Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Questions for Examination
 Back Cover

Title: Aunt Charlotte's stories of English history for the little ones
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026944/00001
 Material Information
Title: Aunt Charlotte's stories of English history for the little ones
Alternate Title: English history
Physical Description: ix, 286, 6 p., 2 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Yonge, Charlotte Mary, 1823-1901
Marcus Ward & Co
Royal Ulster Works
Publisher: Marcus Ward & Co.
Belfast Royal Ulster Works
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1875
Copyright Date: 1875
Edition: 2nd ed. -- with questions.
Subject: Kings and rulers -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile literature -- Great Britain   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1875   ( rbgenr )
Biographies -- 1875   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1875
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Biographies   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
collective biography   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Ireland -- Belfast
General Note: Added t.p. and frontispiece printed in color.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text and on endpapers.
Statement of Responsibility: by Charlotte M. Yonge.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026944
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ALJ0715
oclc - 16214585
alephbibnum - 002240172

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front cover 1
        Front cover 2
        Front cover 3
        Front cover 4
        Front cover 5
    Half Title
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
    List of Illustrations
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
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    Questions for Examination
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Full Text

1GI Y7 H

M7777-: R

I The Baldwin Library
I Univc mTy

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V-- A A -1 FR L 01CRRI KLA ,






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4HIS History is intended for very little children.
It seems to be the experience of all families,
that the exigencies of modern education require the
riames of the sovereigns of England, and some idea
connected with them, to be acquired long before there
is any possibility of really understanding history. I
had hoped to supply this need by The Kings of Eng-
land," but it is found too difficult for the very first age;
and I never yet found a nursery history that was cor-
rect in the facts it attempted to give. Whether the
present will answer the purpose can only be proved by
experience as to whether the little ones take interest
in it.
It has been made as easy as the nature of things
would permit, and it is hoped to follow it up with a
few other little histories, such as, with the carefully
drawn illustrations, may lay the foundation with toler-
able correctness, and not much to unlearn.


May 2nd, 1873.


I.-Julius Caesar. B.C. 55 5
II.-The Romans in Britain. A.D. 41-418 9
III.-The Angle Children. A.D. 597 13
IV.-The Northmen. A.D. 858-958 18
V.-The Danish Conquest. A.D. 958-1035 23
VI.-The Norman Conquest. A.D. 1035-1o66 28
VII.-William the Conqueror. A.D. 1066-1087 32
VIII.-William II., Rufus. A.D. 1087-1100oo 37
IX.-Henry I., Beau-Clerc. A.D. 1100-1135 41
X.-Stephen. A.D. 1135-1154 45
XI.-Henry II., Fitz-Empress. A.D. 1154-1189 50
XII.-Richard I., Lion-Heart. A.D. 1189-1199 55
XIII.-John, Lackland. A.D. 1199-1216 6
XIV.-Henry III., of Winchester. A.D. 1216-1272 66
XV.-Edward I., Longshanks. A.D. 1272-1307. 72
XVI.-Edward II., of Caernarvon. A.D, 1307-1327 78
XVII.-Edward III. A.D. 1327-1377 83
XVIII.-Richard II. A.D. 1377-1399 89
XIX.-Henry IV. A.D. 1399-1413 95
XX.-Henry V., of Monmouth. A.D. 1413-1423 101
XXI.-Henry VI., of Windsor. A.D. 1423-1461 io6
XXII.-Edward IV. A.D. 1461-1483 113
XXIII.-Edward V. A.D. A.D. 1483 119
XXIV.-Richard III. A.D. 1483-1485 124

vi Contents.

XXV.-Henry VII. A.D. 1485-1509 128
XXVI.-Henry VIII. and Cardinal Wolsey. A.D. 1509-1529 134
XXVII.-Henry VIII. and his Wives. A.D. 1528-1547. 139
XXVIII.-Edward VI. A.D. 1547-1553 145
XXIX.-Mary I. A.D. 1553-1558 150
XXX.-Elizabeth. A.D. 1558-1587 155
XXXI.-Elizabeth (continued). A.D. 1587-1602. 16
XXXII.-James I. A.D. 1602-1625 167
XXXIII.-Charles I. A.D. 1625-1649 173
XXXIV.-The Long Parliament. A.D. 1649 178
XXXV.-Death of Charles I. A.D. 1649 183
XXXVI.-Oliver Cromwell. A.D. 1649-1660 189
XXXVII.-Charles II. A.D. 166o-1685 194
XXXVIII.-James II. A.D. 1685-1688 200
XXXIX.-William III. and Mary II. A.D. 1689-1702 206
XL.-Anne. A.D. 1702-1714 212
XLI.-George I. A.D. 1714-1725 218
XLII.-George II. A.D. 1725-1760 223
XLIII.--George III. A.D. 1760-1785 229
XLIV.-George III. (continued). A.D. 1785-1810 234
XLV.-George III.-The Regency. A.D. 1810-1820 240
XLVI.-George IV. A.D. 1820-1830 245
XLVII.-William IV. A.D. 1830-1837 250
XLVIII.-Victoria. A.D. 1837-1855 255
XLIX.-Victoria (continued). A.D. 1857-1860 260
L.-Victoria (continued). A.D. 1860-1872 265
Questions for Examination 269


King Edward III. receiving the Black Prince after the Battle of CrecyPAGE
-From a painting by H. S. Marks, Esq., A.R.A.-Frontispiece.
Queen Victoria at the Age of Eight ix
Caesar receiving Tribute from the Britons 5
The Romans Building the Wall. 9. .
Augustine's Mission to Ethelbert .13
Edgar on the Dee 18
Crossing the Ice at Ely 23
Edward and the Thief 28
William the Conqueror and his Sons 32
Peter the Hermit preaching the Crusade 37
Homage to Maude 41
Maude's Escape from Oxford 45
Prince Henry receiving his Father's Ring 50
Richard I. turning aside from the sight of Jerusalem 55
John Escaping from the Wash 61
Henry III. Crowned with his Mother's Bracelet 66
Edward I. presenting his Son to the Welsh Princes 72
Edward II. Crowned with Hay 78
Queen Philippa and the Burghers of Calais. 83
Death of Wat Tyler 89

viii List of Illustrations.

Henry IV. addressing his Son at his death. 95
Henry V. Knighting Whittington 101
Joan of Arc led to Execution 106
Elizabeth Woodville entreating Edward IV. 113
Archbishop Morton taking the Duke of York from the Queen 119
Lady Bessee writing the Letter to Henry Tudor 124
Perkin Warbeck in the Stocks I28
The Field of the Cloth of Gold 134"
Henry VIII. looking at Anne of Cleves' Picture 139
Edward VI. shown at the Window 145
Children playing at Hanging the King of Spain 150
Elizabeth sitting on the steps at Traitors' Gate 155
Sir Philip Sydney and the wounded Soldier .161
Prince Charles Climbing over the Wall to see the Infanta 167
The Pilgrim Fathers Embarking 1. 73
Cromwell's Soldiers Shooting at Stained Glass Windows .178
Princess Henrietta Escaping, disguised as a Boy. 183
Cromwell Expelling the Long Parliament 189
Lord Wilmot writing the Epigram on the King's bed-room door 194
The Queen's Escape with her Child (James II.) 200
The Apprentice Boys of Derry Shutting the Gates 206
The Duchess of Marlborough Scolding Queen Anne. 212
The Earl of Nithsdale's Escape 218
Prince Charles Shaking Hands with the Highlanders 223
Death of Chatham 229
Death of Nelson 234

Bonaparte on board the Bellerophon
George IV.'s Reception in Scotland
Florence Nightingale in the Crimea
Cashmere Gate, Delhi-Lighting the Fuse
Marriage of the Prince of Wales

From a Portrait in the possession of Vere Foster, Esq.

"The Queen thinks the picture from which this small engraving was taken was painted
in 1826 or 1827.-Osborne, Aprillst, 1868."

List of Illus/rations.


* 245
* 255
. 265



B.C. 55.
"- EARLY two thousand years ago there was a
brave captain whose name was Julius CQesar.
The soldiers he led to battle were very strong, and
conquered the people wherever they went. They had
no guns or gunpowder then; but they had swords and
spears, and, to prevent themselves from being hurt,
they had helmets or brazen caps on their heads, with

6 Stories of English History.

long tufts of horse-hair upon them, by way of orna-
ment, and breast-plates of brass on their breasts, and
on their arms they carried a sort of screen, made of
strong leather. One of them carried a little brass
figure of an eagle on a long pole, with a scarlet flag
flying below, and wherever the eagle was seen, they
all followed, and fought so bravely that nothing could
long stand against them.
When Julius Caesar rode at their head, with his
keen, pale hook-nosed face, and the scarlet cloak that
the general always wore, they were so proud of him,
and so fond of him, that there was nothing they would
not do for him.
Julius Casar heard that a little way off there was
a country nobody knew anything about, except that
the people were very fierce and savage, and that a
sort of pearl was found in the shells of mussels which
lived in the rivers. He could not bear that there
should be any place that his own people, the Romans,
did not know and subdue. So he commanded the
ships to be prepared, and he and his soldiers embarked,
watching the white cliffs on the other side of the sea
grow higher and higher 'as he came nearer and nearer.
When he came quite up to them, he found the
savages were there in earnest. They were tall men,

yulius Ccesar. 7

with long red streaming hair, and such clothes as they
had were woollen, checked like plaid; but many had
their arms and breasts naked, and painted all over
in blue patterns. They had spears and darts, and the
chief men among them were in basket-work chariots,
with a scythe in the middle of each wheel to cut down
their enemies. They yelled and brandished their darts,
to make Julius Caesar and his Roman soldiers keep
away; but he only went on to a place where the shore
was not quite so steep, and there commanded his sol-
diers to land. The savages had run along the shore
too, and there was a terrible fight; but, at last, the
man who carried the eagle jumped down into the
middle of the natives, calling out to his fellows that
they must come after him, or they would lose their
eagle. They all came rushing and leaping down, and
thus they managed to force back the savages, and
make their way to the shore.
There was not much worth having when they had
made their way there. Though they came again the
next year, and forced their way a good deal farther into
the country, they saw chiefly bare downs, or heaths, or
thick woods. The few houses were little more than
piles of stones, and the people were rough and wild,
and could do very little. The men hunted wild boars,

8 Stories of English History.

and wolves and stags, and the women dug the ground,
and raised a little corn, which they ground to. flour
between two stones to make bread; and they spun the
wool of their sheep, dyed it with bright colours, and
wove it into dresses. They had some strong places in
the woods, with trunks of trees, cut down to shut them
in from the enemy, with all their flocks and cattle;
but Caesar did not get into any of these. He only
made the natives give him some of their pearls, and
call the Romans their masters, and then he went back
to his ships, and none of the set of savages who were
alive when he came saw him or his Romans any more.
Do you know who these savages were who fought
with Julius Caesar ? They were called Britons. And
the country he came to see ? That was our very own
island, England, only it was not called so then. And
the place where Julius Caesar landed is called Deal,
and, if you look at the map, where England and
France most nearly touch one another, I think you will
see the name Deal, and remember it was there that
Julius Caesar landed, and fought with the Britons.
It was fifty-five years before our blessed Saviour
was born that the Romans came. So at the top of
this chapter stands B.C. (Before Christ) 55.


