Revised 04/12/2019





The surname Plantagenet was first adopted in the 15th Century by Richard Plantagenet, 3rd DUKE OF YORK (1415-60), Protector of England (1454-), to support his claim (1460) to the throne, being great-grandson in the male line of King Edward III (1327-77). His claim was granted but he was killed shortly afterwards. His son King Edward IV became the first true Plantagenet king, (1461-70 & 1471-83), though this heralded in the House of York.

[PLAN379] Henry FitzEmpress curt-mantle (born at le Mans, 5th March 1133, son of [PLAN361] DUKE GEOFFREY V d'ANJOU & Matilda formerly Adelaide, see ANJOU (HOUSE OF GATINAIS) COUNTY) became Count of Touraine and Maine (1151), and succeeded his father as DUKE OF NORMANDY and Count of Anjou (7th September 1151).

Henry married (at Poitiers Cathedral, 18th May 1152) [AQUI372] Eleanor (see AQUITAINE (HOUSE OF POITIERS) DUKEDOM), and thus became DUKE OF AQUITAINE in right of his wife. He succeeded his second-cousin King Stephen as King Henry II (19th December 1154), and was crowned that day in Westminster Abbey. He died at Chinon Castle (6th July 1189) and was entombed at Fontevrault Abbey. Eleanor died at Fontevrault Abbey (April 1204) where she too was entombed.

In addition to legitimate issue by Eleanor, Henry also had around twelve children by Ikenai, said to have been a common prostitute. Henry also had a concubine, [CLIF432] the fair Rosamund (see CLIFFORD), and lived openly with her, after he had imprisoned Queen Eleanor (1173, for a number of years) for the destruction of their marriage.

Henry built or enlarged a number of Royal Castles, the work being continued by his successors. They became effectively Palaces and were decorated as such on a generous basis. He built at least six great towers, though one not recorded was that at Guildford Castle, which he possibly heightened in the 1160's after he had added his private apartments in the bailey. The upward extension is of interest, as the outline of the earlier crenellations were left in view and are clearly to be seen today.



Guildford Castle tower
showing outline of earlier crenellations
(19 July 2013)

Newcastle Keep
built 1168-78
(21 August 2016)
Newcastle Keep
(21 August 2016)

[LONG451] William longespee (probably born before 1170, illegitimate son of [PLAN379] Henry & [allegedly] Rosamund) married (c.1196) [SALI392] Ela FitzPatrick. See SALISBURY (LONGESPEE) EARLDOM for further details.

[PLAN384] Eleanor (born at Domfront Castle, Normandy, 13th October 1161, daughter of Henry & Eleanor) married [CAS1381] King Alfonso III (see LEON AND CASTILE (HOUSE OF BURGUNDY) KINGDOMS). Their daughter [CAS1392] Blanche (born c.1187) married [CAPE402] Dauphin Louis (see CAPETIAN HOUSE) at one time accepted as King Louis of England (1216), see later.

[PLAN389] John lack-land or soft-sword (born at Beaumont Palace, Oxford, 24th December 1166, son of Henry & Eleanor) was designated King of Ireland (1177), and created Count of Mortain (1189). He married 1. (at Marlborough Castle, 29th August 1189) Avice of Gloucester, and was thus styled Earl of Gloucester in right of his wife. He succeeded his brother King Richard I as King John, and DUKE OF NORMANDY (27th May 1199), and was crowned on that day in Westminster Abbey.



Westminster Abbey
east end
(9 September 2000)

After Avice died, John married 2. (at Bordeaux Cathedral, 24th August 1200) [ANGO399] Isabel (see ANGOULEME COUNTY). He also had illicit relationships with several women, including [BOTL479] Clemence (daughter of Philip, see PHILIP le BOTELER), died 30th March 1237; Hawise, Suzanne de Warenne; and [SUR2476] Adela de Warenne (daughter of Earl Hamelin of Surrey, see SURREY (PLANTAGENET) EARLDOM); Agatha de Ferrers, which altogether produced about twelve children.

John's reign was blighted by civil war with the barons, resulting in the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede (15th June1215). Afterwards John renounced the charter as having been signed under duress, and civil war broke out again. The rebel barons now offered the Crown of England to the Dauphin Louis, son of King Louis VII of France (see CAPETIAN HOUSE), and who was married to a granddaughter of King Henry II of England, which he accepted; and French knights descended on London by way of the Thames. King John marshalled his army in the neighbourhood of Dover, but Louis landed instead at Sandwich (21st May 1216). John decamped and retreated to Bristol, where he still had some support. Louis advanced unopposed on London, and in St. Paul's Cathedral he received the homage of his new subjects, promising them he would govern them by good laws. Success followed the French party, and the counties around London quickly submitted, as did men in the north of England and Scotland. The mercenaries of King John, with the exception of those from Gascoigne, deserted him and either returned home or joined Louis.

