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Historical InformationHerladry of Edward III

Edward III 1312-1377, Edward Plantagenet

Born: 13 November 1312, Windsor Castle, Berkshire

Christened: 16 November 1312, Royal Chapel Windsor, Windsor Castle, Berkshire

Died: 21 June 1377, Sheen Palace, Richmond, Surrey

Buried: Westminster Abbey, Middlesex

Parents: Edward II and Isabella of France

Siblings: John, Eleanor & Joan

Crowned: 1 February 1327 at Westminster Abbey, Middlesex

Married: 24 January 1328 at York Minster, Yorkshire

Spouse: Philippa daughter of William V, Count of Hainault & Holland


1). Prince Edward "The Black Prince" Plantagenet of Wales (15 June 1330, Woodstock Palace, Oxfordshire, 8 June 1376, Westminster Palace, Middlesex, 29 September 1376, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent) married: (10 October 1361 at the Royal Chapel of St George at Windsor Castle, Berkshire) Joan "Fair Maid of Kent" (Born 29 September 1328, died 8 August 1385, Wallingford Castle, Buried Stamford, Lincolnshire, buried Grey Friars Minor, Stamford, Lincolnshire) Joan had previously married 1: William Montacute Earl of Salisbury (born 20 June 1328, Donyatt, Somerset, died 3 June1397) Joan had previously married 2: Thomas de Holland Earl of Kent (born 1314, died 26 December 1360, Normandy)

2). Princess Isabel Plantagenet of England, Countess of Bedford, (born 16 June 1332 Palace,Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, died before 4 May 1379 Grey Friars, Newgate, Middlesex, England. buried Grey Friars, Newgate, Middlesex, England) married: (27 July 1365, Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, England) Enguerrand Le Brun VII De Coucy, 7th Earl of Bedford. (born 1339, died 18 February 1397, Bursa, Anatolia)

3). Joan (Joanna) Plantagenet of England (born February 1335 Woodstock Palace, Oxfordshire, England, died 2 September 1348 Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France, died of the Bubonic Plague, buried Bayonne Cathedral, Gascony, France) Never married

4). William "of Hatfield" Plantagenet (born 16 February 1336 Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, died before 3 March 1337, buried York Minster, York, England)

5). Lionel "Of Antwerp" Plantagenet Duke of Clarence (born 29 November 1338 Antwerp, Antwerp Belgium, died 17 October 1368 Alba, Cuneo, Italy, buried in Clare, Suffolk, England) married 1: (15 August 1342 / 9 Sep 1342, Tower of London, London, Middlesex, England) Elizabeth de Burgh Countess of Ulster (born 7 June 1332, Carrickfergus, Ulster, died 12 October 1363, Dublin, Ireland, buried Clare Priory, Essex), daughter of William de Burgh Earl of Ulster (born 1312, died 1333, Murdered at Le Ford, Belfast) married Maud (died 1377, Bruisyard Abbey, Suffolk) she later married Ralph de Ufford (died 9 April 1346, Kilmainham, Ireland) married 2: (28 May/5 June 1368, Church of St Maria Maggiore, Milano, Italy) Violante Visconti (born 1353, Milano, Italy, died November 1382/6, Pavia, Italy)

6). Prince John "Of Gaunt" Plantagenet Earl of Richmond, 1st Duke of Lancaster (born 24 June 1340 St Bavon Abbey, Gand (Ghent), Flandre-Orientale (Belgium), died 3 February 1398 Leicester Castle, England, buried 15 March 1399 St. Paul's Cathedral, London, Middlesex, England) married 1: (19 May 1359) Blanche Plantagenet daughter of Henry Plantagenet (born March 25 1345, died 12 September 1369 married 2: Constance, elder daughter of Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile and Leon. (died 1394) married 3: Catherine Roet, daughter of Sir Payne Roet and widow of Sir Hugh Swynford

7). Edmund Plantagenet Duke of York (born 5 June 1341 King's Langley, Hertfordshire, England, died 1 August 1402 Langley, Hertfordshire, England) married 1: (1 January 1370/1371) Isabel Perez married 2: (4 November 1393) Joan Holland

8). Blanche Plantagenet (born March 1342 Tower Of London, London, Middlesex, England, died March 1342 Tower of London)