A.D. 41-418.
.T was nearly a hundred years before any more
A of the Romans came to Britain; but they were
people who could not hear of a place without wanting
to conquer it, and they never left off trying till they
had done what they undertook.
One of their emperors, named Claudius, sent his
soTdiers to conquer the island, and then came to see it
himself, and called himself Britannicus in honour of the
victory, just as if he had done it himself, instead of his
generals. One British chief, whose name was Caradoc,


10 Stories of English History.

who had fought very bravely against the Romans, was
brought to Rome, with chains on his hands and feet,
and set before the emperor. As he stood there, he
said that, when he looked at all the grand buildings of
stone and marble in the streets, he could not think
why the Romans should want 'to take away the poor
rough stone huts of the Britons. .Claudius was kind to
Caradoc; but the Romans went on conquering Britain
till they had won all the part of it that lies south of the
river Tweed; and, as the people beyond that point
were more fierce and savage still, a very strong wall,
with a bank of earth and deep ditch was made to
keep them out, and always watched by Roman soldiers.
The Romans made beautiful straight roads all over
the country, and they built towns. Almost all the towns
whose names end in chesler were begun by'the Romans,
and bits of their walls are to be seen still, built of very
small bricks. Sometimes people dig up a bit of the
beautiful pavement of coloured tiles, in patterns, which
used to be the floors of their houses, or a piece of their
money, or one of their ornaments.
For the Romans held Britain for four hundred years,
and tamed the wild people in the South, and taught
them to speak and dress, and read and write like
themselves, so that they could hardly be known from

The Romans in Britain. 1

Romans. Only the wild ones beyond the wall, and in
the mountains, were as savage as ever, and, now and
then, used to come and steal the cattle, and burn the
houses of their neighbours who had learnt better.
Another set of wild people used to come over in
boats across the North Sea and German Ocean. These
people had their home in the country that is called
Holstein and Jutland. They were tall men, and had
blue eyes and fair hair, and they were very strong, and
good-natured in a rough sort of way, though they were
fierce to their enemies. There was a great deal more
fighting than any one has told us about; but the end of
it all was that the Roman soldiers were wanted at
home, and though the great British chief we call King
Arthur fought very bravely, he could not drive back
the blue-eyed men in the ships; but more and more
came, till, at last, they got all the country, and drove
the Britons, some up into the North, some into. the
mountains that rise along the West of the island, and
some out into its west point.
The Britons used to call the blue-eyed men
Saxons; but they called themselves Angles, and the
country was called after them Angle-land. Don't you
know what it is called now ? England itself, and the
people English; for these were our own forefathers-

12 Stories of English History.

our great-great-great great- great-great- great- grandfa-
thers They spoke much the same language as we do,
only more as untaught country people, and they had
not so many words, because they had not so many
things to see and talk about.
As to the Britons, the English went on driving
them back till they only kept their mountains. There
they have gone on living ever since, and talking their
own old language. The English called them Welsh, a
name that meant strangers, and we call them Welsh
still, and their country Wales. They made a great
many grand stories about their last brave chief, Arthur,
till, at last, they turned into a sort of fairy tale. It was
said that,, when King Arthur lay badly wounded after
his last battle, he bade his friend fling his sword into
the river, and that then three lovely ladies came in a
boat, and carried him away to a secret island. The
Welsh kept on saying, for years and years, that one
day King Arthur would wake up again, and give them
back all Britain, which used to be their own before the
English got it for themselves; but the English have
had England now for thirteen hundred years, and may
God, in His mercy, keep it for us still.
It was about 400 years after our Lord was born that
the Romans were going and the English coming.


A.D. 597.
THE old English who had come to Britain were
.heathen, and believed in many false gods: the
Sun, to whom they made Sunday sacred, as Monday
was to the Moon, Wednesday to a great, terrible
god, named Woden, and Thursday to a god called
Thor, or Thunder. They thought a clap of thunder
was the sound of the great hammer he carried in
his hand. They thought their gods cared for peo-
ple being brave, and that the souls of those who
died fighting gallantly in battle were the happiest of

14 Stories of English History.

all ; but they did not care for kindness or gentleness.
Thus they often did very cruel things, and one of
the worst that, they did was the stealing of men,
women, and children from their homes, and selling
them to strangers, who made slaves of them. All
England had not one king. There were generally
about seven kings, each with a different part- of the
island; and, as they were often at war with one
another, they used to steal one another's subjects, and
sell them to merchants who came from. Italy and
Greece for them.
Some English children were made slaves, and
carried to Rome, where they were set in the market-
place to be sold. A good priest, named Gregory,
was walking by. He saw their fair faces, blue eyes,
and long light hair, and, stopping, he asked who they
were. Angles," he was told, from the isle of Bri-
tain." Angles ?" he said, "they have angel, faces,
and they ought to be heirs with the angels in heaven."
From that time this good man tried to find means to
send teachers to teach the English the Christian faith.
He had to wait for many years, and, in that time, he
was made Pope, namely, Father-Bishop of Rome. At
last he heard that one of the chief English kings,
Ethelbert of Kent, had married Bertha, the daughter

The Angle Children. 15

of the King of Paris, who was. a Christian, and that
she was to be allowed to bring a priest with her, and
have a church to worship in.
Gregory thought this would make a beginning : so
he sent a priest, whose name was Augustine, with a
letter to King Ethelbert and Queen Bertha, and asked
the king to listen to him. Ethelbert met Augustine
in the open air, under a tree at Canterbury, and heard
him tell about the true God, and JESUS CHRIST, whom
He has sent; and, after some time, and a great deal of
teaching, Ethelbert gave up worshipping Woden and
Thor, and believed in the true God, and was baptised,
and many of his people with him. Then Augustine
was made Archbishop of Canterbury; and, one after
another, in the course of the next hundred years, all
the English kingdoms learnt to know God, and broke
down their idols, and became Christian.
Bishops were appointed, and churches were built,
and parishes were marked off-a great many of them
the very same that we have now. Here and there,
when'men or women wanted to be very good indeed,
and to give their whole lives to doing nothing but
serving God, without any of the fighting and feasting,
the buying and selling of the outer world, they built
houses, where they might live apart, and churches,

16 Stories of English History.

where there might be services seven times a-day.
These houses were named abbeys. Those for men
were, sometimes, also called monasteries, and the men
in them were termed monks, while the women were
called nuns, and their homes convents or nunneries.
They had plain dark dresses, and hoods, and the
women always had veils. The monks used to promise
that they would work as well as pray, so they used to
build their abbeys by some forest or marsh, and bring
it all into order, turning the wild place into fields, full
of wheat. Others used to copy out the Holy Scrip-
tures and other good books upon parchment-because
there was no paper in those days, nor any printing-
drawing beautiful painted pictures at the beginning of
the chapters, which were called illuminations. The
nuns did needlework and embroidery, as hangings for
the altar, and garments for the priests, all bright with
beautiful colours, and stiff with gold. The English
nuns' work was the most beautiful to be seen anywhere.
There were schools in the abbeys, where boys were
taught reading, writing, singing, and Latin, to prepare
them for being clergymen; but not many others
thought it needful to have anything to do with books.
Even the great men thought they could farm and
feast, advise the king, and consent to the laws, hunt

The Angle Children.

or fight, quite as well without reading, and they did
not care for much besides; for, though they were
Christians, they were still rude, rough, ignorant men,
who liked nothing so well as a 'hunt or a feast, and
slept away all the evening, especially when they could
get a harper to sing to them.
The English men used to wear a long dress like a
carter's frock, and their legs were wound round with
strips of cloth by way of stockings. Their houses were
only of one storey, and had no chimneys-only a hole
at the top for the smoke to go out at; and no glass
in the windows. The only glass there was at all had
been brought from Italy to put into York Cathedral,
and it was thought a great wonder. So the windows
had shutters to keep out the rain and wind, and the
fire was in the middle of the room. At dinner-time,
about twelve o'clock, the lord and lady of -the house
sat upon cross-legged stools, and their children and
servants sat on benches; and square bits of wood, cal-
led trenchers, were put before them for plates, while
the servants carried round the meat on spits, and
everybody cut off a piece with his own knife and ate it
without a fork. They drank out of cows' horns, if they
had not silve-r cups. But though they were so rough
they were often good, brave people.


A.D. 858-958.
THERE were many more of the light-haired, blue-
eyed people on the further side of the North Sea
who worshipped Thor and Woden still, and thought
that their kindred in England had fallen from the old
ways. Besides, they liked to make their fortunes by
getting what they could from their neighbours. No-
body was thought brave or worthy, in Norway or
Denmark, who had not made some voyages in a "long
keel," as a ship was called, and fought bravely, and
brought home gold cups and chains or jewels to show

The Northmen. 19

where he had been. Their captains were called Sea
Kings, and some of them went a great way, even into
the Mediterranean Sea, and robbed the beautiful shores
of Italy. So dreadful was it to see the fleet of long
ships coming up to the shore, with a serpent for the
figure-head, and a raven as the flag, and crowds of
fierce warriors with axes in their hands longing for
prey and bloodshed, that where we pray in church that
God would deliver us from lightning and tempest, and
battle and murder, our forefathers used to add, From
the fury of the Northmen, good Lord deliver us."
To England these Northern men came in great
swarms, and chiefly from Denmark, so that they were
generally called the Danes." They burnt the houses,
drove off the cows and sheep, killed the men, and took
away the women and children to be slaves; and they
were always most cruel of all where they found an
Abbey with any monks or nuns, because they hated
the Christian faith. By this time those seven English
kingdoms I told you of had all fallen into the hands of
one king. Egbert, King of the West Saxons, who
reigned at Winchester, is counted as the first king of
all England. His four grandsons had dreadful battles
*with the Danes all their lives, and the three eldest all
died quite young. The youngest was the greatest and

20 Stories of English History.

best king we ever had-Alfred the Truth-teller. He
was only twenty-two years old when he came to the
throne, and the kingdom was overrun everywhere with
the Danes. In the northern part some had even
settled down, and made themselves at home, as the
English had done four hundred years before, and more
and more kept coming in their ships : so that, though
Alfred beat them in battle again and again, there was
no such thing as driving them away. At list he had
so very few faithful men left with him, that he thought
it wise to send them away, and hide himself in the
Somersetshire marsh country. There is a pretty story
told of him that he was hidden in the hut of a poor
herdsman, whose wife, thinking he was a poor wander-
ing soldier as he sat by the fire mending his bow and
arrows, desired him to turn the cakes she had set to
bake upon the hearth. Presently she found them
burning, and cried out angrily, Lazy rogue! you can't
turn the cakes, though you can eat them fast enough."
However, that same spring, the brave English
gained more victories; Alfred came out of his hiding
place and gathered them all together, and beat the-
Danes, so that they asked for peace. He said he
would allow those who had settled in the North of
England to stay there, provided they would become

