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Who is the best English monarch – Part 1

Hello! I know it’s been a while but I’ve been planning a big several-post project to find out who YOU think is the best English monarch. The first post is going to be monarchs from William the Conqueror to Richard II. I will do a short explanatory paragraph on each monarch so you will know what they did. Then, leave a comment to say who your best English monarch is and say why.

Got it? OK, here we go…

William I: Otherwise known as William the Conqueror, this guy… well, let’s think… invaded England, burned towns, killed people… but he introduced new words, new foods and the New Forest (Well, he didn’t bring it to England, he just named it). He also wrote the Domesday book.

William II: Also known as William Rufus because of his red hair, this guy fought off revolts and invasions from Scotland then got shot in the eye while hunting in his father’s forest. Such irony!

Henry I: This King seized the throne from his brother and married his brother’s enemies’ daughter. The Duke of Normandy didn’t want him to be King so they fought… Henry won, naturally.

Stephen: Fought against his cousin Matilda for the throne. In the end he became king, but he was weak and got overthrown by Matilda. Eventually, he gained power again.

Henry II: Had an argument with his Archbishop Thomas Becket and had him murdered. His wife and sons then rebelled, but he won.

Richard I: Didn’t do much because he only spent seven months in Britain during his ten-year reign because he went and fought in the Crusades most of the time.

King John: Confiscated Church property so the Pope said the King of France could overthrow him. Also, angered the barons so they made him sign the Magna Carta.

Henry III: Most of his reign was controlled by barons and when he did rule, the barons rebelled for his favouritism of foreign men at Court.

Edward I: Killed a LOT of people and didn’t like Scotland AT ALL!

Edward II: First Prince of Wales and got betrayed and overthrown by his wife and then got strangled. Almost like a Shakespeare tragedy!

Edward III: The King who started the 100 year’s war by trying to put his mum on the French throne. The French were NOT happy!


Richard II: My favourite king, Richard II was at least better than Richard I! He stopped the peasant’s revolt and signed a peace treaty with France by marrying the King of France’s six year old daughter!

So remember, for this first section, leave a comment on who YOU think is the best English monarch from 1066 to 1399 and say why. You can do your own research and part 2, Henry IV to Henry VIII is coming soon!


About Ben Williams

I am a 17 year old pop culture addict from the south of England. I write about Doctor Who, superheroes, fantasy, films and occasionally dive into the random world of British culture.

20 responses »

  1. Dear Ben,

    What a lot of hard work you’ve put into this post! I’ve put a link on the sidebar in my blog, so that more readers will get to read this brilliant post.

    I’ve also created an image file for you to go with this post. You can click this link to see it:

    I look forward to your part 2.

  2. This is excellent Ben, i have to say i quite like Richard the 1st. Fighting for ones country is no mean feat! 🙂

  3. Graham Williams

    I don’t think it is a question of picking the best, because all of this lot are pretty terrible. I would go for Edward I as being the least worst, because he (quite rightly) regarded the Scots as a heathen rabble who needed a good kicking on a regular basis. On the other hand, he did invade and repress Wales as well as killing the Prince….

  4. What a motley crew! I like Bill Conk because he imposed order; and John for being so lame, we got the Magna Carta out of him 🙂

  5. Mrs Shepherd - Ben's History Teacher!!!

    I find it very difficult to chose my favourite! Should I pick my favourite based on what they did for England? or shall I base it on my favourite being the most interesting? Im going to go for King John – I find his personality fascinating, his leadership skills were clearly very poor and he wasnt the best King that England had, but he is one of my favourites to study and teach. Great blog post Ben – very useful for year 7 History 🙂

    • King John is interesting- His brother, Richard I put the country into bankruptcy so we can hardly blame John for his brother’s stupid governing!
      Interesting idea =)

  6. See, two of these, you say, were overthrown by a female relative. But where is Queen Matilda? Where is Queen thingamabob’s Wife? Those women can’t have been allowed many days on the throne to miss out on the chronology. My favourite is K. John owing to his accommodation to democracy. I like a pragmatist.

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  11. Hmmm, interesting. I don’t agree with you about Richard II mainly because the peasants were right to revolt. Watt Tyler is one of my heroes along with the Luddites. The peasanst revolted against the poll taxes, pinned wages and their virtual imprisonment in their home villages among other things. They were basically slaves. There was a wicked witch back in the 1970’s called Margaret Thatcher who didn’t read her history books, who also tried to introduce the poll tax. She also fell on her sword. Interesting blog dude.

    • Richard II’s uncle John of Gaunt introduced the Poll Tax partly because the Black Death was ravaging England so John decided to make taxes equal, no matter the status of somebody. The peasants killed the Archbishop of Canterbury so the king, aged 14, came to talk to the peasants.

      But then, Wat Tyler was then executed and the peasants betrayed.
      But anyway, a few years later, Richard II did become horrible!

  12. Richaard Keane

    I persoonally believe that Hnery II was Englands greatest King during this period. He’s a rather underated monarch, who, in my opinio, might be the greatest monarch that England’s ever had, and possibly ever will. Not only did he rule a vast territory encompassing 60% of, all of Enlgnad and the eastern half of Ireland, but he also reformed the legal system, from an incredibly old fashioned one involving trial by ordeal, to a modern system that included the 12 memeber Jury. His reign was also a fairlh peaceful one, as he ensured that no rebellios nobels actually gained to much pwoer. He also built many castles, which helped to stregnthen then peace within England, as he made sure that no one man had too many castle. Furthermore, his power extened out of England, not just in his onw personnel land, in France Wales and Ireland, but also across the whole of Europe. Thanks to many alliences that he made, due to stregic marriges that he had implimented, he was able to largely govern Europe. Lessers Euopean Kings often looked to him to sort out their didputes, and he was, in many respects, even more pwoerful than the Holy Romen Emporer, or even the Popes. Yes, he fought with his son’s, and effectively casued the death of Thomas O’ Becket, but what he did to the Judiciary system, for England was simply incredivle. He has a strong lasting legacy, that it reverberated in both the English law coourts, and across the lasnd, with the many castles thta he had built. Finally, he regned for precisely 35 years, which meant that Enlgnad was 35 years free of ANY problems of succession, which, during the middle ages, and even beyond, could casue huge problems for England, and , indeed, for many other countires, as well!

    • Henry II best of the bunch by far!! I often wonder what would have happened if he was able to step back and let Henry the Younger rule England and the rest of his sons rule their territories. He could have relaxed with Eleanor and offered advice when they needed or asked for it. Eleanor would have been happy and kids would have one of the smartest kings to help them. If only!!! What a different ending for the family and England. To answer why… He got a ruined country, and fixed it!!

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