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Cassells Illustrated History of England


From the Earliest Period to the Reign of Edward the Fourth

The preceding edition of this History has been most carefully corrected and revised, and the Publishers are thankful that the present one has not failed of a success more than equal to that which had attended its predecessor. The expectation which led them originally to publish and now to issue this revised edition of a history of this great country so as to meet the want of the great masses which compose so large a portion of it, has not been disappointed.

It is almost as vain to write the praises of history as it is unnecessary to write its apology. Whatever doubts may be entertained as to the merits of the classics as a means cf education, history stands above all suspicion, and is pre-eminent not only as a means, but even as an end of knowledge.

We may regard history as in some sort the story of ourselves under circumstances different from those in which it finds us; which circumstances, however, time often repeats with remarkable similitude of detail. It is, indeed, more than this; it is the narrative of national as well as of individual life, and - in a higher aspect still - it is the narrative of the great human race. But even if we look on it only as a vast collection of biographies, we can hardly exaggerate the importance of its voice to us. It teaches its votary something of himself and of his kind which the profoundest philosopher without it could never know. If we except Nature and Revelation, what else is there beyond the domain of history? Indeed, it is the complement of these, and with these fills up all experience and all thought. But if this be true of universal history, it is true in a sense more confined and yet more intense of the history of our own country. The exceeding interest of this latter will let none of us escape. It is our text-book in childhood, but we have not grasped its wisdom or- exhausted its pleasure in age. We delight in it, not merely because it tells of our own fathers and our own homes, but because it, more than any other, presents the broad surface of the people; because it is concerned, not only with kings, and statesmen, and warriors, but with the toilers at the plough, and at the counter, and at the desk - with the great middle class, whose growth in extent and power forms so large a portion of its page; because it exhibits a unity of design and a continuity of action which is not so patent, even if it exists, elsewhere; because it leads by marked gradations through tile practical logic of great principles to that national product which we now enjoy with so much pride and satisfaction; because it is the voice of a people whose language is more wide-spread and more potent in the ears of friends and foes than that of any tongue on earth, and is enriched with science and with song to which few others can aspire.

On the other hand, the history of this country, as of all others, presents a corrective to that national pride and self-sufficiency which it may at first seem to engender. We, too, have come forth from the dark ages dyed with their superstitions and their crimes. We have lingered long indeed' upon the threshold of this more exalted time. We can boast no great, unbroken unity of race, religion, and polity, as the Jew of other days might boast with justice. The Reformation found us as it found others, and did not find us first. We have made great national mistakes and committed great national crimes in our policy at home and abroad, and the sciences of political and domestic economy are only beginning to take hold upon us. Our history clearly points out that our geographical position may well dispute with the genius of the people the merit of making us what we are; and our geographical position and our mineral wealth are blessings for which we cannot thank ourselves.

The slow building of a constitution which finds no parallel in the world is the most distinctive, as it is the largest, feature in English history. But this does not render it a mere monotonous political dissertation. The movements of the people are broken in upon by wars from without, and tumults and revolutions from within. Great actors and great thinkers come upon the sight, and for a moment nothing else is seen. How all these pressed on, or modified, or retarded the destiny of the nation is matter of difficult but most instructive research. How the various units of the great mass, which history can seek out, acted under the changing circumstances of the time, and moved under the diverse influences of events, of passion, and of principle, is matter pregnant with instruction to each of us. Nor is there instruction for the head alone. The whole of the complex nature of man is wrought upon. History thrusts upon the stage at once, or in quick and continued succession, tragedy, and comedy, and farce; and, as we weep, and laugh, and wonder, we must not forget that we are in the theatre, not of fancy, but of truth, and that every event, however slight, every entrance and every exit, possesses a real meaning and a real importance. It is often difficult, sometimes perhaps impossible, to discover this meaning and this importance; but even when we cannot perceive the connection between individual actors and the conduct of the plot, the individual cannot be utterly devoid of interest and instruction. An unimportant personage or a slight event may bring before us the spirit of the times, and the progress of lesser transactions, which are so apt to be forgotten in the great action of the moment. To the statesman, no doubt, the study of English history is of special importance, and he learns from it the genius of our constitution, and finds in it precedent, example, and warning peculiar to himself. But we all have an interest in the state, though it be not such as his, and we all find in that history precedent, and example, and warning. As every day adds to our knowledge of the past, it should add to our wisdom for the future; and if we do not profit in heart and head by the experience which the ages have gathered for us - if we do not grow, as they would have us, not only in wisdom, but in humility, in moderation, in humanity - we have to blame, not these unerring teachers, but ourselves.