Louis engaged now in blockading Dover Castle was daily losing ground, with the men of the Cinque ports intercepting his supply ships. King John headed north and took Lincoln. He went on to Lynn, his supply base, then turned northward again, crossing the Wash. His army safely reached the opposite shore, but the returning tide engulfed his following baggage train, and with it were lost for ever the crown jewels and John's money. John was greatly depressed, and proceeded to the Convent of Swineshead, where he contracted fever which led to dysentery.

Worcester Cathedral)
(8 October 2008)


He set out for his castle at Newark-on-Trent, and died there shortly after (18th October 1216), and was entombed at Worcester Cathedral.




John was succeeded by his 9-year old son Henry, with Earl William, see PEMBROKE (MARSHAL) EARLDOM, acting as Regent.

With the death of John, the chief cause of strife disappeared. While Louis had seemed a better choice than John, with John now out of the way, and hearing that Louis was offering his French followers the promise of English Earldoms, the prospect of a Frenchman on the throne lost its appeal.

Earl William routed the French troops and rebel barons at the Battle of Lincoln (20th May 1217), and later he besieged London. Louis was defeated and agreed to return to France (September 1217), with 10,000 marks [approximately worth 6,667 sterling] to enable him to pay off his debts. Earl William reissued the Magna Carta, resolving a major part of the barons' grievances, and all those barons who had supported John now changed sides.

Dowager Queen Isabel returned to Angouleme (1217) with her daughter Joan, who was affianced to Count Hugh X of La Marche (see LUSIGNAN). But Isabel was still young (and rich) and so the Count rejected Joan in favour of her mother. So Dowager Queen Isabel (now age 32) married 2. (1220) [LUSI401] Count Hugh X (see LUSIGNAN), while her daughter Joan married (1221) King Alexander II of Scotland.

Isabel's second marriage was not a happy one. She became depraved, later entering Fontevrault Abbey, where she died (31st May 1246), and was entombed there. Count Hugh X fell at Damietta during a Crusade (1249).

[PLAN394] Joan (born c.1188, illegitimate daughter of John & Clemence) married [GWYN389] Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth (see GWYNEDD KINGDOM (1)).

[FROY391] Richard FitzRoy (born c.1190, illegitimate son of John & [SUR2476] Adela de Warenne) married [DOUV392] Rose (daughter of Foubert de Douvres, see DOUVRES). After Richard's death, Rose married 2. (c.1250-53) William de Wilton, a prominent Justice. Rose died February 1261, and William was killed at the Battle of Lewes (14th May 1264).

[FROY402] Isabel FitzRoy (daughter of Richard) married (1240) [HARD471] Lord Maurice (see BERKELEY BARONY).

[CORZ481] Richard (born 5th January 1209, legitimate son of King John by Isabella of Angouleme), Count of Poitou (1225), Earl of Cornwall (1227), is dealt with under CORNWALL (FITZROY) EARLDOM (4th Creation).

[PLAN395] Joan (born 22 July 1210, legitimate daughter of King John & Isabel) married [DUNW461] Alexander II, King of Scotland (see KING ALEXENDAR II).

[PLAN392] Henry (born at Winchester Castle, 1st October 1207, legitimate son of John & Isabel) succeeded his father as King Henry III, and DUKE OF NORMANDY and AQUITAINE (28th October 1216), being crowned on that day in Gloucester Cathedral with his mother's own bracelet (the crown jewels having been lost in the River Wash). Henry was then only 9 years old, but he was fortunate in having William Marshal as Regent, as he was perhaps the most respected man in England. By the time William Marshal died (1219), he had restored law and order to the kingdom. (The new Regent was Peter des Roches, an able and talented soldier.) Henry was again crowned at Westminster Abbey (17th May 1220), this time with new regalia, though he was still but 12 years old, eventually assuming full control in 1227.

On 30th September 1223 (the eve of his sixteenth birthday), Henry visited Montgomery (after a skirmish with Llywelyn ab Iorwerth) accompanied by his senior adviser Hubert de Burgh. Hubert suggested the hilltop would be an ideal site for an impregnable castle, which was duly built first in timber, but gradually replaced by stone.

  Montgomery Castle ruins
(16 August 2016)

Henry married (at Canterbury Cathedral, 14th January 1236) [PROV402] Eleanor (see ARAGON (HOUSE OF BARCELONA) KINGDOM).



Canterbury Cathedral
(11 August 2004)

Henry formally renounced the Duchy of Normandy (December 1259) under the terms of the treaty of Paris, and died at Westminster Palace (16th November 1272) and was entombed at Westminster Abbey. Eleanor died at Amesbury Abbey (25th June 1291) and was buried there, though her heart was buried in the Church of Friars Preachers, London.

[LANC491] Edmund crouch-back (born at London, 16th January 1245, 4th son of Henry III) became 7th Earl of Leicester 1265, and was then created 1st EARL OF LANCASTER 1267 (see LANCASTER (PLANTAGENET) EARLDOM).

[PLAX401] Edward long-shanks and Hammer of the Scots (born at Westminster Palace, 17th June 1239, eldest son of Henry III) was created DUKE OF GASCONY (1254) and 9th Earl of Chester (14th February 1254). He then married 1. (at Las Huelgas Castle Castile, October 1254) [LEON422] Eleanor (see LEON AND CASTILE (HOUSE OF BURGUNDY) KINGDOMS). He resigned the Earldom of Chester (24th December 1264), but was later restored to it (4th August 1265). Prince Edward went on a Crusade (1270), proposing to join King Louis IX of France en route. But by the time Edward arrived at Tunis, he found Louis had died of dysentery.

