This concluding chapter outlines the considerable achievements of Henry III's personal rule. Within England, Henry's personal rule was a period of domestic peace. That created favourable conditions for the building of churches, the work of the friars and pastoral-minded bishops, the explosion of the money supply, and the development of a new network of markets and fairs. It provided the conditions too for the expansion of the common law. If Henry had achievements to his credit, he had also clearly failed. He had not recovered the continental empire and acknowledged his condition would be ‘worsened’ by the forthcoming peace with France. Within England itself, Henry faced vehement criticisms of his rule in parliament and demands for reforms which would virtually strip him of power. The feeling that Henry was handing England over to grasping and lawless foreigners was a major factor separating him from his people. Up to a point Henry here, in his generous way, was simply trying to do his best for his foreign relations without any wider strategic purpose. To set in the balance against his failings, Henry had one golden weight; it was, of course, his piety.
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