The Northmen. 21

Christians; and he stood godfather to their chief, and
gave him the name of Ethelstane. After this, Alfred
had stout English ships built to meet the Danes at sea
before they could come and land in England; and thus
he kept them off, so that for all the rest of his reign,
and that of his son and grandsons, they could do very
little mischief, and for a time left off coming at all, but
went to rob other countries that were not so well
guarded by brave kings.
But Alfred was not only a brave warrior. He was
a most good and holy man, who feared God above all
things, and tried to do his very best for his people.
He made good laws for them, and took care that every
one should be justly treated, and that nobody should
do his neighbour wrong without being punished. So
many Abbeys had been burnt and the monks killed by
the Danes, that there were hardly any books to be
had, or scholars to read them. He invited learned
men from abroad, and wrote and translated books
himself for them; and he had a school in his house,
where he made the young nobles learn with his own
sons. He built up the churches, and gave alms to the
* poor; and he was always ready to hear the troubles
of any poor man. Though he was always working
so hard, he had a disease that used to cause him

22 Stories of English History.

terrible pain almost every day. His last years were
less peaceful than the middle ones of his reign, for the
Danes tried to come again; but he beat them off by
his ships at sea, and when he died at fifty-two years
old, in the year 901, he left England at rest and quiet,
and we always think of him as one of the greatest
and best kings who ever reigned in England, or in any
other country. As long as his children after him and
his people went on in the good way he .had taught
them, all prospered with them, and no enemies hurt
them; and this was. all through the reigns of his son,
his grandson, and great-grandsons. Their council of
great men was called by a long word that is in our
English, "Wise Men's Meeting," and there they set-
tled the affairs of the kingdom. The king's wife was
not called queen, but lady; and what do you think lady
means ? It means "loaf-giver"-giver of bread to her
household and the poor. So a lady's great work is to
be charitable.


A.D. 958-1035.
MT HE last very prosperous king was Alfred's great
grandson, Edgar, who was owned as their over-
lord by all the kings of the remains of the Britons in
Wales and Scotland. Once eight of these kings came
to meet him at Chester, and rowed him in his barge
along the river Dee. It was the grandest day a king
of England enjoyed for many years. Edgar was
called the peaceable, because there were no attacks by
the Danes at all throughout his reign. In fact, the
Northmen and Danes had been fighting among them-

24 Stories of English History.

selves at home, and these fights generally ended in
some one going off as a Sea-King, with all his friends,
and trying to gain a new home in some fresh country.
One great party of Northmen, under a very tall and
mighty chief named Rollo, had, some time before, thus
gone to France, and forced the king to give them a
great piece of his country, just opposite to England,
which was called after them Normandy. There they
learned to talk French, and grew like Frenchmen,
though they remained a great deal braver, and more
spirited than any of their neighbours.
There were continually fleets of Danish ships
coming to England; and the son of Edgar, whose
name was Ethelred, was a helpless, cowardly sort of
man, so slow and tardy, that his people called him
Ethelred the Unready. Instead of fitting out ships
to fight against the Danes, he took the money the
ships ought to have cost to pay them to go away
without plundering; and as to those who had come
into the country without his leave, he called them his
guard, took them into his pay, and let them live in the
houses of the English, where they were very rude,
and gave themselves great airs, making the English
feed them on all their best meat, and bread, and beer,
and always call them Lord Danes. He made friends

The Danish Conquest. 25

himself with the Northmen, or Normans, who had set-
tled in France, and married Emma, the daughter of
their duke; but none of his plans prospered : things
grew worse and worse, and his mind and his people's
grew so bitter against the Danes, that at last it was
agreed that, all over the South of England, every
Englishman should rise up in one night and murder
the Dane who lodged in his house.
Among those Danes who were thus wickedly killed
was the sister of the King of Denmark. Of course
he was furious when he heard of it, and came over to
England determined to punish the cruel, treacherous
king and people, and take the whole island for his
own. He did punish the people, killing, burning, and
plundering wherever he went; but he could never get
the king into his hands, for Ethelred went off in the
height of the danger to Normandy, where he had
before sent his wife Emma, and her children, leaving
his eldest son (child of his first wife), Edmund Iron-
side, to fight for the kingdom as best he might.
This King of Denmark died in the midst of his
English war; but his son Cnut went on with the
conquest he had begun, and before long Ethelred the
Unready died, and Edmund Ironside was murdered,
and' Cnut became King of England, as well as of

Stories of English History.

Denmark. He became a Christian, and married
Emma, Ethelred's widow, though she was much older
than himself. He had been a hard and cruel man, but
he now laid aside his evil ways, and became a noble
and wise and just king, a lover of churches and good
men; and the English seem to have been as well off
under him as if he had been one of their own kings.
There is no king of whom more pleasant stories are
told. One is of his wanting to go to church at Ely
Abbey one cold Candlemas Day. Ely was on a hill,
in the middle of a great marsh. The marsh was frozen
over; but the king's servants told him that the ice was
not strong enough to bear, and they all stood looking
at it. Then out stepped a stout countryman, who was
so fat, that his nickname was The Pudding. "Are
you all afraid ?" he said, I will go over at once before
the king." "Will you so," said the king, "then I will
come after you, for whatever bears you will bear me."
Cnut was a little, slight man, and he got easily over,
and Pudding got a piece of land for his reward.
These servants of the king used to flatter him.
They told him he was lord of land and sea, and that
every thing would obey him. "Let us try," said Cnut,
who wished to show them how foolish and profane
they were; "bring out my chair to the sea-side." He

The Danish Conquest.

was at Southampton at the time, close to the sea, arid
the tide was coming in. "Now sea," he said, as he sat
down, I am thy lord, dare not to come near, nor to
wet my feet." Of course the waves rolled on, and
splashed over him; and he turned to his servants, and
bade them never say words that took away from the
honor due to the only Lord of heaven and earth. He
never put on his crown again after this, but hung it up
in Winchester Cathedral. He was a thorough good
king, and there was much grief when he died, stranger
though he was.
A great many Danes had made their homes in York-
shire and Lincolnshire, ever since Alfred's time, and
some of their customs are still left among us, and some
of their words. The worst of them was that they were
great drunkards, and the English learnt this bad cus-
tom of them.


A.D. 1035-io66.
C NUT left three sons; but one was content to be
only King of Denmark, and the other two died,
very soon. So a great English nobleman, called Earl
Godwin, set up as king, Edward, one of those sons of
Ethelred the Unready who had been sent away to
Normandy. He was a very kind, good, pious man,
who loved to do good. He began the building of our
grand church at Westminster Abbey, and he was so
holy that he was called the Confessor, which is a word
for good men not great enough to be called saints.

The Norman Conquest.

He was too good-natured,. as you will say when you
hear that one day, when he was in bed, he saw a thief
come cautiously into his room, open the chest where
his treasure was, and take out the money-bags. Instead
of calling anyone, or seizing the man, the king only
said, sleepily, Take care, you rogue, or my chancellor
will catch you and give you a good whipping."
You can fancy that nobody much minded such a king
as this, and so there were many disturbances in his
time. Some of them rose out of the king-who had
been brought up in Normandy-liking the Normans
better than the English. They really were much
cleverer and more sensible, for they had learnt a great
deal in France, while the English had forgotten much
of what Alfred and his sons had taught them, and all
through the long, sad reign of Ethelred had been get-
ting more dull, and clumsy, and rude. Moreover, they
had learnt of the Danes to be sad drunkards; but both
they and the Danes thought the Norman French fine
gentlemen, and could not bear the sight of them.
Think, then, how angry they all were when it began
to be said that King Edward wanted to leave his
kingdom of England to his mother's Norman nephew,
Duke William, because all his own near relations were
still little boys, not likely to be grown up by the time

Stories of English History.

the old king died. Many of the English wished for
Harold, the son of Earl Godwin, a brave, spirited man;
but Edward sent him to Normandy, and there Duke
William made him swear an oath not to do any thing to
hinder the kingdom from being given to Duke William.
Old King Edward died soon after, and Harold said
at once that his promise had been forced and cheated
from him, so that he need not keep it, and he was
crowned King of England. This filled William with
anger. He called all his fighting Normans together,
fitted out ships, and sailed across the English Channel
to Dover. The figure-head of his own ship was a
likeness of his second little boy, named William. He
landed at Pevensey, in Sussex, and set up his camp
while Harold was away in the North, fighting with a
runaway brother of his own, who had brought the Nor-
wegians to attack Yorkshire. Harold had just won a
great battle over these enemies when he heard that
William and his Normans had landed, and he had to
hurry the whole length of England to meet them.
Many of the English would not join him, because
they did not want him for their king. But though his
army was not large, it was very brave. When he
reached Sussex, he placed all his men on the top of a
low hill, near Hastings, and caused them to make a

The Norman Conquest.

fence all round, with a ditch before it, and in the
middle was his own standard, with a fighting man
embroidered upon it. Then the Normans rode up on
their war-horses to attack him, one brave knight going
first, singing. The war-horses stumbled in the ditch,
and the long spears of the English killed both men and
horses. Then William ordered his archers to shoot
their arrows high in the air. They came down like
hail into the faces and on the heads of the English.
Harold himself was pierced by one in the eye. The
Normans charged the fence again, and broke through;
and, by the time night came on, Harold himself and all
his brave Englishmen were dead. They did not flee
away; they all staid, and were killed, fighting to the
last; and only then was Harold's standard of the
fighting man rooted up, and William's standard-a
cross, which had been blessed by the Pope-planted
instead of it. So ended the battle of Hastings, in the
year io66.
We have had a great many conquests" hitherto-
the Roman conquest, the English conquest, the Danish
conquest, and now the Norman conquest. But there
have been no more since; and our kings and queens
have gone on in one long line ever since, from William
of Normandy down to Queen Victoria.


A.D.. 1066-1087.
THE king who had conquered England was a
brave, strong man, who had been used to fighting
and struggling ever since he was a young child.
He really feared God, and was in many ways a good
man; but it had not been right of him to come and
take another people's country by force; and the having
done one wrong thing often makes people grow worse
and worse. Many of the English were unwilling to
have William as their king, and his Norman friends
were angry that he would not let them have more of

William the Conqueror. 33

the English lands, nor break the English laws. So they
were often rising up against him; and each time he had
to put them down he grew more harsh and stern. He
did not want to be cruel; but he did many cruel things,
because it was the only way to keep England.
When the people in Northumberland rose against
him, and tried to get back the old set of kings, he had
the whole country wasted with fire and sword, till
hardly a town or village was left standing. He did
this to punish the Northumbrians, and frighten the
rest. But he did another thing that was worse, because
it was only for his own amusement. In Hampshire,
near his castle of Winchester, there was a great space
of healthy ground, and holly copse and beeches and
oaks above it, with deer and boars running wild in
the glades-a beautiful place for hunting, only that
there were so many villages in it that the creatures
were disturbed and killed. William liked hunting more
than anything else-his people said he loved the high
deer as if he was their father,-and to keep the place
clear for them, he turned out all the inhabitants, and
pulled down their houses, and made laws against any-
one killing his game. The place he thus cleared is
still called the New Forest, though it is a thousand
years old.

