Key Stage 3 History: 10: Who was the Most Successful Medieval Monarch?


Here is the last blog in our Key Stage 3 History series. This blog considers the success of the medieval monarchs we’ve looked at so far in the series.

Who was the Most Successful Medieval Monarch?

Ok, I need you to help me out. We were all talking about the Kings we’ve had and none of us can agree who was the best King. Well, we can work out the worst one, but not who was best! Lucky we’re not like those silly nobles, otherwise we may have ended up fighting!

If I give you the contenders, you can decide, because it’s beyond me! I’ll only give you the key ones because there have been too many to remember them all.

First, there’s William. He fought his way onto the throne by fighting Harold Godwinson in the Battle of Hastings. As King, he set up the feudal system, built loads of castles, and carried out that survey that turned into the Domesday Book.

Then there’s Henry II. Everyone remembers him for the murder of Thomas Becket, but he actually did far more than that. The main thing was that he tried to make the Church follow the same rules as everyone else. And he made the law fairer. He started the idea that everyone should be treated the same. Also, he had a nightmare of a family. They all fought each other for land, but Henry managed to keep all the land under his control.

And then there was King John. When he became King, he divorced his wife to marry a 12 year old French girl, who had been engaged to a French noble. (He was 33 at the time.) The French king was so outraged, he took away the land that John owned in France. John decided to fight back and kept taxing the English to pay for his fighting. He also fought the Scots, Welsh and Irish and made everyone hate him. Finally, the barons made him sign the Magna Carta.

Now we all agreed that John wasn’t exactly a good King. But what about the other two? We’ve talked about it for ages and we just can’t decide. What do you think?

Penny Brooks

Tutor

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