Edward III. A.D. 1327—1377.
For about three years, the cruel Queen Isabel and her friends managed all the country; but as soon as her son—Edward III., who had been crowned instead of his father—understood how wicked she had been, and was strong enough to deal with her party, he made them prisoners, put the worst of them to death, and kept the queen shut up in a castle as long as she lived. He had a very good queen of his own, named Phillipa, who brought cloth-workers over from he own country Hainault (now part of Belgium), to teach the English their trade, and thus began to render England the chief country in the world for wool and cloth.
Queen Isabel, Edward’s mother, had, you remember, been daughter of the King of France. All her three brothers died without leaving a son, and their cousin, whose name was Philip, began to reign in their stead. Edward, however, fancied that the crown of France properly belonged to him, in right of his mother; but he did not stir about it at once, and, perhaps, never would have done so at all, but for two things. One was, that the King of France, Philip VI., had been so foolish as to fancy that one of his lords, named Robert of Artois, had been bewitching him—by sticking pins into a wax figure and roasting it before the fire. So this Robert was driven out of France and, coming to England, stirred Edward up to go and overthrow Philip. The other was, that the English barons had grown so restless and troublesome, that they would not stay peacefully at home and mind their own estate;—but if they had not wars abroad, they always gave the king trouble at home; and Edward liked better that they should fight for him than against him. So he called himself King of France and England, and began a war which lasted—with short space of quiet— for full one hundred years, and only ended in the time of the great grandchildren of the men who entered upon it. There was one great sea-fight off Sluys, when the king sat in his ship, in a black velvet dress, and gained a great victory; but it was a good while before there was any great battle by land—so long, that the king’s eldest son, Edward Prince of Wales, was sixteen years old. He is generally called the Black Prince—no one quite knows why, for his hair, like that of all these old English kings, was quite light and his eyes were blue. He was such a spirited young soldier, that when the French army under King Philip came in sight of the English one, near the village of Crecy, King Edward said he should have the honor of the day, and stood under a windmill on a his watching the fight, while the prince led the English army. He gained a very great victory, and in the evening came and knelt before his father, saying the praise was not his own but the king’s, who had ordered all so wisely. Afterwards, while Philip had fled away, Edward besieged Calais, the town just opposite to Dover. The