land. But a chance storm enforced a landing at Cyprus, where the locals were not friendly. WhichRead 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

    43a Aelfthryth by Melisende of Outremer

    Ælfthryth was a controversial figure. Wife of King Edgar,  mother of Æthelred the Unready – and possibly murderer of her step son, Edward? Melisende of Outremer looks at the lifeRead 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

    42 English Justice and The Irish Invasion

    Henry's far sighted reform of justice; and Richard Strongbow and Norman invasion of Ireland So here are two completely unconnected subjects then! Henry is responsible for reforms to the processRead 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

    38 Born of the Devil – the Angevins

    Geniuses, devils, spoilt brats, villains, heroes; war, sex, violence, bravery, treachery, peace, reform… the Angevins that founded the Plantagenet dynasty have it all, in spades. Not so much history, asRead More

    36 Magnates and Churchmen

    After joining Henry II's household, William's rise was steady – but with the arrival of Richard the Lion Heart it really took off. By the time of his death heRead More

    34 Anarchy III – Resolution

    Stephen and Matilda fought themselves to a standstill, until the Empress tires of the struggle, and essentially leaves the stage around 1149. Many of her key supporters die – MilesRead More

    32 When Christ and his Saints Slept

    ‘…they said openly that christ and his saints slept’. This stunning phrase gives us an image of devastation hat led to the period being called ‘The Anarchy’. In this episode,Read More

    29 England in the reign of Henry I

    After the initial struggle for succession and baronial revolt, England itself was pretty peaceful during Henry’s reign. The church & state debate needed fixing. And Normandy was a constant battle,Read 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

    24 Revolt of the Earls

    It took William the Conqueror a few more years until he felt safe from the English. But when the Revolt of the Earls collapsed in 1075, English revolution was overRead More

    22 1066 and Goodbye to all That

    1066 was a year that changed a lot of things – though not as much as you might think. 3 experienced war leaders fought for control of England – andRead More

    21 The Normans – a race unbridled

    The Normans made a massive impact on Europe, not just England. They went on to establish a kingdom in Southern Italy, and lead the Crusades and the resulting state ofRead More

    19 Edward the Confessor

    Edward enjoyed one year of independence in 1051-2, before the return of Godwin forced him into humiliating submission. But after Godwin's death the following year, the rest of his reignRead More

    17 Cnut the Conqueror

              Cnut was pretty much the complete king. Conqueror of the English, ruler of a Scandinavian empire that spanned 4 countries. And a man who knewRead More

    16 Edmund Ironside and Cnut

    In 1012, Aethelred looked down and out. But Svein died, and Edmund Ironside appeared on the scene. Suddenly, Aethelred was a real king and all action, and Cnut was forcedRead More

    13 Another and last Golden Age

    Edgar the Peaceable’s reign was a golden age of peace, prosperity and monastic reform. Unfortunately, once he’d gone his wife stuck a knife into her stepson, and the trouble startsRead More

    12 The last King in Jorvik

    Edmund the Magnificent and Eadred finally defeat Eric Bloodaxe, the last king of Jorvik. But there are some social clouds on the horizon in the History of England.   TheRead More