Article

November 30, 2021

The Anarchy was a civil war in England and Normandy between 1135 and 1154, marked by a breakdown in law and order. The conflict arose because of the inheritance crisis at the end of Henry I's reign, when the king's only legitimate son William Adeline drowned in the White Shipwreck in 1120. Henry's attempts to appoint his daughter Matilda as his successor were unsuccessful, when after his death in 1135 his nephew Stephen of Blois took power with the help of his brother Henry of Winchester. The beginning of Stephen's reign was marked by fierce conflicts with English barons, rebellious Welsh leaders and Scottish invasions. After a great revolt in the south-west of England, Matilda invaded England with the help of her half-brother Robert of Gloucester. Neither side managed to gain a decisive advantage there in the first years of the war. Matilda controlled the southwest of England and the Thames Valley, while Stephen controlled the southeast. The castles of this period were easily defended and most of the fighting was exhausting in nature and included sieges, raids and skirmishes between armies of knights and infantry, many of whom were mercenaries. Stephen was captured in 1141 after the battle of Lincoln, which caused the collapse of his authority in much of the country. Matilda was expelled from London by a hostile mass before she could be crowned queen. Shortly afterwards, Robert was captured after the Battle of Winchester and the two sides agreed to exchange prisoners. Stephen nearly captured Matilda in 1142 during the siege of Oxford, but Matilda escaped from Oxford Castle to safety across the frozen Thames. The war continued for many more years. Matilith's husband Geoffroy of Anjou successfully conquered Normandy, but in England neither side could win. The rebellious barons began to gain even more power in northern England and the East of England, with great destruction in the areas of greater fighting. Matilda returned to Normandy in 1148, leaving her son Henry to wage war in England. Stephen failed to convince the church in England to recognize his son as the next king of England. By the early 1150s, the barons and the Church wanted a lasting peace. When Henry invaded England again in 1153, the armies of both countries

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