Edward I, surnamed the Elder, king of the West Saxons, son and successor, in 901, of Alfred the Great, died in 925. His claim to the throne, though recognized by the witenage-mote, was disputed by his cousin Ethelwald, who gained the support of the Northumbrian and East Anglian Danes. The rebels marched through the counties of Gloucester, Oxford, and Wilts, and Edward, unable directly to oppose them, retaliated their ravages in the country of the East Angles. He thought proper to withdraw his army, loaded with booty, before the approach of the rebels; but the Kentish men, greedy of more spoil, stayed behind in defiance of orders. They were assaulted by the East Angles, and resisted so valiantly that, though at last obliged to retreat, it was not till after they had slain a great number of the enemy, and had terminated the rebellion by causing the death of Ethelwald himself. The reign of Edward was occupied with subduing the turbulent Danes, who abounded and were constantly reenforced in the provinces of East Anglia and Northum-bria. In this he was assisted by his sister Ethelfleda, who governed Mercia. He protected his territories by fortresses which gradually became centres of trade and population.
(of the Norman line), king of England, surnamed Longshanks, from the excessive length of his legs, son of Henry III. and of Eleanor of Provence, born in Westminster, June 16, 1239, crowned Aug. 19, 1274, died July 7, 1307. Being invested with the duchy of Guienne, his right to that province was disputed by Alfonso X. of Castile, who renounced his claim in consequence of Edward's marrying his sister. In 1254 he received the lordship of Ireland and of the provinces which had been seized in the reign of John Lackland by the king of France. He supported the throne against the revolted barons, and with his father and his uncle Richard, king of the Romans, was made prisoner at the battle of Lewes, May 13, 1264. He recovered his liberty in 1265, defeated and slew Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, at Evesham, and in 1267 conquered the last of the insurgents in the isle of Ely. Shortly after he joined the crusaders, and served two years in the East. Nearly two years after his father's death he was crowned without opposition at Westminster, and began to signalize his ability both as a warrior and legislator.
His arms were first directed against Llewellyn, prince of the Welsh, whom he reduced, but who rebelled again, and was slain in single combat by an English knight immediately after the army of Edward had reappeared in that country. He established corporate bodies of merchants in the principal towns of Wales, and introduced the jurisprudence of the English courts. Edward, as the chroniclers have it, had promised to appoint as prince of Wales a person born in the principality, and who could not speak English. His queen Eleanor, being delivered of a son in the castle of Carnarvon, the English king maintained that his son fulfilled the conditions, and declared him prince of Wales, a title which has ever since been borne by the eldest son of the sovereign. In 1289 he resolved upon the subjugation of Scotland, to whose crown there were at this time 13 claimants. Being invited to the office of arbitrator, he took possession of many of the Scotch fortresses, and then conferred the crown upon John Balliol, who soon renounced his allegiance.
Edward marched again across the Tweed, gained a great victory at Dunbar in 1296, sent Balliol into exile, bore away the Scotch sceptre and crown, and left the highest offices in the hands of Englishmen, under the earl of Surrey, who received the title of guardian of the kingdom. The Scots rallied in 1297 under the chieftain William Wallace, and drove the English out of their kingdom, totally defeating them in the battle of Stirling, Sept. 10. Edward hastily finished the war which he had meanwhile undertaken in France, advanced again to the Forth, and defeated the insurgents with the loss of from 20,000 to 40,000 men near the forest of Falkirk, July 22, 1298. Wallace himself escaped. The rebellion again broke out in 1303, and again Edward overran the kingdom, its temporary subjugation being completed by the surrender of the strong castle of Stirling. Wallace was soon after surprised and captured, and was hanged in Smithfield (1305). In 1306 the war was again kindled by Robert Bruce, who was elected king, and, though at first unsuccessful, at length gained a decisive victory over the earl of Pembroke. Edward marched again to the north, but was surprised by death on the frontier at Burgh-upon-Sands. The most enduring results of the reign of Edward were the reforms which he introduced in the administration of government, of justice, and of the finances, which had gained for him the title of the "English Justinian." He ameliorated the laws, confirmed and finally established the two great charters, gave to the parliament the form it has since retained, and is said to have first instituted justices of the peace.
The Jews during his reign were cruelly despoiled, and in 1290 ordered under penalty of death to quit England for ever before a certain day. - See " History of the Life and Times of Edward I.," by William Longman (2 vols., London, 1869).