9). Mary Plantagenet, Duchess of Brittany (born 10 October 1344 Bishops Waltham, Hampshire, England, died 1361/62, buried Abingdon Abbey, Berkshire, England) married (1361, Woodstock Palace, Oxfordshire, England) Jean Montfort. Duke of Brittany

10). Margaret Plantagenet Countess Of Pembroke (born 20 July 1346 Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England, died after 1 October 1361, buried Abingdon Abbey, Abingdon, Berkshire, England) married (19 May 1359 Reading Abbey, Reading, Berkshire, England) John Hastings (born 29 August 1347, Sutton Valence, died 16 April 1375, Picardy, France, buried 28 April 1376 Friars Preachers, Hereford, Herefordshire, England)

11). Thomas Plantagenet (born 1347)

12). William Plantagenet (born before 24 June 1348 Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England, buried 5 September 1348)

13). Thomas Plantagenet Duke Of Gloucester (born about 7 January 1354 Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England, died (murdered) 9 September 1397 Calais, Pas-De-Calais, France, buried St Edmund's, Westminster, Middlesex, England) married (24 August 1376) Eleanor de Bohun (Alianore), Duchess of Gloucester, (born 1366, died 3 October 1399, Minories Convent, Aldgate, London) daughter of Humphrey de Bohun Earl of Hereford (born 1342, died 1373) married Joan FitzAlan (died 1419)

14). Joan Plantagenet

Associated with: Alice Perrers

15). John De Southeray (born about 1364, Knighted 1377, died after 1383) married Matilda Percy

16). Joan Plantagenet married Robert Skerne

17). Jane Plantagenet married Richard Northland

Associated with: Unknown

18). Nicholas Lytlington, Abbot of Westminster (died 1386) Never claimed to be a kings son

Heraldic Coat of Arms: Quarterly of France and England, France Ancient: Azure semy of fleurs de lys or England: Gules in pale three lions passant guardant or

Supporters: dexter, a lion rampant; and sinister, a raven, both crowned

Badge: A sunburst or issuant from clouds argent. Also used a Griffin, a Falcon, the stump of a tree and a boar.

Flag: The cross of St George, per fess azure and gules, A lion of England imperially crowned; in chief a coronet of crosses paté and fleurs-de-lys, between two clouds irradiated proper; and in base a cloud between two coronets 'DIEU ET MON' in chief a coronet, and in base an irradiated cloud 'DROYT' quarterly: 1 and 4 an irradiated cloud; 2 and 3. A Coronet

Founder of the Order of the Garter, the Sovereign's Stall, Stall1


1312 Edward Born

1327 Edward Crowned at Age 15

1327 Scots Led by Robert the Bruce Invade

1328 "Shame Peace" of Northampton with the Scots

1328 Edward Marries Philippa daughter of William V, Count of Hainault & Holland, at the age of 16

1330 Edward Rules in his own right

1333 Edward Defeats Scots at Halidon Hill

1337 Start of the hundred years war with France

1340 Naval Victory at Sluys over French

1341 Edward Agrees to accounts being audited by Parliament

1346 David Bruce Captured at Neville's Cross

1346 Edward wins battle of Crécy

1347 Edward wins Siege of Calais

1348-1349 Black death, Plague ravages England killing between one third and one half the population in Edwards reign. Wages costs increase

1348 Founding of the Order of the Garter

1350 Naval Victory at Winchelsea over Spanish

1352 Levy of tallage ceases (an occasional tax on towns and crown lands)

1353 The Statute of Praemunire (The offense of introducing foreign authority into England)

1356 Edward The Black Prince wins Battle of Poitiers

1357 David Bruce released agreeing to make Edward heir to the Scottish throne

1359 English capture French King John

1360 The Treaty of Bretigny cedes large areas of Northern France to England

1361-1362 The Black Death again ravages England

1362 Treason Defined by Statute; English replaces French as the national language of England

1369 Edward's wife Philippa dies

1369 The Black Death again ravages England

1375 Treaty of Bruges, Charles V reverses many of Edwards gains in France

1376 The good Parliament and election of the first Speaker to the House of Commons

1376 Edward the Black Prince Dies

1377 Edward Dies


Edward III

King Edward was styled as, "Rex Angliae, Dominus Hiberniae, et Dux Aquitaniae," until 1340 when he assumed the style, "Dei Gratia, Rex Angliae et Franciae et Dominus Hiberniae," to emphasize his claim to the throne of France, through his mother Queen Isabella.

