Bread, Longshanks, and the Scottish resistance

This day in London’s history: on 20 November 1272 Edward I was proclaimed King of England. Born in June 1239 at Westminster, Edward was named by his father Henry III after the last Anglo Saxon king (and his father’s favourite saint), Edward the Confessor.

Edward’s contribution to London’s street names includes Bread Street. This was many of the shopping streets connected with the Cheapside market and named for their speciality. In 1302 Edward decreed that bakers could sell bread only from this street.

Because of his above-average height (6’ 2″) Edward was known as Edward Longshanks. During his reign he subjected Wales to English rule, expelled Jews from England, and tried to take over Scotland, earning him the other nickname of Hammer of the Scots. His efforts to subjugate the Scots were met with fierce resistance from Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.

Wallace was eventually hanged, drawn and quartered as punishment for treachery and, though Robert the Bruce outlived Edward, his wife, daughter and sisters were captured and imprisoned in England and his brothers were hanged, drawn and beheaded. Edward died of dysentery while in Scotland, still trying to take over the country.

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