A True History of The Isles Part 20- The England Has Its First Henry. Scotland an Edgar, an Alexander and a David.

As it will be recalled from the previous seminar King William The II had died from a quite explainable hunting accident very neatly in the year 1100 and by very good happenstance (God Be Praised) his young brother Henry just happened to be around at the time to take charge. His claim being based on the fact that his father William (the I, Conqueror etc) had been a king when he was born, while only a baron when elder brother Robert arrived. Robert thought this too picky by half, but before he could raise an army, and bribe barons Henry had been crowned and bribed the barons and thus was The I which allowed him to imprison those who wanted bigger bribes or preferred a Robert to be king.. In addition, Henry had the advantage of being able to read and also write legibly, which meant he could produce his own proclamations quickly and not have to wait around from a monk to turn up.

With this attended to, he then married Matilda daughter of Malcolm The III who had been a king of Scotland and to re-cap had died of a severe case of vengeful Norman barons in 1093. Henry wished to show this had nothing to do with him. And initially had no cause to upset the Scots whose king was Edgar (The Only) who cleverly remained obscure, his only mistake in this policy being to succumb to a fit of generosity brought on by a case of Crusades, during which he gave a king of Ireland a camel; this doesn’t seemed to have any impact of Irish politics at the time.

Initially as was the customs of those times Henry had a lot of trouble with his brother Robert, who understandably felt he should be king. At first Henry paid him money to shut up, but Robert ravaged parts of Normandy that were not his, obliging Henry to go and unravage his bits and ravage those that belonged to Robert. Eventually Robert got the point, and behaved. Henry then showed his generosity of spirit by only arresting and persecuting those who had supported Robert and not Robert himself.

Civil Administration under Henry

Henry surprised and upset a lot of the nobility by telling them they had to obey the law and this included not pillaging villages when they felt like. However, as Henry was cunning, ruthless and able there was not a lot they could do about it. He also punished folk who had been doing things he thought illegal; as he could read and write and find obscure bits of law to prove he was right there was little most of them could do to argue against this. Not trusting the nobility, he brought in a large number of ‘new men’. While the established barons were trying work out what was new about the new men they took control on Henry’s behalf.

The Church and Henry

Although Henry donated much to the abbeys, monasteries etc and had a spiritual side to his nature, as was common in those times he did not care for bishops and archbishops who insisted the pope was more important than he was. After a great deal of arguments, exiles, prisons etc the clergy and Henry agreed: He could not appoint Bishops, Archbishops etc and leave nuns alone (see Personal Life). The Bishops, Archbishops etc should turn up every so often and agree that he was the King of England (and the nuns were to stay away).


During Henry’s reign Wars with French Kings were invented, initially because of Normandy, Brittany, Anjou, Aquitaine etc, but also because of the Holy Roman Emperor who was German and thought Popes were far too intrusive; this was the forerunner of international politics, Henry imposed his authority by having his daughter Matilda married to one of the emperors, and so show her show at social gatherings as ‘My Daughter The Empress’ (Until such times as she would naturally go to war with him)

Wales and Scotland.

At this time because of his literacy, ruthlessness, cunning and scots brothers-in-law (Alexander and David) Henry wrote up an argument which proved conclusively that he was the top king in not only England (full of Anglo-Saxons and thus in need firm leadership) but also Scotland (by marriage) and Wales. The latter because the various kings of Wales were being nuisances, insisting they were independent so and could raid across the border whenever they felt like. Henry gathered one or two armies and with the aid of the Scottish King Alexander invaded Wales so much that all the welsh kings and princes were obliged to see Henry’s point of view. Henry then built some more castles to make sure they didn’t forget.

In Scotland, in keeping with Henry’s trend Alexander was the first Scottish king to be an Alexander and although he had a brother David and they disputed over land oddly enough he did not go to war with David. This might have been because both men were very pious or because of Vikings who would not go back home, and because Alexander was often obliged to make war on folk from the Islands (as opposed to The Highlands), which he did with much ferocity. This done, he then died to make way for brother David. David who had had a very exciting childhood fleeing from relatives, Vikings, rivals etc continued with his brother’s business of sorting out the folk from The Isles, any difficult relatives and Vikings who were still hanging about the place. He was astute enough to be on good terms with Henry, who was willing to overlook the odd cattle raid, minor incursion etc. David in keeping with his brother’s habits also continued to be pious and only slaughtered folk in the correct manner and with good cause, which as he was king meant he was perfectly positioned to decide what was a good cause.

Back to Henry-Personal Life

Although apparently quite fond of Matilda (wife-Scottish), Henry also had voracious appetites, as these particular appetites involved women the Church could only disapprove and not condemn. Had Henry concentrated his appetites upon Matilda (the wife-Scottish) he might not have ended up with only two legitimate children, Matilda (the daughter and now empress) and William (intended to be the III). All would have gone well had not in 1120 William and some others not been travelling back to England from Normandy on The White Ship. Accounts here differ, some say everyone on board was drunk, others say it was only the helmsman and that Williams and friends tried save the ship and then William being very noble tried to save an illegitimate half-sister. Whatever, everyone drowned. Henry was distraught. At not having a legitimate heir. As Matilda, had died in 1118 he married Adeliza of Louvain who being younger by 35 years might have been able to bear him sons. She didn’t but did promote the arts.

