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John, King of England

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John
A drawing of the effigy of King John in Worcester Cathedral
Tomb effigy of King John, Worcester Cathedral
King of England
Reign27 May 1199 – 19 October 1216
Coronation27 May 1199
PredecessorRichard I
SuccessorHenry III
Lord of Ireland
ReignMay 1177 – 19 October 1216
SuccessorHenry III
Born24 December 1166
Beaumont Palace, Oxford, Kingdom of England
Died19 October 1216 (aged 49)
Newark Castle, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, Kingdom of England
Burial
Spouse
(m. 1189; ann. 1199)
Issue
Detail
HousePlantagenet/Angevin[nb 1]
FatherHenry II, King of England
MotherEleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine

John (24 December 1166 – 19 October 1216) was King of England from 1199 until his death in 1216. He lost the Duchy of Normandy and most of his other French lands to King Philip II of France, resulting in the collapse of the Angevin Empire and contributing to the subsequent growth in power of the French Capetian dynasty during the 13th century. The baronial revolt at the end of John's reign led to the sealing of Magna Carta, a document considered an early step in the evolution of the constitution of the United Kingdom.

John was the youngest of the four surviving sons of King Henry II of England and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was nicknamed John Lackland because he was not expected to inherit significant lands.[1] He became Henry's favourite child following the failed revolt of 1173–1174 by his brothers Henry the Young King, Richard, and Geoffrey against the King. John was appointed Lord of Ireland in 1177 and given lands in England and on the continent. He unsuccessfully attempted a rebellion against the royal administrators of his brother, King Richard, whilst Richard was participating in the Third Crusade, but he was proclaimed king after Richard died in 1199. He came to an agreement with Philip II of France to recognise John's possession of the continental Angevin lands at the peace treaty of Le Goulet in 1200.

When war with France broke out again in 1202, John achieved early victories, but shortages of military resources and his treatment of Norman, Breton, and Anjou nobles resulted in the collapse of his empire in northern France in 1204. He spent much of the next decade attempting to regain these lands, raising huge revenues, reforming his armed forces and rebuilding continental alliances. His judicial reforms had a lasting effect on the English common law system, as well as providing an additional source of revenue. An argument with Pope Innocent III led to John's excommunication in 1209, a dispute he finally settled in 1213. John's attempt to defeat Philip in 1214 failed because of the French victory over John's allies at the battle of Bouvines. When he returned to England, John faced a rebellion by many of his barons, who were unhappy with his fiscal policies and his treatment of many of England's most powerful nobles. Although both John and the barons agreed to the Magna Carta peace treaty in 1215, neither side complied with its conditions. Civil war broke out shortly afterwards, with the barons aided by Louis VIII of France. It soon descended into a stalemate. John died of dysentery contracted whilst on campaign in eastern England during late 1216; supporters of his son Henry III went on to achieve victory over Louis and the rebel barons the following year.

Contemporary chroniclers were mostly critical of John's performance as king, and his reign has since been the subject of significant debate and periodic revision by historians from the 16th century onwards. Historian Jim Bradbury has summarised the current historical opinion of John's positive qualities, observing that John is today usually considered a "hard-working administrator, an able man, an able general".[2] Nonetheless, modern historians agree that he also had many faults as king, including what historian Ralph Turner describes as "distasteful, even dangerous personality traits", such as pettiness, spitefulness, and cruelty.[3] These negative qualities provided extensive material for fiction writers in the Victorian era, and John remains a recurring character within Western popular culture, primarily as a villain in films and stories depicting the Robin Hood legends.

Discover more about John, King of England related topics

Duchy of Normandy

Duchy of Normandy

The Duchy of Normandy grew out of the 911 Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between King Charles III of West Francia and the Viking leader Rollo. The duchy was named for its inhabitants, the Normans.

Angevin Empire

Angevin Empire

The Angevin Empire describes the possessions of the House of Plantagenet during the 12th and 13th centuries, when they ruled over an area covering roughly half of France, all of England, and parts of Ireland and Wales, and had further influence over much of the remaining British Isles. It may be described as an early example of a composite monarchy. The empire was established by Henry II of England, who succeeded his father Geoffrey Plantagenet as Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou. Henry married Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152, becoming her royal consort, and inherited his mother Empress Matilda's claim to the English throne, succeeding his rival Stephen, in 1154. Although their title of highest rank came from the Kingdom of England, the Plantagenets held court primarily on the continent at Angers in Anjou, and at Chinon in Touraine.

Capetian dynasty

Capetian dynasty

The Capetian dynasty, also known as the House of France, is a dynasty of Frankish origin, and a branch of the Robertians. It is among the largest and oldest royal houses in Europe and the world, and consists of Hugh Capet, the founder of the dynasty, and his male-line descendants, who ruled in France without interruption from 987 to 1792, and again from 1814 to 1848. The senior line ruled in France as the House of Capet from the election of Hugh Capet in 987 until the death of Charles IV in 1328. That line was succeeded by cadet branches, the Houses of Valois and then Bourbon, which ruled without interruption until the French Revolution abolished the monarchy in 1792. The Bourbons were restored in 1814 in the aftermath of Napoleon's defeat, but had to vacate the throne again in 1830 in favor of the last Capetian monarch of France, Louis Philippe I, who belonged to the House of Orléans.

First Barons' War

First Barons' War

The First Barons' War (1215–1217) was a civil war in the Kingdom of England in which a group of rebellious major landowners led by Robert Fitzwalter waged war against King John of England. The conflict resulted from King John's disastrous wars against King Philip II of France, which led to the collapse of the Angevin Empire, and John's subsequent refusal to accept and abide Magna Carta, which John had sealed on 15 June 1215.

Constitution of the United Kingdom

Constitution of the United Kingdom

The Constitution of the United Kingdom or British constitution comprises the written and unwritten arrangements that establish the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a political body. Unlike in most countries, no attempt has been made to codify such arrangements into a single document, thus it is known as an uncodified constitution. This enables the constitution to be easily changed as no provisions are formally entrenched; the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom recognises that there are constitutional principles, including parliamentary sovereignty, the rule of law, democracy, and upholding international law.

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor was Queen of France from 1137 to 1152 as the wife of King Louis VII, Queen of England from 1154 to 1189 as the wife of King Henry II, and Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right from 1137 until her death in 1204. As the heiress of the House of Poitiers, which controlled much of southwestern France, she was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages. She was a patron of poets such as Wace, Benoît de Sainte-Maure, and Bernart de Ventadorn. She was a key leading figure in the unsuccessful Second Crusade.

Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany

Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany

Geoffrey II was Duke of Brittany and 3rd Earl of Richmond between 1181 and 1186, through his marriage with the heiress Constance. Geoffrey was the fourth of five sons of Henry II of England and Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine.

County of Anjou

County of Anjou

The County of Anjou was a small French county and predecessor to the better known Duchy of Anjou. Its capital was Angers and it was roughly coextensive with the diocese of Angers. Anjou was bordered by Brittany to the west, Maine to the north, Touraine to the east and Poitou to the south. The adjectival form is Angevin, and inhabitants of Anjou are known as Angevins. In 1360, the county was raised into the Duchy of Anjou. This duchy later became part of the Kingdom of France in 1482 and remained a province of the Kingdom until 1790.

French invasion of Normandy (1202–1204)

French invasion of Normandy (1202–1204)

The Normandy Campaigns were wars in Normandy from 1202 to 1204. The Kingdom of England fought the Kingdom of France as well as fighting off rebellions from nobles. Philip II of France conquered the Anglo-Angevin territories in Normandy, resulting in the Siege of Château Gaillard. The Normandy Campaigns ended in a victory for France when the Anglo-Angevin territory was greatly diminished.

Excommunication

Excommunication

Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure used to end or at least regulate the communion of a member of a congregation with other members of the religious institution who are in normal communion with each other. The purpose of the institutional act is to deprive, suspend, or limit membership in a religious community or to restrict certain rights within it, in particular, those of being in communion with other members of the congregation, and of receiving the sacraments.

Battle of Bouvines

Battle of Bouvines

The Battle of Bouvines was fought on 27 July 1214 near the town of Bouvines in the County of Flanders. It was the concluding battle of the Anglo-French War of 1213–1214. Although estimates on the number of troops vary considerably among modern historians, at Bouvines, a French army commanded by King Philip Augustus routed a larger Allied army led by Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV in one of the rare pitched battles of the High Middle Ages and one of the most decisive medieval engagements.

Dysentery

Dysentery

Dysentery, historically known as the bloody flux, is a type of gastroenteritis that results in bloody diarrhea. Other symptoms may include fever, abdominal pain, and a feeling of incomplete defecation. Complications may include dehydration.

