Henry II, King of England

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Henri "Curtmantle" Plantagenêt, Roi d'Angleterre

Also Known As: "Henry", "Curtmantle", "Fitz-Empress", "First Plantagenet King", "of England", "Duke", "Longshanks", "Count of Anjou", "Duke of Normandie", "Roi d'Angleterre", "Comte", "Duc", "Henry Planagenet", "King of England", "Lord of Ireland", "Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet", "Henry Pl..."
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Le Mans, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France
Death: Died in Chinon Castle, near Tours, Maine Province, France
Place of Burial: Fontevrault Abbey, Fontevrault, Maine-Et-Loire, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Geoffroy V, comte d'Anjou et Maine and Empress Matilda
Husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and England
Partner of Alix de France, comtesse de Vexin; N.N., multiple unconfirmed mistresses of King Henry II; Ykenai/Ikenai mistress of Henry II; Ida de Tosny, Countess of Norfolk (Royal Mistress of Henry II); Rosamund de Clifford, Royal Mistress of Henry II and 1 other
Father of Hugh Plantagenet, Bishop of Wells; Geoffrey of Plantagenet, Archbishop of York; William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury; William IX, Count of Poitiers; Henry "The Young King", King of England and 10 others
Brother of Geoffrey "Mantell" Plantagenet, VI, Count of Nantes and William, Count of Poitou
Half brother of Hamelin de Warenne, 4th Earl of Surrey; Emma Plantagenet; Marie of Shaftsbury d'Anjou, Abbess of Shaftesbury; Emma d'Anjou; Adewis Plantagenet, d'Anjou and 2 others

Occupation: Enrique II rey de Inglaterra sucesor de Ricardo I desde 1154 to 1189, Rey de Inglaterra, 1ro de la dinastía "Plantagenet" que reinarían por más de 300 años., Duque de Normandía y Aquitania y Conde de Anjou., Conde de Anjou, King of England, King
Managed by: Jason Scott Wills
Last Updated:

About Henry II, King of England

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Predecessor: Stephen Successor: Richard the Lionheart

  • Duke of Normandy Count of Anjou Count of Maine Reign 1151–1189 with Henry the Young King

Predecessor: Geoffrey Plantagenet Successor: Richard I Lionheart

  • Duke of Aquitaine: Reign 1152–1189

Predecessor: Eleanor as sole ruler Successor: Eleanor and Richard I Lionheart

  • Count of Poitiers: Reign 1152–1153 with Eleanor

Predecessor: Eleanor as sole rulerSuccessor: William IX

  • Henry had eight legitimate children by Eleanor, five sons—William, the Young Henry, Richard, Geoffrey and John, and three daughters, Matilda, Eleanor and Joan.[nb 20] Henry also had several illegitimate children; amongst the most prominent of these were Geoffrey (later Archbishop of York) and William (later Earl of Salisbury).[164] Henry was expected to provide for the future of his legitimate children, either through granting lands to his sons or marrying his daughters well.[165] Unfortunately Henry's family was divided by rivalries and violent hostilities, more so than many other royal families of the day, in particular the relatively cohesive French Capetians.[166] Various suggestions have been put forward to explain Henry's family's bitter disputes, from their inherited family genetics to the failure of Henry and Eleanor's parenting.[167] Other theories focus on the personalities of Henry and his children.[168] Historians such as Matthew Strickland have argued that Henry made sensible attempts to manage the tensions within his family, and that, had the king died younger, the succession might have proven much smoother.[1

-------------------- angol király -------------------- First of the Angevin kings. Raised in Anjou, and first visited England in 1142 to defend his mother's claim to the disputed throne of Stephen of England. Acquired Normandy and Anjou on the death of his father in Sep 1152, and more than doubled his French holdings as a result of his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine. From "Henry II (1154-1189)" at http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon26.html.

Buried in Fontévrault Abbey. Place from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_of_Aquitaine -------------------- Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (French: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Nantes, King of England (1154–89) and Lord of Ireland; at various times, he also controlled Wales, Scotland and Brittany. Henry was the son of Geoffrey of Anjou and Matilda, who was the daughter of King Henry I and took the title of Empress from her first marriage. He became actively involved by the age of 14 in his mother's efforts to claim the throne of England, and was made the Duke of Normandy at 17. He inherited Anjou in 1151 and shortly afterwards married Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to the French king Louis VII had recently been annulled. King Stephen agreed to a peace treaty after Henry's military expedition to England in 1153, and Henry inherited the kingdom on Stephen's death a year later. Still quite young, he now controlled what would later be called the Angevin Empire, stretching across much of western Europe. Henry was an energetic and sometimes ruthless ruler, driven by a desire to restore the lands and privileges of his royal grandfather, Henry I. During the early years of the younger Henry's reign he restored the royal administration in England, re-established hegemony over Wales and gained full control over his lands in Anjou, Maine and Touraine. Henry soon came into conflict with Louis VII and the two rulers fought what has been termed a "cold war" over several decades. Henry expanded his empire, often at Louis's expense, taking Brittany and pushing east into central France and south into Toulouse; despite numerous peace conferences and treaties no lasting agreement was reached. Although Henry usually worked well with the local hierarchies of the Church, his desire to reform England's relationship with the Church led to conflict with his former friend Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This controversy lasted for much of the 1160s and resulted in Becket's death in 1170. As Henry's reign progressed he had many children with Eleanor, and tensions over the future inheritance of the empire began to emerge, encouraged first by Louis VII and then Louis's son and successor Philip Augustus. In 1173 Henry's heir apparent, "Young Henry", rebelled in protest against his father; he was joined by his brothers Richard and Geoffrey and by their mother, Eleanor. France, Scotland, Flanders and Boulogne allied with the rebels against Henry. The Great Revolt spread across Henry's lands and was only defeated by his vigorous military action and talented local commanders, many of them "new men" appointed for their loyalty and administrative skills. Henry was mostly generous in victory and appeared for the moment to be at the height of his powers, but Young Henry and Geoffrey revolted again in 1183, resulting in Young Henry's death. Despite invading Ireland to provide lands for his youngest son John, Henry struggled to find ways to satisfy all his sons' desires for land and immediate power. Philip successfully played on Richard's fears that Henry would make John king, and a final rebellion broke out in 1189. Decisively defeated by Philip and Richard and suffering from a bleeding ulcer, Henry retreated to Chinon in Anjou, where he died. Henry's empire quickly collapsed during the reign of his youngest son John. Many of the changes Henry introduced during his long rule, however, had long-term consequences. Henry's legal changes are generally considered to have laid the basis for the English Common Law, while his intervention in Brittany, Wales and Scotland shaped the development of their societies and governmental systems. Historical interpretations of Henry's reign have changed considerably over time. In the 18th century, scholars argued that Henry was a driving force in the creation of a genuinely English monarchy and, ultimately, a unified Britain. During the Victorian expansion of the British Empire, historians were keenly interested in the formation of Henry's own empire, but they also expressed concern over his private life and treatment of Becket. Late-20th-century historians have combined British and French historical accounts of Henry, challenging earlier Anglocentric interpretations of his reign. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_II_of_England

