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King Edward III (1327 - 1377)

Name: King Edward III
Born: November 13, 1312 at Windsor Castle
Parents: Edward II and Isabella of France
Relation to Charles III: 18th great-grandfather
House of: Plantagenet
Ascended to the throne: January 25, 1327 aged 14 years
Crowned: January 29, 1327 at Westminster Abbey
Married: Philippa, Daughter of Count of Hainault
Children: Seven sons and five daughters, plus at least 3 illegitimate (by Alice Perrers)
Died: June 21, 1377 at Sheen Palace, Surrey, aged 64 years, 7 months, and 6 days
Buried at: Westminster Abbey
Reigned for: 50 years, 4 months, 25 days
Succeeded by: his grandson Richard II

King of England from 1327, son of Edward II. He assumed the government in 1330 from his mother, through whom in 1337 he laid claim to the French throne and thus began the Hundred Years' War. Edward was the victor of Halidon Hill in 1333, Sluys in 1340, Crécy in 1346, and at the siege of Calais 1346–47, and created the Order of the Garter. He was succeeded by his grandson Richard II.

Edward's early experience was against the Scots, including the disastrous Weardale campaign in 1327. Forcing them to battle outside Berwick at Halidon Hill he used a combination of dismounted men-at-arms and archers to crush the Scots. Apart from the naval victory of Sluys his initial campaigns against France were expensive and inconclusive. Resorting to chevauchée (raids through enemy territory), he scored a stunning victory at Crécy, which delivered the crucial bridgehead of Calais into English hands. Due to the brilliant success of his son Edward of Woodstock (Edward the Black Prince) at Poitiers in 1356, and later campaigns, Edward achieved the favourable Treaty of Brétigny in 1360. He gave up personal command in the latter part of his reign. An inspiring leader, his Order of the Garter was a chivalric club designed to bind his military nobility to him, and was widely imitated.

Edward improved the status of the monarchy after his father's chaotic reign. He began by attempting to force his rule on Scotland, winning a victory at Halidon Hill in 1333. During the first stage of the Hundred Years' War, English victories included the Battle of Crécy in 1346 and the capture of Calais in 1347. In 1360 Edward surrendered his claim to the French throne, but the war resumed in 1369. During his last years his son John of Gaunt acted as head of government.

Timeline for King Edward III

Year Event
1327Edward III accedes to the throne after his father, Edward II, is formally deposed.
1328Edward marries Phillipa of Hanault
1329Edward recognizes Scotland as an independent nation
1330Edward takes power after three years of government by his mother, Isabella of France, and her lover, Roger Mortimer. He imprisons his mother for the rest of her life.
1332Parliament is divided into two houses, Lords and Commons. English becomes the court language replacing Norman French.
1333Defeat of Scottish army at Halidon Hill.
1337French King Philip VI annexes the English King's Duchy of Aquitaine. Edward III responds by laying claim to the French crown as a grandson of Philip IV though his mother Isabella. This results in the 100 Years’ War with France.
1344Edward establishes the Order of the Garter
1346David II of Scotland invades England but is defeated at Neville’s Cross and captured.
1346French defeated at the Battle of Crecy.
1347Edward besieges and captures Calais.
1348-1350 The Black Death, bubonic plague which caused the skin to turn black, kills one-third of the English population. It leaves an acute shortage of labour for agriculture and armies.
1356Black Prince defeats the French at Poitiers capturing King John II of France who is held prisoner for four years. Most of South Western France is now held by the English.
1357David II of Scotland is released from captivity and returns home to Scotland.
1360King John II of France is released on promise of payment of a ransom and leaving his son Louis of Anjou in English-held Calais as hostage.
1364Louis escapes and John unable to pay the ransom returns to England where he dies.
1367England and France support rival sides in the civil war in Castille
1369War breaks out again as the French take back Aquitaine.
1370Edward, The Black Prince, sacks Limoges massacring 3,000 people.
1372French troops recapture Poitou and Brittany. Naval Battle at La Rochelle.
1373John of Gaunt leads an invasion of France taking his army to the borders of Burgundy.
1373John of Gaunt returns to England and takes charge of government. Edward and his son are ill.
1375Treaty of Bruges. English possessions in France are reduced to the areas of Bordeaux and Calais.
1376Parliament gains right to investigate public abuses and impeach offenders; the first impeachment is of Alice Perrers, Edward’s mistress, and two lords.
1376Death of Edward, the Black Prince.
1377Edward III dies of a stroke at Sheen Palace, Surrey, aged 64 years