Early life (1166–1189)

Childhood and the Angevin inheritance

The Angevin continental empire (red shades) in the late 12th century
The Angevin continental empire (red shades) in the late 12th century

John was born on 24 December 1166.[4] His father, King Henry II of England, had inherited significant territories along the Atlantic seaboard – Anjou, Normandy and England – and expanded his empire by conquering Brittany.[5] John's mother, the powerful Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, had a tenuous claim to Toulouse and Auvergne in southern France, and was the former wife of King Louis VII of France.[5] The territories of Henry and Eleanor formed the Angevin Empire, named after Henry's paternal title as Count of Anjou and, more specifically, its seat in Angers.[nb 2] The Empire, however, was inherently fragile: although all the lands owed allegiance to Henry, the disparate parts each had their own histories, traditions and governance structures.[7] As one moved south through Anjou and Aquitaine, the extent of Henry's power in the provinces diminished considerably, scarcely resembling the modern concept of an empire at all. Some of the traditional ties between parts of the empire such as Normandy and England were slowly dissolving over time.[8] The future of the empire upon Henry's eventual death was not secure: Although the custom of primogeniture, under which an eldest son would inherit all his father's lands, was slowly becoming more widespread across Europe, it was less popular amongst the Norman kings of England.[9] Most believed that Henry would divide the empire, giving each son a substantial portion, and hoping that his children would continue to work together as allies after his death.[10] To complicate matters, much of the Angevin empire was held by Henry only as a vassal of the king of France of the rival line of the House of Capet. Henry had often allied himself with the Holy Roman Emperor against France, making the feudal relationship even more challenging.[11]

Shortly after his birth, John was passed from Eleanor into the care of a wet nurse, a traditional practice for medieval noble families.[12] Eleanor then left for Poitiers, the capital of Aquitaine, and sent John and his sister Joan north to Fontevrault Abbey.[13] This may have been done with the aim of steering her youngest son, with no obvious inheritance, towards a future ecclesiastical career.[12] Eleanor spent the next few years conspiring against Henry and neither parent played a part in John's very early life.[12] John was probably, like his brothers, assigned a magister whilst he was at Fontevrault, a teacher charged with his early education and with managing the servants of his immediate household; John was later taught by Ranulf de Glanvill, a leading English administrator.[14] John spent some time as a member of the household of his eldest living brother Henry the Young King, where he probably received instruction in hunting and military skills.[13]

John grew up to be around 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m) tall, relatively short, with a "powerful, barrel-chested body" and dark red hair; he looked to contemporaries like an inhabitant of Poitou.[15] John enjoyed reading and, unusually for the period, built up a travelling library of books.[16] He enjoyed gambling, in particular at backgammon, and was an enthusiastic hunter, even by medieval standards.[17] He liked music, although not songs.[18] John would become a "connoisseur of jewels", building up a large collection, and became famous for his opulent clothes and also, according to French chroniclers, for his fondness for bad wine.[19] As John grew up, he became known for sometimes being "genial, witty, generous and hospitable"; at other moments, he could be jealous, over-sensitive and prone to fits of rage, "biting and gnawing his fingers" in anger.[20][nb 3]

Early life

John's parents, Henry II and Eleanor, holding court
John's parents, Henry II and Eleanor, holding court

During John's early years, Henry attempted to resolve the question of his succession. Henry the Young King had been crowned King of England in 1170, but was not given any formal powers by his father; he was also promised Normandy and Anjou as part of his future inheritance. His brother Richard was to be appointed the count of Poitou with control of Aquitaine, whilst his brother Geoffrey was to become the duke of Brittany.[21] At this time it seemed unlikely that John would ever inherit substantial lands, and he was jokingly nicknamed "Lackland" by his father.[22]

Henry II wanted to secure the southern borders of Aquitaine and decided to betroth his youngest son to Alais, the daughter and heiress of Humbert III of Savoy.[23] As part of this agreement John was promised the future inheritance of Savoy, Piedmont, Maurienne, and the other possessions of Count Humbert.[23] For his part in the potential marriage alliance, Henry II transferred the castles of Chinon, Loudun and Mirebeau into John's name; as John was only five years old his father would continue to control them for practical purposes.[23] Henry the Young King was unimpressed by this; although he had yet to be granted control of any castles in his new kingdom, these were effectively his future property and had been given away without consultation.[23] Alais made the trip over the Alps and joined Henry II's court, but she died before marrying John, which left the prince once again without an inheritance.[23]

In 1173 John's elder brothers, backed by Eleanor, rose in revolt against Henry in the short-lived rebellion of 1173 to 1174. Growing irritated with his subordinate position to Henry II and increasingly worried that John might be given additional lands and castles at his expense,[21] Henry the Young King travelled to Paris and allied himself with Louis VII.[24] Eleanor, irritated by her husband's persistent interference in Aquitaine, encouraged Richard and Geoffrey to join their brother Henry in Paris.[24] Henry II triumphed over the coalition of his sons, but was generous to them in the peace settlement agreed at Montlouis.[23] Henry the Young King was allowed to travel widely in Europe with his own household of knights, Richard was given Aquitaine back, and Geoffrey was allowed to return to Brittany; only Eleanor was imprisoned for her role in the revolt.[25]

John had spent the conflict travelling alongside his father, and was given widespread possessions across the Angevin empire as part of the Montlouis settlement; from then onwards, most observers regarded John as Henry II's favourite child, although he was the furthest removed in terms of the royal succession.[23] Henry II began to find more lands for John, mostly at various nobles' expense. In 1175 he appropriated the estates of the late Earl of Cornwall and gave them to John.[23] The following year, Henry disinherited the sisters of Isabella of Gloucester, contrary to legal custom, and betrothed John to the now extremely wealthy Isabella.[26] In 1177, at the Council of Oxford, Henry dismissed William FitzAldelm as the Lord of Ireland and replaced him with the ten-year-old John.[26]

13th-century depiction of Henry II and his legitimate children, left to right: William, Henry, Richard, Matilda, Geoffrey, Eleanor, Joan and John
13th-century depiction of Henry II and his legitimate children, left to right: William, Henry, Richard, Matilda, Geoffrey, Eleanor, Joan and John

Henry the Young King fought a short war with his brother Richard in 1183 over the status of England, Normandy and Aquitaine.[26] Henry II moved in support of Richard, and Henry the Young King died from dysentery at the end of the campaign.[26] With his primary heir dead, Henry rearranged the plans for the succession: Richard was to be made King of England, albeit without any actual power until the death of his father; Geoffrey would retain Brittany; and John would now become the Duke of Aquitaine in place of Richard.[26] Richard refused to give up Aquitaine;[26] Henry II was furious and ordered John, with help from Geoffrey, to march south and retake the duchy by force.[26] The two attacked the capital of Poitiers, and Richard responded by attacking Brittany.[26] The war ended in stalemate and a tense family reconciliation in England at the end of 1184.[26]

In 1185 John made his first visit to Ireland, accompanied by 300 knights and a team of administrators.[27] Henry had tried to have John officially proclaimed King of Ireland, but Pope Lucius III would not agree.[27] John's first period of rule in Ireland was not a success. Ireland had only recently been conquered by Anglo-Norman forces, and tensions were still rife between Henry II, the new settlers and the existing inhabitants.[28] John infamously offended the local Irish rulers by making fun of their unfashionable long beards, failed to make allies amongst the Anglo-Norman settlers, began to lose ground militarily against the Irish and finally returned to England later in the year, blaming the viceroy, Hugh de Lacy, for the fiasco.[28]

The problems amongst John's wider family continued to grow. His elder brother Geoffrey died during a tournament in 1186, leaving a posthumous son, Arthur, and an elder daughter, Eleanor.[29] Geoffrey's death brought John slightly closer to the throne of England.[29] The uncertainty about what would happen after Henry's death continued to grow; Richard was keen to join a new crusade and remained concerned that whilst he was away Henry would appoint John his formal successor.[30]

Richard began discussions about a potential alliance with Philip II in Paris during 1187, and the next year Richard gave homage to Philip in exchange for support for a war against Henry.[31] Richard and Philip fought a joint campaign against Henry, and by the summer of 1189 the king made peace, promising Richard the succession.[32] John initially remained loyal to his father, but changed sides once it appeared that Richard would win.[32] Henry died shortly afterwards.[32]

Discover more about Early life (1166–1189) related topics

Angevin Empire

Angevin Empire

The Angevin Empire describes the possessions of the House of Plantagenet during the 12th and 13th centuries, when they ruled over an area covering roughly half of France, all of England, and parts of Ireland and Wales, and had further influence over much of the remaining British Isles. It may be described as an early example of a composite monarchy. The empire was established by Henry II of England, who succeeded his father Geoffrey Plantagenet as Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou. Henry married Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152, becoming her royal consort, and inherited his mother Empress Matilda's claim to the English throne, succeeding his rival Stephen, in 1154. Although their title of highest rank came from the Kingdom of England, the Plantagenets held court primarily on the continent at Angers in Anjou, and at Chinon in Touraine.

