Portrait of Britain: AD 1300
Bruce Campbell argues that a unique conjunction of human and environmental factors went into creating the crisis of the mid-14th century.
In 1258 a parliament held at Oxford – the first to include two representatives per county – imposed the so-called Provisions of Oxford on Henry III (r.1216-72) to curb his royal power. The same year, in Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffyd (r.1246-82) assumed the title of Prince of Wales and began to consolidate his power base in Gwynedd. Across the Irish Sea Brian Ó Neill of Tyrone was engaged in a similar enterprise: at Cáeluisce near Belleek he was given the ‘kingship of the Gaels of Ireland’ by Fedlimid Ó Conchobair and Tadg Ó Briain. Their confederation was the first co-ordinated Gaelic resistance to Anglo-Norman expansion. In Scotland, however, the young Alexander III (r.1249-86) would have to wait another three years before he assumed personal rule in 1262, whereupon one of his first and greatest achievements would be to negotiate the treaty of Perth with Magnus VI, king of Norway, thereby securing the Western Isles to Scotland.
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