Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Question from Nedra - Edward I

Not exactly Tudor related, but I thought I would ask:

Why was Edward 'Longshanks' numbered as 'Edward I'? Shouldn't he be 'Edward II' as there was Edward the Confessor before him?

And why wasn't Edward the Confessor numbered?

[Ed note - Normally I shy away from posting questions too far removed from the Tudor period, but the second part ties in to our recent "numbering" discussion. And the submitter didn't leave an email address, so I couldn't respond directly.]

Related thread: http://tudorhistory.org/queryblog/2008/10/question-from-kelly-numbering-of-future.html

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

English royal history is divided into pre- and post-Norman Conquest. Many of the pre-Conquest monarchs bearing the same name as a predecessor became known to history by nicknames (Edmund the Magnificent or Ironsides; Edward the Elder, the Martyr, and the Confessor ... which makes Edward Longshanks the 4th King Edward).

England before the Conquest was never a unified kingdom for more than one or two generations and it was ruled in part or in whole by a relatively rapid succession of dynasties that were both native and non-native. Monarchs of the pre-Conquest period are therefore not incorporated into the modern, post-Conquest regnal numbering system.

After the Conquest of 1066, the Norman dynasty was able to establish and to maintain real political power over the entire realm of England, and to pass that power on peacefully to successive generations (with the obvious exception of the intra-dynastic conflict between Stephen and Matilda early in the 12th century). No non-native dynasty has gained the English throne by any but legal, peaceful means since 1066 (the Hanoverians in 1714).

Thus the monarchs of the turbulent pre-Conquest period of regional kings and competing dynasties are known by nicknames, while the monarchs of the comparatively (but not entirely) stable post-Conquest period are known by regnal numbers.

Too, regnal numbering was apparently a French idea introduced to England after William the Conqueror.