In order to assess, the question posed, it is crucial to decipher the characteristics of an ‘exemplar’ king.Firstly a king must be Christian, due to the ‘ divine right of kings’ it granted kings legitimacy, it states that the king is subject to no earthly authority because they were placed on earth solely by the will of God.
In order to be successful, one must have created a line of succession.Following primogeniture, a male heir should have been created in order to further his families claim to the throne. Thirdly, an ‘exemplar’ king can be expected to be a prodigious warrior, however, if not, it was expected that they would be a stellar diplomat.
Consecutively, this leads to another crucial ability of a king, a king should have control over his realm and populous. Penultimately, a king should be fair and just.Conclusively, a king should have sound finances and therefore be able to tax his subjects fairly and not to cause a turbulence.One historical school of though is that Henry V was arguably the greatest king England ever some historians such as K.B Macfarlane state that he Henry “was the greatest man that ever ruled England” and Chris Wilson argues that he was “Englands most successful warrior king”. The view that Henry was Englands premier monarch is very commonly held. Henry v was a seasoned warrior, he’s military career began at an early age.
By age 21 he had control of part of the English army and he even played a critical role in combating Owain Glyndwr’s uprising in Wales. There are many examples of Henry’s martial ability being displayed such as as when he and his father faced Harry hotspur at the battle of Shrewsbury. However, the most valiant display of martial ability came at Agincourt on the 25th October 1415 the English army was heavily outnumbered ten to one but Henry’s tactical genius came into play. He decided to fight on his own terms, the planned approach was meticulously planned, he thought it best that they meet in a place where the field narrowed between two woods so that they could not be outflanked. Wooden stakes were also deployed in order to nullify the capability of cavalry, English archers then ravaged the French soldiers despite the man power advantage. The opponents were completely over powered and due to the poor conditions at the battle, many people were smothered in the mud or simply by the sheer volume of bodies.
“The king that day showed himself a valiant knight, albeit almost felled by the Duke of Alençon; yet with plain strength he slew two of the duke’s company, and felled the duke himself, whom when he would have yielded.” The source shows that Henry was a incredible warrior king and stood for what he believed in, so much so that he was willing to get in the ‘thick of it’ and risk it all. This quote comes from the Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1587 and reenforces the martial ability of Henry V, the text was written by a chronicler called Raphael Holinshed. Not much is known about the province of Raphael Holinshed other than He became famous only for the Chronicles, and all the information we have about him is related to this work. Although some believe that Holinshed was an experienced Cambridge-educated translator, no other works by Holinshed are available. By late 1419 an agreement was made, subsequently, the treaty of Troyes was signed on the 21st May 1420, the treaty declared that Henry was the rightful king of France.
A critical part of the treaty of Troyes was the unification of the French and British blood lines, Henry v was wed to Catherine of Valois, she brought a dowry of 600,000 crowns and more importantly, she bore Henry a son, therefore cementing the families line of succession. Henry did not have extremely sound finances, he relied on loans to pay for his French campaign, he often appealed to rich individuals or whole towns. Royal jewellery and artefacts were handed out as collateral.
He also used taxation and duties on both imports and exports, he most of Henry’s capital came from the taxation of the wool trade. There were only small amounts of domestic turbulence through out Henry V’s reign, for example, there was the 1414 Oldcastle rebellion, John Oldcastle was a friend of Henry, however, they didn’t see eye to eye religiously.There was also the issue of the Southampton plot of 1415, the Lord of Cambridge, Lord Scrope, and Sir Thomas Grey masterminded a plan to kill Henry, they may have intended to place Edward Mortimer on the throne, the irony in the plot was that Edward revealed the plan to Henry, the three conspirators were executed and their lands were seized.Despite all of the blood shed and violence, Henry was quite a fair and just king, one example of this during his conquests in France once he had occupied an area he acted as a king and treated the French people as his subjects rather than being a hostile autocrat.In regards to the impact that Henry V had, the chronicler Thomas Walsingham, surmises he reign perfectly. “King Henry V left no one like him among Christian Kings or princes: his death, not only may his subjects in England and France but in the whole of Christendom, was deservedly mourned.” Thomas Walsingham describes the size of the impact Henrys death had, he probably wrote at the time or very close to it and could therefore convey quite accurate feelings.
