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The Anglo-Norman Rebellion

Fought between the armies of Henry II and rebellious factions in Normandy, Brittany and England, the Anglo-Norman rebellion takes only a brief page in the volumes of middle ages history. Lasting approximately two years, Henry II battled against his own sons to maintain control of his kingdom.

His eldest three sons, Henry and Richard (later the Lionheart) and Geoffrey — spurred on by their mother Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Philip II Augustus of France — revolted against Henry in the provinces of Brittany and Normandy. The king of Scotland, William the Lion, also saw this rebellion as an opportunity to ally himself with a group of disgruntled English barons, and he invaded England from the north.

Henry II, nonetheless, proved his skill as a brilliant military tactician. He defeated his sons across the channel and crushed the invasion from Scotland. The rebels pleaded for a royal pardon from Henry, and the king gave it to them. He granted subsidies to his sons, but little else, and he released William the Lion from prison on the condition that Scotland would become a vassal of England. William agreed and received his freedom.


Phillips, Charles, and Alan Axelrod. “Anglo-Norman Rebellion.” Encyclopedia of Wars, vol. 1. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Ancient and Medieval History Online. Facts On File, Inc.
ItemID=WE49&iPin=EWAR0072&SingleRecord=True (accessed June 17, 2009).

Additional Reading:

Richard W. Barber, The Devil’s Crown: A History of Henry II and His Sons (Conshohocken, Pa.: Combined Books, 1977); Alison Weir, Eleanor of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England (London: Jonathon Cape, 1999).

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