Henry II of England

Henry II of England

Henry II, also known as Henry Curtmantle, Henry FitzEmpress, or Henry Plantagenet, was King of England from 1154 until his death in 1189. He was the first king of the House of Plantagenet. King Louis VII of France made him Duke of Normandy in 1150. Henry became Count of Anjou and Maine upon the death of his father, Count Geoffrey V, in 1151. His marriage in 1152 to Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Louis VII had recently been annulled, made him Duke of Aquitaine. He became Count of Nantes by treaty in 1158. Before he was 40 he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France; an area that was later called the Angevin Empire. At various times, Henry also partially controlled Scotland and the Duchy of Brittany.

County of Anjou

County of Anjou

The County of Anjou was a small French county and predecessor to the better known Duchy of Anjou. Its capital was Angers and it was roughly coextensive with the diocese of Angers. Anjou was bordered by Brittany to the west, Maine to the north, Touraine to the east and Poitou to the south. The adjectival form is Angevin, and inhabitants of Anjou are known as Angevins. In 1360, the county was raised into the Duchy of Anjou. This duchy later became part of the Kingdom of France in 1482 and remained a province of the Kingdom until 1790.

Duchy of Normandy

Duchy of Normandy

The Duchy of Normandy grew out of the 911 Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between King Charles III of West Francia and the Viking leader Rollo. The duchy was named for its inhabitants, the Normans.

Kingdom of England

Kingdom of England

The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, until 1 May 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Duchy of Brittany

Duchy of Brittany

The Duchy of Brittany was a medieval feudal state that existed between approximately 939 and 1547. Its territory covered the northwestern peninsula of Europe, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the English Channel to the north. It was also less definitively bordered by the river Loire to the south, and Normandy, and other French provinces, to the east. The Duchy was established after the expulsion of Viking armies from the region around 939. The Duchy, in the 10th and 11th centuries, was politically unstable, with the dukes holding only limited power outside their own personal lands. The Duchy had mixed relationships with the neighbouring Duchy of Normandy, sometimes allying itself with Normandy, and at other times, such as the Breton-Norman War, entering into open conflict.

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor was Queen of France from 1137 to 1152 as the wife of King Louis VII, Queen of England from 1154 to 1189 as the wife of King Henry II, and Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right from 1137 until her death in 1204. As the heiress of the House of Poitiers, which controlled much of southwestern France, she was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages. She was a patron of poets such as Wace, Benoît de Sainte-Maure, and Bernart de Ventadorn. She was a key leading figure in the unsuccessful Second Crusade.

County of Toulouse

County of Toulouse

The County of Toulouse was a territory in southern France consisting of the city of Toulouse and its environs, ruled by the Count of Toulouse from the late 9th century until the late 13th century.

Angers

Angers

Angers is a city in western France, about 300 km (190 mi) southwest of Paris. It is the prefecture of the Maine-et-Loire department and was the capital of the province of Anjou until the French Revolution. The inhabitants of both the city and the province are called Angevins or, more rarely, Angeriens.

House of Capet

House of Capet

The House of Capet or the Direct Capetians, also called the House of France, or simply the Capets, ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328. It was the most senior line of the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians. Historians in the 19th century came to apply the name "Capetian" to both the ruling house of France and to the wider-spread male-line descendants of Hugh Capet. Contemporaries did not use the name "Capetian". The Capets were sometimes called "the third race of kings". The name "Capet" derives from the nickname given to Hugh, the first Capetian king.

Holy Roman Emperor

Holy Roman Emperor

The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans during the Middle Ages, and also known as the German-Roman Emperor since the early modern period, was the ruler and head of state of the Holy Roman Empire. The title was held in conjunction with the title of king of Italy from the 8th to the 16th century, and, almost without interruption, with the title of king of Germany throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.

Joan of England, Queen of Sicily

Joan of England, Queen of Sicily

Joan of England was a Queen of Sicily and countess consort of Toulouse. She was the seventh child of Henry II, King of England, and Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine. From her birth, she was destined to make a political and royal marriage. She married William II of Sicily and later Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse, two very important and powerful figures in the political landscape of Medieval Europe.

Richard's reign (1189–1199)

When Richard became king in September 1189, he had already declared his intention of joining the Third Crusade.[32] He set about raising the huge sums of money required for this expedition through the sale of lands, titles and appointments, and attempted to ensure that he would not face a revolt while away from his empire.[33] John was made Count of Mortain, was married to the wealthy Isabella of Gloucester, and was given valuable lands in Lancaster and the counties of Cornwall, Derby, Devon, Dorset, Nottingham and Somerset, all with the aim of buying his loyalty to Richard whilst the King was on crusade.[34] Richard retained royal control of key castles in these counties, thereby preventing John from accumulating too much military and political power. The King named his four-year-old nephew Arthur as his heir.[35] In return, John promised not to visit England for the next three years, thereby in theory giving Richard adequate time to conduct a successful crusade and return from the Levant without fear of John seizing power.[36] Richard left political authority in England—the post of justiciar—jointly in the hands of Bishop Hugh de Puiset and William de Mandeville, 3rd Earl of Essex, and made William Longchamp, the Bishop of Ely, his chancellor.[37] Mandeville immediately died, and Longchamp took over as joint justiciar with Puiset, which would prove a less than satisfactory partnership.[36] Eleanor, the queen mother, convinced Richard to allow John into England in his absence.[36]

The political situation in England rapidly began to deteriorate. Longchamp refused to work with Puiset and became unpopular with the English nobility and clergy.[38] John exploited this unpopularity to set himself up as an alternative ruler with his own royal court, complete with his own justiciar, chancellor and other royal posts, and was happy to be portrayed as an alternative regent, and possibly the next king.[39] Armed conflict broke out between John and Longchamp, and by October 1191 Longchamp was isolated in the Tower of London with John in control of the city of London, thanks to promises John had made to the citizens in return for recognition as Richard's heir presumptive.[40] At this point Walter of Coutances, the Archbishop of Rouen, returned to England, having been sent by Richard to restore order.[41] John's position was undermined by Walter's relative popularity and by the news that Richard had married whilst in Cyprus, which presented the possibility that Richard would have legitimate children and heirs.[42]

John on a stag hunt
John on a stag hunt

The political turmoil continued. John began to explore an alliance with King Philip II of France, who had returned from the crusade in late 1191. John hoped to acquire Normandy, Anjou and the other lands in France held by Richard in exchange for allying himself with Philip.[42] John was persuaded not to pursue an alliance by his mother.[42] Longchamp, who had left England after Walter's intervention, now returned, and argued that he had been wrongly removed as justiciar.[43] John intervened, suppressing Longchamp's claims in return for promises of support from the royal administration, including a reaffirmation of his position as heir to the throne.[43] When Richard still did not return from the crusade, John began to assert that his brother was dead or otherwise permanently lost.[43] Richard had in fact been captured shortly before Christmas 1192, while en route to England, by Duke Leopold V of Austria and was handed over to Emperor Henry VI, who held him for ransom.[43] John seized the opportunity and went to Paris, where he formed an alliance with Philip. He agreed to set aside his wife, Isabella of Gloucester, and marry Philip's sister, Alys, in exchange for Philip's support.[44] Fighting broke out in England between forces loyal to Richard and those being gathered by John.[44] John's military position was weak and he agreed to a truce; in early 1194 the King finally returned to England, and John's remaining forces surrendered.[45] John retreated to Normandy, where Richard finally found him later that year.[45] Richard declared that John—despite being 27 years old—was merely "a child who has had evil counsellors" and forgave him, but removed his lands with the exception of Ireland.[46]

For the remaining years of Richard's reign, John supported his brother on the continent, apparently loyally.[47] Richard's policy on the continent was to attempt to regain through steady, limited campaigns the castles he had lost to Philip II whilst on crusade. He allied himself with the leaders of Flanders, Boulogne and the Holy Roman Empire to apply pressure on Philip from Germany.[48] In 1195 John successfully conducted a sudden attack and siege of Évreux castle, and subsequently managed the defences of Normandy against Philip.[47] The following year, John seized the town of Gamaches and led a raiding party within 50 miles (80 km) of Paris, capturing the Bishop of Beauvais.[47] In return for this service, Richard withdrew his malevolentia (ill-will) towards John, restored him to the county of Gloucestershire and made him again the Count of Mortain.[47]

Discover more about Richard's reign (1189–1199) related topics

Acre, Israel

Acre, Israel

Acre, known locally as Akko or Akka, is a city in the coastal plain region of the Northern District of Israel.

Third Crusade

Third Crusade

The Third Crusade (1189–1192) was an attempt by three European monarchs of Western Christianity to reconquer the Holy Land following the capture of Jerusalem by the Ayyubid sultan Saladin in 1187. For this reason, the Third Crusade is also known as the Kings' Crusade.