34 Stories of English History.

An old Norman law that the English grumbled
about very much was, that as soon as a bell was rung
at eight o'clock every evening, everyone was to put out
candle and fire, and go to bed. The bell was called
the curfew, and many old churches ring it still.
William caused a great list to be made of all the
lands in the country, and who held them. We have
this list still, and it is called Domesday Book. It
shews that a great deal had been taken from the
English and given to the Normans. The king built
castles, with immensely thick, strong walls, and loop-
hole windows, whence to shoot arrows; and here he
placed his Normans to keep the English down. But
the Normans were even more unruly than the English,
and only his strong hand kept them in order. They
rode about in armour-helmets on their heads, a shirt
of mail, made of chains of ion linked together, over
their bodies, gloves and boots of iron, swords by their
sides, and lances in their hands-and thus they could
bear down all before them. They called themselves
knights, and were always made to take an oath to be-
friend the weak, and poor, and helpless; but they did
not often keep it towards the poor English.
William had four sons-Robert, who was called
Court-hose or Short-legs; William, called Rufus, be-

William the Conqueror. 35

cause he had red hair; Henry, called Beau-clerc, or
the fine scholar; and Richard, who was still a lad when
he was killed by a stag in the New Forest.
Robert, the eldest, was a wild, rude, thoughtless
youth; but he fancied himself fit to govern Normandy,
and asked his father to give it up to him. King
William answered, I never take my clothes off before
I go to bed," meaning that Robert must wait for his
death. Robert could not bear to be laughed at, and
was very angry. Soon after, when he was in the castle
court, his two brothers, William and Henry, grew
riotous, and poured water down from the upper win-
dows on him and his friends. He flew into a passion,
dashed up-stairs with his sword in his hand, and might
have killed his brothers if their father had not come in
to protect them. Then he threw himself on his horse
and galloped away, persuaded some friends to join him,
and actually fought a battle with his own father, in
which the old king was thrown off his horse, and hurt
in the hand. Then Robert wandered about, living on
money that his mother, Queen Matilda, sent him,
though his father was angry with her for doing so, and
this made the first quarrel the husband and wife had
ever had.
Not long after, William went to war with the King

36 Stories of English History.

of France. -He had caused a city to be burnt down,
and was riding through the ruins, when his horse trod
on some hot ashes, and began to plunge. The king
was thrown forward on the saddle, and, being a very
heavy, stout man, was so much hurt, that, after a few
weeks, in the year 1087, he died at a little monastery,
a short way from Rouen, the chief city of his dukedom
of Normandy.
He was the greatest man of his time, and he had
much good in him; and when he lay on his death-bed
he grieved much for all the evil he had brought upon
the English; but that could not undo it. He had
been a great church-builder, and so were his Norman
bishops and. barons. You may always know their
work, because it has round pillars, and round arches,
with broad borders of zig-zags, and all manner of
patterns round them.
In the end, the coming of the Normans did the
English much good, by brightening them up and mak-
ing them less dull and heavy; but they did not like
having a king and court who talked French, and cared
more for Normandy than for England.


A.D. 1087-IIOO.
W 7ILLIAM the Conqueror was obliged to let
Normandy fall to Robert, his eldest son; but
he thought he could do as he pleased about England,
which he had won for himself. So he had sent off his
second son, William, to England, with his ring to
Westminster, giving him a message that he hoped the
English people would have him for their king. And
they did take him, though they would hardly have done
so if they had known what he would be like when he
was left to himself. But while he was kept under by

Stories of English History.

his father, they only knew that he had red hair and a
ruddy face, and had more sense than his brother
Robert. He is sometimes called the Red King, but
more commonly William Rufus. Things went worse
than ever with the poor English in his time; for at least
William the Conqueror had made everybody mind the
law, but now William Rufus let his cruel soldiers do
just as they pleased. They would come into the farms,
have the best of everything set before them, beat and
misuse the people, carry off whatever they pleased, and
spoil what they did not want. It was of no use to com-
plain, for the king would only laugh and make jokes.
He did not care for God or man; only for being
powerful, for feasting, and for hunting.
Just at this time there was a great stir in Europe.
Jerusalem-that holy city, where our blessed Lord
had taught, where He had been crucified, and where
He had risen from the dead-was a place where
everyone wished to go and worship, and this they
called going on pilgrimage. A beautiful church had
once been built over the sepulchre where our Lord
had lain, and enriched with gifts. But for a long
time past Jerusalem had been in the hands of an East-
ern people, who think their false prophet, Mahommed,
greater than our blessed Lord. These Mahomme-

William II., Rufus. 39

dans used to rob and ill-treat the pilgrims, and make
them pay great sums of money for leave to come into
Jerusalem. At last a pilgrim, named Peter the Her-
mit, came home, and got leave from the Pope to try
to waken up all the Christian princes and knights
to go to the Holy Land, and fight to get the Holy
Sepulchre back into Christian hands against. He used
to preach in the open air, and the people who heard
him were so stirred up that they all shouted out, It is
God's will! It is God's will!" And each who under-
took to go and fight in the East received a cross cut
out in cloth, red or white, to wear on his shoulder.
Many thousands promised to go on this crusade, as
they called it, and among them was Robert, Duke of
Normandy. But he had wasted his money, so that he
could not fit out an army to take with him. So he of-
fered to give up Normandy to his brother William while
he was gone, if William would let him have the money
he wanted. The Red King was very ready to make
such a bargain, but he laughed at the Crusaders, and
thought that they were wasting their time and trouble.
They had a very good man to lead them, named
Godfrey de Bouillon; and, after many toils and
troubles, they did gain Jerusalem, and could kneel,
weeping, at the Holy Sepulchre. It was proposed to

. Stories of English History.

make Robert King of Jerusalem, but he would not
accept the offer, and Godfrey was made king instead,
and staid to guard the holy places, while Duke Robert
set out on his return home.
In the meantime, the Red King had gone on in as
fierce and ungodly a way as ever, laughing good advice
to scorn, and driving away the good Archbishop of
Canterbury, St. Anselm, and everyone else who tried
to warn him or withstand his wickedness. One day, in
the year i oo, he went out to hunt deer in the New
Forest, which his father had wasted, laughing and jest-
ing in his rough way. By and by he was found dead
under an oak tree, with an arrow through his heart;
and a wood-cutter took up his body in his cart, and car-
ried it to Winchester Cathedral, where it was buried.
Who shot the arrow nobody knew, and nobody ever
will know. Some thought it must be a knight, named
Walter Tyrrell, to whom the king had given three long
good arrows that morning. He rode straight away
to Southampton, and went off to the Holy Land; so
it is likely that he knew something about the king's
death. But he never seems to have told anyone,
whether it was only an accident, or a murder, or who
did it. Anyway, it was a fearful end, for a bad man to
die in his sin, without a moment to repent and pray.

A1 t~


A.D. II11 -1135.
H EN RY, the brother of William Rufus, was one
of the hunting party; and as soon as the cry
spread through the forest that the king was dead, he
rode off at full speed to Winchester, and took posses-
sion of all his brother's treasure. William Rufus had
never been married, and left no children, and Henry
was much the least violent and most sensible of the
brothers; and, as he promised to govern according to
the old laws of England, he did not find it difficult to
persuade the people to let him be crowned king.

42 Stories of English History.

He was not really a good man, and he could be very
cruel sometimes, as well as false and cunning; but he
kept good order, and would not allow such horrible
things to be done as in his brother's time. So the
English were better off than they had been, and used to
say the king would let nobody break the laws but him-
self. They were pleased, too, that Henry married a
lady who was half English-Maude, the daughter of
Malcolm Greathead, King of Scotland, and of a lady
of the old English royal line. They loved her greatly,
and, called her good Queen Maude.
Robert came back to Normandy, and tried to make
himself King of England; but Henry soon drove
him back. The brothers went on quarrelling for some
years, and Robert managed Normandy miserably, and
wasted his money, so that he sometimes had no clothes
to wear, and lay in bed for want of them.
Some of the Normans could not bear this any longer,
and invited Henry to come and take the dukedom.
He came with an army, many of whom were English,
and fought a battle with Robert and his faithful Nor-
mans at Tenchebray, in Normandy. They gained a
great victory, and the English thought it made up for
Hastings. Poor Robert was made prisoner by his
brother, who sent him off to Cardiff Castle, in Wales,

Henry I., Beau-clerc.

where he lived for twenty-eight years, and then died,
and was buried in Gloucester Cathedral, with his figure
made in bog oak over his monument.
Henry had two children-William and Maude. The
girl was married to the Emperor of Germany, and the
boy was to be the husband of Alice, daughter to the
Count of Anjou, a great French prince, whose lands
were near Normandy. It was the custom to marry
children very young then, before they were old enough
to leave their parents and make a home for themselves.
So William was taken by his father to Anjou, and
there married to the little girl, and then she was left
behind, while he was to return to England with his
father. Just as he was going to embark, a man came
to the king, and begged to have the honour of taking
him in his new vessel, called the. White Ship, saying
that his father had steered William the Conqueror's
ship. Henry could not change his own plans; but, as
the man begged so hard, he 'said his son, the young
bridegroom, and his friends might go in the White
Ship. They sailed in the evening, and there was great
merry-making on board, till the sailors grew so drunk
that they did not know how to guide the ship, and ran
her against a rock. She filled with water and began to
sink. A boat was lowered, and William safely placed

Stories of English History.

in it; but, just as he was rowed off, he heard the cries
of the ladies who were left behind, and caused the
oarsmen to turn back for them. So many drowning
wretches crowded into it, as soon as it came near, that
it sank with their weight, and all were lost. Only the
top-mast of the ship remained above water, and to it
clung a butcher and the owner of the ship all night
long. When daylight came, and the owner knew that
the king's son was really dead, and by his fault, he lost
heart, let go the mast and was drowned. Only the
butcher was taken off alive; and for a long time no
one durst tell the king what had happened. At last a
boy was sent to fall at his feet, and tell him his son was
dead. He was a broken-hearted man, and never knew
gladness again all the rest of his life.
His daughter Maude had lost her German husband,
and come home. He made her marry Geoffrey of
Anjou, the brother of his son's young wife, and called
upon all his chief noblemen to swear that they would
take her for their queen in England and their duchess
in Normandy after his own death.
He did not live much longer. His death was caused,
in the year 1135, by eating too much of the fish called
lamprey, and he was buried in Reading Abbey.