Great Tower, Dover Castle, Dover, Kent, England UK was built by Henry II, one of the most powerful English kings of all time, to entertain the leaders of Christendom.

The Great Tower at Dover Castle is the most spectacular building in one of Europe's most spectacular castles. During the eight centuries of its existence it has been the scene of numerous events in the mainstream of English history. Its heyday, however, was undoubtedly in the decades after its creation in the late 12th century. But although it is superbly preserved and still gives an instant impression of the power and ambition of its builder, to understand how it might have functioned, looked and felt in that period requires a lot more knowledge and imagination. -------------------- Kathryn Lothian Family Tree in Shishkowski Web Site, managed by Kathryn Shishkowski (Contact) Birth: Feb 7 1102 - Le Mans, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France Death: Sep 10 1167 - Chinon, Indre-et-Loire, Centre, France

Parents: Count Geoffrey V the Handsome DeAnjou Plantagenet, Holy Roman Empress Adelaide Matilda Maude Plantagenet (born Plantagenet duMaine Countess Anjou /Duchess Normandy)

Siblings: Rohese FITZHENRY, Constance DeBretagne, Geoffrey VI Martel dAnjou, Mathilda England, Christina Germany, Eleanor Plantagenet, Geoffery Plantagenet, Hamelin Plantagenet, Agnes Plantagenet, Adewis Plantagenet, Marie countess, King of England Henry II Plantagenet, Marie Abbess of SHAFTESBURY, Geoffrey VI Count Anjou, William LONGESPEE, Nantes Geoffrey, Guillaume Plantagenet, William Plantagenet, Emma Plantagenet, Mary Plantagenet, Geoffrey VI deNantes Plantagenet, Isabella Plantagenet, th Earl Of Surrey, William DeLaBruer, Maud Thompson, Emma of Anjou, <Private> Poitou, Marie of Anjou, <Private> Blois

-------------------- Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (French: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Nantes, King of England (1154–89) and Lord of Ireland; at various times, he also controlled Wales, Scotland and Brittany. Henry was the son of Geoffrey of Anjou and Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England. He became actively involved by the age of 14 in his mother's efforts to claim the throne of England, then occupied by Stephen of Blois, and was made Duke of Normandy at 17. He inherited Anjou in 1151 and shortly afterwards married Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Louis VII of France had recently been annulled. Stephen agreed to a peace treaty after Henry's military expedition to England in 1153: Henry inherited the kingdom on Stephen's death a year later.

Henry was an energetic and sometimes ruthless ruler, driven by a desire to restore the lands and privileges of his royal grandfather, Henry I. During the early years of the younger Henry's reign he restored the royal administration in England, re-established hegemony over Wales and gained full control over his lands in Anjou, Maine and Touraine. Henry's desire to reform the relationship with the Church led to conflict with his former friend Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This controversy lasted for much of the 1160s and resulted in Becket's death in 1170. Henry soon came into conflict with Louis VII and the two rulers fought what has been termed a "cold war" over several decades. Henry expanded his empire, often at Louis' expense, taking Brittany and pushing east into central France and south into Toulouse; despite numerous peace conferences and treaties no lasting agreement was reached. By 1172, he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France, an area that would later come to be called the Angevin Empire.

Henry and Eleanor had eight children. As they grew up, tensions over the future inheritance of the empire began to emerge, encouraged by Louis and his son King Philip II. In 1173 Henry's heir apparent, "Young Henry", rebelled in protest; he was joined by his brothers Richard and Geoffrey and by their mother, Eleanor. France, Scotland, Flanders and Boulogne allied themselves with the rebels. The Great Revolt was only defeated by his vigorous military action and talented local commanders, many of them "new men" appointed for their loyalty and administrative skills. Young Henry and Geoffrey revolted again in 1183, resulting in Young Henry's death. The Norman invasion of Ireland provided lands for his youngest son John, but Henry struggled to find ways to satisfy all his sons' desires for land and immediate power. Philip successfully played on Richard's fears that Henry would make John king, and a final rebellion broke out in 1189. Decisively defeated by Philip and Richard and suffering from a bleeding ulcer, Henry retreated to Chinon in Anjou, where he died.

