Historical Children's Literature Collection

History of the Kings & Queens of England; from the reign of William the Conqueror to Victoria the first.… [between 1840 and 1857?]

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 H 1 S T 0 It Y
Scptem. 9,
Began to
Decern. 25,
21 Years.
Was natural son of Robert, Duke of Normandy,
and was called the Conqueror because he conquered
Harold the Dauntless, and overthrew the Saxon
dynasty in thisliountry. He gave out that Edward
the Confessor left him the crown of England by
will, and determining to assert his right to it,
landed in England with an army of 60,000 men,
and gave battle at Hastings, where Harold was
killed, and his army defeated; after which William
became King of England. He was above eight
feet high, strong built, and well proportioned.
Eminent men in this reign:—Edwin and Morcar, Earls of
Northumberland and Mercia; Stigand and Lanfranc, Archbishops of Canterbury; Prince Edgar Atheling.
Surnamed Rufus, from his red hair and florid
complexion, was the second surviving son to the
Conqueror, and was by his father's will appointed
his successor. The Norman barons being displeased with this, and looking on his brother Robert
as the proper owner, a powerful conspiracy was
therefore formed against William by his uncle Odo.
William, sensible of his danger, was soon in the
field at the head of a powerful army. Robert
lost his opportunity by not assisting his friends,
who had taken fortresses on the hopes of his
assurances, and who, when William appeared before them, had to implore his mercy. He was
accidentally shot through the heart with an arrow,
by Sir Walter Tyrrel, a French knight, while
shooting at a deer.
Eminent mm in thte reign :—Odo, bishop of Bayeux; Flsm-
lards, bishop of Durham,
 Began to
Dec. 26,
18f Years.
Surnamed Beauclerc, or the fine scholar, from his
literary talents, was younger brother to Rufus.
On the death of Rufus he violently usurped the
crown, to which Robert, Duke of Normandy, had
undoubted claims. Having secured the royal
treasures, in order to second his aims, he united
the long breach betwixt the Saxon and Norman
interests, by marrying Matilda, the niece of Edgar
Atheling. Henry died in the sixty-seventh year
of his age, at St. Denis, near Normandy, of fever,
caused by eating lampreys to excess. He was cool,
cautious, politic, and penetrating ; of great courage,
and invincible fortitude; an excellent companion,
and true friend; not free from that scorn for the
English which all his race acquired by their Norman descent and connexions.
Eminent men in this reign :—Randulph, Archbishop of Caa<»
terbury; Robert, Earl of Shrewsbury.
Was third son of the Earl of Blois, and Adela,
daughter of William the Conqueror. Matilda the
sole heiress to the throne, of which Stephen had so
perfidiously deprived her, did not delay in asserting
her right to the crown. Having gained an advantage over the forces of Stephen, she soon deposed
him from the throne, and was crowned in his place.
The queen by her pride and haughtiness soon rendered herself odious to her subjects ; and" an agreement having been made bewixt Stephen and Henry,
Matilda's son, it was arranged that Stephen should
reign during the remainder of his life, and bequeath
the crown to Henry. About twelve months after,
he died at Canterbury, where lie was interred. He
was brave, active, and industrious ; and fitted by
his personal character to rule with dignity.
Eminent men in this reign :—Thurston, Archbishop of York ;
John of Salisbury ; Roger de Hoveden, historians.
Began to
Dec. 8,
34f Years.
Was son of the Earl of Anjou, and Matilda, daughter
of Henry I. On ascending the throne, Henry soon
gave evident signs of his wisdom and power, in
correcting those abuses, which from the weakness
of his predecessors, had always been a great source
of complaint. The struggles which in former times
had been betwixt the king and barons, or the clergy,
began now to assume a new appearance ; and liberty
was more equally spread throughout the nation.
Thomas a' Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was
murdered before the altar of St. Benedict at Canterbury, by some of the attendants at Henry's court.
When Henry heard of this, in order to turn the
attention of the people to a different object, ho
subdued Ireland, and annexed it to his British dominions.    Henry died of a broken heart, aged 57.