Edward used as a badge the sunburst, rays of light from a cloud, thought to represent Windsor, or the "Winds" of "Or" by Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, and Guy Cadogan Rotherby also lists a falcon, a boar, the stump of a tree with two sprigs, and as a private seal a griffin. The stump of a tree was used as a badge for Woodstock, see John Cussans.

The young prince was related to the French Royal Family through his mother, and they asked for him to be called Louis, but the English barons objected and he was named Edward after his father and grandfather. He succeeded to the throne in his fifteenth year in January, 1327, his father Edward II was forced to agree to his own deposition, as prince Edward refused to accept the crown without his father's consent. He was crowned by Walter Reynolds, Archbishop of Canterbury. In the first four years of his reign all power was in the hands of his mother and her lover Mortimer who controlled the government and the royal revenue and arranged humiliating treaties with France. Their reign was resisted by some of the king's uncles. In 1327 the Scots, led by Robert Bruce, wanting their independence, invaded the North of England. Edward marched to meet them but was outmaneuvered by them. In a treaty of 1328 known as the "Shameful Peace" of Northampton, Scotland's independence was again recognized. On 24 January, 1328 Edward married Philippa, daughter of the Count of Hainault, at York.

Crowning of Edward III


Edward III Seal

In June 1330 Edward and Philippa had their first son, Edward of Woodstock, later to become known as The Black Prince. Soon after his birth a Tournament was held at Cheapside. A wooden tower was erected at St Mary le Bow for the Queen and ladies of the court, but when they were seated in the tower it collapsed with much confusion and some injuries being caused including to Queen Philippa. It is said that Edward ordered the execution of those who had made the tower, but Queen Philippa flung herself on her knees and begged Edward to spare them. Edward ordered construction of a stone platform where the court could view the tournaments in comfort and safety. In November 1331 Mortimer was taken from his bed and hanged by act of Attainder and Edward really begun to rule, Isabella was confined for the rest of her life.


Edward again fought with Scotland in 1333, supporting Edward Balliol attempt to take the Scottish throne. He defeated the Scots under Sir Archibald Douglas at Halidon Hill, and Edward Balliol took the throne. The Scots quickly expelled Edward Balliol, and, though Edward restored him, the quarrel with France prevented Edward from continuing the struggle. Further conflicts with Scotland took place during the Crécy campaign, when David Bruce in October, 1346, supported by Philip VI of France, took advantage while Edward was in France, but was defeated and captured at the battle Neville's Cross. David remained a prisoner for eleven years while trying to raise his ransom, but the Scottish raids continued. In 1355 the Scots took Berwick and Edward retook it in the following year, The Lothians were ravaged in the campaign known as "Burnt Candlemas", but Edward was unable to bring the Scots to terms. When David was released, in 1357, and found himself unable to pay the stipulated ransom, he agreed to make Edward heir to the Scottish throne. But David died, in 1371, and left Edward in a position which prevented him from prosecuting his claim or interfering with Scotland's independence.

Edward III Double Leopard

Double Lepoard of Edward III in circulation from December 1343 to July 1344

Edward III Seal

The rivalry between England and France led to the start of the hundred years war. Robert of Artois, a French Exile in the English court, did all in his power to stir up emnity between the English and the French kings. Edward and Philip were both rival claimants for the French throne in 1328, and Edward quartered the French coat of arms with his own, possibly putting that of England in the first quarter but soon swapping it to that of France in the first quarter, however there was little chance that the French lords would allow an English king and after Philip had been chosen as king there was much dispute over the homage owed by Edward for his French possessions. Philip, desired to be king over all France, a claim which involved the annexation of Guienne and Gascony, the parts still held by England. On 12 July 1338 Edward sailed aboard Christopher landing on the continent on 16 July 1338, and on 22 July 1338, Edward revoked all commissions addressed to the king of France. At St Kastor in Koblenz in September 1338 Edward made the Treaty of Koblenz with king Ludwig der Bayer who made Edward the Vicar General to the Holy Roman Empire, and also recognised his claim to the throne of France.