Henry's empire quickly collapsed during the reign of his youngest son John. Many of the changes Henry introduced during his long rule, however, had long-term consequences. Henry's legal changes are generally considered to have laid the basis for the English Common Law, while his intervention in Brittany, Wales and Scotland shaped the development of their societies and governmental systems. Historical interpretations of Henry's reign have changed considerably over time. In the 18th century, scholars argued that Henry was a driving force in the creation of a genuinely English monarchy and, ultimately, a unified Britain. During the Victorian expansion of the British Empire, historians were keenly interested in the formation of Henry's own empire, but they also expressed concern over his private life and treatment of Becket. Late-20th-century historians have combined British and French historical accounts of Henry, challenging earlier Anglo-centric interpretations of his reign.

Henry was born in France at Le Mans on 5 March 1133 as the eldest child of Geoffrey the Fair, Count of Anjou, and the Empress Matilda, so titled because of her first marriage to Henry V, the Holy Roman Emperor.[2] The French county of Anjou was formed in the 10th century and the Angevin rulers attempted for several centuries to extend their influence and power across France through careful marriages and political alliances.[3] In theory the county answered to the French king but royal power over Anjou weakened during the 11th century and the county became largely autonomous.[4]

Henry's mother was the eldest daughter of Henry I, King of England and Duke of Normandy. She was born into a powerful ruling class of Normans, who traditionally owned extensive estates in both England and Normandy.[5] Matilda was married at a young age to Henry V; after his death she was remarried to Geoffrey.[6] Following Henry I's death in 1135, Matilda hoped to claim the English throne but instead her cousin Stephen of Blois was crowned king and recognised as the Duke of Normandy, resulting in civil war between their rival supporters.[7] Geoffrey took advantage of the confusion to attack the Duchy of Normandy but played no direct role in the English conflict, leaving this to Matilda and her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester.[8] The war, termed the Anarchy by Victorian historians, dragged on and degenerated into stalemate.[9]

Henry probably spent some of his earliest years in his mother's household, and accompanied Matilda to Normandy in the late 1130s.[10] Henry's later childhood, probably from the age of seven, was spent in Anjou, where he was educated by Peter of Saintes, a noted grammarian of the day.[11] In late 1142, Geoffrey decided to send the nine-year old to Bristol, the centre of Angevin opposition to Stephen in the south-west of England, accompanied by Robert of Gloucester.[12] Although having children educated in relatives' households was common among noblemen of the period, sending Henry to England also had political benefits, as Geoffrey was coming under criticism for refusing to join the war in England.[12] For about a year, Henry lived alongside Roger of Worcester, one of Robert's sons, and was instructed by a magister, Master Matthew; Robert's household was known for its education and learning.[13] The canons of St Augustine's in Bristol also helped in Henry's education, and he remembered them with affection in later years.[14] Henry returned to Anjou either in 1143 or 1144, resuming his education under William of Conches, another famous academic.[15]

Henry returned to England in 1147, when he was fourteen.[16] Taking his immediate household and a small number of mercenaries, he left Normandy and landed in England, striking into Wiltshire.[16] Despite initially causing considerable panic, the expedition had little success and Henry found himself unable to pay his forces and therefore unable to return to Normandy.[16] Neither his mother nor his uncle were prepared to support him, implying that they had not approved of the expedition in the first place.[17] Surprisingly, Henry instead turned to King Stephen, who paid the outstanding wages and thereby allowed Henry to retire gracefully. Stephen's reasons for doing so are unclear. One potential explanation is his general courtesy to a member of his extended family; another is that he was starting to consider how to end the war peacefully, and saw this as a way of building a relationship with Henry.[18] Henry intervened once again in 1149, commencing what is often termed the Henrician phase of the civil war.[19] This time, Henry planned to form a northern alliance with King David I of Scotland, Henry's great-uncle, and Ranulf of Chester, a powerful regional leader who controlled most of the north-west of England.[20] Under this alliance, Henry and Ranulf agreed to attack York, probably with help from the Scots.[21] The planned attack disintegrated after Stephen marched rapidly north to York, and Henry returned to Normandy.[22][nb 2]

Henry was said by chroniclers to be good-looking, red-haired, freckled, with a large head; he had a short, stocky body and was bow-legged from riding.[23] Often he was scruffily dressed.[24] Not as reserved as his mother Matilda, nor as charming as his father Geoffrey, Henry was famous for his energy and drive.[25] He was also infamous for his piercing stare, bullying, bursts of temper and, on occasion, his sullen refusal to speak at all.[26] Some of these outbursts, however, may have been theatrical and for effect.[27][nb 3] Henry was said to understand a wide range of languages, but spoke only Latin and French.[28][nb 4] In his youth Henry enjoyed warfare, hunting and other adventurous pursuits; as the years went by he put increasing energy into judicial and administrative affairs and became more cautious, but throughout his life he was energetic and frequently impulsive.[29]

Henry had a passionate desire to rebuild his control of the territories that his grandfather, Henry I, had once governed.[30] He may well have been influenced by his mother in this regard, as Matilda also had a strong sense of ancestral rights and privileges.[31] Henry took back territories, regained estates and re-established influence over the smaller lords that had once provided what historian John Gillingham describes as a "protective ring" around his core territories.[32] He was probably the first king of England to use a heraldic design: a signet ring with either a leopard or a lion engraved on it. The design would be altered in later generations to form the royal seal of England.[33] By the late 1140s the active phase of the civil war was over, barring the occasional outbreak of fighting.[34] Many of the barons were making individual peace agreements with each other to secure their war gains and it increasingly appeared as though the English Church was considering promoting a peace treaty.[35] On Louis VII's return from the Second Crusade in 1149, he became concerned about the growth of Geoffrey's power and the potential threat to his own possessions, especially if Henry could acquire the English crown.[36] In 1150, Geoffrey made Henry the Duke of Normandy and Louis responded by putting forward King Stephen's son Eustace as the rightful heir to the duchy and launching a military campaign to remove Henry from the province.[37][nb 5] Henry's father advised him to come to terms with Louis and peace was made between them in August 1151 after mediation by Bernard of Clairvaux.[39] Under the settlement Henry did homage to Louis for Normandy, accepting Louis as his feudal lord, and gave him the disputed lands of the Norman Vexin; in return, Louis recognised him as duke.[39]