Cornwall

Cornwall

Cornwall is a historic county and ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people. Cornwall is bordered to the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, with the River Tamar forming the border between them. Cornwall forms the westernmost part of the South West Peninsula of the island of Great Britain. The southwesternmost point is Land's End and the southernmost Lizard Point. Cornwall has a population of 568,210 and an area of 3,563 km2 (1,376 sq mi). The county has been administered since 2009 by the unitary authority, Cornwall Council. The ceremonial county of Cornwall also includes the Isles of Scilly, which are administered separately. The administrative centre of Cornwall is Truro, its only city.

Derby

Derby

Derby is a city and unitary authority area in Derbyshire, England. It lies on the banks of the River Derwent in the south of Derbyshire, which is in the East Midlands Region. It was traditionally the county town of Derbyshire. Derby gained city status in 1977, the population size has increased by 5.1%, from around 248,800 in 2011 to 261,400 in 2021.

Devon

Devon

Devon is a county in South West England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north-east and Dorset to the east. The county includes the districts of East Devon, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge and West Devon and the city of Exeter, its county town. The other two large urban areas Plymouth and Torbay are each geographically part of Devon, but are administered as unitary authorities. Combined as a ceremonial county, Devon's area is 6,707 km2 and its population is about 1.2 million.

Dorset

Dorset

Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority areas of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and Dorset. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres (1,024 sq mi), Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, and Hampshire to the east. The county town is Dorchester, in the south. After the reorganisation of local government in 1974, the county border was extended eastward to incorporate the Hampshire towns of Bournemouth and Christchurch. Around half of the population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is largely rural with a low population density.

Nottingham

Nottingham

Nottingham is a city and unitary authority area in Nottinghamshire, East Midlands, England. It is located 110 miles (180 km) north-west of London, 33 miles (53 km) south-east of Sheffield and 45 miles (72 km) north-east of Birmingham. Nottingham has links to the legend of Robin Hood and to the lace-making, bicycle and tobacco industries. The city is also the county town of Nottinghamshire and the settlement was granted its city charter in 1897, as part of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Nottingham is a tourist destination; in 2018, the city received the second-highest number of overnight visitors in the Midlands and the highest number in the East Midlands.

Somerset

Somerset

Somerset is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales. Its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset is currently formed of six council areas, of which two are unitary authorities, until the four second-tier district councils are merged on 1 April 2023, after which the county will comprise three unitary authorities. Its county town is Taunton.

Levant

Levant

The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, which is in use today in archaeology and other cultural contexts, it is equivalent to a stretch of land bordering the Mediterranean in South-western Asia, i.e. the historical region of Syria, which includes present-day Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and most of Turkey southwest of the middle Euphrates. Its overwhelming characteristic is that it represents the land bridge between Africa and Eurasia. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the Eastern Mediterranean with its islands; that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica in eastern Libya.

Hugh de Puiset

Hugh de Puiset

Hugh de Puiset was a medieval Bishop of Durham and Chief Justiciar of England under King Richard I. He was the nephew of King Stephen of England and Henry of Blois, who both assisted Hugh's ecclesiastical career. He held the office of treasurer of York for a number of years, which led him into conflict with Henry Murdac, Archbishop of York. In 1153, Hugh was elected bishop of Durham despite the opposition of Murdac.

Bishop of Ely

Bishop of Ely

The Bishop of Ely is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Ely in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese roughly covers the county of Cambridgeshire, together with a section of north-west Norfolk and has its episcopal see in the City of Ely, Isle of Ely in Cambridgeshire, where the seat is located at the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity. The current bishop is Stephen Conway, who signs +Stephen Elien:. The diocesan bishops resided at the Bishop's Palace, Ely until 1941; they now reside in Bishop's House, the former cathedral deanery. Conway became Bishop of Ely in 2010, translated from the Diocese of Salisbury where he was Bishop suffragan of Ramsbury.

Tower of London

Tower of London

The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new Norman ruling class. The castle was also used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

Early reign (1199–1204)

Accession to the throne, 1199

The donjon of Château Gaillard; the loss of the castle would prove devastating for John's military position in Normandy
The donjon of Château Gaillard; the loss of the castle would prove devastating for John's military position in Normandy

After Richard's death on 6 April 1199 there were two potential claimants to the Angevin throne: John, whose claim rested on being the sole surviving son of Henry II, and young Arthur I of Brittany, who held a claim as the son of John's elder brother Geoffrey.[49] Richard appears to have started to recognise John as his heir presumptive in the final years before his death, but the matter was not clear-cut and medieval law gave little guidance as to how the competing claims should be decided.[50] With Norman law favouring John as the only surviving son of Henry II and Angevin law favouring Arthur as the only son of Henry's elder son, the matter rapidly became an open conflict.[9] John was supported by the bulk of the English and Norman nobility and was crowned at Westminster Abbey, backed by his mother, Eleanor. Arthur was supported by the majority of the Breton, Maine and Anjou nobles and received the support of Philip II, who remained committed to breaking up the Angevin territories on the continent.[51] With Arthur's army pressing up the Loire Valley towards Angers and Philip's forces moving down the valley towards Tours, John's continental empire was in danger of being cut in two.[52]

Warfare in Normandy at the time was shaped by the defensive potential of castles and the increasing costs of conducting campaigns.[53] The Norman frontiers had limited natural defences but were heavily reinforced with castles, such as Château Gaillard, at strategic points, built and maintained at considerable expense.[54] It was difficult for a commander to advance far into fresh territory without having secured his lines of communication by capturing these fortifications, which slowed the progress of any attack.[55] Armies of the period could be formed from either feudal or mercenary forces.[56] Feudal levies could be raised only for a fixed length of time before they returned home, forcing an end to a campaign; mercenary forces, often called Brabançons after the Duchy of Brabant but actually recruited from across northern Europe, could operate all year long and provide a commander with more strategic options to pursue a campaign, but cost much more than equivalent feudal forces.[57] As a result, commanders of the period were increasingly drawing on larger numbers of mercenaries.[58]

After his coronation, John moved south into France with military forces and adopted a defensive posture along the eastern and southern Normandy borders.[59] Both sides paused for desultory negotiations before the war recommenced; John's position was now stronger, thanks to confirmation that the counts Baldwin IX of Flanders and Renaud of Boulogne had renewed the anti-French alliances they had previously agreed to with Richard.[51] The powerful Anjou nobleman William des Roches was persuaded to switch sides from Arthur to John; suddenly the balance seemed to be tipping away from Philip and Arthur in favour of John.[60] Neither side was keen to continue the conflict, and following a papal truce the two leaders met in January 1200 to negotiate possible terms for peace.[60] From John's perspective, what then followed represented an opportunity to stabilise control over his continental possessions and produce a lasting peace with Philip in Paris. John and Philip negotiated the May 1200 Treaty of Le Goulet; by this treaty, Philip recognised John as the rightful heir to Richard in respect to his French possessions, temporarily abandoning the wider claims of his client, Arthur.[61][nb 4] John, in turn, abandoned Richard's former policy of containing Philip through alliances with Flanders and Boulogne, and accepted Philip's right as the legitimate feudal overlord of John's lands in France.[62] John's policy earned him the disrespectful title of "John Softsword" from some English chroniclers, who contrasted his behaviour with his more aggressive brother, Richard.[63]

Second marriage and consequences, 1200–1202

The effigy of Isabella of Angoulême, John's second wife, in Fontevraud Abbey in France
The effigy of Isabella of Angoulême, John's second wife, in Fontevraud Abbey in France

The new peace would last only two years; war recommenced in the aftermath of John's decision in August 1200 to marry Isabella of Angoulême. In order to remarry, John first needed to abandon his wife Isabella, Countess of Gloucester; the King accomplished this by arguing that he had failed to get the necessary papal dispensation to marry the Countess in the first place—as a cousin, John could not have legally wedded her without this. It remains unclear why John chose to marry Isabella of Angoulême. Contemporary chroniclers argued that John had fallen deeply in love with her, and John may have been motivated by desire for an apparently beautiful, if rather young, girl.[61] On the other hand, the Angoumois lands that came with her were strategically vital to John: by marrying Isabella, John was acquiring a key land route between Poitou and Gascony, which significantly strengthened his grip on Aquitaine.[64][nb 5]

Isabella, however, was already engaged to Hugh IX of Lusignan, an important member of a key Poitou noble family and brother of Raoul I, Count of Eu, who possessed lands along the sensitive eastern Normandy border.[61] Just as John stood to benefit strategically from marrying Isabella, so the marriage threatened the interests of the Lusignans, whose own lands currently provided the key route for royal goods and troops across Aquitaine.[66] Rather than negotiating some form of compensation, John treated Hugh "with contempt"; this resulted in a Lusignan uprising that was promptly crushed by John, who also intervened to suppress Raoul in Normandy.[64]