Walsingham was a monk, who was mainly based at the abbey of St Albans and did not travel to France throughout this period although he appears to be highly informed on the political events.Henry vi inherited both the British and french isles, thanks to his fathers crusade and the treaty of Troyes.Because Henry was only nine months old when he inherited the thrones, a council of regents was to rule in his place until he came of age. From the outset of his political career it was very obvious that Henry vi wasn’t suited to kingship, he was shy and disliked conflict, he preferred to put religion and education first.
The moment that France was placed under English rule, was the very same moment that it was lowered into turmoil, the successes of the Dauphin and Joan of Arc began to weaken England’s grip on its French territories. Henry sought peace with the French much to the dissatisfaction of the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of York. To validate the agreement, Henry married Margret of Anjou, the granddaughter of King Charles VII, despite going against the wishes of many noble men this marriage could show that Henry, does in fact have some ability in the political field. A breakdown of law and order ensued, it was caused the distribution of royal land to the king’s favourites, and the continued loss of land in France meant Henry and his French queen’s rule became unpopular. Returning troops, who had often not been paid, added to the lawlessness and prompted a rebellion by Jack Cade. The rebellions that Henry faced highlight his short comings as a leader, its possible to infer that the population feel forgotten and betrayed.
The french screw was tightened even more and in 1453 the ‘hundred years war’ was lost at Castillon, Calais was Englands only french territory. The result, sent Henry into a “catatonic stupor”. For the second time in his reign, England was placed under the command of a protector, the man tasked with restoring order to England was Richard Duke of York. “According to John watts, the dukes leadership during his first protectorate demonstrated statesman-like qualities that showed his willingness to govern in a just and non partisan manner”.
During his protectorate he managed to gain the support of the neville family, especially the earl of Warwick who was referred to as the ‘kingmaker’.The stability of England only worsened, because in 1455 the War of the Roses commenced between the Houses of York and Lancaster. Leading the Yorkist was Richard Duke of York, and the Lancastrians was Henry VI’s wife, Margaret of Anjou, rather than Henry himself, it could be viewed as ironic that Margret had more martial prowess than Henry. Richard of York’s death at Wakefield, and the queen’s victory at, brought Henry his freedom, Edward of York had himself proclaimed king, and by his decisive victory at Towton on the 29th of March, put an end to Henry’s reign. For over three years Henry was a fugitive in Scotland. He returned to take part in an uprising in 1464.
A year later he was captured in the north, and imprisoned in the Tower of London. For six months in between 1470 1471 he emerged as king and held a shadowy control over England as Warwick’s puppet. Edward’s final victory at Tewkesbury was followed by Henry’s death on the 21st of May 1471, it was highly likely that he was murdered.
Henry vi is arguably the worst English monarch, however some historians argue that he fell victim to his fathers success. He was stood on the shoulder of an unbearably tall giant, it could also be described as being crushed by the burden of his inheritance. A limited amount also argue that in a less turbulent time he may have actually made a good king, he conceded him self with education and religion, he was just too niieve and too easily manipulated.Edward iv became king at 19 years of age, after the battle of Towton. The friction occurred early on between Edward and Warwick, Warwick was keen to negotiate a foreign political marriage for Edward, but in 1464 Edward secretly married Elizabeth Woodville, a low born girl who brought no political advantage. Warwick was furious at the favourtism now shown to Elizabeth’s relatives and allied himself to Edward’s brother George, Duke of Clarence, leading a revolt against the king. Warwick and Clarence then fled to France, where they joined Margaret of Anjou.
Margaret’s Lancastrian army invaded England in September 1470. Edward fled to the Netherlands until March 1471, when he and his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, returned to England.There was a brief period in 1470 where Henry vi was put back in power, this period was known as the readeption of Henry vi. Edward returned to England with a relatively small force and avoided capture. The city of York opened its gates to him only after he promised that he had just come to reclaim his dukedom, as Henry Bolingbroke had done seventy years earlier. Henry put his political savvy to the test and began to gather support, marching south he was welcomed at London in on the 11th of April, defeated Warwick at Barnet three days later, and the Lancastrians at Tewkesbury on the 4th of May. Edwards claim to the throne was further cemented by by the birth of a son, during his exile, and by the wealth which he acquired through the confiscation of the estates of his opponents.The whole issue of his first and second reign proved how strong Edwards character was, it also allowed him to deal with all of the Lancastrian opposition and further cement his claim.