Geoffrey died in September 1151, and Henry postponed his plans to return to England, as he first needed to ensure that his succession, particularly in Anjou, was secure.[39] At around this time Henry was also probably secretly planning his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine, then still the wife of Louis.[39] Eleanor was the Duchess of Aquitaine, a duchy in the south of France, and was considered beautiful, lively and controversial, but had not borne Louis any sons.[40] Louis had the marriage annulled and Henry married Eleanor eight weeks later on 18 May.[39][nb 6] The marriage instantly reignited Henry's tensions with Louis: the marriage was considered an insult, it ran counter to feudal practice and it threatened the inheritance of Louis and Eleanor's two daughters, who might otherwise have had claims to Aquitaine on Eleanor's death. With his new lands, Henry now possessed a much larger proportion of France than Louis.[42] Louis organised a coalition against Henry, including Stephen, Eustace, Henry the Count of Champagne, and Robert the Count of Perche.[43] Louis's alliance was joined by Henry's younger brother, Geoffrey, who rose in revolt, claiming that Henry had dispossessed him of his inheritance.[44] Geoffrey of Anjou's plans for the inheritance of his lands had been ambiguous, making the veracity of his son Geoffrey's claims hard to assess.[45] Contemporaneous accounts suggest he left the main castles in Poitou to Geoffrey, implying that he may have intended Henry to retain Normandy and Anjou and not Poitou.[46][nb 7]

Fighting immediately broke out again along the Normandy borders, where Henry of Champagne and Robert captured the town of Neufmarché-sur-Epte.[48] Louis's forces moved to attack Aquitaine.[49] Stephen responded by placing Wallingford Castle, a key fortress loyal to Henry along the Thames Valley, under siege, possibly in an attempt to force a successful end to the English conflict while Henry was still fighting for his territories in France.[50] Henry moved quickly in response, avoiding open battle with Louis in Aquitaine and stabilising the Norman border, pillaging the Vexin and then striking south into Anjou against Geoffrey, capturing one of his main castles.[51] Louis fell ill and withdrew from the campaign, and Geoffrey was forced to come to terms with Henry.[49]

In response to Stephen's siege, Henry returned to England again at the start of 1153, braving winter storms.[52] Bringing only a small army of mercenaries, probably paid for with borrowed money, Henry was supported in the north and east of England by the forces of Ranulf of Chester and Hugh Bigod, and had hopes of a military victory.[53] A delegation of senior English clergy met with Henry and his advisers at Stockbridge shortly before Easter in April.[54] Details of their discussions are unclear, but it appears that the churchmen emphasised that while they supported Stephen as king, they sought a negotiated peace; Henry reaffirmed that he would avoid the English cathedrals and would not expect the bishops to attend his court.[55]

In an attempt to draw Stephen's forces away from Wallingford, Henry besieged Stephen's castle at Malmesbury, and the King responded by marching west with an army to relieve it.[56] Henry successfully evaded Stephen's larger army along the River Avon, preventing Stephen from forcing a decisive battle.[57] In the face of the increasingly wintry weather, the two men agreed to a temporary truce, leaving Henry to travel north through the Midlands, where the powerful Robert de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester, announced his support for the cause.[57] Henry was then free to turn his forces south against the besiegers at Wallingford.[58] Despite only modest military successes, he and his allies now controlled the south-west, the Midlands and much of the north of England.[59] Meanwhile, Henry was attempting to act the part of a legitimate king, witnessing marriages and settlements and holding court in a regal fashion.[60]

Over the next summer, Stephen massed troops to renew the siege of Wallingford Castle in a final attempt to take the stronghold.[61] The fall of Wallingford appeared imminent and Henry marched south to relieve the siege, arriving with a small army and placing Stephen's besieging forces under siege themselves.[62] Upon news of this, Stephen returned with a large army, and the two sides confronted each other across the River Thames at Wallingford in July.[62] By this point in the war, the barons on both sides were eager to avoid an open battle,[63] so members of the clergy brokered a truce, to the annoyance of both Henry and Stephen.[63] Henry and Stephen took the opportunity to speak together privately about a potential end to the war; conveniently for Henry, Stephen's son Eustace fell ill and died shortly afterwards.[64] This removed the most obvious other claimant to the throne, as while Stephen had another son, William, he was only a second son and appeared unenthusiastic about making a plausible claim on the throne.[65] Fighting continued after Wallingford, but in a rather half-hearted fashion, while the English Church attempted to broker a permanent peace between the two sides.[66]

In November the two leaders ratified the terms of a permanent peace.[67] Stephen announced the Treaty of Winchester in Winchester Cathedral: he recognised Henry as his adopted son and successor, in return for Henry doing homage to him; Stephen promised to listen to Henry's advice, but retained all his royal powers; Stephen's remaining son, William, would do homage to Henry and renounce his claim to the throne, in exchange for promises of the security of his lands; key royal castles would be held on Henry's behalf by guarantors whilst Stephen would have access to Henry's castles; and the numerous foreign mercenaries would be demobilised and sent home.[68] Henry and Stephen sealed the treaty with a kiss of peace in the cathedral.[69] The peace remained precarious, however, and Stephen's second son William remained a possible future rival to Henry.[70] Rumours of a plot to kill Henry were circulating and, possibly as a consequence, Henry decided to return to Normandy for a period.[70][nb 8] Stephen, however, fell ill with a stomach disorder and died on 25 October 1154, allowing Henry to inherit the throne rather sooner than had been expected.[72]

