Henry II was the first Plantagenet king. He restored
order, improved military service, the administration of justice through reforms
and sent judges to hold courts in the towns. They administered the Common Law,
named saw because it was used everywhere. In other parts of Europe there were
Civil Law of the
When Henry II died, he was succeeded by his elder son,
Richard I, called "the Lion-Hearted". His younger son John Lackland acted as
King during his brother's absence on the Third Crusade. He was known as
Lackland because he lost
At John Lackland's death, his son, Henry III was only
nine when he became king and
The Black Death
In 1348, during the reign of Edward III England was
hit by the bubonic plague known as the 'Black Death' because the body went
dark-coloured after death. It spread because in the medieval period living
conditions for rich and poor alike were primitive, dirty and unhealthy. The
plague killed a third of
John Wycliffe and Lollardy
The last years of Edward III's reign were marked by the rise of a religious movement of reform, called Lollardy, whose leader was John Wycliffe. The movement criticised the corruption in the monastic orders and the policy of the great feudal monasteries which lent money at interest; it insisted on inward religion in opposition to the formalism of the time and anticipated the spirit of the Reformation.
During the 14th century the artisans and tradesmen in the town organised themselves in groups called guilds. They were based on the payments of their members, they controlled the quality of goods, they regulated prices and wages, and laid down rules concerning apprenticeship. They held fairs where their members sold their produce.
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