Buried 8 July 1189 Fontevrault Abbey, Fontevrault, Maine-Et-Loire, France
King Henry - was King of England from 1154 to 1189. He succeeded Stephan after invading England in 1153 to promote his claim after Stephen elbowed Henry's mother. Matilda, from the throne.
In 1164 Henry became involved in a quarrel with Thomas a Becket whom he had appointed archbishop of canterbury. The controversy ended in 1160 with Becket's murder by four of Henry's knights.
From the beginning of his reign, Henry was involved in conflict with Louis Vii, King of France, and later with Louis's successor Philip Ii, over the French provinces that Henry claimed. A succession of rebellions against Henry, headed by his sons and furthered by Philip II and by Eleanor of Aquitane began in 1173 and continued until his death in 1189.
During his mother's conflict with Stephen for the English throne he was brought to England. Stephen eventually recognized his claim, and Henry became king of England in 1154 after Stephen's death.
Henry II held England and Normandy by his mother's right. From his father he inherited, as French fiefs, the important counties of Anjou, Maine, and Touraine. By his marriage with Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage with the French king Louis VII had been annulled, he acquired Poitou, Guyenne, and Gascony, so that he held most of the British Isles and about half of France.
Henry II reestablished law and order after the anarchy of Stephen's reign. He improved the military service by permitting the barons to pay "shield money," or scutage, in place of serving in the army. With this he hired soldiers who would fight whenever and wherever he wished--an important means of maintaining control over the powerful nobles of the land.
His greatest work was the reform of the law courts. He brought the Curia Regis (King's Court) into every part of England by sending learned judges on circuit through the land to administer the "king's justice." Thus gradually one system of law took the place of the many local customs that had been in use. He also established the grand jury. Now accusations could be brought by a body of representatives of the community against evildoers who were so powerful that no single individual dared accuse them.
The petit jury, also called petty or trial jury, substituted the weighing of evidence and testimony by sworn men for the old superstitious trial by combat or by ordeal. Henry even attempted to bring churchmen who committed crimes under the jurisdiction of the king's courts, but the scandal caused by the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in the course of this quarrel forced him to give up this reform.
Henry's last years were embittered by the rebellion of his sons, aided by Philip Augustus of France and by their mother, the unscrupulous Eleanor. The king--old, sick, and discouraged--had to consent to the terms demanded of him. When he saw the name of John, his favorite son, among those of his enemies, he exclaimed, "Now let all things go as they will; I care no more for myself, nor for the world."
Two days later he died, muttering, "Shame, shame on a conquered king." He was succeeded by his son Richard I, called Richard the Lion-Hearted. After Richard's death, in 1199, John came to the throne.
In 1151, Henry burned the town of Nottingham and Nottingham Castle. William Peveril, constable and grandson of the original builder, fled from the Castle to his monastery at Lenton disguised as a monk before going abroad.
Henry Ii provided the wherewithal to repair the town and fortify the Castle more in keeping with a royal residence. Several new buildings were constructed including the 'King's bed chamber', a 'house for the King's falcons', and a great hall with aisles in the centre of the Middle Bailey which would hold parliaments and entertainments. At times Henry II held his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine in confinement at Nottingham Castle amongst other castles
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