Table of content

  • Chapter: I.
    The First Inhabitants of Britain - The several Nations and Tribes who settled there - Variety of States - The Druids: their System - Social and Moral Condition of the Britons.
  • Chapter: II.
    The Landing of the Romans - Battle with the Britons - Defeat of the latter- - They sue for Peace, which is granted - Privations of the Invaders - The War breaks out again.
  • Chapter: III.
    Of Roman Architecture in Britain.
  • Chapter: IV.
    Landing of the Saxons in Britain.
  • Chapter: V.
    Foundation of the Kingdoms of East Anglia, Essex, Bernice, Deira, and Mercia.
  • Chapter: VI.
    Succession of Kings of Wessex till the Reign of Egbert, who first assumes the title of King of England.
  • Chapter: VII.
    Reign of Alfred the Great - Wars with the Danes, who finally obtain Settlements in the Country.
  • Chapter: VIII.
    Reign of Edward the Elder - Continuation of the War with the Danes - Elfrida - War with the Welsh.
  • Chapter: IX.
    Reign of Athelstan - Conspiracy against him - Appeal to the Pope - Death of his brother Edwin.
  • Chapter: X.
    Edmund I. - His brief Reign and Death.
  • Chapter: XI.
    Reign of Edred - War with the Northumbrians - The Monastery of Glastone bury rebuilt - St. Dunstan - Death of Edred.
  • Chapter: XII.
    Reign of Edwy - His Quarrel with Dunstan - Exile of the latter – Edgar in Mercia - Death of Edwy - Slanders of the Monkish Writers.
  • Chapter: XIII.
    Reign of Edgar - The Kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia united - Recall of Dunstan, who is elevated first to the See of Worcester, then to that of Canterbury - His Influence and Character.
  • Chapter: XIV.
    Edward the Martyr - His Election to the Throne through the influence of Dunstan - Doubts as to his Legitimacy - His Reign and Death.
  • Chapter: XV.
    History of the Church from the Time of Egbert to the Death of Edward the Martyr.
  • Chapter: XVI.
    Ethelred the Second - His Reign - Wars with the Danes - Reverses and Death.
  • Chapter: XVII.
    Reign of Edmund II, surnamed Ironside.
  • Chapter: XVIII.
    Reign of Canute the Great - His Reproof to his Courtiers - His Marriage and Death.
  • Chapter: XIX.
    Harold Harefoot - His brief Reign and Death.
  • Chapter: XX.
    Hardicanute - His violent Reign and Death.
  • Chapter: XXI.
    Edward the Confessor - His Life and Reign.
  • Chapter: XXII.
    State of the Church from Ethelred II. to the Death of Edward the Confessor.
  • Chapter: XXIII.
    Saxon Architecture.
  • Chapter: XXIV.
    Of the Manners, Customs, and Laws of the Saxons.
  • Chapter: XXV.
    Accession of Harold - His Brother Tostig - William of Normandy sends an Embassy.
  • Chapter: XXVI.
    Landing of the Normans - The Battle of Hastings - Death of Harold - Accession of William.
  • Chapter: XXVII.
    William I., Surnamed the Conqueror.
  • Chapter: XXVIII.
    Conspiracy against the Normans - Its Consequences - Escape of Edgar Atheling with his Sisters to Scotland.
  • Chapter: XXIX.
    Continuation of the Reign of William the Conqueror - Depression of the English - Introduction of the Feudal Laws.
  • Chapter: XXX.
    Reign of William I. continued - Erection of Fortresses.
  • Chapter: XXXI.
    Insurrection at Durham - Death of the Bishop - Expedition of William against Scotland - Invasion and Retreat of the Danes.
  • Chapter: XXXII.
    Revolt of Robert, the Eldest Son of the Conqueror - His Submission - Death of Matilda - Arrest of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux - Domesday Book.
  • Chapter: XXXIII.
    Accession of William Rufus - Conspiracy against him - Invasion of Normandy - The Crusades.
  • Chapter: XXXIV.
    The Institution of Chivalry - Peter the Hermit - The Council of Clermont.
  • Chapter: XXXV.
    The First Crusade - The Byzantine Empire - Siege and Capture of Jerusalem.
  • Chapter: XXXVI.
    Reign of William Rufus continued - Insurrection in Maine - Death of Rufus.
  • Chapter: XXXVII. Anglo-Saxon life
    Influence of the Norman Conquest on English Civilisation - Review of Saxon and Norman Customs - Progress of Literature and the Arts - Social Life of the Anglo-Saxons - Sports and Pastimes - Condition of the People of Normandy-The Bayeux Tapestry.