A.D. 1135-1154.
rEITHER English nor Normans had ever been
AT ruled by a woman, and the Empress Maude, as
she still called herself, was a proud, disagreeable, ill-
tempered woman, whom nobody liked. So her cousin,
Stephen de Blois-whose mother, Adela, had been a
daughter of William the Conqueror-tho.ught to obtain
the crown of'England by promising to give everyone
what they wished. It was very wrong of him; for he,
like all the other barons, had sworn that Maude should
reign. But the people knew he was a kindly, gra-

Stories of English History.

cious sort of person, and greatly preferred him to her.
So he was crowned;, and at once all the Norman
barons, whom King. Henry had kept down, began to
think they could have their own way. They built
strong castles, and hired men, with whom they made
war upon each other, robbed one another's tenants,
and, when they saw a peaceable traveller on his way,
they would dash down upon him, drag him into the
castle, take away all the jewels or money he had about
him, or, if he had none, they would shut him up and
torment him till he could get his friends to pay them a
sum to let him loose.
Stephen, who was a kind-hearted man himself, tried to
stop these cruelties; but then the barons turned round
on him, told him he was not their proper king, and
invited Maude to come and be crowned in his stead.
She came very willingly; and her uncle, King David
of Scotland, set out with an army to fight for her;
but all the English in the north came out to drive him
back; and they beat him and his Scots at what they
called the Battle of the Standard, because the English
had a holy standard, which was kept in Durham'
Cathedral. Soon after, Stephen was taken prisoner
at a battle at Lincoln, and there was nothing to pre-
vent Maude from being queen but her own bad tem-


per. She went to Winchester, and was there pro-
claimed; but she would not speak kindly or gently
to the people; and when her friends entreated her to
reply more kindly, she flew into a passion, and it is
even said that she gave a box on the ear to her uncle
-the good King of Scotland, who had come to help
her--for reproving her for her harsh answers. When
Stephen's wife came to beg her to set him free, pro-
mising that he should go away beyond the seas, and
never interfere with her again, she would not listen,
and drove her away. But she soon found how foolish
she had been. Stephen's friends would have been
willing that he should give up trying to be king, but
they could not leave him in prison for life; and so
they went on fighting for him, while more and more of
the English joined them, as they felt how bad and un-
kind a queen they had in the Empress. Indeed, she
was so proud and violent, that her husband would not
come over to England to help her, but staid to govern
Normandy. She was soon in great distress, and had
to flee from Winchester, riding through the midst of
the enemy, and losing almost all her friends by the
way, as they were slain or made prisoners. Her best
helper of all-Earl Robert of Gloucester-was taken
while guarding her; and she could only get to his town

48 Stories of English History.

of Gloucester by lying down in a coffin, with holes for
air, and being thus carried through all the country,
where she had made everyone hate her.
Stephen's wife offered to set the. Earl free, if the
other side would release her husband; and this ex-
change was brought about. Robert then went to
Normandy, to fetch Maude's little son Henry, who was
ten years old, leaving her, as he thought, safe in
Oxford Castle; but no sooner was he gone than
Stephen brought his army, and besieged the castle-
that is, he brought his men round it, tried to climb up
the walls, or beat them down with heavy beams, and
hindered any food from being brought in. Everything
in the castle that could be eaten was gone; but Maude
was determined not to fall into her enemy's hands. It
was the depth of winter; the river below the walls was
frozen over, and snow was on the ground. One dark
night, Maude dressed herself and three of her knights
all in white, and they were, one by one, let down by
ropes from the walls. No one saw them in the snow.
They crossed the river on the ice, walked a great part
of the night, and at last came to Abingdon, where
horses were waiting for them, and thence they rode to
Wallingford, where Maude met her little son.
There was not much more fighting after this.

Sltepken. 49

Stephen kept all the eastern part of the kingdom, and
Henry was brought up at Gloucester till his father sent
for him, to take leave of him before going on a crusade.
Geoffrey died during this crusade. He was fond of
hunting, and was generally seen with a spray of broom
blossom in his cap. The French name for this plant
is genet; and thus his nickname was Plantagenet ;"
and this became a kind of surname to the kings of
Henry, called Fitz-empress-or "the Empress's son"
-came to England again as soon as he was grown up;
but, instead of going to war, he made an agreement
with Stephen. Henry would not attack Stephen any
more, but leave him to reign all the days of his life,
provided Stephen engaged that Henry should reign
instead of his own son after his death. This made
Stephen's son, Eustace, very angry, and he went away
in a rage to raise troops to maintain his cause; but he
died suddenly in the midst of his wild doings, and the
king, his father, did not live long after him, but died in
the year 1154.
Maude had learnt wisdom by her misfortunes. She
had no further desire to be queen, but lived a retired
life in a convent, and was much more respected there
than as queen.


A.D. 1154-1189.
HT-TENRY FITZ-EMPRESS is counted as the
;U first king of the Plantagenet family, also called
the House of Anjou. He was a very clever, brisk,
spirited man, who hardly ever sat down, but was
always going from place to place, and who would let
nobody disobey him. He kept everybody in order,
pulled down almost all the Castles that had been built
in Stephen's time, and would not let the barons illtreat
the people. Indeed, everyone had been so mixed up
together during the wars in Stephen's reign, that the

Henry II., Fitz-eminress,

grandchildren of the Normans who had come over
with William the Conqueror were now quite English
in their feelings. French was, however, chiefly spoken
at court. The king was really a Frenchman, and he
married a French wife, Eleanor, the lady of Aquitaine,
a great dukedom in the South of France; and, as
Henry had already Normandy and Anjou, he really
was Idrd of nearly half France. He ruled England
well; but he was not a good man, for he cared for
power and pleasure more than for what was right; and
sometimes he fell into such rages that he would roll on
the floor, and bite the rushes arid sticks it was strewn
with. He made many laws. One was that, if a priest
or monk was thought to have committed any crime, he
should be tried by the king's judge, instead of by the
bishop. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas a
Becket, did not think it right to consent to this law;
and, though he and the king had once been great
friends, Henry was so angry with him that he was
forced to leave England, and take shelter with the'
King of France. Six years passed by, and the king
pretended to be reconciled to him, but still, when they
met, would not give him the kiss of peace. The arch-
bishop knew that this showed that the king still hated
him; but his flock had been so long without a shep-

Stories of English History.

herd that he thought it his duty to go back to them.
Just after his return, he laid under censure some
persons who had given offence. They went and com-
plained to the king, and Henry exclaimed in a passion,
"Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest ?" Four
of his knights who heard these words set forth for
Canterbury. The archbishop guessed why they were
come; but he would not flee again, and waited for
them by the altar in the cathedral, not even letting the
doors be shut. There they slew him; and thither, in
great grief at the effect of his own words, the king
came-three years later-to show his penitence by
entering barefoot, kneeling before Thomas's tomb, and
causing every priest or monk in turn to strike him
with a rod. We should not exactly call Thomas a
martyr now, but he was thought so then, because he
died for upholding the privileges of the Church, and
he was held to be a very great saint.
While this dispute was going on, the Earl of
Pembroke, called Strongbow, one of Henry's nobles,
had gone over to Ireland, and obtained a little king-
dom there, which he professed to hold of Henry; and
thus the Kings of England became Lords of Ireland,
though for a long time they only had the Province of
Leinster, and were always at war with the Irish around.

Henry II., Fitz-empress. 53

Henry was a most powerful king; but his latter
years were very unhappy. His wife was not a good
woman, and her sons were all disobedient and rebelli-
ous. Once all the three eldest, Henry, Richard, and
Geoffrey, and their mother, ran away together from his
court, and began to make war upon him. He was
much stronger and wiser than they, so he soon forced
them to submit; and he sent Queen Eleanor away,
and shut her up in a strong castle in England as long
as he lived. Her sons were much more fond of her
than of their father, and they thought this usage so.
hard, that they were all the more ready to break out
against him. The eldest son, Henry, was leading an
army against his father, when he was taken ill, and felt
himself dying. He sent an entreaty that his father
would forgive him, and come to see him; but the
young man had so often been false and treacherous,
that Henry feared it was only a trick to get him as a
prisoner, and only sent his ring and a message of
pardon; and young Henry died, pressing the ring to
his lips, and longing to hear his father's voice.
Geoffrey, the third son, was killed by a fall from
his horse, and there were only two left alive, Richard
and John. Just at this time, news came that the
Mahommedans in the Holy Land had won Jerusalem

54 Stories of English History.

back again; and the pope called on all Christian
princes to leave off quarrelling, and go on a crusade to
recover the Holy Sepulchre.
The kings of England and France, young Richard,
and many more, were roused to take the cross; but
while arrangements for going were being made, a fresh
dispute about them arose, and Richard went away in a
rage, got his friends together, and, with King Philip of
France to help him, began to make war. His father
was feeble, and worn out, and could not resist as in
former times. He fell ill, and gave up the struggle,
saying he would grant all they asked. The list of
Richard's friends whom he was to pardon was brought
to him, and the first name he saw in it was that of
John, his youngest son, and his darling, the one who
had never before rebelled. That quite broke his heart,
his illness grew worse, and he talked about an old
eagle being torn to pieces by his eaglets. And so, in
the year 1189, Henry II. died the saddest death, per-
haps, that an old man can die, for his sons had brought
down his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.

I -

_ ~ I


A.D. 1189-1199.
. ICHARD was greatly grieved at his father's
death, and when he came and looked at the
dead body, in Fontevraud Abbey Church, he cried out,
" Alas! it was I who killed him!" But it was too late
now : he could not make up for what he had done, and
he had to think about the Crusade he had promised to
make. Richard was so brave and strong that he was
called Lion-heart; he was very noble and good in some
ways, but his fierce, passionate temper did him a great
deal of harm. He, and King Philip of France, and

56 Stories of English History.

several other great princes, all met in the Island of
Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, and thence sailed for
the Holy Land. The lady whom Richard was to
marry came to meet him in Sicily. Her name was
Berengaria; but, as it was Lent, he did not marry her
then. She went on to the Holy Land in a ship with
his sister Joan, and tried to land in the island of
Cyprus; but the people were inhospitable, and would
not let them come. So Richard, in his great anger,
conquered the isle, and was married to Berengaria
The Mahommedans who held Palestine at that time
were called Saracens, and had -a very brave prince at
their head named Saladin, which means Splendour of
Religion. He was very good, just, upright, and truth-
telling, and his Saracens fought so well, that the Crusa-
ders would hardly have won a bit of ground if the
Lion-heart had not been so brave. At last, they did
take one city on the coast named Acre; and one of the
princes, Leopold, Duke of Austria, set up his banner
on the walls. Richard did not think it ought to be
there: he pulled it up and threw it down into the ditch,
asking the duke how he durst take the honours of a
king. Leopold was sullen and brooded over the insult,
and King Philip thought Richard so overbearing, that

Richard I., Lion-heart.

