III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > F. Europe, 461–1500 > 6. Western Europe, 1300–1500 > b. The British Isles
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1305)
b. The British Isles
1. England
EDWARD II. Married to Isabelle, daughter of Philip IV of France. A weak ruler and the tool of ambitious favorites, Edward was dominated first by the Gascon Piers Gaveston (d. 1312), probably his lover. The Scottish war was continued in desultory fashion. The baronage, angered by Gaveston, followed the leadership of Edward's nephew, Thomas, duke of Lancaster, an ambitious, incompetent person. They forced Edward to accept a committee of reform, the 21 Lords Ordainers (1310), whose reform ordinances, suggestive of the Provisions of Oxford, were confirmed by parliament (1311). The ordinances required a baronial consent to royal appointments, to a declaration of war, and to the departure of the king from the realm, this consent to be given through parliament. Gaveston was captured and slain (1312).  1
The Scottish War. By 1313 only the castle of Stirling remained in the hands of the English. Edward set out (1314) to relieve the castle, but at Bannockburn (1314) he was overwhelmingly defeated, and Scottish independence was won.  2
In Gascony the French kings began a policy of egging Edward's vassals on to resistance, a process that culminated in the French conquest of Gascony and its retention by the French with the consent (1327) of the regents who ruled after Edward's abdication.  3
Supremacy of Lancaster, who offered no resistance to the Scottish raids nor to the civil disorders that broke out in England. In 1322 Edward defeated him at Boroughbridge, beheaded him, and had the ordinances of 1311 repealed at the parliament of York.  4
Rule of the Despensers, father and son: Scottish truce (1323); decline of the popularity of the Despensers; alienation of Queen Isabelle. Isabelle went to France (1325), arranged the marriage of her son, the future Edward III, to Philippa of Hainault, and returned (1326) with Mortimer and foreign troops. Supported by the barons, Isabelle gained London, the Despensers were hanged, and the parliament of Westminster (1327), dominated by Isabelle and by Edward's enemies, forced an abdication that was tantamount to deposition. Edward was brutally murdered in prison eight months later.  5
Burgesses and knights sat in the parliaments of 1311, 1322, and 1327.  6
EDWARD III (age 15 at his accession). Council of regency and rule (1327–30) under Mortimer, Isabelle's paramour; Bruce's invasion of England forced the acknowledgment of Scottish independence (1328). Edward led the baronial opposition to Mortimer (hanged, 1330) and opened his personal rule (1330).  7
Outbreak of the Hundred Years' War. Edward did homage (1329) for his French lands and renewed the homage (1331). French support of Scottish aggression continued, and Edward, profiting by civil war in Scotland, supported Baliol; after a series of expeditions, he avenged Bannockburn at Halidon Hill (1333). French intrigues to alienate Aquitaine continued. The economic interdependence, due to the wool trade, of England and the Flemish cities made an English alliance with them likely. Philip continued his advance into the English lands south of the Loire (1337), and open hostilities broke out (1338). Edward ravaged northern and eastern France without a decisive battle. Urged on by the Flemings, Edward proclaimed himself king of France (in right of his mother, Isabelle), and enabled the Flanders towns under Jan van Arteveldt to support him without violating their oaths.  8
The naval victory of Sluys transferred the mastery of the Channel from France to England (until 1372). Intermittent truces (1340–45) were followed by Edward's invasion of France.  9
1346, Aug. 26
Great victory at CRÉCY, near Ponthieu in northern France, where English longbowmen, supported by dismounted horsemen, routed the undisciplined cavalry and mercenary crossbowmen ofFrance. This tactical innovation, the result of English experiences in Wales and Scotland, began the joint participation of the yeomanry and the aristocracy in war, and gave the English a unique military power and new social orientation.  10
The invasion of Philip's Scottish allies was halted at Neville's Cross, and the king of Scotland captured.  11
Calais was taken after a long siege in which artillery was used, and it remained an English military and commercial outpost in France until 1558.  12
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.