Henry had a problematic relationship with Louis VII of France throughout the 1150s. The two men had already clashed over Henry's succession to Normandy and the remarriage of Eleanor, and the relationship was not repaired. Louis invariably attempted to take the moral high ground in respect to Henry, capitalising on his reputation as a crusader and circulating rumours about his rival's behaviour and character.[90] Henry had greater resources than Louis, however, particularly after taking England, and Louis was far less dynamic in resisting Angevin power than he had been earlier in his reign.[91] The disputes between the two drew in other powers across the region, including Thierry, the Count of Flanders, who signed a military alliance with Henry, albeit with a clause that prevented the count from being forced to fight against Louis, his feudal lord.[92] Further south, Theobald V, the Count of Blois, an enemy of Louis, became another early ally of Henry.[93] The resulting military tensions and the frequent face-to-face meetings to attempt to resolve them has led historian Jean Dunbabin to liken the situation to the period of the Cold War in Europe in the 20th century.[94]

On his return to the continent from England, Henry sought to secure his French lands and quash any potential rebellion.[95] As a result, in 1154 Henry and Louis agreed a peace treaty, under which Henry bought back the Vernon and the Neuf-Marché from Louis.[30] The treaty appeared shaky, however and tensions remained—in particular, Henry had not given homage to Louis for his French possessions.[96][nb 11] In an attempt to improve relations, Henry met with Louis at Paris and Mont-Saint-Michel in 1158, agreeing to betroth Henry's eldest living son, the Young Henry, to Louis's daughter Margaret.[98] The marriage deal would have involved Louis granting the disputed territory of the Vexin to Margaret on her marriage to the Young Henry: while this would ultimately give Henry the lands that he claimed, it also cunningly implied that the Vexin was Louis's to give away in the first place, in itself a political concession.[99] For a short while, a permanent peace between Henry and Louis looked plausible.[98]

Meanwhile, Henry turned his attention to the Duchy of Brittany, which neighboured his lands and was traditionally largely independent from the rest of France, with its own language and culture.[100] The Breton dukes held little power across most of the duchy, which was mostly controlled by local lords.[101] In 1148, Duke Conan III died and civil war broke out.[102] Henry claimed to be the overlord of Brittany, on the basis that the duchy had owed loyalty to Henry I, and saw controlling the duchy both as a way of securing his other French territories and as a potential inheritance for one of his sons.[103][nb 12] Initially Henry's strategy was to rule indirectly through proxies, and accordingly Henry supported Conan IV's claims over most of the duchy, partly because Conan had strong English ties and could be easily influenced.[105] Conan's uncle, Hoël, continued to control the county of Nantes in the east until he was deposed in 1156 by Henry's brother, Geoffrey, possibly with Henry's support.[106] When Geoffrey died in 1158, Conan attempted to reclaim Nantes but was opposed by Henry who annexed it for himself.[107] Louis took no action to intervene as Henry steadily increased his power in Brittany.[108]

Henry hoped to take a similar approach to regaining control of Toulouse in southern France.[108] Toulouse, while technically part of the Duchy of Aquitaine, had become increasingly independent and was now ruled by Count Raymond V, who had only a weak claim to the lands.[109] Encouraged by Eleanor, Henry first allied himself with Raymond's enemy Raymond Berenguer of Barcelona and then in 1159 threatened to invade himself to depose Raymond.[109] Louis, however, married his sister Constance to Raymond in an attempt to secure his southern frontiers; nonetheless, when Henry and Louis discussed the matter of Toulouse, Henry left believing that he had the French king's support for military intervention.[110] Henry invaded Toulouse, only to find Louis visiting Raymond in the city.[111] Henry was not prepared to directly attack Louis, who was still his feudal lord, and withdrew, settling himself with ravaging the surrounding county, seizing castles and taking the province of Quercy.[111] The episode proved to be a long-running point of dispute between the two kings and the chronicler William of Newburgh called the ensuing conflict with Toulouse a "forty years' war".[112]

In the aftermath of the Toulouse episode, Louis made an attempt to repair relations with Henry through an 1160 peace treaty: this promised Henry the lands and the rights of his grandfather, Henry I; it reaffirmed the betrothal of Young Henry and Margaret and the Vexin deal; and it involved Young Henry giving homage to Louis, a way of reinforcing the young boy's position as heir and Louis's position as king.[113] Almost immediately after the peace conference, however, Louis shifted his position considerably. Louis's wife Constance died and Louis married Adèle, the sister of the Counts of Blois and Champagne.[114] Louis also betrothed his two daughters Marie and Alix to Theobald of Blois's sons, Theobald and Henry.[115] This represented an aggressive containment strategy towards Henry rather than the agreed rapprochement, and caused Theobald to abandon his alliance with Henry.[115] Henry reacted angrily; the King had custody of both Young Henry and Margaret, and in November he bullied several papal legates into marrying them—despite the children only being five and three years old respectively—and promptly seized the Vexin.[116][nb 13] Now it was Louis's turn to be furious, as the move clearly broke the spirit of the 1160 treaty.[120]

Military tensions between the two leaders immediately increased. Theobald mobilised his forces along the border with Touraine; Henry responded by attacking Chaumont in Blois in a surprise attack; he successfully took Theobald's castle in a notable siege.[115] At the start of 1161 war seemed likely to spread across the region, until a fresh peace was negotiated at Fréteval that autumn, followed by a second peace treaty in 1162, overseen by Pope Alexander III.[121] Despite this temporary halt in hostilities, Henry's seizure of the Vexin proved to be a second long-running dispute between him and the kings of France

-------------------- King of England from 1154, Henry strengthened royal administration but suffered from quarrels with Thomas Becket and his own family.