The English force went on to the Holy Land, and captured Nazareth, but failed to hold it. After making a truce with the Saracens, Edward set sail for Italy and home. He succeeded his father as King Edward I (20th November 1272), whilst he was then in Sicily. He did not hurry home, confident the throne would not be usurped during his absence.

Edward briefly stayed (1273) at the Castle of Saint-Georges-d'Esperanche, near Lyons. This castle had been built by Master James, better known today as James of St. George, for Count Philip of Savoy. King Edward brought James back to Britain, and made him his Master of the King's Works in Wales. James' enduring legacy is his fine castles at Rhuddlan, Flint, Conwy, Caernarfon, Harlech and Beaumaris. See Edward's Welsh Castles.

Edward eventually arrived back in England (2nd August 1274), and was shortly afterwards crowned at Westminster Abbey (19th August 1274).

Queen Eleanor bought Leeds Castle (1278) and thereafter it became associated with the English Queens, specifically Eleanor of Castile, Margaret of France, Isabella of Aragon, Anne of Bohemia, Joan of Navarre, Catherine de Valois and Catherine of Aragon. The apartments for Queen Eleanor (now known as the Gloriette) were constructed on the site of the original Norman keep, at the western end of the castle on the smaller of the two islands.

Leeds Castle Gloriette
(7 June 2013)

Queen Eleanor's flag
 flies on
alternate days

The original Norman buttery, in the cellar

Queen Eleanor died of a fever at Harby, Notts, 28th November 1290, though there is a brass plaque in Harby Church which reads:





Eleanor's body was taken to Westminster Abbey where she was entombed. In preparation for this lengthy journey, the internal organs were first removed and these were later entombed at Lincoln Cathedral, except that the heart was placed in the Church of Friars Preachers, London.

Outside Lincoln Cathedral, high up at the south-eastern corner, are statues of Edward and Eleanor, though their heads are Victorian replacements (c.1848).

Edward & Eleanor
(17 March 2005)


En route to Westminster, the cortege stopped several times en route, and at each place King Edward arranged for crosses to be afterwards erected to her memory. These crosses became known as Eleanor Crosses. Her body was eventually buried at Westminster Abbey (17th December 1290).

Having dealt with the Welsh, King Edward turned his attention to the Scots in the early 14th Century, modernising castles in the north of England. One such castle was that at Knaresborough. Very little remains of Edward's castle (in particular the pillars of the East Gate rebuilt between 1300 and 1307); the present castle ruins are mainly from the Tudor period.



Knaresborough Castle
Inner face of 14th C East Gate pillars
(8 June 2013)

Afterwards Edward married 2. (at Canterbury Cathedral, 10th September 1299) Margaret (daughter of King Philip III of France). Whilst campaigning against the Scots (1307), Edward became seriously ill, and carefully prepared for his imminent death. His son, Prince Edward, was given instructions that his body should be boiled, and the bones put in a coffin to be carried always before the English army until Scotland had been utterly defeated; though his heart, encased in a silver casket, was to be taken to the Holy Land for burial. Edward was carried to Carlisle Cathedral for a final blessing, and returned to Burgh-on-Sands, Cumbs, with a brief stop near Burgh Marshes for him to take his last long look at Scotland. Realising that to cross the Solway Ford was hopeless, he called for a turn around and the entourage proceeded to Burgh, where he died on 7th July 1307. However, his son had different ideas; he despatched the body to Waltham Abbey to await a royal burial later at Westminster Abbey. He was placed in a plain coffin of Purbeck "marble" (which is actually limestone), encased within a plain sarcophagus. On the side of sarcophagus was an inscription:


[Here is the Hammer of the Scots]

In 1774 the tomb of King Edward I was opened by a circle of antiquarians. It held a recumbent figure, measuring 6 ft. 2in. in length, clean-shaven and wearing a delicate crown. He was dressed in the purple cloth of a Roman emperor, a jewelled clasp at his right shoulder. Placed in his right hand was the sceptre, crowned with the crucifix; on his left was the rod of virtue, topped by a little dove.

[PLAX419] Joan (born at Acre, Palestine, 1272, daughter of Edward & Eleanor) married 1. (at Westminster Abbey, 30th April 1290) [HERT491] Earl Gilbert (see HERTFORD (CLARE) EARLDOM); then 2. (1297) [MONH501] Lord Ralph (see MONTHERMER BARONY).

[PLAX415] Elizabeth (born at Rhuddlan Castle, Flint, August 1282, daughter of Edward and & Eleanor) married 1. (at Ipswich Priory Church, 18th January 1297) Count John I, of Holland & Zeeland (died 1299); then 2. (at Westminster Abbey, 14th November 1302) [HERE501] Earl Humphrey (see HEREFORD (BOHUN) EARLDOM).