Although John was the Count of Poitou and therefore the rightful feudal lord over the Lusignans, they could legitimately appeal John's actions in France to his own feudal lord, Philip.[64] Hugh did exactly this in 1201 and Philip summoned John to attend court in Paris in 1202, citing the Le Goulet treaty to strengthen his case.[64] John was unwilling to weaken his authority in western France in this way. He argued that he need not attend Philip's court because of his special status as the Duke of Normandy, who was exempt by feudal tradition from being called to the French court.[64] Philip argued that he was summoning John not as the Duke of Normandy, but as the Count of Poitou, which carried no such special status.[64] When John still refused to come, Philip declared John in breach of his feudal responsibilities, reassigned all of John's lands that fell under the French crown to Arthur—with the exception of Normandy, which he took back for himself—and began a fresh war against John.[64]

Loss of Normandy, 1202–1204

John's successful 1202 campaign, which culminated in the victory of the battle of Mirebeau; red arrows indicate the movement of John's forces, blue those of Philip II's forces and light blue those of Philip's Breton and Lusignan allies
John's successful 1202 campaign, which culminated in the victory of the battle of Mirebeau; red arrows indicate the movement of John's forces, blue those of Philip II's forces and light blue those of Philip's Breton and Lusignan allies

John initially adopted a defensive posture similar to that of 1199: avoiding open battle and carefully defending his key castles.[67] John's operations became more chaotic as the campaign progressed, and Philip began to make steady progress in the east.[67] John became aware in July that Arthur's forces were threatening his mother, Eleanor, at Mirebeau Castle. Accompanied by William de Roches, his seneschal in Anjou, he swung his mercenary army rapidly south to protect her.[67] His forces caught Arthur by surprise and captured the entire rebel leadership at the battle of Mirebeau.[67] With his southern flank weakening, Philip was forced to withdraw in the east and turn south himself to contain John's army.[67]

John's position in France was considerably strengthened by the victory at Mirebeau, but John's treatment of his new prisoners and of his ally, William de Roches, quickly undermined these gains. De Roches was a powerful Anjou noble, but John largely ignored him, causing considerable offence, whilst the King kept the rebel leaders in such bad conditions that twenty-two of them died.[68] At this time most of the regional nobility were closely linked through kinship, and this behaviour towards their relatives was regarded as unacceptable.[69] William de Roches and other of John's regional allies in Anjou and Brittany deserted him in favour of Philip, and Brittany rose in fresh revolt.[69] John's financial situation was tenuous: once factors such as the comparative military costs of materiel and soldiers were taken into account, Philip enjoyed a considerable, although not overwhelming, advantage of resources over John.[70][nb 6]

Further desertions of John's local allies at the beginning of 1203 steadily reduced his freedom to manoeuvre in the region.[69] He attempted to convince Pope Innocent III to intervene in the conflict, but Innocent's efforts were unsuccessful.[69] As the situation became worse for John, he appears to have decided to have Arthur killed, with the aim of removing his potential rival and of undermining the rebel movement in Brittany.[69] Arthur had initially been imprisoned at Falaise and was then moved to Rouen. After this, Arthur's fate remains uncertain, but modern historians believe he was murdered by John.[69] The annals of Margam Abbey suggest that "John had captured Arthur and kept him alive in prison for some time in the castle of Rouen ... when John was drunk he slew Arthur with his own hand and tying a heavy stone to the body cast it into the Seine."[72][nb 7] Rumours of the manner of Arthur's death further reduced support for John across the region.[73] Arthur's sister, Eleanor, who had also been captured at Mirebeau, was kept imprisoned by John for many years, albeit in relatively good conditions.[73]

Phillip II's successful invasion of Normandy in 1204; blue arrows indicate the movement of Philip II's forces and light blue Philip's Breton allies
Phillip II's successful invasion of Normandy in 1204; blue arrows indicate the movement of Philip II's forces and light blue Philip's Breton allies

In late 1203, John attempted to relieve Château Gaillard, which although besieged by Philip was guarding the eastern flank of Normandy.[74] John attempted a synchronised operation involving land-based and water-borne forces, considered by most historians today to have been imaginative in conception, but overly complex for forces of the period to have carried out successfully.[74] John's relief operation was blocked by Philip's forces, and John turned back to Brittany in an attempt to draw Philip away from eastern Normandy.[74] John successfully devastated much of Brittany, but did not deflect Philip's main thrust into the east of Normandy.[74] Opinions vary amongst historians as to the military skill shown by John during this campaign, with most recent historians arguing that his performance was passable, although not impressive.[61][nb 8] John's situation began to deteriorate rapidly. The eastern border region of Normandy had been extensively cultivated by Philip and his predecessors for several years, whilst Angevin authority in the south had been undermined by Richard's giving away of various key castles some years before.[76] His use of routier mercenaries in the central regions had rapidly eaten away his remaining support in this area too, which set the stage for a sudden collapse of Angevin power.[77][nb 9] John retreated back across the Channel in December, sending orders for the establishment of a fresh defensive line to the west of Chateau Gaillard.[74] In March 1204, Gaillard fell. John's mother Eleanor died the following month.[74] This was not just a personal blow for John, but threatened to unravel the widespread Angevin alliances across the far south of France.[74] Philip moved south around the new defensive line and struck upwards at the heart of the Duchy, now facing little resistance.[74] By August, Philip had taken Normandy and advanced south to occupy Anjou and Poitou as well.[79] John's only remaining possession on the Continent was now the Duchy of Aquitaine.[80]

Discover more about Early reign (1199–1204) related topics

Château Gaillard

Château Gaillard

Château Gaillard is a medieval castle ruin overlooking the River Seine above the commune of Les Andelys, in the French department of Eure, in Normandy. It is located some 95 kilometres (59 mi) north-west of Paris and 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Rouen. Construction began in 1196 under the auspices of Richard the Lionheart, who was simultaneously King of England and feudal Duke of Normandy. The castle was expensive to build, but the majority of the work was done in an unusually short period of time. It took just two years and, at the same time, the town of Petit Andely was constructed. Château Gaillard has a complex and advanced design, and uses early principles of concentric fortification; it was also one of the earliest European castles to use machicolations. The castle consists of three enclosures separated by dry moats, with a keep in the inner enclosure.

Proximity of blood

Proximity of blood

Proximity of blood, or proximity by degree of kinship, is one of the ways to determine hereditary succession based on genealogy. In effect, the application of this rule is a refusal to recognize the right of representation, a component of primogeniture.

Loire Valley

Loire Valley

The Loire Valley, spanning 280 kilometres (170 mi), is a valley located in the middle stretch of the Loire river in central France, in both the administrative regions Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire. The area of the Loire Valley comprises about 800 square kilometres (310 sq mi). It is referred to as the Cradle of the French and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards, and artichoke, and asparagus fields, which line the banks of the river. Notable for its historic towns, architecture, and wines, the valley has been inhabited since the Middle Palaeolithic period. In 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites.

Angers

Angers

Angers is a city in western France, about 300 km (190 mi) southwest of Paris. It is the prefecture of the Maine-et-Loire department and was the capital of the province of Anjou until the French Revolution. The inhabitants of both the city and the province are called Angevins or, more rarely, Angeriens.

Tours

Tours

Tours is one of the largest cities in the region of Centre-Val de Loire, France. It is the prefecture of the Indre-et-Loire department. The commune of Tours had 136,463 inhabitants as of 2018 while the population of the whole metropolitan area was 516,973.

Mercenary

Mercenary

A mercenary, sometimes also known as a soldier of fortune or hired gun, is a private individual, particularly a soldier, that joins a military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military. Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political interests. Beginning in the 20th century, mercenaries have increasingly come to be seen as less entitled to protections by rules of war than non-mercenaries. The Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured service personnel of the armed forces. In practice, whether or not a person is a mercenary may be a matter of degree, as financial and political interests may overlap.

Brabançons

Brabançons

The Brabançons or Brabanters were routiers originally from the Duchy of Brabant active between 1166 and 1214.

Duchy of Brabant

Duchy of Brabant

The Duchy of Brabant was a State of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1183. It developed from the Landgraviate of Brabant and formed the heart of the historic Low Countries, part of the Burgundian Netherlands from 1430 and of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1482, until it was partitioned after the Dutch revolt.

Isabella of Angoulême

Isabella of Angoulême

Isabella was Queen of England from 1200 to 1216 as the second wife of King John, Countess of Angoulême in her own right from 1202 until her death in 1246, and Countess of La Marche from 1220 to 1246 as the wife of Count Hugh.

