In this chapter the editors review the events of the civil war of 1321-22, as well as the immediate precursors to war and Edward’s response in its immediate aftermath. With particular reference to narrative accounts, key moments in the civil war are presented, as well as the eventual defeat, trial and execution of Lancaster and other leading contrariants. Edward’s triumphant parliament at York in 1322 and the repeal of most of the Ordinances of 1311 is also discussed and relevant sources presented, including an agenda for the York parliament and the resultant statute and Chancery enrolments.
In this final chapter, the editors set out the contemporary evidence applied to a range of important final considerations in reflecting on the reign of Edward II. Edward’s deposition was followed by a period of imprisonment with the possibility that attempts might be made to rescue him and restore him to the throne. The general view, though not the universal view of contemporaries or of modern historians, is that Edward was murdered in September 1327 at Berkeley castle, and buried later in the year at Gloucester. A cult developed around the deposed and murdered king and later kings, notably his great grandson, Richard II, invested in his purported sanctity. Other contemporary rumours, encouraged by the appearance of documents such as the Fieschi letter, suggested Edward had survived Berkeley and had escaped to Europe and lived out his days on the continent.
In this first selection of documents and chapter introduction the editors set out the early developments of the reign, including the growth in opposition, the rise and dramatic fall of Gaveston, and the king’s efforts to contain his opponents. The chapter includes examples of key material for the history of the reign more generally, including the coronation oath, early statements of opposition and selected clauses from the Ordinances of 1311.
In this chapter, the events, precedents and significance of a relatively small conflict in France; the context of the conflict was the question of homage for English territories within France and local disputes relating to these territories in Aquitaine. The wider political importance for the reign resides chiefly in Edward sending his wife and son to the French court in order to help settle disputes and offer homage; instead, an opposition against Edward and his supporters coalesced there and helped set in train his eventual overthrow. Correspondence involving various parties to the initial dispute and homage owed to the French crown are important strands to this particular theme and are presented in the chapter.
In this introductory chapter, the editors present a brief chronology of the reign of Edward II; they also offer a review of the range of available sources for study of the reign and reflect upon the ways in which historians have discussed the reign over the last 150 years.
In this chapter the editors first set out some of the broad themes and key developments in terms of royal finance. Following a general discussion of the wider economic context of the reign, royal finances and opportunities for the raising of revenue are considered. The management of royal finance, including reform of the exchequer is also discussed. Documents of relevance to historical understanding of the early fourteenth-century economy, including price and export data and contemporary reflection on dearth and famine are presented; sources relating to the raising of royal revenue, attempts to constrain the king’s authority in this area, and reform of the exchequer are also included in this chapter.
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.
In this chapter, sources relevant to the early-fourteenth century parliament are reviewed and presented; a general view of the changing nature of parliament in this period is offered as is contemporary reflection on the administration of parliament and its significance, including important tracts on parliament and its officers.
This book presents key texts relating to the political as well as to the broader socio-economic history of the reign of Edward II. Drawing on a wide range of narrative sources, especially the extensive chronicle accounts of the reign, the editors also introduce other important material, including parliamentary rolls, charters, court records and accounts. Together this gathering of sources allows the reader to navigate this troubled and eventful period in English medieval history. The volume is organised chronologically, guiding the reader from the moment of Edward II’s accession in 1307 until his removal from office in 1327 and his supposed death in the same year. The editors also introduce more thematic chapters throughout, addressing such key themes as royal finances and the state of the early fourteenth-century economy, the role of parliament, and political and military engagement with Scotland. In an introductory essay, the editors discuss previous historical work directed at the reign of Edward II and also outline the range of source types available to the historian of the reign. Each section of primary source is also introduced by the editors, who offer a contextual analysis in each instance.
In this chapter, the editors discuss and offer sources related to the history of Anglo-Scottish relations during the reign, with some reflection on the immediately preceding and following years. A general chronology of military campaigns both by Edward II as well as by the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, is set out and contemporary accounts of key events are presented. Scottish claims for independence through the Declaration of Arbroath (1320) and in subsequent negotiation of treaties is also set out.