On the Sunday before Christmas 1154, Henry, Count of Anjou, was crowned King of England. This book covers the reigns of Henry, of his sons Richard the Lionheart and John, and much of that of his grandson Henry III. The period was beset by constant wars with France, frequent troubles with the popes (not assisted by the murder of Thomas Beckett) and baronial rebellions culminating in Magna Carta. But Angevin rule also witnessed the re-establishment of a strengthened royal authority and administration, a burgeoning prosperity, the beginnings of the common law and the foundations of universities at Oxford and Cambridge. This is a history not only of the politics of the period, but also of society and culture, and the interactions of all three. The author seeks to capture the energy of the time, exploring and describing lifestyles, literacy, learning, saints, knights, peasants, pilgrims and the landscape itself, with its thick woodlands and forests and largely unpaved roads. The book is illustrated with maps, genealogies and photographs, is fully referenced and contains an extensive guide to primary and secondary sources divided by subject.
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