he could not bear to be in the army with him any
longer. In truth, though Philip had pretended to be
his friend, and had taken his part against his father,
that was really only to hurt King Henry; he hated
Richard quite as much, or more, and only wanted to
get home first in order to do him as much harm as he
could while he was away. So Philip said it was too
hot for him in the Holy Land, and made him ill. He
sailed back to France, while Richard remained, though
the climate really did hurt his health, and he often had
fevers there.* When he was ill, Saladin used to send
him grapes, and do all he could to show how highly he
thought of so brave a man. Once Saladin sent him a
beautiful horse; Richard told the Earl of Salisbury to
try it, and no sooner was the earl mounted, than the
horse ran away with him to the Saracen army. Saladin
was very much vexed, and was afraid it would be taken
for a trick to make the English king prisoner, and he
gave the earl a quieter horse to ride back with.
Richard fought one terrible battle at Joppa with the
Saracens, and then he tried to go on to take Jerusalem;
but he wanted to leave a good strong castle behind him
at Ascalon, and set all his men to work to build it up.
When they grumbled, he worked with them, and asked
the duke to do the same; but Leopold said gruffly that

58 Stories of English History.

he was not a carpenter or a mason. Richard was so
provoked that he struck him a blow, and the duke
went home in a rage.
So many men had gone home, that Richard found
his army was not strong enough to try to take Jerusa-
lem. He was greatly grieved, for he knew it was his
own fault for not having shewn the temper of a Crusa-
der; and when he came to the top of a hill, whence the
Holy City could be seen, he would not look at it, but
turned away, saying, They who are not worthy to win
it are not worthy to behold it." It was of no use for
him to stay with so few men; besides, tidings came from
home that King Philip and his own brother, John, were
doing all the mischief they could. So he made a peace
for three years between the Saracens and Christians,
hoping to come back again after that to rescue Jerusa-
lem. But on his way home there were terrible storms;
his ships were scattered, and his own ship was driven up
into the Adriatic Sea, where he was robbed by pirates,
or sea robbers, and then was ship-wrecked. There was
no way for him to get home but through the lands of
Leopold of Austria; so he pretended to be a merchant,
and set out attended only by a boy. He fell ill at a
little inn, and while he was in bed the boy went into
the kitchen with the king's glove in his belt. It was

Richard I., Lion-heart.

an embroidered glove, such as merchants never used,
and people asked questions, and guessed that the boy's
master must be some great man. The Duke of Aus-
tria heard of it, sent soldiers to take him, and shut him
up as a prisoner in one of his castles Afterwards, the'
duke gave him up for a large sum of money to the
Emperor of Germany. All this time Richard's wife
and mother had been in great sorrow and fear, trying
to find out what had become of him. It is said that he
was found at last by his friend, the minstrel Blondel.
A minstrel was a person who made verses and sung
them. Many of the nobles and knights in Queen
Eleanor's Duchy of Aquitaine were minstrels-and
Richard was a very good, one himself, and amused
himself in his captivity by making verses. This is cer-
tainly true-though I cannot answer for it that the
pretty story is true, which says that Blondel sung at all
the castle courts in Germany, till he heard his master's
voice take up and reply to his song.
The Queens, Eleanor and Berengaria, raised a ran-
som-that is, a sum of money to buy his freedom-
though his brother John tried to prevent her, and the
King of France did his best to hinder the emperor
from releasing him; but the Pope insisted that the
brave crusader should be set at liberty: and Richard

60 Stories of English History.

came home, after a year and a-half of captivity. He
freely forgave John for all the mischief he had done
or tried to do, though he thought so ill of him as to
say, I wish I may forget John's injuries to me as soon
as he will forget my pardon of him."
Richard only lived two years after he came back.
He was beseiging a castle in Aquitaine, where there
was some treasure that he thought was unlawfully kept
from him, when he was struck in the shoulder by a
bolt from a cross-bow, and the surgeons treated it so
unskilfully that in a few days he died. The man who
had shot the bolt was made prisoner, but the Lion-
heart's last act was to command that no -harm should
be done to him. The soldiers, however, in their grief
and rage for the king, did put him to death in a cruel
Richard desired to be buried at the feet of his father,
in Fontevraud Abbey, where he had once bewailed his
undutiful conduct, and now wished his body for ever to
lie in penitence. The figures, in stone, of the father,
mother, and son, who quarrelled so much in life, all
lie on one monument now, and with them Richard's
youngest sister, Joan, who died nearly at the same time
as he died, partly of grief for him.


A.D. II99-1216.
A S a kind of joke, John, King Henry's youngest
son, had been called Lackland, because he had
nothing when his brothers each had some great duke-
dom. The name suited him only too well before the
end of his life. The English made him king at once.
They always did take a grown-up man for their king, if
the last king's son was but a child. Richard had never
had any children, but his brother Geoffrey, who was
older than John, had left a son named Arthur, who was
about twelve years old, and who was rightly the Duke

62 Stories of English History.

of Normandy and Count of Anjou. King Philip, who
was always glad to vex whoever was king of England,
took Arthur under his protection, and promised to get
Normandy out of John's hands. However, John had a
meeting with him and persuaded him to desert Arthur,
and marry his son Louis to John's own niece, Blanche,
who had a chance of being queen of part of Spain.
.Still Arthur lived at the French King's court, and
when he was sixteen years old, Philip helped him to
raise an army and go to try his fortune against his
uncle. He laid siege to Mirabeau, a town where his
grandmother, Queen Eleanor, was living. John, who
was then in Normandy, hurried to her rescue, beat
Arthur's army, made him prisoner and carried him off,
first to Rouen, and then to the strong castle of Falaise.
Nobody quite knows what was done to him there. The
governor, Hubert de Burgh, once found him fighting
hard, though with no .weapon but a stool, to defend
himself from some ruffians who had been sent to put
out his eyes.s Hubert saved him from these men, but
shortly after this good man was sent elsewhere by the
king, and John came himself to Falaise. Arthur was
never seen alive again, and it is believed that John
took him out in a boat in the river at night, stabbed
him with his own hand, and threw his body into the

7okn, Lackland. 63

river. There was, any way, no doubt that John was
guilty of his nephew's death, and he was fully known
to be one of the most selfish and cruel men who ever
lived; and so lazy, that he let Philip take Normandy
from him, without stirring a finger to save the grand
old dukedom of his forefathers; so that nothing is left
of it to us now but the four little islands, Guernsey,
Jersey, Alderney, and Sark.
Matters became much worse in England, when he
quarrelled with the Pope, whose name was Innocent,
about who should be archbishop of Canterbury. The
Pope wanted a man named Stephen Langton to be
archbishop, but the king swore he should never come
into the. kingdom. Then the Pope punished the king-
dom, by forbidding all church services in all parish
churches. This was termed putting the kingdom under
an interdict. John was not much distressed by this,
though his people were; but when he found that
Innocent was stirring up the King of France to come
to attack him, he thought it time-to make his peace
with the Pope. So he not only consented to receive
Stephen Langton, but he even knelt down before the
Pope's legate, or messenger, and took off his crown,
giving it up to the legate, in token that he only held
the kingdom from the Pope. It was two or three days

Stories of English History.

before it was given back to him; and the Pope held
himself to be lord of England, and made the king and
people pay him money whenever he demanded it.
All this time John's cruelty and savageness were
making the whole kingdom miserable; and at last the
great barons could bear it no longer. They met toge-
ther and agreed that they would make John swear to
govern by the good old English laws that had pre-
vailed before the Normans came. The difficulty was to
be sure of what these laws were, for most of the copies
of them had been lost. However, Archbishop Langton
and some of the wisest of the barons put together a
set of laws-some copied, some recollected, some old,
some new-but all such as to give the barons some
control of the king, and hinder him from getting sav-
age soldiers together to frighten people into doing
whatever he chose to make them.- These laws they
called Magna Carta, or the great charter; and they
all came in armour, and took John by surprise at
Windsor. He came to meet them in a meadow named
Runnymede, on the bank of the Thames, and there
they forced him to sign the charter, for which all Eng-
lishmen are grateful to them.
But he did not mean to keep it! No, not he! He
had one of his father's fits of rage when he got back to

7ohn, Lackland.

Windsor Castle-he gnawed the sticks for rage, and
swore he was no king. Then he sent for more of the
fierce soldiers, who went about in bands ready to be
hired, and prepared to take vengeance on the barons.
They found themselves not strong enough to make
head against him; so they invited Louis, the son of
Philip of France and husband of John's niece, to come
and be their king. He came, and was received in Lon-
don, while John and his bands of soldiers were roam-
ing about the eastern counties, wasting and burning
everywhere till they came to the Wash-that curious
bay between Lincolnshire and Norfolk, where so
many rivers run into the sea. There is a safe way
across the sands in this bay when the tide is low, but
when it is coming in and meets the rivers, the waters
rise suddenly into a flood. So it happened to King
John; he did get out himself, but all the carts with his
goods and treasures were lost, and many of his men.
He was full of rage and grief, but he went on to the
abbey where he meant to sleep. He supped on
peaches and new ale, and soon after became very ill.
He died in a few days, a miserable, disgraced man,
with half his people fighting against him and London
in the hands of his worst enemy.


A.D. 1216-1272.
K ING John left two little sons, Henry and Richard,
U, nine and seven years old, and all the English
barons felt that they would rather have Henry as their
king than the French Louis, whom they had only cal-
led in because John was such a wretch. So when little
Henry had been crowned at Gloucester, with his
mother's bracelet, swearing to rule according to Magna
Carta, and good Hubert de Burgh undertook to
govern for him, one baron after another came back to
him. Louis was beaten in a battle at Lincoln; and

Henry III., of Winchester.

when his wife sent him more troops, Hubert de Burgh
got ships together and sunk many vessels, and drove
the others back in the Straits of Dover; so that Louis
was'forced to go home and leave England in peace.
Henry must have been too young to understand
about Magna Carta when he swore to it, but it was
the trouble of all his long reign to get him to observe
it. It was not that he was wicked like his father-for
he was very religious and kind-hearted-but he was
too good-natured, and never could say No to anybody.
Bad advisers got about him when he grew up, and per-
suaded him to let them take good Hubert de Burgh
and imprison him. When they seized him, they took
him to a blacksmith to have chains put on his feet, but
the smith said he would never forge chains for the
man who had saved his country from the French. He
was afterwards set free, and died in peace and honor.
Henry was a builder of beautiful churches. West-
minster Abbey, as it is now, was one. And he was so
charitable to the poor that, when he had his children
weighed, he gave their weight in gold and silver in
alms. But he gave to everyone who asked, and so
always wanted money; and sometimes his men could
get nothing for the king and queen to eat, but by going
and taking sheep and poultry from the poor farmers

68 Stories of English History.

around; so that things were nearly as bad as under
William Rufus-because the king was so foolishly
good-natured. The Pope was always sending for
money, too; and the king tried to raise it in ways that,
according to Magna Carta, he had sworn not to do.
His foreign friends told him that if he minded Magna
Carta he would be a poor creature-not like a king
who might do all he pleased; and whenever he list-
ened to them he broke the laws of Magna Carta.
Then, when his barons complained and frightened him,
he swore again to keep them; so that nobody could
trust him, and his weakness was almost as bad for the
kingdom as John's wickedness. When they could bear
it no longer, the barons all met him at the council
which was called the Parliament, from a French word
meaning talk. This time they came in armour, bring-
ing all their fighting men, and declared that he had
broken his word so often that they should appoint
some of their own number to watch him, and hinder
his doing anything against the 'laws he had sworn to
observe, or from getting money from the people with-
out their consent. He was very angry; but he was in
their power, and had to submit to swear that so it
should be; and Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester,
who had married his sister, was appointed among the

Henry Ill., of Winchester. 69

lords who were to keep watch over him. Henry could
not bear this; he felt himself to be less than ever a
king, and tried to, break loose. He had never cared for
his promises; but his brave son Edward, who was now
grown up, cared a great deal: and they put the ques-
tion to Louis, King of France, whether the king was
bound by the oath he had made to be under Montfort
and his council. This Louis was son to the one who
had been driven back by Hubert de Burgh. He was
one of the best men and kings that ever lived, and he
tried to judge rightly-; but he scarcely thought how
much provocation Henry had given, when he said that
subjects had no right to frighten their king, and so that
Henry and Edward were not obliged to keep the oath.
Thereupon they got an army together, and so did
Simon de Montfort and the barons; and they met at a
place called Lewes, in Sussex. Edward got the ad-
vantage at first, and galloped away, driving his ene-
mies before him; but when he turned round and came
back, he found that Simon de Montfort had beaten the
rest of the army, and made his father and uncle
Richard prisoners. Indeed the barons threatened to
cut off Richard's head if Edward went on fighting with
them; and to save his uncle's life he, too, gave himself
up to them.