In 1339 Edward III wrote to the Pope outlining his claim to the French throne based on the fact that Jesus claimed the throne of David through Mary, the line passing through a female Parliament won concessions from the king and by the end of 1339 Edward had agreed not to take a tallage of any kind without the consent of Parliament. In 1341 he agreed, in order to obtain further supplies, that his accounts were to be submitted and being audited by a board chosen in Parliament, and promised not to choose ministers without the consent of his council. Having received the money, Edward shamefully broke his promises, saying that he had "dissembled in order to avoid greater perils". The campaign of 1340 is noted for Edward's first major naval victory at Sluys over a fleet of five hundred French ships which attempted to prevent his landing. His later victory off the coast of Winchelsea, in 1350, over the Spanish fleet gave evidence for the power of the English in the seas at that time. Prince Edward's ship was holed in the fighting whilst alongside a Spanish ship. Henry of Lancaster saw the danger and moved his ship to he other side of the Spanish ship thus allowing its capture and Prince Edward's escape on to it.


Henry Plantagenet Earl of Derby had been appointed to command in Gascony, and in 1346 Edward was about to lead an army to help him, when he was persuaded to attack, the unprotected northern part of France with nearly 3,000 armoured knights and 10,000 Longbowmen. With him was the sixteen year old Prince Edward. He Landed at Saint Vaast la Hougue and as he set foot on French soil he tripped and fell flat on his face. The knights attending him said that he should return to his ship as it was the sign of an evil omen. The king quickly replied "This is a good token for me, for the land desireth to have me", this went back to his ancestor William when he landed at Pevensey in 1066. he marched through Normandy, and on the 26 July 1346 Edward attacked Caen. The city had poor walls and the surrounding river was low so the city was taken and as was normal practice of the time it was sacked for resisting Edward. Other towns such as Bayeux and Lisieux soon gave up to avoid the same fate. They advanced almost to Paris, following the Seine as most of the bridges had been broken. He marched to St Germain-en-Laye, which overlooks Paris, and then looted it and burned the royal palace there. The English were very close to Paris but Edward realised he did not have the forces to attempt to capture and hold it. Edward then, crossed the Seine at Poissy, and retreated towards Calais, pursued closely by a French army. The English army, which was looking for a way across the Somme, and was shown a crossing by Gobin Agace at the ford of Blanche -Taque. On the 24 August 1346 the Earls of Warwick and Northampton led the Vanguard across the ford to capture the Northern bank. The Flemish besieging Bethune, gave up and withdrew to their homeland leaving Edward alone. At Crécy, 26 August, out numbered by the French by 3 to 1, he won a complete victory and Edward exhibited his strong leadership. Prince Edward, though only sixteen, engaged in direct front-line personal combat. The near invincibility of the English longbowmen proved a major winning factor when pitted against the lumbering, heavily armored, mounted French noblemen and the slower-firing crossbows of their ground troops. Continuing to Calais, Edward began a lengthy siege. Philippe arrived with an army at Sangatte on the 27 July 1347, but the road to Calais was well defended. Philippe asked Edward for passage to Calais, but Edward would not let him pass, so Philippe challenged the English to a duel 'hand to hand battle of a hundred against a hundred, a thousand against a thousand, or man against man', Edward accepted the challenge, but during the night Philippe withdrew. Calais Surrendered in August, 1347. Edward was particularly lenient at the persuasion by Philippa in not killing the garrison and population for resisting him as was the practice of the time when a town or castle resisted. Captain Jean de Vienne rode through the gates of Calais, bare headed holding his sword reversed in token of submission, and handed over the cities keys to the English. He was followed by six of the towns Burgesses with ropes around their necks and barefoot. Truces were signed and were frequently broken until open war broke out again in 1355.

Edward III effigy

Edward III Noble Pre Treaty 1351-1361

Gold Noble of Edward III in circulation from 1351-1377, this strike is known as Pre Treaty and dates 1351-1361

Great Seal of Edward III 1375-6

In 1349 Edward heard of a plot to take Calais and lured the French into a trap, when he arrived on 30 December 1349, Edward personally fought in the hand to hand combat, and at one point was nearly cut of but was saved by Prince Edward. In 1349 a Spanish fleet traveled though the channel attacking English ships and Edward gathered a fleet to attack it on its return. On 29 August 1350 Edward's fleet destroyed the Spanish fleet. The English ships had forced a fleet of Spanish ships which were loaded with treasure into Rye bay where they were captured. The battle was named as Queen Phillipa watched from what is called "the look out" on the cliffs at Farleigh near Winchelsea, Sussex. In March 1355 Edward held a tournament at Woodstock to celebrate the birth of his son Thomas. In September 1356 another notable victory for the English took place at the battle of Poitiers where Prince Edward employed similar tactics to those used at Crecy. Using defensive ditches and hedging to conceal, the English archers rained showers of arrows onto the advancing French breaking their assault. The Prince then ordered his knights to mount their heavy war horses and complete the rout of the French army. In 1358 Edward negotiated the ransom for King Jean of France at 4 million gold crowns, but the first installment failed to arrive in November 1358, and Edward gave intention of a new campaign in France.


