Plantagenet Kings (1154 - 1399 AD)

Edward III (1327-1377 AD)

Edward III Coin History
Despite the inauspicious manner in which Edward III came to the throne, he proved himself an adroit ruler. Edward married Phillippa of Hainault in 1328 at the age of fifteen. Within three years of his accession he felt himself powerful enough to move against the regent, Roger Mortimer, and remove him. Mortimer had many enemies among the barony, and his removal strengthened the king’s cause. Mortimer was executed and Isabella, the king’s mother, imprisoned in Castle Rising in 1330.

Edward III continued the war against the Scots, and gained several military victories but he tried to pursue his claim to the throne of France and to subdue the Scots at the same time: the war on two fronts proved too ambitious an undertaking. The Scots and French made common cause, with French fleets harrying the southern coast of England and Scots armies raiding northern England. When Phillip VI of France confiscated Edward’s hereditary French territories, the result was a protracted Anglo-French war – the Hundred Years War – which proved an enormous drain on the economy of England. Battles fought in northern France – such as Crécy, and Poitiers – bolstered the English position and almost caused the collapse of the French social system with the death of so many aristocrats. However, the early military successes were reversed when the French King John II died in captivity and was succeeded by the capable Charles V. Edward’s son, John of Gaunt, was forced to yield all English possessions in France except the three trading ports of Calais, Bordeaux and Bayonne.

In order to bolster support among the nobility, Edward created the Order of the Garter in 1348 as a military corps. The foundation marks the king’s attempt to promote an English identity among the aristocracy which had tended to see itself as French or Anglo-Norman; the wars with the French and removal of English possessions in France forced a revision in attitude.

In England, the Black Death swept through the land killing up to a third of the population and radically altering the economic situation of the labouring and manufacturing classes, whose output was now in great demand. The ruinous cost of the longstanding French and Scottish wars caused discontent among the tax-payers and the Parliament of 1376 forced personnel changes in the king’s advisors. By this time Edward was already ill and his son, John of Gaunt, was holding the reins of power. Edward died in 1377 after a fifty-year reign, leaving the throne to his ten-year-old grandson Richard (son of Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince, who died a year before his father).

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An example of a superb Edward III Gold Noble we have sold recently:

EIII 005504

Edward III 'Pre-treaty' Noble
Gold, TBA grams; TBA mm. Fourth Coinage, Pre-treaty period, 1351-1377, with French title. Obverse: Crowned King Edward standing facing in ship, with sword and shield. Reverse: E in centre of royal cross, without flag to stern of ship and long prow, Mint Mark Cross 3 (4) 1356-1361. S. 1490 variant. Superb grade [Good Extremely Fine]. Original lustre, no scratches, wear or blemishes with a very high embossed King, sword and ship.

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EIII 005504

Hammered Coin Book and Other References:

S = Coins of England and the United Kingdom
N = English Hammered Coinage by J J North
SI = Sterling Imitations of Edwardian Type by M J Mayhew
WW = (reference & attribution site)

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