  • Chapter: XXXVIII. Accession of Henry I
    Accession of Henry I., surnamed Beauclerk, ad. 1100 - Marriage of Henry with Matilda - Battle of Tenchebray - Imprisonment and Death of Robert of Normandy.
  • Chapter: XXXIX. Reign of Henry I
    Reign of Henry I. continued - Battle of Brenneville - Death, of Prince William, son of Henry I. - Career of William of Normandy - Second Marriage and Death of Henry I.
  • Chapter: XL. Accession of Stephen
    Accession of Stephen - A new Charter passed - Conspiracy among the Nobles - Battle of the Standard - Landing of Matilda - Imprisonment of Stephen.
  • Chapter: XLI. Reign of Stephen
    Reign of Stephen continued - Flight of Matilda from London - Release of Stephen - Siege of Oxford - Midnight Flight of Matilda - Death of the Earl of Gloucester - Landing of Prince Henry - Truce between Henry and Stephen - Death of Stephen.
  • Chapter: XLII. Accession of Henry II
    Accession of Henry II., surnamed Plantaganet, a.d. 1154 - Reasons of his Popularity - Resumption and Destruction of Castles - Expedition to Toulouse.
  • Chapter: XLIII.
    Reign of Henry II. - Career and Death of Thomas a Becket.
  • Chapter: XLIV.
    Reign of Henry II. - Conquest of Ireland - Rebellions of the Princes - Wars between the Kings of France and England - Death of Henry II.
  • Chapter: XLV. Norman Architecture
  • Chapter: XLVI. Accession of Richard I
    Accession of Richard I., surnamed Coeur-de-Lion, a.d. 1189 - Massacre of the Jews - The Third Crusade.
  • Chapter: XLVII. Reign of Richard I. Part 1
    Reign of Richard I. - The Siege of Acre - Progress of the Crusade - The Battle of Jaffa - Truce between Richard and Saladin - Termination of the Third Causade.
  • Chapter: XLVIII. Reign of Richard I. Part 2
    Reign of Richard I. - Departure of the Fleet from the Holy Land-Adventures of Richard in Germany - His Imprisonment - Condition of Affairs in England.
  • Chapter: XLIX. Death of Richard I
    Reign of Richard I. continued - Richard in Prison - His Hansom and Return to England - Reconciliation between Richard and John - Career of Long-beard - Wars on the Continent - Death of Richard.
  • Chapter: L. Accession of John
    Accession of John, surnamed Sans-terre, or Lackland, a.d. 1199 - Disaffection of the people of England - Insurrections on the Continent - Philip declares war - Career and Death of Prince Arthur - Invasion of Normandy by the Bretons and the French - Conquest of Normandy and the English Continental Provinces - John's Quarrel with the Pope - Interdict of the Kingdom and Excommunication of the King - Submission of John.
  • Chapter: LI. The Reign of John
    The Reign of John - The cause of John espoused by the Pope - The first English Naval Victory - The Battle of Bouvines - Magna Charta - Treachery of John - Prince Louis invited to England - Devastation of the Northern Counties - Death of John.
  • Chapter: LII. Review of Society in the Middle Ages
  • Chapter: LIII. Accession of Henry III
    Accession of Henry III., and the Difficulties of his Position - His Coronation - Regency of the Earl of Pembroke - The Departure of Louis from the kingdom.
  • Chapter: LIV. Reign of Henry III, Part 1
    Continuation of the Reign of Henry III. - His Courtships - Marriage with Eleanor of Provence.
  • Chapter: LV. Reign of Henry III, Part 2
    Continuation of the Reign of Henry III. - Further Exactions of the Church of Rome - Affairs of Sicily - Rebellion of Simon de Montfort.
  • Chapter: LVI. Reign of Henry III. Part 3
    Continuation of the Reign of Henry III. - Interposition of the King of France - The Battle of Lewes - Popularity of Leicester - Escape of Prince Edward - The Battle of Evesham - Defeat and Death of Leicester - Restoration of Tranquillity - Departure of Edward to the Holy Land-Death of Henry III.
  • Chapter: LVII. Architecture of the Thirteenth Century
  • Chapter: LVIII. Accession of Edward I
    Accession of Edward I., surnamed Longshanks - Adventures of Edward in the Holy Land - His return to Guienne - His Landing in England, and Coronation - Persecution of the Jews - Conquest of Wales.
