Henry II, one of the Angevin kings, was one of the most effective of all England's monarchs. He came to the throne amid the anarchy of Stephen's reign and promptly collared his errant barons. He refined Norman government and created a capable, self-standing bureaucracy. His energy was equaled only by his ambition and intelligence. Henry survived many wars, rebellions, and controversy to successfully rule one of the Middle Ages' most powerful kingdoms.
Henry was crowned King of England on October of 1154 and ruled up until 1189, which is the same year as his death. The continental empire ruled by Henry included the French counties of Brittany, Maine, Poitou, Touraine, Gascony, Anjou, Aquitaine, and Normandy (Alexander, 124). Three things that were important in Henry II's reign was the relationship between Henry and the appointed bishop Thomas Becket. The second important thing is King Henry II's acheivments that expanded England and made the country strong.
The final important thing in the kings reign that he did to regulate his country is that he regulated the financial system, to take power away from the barons, and he used taxes to help him build a fighting force, to make England safe from invasion. Henry II, King of England, ruled strong and intelligently during his reign, making England one of the strongest countries at the time. Thomas Becket and the newly crowned King Henry II met in 1154, which were introduced by the archbishop at the time, which was Theobold (Wilson, 433). With their similar personal chemistries, they developed a strong bond. Shortly after a few years, in 1162 the archbishop Theobold died (Alexander, 125). At that time Henry immediately saw the opportunity to increase his influence over the Church by naming his loyal advisor to the highest ecclesiastical post in the land.
Becket was ordained a Bishop, and that afternoon, June 2, 1162, was made Archbishop of Canterbury. King Henry believed that by having "his man' in the top post of the Church, he could easily impose his will upon this powerful religious institution, but he was sadly mistaken. Becket's allegiance shifted from the court to the Church inspiring him to take a stand against his king. In a church court issue in 1163 Henry thought he had the chance to change the laws to extend his courts' jurisdiction over the clergy. Becket vacillated in his support of the king, finally refusing to agree to changes in the law. Becket fled to France, remaining in exile for six years.
The two former friends appeared to resolve their dispute in 1170 when King Henry and Becket met in Normandy (Wilson, 433). On November 30, Becket crossed the Channel returning to his post at Canterbury. Earlier, while in France, Becket had excommunicated the Bishops of London and Salisbury for their support of the king. Now, Becket remained steadfast in his refusal to pardon the bishops.
This news threw King Henry (still in France) into a rage in which he was purported to shout: "What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest. ' His outrage inspired four knights to sail to England to rid the realm of this annoying prelate. They arrived at Canterbury during the afternoon of December 29 and immediately searched for the Archbishop. Becket fled to the Cathedral where a service was in progress. The knights found him at the altar, drew their swords and began hacking at their victim finally splitting his skull.
The death of Becket frightened the king (Alexander, 125). The knights, who did the deed to curry the king's favor, fell into disgrace. Four years later, in an act of penance, the king donned a sackcloth walking barefoot through the streets of Canterbury while eighty monks flogged him with branches (Wilson 433). King Henry II made some achievements that helped England a lot. At first Henry's early attempts to recover the English throne, which he claimed through his mother, were unsuccessful. He was made duke of Normandy in 1150, and at Geoffrey's death in 1151 inherited Anjou, Maine, and Touraine territories.
His marriage in 1152 to Eleanor of Aquitaine brought him Aquitaine, Poitou, and Auvergne territories (Everard, 108). By an invasion of England in 1153, he finally forced King Stephen to acknowledge him as successor, and in 1154 Henry ascended the English throne. Henry's most significant achievement lay in his development of the structure of royal justice. With the aid of competent jurists, he clearly established the superiority of the royal courts over private, feudal jurisdictions. His justices toured the country, administering a strengthened criminal law and a revised land law, based on the doctrine of seis in (possession).
Routine advances included the greatly extended use of writs and juries. While these developments were taking place, Henry was also engaged in consolidating his possessions. In 1157 he recovered the northern counties of England from Scotland and between 1171-1172 he undertook an expedition to Ireland, where he temporarily consolidated the conquests already made by Richard de Clare. But he was a bit less successful in his attempts in 1157 and 1165 to extend his authority in Wales. Henry also expanded his holdings in France, acquiring Vex in, Brittany, and Toulouse territories.
(Shane r) One of the foundations for Henry's centralized government system was actually handed down from king Henry I, the Curia Regis. These smaller king's councils, otherwise known as exchequer courts, would be charged with the upkeep and maintenance of the kings financial system (Amt, 53). This system soon began to generate and spin off different associate factions, and judicial matters began to come under the influence of these exchequer boards. Henry also instituted a centralized court at Westminster, where five barons permanently presided to handle judicial business. This court became know as the ' Court of Common Pleas' (Amt 54). Henry also furthered his ideal of centralization by imposing a scutage tax, or ' Shield Money' tax.
By doing this Henry was able to hire mercenaries to act as his soldiers, thereby eliminating the bonds of loyalty that knights would have to their lieges. Henry also sought to remove baronial power from the collection of taxes (Everard, 87). He appointed sheriffs to take over tax collection from the barons, and in doing so achieved a much more effective method of collecting taxes, as well as removing most of the barons from the financial system of taxation. There would be other methods of taxation, such as the 1/10th tax in 1188. This tax was placed upon Saladin to gather monies for the crusades against the Mohammedans in Jerusalem. The tax required that "Every one shall give in alms for this year's aid of the land of Jerusalem a tenth of his rents and moveables.
' (Amt 54) Henry would also reinstate the fyrd, or national army, in 1181. This assize of arms stated that every man who had the fee of a knight would have to outfit himself as such and be prepared to fight. in doing this, Henry had built him self a sizable fighting force, all loyal to the king, making England relatively safe from invasion. Three important things occurred during his reign. The first one is the relationship between Henry and Thomas Becket. The second thing is the achievements he had done to help England become a strong and powerful country. The third important thing in his reign is how he altered the financial system, to take power away from the barons, and using taxes to help him build a fighting force, to keep England from being invaded.