Henry II of England

English king

Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle, was King of England from 1154 until his death in 1189. During his reign he controlled England, substantial parts of Wales and Ireland, and much of France (including Normandy, Aquitaine and Anjou), an area that altogether was later called the Angevin Empire, and also held power over Scotland and the Duchy of Brittany.


  • Laymen ought not to be accused save by dependable and lawful accusers and witnesses in the presence of the bishop, yet so that the archdeacon lose not his right or anything which he ought to have thence. And if there should be those who are deemed culpable, but whom no one wishes or dares to accuse, the sheriff, upon the bishop's request, shall cause twelve lawful men of the neighbourhood or the vill to take oath before the bishop that they will show the truth of the matter according to their conscience.
  • And let all the sheriffs make a list of all fugitives who have fled from their counties; and let them do this before the county courts, and they shall bring the names of these men in writing before the justices when first they come to them, in order that they may be sought throughout all England and their chattels seized for the benefit of the king.
    • Assize of Clarendon, § 18. Made by King Henry with the assent of clergy and nobility in 1166. Latin text in: William Stubbs, Select Charters, 9th ed. (1913), pp. 170–173. Translation in: A. B. White; W. Notestein, Source Problems in English History (1915), Appendix, III
  • What miserable drones and traitors have I nurtured and promoted in my household who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric!
    • Edward Grim, who was present at Thomas Becket's murder and subsequently wrote the Vita S. Thomae ("Life of St. Thomas") in about 1180. Quoted by Frank Barlow, Thomas Becket (University of California Press, 1986) p. 235. See also:
  • O wretched Man that I am, who shall deliver me from this turbulent Priest?
    • Robert Dodsley, Chronicle of the Kings of England (1740)
    • Cf. Romans 7:24: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
  • [He said] that he was very unfortunate to have maintained so many cowardly and ungrateful men in his court, none of whom would revenge him of the injuries he sustained from one turbulent priest.
  • O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this turbulent priest?
    • The Chronicle of the Kings of England (1821); expanded in footnote: "Shall this fellow, who came to court on a lame horse, with all his estate on a wallet behind him, trample on the King, the royal family, and the whole kingdom. Will none of all these lazy insignificant persons, whom I maintain, deliver me from this turbulent priest?"


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