King Edward III | Reign 1327-1377

King Edward III ruled England from 25th January 1327 to 21st June 1377.

He remained King until his death. He was the son of the Edward II of England and Isabella of France.

Medieval King Edward III Portrait

King Edward III

King Edward II was deposed as the King and the young prince was crowned at the age of fourteen. This medieval king belonged to the House of Plantagenet.

At the age of seventeen, he started his personal rule after overthrowing Mortimer, who at that time was the de facto ruler of England.

King Edward III Timeline

  • King Edward III was born on 13 November 1312 at Windsor Castle, Berkshire.
  • He was the King of England from 25th January 1327 to 21st June 1377.
  • His coronation took place on 1st February 1327.
  • He married Philippa of Hainault on 24 January 1328.
  • This medieval king started his personal rule in 1930.
  • He declared himself the rightful heir to the French throne in 1337.
  • The Black Death struck England in 1348.
  • Edward won the battle of Dupplin Moor against Scotland in 1332.
  • In 1356, Edward’s son the Black Prince won the Battle of Poitiers against the French.
  • Edward died on 21st June 1377.
Medieval King Edward III Coin

King Edward III Coin the half coat mint

What kind of Ruler was King Edward III?

King Edward III was a conventional ruler. He was very temperamental but also showed great clemency on many occasions. One such example was Mortimer’s grandson that was absolved and later played a very important role in the French wars.

King Edward III’s main interest was warfare and was one of the finest warriors in English medieval history.

Medieval Knights Warfare 1

What was King Edward III Famous For?

King Edward III was famous for his successful military campaigns and for his interest in warfare. He restored the Royal authority and transformed the kingdom into one of the most fearsome powers in Europe.

This medieval king was also famous for his role in the evolution of the English parliament and the legislation that helped the English monarchy in a positive way, especially during the days of the Black Death.

Black Death Doctor wearing a herb mask in medieval England

King Edward III – Legislation & The Black Death

The Black Death, a bubonic plague pandemic, reached England in 1348 and killed almost one-third, or according to other estimates about half of the population. The Black Death created a labour shortage and a rise in wages followed.

Edward The Black Prince was one of the most famous Knights in medieval History

The great landowners found it very difficult to cope with this shortage of manpower and a rise in wages. To address the situation, the King and the parliament introduced the required legislation.

The Ordinance of Labourers was issued in 1349 that fixed the wages and enforced price controls.

The Statute of Labourers was issued in 1351 to control the increase in wages and prohibited the movement of workers from their home areas.

Medieval King Edward III Black Prince

Medieval King Edward III was also known as the Black Prince

King Edward III Parliament and taxation

During the rule of King Edward III, parliament was developed further. During this period, parliament gradually developed into a bicameral institution, composed of two houses, a House of Lords and a House of Commons.

It was the House of Commons where the major changes took place.

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament

In order to finance warfare, King Edward taxed his subjects. There were two types of taxes, levy, and customs.

As the levy generated a considerable amount of money, hence it had to be approved by parliament, whereas the customs were an old and steady source of income.

In 1353, King Edward III introduced a new customs tax on wool through the Ordinance of the Staple.

King Edward III Chivalry and national identity

Unlike King Edward I and Edward II, King Edward III created a new peerage. He, in one day, created six news, Earls. For close relatives of the King, Edward introduced a new title Duke and also introduced the upward ranks of the peerage.

Knights of the Garter Coat of Arms

The Knights of the Garter Windsor Castle St George Hall Windsor Castle

In 1348, he also introduced the Order of the Garter. He also contributed to strengthening the national identity by using the myth that the French wanted to destroy the English language.

The English language experienced a strong revival during King Edward’s rule as the Statute of Pleading was issued in 1362 which ensured the usage of the English language in law courts. English was also used in parliament for the first time.

The Coat of Arms of Medieval King Edward III

The Coat of Arms of Medieval King Edward III

King Edward III Family & Children

King Edward married Philippa of Hainault on 24th January 1328. She was the daughter of the William I, Count of Hainaut, and Joanna of Valois. King Edward had all the legitimate children by Philippa.

They had seven sons and five daughters. King Edward III also had three illegitimate children. This medieval king was very devoted to his family and other family members, loved his wife a lot, and always remained loyal to her.

King Edward III Character

King Edward III was temperamental and impulsive in nature if we evaluate his character from his actions against the Stratford and ministers.

But if we evaluate his character from the fact that he not only absolved Mortimer’s grandson but also let him play an important role in the French wars, we would come to the conclusion that he also showed a lot of clemency.

His interest and religious views were very conventional in nature.


Bronze Effigy of King Edward III

King Edward III Death

In 1376 issues regarding failures in military campaigns, the associated cost involved and political dissatisfaction at home was discussed in parliament. The main aim was to have the taxation granted from the parliament, but the House of Commons decided to address the issues.

John Gaunt English King

John Gaunt

The King’s closest advisors were severely criticised and discharged from their positions. Alice Perrers, King Edward’s III, was very active during his days of illness.

She was also banished from the court. John of Gaunt had the virtual control of the government as both King Edward III and the Black Prince were seriously ill.

Gaunt was forced to accept the demands of parliament as he couldn’t handle the pressure. King Edward III couldn’t do anything about it as his health was continuously falling and he finally died due to a stroke at Sheen on 21st of June.

The medieval king was buried at the Westminster Abbey, London.

King Edward III Summary

It was King Edward III, who restored the Royal authority after the unimpressive rule of his father King Edward II.

During his rule parliament evolved into a bicameral institute. He also united the people against the French and worked for the evolution of the English language.