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This Sceptred Isle

The King's Favourite and Bannockburn
Edward II succeeded in 1307. He immediately offended the barons by his infatuation with Piers Gaveston, son of a Gascon knight, he made him earl of Cornwall and left him to rule England while he, Edward, went to France to marry Isabella, daughter of Philip IV. The barons demanded that Gaveston be banished and forced the King to agree. Gaveston was appointed lieutenant in Ireland.

The barons set up a lay, ecclesiastical and lordly committee, the Lord Ordainers, which drew up the Ordinances of 1311. Edward agreed to the Ordinances on condition that Gaveston returned. He did so only to be hounded to the north by the barons. At Scarborough, Gaveston made terms with the barons but was later killed by nobles who were not present at Scarborough.

In 1314 Edward II met Robert the Bruce at Falkirk and was defeated in, what became known as, the Battle of Bannockburn.

Edward II
Edward II
EDWARD II (1284-1327)

  • Born in Caernarfon, the 14th and last child of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile
  • Became King in 1307
  • Married Isabella of France in 1308
  • Politically, financially and socially indiscreet, and acquiesced in the de facto take-over Government led by his cousin Thomas of Lancaster
  • Defeated Lancaster in 1322 with the support of Hugh Despenser
  • Became alienated from his queen through his friendship with the Despensers
  • In September 1325 Isabella and Roger Mortimer invaded England
  • Edward was captured and forced to abdicate in favour of his son Edward III
  • Remained imprisoned in Berkeley Castle
  • Attempts to rescue him sealed his fate and led to his death, almost certainly murder, on 21st September 1327

did you know?
At the coronation of Edward II in January 1258 Piers Gaveston carried the crown and the Sword of St Edward. He was described as being dressed more like the god Mars than a mere mortal.

Edward II was the first Prince of Wales and afterwards all heirs to the throne held this title.


  • The king must not leave the realm without the former knowledge of the barons
  • The king must not appoint a keeper of the realm
  • The king must not appoint whomsoever he wishes as senior officials
  • Parliament must meet at least once a year
  • Five lords would be assigned to hear complaints against the king's ministers
  • Parliament would have greater control of the king's finances
  • Central and local officials were to be responsible to the barons
  • All officials must take the oath to uphold the Ordinances
Select historical period

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1291Edward arbitrates over Scottish succession
1292John Balliol, King of Scots
1296Edward begins his campaign in Scotland
Defeats Balliol who finally goes into exile in France
1306Robert I, the Bruce, King of Scotland
1307Edward I dies
Edward II becomes King
1314English defeated at Bannockburn
1326Queen Isabella and Mortimer invade England
1328Edward II recognizes Robert the Bruce in the treaty of
1327Edward II is deposed
Edward III becomes king
1329Edward II died, almost certainly murdered

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