Henry was born at Le Mans in north west France on 4 March 1133. His father was Count of Anjou and his mother Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England. Henry had named Matilda as his successor to the English throne but her cousin Stephen had taken over.

In 1150 - 1151, Henry became ruler of Normandy and Anjou, after the death of his father. In 1152, he married Eleanor of Aquitaine, the greatest heiress in western Europe. In 1153, he crossed to England to pursue his claim to the throne, reaching an agreement that he would succeed Stephen on his death, which occurred in 1154.

Henry's now began to restore order. Using his talented chancellor Thomas Becket, Henry began reorganising the judicial system. The Assize of Clarendon (1166) established procedures of criminal justice, establishing courts and prisons for those awaiting trial. In addition, the assizes gave fast and clear verdicts, enriched the treasury and extended royal control.

In 1164, Henry reasserted his ancestral rights over the church. Now archbishop of Canterbury, Becket refused to comply. An attempted reconciliation failed and Becket punished priests who had co-operated with Henry. On hearing this Henry reportedly exclaimed, 'Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?' Four knights took his words literally and murdered Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in December 1170. Almost overnight Becket became a saint. Henry reconciled himself with the church, but royal control over the church changed little.

In 1169, an Anglo-Norman force landed in Ireland to support of one of the claimants to the Irish high kingship. Fearing the creation of a separate Norman power to the west, Henry travelled to Dublin to assert his overlordship of the territory they had won. And so, an English presence in Ireland was established. In the course of his reign, Henry had dominion over territories stretching from the Ireland to the Pyrenees.

Henry now had problems within his own family. His sons - Henry, Geoffrey, Richard and John - mistrusted each other and resented their father's policy of dividing land among them. There were serious family disputes in 1173, 1181 and 1184. The king's attempt to find an inheritance for John led to opposition from Richard and Philip II of France. Henry was forced to give way. News that John had also turned against him hastened Henry's death on 6 July 1189. -------------------- Courtesy of fantastically full family tree cf.:

Hughes of Gwerclas 1/2/3/4:

http://www.maximiliangenealogy.co.uk/burke1/Royal%20Descents/hughesofgwerclas_1.htm

http://www.maximiliangenealogy.co.uk/burke1/Royal%20Descents/hughesofgwerclas_2.htm

http://www.maximiliangenealogy.co.uk/burke1/Royal%20Descents/hughesofgwerclas_3.htm

http://www.maximiliangenealogy.co.uk/burke1/Royal%20Descents/hughesofgwerclas_4.htm -------------------- Parentage and Early Life

Arguably one of the most effective Kings ever to wear the English crown and the first of the great Plantagenet dynasty, the future Henry II was born at Le Mans, Anjou on 5th March, 1133. He was the son of that ill-matched pair, Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou and Matilda, (known as the Empress, from her first marriage to the Holy Roman Emperor) the daughter of Henry I of England.

Henry's parents never cared for each other, their's was a union of convenience. Henry I chose Geoffrey (pictured left) to sire his grandchildren because his lands were strategically placed on the Norman frontiers and he required the support of Geoffrey's father, his erstwhile enemy, Fulk of Anjou. He accordingly forced his highly reluctant daughter to marry the fifteen year old Geoffrey. The pair disliked each other from the outset of their union and neither was of a nature to pretend otherwise and so the scene was set for an extremely stormy marriage. They were, however, finally prevailed upon by the formidable Henry I to do their duty and produce an heir to England. They had three sons, Henry was the eldest of these and always the favourite of his adoring mother.

When the young Henry was a few months old, his delighted grandfather, Henry I, crossed over the channel from England to see his new heir and is said to have dandled the child on his knee, he was to grow very attached to his new grandson, the old warrior was said to spend much time playing with the young Henry.

Henry's father Geoffrey's nickname derived from a sprig of bloom, or Planta Genista, that he liked to sport in his helmet .Thus was coined the surname of one of England's greatest dynasties, which ruled the country for the rest of the medieval era, although Plantagenet was not adopted as a surname until the mid 15th century. Henry's was a vast inheritance, from his father, he received the Counties of Anjou and Maine, from his mother, the Duchy of Normandy and his claim to the Kingdom of England. Henry married the legendary heiress, Eleanor of Aquitaine, which added Aquitaine and Poitou to his dominions. He then owned more land in France than the French King himself.

Reign

On the death of King Stephen in 1154, Henry came to the English throne at the age of 21 in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Wallingford.

A short but strongly built man of leonine appearance, Henry II was possessed of an immense dynamic energy and a formidable temper. He had the red hair of the Plantagenets, grey eyes that grew bloodshot in anger and a round, freckled face. He spent so much time in the saddle that his legs became bowed. Henry's voice was reported to have been harsh and cracked, he did not care for magnificent clothing and was never still. The new King was intelligent and had acquired an immense knowledge both of languages and law.


Eleanor of Aqiutaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine (depicted right), Henry's wife, was the daughter of William X, Duke of Aquitaine and Aenor de Chatellerault. She had previously been the wife of Louis VII, King of France, who had divorced her prior to her marriage to Henry. It was rumoured that the pair had been lovers before her divorce, as she had reportedly also been the paramour of Henry's father, Geoffrey. (The formidable Matilda's reaction to this event has unfortunately not been recorded.)

Eleanor was eleven years older than Henry, but in the early days of their marriage that did not seem to matter. Both were strong characters, used to getting their own way, the result of two such ill matched temperaments was an extremely tempestuous union. Beautiful, intelligent, cultured and powerful, Eleanor was a remarkable woman. One of the great female personalities of her age, she had been celebrated and idolized in the songs of the troubadours of her native Aquitaine.