Eminent men in this reign :—A* Becket, Richard, and Baldwin, Archbishops of Canterbury; Strongbow Earl of Pembroke,
Began to
August 13,
91 Years.
Surnamed Cceur-de-lion, from his intrepid valour,
succeeded, as the eldest son of Henry, to the English
throne. Richard and the king of the French having
assembled an army, amounting to 100,000 men,
set sail for the Holy Land; having arrived, they
immediately declared war, and gained victory after
victory. Richard having gained a victory over
Saladin, one of the renowned Saracen warriors,
concluded a truce for three years ; and returned in
the disguise of a pilgrim through Germany, where
he was taken prisoner by Leopold, Duke of Austria,
who loaded him with shackles, and placed him in a
dungeon, from which he was relieved on payment
of a ransom of £100,000. His death was caused
from a wound received by an arrow at the siege of
Chaluz in Limousin.
Eminent men in this reign :—Robin Hood and Little John, the
outlaws; Henry Fitzalwyn, first Lord Mayor of London,
Surnamed Lackland, fourth son of Henrv II   and
brother to Richard I., by the will of ins brother
ascended the throne.   By his pride and cruelty and
the putting to death of his nephew Prince 4rthnr
of %ittany, he soon rendered himself odfous to fos
subjects.   The barons, who had all along been forming a conspiracy, at length marched to Bracklev
near Oxford, where the king resided, and havfoJ-
chosen Robert Fitzwalter their general made war
against the king, which ended in the granting of
the famous Magna Charter.     John, however, by
the recklessness of his character, soon raised hi*s
subjects to a second rebellion.    On his road to sun
press^the insurgents, he was seized with a fever
and died at Newark in the fifty-first year of his
Began to
Oct. 17,
56 Years
When only nine years of age, succeeded to the
throne at the death of his father, and by the favour
and support of the Earl of Pembroke, was crowned
by the bishops of Bath, Gloucester, and Winchester.
The early part of his reign is made memorable by
the loss of the British possessions in France. He
was a prince of a changeable and fanciful temper,
haughty and proud ; and altogether a prince of
very poor abilities ; distinguished by no virtue,
except that of granting his enemies their lives,
after he had pillaged them of their estates. Henry
died at Westminster, in the fifty-seventh year
of his reign ; being the longest met with in the
chronicles of English history, till the time of
George III.
Eminent men in this reign :—Monford, Earl of Leicester;
Des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, and Lord Chancellor; Eari
of Pembroke, Protector,
 Was employed in a crusade in the Holy Land at
his father's death, where he had the misfortune to
be stabbed, and owed the preservation of his life
to his pious wife Eleanora, who sucked the poisoned
wound, at the risk of her life. Though his father's
death occurred while absent at the Holy Wars, yet,
on his return, he ascended the throne with the
greatest tranquility. Edward having gained a
decisive victory over the Welsh prince Llewelyn,
annexed Wales to his English dominions ; and from
it the eldest son of the reigning king is named the
Prince of Wales. Edward died at a small town,
named Brough, in Cumberland, while on his way
with an army to invade Scotland ; and was buried
in Westminster Abbey.
Eminent  men  in  this  reign:—Wickliffe;   Roger  Bacon
Humphry   "°^—    "-1    - TT    "   ^     —     -
^^^^^^^^_^^^^^^^^ yet on
Bohun,  Earl  of HerefordT Richard',^ Eaxf of
Surnamed Caernarvon, from his birth-place, was a
prince of good appearance, of an indulgent and
harmless disposition, and to appearance addicted to
few vices ; but wanting that ability and steadiness
of resolution necessary for the government of an
agitated rebellious people. Edward after quelling
a conspiracy amongst his English subjects, marched
to Scotland with an army of 100,000 men, to oppose
Bruce. He was met by him at Bannockburn, with
an army of 30,000 men, and completely defeated.
To add to Edward's unfortunate life, he was
deposed, and the crown given to his son Sent
from prison to prison, Edward at last ended his
life, by a cruel death, at the hands of his barbarous
keepers, in the twentieth year of his reign.
Eminent men in this reign :—Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of
Lancaster; Gavestone, and the Spencers, favorites of tho
Had been placed on the throne when his father
was deposed. Edward after a successful inroad
into Scotland, turned his attention to France, where
he urged his claims to the throne, through his
mother, who was a daughter of Philip, the late
king. Having landed in Flanders, he took villages
and towns in. his.advance to Paris; after which
followed the famous battle of Crescy, and the capture of Calais. The Black Prince, eldest son of
Edward, gained a victory near Poictiers, where he
took John, king of France, prisoner, and had him
conveyed to London. The Black Prince died
shortly after, in the forty-sixth year of his age.