Stories of English History.

Simon de Montfort now governed all the kingdom.
He still called Henry king, but did not let him do any-
thing, and watched him closely that he might not get
away; and Edward was kept a prisoner-first in one
castle, then in another. Simon was a good and high-
minded man himself, who only wanted to do what was
best for everyone; but he had a family of proud and
overbearing sons, who treated all who came in their
way so ill, that most of the barons quarrelled with
them. One of these barons sent Edward a beautiful
horse; and one day when he was riding out from Here-
ford Castle with his keepers, he proposed to them to
ride races, while he was to look on and decide which
was the swiftest. Thus they all tired out their horses,
and as soon as he saw that they could hardly get them
along, .Edward spurred his own fresh horse, and gal-
loped off to meet the friends who were waiting for him.
All who were discontented with the Montforts joined
him, and he soon had a large army. He marched
against Montfort,. and met him at Evesham. The
poor old king was in Montfort's army, and in the battle
was thrown down, and would have been killed if he
had not called out-" Save me, save me, I am Henry
of Winchester." His son heard the call, and, rushing
to his side, carried him to a place of safety. His army

Henry III., of Winchester.

was much the strongest, and Montfort had known from
the first that there was no hope for him. God have
mercy on our souls, for our bodies are Sir Edward's,"
he had said; and he died bravely on the field of battle.
Edward brought his father back to reign in all
honor, but he took the whole management of the
kingdom, and soon set things in order again-taking
care that Magna Carta should be properly observed.
When everything was peaceful at home, he set out
upon a Crusade with the good King of France, and
while he was gone his father died, after a reign of
fifty-six years. There were only three English kings
who reigned more than fifty years, and these are easy
to remember, as each was the third of his name-
Henry III., Edward III., and George III. In the reign
of Henry III. the custom of having Parliaments was
established, and the king was prevented from getting
money from the people unless the Parliament granted
it. The Parliament has, ever since, been made up of
great lords, who are born to it : and, besides them, of
men chosen by the people in the counties and towns,
to speak and decide for them. The clergy have a meet-
ing of their own called Convocation; and these three
-Clergy, Lords, and Commons-are called the Three
Estates of the Realm.



A.D. 1272-1307.
T HE son of Henry III. returned from the Holy
& Land to be one of our noblest, best, and wisest
kings. Edward I.-called Longshanks in a kind of
joke, because he was the tallest man in the Court-was
very grand-looking and handsome; and could leap, run,
ride, and fight in his heavy armour better than anyone
else. He was brave, just, and affectionate; and his
sweet wife, Eleanor of Castille, was warmly loved by
him and all the nation. He built as many churches
and was as charitable as his father, but he was much

.-I Vr."

Edward I., Longshanks.

more careful only to make good men bishops, and he
allowed no wasting or idling. He faithfully obeyed
Magna Carta, and made everyone else obey the law
-indeed many good laws and customs have -begun
from his time. Order was the great thing he cared
for, and under him the English grew prosperous and
happy, when nobody was allowed to rob them.
The Welsh were, however, terrible robbers. You
remember that they are the remains of the old Britons,
who used to have all Britain. They had never left off
thinking they had a right to it, and coming down out
of their mountains to burn the houses and steal the
cattle of the Saxons, as they still called the English.
Edward tried to make friends with their princes-
Llewellyn and David-and to make them keep their
people in order. He gave David lands in England, and
let Llewellyn marry his cousin, Eleanor de Montfort.
But they broke their promises shamefully, and did such
savage things to the English on their borders that he
was forced to put a stop to it, and went to war. David
was made prisoner, and put to death as a traitor ; and
Llewellyn was met by some soldiers near the bridge of
Builth and killed, without their knowing who he was.
Edward had, in the meantime, conquered most of the
country; and he told the Welsh chiefs that, if they

74 Stories of English History.

would come and meet him at Caernarvon Castle, he
would give them a prince who had been born in their
country-had never spoken a word of any language but
theirs.- They all came, and the king came down to
them with his own little baby son in his arms, who had
lately been born in Caernarvon Castle, and, of course,
had never spoken any language at all. The Welsh
were obliged to accept him; and he had a Welsh nurse,
that the first words he spoke might be Welsh. They
thought he would have been altogether theirs, as he
then had an elder brother; but in a year or two the
oldest boy died; and, ever since that time, the eldest
son of the King of England has always been Prince of
There was a plan for the little Prince Edward of
Caernarvon being married to a little girl, who was
grand-daughter to the King of Scotland, and would
be Queen of Scotland herself-and this would have led
to the whole island being under one king-but, unfor-
tunately, the little maiden died. It was so hard to de-
cide who ought to reign, out of all her cousins, that
they asked King Edward to choose among them-
since everyone knew that a great piece of Scotland be-
longed to him as over-lord, just as his own dukedom of
Aquitaine belonged to the King of France over him;

Edward I., Longshanks.

and the Kings of Scotland always used to pay homage
to those of England for it.
Edward chose John Balliol, the one who had the
best right; but he made him understand that, as over-
lord, he meant to see that as good order was kept in
Scotland as in England. Now, the English kings had
never meddled with Scottish affairs before, and the
Scots were furious at finding that he did so. They said
it was insulting them and their king : and poor Balliol
did not know what to do among them,. but let them
defy Edward in his name. This brought Edward and
his army to Scotland. The strong places were taken
and filled with English soldiers, and Balliol was made
prisoner, adjudged to have rebelled against his lord and
forfeited his kingdom, and was sent away to France.
Edward thought it would be much better for the
whole country to join Scotland to England, and rule it
himself. And so, no doubt, it would have been; but
many of the Scots were not willing,-and in spite of all
the care he could take, the soldiers who guarded his
castles often behaved shamefully to the people round
them. One gentleman, named William Wallace, whose
home had been broken up by some soldiers, fled to the
woods and hills, and drew so many Scots round him
that he had quite an army. There was a great fight

Stories of English History.

at the Bridge of Stirling; the English governors were
beaten, and Wallace led his men over the Border into
Northumberland, where they plundered and burnt
wherever they went, in revenge for what had been
done in Scotland.
Edward gathered his forces and came to Scotland.
The army that Wallace had drawn together could not
stand before him, but was defeated at Falkirk, and
Wallace had to take to the woods. Edward promised
pardon to all who would submit,-and almost all did;
but Wallace still lurked in the hills, till one of his own
countrymen betrayed him to the English, when he was
sent to London, and put to death.
All seemed quieted, and English garrisons-that is,
guarding soldiers-were in all the Scottish towns and
castles, when, suddenly, Robert Bruce, one of the half
English, half Scottish nobles between whom Edward
had judged, ran away from the English court, with his
horse's shoes put on backwards. The next thing that
was heard of him was, that he had quarrelled with one
of his cousins in the church at Dumfries, and stabbed
him to the heart, and then had gone to Scone and had
been crowned King of Scotland.
Edward was bitterly angry now. He sent on an
army to deal unsparingly with the rising, and set out

Edward I., Longshanks.

to follow with his son, now grown to man's estate.
Crueller things than he had ever allowed before were
done to the places where Robert Bruce had been ac-
knowledged as king, and his friends were hung as trai-
tors wherever they were found; but Bruce himself could
not be caught. He was living a wild life among the
lakes and hills; and Edward, who was an old man now,
had been taken so ill at Carlisle, that he could not
come on to keep his own strict rule among his men.
All the winter he lay sick there; and in the spring he
heard that Bruce, whom he thought quite crushed, had
suddenly burst upon the English, defeated them, and
was gathering strength every day.
Edward put on his armour and set out for Scotland;
but at Burgh-on-the-Sands his illness came on again,
and he died there, at seventy years old.
He.was buried in Westminster Abbey, under a great
block of stone, and the inscription on it only says,
" Edward I., I308-The Hammer of the Scots-Keep
Treaties." His good wife, Queen Eleanor, had. died
many years before him, and was also buried at West-
minster. All the way from Grantham, in Lincolnshire
-where she died-to London, Edward set up a beau-
tiful stone cross wherever her body rested -for the night
-fifteen of them-but only three are left now.



