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Showing posts from August, 2013

27 August 1172. Henry's Second Coronation

Henry the Young King and his wife, Marguerite, crossed the Narrow Sea and landed at Southampton with the purpose of their coronation (which was to be Henry’s second crowning) c. 24 August 1172. Rotrou, Archbishop of Rouen, Giles, Bishop of Evreux, and Roger, Bishop of Worcester accompanied them. At the time Henry II was in Brittany, while the cardinal legates, Theodine and Albert, who, on 21 May, at the Council of Avranches, absolved the king from the murder of Thomas Becket, were visiting the Norman abbeys.*
                                               Sea crossing in the Middle Ages
What do we know about the second coronation of Henry the Young King? In The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle I have come across the following entry: ‘In Madox’s “History of the Exchequer”it is recorded that 20l. was allowed to Aylward the King’s Chamberlain, to buy a robe for the young King at Winchester fair’ and that ‘Henry, the son of king Henry II, was crowned the second time with his w…

William the Young King?

The name William had the ring of significance in Henry the Young King’s life. William Atheling, William Marshal, William I of Scotland, all played- directly or indirectly- an important role and all had impact on Henry’s future, but the William who decided about the Young King’s fate in most direct and dramatic way was his own brother, Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine’s first-born son and heir, William, Count of Poitiers.
William was born on 17 August 1153, the eldest child of Henry fitz Empress and Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine and formerly queen of France. His much-anticipated arrival into this world could not have occurred at the more appropriate moment. The very same day Eleanor was struggling in labour, Eustace of Boulogne (b.c.1130), heir to king Stephen was struggling for breath after choking on a dish of eels, the battle he lost. The death of Stephen’s eldest son was used by the partisans of the Angevins and served as the living- or dead- proof that Stephen’s cause was the lost…

The Victors of Verneuil

9 August 1173. The first (the second being the siege of Rouen exactly a year later) of the two most important sieges of the Great Revolt came to an end. After a month siege the key border Norman town of Verneuil surrendered do Louis VII and Henry the Young King. The event left Louis, who was in command, with a stain on his honour. Let me quote the detailed account of what had happened shortly before from the Annals of Roger of Howden:
‘… Louis, king of the Franks, and the king of England, the son laid siege to Verneuil, but Hugh de Lacy and Hugh de Beauchamp, who were the constables thereof, defended the town… boldly and with resolute spirit. In consequence of this, the king of France, after remaining there a whole month, with difficulty took a small portion of the town on the side where the engines of war had been planted.’

However, the burgers in the Great Burgh [Verneuil, besides the castle, consisted of, according to Ralph of Diceto, seven burghs each separated from the other by a m…

The Siege of Rouen 22 July-14 August 1174

What was Henry the Young King occupied in in the summer of 1174? When he was staying at Gravelines, waiting for the propitious winds to take him to England to support the rebels and boost the morale, the news of the capture of William I of Scotland reached him. He changed his plans immediately, realizing that his cause on English soil had been doomed the very moment King William, one of his chief allies, had been captured before the walls of Alnwick.
Together with Philip, Count of Flanders, Henry joined his father-in-law, King Louis VII of France and on 22 July launched the first attack on the city of Rouen. He hoped to seize the Norman capital thus striking a serious blow at his father’s position. Fortunately for Henry II, he made very little progress. “A fair city set among murmuring streams and smiling meadows, abounding in fruit and fish and all manner of produce, … surrounded by hills and woods, strongly encircled by walls with ramparts and battlements …” turned out to be too well…

1 August: the Eventful Day

1 August proved to be an eventful day for Henry the Young King and his family...
In 1137, long before Young Henry’s arrival into this world, his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, newly wedded  to Prince Louis of France learned of her father-in-law’s death. Let me cite Marion Meade: ‘… the same day that the bridal party arrived in Eleanor’s ancestral city, Poitiers, Louis the Fat lay dying in Paris…’. Louis the Fat  (1108-37)– French ‘le Gros’- described by Abbot Suger as a man ‘whose spirit was as large as his body’, was a soldier king who managed to subdue unruly barons pillaging the royal lands and improve the efficiency of his administration. Louis VI was followed by his son, Louis VII, Eleanor’s first husband, and Henry the Young King’s future father-in-law.

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In 1192, in the course of the Third Crusade, Henry the Young King’s younger brother, king Richard came to the rescue of the besieged Jaffa. After learning of Saladin’s att…