Henry II of England

Date of reign: AD 1154-AD 1189

View all coins recorded by the scheme attributed to Henry II of England.

Wikipedia derived information

Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle, Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Nantes, King of England (1154–89) and Lord of Ireland; at various times, he also controlled Wales, Scotland and Brittany.

Henry was the son of Geoffrey of Anjou and Matilda, who was the daughter of King Henry I and took the title of Empress from her first marriage. He became actively involved by the age of 14 in his mother's efforts to claim the throne of England, and was made the Duke of Normandy at 17. He inherited Anjou in 1151 and shortly afterwards married Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to the French king Louis VII had recently been annulled.

King Stephen agreed to a peace treaty after Henry's military expedition to England in 1153, and Henry inherited the kingdom on Stephen's death a year later. Still quite young, he now controlled what would later be called the Angevin Empire, stretching across much of western Europe. Henry was an energetic and sometimes ruthless ruler, driven by a desire to restore the lands and privileges of his royal grandfather, Henry I.

During the early years of the younger Henry's reign he restored the royal administration in England, re-established hegemony over Wales and gained full control over his lands in Anjou, Maine and Touraine. Henry soon came into conflict with Louis VII and the two rulers fought what has been termed a "cold war" over several decades. Henry expanded his empire, often at Louis's expense, taking Brittany and pushing east into central France and south into Toulouse; despite numerous peace conferences and treaties no lasting agreement was reached.

Although Henry usually worked well with the local hierarchies of the Church, his desire to reform England's relationship with the Church led to conflict with his former friend Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This controversy lasted for much of the 1160s and resulted in Becket's death in 1170. As Henry's reign progressed he had many children with Eleanor, and tensions over the future inheritance of the empire began to emerge, encouraged first by Louis VII and then Louis's son and successor Philip Augustus.

In 1173 Henry's heir apparent, "Young Henry", rebelled in protest against his father; he was joined by his brothers Richard and Geoffrey and by their mother, Eleanor. France, Scotland, Flanders and Boulogne allied with the rebels against Henry. The Great Revolt spread across Henry's lands and was only defeated by his vigorous military action and talented local commanders, many of them "new men" appointed for their loyalty and administrative skills.

Henry was mostly generous in victory and appeared for the moment to be at the height of his powers, but Young Henry and Geoffrey revolted again in 1183, resulting in Young Henry's death. Despite invading Ireland to provide lands for his youngest son John, Henry struggled to find ways to satisfy all his sons' desires for land and immediate power. Philip successfully played on Richard's fears that Henry would make John king, and a final rebellion broke out in 1189.

Decisively defeated by Philip and Richard and suffering from a bleeding ulcer, Henry retreated to Chinon in Anjou, where he died. Henry's empire quickly collapsed during the reign of his youngest son John. Many of the changes Henry introduced during his long rule, however, had long-term consequences.

Henry's legal changes are generally considered to have laid the basis for the English Common Law, while his intervention in Brittany, Wales and Scotland shaped the development of their societies and governmental systems. Historical interpretations of Henry's reign have changed considerably over time. In the 18th century, scholars argued that Henry was a driving force in the creation of a genuinely English monarchy and, ultimately, a unified Britain.

During the Victorian expansion of the British Empire, historians were keenly interested in the formation of Henry's own empire, but they also expressed concern over his private life and treatment of Becket. Late-20th-century historians have combined British and French historical accounts of Henry, challenging earlier Anglocentric interpretations of his reign.

Spouse: Eleanor of Aquitaine
Mother: Empress Matilda
Father: Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou
Succeeded by: Richard I of England
Date of birth: 1133-03-05
Date of death: 1189-07-06

Latest examples recorded with images

We have recorded 900 examples.

PAS record number: LANCUM-2F7431

Record: LANCUM-2F7431
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
Description: A medieval silver cut farthing of Henry II (1154-1189); Cross and Crosslets 'Tealby' type (not further defined); mint and moneyer uncertain d…
Workflow: PublishedFind validated and published by finds advisers

PAS record number: IOW-28E922

Record: IOW-28E922
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
Description: A complete Medieval silver short cross penny of Henry II (1154-1189), minted by Pieres at London. Class 1b, 1180-1185 (North 1994: 220, ref: …
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PAS record number: YORYM-A7C958

Record: YORYM-A7C958
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
Description: A silver penny of Henry II dating to the period circa AD 1180 - 1189. Short cross reverse. Moneyer Pieres. Mint of London. Class 1. North …
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PAS record number: HAMP-044F57

Record: HAMP-044F57
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
Description: A silver Medieval penny of Henry II. Moneyer Iefrei of London Mint (1180-c.1189; Class 1b; North 963).
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PAS record number: IOW-9CF676

Record: IOW-9CF676
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
Description: A complete, worn and illegible Medieval silver cut halfpenny of Henry II (1154-1189). Cross and crosslets (Tealby) type, 1154-1180. Not furth…
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Denominations issued

45 coin types issued

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