  • Chapter: LIX. Reign of Edward I. Part 1
    Continuation of the Reign of Edward I. - Affairs of Scotland - Election of Baliol - Hostilities between the French and English - Edward's Policy towards Scotland - War between Prance and England - Baliol deprived of the Functions of Government - War declared by the Scottish Parliament - The Massacre of Berwick - Campaign of Edward in Scotland - William "Wallace - The Battle of Stirling.
  • Chapter: LX. Reign of Edward I. Part 2
    Reign of Edward I. continued - Claims of the Pope on Scotland-Second Revolt and Subjugation of that Kingdom - Execution of Wallace - Third Revolt of Scotland under Robert Bruce- - Death of Edward I. - Estimate of his Character and Services to the Nation.
  • Chapter: LXI. Reign of Edward II. Part 1
    Edward II. - Weakness of the King - His favourite Gaveston - The King's Marriage with Isabella of France - Gaveston's Death - Losses in Scotland - Battle of Bannockburn - Edward Bruce attempts to conquer Ireland - Incursions of the Scots under Robert Bruce.
  • Chapter: LXII. Reign of Edward II. Part 2
    Edward II. continued - Edward's new Favourite, Despenser - War in consequence with the Barons - Lancaster beheaded - Queen Isabella and Mortimer - The Queen commences War against her Husband - The Fall of the Spensers - The King dethroned - His dreadful Death - Destruction of the Templars.
  • Chapter: LXIII. Edward III
    Edward III. - Incursions of the Scots under Douglas and Randolph - Edward's First Campaign against them - Schemes of Mortimer - Execution of the King's Uncle, the Earl of Kent - Fall of Mortimer, and Imprisonment of the Queen Isabella - Enterprise of Edward Baliol and the disinherited Nobles against Scotland - War by Edward III. in Support of Baliol.
  • Chapter: LXIV. War with France
    Preparations for War with France - The utter Groundlessness of Edward III.'s Claims on the French Crown - Alliance with the Princes of Germany and the Netherlands - Artavelde, the Brewer of Ghent - Counter-alliances made by Philip of France - The First Invasion of France abortive - Edward's Debts and Difficulties at Home - Renews the War - Great Naval Victory of Edward at Sluys - Siege of Tournay - A Truce - Fresh Troubles at Home - Resistance of the Clergy - The Affairs of Brittany - Renewed War - Second Truce - Fresh Invasion of France - Great Victory of Crecy - War with Scotland - Capture of Calais.
  • Chapter: LXV. Reign of Edward III
    Edward III. continued - Siege of Calais - Battle of Neville's Cross-Capture of the Scottish King - Attempt to re-take Calais by the French - Institution of the Garter - Disturbances in Trance excited by the King of Navarre - Battle of Poictiers - The King of France taken Prisoner and brought to England - Fresh Invasion of France - The Peace of Bretigni - Return of King John to France - Disorders of that Kingdom - The Free Companions - Expedition of the Black Prince into Castile - Fresh Campaign in France - Decline of the English Power there - Death of the Black Prince - Death of Edward III. - Character of his Reign and State of the Kingdom.
  • Chapter: LXVI. Reign of Richard II. Part 1
    Reign of Richard II. - His early Education - The Government during his Minority - Invasion of the French - John Phillpot, Alderman of London, captures the Spanish Fleet - The Insurrection of Wat Tyler - Discontent of both People and Aristocracy - Invasion of Scotland - Intrigues of the Duke of Gloucester - Expulsion of the King's Ministers, and Execution of his Favourites - Preaching of Wycliffe - Death of the Queen - Expedition to Ireland.
  • Chapter: LXVII. Reign of Richard II. Part 2
    his Adherents - Banishment of the Dukes of Hereford and Norfolk - Arbitrary Conduct of the King - Goes to Ireland - Return of Hereford - Imprisonment, Deposition, and Murder of the King - His Character.
  • Chapter: LXVIII. The Progress of the Nation
  • Chapter: LXIX. Reign of Henry IV
