| | Harold II
(17 January 1094 - 30 April 1154) reigned as King of Edreland
from 1101 until his death. His nearly fifty-three year reign, one of the longest in Edrish
history, saw military successes as well as major reforms in the Edrish legal and fiscal systems and a flowering of culture. He transformed the weak monarchy inherited from his father into a strong executive institution with little regard for baronial rights.
Harold became king at the age of seven after the death of his father, Harold I. Major reforms of the crown's fiscal system soon followed, designed to remove inefficiencies that hamstrung royal finances. The Board of the Lords Auditors was created to supervise the Bench of Exchequer, with the Lord Steward put at its head. The Court of Escheat was established to enforce the king's allodial right, with county sheriffs supplemented by new royal escheators. The system of inquisitions was established to better determine the value of taxable land; for the first time, detailed Exchequer Rolls were kept. General councils composed of the three estates — barons, knights, and clergy — were called to levy taxation, precursors to the modern Diet of Edreland. Harold II also instituted trials by jury, empowering local sheriffs to impanel juries of freeholders to hear cases before the Court of Eyre. To maintain control over the nobility, the king created the Court Baroniam separate from the courts under the jurisdiction of the King's Bench to hear cases brought by him directly against tenants-in-chief. Using this court, Harold II was able to tamp down baronial opposition. Despite their fear of this court, tenants-in-chief viewed it as illegal and it would be abolished shortly after the king's death. (See more...)
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