Fontevraud Abbey

Fontevraud Abbey

The Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud or Fontevrault was a monastery in the village of Fontevraud-l'Abbaye, near Chinon, in the former French duchy of Anjou. It was founded in 1101 by the itinerant preacher Robert of Arbrissel. The foundation flourished and became the center of a new monastic Order, the Order of Fontevraud. This order was composed of double monasteries, in which the community consisted of both men and women — in separate quarters of the abbey — all of whom were subject to the authority of the Abbess of Fontevraud. The Abbey of Fontevraud itself consisted of four separate communities, all managed by the same abbess.

Hugh IX of Lusignan

Hugh IX of Lusignan

Hugh IX "le Brun" of Lusignan was the grandson of Hugh VIII. His father, also Hugh, was the co-seigneur of Lusignan from 1164, marrying a woman named Orengarde before 1162 or about 1167 and dying in 1169. Hugh IX became seigneur of Lusignan in 1172, seigneur of Couhé and Chateau-Larcher in the 1190s, and Count of La Marche on his grandfather's death. Hugh IX died on the Fifth Crusade at the siege of Damietta on 5 November 1219.

Raoul I of Lusignan

Raoul I of Lusignan

Raoul I of Lusignan was the second son of Hugh de Lusignan and the grandson of Hugh VIII of Lusignan. He was a prominent nobleman in the region of Poitou, and lord (seigneur) d'Exoudun, de Melle, de Chizé, de Civray and de La Mothe. He also became Count of Eu, by marriage to Alix d'Eu. Since the region of Poitou was contested between kings of France and England, local nobility was often changing sides. Up to 1201, Raoul was loyal to kings of England, but than changed his allegiance to king of France. He later rejoined the English side, and took part in the Battle of Bouvines (1214). For his services to the king England, he was granted possession of Hastings and Tickhill, in 1216. Earlier, he participated, as a young knight, in the Third Crusade, and later again in the Fifth Crusade, and died upon return. He was buried at the Priory of Fontblanche, in Exoudun.

John as king

Kingship and royal administration

A pipe roll, part of the increasingly sophisticated system of royal governance at the turn of the 13th century
A pipe roll, part of the increasingly sophisticated system of royal governance at the turn of the 13th century

The nature of government under the Angevin monarchs was ill-defined and uncertain. John's predecessors had ruled using the principle of vis et voluntas ("force and will"), taking executive and sometimes arbitrary decisions, often justified on the basis that a king was above the law.[81] Both Henry II and Richard had argued that kings possessed a quality of "divine majesty"; John continued this trend and claimed an "almost imperial status" for himself as ruler.[81] During the 12th century, there were contrary opinions expressed about the nature of kingship, and many contemporary writers believed that monarchs should rule in accordance with the custom and the law, and take counsel of the leading members of the realm.[81] There was as yet no model for what should happen if a king refused to do so.[81] Despite his claim to unique authority within England, John would sometimes justify his actions on the basis that he had taken council with the barons.[81] Modern historians remain divided as to whether John suffered from a case of "royal schizophrenia" in his approach to government, or if his actions merely reflected the complex model of Angevin kingship in the early 13th century.[82]

John inherited a sophisticated system of administration in England, with a range of royal agents answering to the Royal Household: the Chancery kept written records and communications; the Treasury and the Exchequer dealt with income and expenditure respectively; and various judges were deployed to deliver justice around the kingdom.[83] Thanks to the efforts of men like Hubert Walter, this trend towards improved record keeping continued into his reign.[84] Like previous kings, John managed a peripatetic court that travelled around the kingdom, dealing with both local and national matters as he went.[85] John was very active in the administration of England and was involved in every aspect of government.[86] In part he was following in the tradition of Henry I and Henry II, but by the 13th century the volume of administrative work had greatly increased, which put much more pressure on a king who wished to rule in this style.[86] John was in England for much longer periods than his predecessors, which made his rule more personal than that of previous kings, particularly in previously ignored areas such as the north.[87]

The administration of justice was of particular importance to John. Several new processes had been introduced to English law under Henry II, including novel disseisin and mort d'ancestor.[88] These processes meant the royal courts had a more significant role in local law cases, which had previously been dealt with only by regional or local lords.[89] John increased the professionalism of local sergeants and bailiffs, and extended the system of coroners first introduced by Hubert Walter in 1194, creating a new class of borough coroners.[90] The King worked extremely hard to ensure that this system operated well, through judges he had appointed, by fostering legal specialists and expertise, and by intervening in cases himself.[91] He continued to try relatively minor cases, even during military crises.[92] Viewed positively, Lewis Warren considers that John discharged "his royal duty of providing justice ... with a zeal and a tirelessness to which the English common law is greatly endebted".[91] Seen more critically, John may have been motivated by the potential of the royal legal process to raise fees, rather than a desire to deliver simple justice; his legal system also applied only to free men, rather than to all of the population.[93] Nonetheless, these changes were popular with many free tenants, who acquired a more reliable legal system that could bypass the barons, against whom such cases were often brought.[94] John's reforms were less popular with the barons themselves, especially as they remained subject to arbitrary and frequently vindictive royal justice.[94]

Economy

A silver King John penny, amongst the first struck in Dublin
A silver King John penny, amongst the first struck in Dublin

One of John's principal challenges was acquiring the large sums of money needed for his proposed campaigns to reclaim Normandy.[95] The Angevin kings had three main sources of income available to them, namely revenue from their personal lands, or demesne; money raised through their rights as a feudal lord; and revenue from taxation. Revenue from the royal demesne was inflexible and had been diminishing slowly since the Norman conquest. Matters were not helped by Richard's sale of many royal properties in 1189, and taxation played a much smaller role in royal income than in later centuries. English kings had widespread feudal rights which could be used to generate income, including the scutage system, in which feudal military service was avoided by a cash payment to the King. He derived income from fines, court fees and the sale of charters and other privileges.[96] John intensified his efforts to maximise all possible sources of income, to the extent that he has been described as "avaricious, miserly, extortionate and moneyminded".[97] He also used revenue generation as a way of exerting political control over the barons: debts owed to the crown by the King's favoured supporters might be forgiven; collection of those owed by enemies was more stringently enforced.

A silver King John penny
A silver King John penny

The result was a sequence of innovative but unpopular financial measures.[nb 10] John levied scutage payments eleven times in his seventeen years as king, as compared to eleven times in total during the reign of the preceding three monarchs.[99] In many cases these were levied in the absence of any actual military campaign, which ran counter to the original idea that scutage was an alternative to actual military service.[99] John maximised his right to demand relief payments when estates and castles were inherited, sometimes charging enormous sums, beyond barons' abilities to pay.[99] Building on the successful sale of sheriff appointments in 1194, the King initiated a new round of appointments, with the new incumbents making back their investment through increased fines and penalties, particularly in the forests.[100] Another innovation of Richard's, increased charges levied on widows who wished to remain single, was expanded under John.[100] John continued to sell charters for new towns, including the planned town of Liverpool, and charters were sold for markets across the kingdom and in Gascony.[101][nb 11] The King introduced new taxes and extended existing ones. The Jews, who held a vulnerable position in medieval England, protected only by the King, were subject to huge taxes; £44,000 was extracted from the community by the tallage of 1210; much of it was passed on to the Christian debtors of Jewish moneylenders.[100][nb 12] John created a new tax on income and movable goods in 1207—effectively a version of a modern income tax—that produced £60,000; he created a new set of import and export duties payable directly to the Crown.[103] He found that these measures enabled him to raise further resources through the confiscation of the lands of barons who could not pay or refused to pay.[104]

At the start of John's reign there was a sudden change in prices, as bad harvests and high demand for food resulted in much higher prices for grain and animals. This inflationary pressure was to continue for the rest of the 13th century and had long-term economic consequences for England.[105] The resulting social pressures were complicated by bursts of deflation that resulted from John's military campaigns.[106] It was usual at the time for the King to collect taxes in silver, which was then re-minted into new coins; these coins would then be put in barrels and sent to royal castles around the country, to be used to hire mercenaries or to meet other costs.[107] At those times when John was preparing for campaigns in Normandy, for example, huge quantities of silver had to be withdrawn from the economy and stored for months, which unintentionally resulted in periods during which silver coins were simply hard to come by, commercial credit difficult to acquire and deflationary pressure placed on the economy. The result was political unrest across the country.[108] John attempted to address some of the problems with the English currency in 1204 and 1205 by carrying out a radical overhaul of the coinage, improving its quality and consistency.[109]

Royal household and ira et malevolentia

King John presenting a church, painted c. 1250–1259 by Matthew Paris in his Historia Anglorum
King John presenting a church, painted c. 1250–1259 by Matthew Paris in his Historia Anglorum