On 4 November 1359 Edward marched from Calais with three battles, each led by the King, Prince Edward and the Duke of Lancaster, and as they moved into French territory they burnt and plundered as they went. By 4 December 1369 Edward was at the Benedictine Abbey at Saint Basle, 10 miles south of Rheims. Edward III lay siege to Rheims, but food supplies ran low and on 11 January 1360 he gave up the siege and headed South West. At Auxerre 5 lightly armed esquires with 3 archers defeated 50 French men-at-arms, taking 5 prisoners, and became known as the battle of 50 against 5. Edward marched South West and on hearing of a raid on Winchelsea turned towards Paris and camped at Chenteloup, near Arpajon on 31 March 1360, just 20 miles from Paris. After talks broke down on 3 April 1360, Edward moved his headquarters to Châtillon, with the English raiding close to Paris. On 10 April 1360 further peace talks broke down and on 12 April 1360 Edward and Duke Henry of Lancaster withdrew, under the cover of a diversion by the Prince Edward, who then waited to ambush those who came out of Paris. Edward concluded a treaty with the regent (the dauphin) of France at Brétigny, 8 May 1360, and signed by the dauphin on 10 May 1360 and Prince Edward 11 May 1360, Edward was to give up claims to the French throne and Anjou, Maine, Normandy, Touraine in return for Agenais, Angoumois, Aquitaine, Bigorre, Calais, Gascony, Gaure, Guienne, Guines, Limousin, Montreuil, Quercy, Périgord, Poitou, Ponthieu, Rouergue, Saintonge, Tarbes, all without homage. King John II ransom was fixed at 3 million gold crowns. Edward ratified the treaty on the 14 June 1360. On 18 May 1360 Edward III ordered 6 weeks of feasting and on 30 June 1360 Prince Edward escorted King Jean to Dover where they arrived on 6 July 1360, and King Jean departed for Calais arriving 8 July 1360. On 24 October 1360 Edward and King Jean signed the Treaty Of Calais, ratifying the Treaty of Brétigny, and returned to Dover on 31 October 1360. In February 1361 Edward III was at Westminster when each member of Parliament took an oath to preserve the peace with France.

Edward III Noble Treaty 1361-1369

Gold Noble of Edward III in circulation from 1351-1377, this strike is known as the Treaty period and dates 1361-1369

Seal of Edward III

On 13 November 1362 Edward III celebrated his 50th birthday with lavish celebrations. In 1363 King Jean of France, eldest son , Louis Duke of Anjou, a captive held until Jeans ransom was paid, broke his oaths and refused to return to Calais. King Jean feeling dishonored returned to England to be held captive, until his died at the Palace of savoy after Easter 1364.

Between 1347 and 1355 England was ravaged by the Black Death which killed between 1/3 and 1/2 the population. Outbreaks occurred in 1348-9, 1361-2 and 1369. Decrease in population caused an increase in labourers' wages. And in 1350 the king attempted to deal with the difficulty by proclaiming that labourers must work for the same wages as before the plague, under penalty fixed by statute. Laws were also passed to fix prices.

In May 1369 Charles V, king of France summoned Prince Edward to Paris, Prince Edward's reply was that he would come but "I assure you that it will be with helmet on our head and 60,000 men in our company". Charles V declared Prince Edward a disloyal vassal, being Duke of Aquitaine, and declared that the Treaty of Brétigny was void and war was declared. In response on 3 June 1369 Edward Resumed his title as King of France. Edward's wife Phillipa died in 1369 and Edward spent 300 pounds on his wife Philippa's tomb, making the monument one of the most expensive in Westminster Abbey.