Henry was possessed of the fearful Angevin temper, apparently a dominant family trait. In his notorious uncontrollable rages he would lie on the floor and chew at the rushes and was never slow to anger. Legend clung to the House of Anjou, one such ran that they were descended from no less a person than Satan himself. It was related that Melusine, the daughter of Satan, was the demon ancestress of the Angevins. Her husband the Count of Anjou was perplexed when Melusine always left church prior to hearing of the mass. After pondering the matter he had her forcibly restrained by his knights while the service took place. Melusine reportedly tore herself from their grasp and flew through the roof, taking two of the couple's children with her and was never seen again.

Henry and Eleanor had a large brood of children. Sadly, their first born, William (b.1153) created Count of Poiters, the traditional title of the heirs to the Dukes of Aquitaine, died at the age of 2 at Wallingford Castle. He was buried at the feet of his great-grandfather, Henry I.

Like his grandfather before him, Henry was a man of strong passions and a serial adulterer. When Henry introduced his illegitimate son, Geoffrey, to the royal nursery, Eleanor was furious, Geoffrey had been born in the early days of their marriage, the result of a dalliance with Hikenai, a prostitute. Eleanor was deeply insulted and the rift between the couple grew steadily into a gaping gulf.

On inheriting England's crown, the young Henry Plantagenet eagerly and with characteristic energy set about restoring law and order in his new kingdom. All illegal castles erected in King Stephen's anarchic reign were demolished. He was a tireless administrator and clarified and overhauled the entire English judicial system.

Henry II and Thomas à Beckett

Henry's quarrels with Thomas à Beckett have cast a long shadow over his reign. The son of a wealthy London merchant of Norman extraction, Beckett was appointed Chancellor.

Beckett was at first worldly and unlike the King, dressed extravagantly. A story is related that riding through London together on a cold winters day, Henry saw a pauper shivering in his rags. He asked Thomas would it not be charitable for someone to give the man a cloak, Beckett agreed that it would, whereupon Henry laughingly grasped Thomas' expensive fur cloak. There followed an unseemly struggle in which the King attempted to wrest the unwilling Beckett's cloak from him. Finally succeeding and most amused at Thomas's reaction, he threw it to the beggar.

Beckett was sent on a mission to the court of France to negotiate a marriage between Henry and Eleanor's eldest surviving son, known as Young Henry and Margaret, the daughter of the King of France by his second marriage. This he carried out with aplomb, travelling with a great retinue, his lavish style made a vivid impression on the French.

On the death of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry II decided to appoint Thomas Beckett to the position. He assumed that Thomas would make an amenable Archbishop through whom he could gain control of the churches legal system. Beckett, however, was unwilling to oblige and on his appointment resigned the Chancellorship. Henry flew into a furious rage. Beckett, undeterred, then entered into disagreement with the king regarding the rights of church and state when he prevented a cleric found guilty of rape and murder from recieving punishment in the lay court.

A council was held at Westminster in October 1163, Beckett was not a man to compromise, neither, however, was Henry. Eventually Beckett agreed to adhere to the 'ancient customs of the realm'. Adamant to win in the matter, Henry proceeded to clearly define those ancient customs in a document referred to as the Constitutions of Clarendon. Beckett did eventually back down, but their quarrel continued and became more embittered, culminating in Beckett fleeing the country.

Four years later, Henry was anxious to have his eldest son, the young Henry, crowned in his own lifetime to avoid a disputed succession, such as occurred after the death of his grandfather, Henry I. In January 1169, Henry and Beckett met again at a conference at Momtmirail in Normandy, which broke up in quarrels between the pair, with the immovable Beckett angrily excommunicating some of Henry's followers. Irritated at such behaviour and refusing to be thwarted, Henry had the coronation of his son carried out by the Archbishop of York to insult Thomas further. In a resultant meeting, a compromise was finally reached and Thomas returned to England.

Disputes again arose between them over similar issues and Henry, exasperated and enraged at Beckett's intransigence, (which matched his own ) uttered those final, fatal words "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?". Four knights, taking him at his word, proceeded to England. They rode to Canterbury where they confronted the Archbishop in the Cathedral calling him a traitor, they attempted to drag him out of the building. Thomas refused to leave and inviting martyrdom, declared himself as "No traitor but a priest of God." When one of the knights struck him on the head with his sword the others joined in and Thomas fell to the Cathedral floor having suffered fatal head injuries.

Europe was a-buzz with the scandal, Henry's fury subsided into grief. England fell under threat of excommunication. In order to weather the storm, the King did public penance for his part in the affair, walking barefoot into Canterbury Cathedral, where he allowed the monks to scourge him as a sign of contrite penance.

The Rebellion of Henry's Sons

Henry was faced with a new threat, this time it came from within his own dysfunctional family, in the form of his malcontented Queen, Eleanor and his unruly sons. Henry, the newly crowned Young King, "A restless youth born for the undoing of many", was dissatisfied, he possessed grand titles but no real power. When Henry II tried to negotiate a marriage for his youngest son, John, the prospective father-in-law asked that John be given some property. The King responded by granting John three castles in Anjou. The young Henry promptly objected and demanded either England, Normandy or Anjou to rule in his own right and fled to the French court. Lead on by his father-in -law, the King of France, who had his own axe to grind, the young Henry rebelled against his father. He was joined at the court of France by his equally turbulent brothers, Richard, Duke of Aquitaine and Geoffrey, now Duke of Brittany since his marriage to the heiress Constance of Brittany.