The king, who was painfully grieved at the loss of
his son, did not long survive him, but died the year
after at Surrey, in the fiftieth year of his reign.
Eminent men in this reign:—Edward, the Black Prince;
John, "Lord Chandos ; Latimer, Lord Chamberlain; Roger,
Lord Mortimer.
Began to
June 21,
23 Years.
!»■■■ ii i ii --|—assy
Son of the Black Prince, was horn at Bordeaux,
and succeeded. his Grandfather,  Edward  III.  at
eleven years of age.    He was of a handsome appearance, and lively disposition ; but infirm, proud,
changeable, and wanting that spirit necessary for
the governing a people, poor and discontented, with
nobles, haughty and rebellious.     While Richard
was engaged in quelling an insurrection in Ireland,
the people, headed by the Duke of Hereford, had
assembled to the amount of 60,000 men.    Richard's
forces soon began to desert him, and, with no other
hopes of safety, he was obliged to throw himself
on the mercy of the enemy, by whom he was deposed
and sent prisoner, to Pomfret Castle, where he was
at last murdered by Sir Pierce Exton and other
eight assassins.
Eminent men in this reign :—William of Wykeham, Founder
of Winchester College, and of Merton College, Oxford; William
Walworth, Lord Mayor of London,,
 On the deposition of Richard, the Duke of Lancaster ascended the throne, under the title of Henry IV.
During his reign, which was but short, he performed
few deeds worthy of praise ; and he soon found the
seat of a usurper to be a bed of thorns. One conspiracy was succeeded by another. But while the
king toiled to restore his lost character, his son,
the Prince of Wales, by his notorious and illegal
deeds seemed melted on reviving the indignation
of the people. On one occasion he struck Sir
William Gascoigne in court: the worthy magistrate
with becoming dignity, committed the prince to
prison. Henry did not long survive this affair, but
died at Westminster, of leprosy. In his countenance, he was severe, his temper of mind harsh, and
discontented ; but was brave, firm, and acute.
Eminent men in this rdgn :—Geoffrey Chaucer; Chief Justice
Gascoigne : Henry Percy, surnamed Hotspur; Sir Richard
WJuttington, Lord Mayor of London,
Eldest son of Henry IV. succeeded at his father's
death to the throne. Though he had been publicly
known for his dissolute and unrestrained conduct
before his father's death, yet, on ascending the
throne he threw off every mark of his former career,
called on his late companions to follow his admonitions, and leave off their dissolute life. Sir William
Gascoigne, who had imprisoned him, he treated
with respect, and exhorted him to follow the same
just and disinterested performance of his duty.
Henry, after a successful inroad into France, married Catherine, the king's daughter, and had himself declared heir after the king's death. Henry,
when in the height of his glory and prosperity, was
seized with a complaint which proved fatal. He was
firm, and patient; uniformly chaste and temperate.
Eminent men in this reign:—Cardinal Beaufort, Bishop of
Winchester; Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury.
Succeeded his father when only about a year old,
and shortly afterwards became king of France at
the death of Charles \ L Tlie Duke of Bedford
was appointed regent during the minority of the
young king, who was chaste, pious, merciful and
kind; but unhappily lie had a weakness of mind
which unfitted him for governing without the
assistance of others. The Duke of Bedford dying
in 1443, affairs in England were in a lamentable
state. After a variety of troubles Henry was de*
posed, though ably supported by his wife, Margaret
of Anjou, who was possessed of masculine abilities
and daring bravery. He was finally committed to
the Tower, where he was murdered in the fiftieth
year of his age ; and his son was murdered by the
hands of the Dukes of Gloucester and Clarence.
Eminent men in this reign :—Bishop of Winchester; Dukes
of Bedford, Gloucester, and Exeter, regents and guardians to
the king.
Began to
March 5,
Son of Richard, Duke of York, whose father had
been killed in battle while disputing the crown with
Henry VI., appeared in the field at his father's
death, and after a series of battles had been fought,
in which torrents of blood had been shed, was
placed on the throne. Edward was of an elegant
appearance, and pleasing address; possessing firmness, courage and sagacity ; but cruel, revengeful,
lewd, and given to adultery. Among the number
of his mistresses was one Jane Shore, remarkable
for her beauty. She was married to a rich goldsmith in London, where Edward went in disguise,
saw her, and through Lord Hastings induced her
to leave her husband. Edward, while making
preparations to invade France, was taken ill of a
disease, of which he died.