In the second part of Edwards reign, he declared war on France. The war was a little bit of a farce which ended in the Treaty of Picquigny, which provided him with an immediate payment of 75,000 crowns and a yearly pension of 50,000 crowns. The treaty again did showcase Edward’s prowess as a political player.Edward’s health began to fail, and he became subject to an increasing number of ailments. He fell fatally ill at Easter 1483, but survived long enough to add to his will, the most important being to name his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester as Protector after his death. when Edward vi dies, the authority of the crown was soaring at new heights, a period without mass war had allowed the crown to organise its finances, the rule of law and order had be restored throughout the country and every legitimate thrust for the throne had been fended off.
If that isn’t an exemplar of medevevil kingship, then I’m unsure what it. To surmise, a quote ” In a dramatic reign of 23 years he re-established the authority of the English crown both at home and abroad.” When Edward died in 1483, Richard was named protector of the realm. As Richards nephew, the king, travelled from Ludlow to the London Richard intercepted him and transported him to the tower of London. Whilst in the tower, Richard used his political and savvy rhetoric to mount a publicity campaign condemning Edward iv marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, essentially rendering the boys as illegitimate. On 25 June, an group of lords and commoners endorsed these claims. The following day, Richard officially began his reign.
He was crowned in July. The two young princes disappeared in August and were widely rumoured to have been murdered by Richard. Although incredibly ruthless, one could argue that Edward was doing what was right for the country as a when England had child rulers previous to 1483 it had never really been very successful.In addition, others such as the Richard iii society argue that he had been a loyal servant throughout and was still being a loyal servant, there was just some collateral damage. Despite only having a two year reign Richard did face some rebellion. A rebellion was started in October by the Duke of Buckingham, Richard’s former ally, quickly collapsed. However, Buckingham’s defection, along with his supporters, eroded Richard’s power and support among the aristocracy and gentry.In August 1485, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who was a Lancastrian claimant to the throne living in France, landed in South Wales.
He marched east and engaged Richard in battle on Bosworth Field in Leicestershire on 22 August. Although Richard possessed superior numbers, several of his key lieutenants defected. Refusing to flee, Richard was killed in battle and Henry Tudor took the throne as Henry VII. Therefore one could argue that there is some parallel between Edward and Henry V “Englands most successful warrior king”, as they were both regarded as highly successful martial men. When Edward died in 1483, Richard was named protector of the realm. As Richards nephew, the king, travelled from Ludlow to the London Richard intercepted him and transported him to the tower of London. Whilst in the tower, Richard used his political and savvy rhetoric to mount a publicity campaign condemning Edward iv marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, essentially rendering the boys as illegitimate. On 25 June, an group of lords and commoners endorsed these claims.
The following day, Richard officially began his reign. He was crowned in July. The two young princes disappeared in August and were widely rumoured to have been murdered by Richard. Although incredibly ruthless, one could argue that Edward was doing what was right for the country as a when England had child rulers previous to 1483 it had never really been very successful.In addition, others such as the Richard iii society argue that he had been a loyal servant throughout and was still being a loyal servant, there was just some collateral damage.
Despite only having a two year reign Richard did face some rebellion. A rebellion was started in October by the Duke of Buckingham, Richard’s former ally, quickly collapsed. However, Buckingham’s defection, along with his supporters, eroded Richard’s power and support among the aristocracy and gentry.
In August 1485, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, who was a Lancastrian claimant to the throne living in France, landed in South Wales. He marched east and engaged Richard in battle on Bosworth Field in Leicestershire on 22 August. Although Richard possessed superior numbers, several of his key lieutenants defected.
Refusing to flee, Richard was killed in battle and Henry Tudor took the throne as Henry VII. Therefore one could argue that there is some parallel between Edward and Henry V “Englands most successful warrior king”, as they were both regarded as highly successful martial men. Henry iv married Mary de Bohun on the 5th February 1381, their marriage produced six children, of whom only two survived to adulthood Henry v and Humphrey duke of Gloucester. However, Henry had to remarry in 1403 as Mary died whilst giving birth to their final child Phillippa of England. The woman he chose to marry was Joanne of Navarre, their marriage produced no children. The production of heir cements the families claim to the throne and therefore is a mark of a strong king.Henry iv reign was quite tempestuous in regards to the opposition, he faced his first rebellion no less than one year after his coronation. The initial rebellion was called the Windsor or epiphany plot, the concept was to break into Windsor castle and kill Henry iv and therefore restore Richard ii to his rightful place on the throne.
