The middle years
in The reign of Edward II, 1307–27
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In a return to the general chronology of the reign, this chapter offers sources relating to the period from the death of Gaveston in 1312 until the eve of civil war in 1321; this was a period characterised by the king’s relative weakness and vacillating relations with leading earls, notably the earl of Lancaster. Despite attempts to establish purposeful relations between the crown and Lancaster, including the Treaty of Leake (1318), these efforts foundered and, as Edward sought support, provided opportunities for new men, not the least of whom was Hugh Despenser the Younger. Lancaster and other earls, in opposition to these parvenus, organised their own resistance and helped prepare the ground for civil war.

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