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Edward II: Lancaster and the Despensers

Edward tried to renew his father's campaigns against Scotland, but his forces were routed by Robert I at Bannockburn in 1314. General disorder followed in England, and for a while the most powerful man in the country was Edward's cousin, Thomas, earl of Lancaster (see Lancaster, house of ). Lancaster was supplanted (1318) by a moderate group of barons under Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke , who conciliated the king and maintained a relatively stable government until 1321. In that year, Lancaster led a rebellion against the king's new favorites, Hugh le Despenser (1262–1326) and his son. Lancaster was defeated and executed (1322). A Parliament at York (1322) revoked the Ordinances, and Edward, now dominated by the Despensers, regained control of the government. A truce was made (1323) with Robert I that virtually recognized him as king of the Scots. The Despensers carried through some notable administrative reforms, but their avarice caused them to make many enemies.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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