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

A Race

As Henry III. governed so badly, twenty-four barons were chosen to rule in his name; but as Simon de Montfort was by far the most powerful among them, he exercised all the authority. Although Henry had promised to abide by the decisions of the twenty-four barons, he soon failed to do so; and, supported by some of the noblemen who were jealous of Montfort, he collected an army and made war against this powerful subject. But in the battle of Lewes (1264) Montfort defeated the royal troops and took Henry III. and his son Prince Edward prisoners. Then, hoping to win some more support, Montfort called a new Parliament, to which he admitted two knights from each county, two burghers from each city, and two men from each borough, or village of ten families. The new members of Parliament sat with the bishops and nobles, but later on they had an assembly of their own, which was called the House of Commons. Still, in 1265 the first real Parliament sat in England, and decided to meet three times a year, whether called by the king or not, to discuss the affairs of the realm.

The king's party, however, were not pleased with this new arrangement, so they began to plot against Simon de Montfort. One day when Prince Edward was out riding with some of the noblemen who kept guard over him, he made them ride races with one another until their horses were tired out. His own horse was still quite fresh, and when a single horseman appeared at the top of the hill and signalled to him, he drove his spurs into his steed and rode rapidly away, crying, "Farewell, gentlemen; I have enjoyed the pleasure of your company long enough."

The guards, of course, tried to overtake the runaway prince; but before their tired steeds had gone far, they saw him meet a troop of his friends and ride away with them. Many of the barons now went to join Prince Edward, who declared war against Montfort, although Montfort had forced Henry to issue a decree saying that any one who made war against him was a traitor.

The two armies met at Evesham in 1265, and the helpless king would have been slain in the fray had he not cried aloud: "Hold! I am Henry of Winchester, your king; don't kill me!" Prince Edward heard this cry of distress, and, rushing forward, rescued his father and brought him into a place of safety. But Simon de Montfort and his son were both slain in this battle.

Prince Edward now planned new warfare in the East. He joined the seventh and last crusade, and, like his great-uncle Richard, covered himself with glory by his brave deeds in Palestine. He was accompanied thither by his wife, Eleanor. She was as brave as he, and once, when he had been wounded by an assassin's poisoned dagger, she sucked the poison out of the wound at the risk of her life.

During the prince's absence Henry feebly tried to rule, until, finding death near, he finally sent a message to Palestine, to hasten his son's return. Henry had an inglorious reign of fifty-seven years, yet during that time there were grand changes in England: first, the beginning of the House of Commons, then the building of beautiful Gothic cathedrals by the Masons' Guild, and lastly the discovery of gunpowder and of reading-glasses, telescopes, and many other useful instruments, by a learned monk named Roger Bacon.

Because Bacon was so very much more learned than the rest of the people of his day, some of them foolishly accused him of being a magician, locked him up in prison for ten long, weary years, and deprived him of all his books and instruments. He is the author of Latin works on science, in which he set down all his wonderful discoveries.