New
New
Year 7

Henry II's legal reforms

I can describe the importance of Henry II's legal reforms and how they centralised his control.

New
New
Year 7

Henry II's legal reforms

I can describe the importance of Henry II's legal reforms and how they centralised his control.

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Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. Legal matters were inconsistently dealt with by local courts and barons
  2. Henry II established the Assizes to settle property disputes in local areas
  3. Henry’s reforms restored and increased his royal authority in legal matters across England
  4. The judgements of the Assizes developed the English Common Law
  5. Henry II's legal reforms represent an important change in the English legal system

Common misconception

History is not relevant to today.

Henry II’s reforms to the English legal system established the foundation of English common law, still in use today.

Keywords

  • Legal - legal means connected to the law, for example, legal advice

  • Assize - an Assize was a royal court which travelled across England judging on local matters

  • Authority - authority is the power or ability to control or demand obedience

  • Reform - reform is when you make changes to improve something

  • Common law - common law is developed from previous judgements rather than laws made by politicians

A replica of the king’s seal is an inexpensive prop which gives pupils a great insight into the material culture of medieval kingship. Stimulating a discussion of how the Assizes increased Henry’s royal authority in legal matters across England.
Teacher tip

Licence

This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).

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6 Questions

Q1.
True or false? When Henry II became King, France was a unified nation.
True
Correct answer: False
Q2.
Match the keywords with the correct definitions.
Correct Answer:centralise,when parts are united together and controlled from one place

when parts are united together and controlled from one place

Correct Answer:allegiance,when somebody is loyal to a lord or monarch

when somebody is loyal to a lord or monarch

Correct Answer:duchy,the area of land controlled by a duke or duchess

the area of land controlled by a duke or duchess

Q3.
Write the missing word. Henry II's mother was Empress __________ .
Correct Answer: Matilda, matilda, Empress Matilda, empress matilda, maude
Q4.
Select the statement which most accurately describes Henry II's actions after the Anarchy.
Henry lost all of his royal lands.
Henry failed to control his royal lands.
Correct answer: Henry took control of his royal lands.
Q5.
How did Henry II's invasion of Ireland mark the beginning of English influence and control over the island?
Correct answer: Going forward, English monarchs claimed to be the rightful rulers of Ireland.
Going forward, Irish monarchs claimed to be the rightful rulers of Ireland.
Going forward, Welsh monarchs claimed to be the rightful rulers of Ireland.
Q6.
Henry II was married to which powerful queen?
Elizabeth I
Correct answer: Eleanor of Aquitaine
Empress Matilda

6 Questions

Q1.
True or false? Before Henry II, the law was the same across all local courts in England.
True
Correct answer: False
Q2.
Which of the following statements most accurately describes the Assizes?
They were a set of laws that governed the Church in England.
They established the principles of trial by ordeal.
Correct answer: They were written royal orders used by travelling courts.
They focused on the regulation of trade and commerce.
Q3.
Starting with the earliest, sort these stages into the order required for court cases to become common law.
1 - crime occurs
2 - judge reviews old laws
3 - judge’s decision becomes law
Q4.
Which important legal concept did Henry increase the use of?
baronial courts
feudalism
Correct answer: juries
Q5.
Write the missing word. Henry II’s reforms to the English legal system established the foundation of English common __________ , still in use today.
Correct Answer: law, Law, laws, Laws
Q6.
What was the name of the wax item attached to written royal orders?
Correct answer: The king's seal
The king's signature
The king's sword

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