A landmark study of key century in medieval history, this book comprises the history of the century and a quarter which elapsed between the compilation of Domesday Book and the issue of the Magna Carta, the two greatest documents of English medieval history. The volume opens with chapters in which the position of the monarchy and social and economic background of the period in its feudal, rural, and urban aspects are discussed. In the political sphere it describes the building up of the great continental dominions, which in the time of Henry II are known as the Angevin Empire, and the collapse of the battle of Bouvines in 1214; it embraces also the attempts of the English kings to establish their supremacy over Scotland and Wales, and the conquest of Ireland. The work of the ecclesiastical reformers and the conflicts between church and state associated with the archbishops Anselm and Becket and Pope Innocent III are discussed. The progress of education, the contribution of Englishmen to the twelfth-century renaissance, the literature, and the art of the age are brought under review. Finally, the great development of the common law brought about by the legal reforms of Henry II is traced, and the book ends with a description of the events leading up Magna Carta and its sequel, civil war, in which the reign of King John was to a close.