II became King in 1154. The country had suffered a
civil war for almost twenty years before,
between Henry II's mother Matilda and the old
King Stephen. The country was in a terrible mess,
villages had been destroyed , crops burnt and many
of the Barons would not obey
the kings laws.
II is known as a strong king. He was a good soldier and
leader. Henry forced the barons to obey him by using
his army. For example William Le Gros the Duke of
York refused to obey Henry , Henry took his army
to meet William on the battle field and it was not
long before William gave in.
in control, Henry II made sure he knew what was going
on in the country he ruled; he travelled about the
country visiting the barons . He changed the system
of justice to make sure people who were accused of
a crime were given a fair trial. During the reign
of King Stephen many innocent people had been made
to pay fines so that the barons could have the money.
Henry also introduced a new law
for the barons , instead of having to fight
for the king they could pay him some money. This was
another way that the King could get money to pay his
army and other expenses.