Henry's relationship with his wife had deteriorated after the birth of their last child, John. Eleanor, twelve years older than Henry, was now decidedly middle aged. She was grievously insulted by Henry's long affair with the beautiful Rosamund Clifford, the mother of two of his illegitimate sons, whom he was said to genuinely love. Eleanor was captured attempting to join her sons in France dressed as a man. She was imprisoned by her husband for ten long years. Normandy was attacked, but the French King then retreated and Henry was able to make peace with his rebellious brood of sons.

Further disputes arose between young Henry and his equally fiery tempered brother, Richard. The Young King objected to a castle Richard had built on what he claimed to be his territory. Henry, aided by his brother Geoffrey, attempted to subdue Richard and the affair provided a further excuse to rebel against their father. Richard allied himself with their father. The Young King began to ravage Aquitaine.

The Death of Henry, 'the Young King'

The Young King plundered the rich shrine of Rocamadour, after which he fell mortally ill. When he knew death was inevitable, he asked his followers to lay him on a bed of ashes spread on the floor as a sign of repentance and begged his father to forgive and visit him. The King, suspecting a trap, refused to visit his son, but sent a sapphire ring, once owned by his grandfather Henry I, to the young Henry as a sign of his forgiveness. A few days later the Young King was dead, Henry and Eleanor mourned the loss of their errant son sincerely.

Henry planned to re-divide the Angevin Empire, giving Anjou, Maine, Normandy and England to Richard and asking him to relinquish his mother's province of Aquitaine to John. In the finest Plantagenet tradition, Richard, incensed, absolutely refused to do so. John and Geoffrey were dispatched to Aquitaine to wrest the province from their brother by force but were no match for him. The King then ordered all of his turbulent sons to England. Richard and Geoffrey now thoroughly detested each other and arguments, as ever, prevailed amongst the family. Geoffrey, a treacherous and untrustworthy youth, was killed at a Paris tournament in 1186.

The Death of Henry II

Phillip Augustus of France was eager to play on the rifts in the Plantagenet family to further his own ends of increasing the power of the French crown by regaining the Plantagenet lands. He planted further seeds of distrust by suggesting to Richard that Henry II wished to disinherit him, in favour of his known favourite, John. Richard, who now totally distrusted his father, demanded full recognition of his position as heir to the Angevin Empire. Henry haughtily refused to comply. Further rebellion was the inevitable result.
The ageing King began to feel the weight of his years and fell sick whilst at Le Mans. Richard believed him to be creating delays. He and his ally Phillip attacked the town, Henry ordered the southern suburbs of Le Mans to be set on fire to impede their advance, but it must have seemed as if the elements themselves had also conspired against him when the wind changed, spreading the fire and setting alight his much loved birthplace. Henry, greatly aggrieved, was forced into flight before his son. Pausing on a hill top to watch the blaze, with bruised pride, he raged against God in an outburst of Plantagenet passion and fury and in his immense bitterness, frenziedly denied him his soul. 

A conference was arranged between the warring parties, near Tours, at which King Henry was humiliatingly forced to accept all of Richard's terms. Phillip of France, shocked at the King's gaunt appearance, offered his cloak to enable him to sit on the ground. With a flash of his old spirit, Henry proudly refused the offer. Compelled to give his son the kiss of peace, Henry whispered in his ear "God grant that I die not until I have avenged myself on thee". Henry's only request was to be provided with a list of those who had rebelled against him.

Grievously sick, the ailing lion retreated to Chinon to lick his wounds. The requested list arrived, the first name on it was that of his beloved John, the son he had trusted and fought for had deserted him to join the victors. Utterly crushed, he wished to hear no more. The faithful William Marshall and his illegitimate son Geoffrey remained by him to the end. "You are my true son," he told Geoffrey bitterly, "the others, they are the bastards" As his condition continued to deteriorate he was heard to utter "now let everything go as it will, I care no longer for myself or anything else in this world".

He lingered semi-conscious, breathing his last on 6th July, 1189. His last words were "Shame, shame on a conquered King". King Henry II, defeated at last, turned his face to the wall and died. He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Richard I 

The king's body was laid out in the chapel of Chinon Castle, where the corpse was stripped by his servants. William Marshall and Geoffrey found a crown, sceptre and ring, which were probably taked from a religious statue. It was then taken to the Abbey of Fontevrault in Anjou for burial.

The new King Richard I was summoned by William Marshall and gazed at his father's corpse without emotion. After lying in state the body of the great Henry II was buried, according to his wishes, at the Abbey of Fontevrault, which was to become the mausoleum of the Angevin Kings.

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Henry II, King of England's Timeline

1133
March 5, 1133
Le Mans, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France

b. 5 Mar 1133
--------------------
Henry II was born in Le Mans, France, on 5 March 1133, the first day of the traditional year.[1] His father, Geoffrey V of Anjou (Geoffrey Plantagenet), was Count of Anjou and Count of Maine. His mother, Empress Matilda, was a claimant to the English throne as the daughter of Henry I (1100–1135). He spent his childhood in his father's land of Anjou. At the age of nine, Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester took him to England where he received education from Master Matthew at Bristol.

March 5, 1133
Le Mans, Sarthe, France
March 5, 1133
Le Mans, Sarthe, France
March 5, 1133
Le Mans, Anjou - at local Cathedral
March 25, 1133
Le Mans, Sarthe, France
1142
1142
- 1144
Age 8
Bristol, England
1144
1144
- 1151
Age 10
Normandy, France
1147
1147
Age 13

Realising Henry's royal ambition was far from easily fulfilled, his mother had been pushing her claim for the crown for several years to no avail, finally retiring in 1147. It was 1147 when Henry had accompanied Matilda on an invasion of England. It soon failed due to lack of preparation, but it made him determined that England was his mother's right, and so his own.

1149
May 22, 1149
Age 16
1150
1150
Age 16
France