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14th century 1300-1399

14th Century 1300-1399 CE

The start of the 14th Century brings a seismic shift in power in the church in Europe

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Church power is in decline.

Concerned about kings taxing church property, Pope Boniface VIII has issued a papal decree, Unam Sanctam, to maintain Church authority over kings. King Philip IV of France fears that he will be excommunicated and sent men to seize the Pope from one of his palaces. Boniface was rescued but shaken, and he died soon afterwards.

The Crusades are at an end.

Muslims drove out “Crusaders” from the Middle East, including the Knights Templars, who arrived in France. They were a wealthy group of soldiers, and King Philip IV of France coveted their land and their possessions. He accused them of magic and heresy in order to seize their assets. Philip had the Knights Templars arrested on Friday the 13th and up to 60 are tortured and executed, a possible origin of the superstition of Friday the 13th being an unlucky day.

One of the most important writers in European literature, Dante, wrote the Divine Comedy and Florence became home to artists such as Giotto di Bondone, who would point the way to the Italian Renaissance.

The crown of England hung in the balance as King Edward II took his turn to upset the powerful barons as well as the rest of his family.

The conflict between the Scottish and the English continued. The English have been driven from Scotland by Robert the Bruce and the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northhampton recognized Scotland’s independence.

The beginning of the Hundred Years War

King Philip VI of France intervened in a dispute in Flanders over wool exports. King Edward III of England owned property in Flanders, the merchants and nobles there were unhappy with his interference in their trade affairs. King Edward retaliated by declaring himself King of France. King Philip responded by declaring Edward’s fiefs in France forfeited. This was the start of one hundred years of petty feuds and squabbles after which there was no overall resolution and yet there were huge costs to the nations supporting the antics of their royal leaders and their advisers.

The 14th Century will leave a terrible mark on humanity as the Black Death is unleashed on Europe. The consequences of the epidemic has a profound impact on society, it’s economy, it’s culture and it’s social structure.

In England, the peasants were in angry mood, they revolted against taxes that had been raised to pay for the Hundred Years’ War and against having to labour on Church lands. Th hundred years war was costing more than £170k a year to England alone, representing more than six times the normal annual royal revenues. The Peasants Revolt saw up to 100,000 men marching on London, seizing the Tower of London and murdering the Archbishop. These were times of revolution and as such placed England in a cradle that was being severely rocked by all and sundry.

Wave after wave of Black Death epidemics brought to the 14th Century the end to feudalism and the peasants wanted their demands met. This was the start of organised labour and the start of the end of the overlords.

The 14th Century, a brief chronology and timeline of British History will evolve here

Our 14th century chronology and timelines are being created and curated but already via each century page you can quickly locate our collections for each 100 years of history. These evolve as we explore topical themes, but if you are looking for something you can’t see here then please feel free to contact us and request, Thanks for taking a look.