Revolt from 1173–1174

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The revolt of 1173–1174 was a rebellion against the English King Henry II , which had been instigated by three of his sons, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine , and their supporters. The rebellion failed after 18 months. Heinrich's rebellious family members had to submit to his ongoing regime and he was reconciled with them.


King Henry II of England

King Henry II ruled England, Normandy and Anjou , while his wife, Eleanor, ruled the vast territory of Aquitaine . In 1173 Heinrich had four legitimate sons (in descending order of age): Heinrich , called "the Younger", Richard , later called "Lionheart", Gottfried and Johann , called "Ohneland". All of his sons could expect to inherit part or all of their father's possessions. Heinrich also had an illegitimate son named Gottfried , who was believed to have been born before the oldest of his legitimate sons.

Heinrich the Younger had turned 18 in 1173 and was praised everywhere for his good looks and charm. He was married for a long time to the daughter of Louis VII , King of France and Eleonore's ex-husband. Henry the Younger had a large and glamorous retinue, but was limited by a lack of income: "He had many knights, but no means to give them rewards and gifts." So he sought to gain control of some of his hereditary lands and to rule there yourself.

The immediate cause of the revolt was King Heinrich's decision to bequeath three castles, which were located in the lands that his son Heinrich was to inherit, to his youngest son Johann as part of the marriage agreement with the daughter of the Count of Maurienne . Then Heinrich the Younger was encouraged to rebel by many aristocrats who saw a possible profit in his coming to power. His mother, Eleanor, had a quarrel with her husband and therefore joined the rebellion, like so many others who were angry about the possible involvement of King Henry in the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170. The king's murder and possible involvement has isolated him across Christianity.

In March 1173 Heinrich the Younger retired to the court of his father-in-law, Ludwig, in France and he was soon followed by his brothers Richard and Gottfried. Eleanor tried to join them, but was intercepted and captured by King Henry on the way there. Henry the Younger and his French mentor created a broad alliance against Henry II by promising the Counts of Flanders , Boulogne, and Blois land and benefices in England and Anjou. William the Lion was to have Northumberland . In the end, Henry the Younger would have captured his promised inheritance by dividing it up.

The revolt

Heinrich the Younger

Hostilities began in April 1173 when the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne invaded Normandy from the east, the King of France and Henry the Younger from the south, and the Bretons from the west. Each of the attacks ended in failure: the Count of Boulogne was killed in action, King Louis was defeated and driven out of Normandy, and the Bretons suffered many deaths and great financial losses. The attacks by William the Lion on the north of England were also unsuccessful. Negotiations with the rebels in Normandy between the father Henry II and the son Henry the Younger began, but did not lead to any result.

The Earl of Leicester , a supporter of Henry the Younger, and in Normandy the chief of the aristocratic rebels, ushered in the next phase. He raised an army of Flemish mercenaries, crossed from Normandy back to England and joined the rebel barons, above all Hugh Bigod , the Earl of Norfolk . The Earl of Leicester was intercepted by the English troops, led by Richard de Luci , who returned from the north, from Scotland, and completely defeated in the battle of Fornham . Henry II's barons may have said to him: "It is a bad year for your enemies!"

Norwich Castle was captured in July 1174 by Hugh Bigod with a force of over 800 men.

In the spring of 1174 the rebellion continued. David of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon , brother of William the Lion, returned south to attempt the conquest of northern England and took the lead of the rebel barons. William de Ferrers , the Earl of Derby , and one of the rebel barons, burned the royal settlement of Nottingham , while Hugh Bigod likewise burned Norwich .

Henry II, who had fought his enemies in Normandy, landed in England on July 8, 1174. His first act was to repent for the death of Thomas Becket, who three years earlier had been murdered by some of Henry's knights and had already been made a saint. The day after the ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral , July 13, 1174, William the Lion and many of his followers were surprised and captured by a small force of loyalists at the Battle of Alnwick in what appeared to be an act of divine providence for Henry II taken. As a result, it was possible for Heinrich II to unleash the opposition against him; he went through the strongholds of the rebels and picked up their surrenders. After settling things in England, King Henry returned to Normandy and came to an agreement with his enemies. On September 30th "Henry the king's son and his brothers returned to their father and to serve him, their master".


Thetford Castle in Norfolk belonged to Hugh Bigod, the Earl of Norfolk, and was destroyed on the orders of the king after the rebellion ended.

The revolt lasted 18 months and took place over a large area from southern Scotland to Brittany. At least twenty castles in England on the orders of King looped . Many cities were destroyed and many people were killed. Shame fell upon the advisors to Henry the Younger, the rebellious barons who had manipulated the inexperienced and careless princes to pursue their own dreams and gain an advantage for themselves. William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke , who had supported Henry the Younger during the revolt, said: "Cursed be the day when the traitors came together to divide the father and son."

Individual evidence

  1. ^ EB Fryde, DE Greenway, S. Porter, I. Roy: Handbook of British Chronology . 3rd revised edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1996. ISBN 0-521-56350-X . P. 36.
  2. ^ Andrew Wareham: The Motives and Politics of the Bigod Family. c.1066–1177 in Anglo-Norman Studies . Book XVII. The Boydell Press, 1994. ISSN 0954-9927. P. 241.
  3. ^ R. Allen Brown: A List of Castles, 1154-1216 in The English Historical Review . Issue 74. Number 291. Oxford University Press, Oxford April 1959. p. 252.