Edward III Noble Post Treaty 1369-1377

Gold Noble of Edward III in circulation from 1351-1377, this strike is known as Post Treaty and dates 1369-1377

In 1371 Bertrand Du Guesclin captured Bressuire and on his orders no prisoners were taken It was said that 500 English had their throats cut. On 23 June 1372 the English fleet of 14 transports and 36 warships was badly beaten at sea by the Spaniards off of La Rochelle, including the loss of £20,000 which was 1 years soldiers pay for 3,000 men. John Hastings Earl of Pembroke and son in law to Edward III was captured. In July 1372 an Alliance was secretly signed between Jean IV and Edward III. In August 1372 Edward III and Prince Edward formed a fleet at Sandwich but were held back by contary winds that held them back for 9 weeks, causing them to abandon their plans, as it was now too late in the year. In October 1372 Lord Neville arrived at Brest with 400 Men at Arms and 400 Archers. The English suffered further setbacks including:

1372 July 31 Saint-Sévère captured by French Assault and Bertrand Du Guesclin hangs its French garrison
1372 August 7 Coup by Pro French party opens gates of Poitiers to Bertrand du Guesclin and Jean de Berry
1372 August 21 Renauld de Pons stormed Soubise in Saintonge. Jean de Grailly the Captal de Buch retook the castle but was captured by Llewelyn ap Gryffud, of Wales, who was fighting for the French together with other valuable prisoners including Sir Thomas Percy, the constable of Poitou.
1372 September the town of Saint-Maxient surrenderd to the French. and later in the month Angoulême, Saintes and Saint-Jean d'Angély
1372 October La Rochelle surrenders to French without a fight
1372 October Fontenay-le-comte is captured by the French
1372 December 1 Thouars surrenders after a siege, the Duchy of Guyenne is now French
1373 May 20 Bertrand du Guesclin captured Rennes
1373 March 21 French capture castle of Chizé, Bertrand Du Guesclin massacares prisoners not worth ransoming
1373 March 27 Niort captured by the French


In March William Montacute, the Earl of Salisbury landed at Saint-Malo with more than 800 soldiers. By 1374 in France all possessions had been lost except Calais, Bordeaux, and Bayonne. A truce was made at Bourbourg on 11 February 1374 for Picardy. On 27 June 1375 a peace treaty was made with France for 1 year as no agreement could be made, the Truce of Bruge, by now the English only hold Calais, Brest, Bordeaux and Bayonne. Edward was under the influence of Alice Perrers, and the court became more extravagant than before, with ministers being suspected of corruption. Edward gave Alice Perrers the jewels and robes of Phillipa and Alice paraded through London to a tournament in a triumphal chariot with the title of 'Lady of the Sun'.

The Commons, supported by the Prince of Wales and William of Wykeham, attacked some of these evils in the "Good Parliament" of 1376, where the first speaker was elected to represent the house of Commons. The good parliament was made up of 74 knights of the Shire and 60 town burgesses. They demanded rederess of 146 grievances and an annual parliament with election rather than appointment of members, before agreeing a new subsidy. Lord Latimer, the king's chamberlain, and Richard Lyons, his financial agent, were impeached and imprisoned, and though Edward sent a message begging Parliament to deal gently with Alice Perrers for the sake of his love and his honour, she was banished from court. Richard Lyons tried to bribe Prince Edward by sending him a barrel of Sturgeon with £1000 hidden inside but Prince Edward returned it. Richard Lyons then also tried to bribe Edward III who kept the money stating that he was only taking back that which was his own. Latimer and Lyons were found guilty together with 4 others including Latimers son in law, Lord Nevill, Steward of ths kings household.

Edward III in Jesse Window


In France negotiations for peace were extended from April 1 to May 1 and then again to June 1. The death of Prince Edward on 8 June 1376 was a great blow to the Commons. John of Gaunt was able, on Parliament's dismissal, to declare the good parliament void and to recall the impeached ministers, and by Edward's wish have Alice Perrers returned. Sir Peter de la Mare was imprisoned without trial and Bishop William of Wykeham was banished from court and his properties seized. The struggle between the anti-ecclesiastical party, led by John of Gaunt, in alliance with John Wyclif, and the clergy, led by William of Wykeham, were due to Edward's neglect of the affairs of his kingdom. Discontent and conflicts at home, and failure abroad brought his reign to a close. In April 1377 Isabella was summoned by cousins on business of extreme urgency to return to England and was said to be at her fathers side when he died. He died at Sheen Palace, Surrey, it is also said, deserted by all except one priest who attended him out of compassion. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, his monument was put in place in 1386, 9 years after his death and originally featured carvings of all his children (some of which are still there).