John's royal household was based around several groups of followers. One group was the familiares regis, his immediate friends and knights who travelled around the country with him. They also played an important role in organising and leading military campaigns.[110] Another section of royal followers were the curia regis; these curiales were the senior officials and agents of the King and were essential to his day-to-day rule.[111] Being a member of these inner circles brought huge advantages, as it was easier to gain favours from the King, file lawsuits, marry a wealthy heiress or have one's debts remitted.[112] By the time of Henry II, these posts were increasingly being filled by "new men" from outside the normal ranks of the barons. This intensified under John's rule, with many lesser nobles arriving from the continent to take up positions at court; many were mercenary leaders from Poitou.[113] These men included soldiers who would become infamous in England for their uncivilised behaviour, including Falkes de Breauté, Geard d'Athies, Engelard de Cigongé, and Philip Marc.[114] Many barons perceived the King's household as what Ralph Turner has characterised as a "narrow clique enjoying royal favour at barons' expense" staffed by men of lesser status.[113]

This trend for the King to rely on his own men at the expense of the barons was exacerbated by the tradition of Angevin royal ira et malevolentia ("anger and ill-will") and John's own personality.[115] From Henry II onwards, ira et malevolentia had come to describe the right of the King to express his anger and displeasure at particular barons or clergy, building on the Norman concept of malevoncia—royal ill-will.[116] In the Norman period, suffering the King's ill-will meant difficulties in obtaining grants, honours or petitions; Henry II had infamously expressed his fury and ill-will towards Thomas Becket, which ultimately resulted in Becket's death.[116] John now had the additional ability to "cripple his vassals" on a significant scale using his new economic and judicial measures, which made the threat of royal anger all the more serious.[117]

John was deeply suspicious of the barons, particularly those with sufficient power and wealth to potentially challenge him.[117] Numerous barons were subjected to his malevolentia, even including the famous knight William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, normally held up as a model of utter loyalty.[118] The most infamous case, which went beyond anything considered acceptable at the time, was that of the powerful William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber, who held lands in Ireland.[119] De Braose was subjected to punitive demands for money, and when he refused to pay a huge sum of 40,000 marks (equivalent to £26,666 at the time),[nb 13] his wife, Maud, and one of their sons were imprisoned by John, which resulted in their deaths.[120] De Braose died in exile in 1211, and his grandsons remained in prison until 1218.[120] John's suspicions and jealousies meant that he rarely enjoyed good relationships with even the leading loyalist barons.[121]

Personal life

A 13th-century depiction of John and his legitimate children, (l to r) Henry, Richard, Isabella, Eleanor and Joan
A 13th-century depiction of John and his legitimate children, (l to r) Henry, Richard, Isabella, Eleanor and Joan

John's personal life greatly affected his reign. Contemporary chroniclers state that John was sinfully lustful and lacking in piety.[122] It was common for kings and nobles of the period to keep mistresses, but chroniclers complained that John's mistresses were married noblewomen, which was considered unacceptable.[122] John had at least five children with mistresses during his first marriage, and two of those mistresses are known to have been noblewomen.[123] John's behaviour after his second marriage is less clear, however. None of his known illegitimate children were born after he remarried, and there is no actual documentary proof of adultery after that point, although John certainly had female friends amongst the court throughout the period.[124] The specific accusations made against John during the baronial revolts are now generally considered to have been invented for the purposes of justifying the revolt; nonetheless, most of John's contemporaries seem to have held a poor opinion of his sexual behaviour.[122][nb 14]

The character of John's relationship with his second wife, Isabella of Angoulême, is unclear. John married Isabella whilst she was relatively young—her exact date of birth is uncertain, and estimates place her between at most 15 and more probably towards nine years old at the time of her marriage.[126][nb 15] Even by the standards of the time, she was married whilst very young.[127] John did not provide a great deal of money for his wife's household and did not pass on much of the revenue from her lands, to the extent that historian Nicholas Vincent has described him as being "downright mean" towards Isabella.[128] Vincent concluded that the marriage was not a particularly "amicable" one.[129] Other aspects of their marriage suggest a closer, more positive relationship. Chroniclers recorded that John had a "mad infatuation" with Isabella, and certainly the King and Queen had conjugal relationships between at least 1207 and 1215; they had five children.[130] In contrast to Vincent, historian William Chester Jordan concludes that the pair were a "companionable couple" who had a successful marriage by the standards of the day.[131]

John's lack of religious conviction has been noted by contemporary chroniclers and later historians, with some suspecting that he was at best impious, or even atheistic, a very serious issue at the time.[132] Contemporary chroniclers catalogued his various anti-religious habits at length, including his failure to take communion, his blasphemous remarks, and his witty but scandalous jokes about church doctrine, including jokes about the implausibility of the Resurrection of Jesus. They commented on the paucity of John's charitable donations to the Church.[133] Historian Frank McLynn argues that John's early years at Fontevrault, combined with his relatively advanced education, may have turned him against the church.[18] Other historians have been more cautious in interpreting this material, noting that chroniclers also reported his personal interest in the life of St Wulfstan and his friendships with several senior clerics, most especially with Hugh of Lincoln, who was later declared a saint.[134] Financial records show a normal royal household engaged in the usual feasts and pious observances—albeit with many records showing John's offerings to the poor to atone for routinely breaking church rules and guidance.[135] The historian Lewis Warren has argued that the chronicler accounts were subject to considerable bias and the King was "at least conventionally devout", citing his pilgrimages and interest in religious scripture and commentaries.[136]

Discover more about John as king related topics

Divine right of kings

Divine right of kings

In European Christianity, the divine right of kings, divine right, or God's mandation is a political and religious doctrine of political legitimacy of a monarchy. It stems from a specific metaphysical framework in which a monarch is, before birth, pre-ordained to inherit the crown. According to this theory of political legitimacy, the subjects of the crown have actively turned over the metaphysical selection of the king's soul – which will inhabit the body and rule them – to God. In this way, the "divine right" originates as a metaphysical act of humility and/or submission towards God. Divine right has been a key element of the legitimisation of many absolute monarchies.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by continuous or relapsing episodes of psychosis. Major symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking. Other symptoms include social withdrawal, decreased emotional expression, and apathy. Symptoms typically develop gradually, begin during young adulthood, and in many cases never become resolved. There is no objective diagnostic test; diagnosis is based on observed behavior, a history that includes the person's reported experiences, and reports of others familiar with the person. To be diagnosed with schizophrenia, symptoms and functional impairment need to be present for six months (DSM-5) or one month (ICD-11). Many people with schizophrenia have other mental disorders, especially substance use disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive–compulsive disorder.

Exchequer

Exchequer

In the civil service of the United Kingdom, His Majesty’s Exchequer, or just the Exchequer, is the accounting process of central government and the government's current account in the Consolidated Fund. It can be found used in various financial documents including the latest departmental and agency annual accounts.

Hubert Walter

Hubert Walter

Hubert Walter was an influential royal adviser in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries in the positions of Chief Justiciar of England, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Chancellor. As chancellor, Walter began the keeping of the Charter Roll, a record of all charters issued by the chancery. Walter was not noted for his holiness in life or learning, but historians have judged him one of the most outstanding government ministers in English history.

Henry I of England

Henry I of England

Henry I, also known as Henry Beauclerc, was King of England from 1100 to his death in 1135. He was the fourth son of William the Conqueror and was educated in Latin and the liberal arts. On William's death in 1087, Henry's elder brothers Robert Curthose and William Rufus inherited Normandy and England, respectively, but Henry was left landless. He purchased the County of Cotentin in western Normandy from Robert, but his brothers deposed him in 1091. He gradually rebuilt his power base in the Cotentin and allied himself with William Rufus against Robert.

Economy of England in the Middle Ages

Economy of England in the Middle Ages

The medieval English saw their economy as comprising three groups – the clergy, who prayed; the knights, who fought; and the peasants, who worked the landtowns involved in international trade. Over the five centuries of the Middle Ages, the English economy would at first grow and then suffer an acute crisis, resulting in significant political and economic change. Despite economic dislocation in urban and extraction economies, including shifts in the holders of wealth and the location of these economies, the economic output of towns and mines developed and intensified over the period. By the end of the period, England had a weak government, by later standards, overseeing an economy dominated by rented farms controlled by gentry, and a thriving community of indigenous English merchants and corporations.

Silver

Silver

Silver is a chemical element with the symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal. The metal is found in the Earth's crust in the pure, free elemental form, as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold, lead, and zinc refining.

Penny

Penny

A penny is a coin or a unit of currency in various countries. Borrowed from the Carolingian denarius, it is usually the smallest denomination within a currency system. Presently, it is the formal name of the British penny (abbr. p) and the de facto name of the American one-cent coin (abbr. ¢) as well as the informal Irish designation of the 1 cent euro coin (abbr. c). It is the informal name of the cent unit of account in Canada, although one-cent coins are no longer minted there. The name is used in reference to various historical currencies, also derived from the Carolingian system, such as the French denier and the German pfennig. It may also be informally used to refer to any similar smallest-denomination coin, such as the euro cent or Chinese fen.

