The Art of Kingship: Edward I

In the most critical year of Edward I's reign, 1297, one William of Gloucester went to a London tavern and declared, no doubt drunkenly, that the King's head should be impaled on a pike and set on the Tower alongside that of Prince Llywelyn of Wales. William was so badly beaten up by a group of Londoners for saying this that he died of his injuries. Opinions about Edward I were strongly divided, and have remained divided ever since. Some historians have seen him as a great constitutional ruler, others as an autocrat barely kept in check. The English Justinian has been seen as a man given to wilful abuse of legal process. The 'flower of chivalry' has been condemned for such essentially unchivalrous actions as imprisoning Scottish ladies in cages hung on the walls of Berwick and Roxburgh castles.

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