Edward "Longshanks" I, King of England

Edward “Longshanks” I, King of England


Edward “Longshanks” I, King of England was born 17/18 June 1239, eldest son of Henry III, King of England (1207-1272) and Eléonore de Provence (1223- ), in Westminster Palace, London.


Edward I, King of England
Edward “Longshanks” I, King of England

Edward was created Earl of Chester and granted the Dukedom of Gascony on 14 February 1254, after arriving in France.

Leonore de Castile
Leonore de Castile

Edward’s father arranged his  marriage to Infanta doña Leonor de Castile y León (1240-1290) with an eye to preventing the barons obtaining help for their rebellion from Castile. What started as an arranged marriage on 18 October 1254 at Abbey of Las Huelgas, Burgos, Castile, Spain, later became a love match. Leonore was born to Infante don Fernando, III, de Castilla y León, King of Castile, Toledo and Extremadura from his second marriage to Jeanne, de Dammartin, Comtesse de Ponthieu.

Their children were:

Eleonore (1264-1297)
Joan, of England ( -1265)
John, of England ( – )
Henry, of England (1267-1274)
Julian (1271-1271)
Katherine of England (1271- )
Joan D’Acre, of England ( -1307)
Alfonso, Earl of Chester (1273-1284)
Margaret (1275-1318)
Berengaria, of England (1276-1276)
Mary, of England (1278-1332)
Alice ( – )
Isabella (1279-1279)
Elizabeth (1282-1316)
Edward, II, King of England (1284-1327)
Beatrice (1286-1286)
Blanche (1290- )

Edward initially supported the rebellious barons under Simon, de Montfort, Earl of Leicester (26th great grandfather to Mark). He later changed to support his father, served and was taken prisoner at the Battle of Lewes on 14 May 1264 by Simon de Montfort’s rebel Barons, but escaped after only 12 days on 16 May 1264. With the objective of making peace and ending the war, Edward gave Simon de Montfort the Earldom of Chester on 24 Dec 1264. The Earldom of Chester was restored to Edward after he killed Simon de Montfort at the battle of Evesham, on 4 Aug 1265.

Although originally planning to join Louis IX, King of France (27th great grandfather to Mark) in Tunisia in the summer of 1270, his plans were changed upon hearing the news of the King’s death when he arrived in Africa. After spending the winter with King Charles in Sicily, he sailed for Acre, Palestine,  to join the seventh crusade, landing on 9 May 1271.

Lacking resources against the Mameluk Sultan Baibars, he and the Sultan signed a peace agreement at Caesarea on 22 May 1272.

In an assassination attempt, Edward I was stabbed him with a poisoned dagger. Although he survived, the effects of the poison left him incapacitated until he left Acre to return to England 22 September 1272. He succeeded his father as Edward I, ‘Longshanks’, King of England while stopped in Sicily during his return from the Crusade.

He returned to England just prior to being crowned King of England on 19 Aug 1274 at Westminster Abbey in London.
Edward turned out to be a strong king and managed to increase the power and influence of the crown at a high cost to the Barons.

Caernarvon Castle
Caernarvon Castle

In 1277, Edward initiated a war with Llewelyn ap Gruffydd (25th great grandfather to Mark), ruler of Wales, and husband to Eleanor de Montfort, the daughter of Simon de Montfort, after Llewelyn he refused to submit to the English crown. As a result, the dominions of Llewelyn were halved. In 1282, Llewelyn’s brother David rebelled. Llewelyn joined him in the revolt but was soon killed in a small foray. With no leader remaining, Wales became annexed by England in 1284, and soon after, Edward saw several large castles built including Caernarvon, Harlech and Conway, to prevent any further revolt. Edward resided in Caernarvon Castle, Caernarvonshire, Wales, where his own son Edward II, future King of England, was born in 1284.

Edward Longshanks I presiding over parliament.
Edward I presiding over parliament.

In 1290, the same year Edward I lost his wife Leonore, the royal line of Scotland ended, and Edward agreed to arbitrate the negotiations with claimants to the throne of Scotland on condition that he was recognized as overlord of Scotland. In the end, the Scots acted against him, allying with France. To support his efforts to resolve the situations in Scotland and Wales, Edward formed the ‘Model Parliament’, the forerunner to following parliaments. Buoyed by this support, Edward was able to quell the Welsh rebellion in the field, conquering northwest Wales and ending the rule of the native Princes of Wales, naming his own son Prince of Wales. After his invasion and conquest of Scotland in 1296, he named himself King of Scotland and began a rather brutal, ruthless rule. In 1298, he was again called to invade Scotland to suppress a new revolt under Sir Walliam Wallace. Although victorious at the Battle of Falkirk, he was unable to win the war.

In 1299, peace was made with France and Edward married Marguerite de France (1275-1318), daughter of Philippe III, King of France (son to Louis IX above, and 26th great grandfather to Mark) and his second wife Marie de Brabant, on 8/9 September 1299 at Canterbury Cathedral.

Free of conflict with France, he again attempted to conquer Scotland in 1303. Sir William Wallace was captured and executed in 1305, only for another revolt to start up, this time successful and culminating in Robert Bruce’s coronation as King of Scotland.

Edward once again sought to subdue the Scottish, but before he could, he died 8 July 1307 near Carlisle and was buried 28 October 1307 at Westminster Abbey in London.

John Fines, author of “Who’s Who in the Middle Ages” describes Edward Longshanks I, King of England as:

Son and father of weak and ineffectual kings, Edward I had many fine qualities which seem to make nonsence of heredity. He was tall and strong, a fine horseman and a doughty warrior. A great leader of men, he was also able to lead to success. He was interested in government and law in a very genuine way. As a personality he was pious, but easily provoked to rage and often vindictive. He was fond of games—so passionately did he love his hawks that when they were ill he sent money to shrines to pray for their recovery. He was generous to the poor, and often a gay companion: he played chess, and loved music and acrobats; once he bet his laundress Matilda that she couldn’t ride his charger, and she won! Every Easter Monday he paid ransom to his maids if they found him in bed. He loved his two wives, and fussed over their health and that of his children with a pathetic concern—sometimes threatening the doctor with what would happen to him if his patient did not recover. His people feared, respected and remembered him.


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