Henry meanwhile was obliged to go campaigning against various Normans and as befitted a family tradition other relatives, to bolster up his strength he ate more than the medically safe number of eels and in consequence died. This may also have been a result of other but less interesting appetites.

This event threw England and some parts of Normandy into a state of confusion as to who should be king next and also how many eels you could safely eat. The ramifications of which we shall discuss in the next seminar.

The succession that is, not the eels, The latter remains a topic of controversy to this day.


A True History of The Isles Part 19- William the II (The Man who should have been Rufus the I)

A True History of The Isles Part 18- The Rule of William The Conqueror (and also The I)

A True History of These Isles-Introduction and Part 1



19 thoughts on “A True History of The Isles Part 20- The England Has Its First Henry. Scotland an Edgar, an Alexander and a David.

  1. More historical, or is that hysterical, chuckles. Now I’m left with a conundrum: shouldn’t a succession always be successful? I mean, you have an ion following success. Does accession necessarily follow succession, meaning, does an ion have to have success before access, or is it vice-versa? And shouldn’t “ion” have an “L” in front of it? As in, “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” and all that.
    Thankfully I don’t need to engage the eel debate, I’m vegetarian. Every time such an issue comes up, I raise my hands in front of my face, make the sign of the cross with my forefingers and declare: “I’m vegetarian!” I know, it’s a cowardly way to slip away from serious debates, but that’s me. Eels… the only eels I like are the ones with “haiches.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Morning Sha’Tara (8:45am UK time)
      Whereas I am omnivorous (wow I spelt it right!) I draw the line at eels.
      Your eel preference definitely at LOL interlude!
      I think I can help you with Succession- In Europe up until the 20th century it was a fact that a Succession was never successful because some didn’t think it was the right succession. Hence there were lots of the wars over successful succession to make sure they were unsuccessful and often there were a succession of wars over successions. This reached its fashionable height in the early to mid 18th Century. The War of the Spanish Succession proved so popular there was one in Bavaria, one in Poland and one in Austria, but the latter was so expensive they fell out of fashion (there was the footling matter of 800,000 lives but they were mostly common people so they didn’t count).
      I hope my explanation was ….errr…successful???


  2. That’s one hell of a succession, just to find out later nobody won? Sounds a lot like what we’re going through these days. The only difference I see is, instead of a war for, or of, we now have a war on (fill in the blanks). Goethe once said, ““We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe”. How true. It seems that the only time the critters are jubilant is when there is a war on, doesn’t matter what against, or for, or of, or on, as long as it’s a war. War of succession (now out of favour); cold war (now being re-ignited, though how you ignite something cold…?) war on poverty (also out of favour lately); war on drugs (highly successful for the drug trade); war on terror (also highly successful for the terrorist trade); war of propaganda (pretty much always popular); resource wars (should never be fought under its true name); war on illiteracy (currently being fought in reverse) and so on. We just love the word: it’s so destructive and murderous sounding; so human. “Let’s make war” collectively is more popular than “Let’s make love” is individually. “Why do we cheer at destruction and yawn at creation?” (from the movie, Holy Man)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. War is much more entertaining, evocative, thrilling and stirring and noble……just so long as you are not in the front line at war and finding out how messy the human body can get when struck by hard objects or how the war does not stop for those who have been there.


      1. …or what happens to non-combattants in the line of fire when the war takes place on their lands, or in their cities. War is the ultimate crime. That it isn’t declared a crime only demonstrates how mentally and spiritually defective, how morally bankrupt, the Earthian creatures remain. That they refuse to evolve beyond this point demonstrates that they choose to eventually destroy themselves by destroying their environment. But choice is always an option, even if a day comes when there remains but a few thousands of the creatures roaming the earth as outcast animals, barely able to survive. Even then a dove will fly in the skies bearing an olive branch and if they remember to look up, they will see it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I thought of you while watching a TV show that highlighted food in London. Though they didn’t mention eels, they did mention mushy peas and chips on white bread.
    It’s so much fun to learn about the culture, history and people from other countries🙏🏾

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Glad to read you’re ok Gwin…
        Us pair aren’t much for cooking beyond the basics, we work more with snacks; like the old UK West-Midlands treat of two slices of white bread, then butter, a layer of jam-normally strawberry, and then some slices of cheese-usually one of the plain types. Was often my lunch-time meal back in my working days.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well you just gave me a BIG idea:

        “Lady J, guess what we’re having for lunch in honor of our friend Roger?”

        That actually sounds delicious! I am going to try it!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hey Roger 🙂
        I’m glad you suggested black currant jam because I don’t like strawberries and I was thinking about a good alternative!
        I will surely let you know what I think 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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