THE LONG CROSS PENNIES OF HENRY III
Sometimes known as the "Voided Long Cross" pennies. Issued for Henry from 1247 to 1272. Here we detail the the pennies issued during the reign of Henry III; the series continued after his death and the posthumous coins of Edward I are covered elsewhere.
Henry III was King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Aquitaine from 1216 until his death. The son of King John & Isabella of Angoulême, Henry assumed the throne when he was only nine, in the middle of the First Barons' War. Henry's forces, led by William Marshal, defeated the rebels at the battles of Lincoln & Sandwich in 1217. Henry promised to abide by the Great Charter of 1225, which limited royal power and protected the rights of the major barons. His early rule was dominated first by Hubert de Burgh and then Peter des Roches, who re-established royal authority after the war. In 1230, the King failed to reconquer the provinces of France that had once belonged to his father. A revolt led by William Marshal's son, Richard Marshal, broke out in 1232, ending in a peace settlement negotiated by the Church.
Following the revolt, Henry ruled England personally, rather than governing through senior ministers. He married Eleanor of Provence, with whom he had five children. Henry was known for his piety, and was particularly devoted to the figure of Edward the Confessor, whom he adopted as his patron saint.
In a fresh attempt to reclaim his family's lands in France, he invaded Poitou in 1242, leading to the disastrous Battle of Taillebourg. After this, Henry relied on diplomacy, cultivating an alliance with Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. Henry supported his brother Richard of Cornwall in his bid to become King of the Romans in 1256, but was unable to place his own son Edmund Crouchback on the throne of Sicily.
By 1258, Henry's rule was increasingly unpopular, the result of the failure of his expensive foreign policies and the notoriety of his Poitevin half-brothers, the Lusignans, as well as the role of his local officials in collecting taxes and debts. A coalition of his barons seized power in a coup d'état and expelled the Poitevins from England, reforming the royal government through a process called the Provisions of Oxford. Henry and the baronial government enacted a peace with France in 1259, under which Henry gave up his rights to his other lands in France in return for King Louis IX recognising him as the rightful ruler of Gascony. The baronial regime collapsed but Henry was unable to reform a stable government and instability across England continued.
In 1263, one of the more radical barons, Simon de Montfort, seized power, resulting in the Second Barons' War. Henry persuaded Louis to support his cause and mobilised an army. The Battle of Lewes occurred in 1264, where Henry was defeated and taken prisoner. Henry's eldest son, Edward, escaped from captivity to defeat de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham the following year and freed his father. Henry initially enacted a harsh revenge on the remaining rebels, but was persuaded by the Church to mollify his policies through the Dictum of Kenilworth. Reconstruction was slow and Henry had to acquiesce to various measures, including further suppression of the Jews, to maintain baronial and popular support. Henry died in 1272, leaving Edward as his successor. (Wikipedia article).
Coronation of King Henry III.
| BNJ References
BNS Special publication #9, The Brussels Hoard of 1908. The Long Cross Coinage of Henry III, by Ron Churchill and Bob Thomas, 2012. Out of print.