King Edward III

Ecclesiastically, Edward's reign was marked by some legislation directed against the pope. Difficulties were caused partly by the heavy taxation levied by the pope on the clergy, and partly by the pope's appointment of foreigners to English offices. The irritation of Englishmen at these grievances was increased by the pope's French residence at Avignon, under the influence of the French king. In 1351 the Statute of Provisors was passed. Edward in 1344, complained to the pope about foreigners appointments to English benefices and the Statute of Provisors now made all who procured papal provisions for benefices liable to fine and imprisonment. In 1353, by the Statute of Præmunire, all subjects of the king were forbidden to plead in a foreign court in matters which the King's Court could decide, and in 1365 the papal courts were expressly included under this. Urban V in 1366 demanded the annual tribute promised by King John, which was then thirty-three years in arrear, but, on Parliament refusing to pay, nothing more was heard of the claim.


The nature of English society transformed greatly during Edward's reign. Edward learned from the mistakes of his father and affected more cordial relations with the nobility than any previous monarch. Feudalism dissipated as mercantilism emerged, the nobility changed from a large body with relatively small holdings to a small body that held great lands and wealth. Mercenary troops replaced feudal obligations as the means of gathering armies. Taxation of exports and commerce overtook land-based taxes as the primary form of financing government, and war. Wealth was accrued by merchants as they and other middle class subjects appeared regularly for parliamentary sessions. Parliament formally divided into two houses, the upper representing the nobility and high clergy with the lower representing the middle classes. Parliament met regularly to finance Edward's wars and pass statutes. Treason was defined by statute for the first time (1352), the office of Justice of the Peace was created to aid sheriffs (1361), and English replaced French as the national language (1362).

Edward was graceful, strong, and active, fond of hunting, hawking, and all knightly pastimes, especially war. Ambition seems the most prominent point in his character, and his life, characterized throughout by selfishness and extravagance. He won great renown by his wars, he seems to have cared neither to maintain the royal rights and privileges, nor to follow any policy which would benefit his people.


Last Will and Testament

We, Edward, by the grace of God, who hold the scepters of the Kingdoms of England and France, according to the custom of our ancestors, Kings of England, we appoint our royal burial to be in the Church of St. Peter of Westminster. We bequeath, &c. to found masses for our soul, and the soul of Philippa, our dear consort, late Queen of England. We give to our future heir Richard, son of Edward Prince of Wales, our eldest son, an entire bed, marked with the arms of France and England, now in our palace at Westminster. To Johanna, late wife of the aforesaid Edward, our eldest son, one thousand marks. To our dear daughter Isabel, Countess of Bedford, for her support, and that of her daughter, three hundred marks per annum, arising from the lands of the son and heir of the Earl of Oxford, lately deceased, which Thomas Tirell, Knt. holds from us, so long as the said heir shall be under age. We appoint executors of this our will, our son John, King of Castile and Leon and Duke of Lancaster; John Bishop of Lincoln; Henry Bishop of Worcester; John Bishop of Hereford; and our dear and faithful knights William Lord Latimer; John Knyvet, Chancellor; Robert de Ashton, Treasurer; Roger de Beauchamp, Chamberlain; John de Ipres, Steward; and Nicholas de Carew, Keeper of the Privy Seal. We also appoint supervisors of this our will the Reverend Fathers in Christ Simon Archbishop of Canterbury, and Alexander Archbishop of York. Given, written, and ordained in our royal manor of Haveryngge atte Bower the 7th of October, 1376, and of our reign in England the 50th, and of our reign in France the 37th, in the presence of our trusty and beloved John de Burleye, Richard Sturreie, and Philip de Vache, Knights; William Strete, Comptroller of our Household; John de Beverlye; Walter and John de Salesbury, Esquires of our Chamber; and many others, with Walter de Skirlawe, Doctor of the Canon Law. Proved before Simon Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth, 25th June 1377.

Arthur Charles Fox-Davies, The Art of Heraldry, 1904, 1986 edition, pg 336

Guy Cadogan Rotherby, Concise Encyclopedia of Heraldry, 1915, 1994, edition pg 225

John Cussans, Handbook of Heraldry, 1893, undated reprint, pg 135


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