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King Edward I

Edward I, b. June 17, 1239, d. July 7, 1307, king of England (1272-1307) completed the conquest of Wales and temporarily subdued Scotland. He was the eldest son of HENRY III. In 1254 he was made duke of Gascony and married Eleanor of Castile (d. 1290). In contrast to his father, Edward showed masterfulness in the disputes with the English barons following the governmental reforms instituted by the Provisions of Oxford (1258). He supported Simon de MONTFORT in 1259 but later changed sides. He fought for the king at the Battle of Lewes (1264) and himself defeated Montfort decisively at Evesham (1265), restoring royal power. In 1271-72 he was on crusade at Acre. During the years from 1272, when Edward succeeded his father, to 1290 striking achievements occurred. Edward conquered the Welsh principality of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in devastating campaigns in 1277 and 1282-83 and built massive castles to keep it secure. In England he held regular parliaments. A program of legislation strengthened royal control over the court system and reformed the tangled feudal land law.



After 1294 wars in Scotland and France dominated Edward's reign. The death (1290) of Margaret, Maid of Norway, heiress to the Scottish crown, allowed Edward as suzerain to choose a successor, John de BALIOL, and then to claim direct rule over Scotland, which he subdued in 1296. In France the conflict concerned the French king's overlordship over Edward's duchy of Gascony. In 1297, Edward attacked France to assert his rights, but the expedition was cut short by the rebellion in Scotland of Sir William WALLACE. At the same time the English nobles rebelled, forcing Edward to grant Parliament control over taxes. By a treaty (1303) with PHILIP IV of France, Edward retained Gascony. He failed, however, to quell the risings of Wallace and Robert the Bruce (later ROBERT I), and Scotland remained only half- conquered at his death. He was succeeded by his son Edward II.

Costain, Thomas, The Three Edwards (1962).Prestwich, M., Edward I (1988).


Below: In this medieval manuscript Edward I (center) is flanked by King Alexander of Scotland (left) and Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd of Wales (right).


Edward's castles in North Wales
The Welsh Wars of Edward I, by John Morris
An alternative view of Edward's North Wales Castles
The Financial Cost of Edward's War 1282/83

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