The Anarchy was a civil war in England and Normandy between 1135 and 1154, which resulted in a widespread breakdown in law and order. The conflict began with a succession crisis towards the end of the reign of Henry I, when the king's only legitimate son, William Adelin, died aboard the White Ship in 1120.

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dbo:abstract
  • The Anarchy was a civil war in England and Normandy between 1135 and 1154, which resulted in a widespread breakdown in law and order. The conflict began with a succession crisis towards the end of the reign of Henry I, when the king's only legitimate son, William Adelin, died aboard the White Ship in 1120. Henry's attempts to install his daughter, the Empress Matilda, as his successor were unsuccessful and on Henry's death in 1135, his nephew Stephen of Blois seized the throne with the help of his brother, Henry, bishop of Winchester. Stephen's early reign was marked by fierce fighting with English barons, rebellious Welsh leaders and Scottish invaders. Following a major rebellion in the south-west of England, Matilda invaded in 1139 with the help of her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester.Neither side was able to achieve a decisive advantage during the first years of the war; the Empress came to control the south-west of England and much of the Thames Valley, while Stephen remained in control of the south-east. The castles of the period were easily defensible, and much of the fighting was attritional in character, comprising sieges, raiding and skirmishing between armies of knights and footsoldiers, many of them mercenaries. In 1141 Stephen was captured following the battle of Lincoln, causing a collapse in his authority over most of the country. However, on the verge of being crowned queen, Empress Matilda was forced to retreat from London by hostile crowds; shortly afterwards, Robert of Gloucester was captured at the rout of Winchester and the two sides agreed to swap their respective captives. Stephen then almost seized Matilda in 1142 during the siege of Oxford, but the Empress escaped from Oxford Castle across the frozen River Thames to safety.The war dragged on for many more years. Empress Matilda's husband, Geoffrey of Anjou, successfully conquered Normandy, but in England neither side could achieve victory. Rebel barons began to acquire ever greater power in northern England and in East Anglia, with widespread devastation in the regions of major fighting. In 1148 the Empress returned to Normandy, leaving the campaigning in England to her young son, Henry FitzEmpress. Stephen unsuccessfully attempted to have his own son, Eustace, recognised by the Church as the next king of England. By the early 1150s the barons and the Church mostly wanted a long-term peace.When Henry FitzEmpress re-invaded England in 1153, neither faction's forces were keen to fight. After limited campaigning and the siege of Wallingford, Stephen and Henry agreed a negotiated peace, the Treaty of Winchester, in which Stephen recognised Henry as his heir. Stephen died the next year and Henry ascended the throne as Henry II, the first Angevin king of England, beginning a long period of reconstruction. Chroniclers described the period as one in which "Christ and his saints were asleep" and Victorian historians called the conflict "the Anarchy" because of the chaos, although modern historians have questioned the accuracy of the term and of some contemporary accounts. (en)
  • The Anarchy was a civil war in England and Normandy between 1135 and 1154, which resulted in a widespread breakdown in law and order. The conflict was a succession crisis precipitated by the accidental death of William Adelin, the only legitimate son of Henry I, in 1120. Henry's attempts to install his daughter, the Empress Matilda, as his successor were unsuccessful and on Henry's death in 1135, his nephew Stephen of Blois seized the throne with the help of another nephew, Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester. Stephen's early reign was marked by fierce fighting with English barons, rebellious Welsh leaders and Scottish invaders. Following a major rebellion in the south-west of England, Matilda invaded in 1139 with the help of her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester.Neither side was able to achieve a decisive advantage during the first years of the war; the Empress came to control the south-west of England and much of the Thames Valley, while Stephen remained in control of the south-east. The castles of the period were easily defensible, and much of the fighting was attritional in character, comprising sieges, raiding and skirmishing between armies of knights and footsoldiers, many of them mercenaries. In 1141 Stephen was captured following the battle of Lincoln, causing a collapse in his authority over most of the country. However, on the verge of being crowned queen, Empress Matilda was forced to retreat from London by hostile crowds; shortly afterwards, Robert of Gloucester was captured at the rout of Winchester and the two sides agreed to swap their respective captives. Stephen then almost seized Matilda in 1142 during the siege of Oxford, but the Empress escaped from Oxford Castle across the frozen River Thames to safety.The war dragged on for many more years. Empress Matilda's husband, Geoffrey V of Anjou, conquered Normandy, but in England neither side could achieve victory. Rebel barons began to acquire ever greater power in northern England and in East Anglia, with widespread devastation in the regions of major fighting. In 1148 the Empress returned to Normandy, leaving the campaigning in England to her young son, Henry FitzEmpress. Stephen unsuccessfully attempted to have his own son, Eustace, recognised by the Church as the next king of England. By the early 1150s the barons and the Church mostly wanted a long-term peace.When Henry FitzEmpress re-invaded England in 1153, neither faction's forces were keen to fight. After limited campaigning and the siege of Wallingford, Stephen and Henry agreed a negotiated peace, the Treaty of Winchester, in which Stephen recognised Henry as his heir. Stephen died the next year and Henry ascended the throne as Henry II, the first Angevin king of England, beginning a long period of reconstruction. Chroniclers described the period as one in which "Christ and his saints were asleep" and Victorian historians called the conflict "the Anarchy" because of the chaos, although modern historians have questioned the accuracy of the term and of some contemporary accounts. (en)