    Reign of Henry IV. - His Coronation - The Insecurity of his Position - Courts the Clergy and the People - Sends an Embassy to France - Conspiracy to assassinate him - Death of King Richard - Rumours of his Escape to Scotland - Expedition into Scotland - Revolt of Owen Glendower - Invasion of the Scots - The Conspiracy of the Percies - The Battle of Shrewsbury, where they are defeated - Northumberland pardoned - Accumulating Dangers - Second Rebellion of the Percies with the Archbishop of York - The North reduced - The War in Wales - Earl of Northumberland flies thither - The Plague - The King attacked by Pirates - Reduction of the Welsh - Expedition into France - Death of Henry.
  • Chapter: LXX. Reign of Henry V. Part 1
    Reign of Henry the Fifth - Youthful Follies of the King - Sudden Reformation - The Lollard Insurrection - Escape of Lord Cobham - Henry claims the Crown of France - Invasion of France - Siege of Harfleur - March from Harfleur to Azincourt - The Great Victory of Azincourt - Henry's Enthusiastic Reception in England - League with the Duke of Burgundy - Arrival of the Emperor Sigismund in England - Distracted State of France - Second Invasion of France aided by Burgundy - Rapid Progress of the English - Massacre in Paris by the French Factions - Henry's Truce with the Armagnacs - Siege and Surrender of Rouen.
  • Chapter: LXXI. Reign of Henry V. Part 2
    Reign of Henry V. concluded - Henry meets the French Court, and demands the Princess Catherine in Marriage - Deluded by his Allies - Assassination of the Duke of Burgundy - Treaty of Peace at Troyes - Henry's Marriage - Siege and Conquest of Melun - Henry's Triumphal Entry into Paris as Regent of Prance and Heir to the Throne -Return to London and Coronation of the Queen - Death of the Duke of Clarence at the Battle of Beauje' - Henry returns to Prance - Siege of Meaux - Birth of Prince Henry - The King's Sickness and Death.
  • Chapter: LXXII. The Reign of Henry VI
    The Reign of Henry VI. - Minority of the King - The Condition of France - The Death of Charles VI. - The War continued against the Dauphin - Prospects, as it regarded the permanence of the English Power in France - Battle of Crevant - Liberation and Marriage of the King of Scotland - Surrender of Yvry - Battle of Verneuil - The Duke of Gloucester marries Jacqueline of Hainault, and endeavours to possess himself of that Country - Resentment of the Duke of Burgundy, and Withdrawal of the Duke of Brittany from the English Alliance - The Siege of Orleans - The Appearance of Joan of Arc - She raises the Siege of Orleans - Retreat of the English - Jargeau taken by Joan, and the Earl of Suffolk captured - Battle of Patay, and Capture of the Lords Talbot, Scales, and Hungerford - Auxerre, Troyes, and Rheims submit to the Maid of Orleans - Charles VII. crowned at Rheims.
  • Chapter: LXXIII. Accession of Edward IV
    Jack Cade's Insurrection - The French recover Guienne - Duke of York takes up Arms - Swears Fealty to the King - The French Provinces lost - Birth of Prince Edward - Commencement of the Wars of the Roses - Battle of St. Albans - Battle of Blore Heath - Yorkists dispersed at Ludiford - Battle of Northampton - The King; taken - Queen invades England - Battle of Wakefield - Cruelties of the Queen's Followers - Battle of Mortimer's Cross - Second Battle of St. Albans - The King recovered - Retreat of the Queen - Accession of Edward IV.
  • Chapter: LXXIV. Reign of Edward IV. Part 1
    Reign of Edward IV. - Edward's Coronation - The Battle of Towton - Henry escapes to Scotland - The Queen seeks aid in France - Battle of Hexham - Henry made Prisoner - Confined in the Tower - Edward marries Lady Elizabeth Gray - Advancement of her Relations - Attacks on the Family of the Nevilles - Warwick negotiates with France - Marriage of Margaret, the King's Sister, to the Duke of Burgundy - Marriage of the Duke of Clarence with a Daughter of Warwick - Battle of Banbury - Rupture between the King and his Brother, the Duke of Clarence - Rebellion of Clarence and Warwick - Clarence and Warwick flee to France - Warwick proposes to restore Henry VI. - Marries Edward Prince of Wales to his Daughter, Lady Ann Neville - Edward IV.'s reckless Dissipation - Warwick and Clarence invade England - Edward expelled.

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