Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

Persecution of the Jews

The news that Henry III. was ill took some time to reach Prince Edward, who thereupon made immediate arrangements to return home with his beloved wife, Eleanor. But when they reached Sicily they met another messenger, who told them that their haste was unnecessary, as Henry had already breathed his last.

Hearing these tidings, Edward paused to rest awhile in Sicily; then, crossing over to France, he often stopped in the course of his journey to be entertained by the French noblemen. Wherever he went he was feasted and made much of, because the people knew he had fought like a true knight in Palestine.

When Edward came to Burgundy, he gladly accepted an invitation to take part in a tournament, or sham fight, in which he and a thousand of his knights were to test their skill against the Count of Chalons and an equal number of Burgundian knights. But when Edward came to the appointed place, he found that instead of a sham fight he and his followers would have to do battle if they would escape from the hands of the traitor. Dashing forward with his well-known courage, Edward called to his men to follow him, and, making good use of his great strength, he won a brilliant victory. This conflict is known in history as the Little Battle of Chalons.

Two years after Henry's death, for travelling was very slow in those days, Edward arrived in England, where he was received with loud cries of joy. At his coronation, which soon took place, the houses of London were hung with tapestry, the streets strewn with flowers, the fountains flowed with wine instead of water, oxen and sheep were roasted whole, and shows of all kinds and illuminations were given in his honour.

King Edward at once began to restore law and order in his kingdom. Hearing that some of the barons had taken unlawful possession of the land of their neighbours, he said that all those who could not show deeds for their estates should give them up. But when Edward asked one earl what instrument he could show to prove his claim to the land his family had occupied for many years, the nobleman proudly drew his sword and said: "This is the instrument by which my ancestors gained their estate, and by which I will keep it." This haughty answer showed Edward that it would be impossible to turn out the men who had held their estates a long time, so he changed the law.

Another thing that Edward did was to punish the people who had grown rich by "clipping the coin," or cutting off a little of the metal around each piece of gold or silver money. The money was also changed, and Edward said that pennies should no longer be cut into halves and quarters for halfpence and farthings, but that all coins, however small, should be round.

The Jews were very numerous in England in the beginning of Edward's reign. They did nearly all the trading and money-lending, and were very uncharitably hated by the Christians, who accused them of clipping the coin. Edward, who had been a crusader, fancied it was his duty to persecute all Jews; so, after ill-treating them for thirteen years, he suddenly bade them leave England, allowing them to take only their gold and jewels with them.

Sixteen thousand Jews were thus unjustly driven out of the kingdom. In their stead the Lombards began to trade and lend money, and one of the important streets in London is still known by their name, because so many of them used to dwell there.