  • The Anarchy was a civil war in England and Normandy between 1135 and 1153, which resulted in a widespread breakdown in law and order. The conflict was a succession crisis precipitated by the accidental death of William Adelin, the only legitimate son of Henry I, in a shipwreck in 1120. Henry's attempts to install his daughter, the Empress Matilda, as his successor were unsuccessful and on Henry's death in 1135, his nephew Stephen of Blois seized the throne with the help of Stephen's brother, Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester. Stephen's early reign was marked by fierce fighting with English barons, rebellious Welsh leaders and Scottish invaders. Following a major rebellion in the south-west of England, Matilda invaded in 1139 with the help of her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester.Neither side was able to achieve a decisive advantage during the first years of the war; the Empress came to control the south-west of England and much of the Thames Valley, while Stephen remained in control of the south-east. The castles of the period were easily defensible, and much of the fighting was attritional in character, comprising sieges, raiding and skirmishing between armies of knights and footsoldiers, many of them mercenaries. In 1141 Stephen was captured following the Battle of Lincoln, causing a collapse in his authority over most of the country. However, on the verge of being crowned queen, Empress Matilda was forced to retreat from London by hostile crowds; shortly afterwards, Robert of Gloucester was captured at the rout of Winchester and the two sides agreed to swap their respective captives. Stephen then almost seized Matilda in 1142 during the siege of Oxford, but the Empress escaped from Oxford Castle across the frozen River Thames to safety.The war dragged on for many more years. Empress Matilda's husband, Geoffrey V of Anjou, conquered Normandy, but in England neither side could achieve victory. Rebel barons began to acquire ever greater power in northern England and in East Anglia, with widespread devastation in the regions of major fighting. In 1148 the Empress returned to Normandy, leaving the campaigning in England to her young son, Henry FitzEmpress. Stephen unsuccessfully attempted to have his own son, Eustace, recognised by the Church as the next king of England. By the early 1150s the barons and the Church mostly wanted a long-term peace.When Henry FitzEmpress re-invaded England in 1153, neither faction's forces were keen to fight. After limited campaigning and the siege of Wallingford, Stephen and Henry agreed a negotiated peace, the Treaty of Winchester, in which Stephen recognised Henry as his heir. Stephen died the next year and Henry ascended the throne as Henry II, the first Angevin king of England, beginning a long period of reconstruction. Chroniclers described the period as one in which "Christ and his saints were asleep" and Victorian historians called the conflict "the Anarchy" because of the chaos, although modern historians have questioned the accuracy of the term and of some contemporary accounts. (en)
dbo:combatant
  • Forces loyal toEmpress Matilda&Henry Plantagenet
  • Forces loyal toStephen of Blois
dbo:commander
dbo:date
  • 1135-12-22 (xsd:date)
dbo:place
dbo:result
  • Treaty of Wallingford: Stephen remains king, but with Henry as designated heir
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  • 2018-05-07 09:40:45Z (xsd:date)
  • 2019-03-31 05:24:27Z (xsd:date)
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  • 2018-04-13 04:07:25Z (xsd:date)
  • 2019-03-31 05:17:24Z (xsd:date)
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dbp:caption
  • Near contemporary illustration of the Battle of Lincoln; Stephen listens to Baldwin of Clare orating a battle speech (en)
dbp:combatant
  • Forces loyal to Stephen of Blois (en)
  • Forces loyal to Empress Matilda & Henry Plantagenet (en)
dbp:commander
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  • The Anarchy (en)
dbp:date
  • --12-22
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  • England and Normandy (en)
dbp:result
  • Treaty of Wallingford: Stephen remains King, but Henry Plantagenet will succeed him (en)
  • Treaty of Wallingford: Stephen remains king, but with Henry as designated heir (en)
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  • The Anarchy was a civil war in England and Normandy between 1135 and 1154, which resulted in a widespread breakdown in law and order. The conflict began with a succession crisis towards the end of the reign of Henry I, when the king's only legitimate son, William Adelin, died aboard the White Ship in 1120. (en)
  • The Anarchy was a civil war in England and Normandy between 1135 and 1153, which resulted in a widespread breakdown in law and order. The conflict was a succession crisis precipitated by the accidental death of William Adelin, the only legitimate son of Henry I, in a shipwreck in 1120. (en)
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  • The Anarchy (en)
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  • The Anarchy (en)
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