Eminent men in this reign :—William Caxton, the first printer
in England; Earl of Warwick, tailed the king-makor; Tiptoft,
Earl of Worcester.
Began to
April 9
3 Months.
Son of the preceding monarch, succeeded his father
when only twelve years of age.     The Duke of
Gloucester was nominated protector  during the
minority of the young king, whose reign was short.
The Duke had the king and his younger brother
conveyed to the Tower, under pretence of affording
them greater safety, and had them suffocated while
asleep with the pillows and coverings of their bed.
Lord Hastings, who had a warm interest in the
young king, was beheaded.    Having then gained
over the most powerful noblemen, he assumed to
the crown, which was offered him, and which he
accepted  with  seeming  reluctance.     The   Duke
was proclaimed king on the 20th of June, 1483,
and was crowned on the 6th of July, having asserted
the illegitimacy of the young king and his brother.
Eminent men in this reign :-—Richard, Duke of Gloucester, I
Protector; Lord Hastings. /I
August 23,
Began ta
June 27,
2 Years.
Was brother of Edward IV., and found his way to
the  throne through  crime.    While the  usurper
endeavoured to secure his power, he received resistance from a person, from whom he least expected
it.    The Duke of Buckingham, who had been his
abettor in his crimes, levied an army in  Wales
against him.     A  scarcity of provisions  obliged
Buckingham to disperse his army; in the meantime he took shelter in the house of one of his
servants, who, tempted by the large reward offered
for his master, betrayed him to the enemy, who had
him tried, and executed.   Richard was killed in the
battle of Bosworth-field.    He had a disagreeable
countenance, and was possessed of uncommon decision, acuteness and courage, but the whole course
of his life was that of a tyrant.
Eminent men in this reign :—Duke of Buckingham ; Loud
Stanley; Duke of Norfolk; Viscount Lovel; Sir Richard
Ratclilfe; Sir William Catesby.
April 22
Began to
August 23,
23J Tears.
Earl  of Richmond,  of the house of Lancaster,
ascended the throne on the death of Richard at the
battle of Bosworth-field.    He married Elizabeth,
daughter of Edward IV., and heiress of the York
family.    This united the interests of both families,
rendering  the throne free from further dispute.
To gain the favour and affections of his subjects,
Henry granted a general pardon to all who chose
to accept it.    After quelling some disturbances,
Henry ruled with a steady hand till his death,
which happened after a reign of twenty-three years.
This reign was productive of many happy results,
more particularly for the benefit of the people.
None of Henry's predecessors ever did more for
the extension of commerce, and for the support of
agricultural industry than he did.
Eminent men in this reign :—Sebastian Cabot, a great navigator ; Cardinal Morton, Lord Chancellor.
Son of Henry VII. No person ever ascended the
throne under more favourable circumstances. His
father left the kingdom in a prosperous state ; well
supplied with money and soldiers, to protect its
freedom and commerce. But Henry was vain, extravagant, voluptuous, over-bearing, and wasted
the exchequer in frivolous pageantries. In all his
excesses he was seconded by his haughty, profligate,
and unprincipled minister, Wolsey ; who lived the
life of a mean intriguing libertine, and after forfeiting the favour of his equally unprincipled and
profligate master, died in ail the pangs of horror
and remorse. The most important event that took
place in this reign, was the Reformation. Henry's
end was fast approaching, and many were put to
death for prognosticating it.
Eminent men in this reign:—Bishop Cranmer; Sir Thomas
Moore; Lord Cromwell; Bishop Gardiner.
Began to
Jan. 29,
[   ReigDed
6£ Years.
Was the only son of Henry Vlil. He came to the
throne at nine years of age. His father had fixed
his majority at eighteen, and appointed sixteen
executors ; the Duke of Somerset, with the title of
Protector at their head. Dudley, Earl of Warwick,
a crafty man, started forth as rival to Somerset.
He got some others to join him, and did not rest
till he accomplished the ruin of the Protector.
Edward, whose health was fast declining, continued
to languish ; few had access to him, but the creatures of Dudley, who had, by this time, become the
Duke of Northumberland. At length the young
king was put into the hands of an ignorant woman,
who very confidently undertook his cure. After
being a short time under her treatment, he expired
at Greenwich, in the sixteenth year of his age.
Eminent men in this reign :—Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury ; Lord Seymour; Dukes of Somerset awl Northumbor*
land; Guildford, Lord Dudley,


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