The Anarchy of King Stephen's Reign
The reign of King Stephen (1135-54) is famous as a period of weak government, as Stephen and his rival the Empress Matilda contended for power. This is a study of medieval kingship at its most vulnerable. It also shows how individuals and institutions enabled the monarchy to survive. A contemporary chronicler described the reign as "nineteen long winters in which Christ and his saints were asleep". Historians today refer to it simply as 'the Anarchy'. The weakness of government was the result of a disputed succession. Stephen lost control over Normandy, the Welsh marches, and much of the North. Contemporaries noted as signs of weakness the tyranny of the lords of castles, and the break-down of coinage. Stephen remained king for his lifetime, but leading churchmen and laymen negotiated a settlement whereby the crown passed to the Empress's son the future Henry II. This volume by leading scholars gives an original and up-to-date analysis of these major themes, and explains how the English monarchy was able to survive the Anarchy of King Stephen's reign.
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Abbey anarchy Angevin Anglo-Norman Anglo-Norman World Anjou barons battle Beaumont Twins bishop Blois Bristol Carlisle castle charter Chibnall Chronicle Church Cistercian coinage coins confirmed Conquest count Crouch David Davis Domesday duke earl of Chester Earl Robert earldom early empress England English Essex Eustace exchequer fitz John Geoffrey de Mandeville Gesta Stephani Gilbert grant Gruffudd Gwynedd Henry II Henry of Huntingdon Henry's Hereford hoard Hollister homage honour houses Hugh Ibid issues King Henry King Stephen king's lands Leicester Lincoln London lords lordship Mack magnates Marcher Matilda Medieval Meulan Midlands Miles of Gloucester mints moneyers monks Norman Normandy obverse Owain Oxford pipe rolls R. H. C. Davis Ranulf Richard Robert of Gloucester Robert of Torigny Roger of Salisbury Rouen royal RRAN RRANiii Scotland Scots Scottish Seaby settlement sheriffs shires Stenton Stephen's reign STIEFNE Theobald tion treaty Waleran Wales Welsh Westminster William of Malmesbury Worcester writs Yorkshire