The plot was brought into being by the Earl of Huntingdon; the Earl of Salisbury; the Earl of Gloucester and the Earl of Rutland. The Earl of Rutland betrayed his other conspirators and told king Henry about the plot, consequently, Henry failed to turn up at Windsor palace and instead stayed in London and began to raise an army. Richard ii later died in Pontefract castle, he died of starvation. Postliminary, there was also a second revolt, in Wales under the command of Owain Glyndwr. Owain proclaimed himself as the true prince of Wales and captured Conway castle, two years after the Welsh captured Edward Mortimer, who if you follow the rules of primogeniture was the true king of England. Edward was offered as a ransom, however, the Henry iv didn’t allow the fee to be paid because he was in no hurry to blur the legitimacy of his rule.
This amongst many other things angered the Percy family, who were keen to see the release of Harry Hotspur marched to meet and engage in combat with the king, they met at Shrewsbury on the 21st July 1403. Harry Hotspur was defeated by the king’s army, due to being outnumbered massively. Owain Glyndwr again exhorted a rebellion in Wales, however, this time Owain had made an alliance with the French. Despite the increase in firepower, the rebellion was quickly quashed by Henry Monmouth, who was ironically the Prince of Wales. Owain went into hiding and was never seen again, he became a quantum of Welsh Folk law. One thing that Henry had going for him was that Financially, he was sound his was able to live comfortably off of the duchy of Lancaster despite not being as large as Richard its capital.
Also in regards to finances, unlike prior monarchs, Henry iv pledged to lower taxations and fund himself. In later life Henry was struck with an unfortunate disease, he grew disfigured, it was rumoured a whole concoction of diseases. Overall, Henry iv reign was very frenetic and chaotic, despite achieving some of the characteristics of an ‘exemplar’ king such as fair and just taxation policies he severely lacked in other areas, such as the crucial ability to have control over his realm and populous.
Martially, Richard ii was less apt than his Father (Edward iii) and Grandfather (Edward the black prince), His biographer, Pete Earle, stated: “Richard, son of the Black Prince, inherited only his father’s outward appearance and none of his skills at war. Not that he was the coward or weakling of legend – on many occasions in his reign he was to display outstanding courage – but his was the courage of pride, not military prowess.” His martial inability can be viewed in 1385, Richard ii personally led an expedition into Scotland it accomplished nothing except the destruction of Scottish lowlands.Richard ii, was an incredibly religious man.The art of kingship, states that Richards relationship with the church was very mainstream, “within his household Richard practiced devotion and charity on very traditional lines.
Richard’s devotion developed as he grew older and a number of artefacts reinforce his devotion such as the Wilton Diptych, he also invested heavily in Westminster Abbey and York Minster. It is documented well that Richard was a keen collector, when he died they found 320 religious objects in his possession. When Richard ii became King Marriage was at the vanguard of his issues, therefore a bride was desired for him.Anne of Bohemia was deemed a suitable choice because England could make an Allie of Bohemia and the Roman Catholic empire. The marriage was unpopular amongst many in the British nobility because Anne brought no dowry. Despite Anne growing in favour with the British bourgeoisie, she failed to carry out a Queens most important role, she failed to provide an heir despite them being married for 12 years. Two years later Richard ii remarried Isabelle of Valois, the six year old daughter of Charles VI, she also produced no heir to the throne.
Richard ii struggled to maintain control over his populous and therefore faced several rebellions throughout his reign. The peasant revolt of 1381, arose because, after the plague, many land lords were short of workers, to combat this and to attract workers peasants were given ‘freedom’ by their landlords and in some cases were paid to work on said land.In 1381, 35 years after the black death the peasantry was afraid that they would revoke those privileges, this couple with the poll tax caused pandemonium amongst the peasants. The poll tax came to fruition because the hundred years war was taking an economic toll, Richard ii introduced a universal progressive tax. It was initially introduced as 4d per adult (14+) and finally it 1380 it was raised to 12d per adult because it was so successful.This caused many people to revolt and march upon London, they burned tax records in the process, also during this time, Wat Tyler emerged as their leader.
On June 14th the king met the rebels at Mile end and agreed to all of their demands so that they would return home. The morning after they met again at Smithfield, and the lord mayor killed Wat Tyler, the peasants returned home on the promises of Richard ii despite the murder. By the summer of 1831, the movement’s leaders had all been rounded up and hanged, Richard did not keep any of his promises on the pretence that they had no grounding in law. Richard ii is rumoured to have had frivolous spending habits he spent money on the latest Italian fashions such, for example, he debuted the cod piece and he also spent vast amounts of money on his close friends.