A.D. 1307-1327.
TU NLIKE his father in everything was the young
I Edward, who was just come to manhood when
he became king. Nay, he never did come to manhood
in mind, for he was as silly and easily led as his grand-
father, Henry III., had been. He had a friend-a gay,
handsome, thoughtless, careless young man-named
Piers Gaveston, who had often led him into mischief.
His father had banished this dangerous companion,
and forbidden, under pain of his heaviest displeasure,
the two young men from ever meeting again; but the

Edward II., of Caernarvon.

moment the old king was dead, Edward turned back
from Scotland, where he was so much wanted, and sent
for Piers Gaveston again. At the same time his bride
arrived-Isabel, daughter to the King of France, a
beautiful girl-and there was a splendid wedding feast;
but the king and Gaveston were both so vain and con-
ceited, that they cared more about their own beauty
and fine dress than the young queen's, and she found
herself quite neglected. The nobles, too, were angered
at the airs that Gaveston gave himself; he not only
dressed splendidly, had a huge train of servants, and
managed the king as he pleased, but he was very inso-
lent to them, and gave them nick-names. He called
the king's cousin, the Earl -of Lancaster, the old hog;"
the Earl of Pembroke, "Joseph, the Jew;" and the
Earl of Warwick, "the black dog." Meantime, the king
and he were wasting the treasury, and doing harm of
all kinds, till the barons gathered together and forced
the king to send his favorite into banishment. Gaves-
ton went, but he soon came back again and joined the
king, who was at last setting out for Scotland.
The nobles, however, would not endure his return.
They seized him, brought him to Warwick Castle, and
there held a kind of Court, which could hardly be
called of Justice, for they had no right at all to sentence

Stories of Englisk History.

him. He spoke them fair now, and begged hard for
his life;, but they could not forget the names he had
called them, and he was beheaded on Blacklow Hill.
Edward was full of grief and anger for the cruel
death of his friend; but he was forced to keep it out of
sight, for all the barons were coming round him for the
Scottish war. While he had been wasting his time,
Robert Bruce had obtained every strong place in Scot-
land, except Stirling Castle, and there the English
governor had promised to yield, if succour did not come
from England within a year and a day.
The year was almost over when Edward came into
Scotland with a fine army of English, Welsh, and Gas-
cons from Aquitaine; but Robert Bruce was a great
and able general, and he was no general at all; so
when the armies met at Bannockburn, under the walls
of Stirling, the English were worse beaten than ever
they had been anywhere else, except at Hastings.
Edward was obliged to flee away to England, and
though Bruce was never owned by the English to be
King of Scotland, there he really reigned, having driven
every Englishman away, and taken all the towns and
castles. Indeed, the English had grown so much afraid
of the Scots, that a hundred would flee at sight of two.
The king comforted himself with a new friend-

Edward II., of Caernarvon. 8i

Hugh le Despencer-who, with his old father, had his
own way, just like Gaveston. Again the barons rose,
and required that they should be banished. They went,
but the Earl of Lancaster carried his turbulence too far,
and, when he heard that the father had come back,
raised an army, and was even found to have asked
Robert Bruce to help him against his own king. This
made the other barons so angry that they joined the
king against him, and he was made prisoner and put to
death for making war on the king, and making friends
with the enemies of the country.
Edward had his Le Despencers back again, and very
discontented the sight made the whole country-and
especially the queen, whom he had always neglected,
though she now had four children. He had never tried
to gain her love, and she hated him more and more.
There was some danger of a quarrel with her brother,
the King of France, and she offered to go with her son
Edward, now about fourteen, and settle it. But this
was only an excuse. She went about to the princes
, abroad, telling them how ill she was used by her hus-
band, and asking for help. A good many knights be-
lieved and pitied her, and came with her to England to
help. All the English who hated the Le Despencers
joined her, and she led the young prince against his

82 Stories of English History.

father. Edward and his friends were hunted, across
into Wales; but they were tracked out one by one, and
the Despencers were put to a cruel death, though
Edward gave himself up in hopes of saving them.
The queen and her friends made him own that he
did not deserve to reign, and would give up the crown
to his son. Then they kept him in prison, taking him
from one castle to another, in great misery. The rude
soldiers of his guard mocked him and crowned him
with hay, and gave him dirty ditch water to shave with;
and when they found he was too strong and healthy to
die only of bad food and damp lodging, they murdered
him one night in Berkeley Castle. He lies buried in
Gloucester Cathedral, not far from that other foolish
and unfortunate prince, Robert of Normandy, He had
reigned twenty years, and was dethroned in 1327.
The queen then wanted to get rid of Edmund, Earl
of Kent, the poor king's youngest brother. So a report
was spread that Edward was alive, and Edmund was
allowed to peep into a dark prison room, where he saw
a man who he thought was his brother. He tried to stir.
up friends to set the king free; but this was called rebel-
ling, and he was taken and beheaded at Winchester by a
criminal condemned to die, for it was such a wicked sen-
tence that nobody else could be found to carry it out.


A.D. 1327-1377.
TFOR about three years, the cruel Queen Isabel and
J her friends managed all the country; but as soon
as her son-Edward III., who had been crowned in-
stead of his father-understood how wicked she had
been, and was strong enough to deal with her party, he
-made them prisoners, put the worst of them to death,
and kept the queen shut up in a castle as long as she
lived. He had a very good queen of his own, named
Philippa, who brought cloth-workers over from her own
country, Hainault (now part of Belgium), to teach the

84 Stories of English History.

English their trade, and thus .began to render England
the chief country in the world for wool and cloth.
Queen Isabel, Edward's mother, had, you remember,
been daughter of the King of France. All her three
brothers died without leaving a son, and their cousin,
whose name was Philip, began to reign in their stead.
Edward, however, fancied that the crown of France
properly belonged to him, in right of his mother; but
he did not stir about it at once, and, perhaps, never
would have done so at all, but for two things. One
was, that the King of France, Philip VI., had been so
foolish as to fancy that one of his lords, named Robert
of Artois, had been bewitching him-by sticking pins
into a wax figure and roasting it before a fire. So this
Robert was driven out of France, and, coming to Eng-
land, stirred Edward up to go and overthrow Philip.
The other was, that the English barons had grown so
restless and troublesome, that they would not stay
peacefully at home and mind their own estates;-but
if they had not wars abroad, they always gave the king
trouble at home; and Edward liked better that they
should fight for him than against him. So he called
himself King of France and England, and began a war
which lasted-with short spaces of quiet -fr full o100
years, and only ended in the time of the great grand-

Edward III.

children of the men who entered upon it. There was one
great sea-fight off Sluys, when the king sat in his ship,
in a black velvet dress, and gained a great victory; but
it was a good while before there was any great battle by
land-so long, that the king's eldest son, Edward Prince
of Wales, was sixteen years old. He is generally called
the Black Prince-no one quite knows why, for his
hair, like that of all these old kings of ours, was quite
light, and his eyes were blue. A He was such a spirited
young soldier, that when the French army under King
Philip came in sight of the English one, near the vil-
lageof Crecy, King Edward said he should have the
honor of the day, and stood under a windmill on a hill
watching the fight, while the prince led the English
army. He gained a very great victory, and in the
evening came and knelt- before his father, saying the
praise was not his own but the king's, who had ordered
all so wisely. Afterwards, while Philip had fled away,
Edward besieged Calais, the town just opposite to
Dover. The inhabitants were very brave, and held
out for a long time; and while Edward was absent, the
Scots under David, the son of Robert Bruce, came over
the Border, and began to burn and plunder in North-
umberland. However, Philippa could be brave in time
of need. She did not send for her husband, but called

86 Stories of English History.

an army together, and the Scots were so well beaten
at Neville's Cross, that their king, David himself, was
obliged to give himself up to an English squire. The
man would not let the queen have his prisoner, but
rode day and night to Dover, and then crossed to
Calais to tell the king, who bade him put King David
into Queen Philippa's keeping. She came herself to
the camp, just as the brave men of Calais had been
starved out; and Edward had said he would only con-
sent not to burn the town- down, if six of the chief
townsmen would bring him the keys of the gates, kneel-
ing, with sackcloth on, and halters round their necks,
ready to be hung. Queen Philippa wept when she saw
them, and begged that they might be spared; and when
the king granted them to her she had them led away,
and gave each a good dinner and a fresh suit of clothes.
The king, however, turned all the French people out
of Calais, and filled it with English, and it remained
quite an English town for more than 200 years.
King Philip VI. of France died, and his son John
became king, while still the war went on. The Black
Prince and John had a terrible battle at a place called
Poitiers, and the English gained another great victory.
King John and one of his sons were made prisoners,
but when they were brought to the tent where the

Edward III. 87

Black Prince was to sup, he made them sit down at
the table before him, and waited on them as if they had
been his guests instead of his prisoners.^, He did all he
could to prevent captivity being a pain to them; and
when he brought them to London, he gave John a tall
white horse to ride, and only rode a small pony himself
by his side. There were two kings prisoners in the
Tower of London at once, and they were treated as if
they were visitors and friends. John was allowed to
go home, provided he would pay a ransom by degrees,
as he could get the money together; and, in the mean-
time, his two eldest sons were to be kept at Calais in
his stead. But they would not stay at Calais, and
King John could rot obtain the sum for his ransom;
so, rather than cheat King Edward, he went back to
his prison in England again. He died soon after; and
his son Charles was a cleverer and wiser man, who
knew it was better not to fight battles with the English,
but made a truce, or short peace.
Prince Edward governed that part of the south of
France that belonged to his father; but he went on
a foolish expedition into Spain, to help a very bad king
whom his subjects had driven out, and there caught an
illness from. which he never quite recovered. While he
was ill King Charles began the war again; and, though

88 Slories of English Hislory.

there was no battle, he tormented the English, and took
the castles and towns they held. The Black Prince
tried to fight, but he was too weak and ill to do much,
and was obliged to go home, and leave the government
to his brother John, Duke of Lancaster. He lived
about six years after he came home, and then died,
to the great sorrow of everyone. His father, King
Edward, was now too old and feeble to attend to the
affairs of the country. Queen Philippa was dead, too,
and as no one took proper care of the poor old king, he
fell into the hands of bad servants, who made them-
selves rich and neglected him. When, at length, he
lay dying, they stole the ring off his finger before he
had breathed his last, and left him all alone, with the
doors open, till a priest came by, and stayed and prayed
by him till his last moment. He had reigned exactly
fifty years. You had better learn and remember the
names of his sons, as you will hear more about some of
them. They were Edward, Lionel, John, Edmund,
and Thomas. Edward was Prince of Wales; Lionel,
Duke of Clarence; John, Duke of Lancaster; Edmund,
Duke of York; and Thomas, Duke of Gloucester.
Edward and Lionel both died before their father.
Edward had left a son named Richard; Lionel had left
a daughter named Philippa.


A.D. 1377-1399.
THESE were not very good times in England. The
new king, Richard, was only eleven years old, and
his three uncles did not care much for his good or the
good of the nation. There was not much fighting going
on in France, but for the little there was a great deal
of money was wanting, and the great lords were apt to
be very hard upon the poor people on their estates.
They would not let them be taught to read; and if a
poor man who belonged to an estate went away to a
town, his lord could have him .brought back to his old


90 Stories of English History.

home. Any tax, too, fell more heavily on the poor
than the rich. One tax, especially, called the poll tax,
which was made when Richard was sixteen, vexed
them greatly. Everyone above fifteen years old had
to pay fourpence, and the collectors were often very
rude and insolent. A man named Wat Tyler, in Kent,
was so angry, with a rude collector as to strike him
dead. All the villagers came together with sticks, and
scythes, and flails; and Wat Tyler told them they
would all go to London, and tell the king how his poor
commons were treated. More people and more joined
them on the way, and an immense multitude of wild-
looking men came pouring into London, where the
Lord Mayor and Aldermen were taken by surprise, and
could do nothing to stop them. They did not do much
harm then; they lay on the grass all night round the
Tower, and said they wanted to speak 'to the king. In
the morning he came down to his barge, and meant to
have spoken to them; but his people, seeing such a
host of wild men, took fright, and carried him back
again. He went out again the next day on horseback;
but while he was speaking to some of them, the worst
of them broke into the Tower, where they seized Arch-
bishop Simon of Canterbury, and fancying he was one
of the king's bad advisers, they cut off his head.

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