Constitutions of Clarendon(1164)
The twelfth century was a tumultuous time in England. Controversies surrounding the succession to the throne threw the country into a long civil war. Henry I died in 1135, leaving one legitimate daughter and heir, Matilda, and several illegitimate children. Matilda was quickly dismissed as Henry I's successor: She was married to Geoffrey of Anjou, a region in France, whose family was regarded as traditional enemies of the Normans, who had ruled England for a hundred years, so England's relationship with the rulers of France was strained. Also, ruling queens were rare at this time. Instead, Stephen, Henry I's nephew and a descendant of William the Conqueror, was chosen to rule. Matilda, though, had a large following of supporters and was able to contest Stephen's ascendance to the throne. The result was a civil war that would eventually see Stephen recognized as the legitimate ruler. Matilda relinquished her claim to the throne on the condition that Stephen would name...
Henry II (New York Public Library)View Full Size