Medieval Life

Medieval History of England

Medieval England brings forth images of castles and knights. This land was the site of numerous invasions from Vikings, Saxons, Angles and Jutes during the early Middle Ages, and England incorporated words and grammar from these invaders and others, to form one of the most complex languages on the planet.

This was a land of kings, led by a general named Arthur, whose exploits defeating invaders at Mons Badonicus would evolve into one of the country's greatest legends. Some of the famous medieval English ruling "Houses" include:

  • House of Plantagenet (1138-1399), which included Henry II, who battled with Thomas Beckett over the powers of Church vs. State. Beckett excommunicated the king's supporters, and was later murdered by four of the king's knights in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Richard the Lionhearted was also part of this House.

  • House of Lancaster (1399-1461), which boasted three famous Henrys. Shakespeare would later pen the exploits of these kings, including Henry V, who renewed the English claim to the French throne and conquered part of northern France. This House would battled the House of York (1461-1485) in what would become known as the War of the Roses.

The Magna Carta was created in 1215 and English barons compelled King John to sign this document to become one of the foundations of the English constitution. This century saw other political developments when Parliament was established in 1295.

Architecture is ancient in this country. Norman castles began to take root after William the Conqueror defeated English forces in 1066. Edward the Confessor increased the size of Westminster Abbey during this year as well. Education history was made in England in 1209 with the founding of Cambridge University.

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