Dublin

Dublin

Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. On a bay at the mouth of the River Liffey, it is in the province of Leinster, bordered on the south by the Dublin Mountains, a part of the Wicklow Mountains range. At the 2016 census, it had a population of 1,173,179, while the population of County Dublin as a whole was 1,347,359, and the Greater Dublin Area was 1,904,806.

Demesne

Demesne

A demesne or domain was all the land retained and managed by a lord of the manor under the feudal system for his own use, occupation, or support. This distinguished it from land sub-enfeoffed by him to others as sub-tenants. The concept originated in the Kingdom of France and found its way to foreign lands influenced by it or its fiefdoms.

Scutage

Scutage

Scutage is a medieval English tax levied on holders of a knight's fee under the feudal land tenure of knight-service. Under feudalism the king, through his vassals, provided land to knights for their support. The knights owed the king military service in return. The knights were allowed to "buy out" of the military service by paying scutage. As time passed the kings began to impose a scutage on holders of knight's fees, whether or not the holder was actually a knight.

Charter

Charter

A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified. It is implicit that the granter retains superiority, and that the recipient admits a limited status within the relationship, and it is within that sense that charters were historically granted, and it is that sense which is retained in modern usage of the term.

Later reign (1204–1214)

Continental policy

An early-13th-century drawing by Matthew Paris showing contemporary warfare, including the use of castles, crossbowmen and mounted knights
An early-13th-century drawing by Matthew Paris showing contemporary warfare, including the use of castles, crossbowmen and mounted knights

During the remainder of his reign, John focused on trying to retake Normandy.[137] The available evidence suggests that he did not regard the loss of the Duchy as a permanent shift in Capetian power.[137] Strategically, John faced several challenges:[138] England itself had to be secured against possible French invasion,[138] the sea-routes to Bordeaux needed to be secured following the loss of the land route to Aquitaine, and his remaining possessions in Aquitaine needed to be secured following the death of his mother, Eleanor, in April 1204.[138] John's preferred plan was to use Poitou as a base of operations, advance up the Loire Valley to threaten Paris, pin down the French forces and break Philip's internal lines of communication before landing a maritime force in the Duchy itself.[138] Ideally, this plan would benefit from the opening of a second front on Philip's eastern frontiers with Flanders and Boulogne—effectively a re-creation of Richard's old strategy of applying pressure from Germany.[138] All of this would require a great deal of money and soldiers.[139]

John spent much of 1205 securing England against a potential French invasion.[137] As an emergency measure, he recreated a version of Henry II's Assize of Arms of 1181, with each shire creating a structure to mobilise local levies.[137] When the threat of invasion faded, John formed a large military force in England intended for Poitou, and a large fleet with soldiers under his own command intended for Normandy.[139] To achieve this, John reformed the English feudal contribution to his campaigns, creating a more flexible system under which only one knight in ten would actually be mobilised, but would be financially supported by the other nine; knights would serve for an indefinite period.[139] John built up a strong team of engineers for siege warfare and a substantial force of professional crossbowmen.[140] The King was supported by a team of leading barons with military expertise, including William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury, William the Marshal, Roger de Lacy and, until he fell from favour, the marcher lord William de Braose.[140]

John had already begun to improve his Channel forces before the loss of Normandy and he rapidly built up further maritime capabilities after its collapse. Most of these ships were placed along the Cinque Ports, but Portsmouth was also enlarged.[141] By the end of 1204 he had around 50 large galleys available; another 54 vessels were built between 1209 and 1212.[142] William of Wrotham was appointed "keeper of the galleys", effectively John's chief admiral.[137] Wrotham was responsible for fusing John's galleys, the ships of the Cinque Ports and pressed merchant vessels into a single operational fleet.[137] John adopted recent improvements in ship design, including new large transport ships called buisses and removable forecastles for use in combat.[141]

Baronial unrest in England prevented the departure of the planned 1205 expedition, and only a smaller force under William Longespée deployed to Poitou.[139] In 1206 John departed for Poitou himself, but was forced to divert south to counter a threat to Gascony from Alfonso VIII of Castile.[139] After a successful campaign against Alfonso, John headed north again, taking the city of Angers.[139] Philip moved south to meet John; the year's campaigning ended in stalemate and a two-year truce was made between the two rulers.[143]

During the truce of 1206–1208, John focused on building up his financial and military resources in preparation for another attempt to recapture Normandy.[144] John used some of this money to pay for new alliances on Philip's eastern frontiers, where the growth in Capetian power was beginning to concern France's neighbours.[144] By 1212 John had successfully concluded alliances with his nephew Otto IV, a contender for the crown of Holy Roman Emperor in Germany, as well as with the counts Renaud of Boulogne and Ferdinand of Flanders.[144] The invasion plans for 1212 were postponed because of fresh English baronial unrest about service in Poitou.[144] Philip seized the initiative in 1213, sending his elder son, Louis, to invade Flanders with the intention of next launching an invasion of England.[144] John was forced to postpone his own invasion plans to counter this threat. He launched his new fleet to attack the French at the harbour of Damme.[145] The attack was a success, destroying Philip's vessels and any chances of an invasion of England that year.[145] John hoped to exploit this advantage by invading himself late in 1213, but baronial discontent again delayed his invasion plans until early 1214, in what was his final Continental campaign.[145]

Scotland, Ireland and Wales

A 13th-century depiction of John with two hunting dogs
A 13th-century depiction of John with two hunting dogs

In the late 12th and early 13th centuries the border and political relationship between England and Scotland was disputed, with the kings of Scotland claiming parts of what is now northern England. John's father, Henry II, had forced William the Lion to swear fealty to him at the Treaty of Falaise in 1174.[146] This had been rescinded by Richard I in exchange for financial compensation in 1189, but the relationship remained uneasy.[147] John began his reign by reasserting his sovereignty over the disputed northern counties. He refused William's request for the earldom of Northumbria, but did not intervene in Scotland itself and focused on his continental problems.[148] The two kings maintained a friendly relationship, meeting in 1206 and 1207,[149] until it was rumoured in 1209 that William was intending to ally himself with Philip II of France.[150] John invaded Scotland and forced William to sign the Treaty of Norham, which gave John control of William's daughters and required a payment of £10,000.[151] This effectively crippled William's power north of the border, and by 1212 John had to intervene militarily to support William against his internal rivals.[151][nb 16] John made no efforts to reinvigorate the Treaty of Falaise, though, and William and his son Alexander II of Scotland in turn remained independent kings, supported by, but not owing fealty to, John.[153]

John remained Lord of Ireland throughout his reign. He drew on the country for resources to fight his war with Philip on the continent.[154] Conflict continued in Ireland between the Anglo-Norman settlers and the indigenous Irish chieftains, with John manipulating both groups to expand his wealth and power in the country.[154] During Richard's rule, John had successfully increased the size of his lands in Ireland, and he continued this policy as king.[155] In 1210 the King crossed into Ireland with a large army to crush a rebellion by the Anglo-Norman lords; he reasserted his control of the country and used a new charter to order compliance with English laws and customs in Ireland.[156] John stopped short of trying to actively enforce this charter on the native Irish kingdoms, but historian David Carpenter suspects that he might have done so, had the baronial conflict in England not intervened. Simmering tensions remained with the native Irish leaders even after John left for England.[157]

Royal power in Wales was unevenly applied, with the country divided between the marcher lords along the borders, royal territories in Pembrokeshire and the more independent native Welsh lords of North Wales. John took a close interest in Wales and knew the country well, visiting every year between 1204 and 1211 and marrying his illegitimate daughter, Joan, to the Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great.[158] The King used the marcher lords and the native Welsh to increase his own territory and power, striking a sequence of increasingly precise deals backed by royal military power with the Welsh rulers.[159] A major royal expedition to enforce these agreements occurred in 1211, after Llywelyn attempted to exploit the instability caused by the removal of William de Braose, through the Welsh uprising of 1211.[160] John's invasion, striking into the Welsh heartlands, was a military success. Llywelyn came to terms that included an expansion of John's power across much of Wales, albeit only temporarily.[160]

Dispute with the Pope and excommunication

Pope Innocent III, who excommunicated John in 1209
Pope Innocent III, who excommunicated John in 1209

When the Archbishop of Canterbury, Hubert Walter, died on 13 July 1205, John became involved in a dispute with Pope Innocent III that would lead to the King's excommunication. The Norman and Angevin kings had traditionally exercised a great deal of power over the church within their territories. From the 1040s onwards, however, successive popes had put forward a reforming message that emphasised the importance of the Church being "governed more coherently and more hierarchically from the centre" and established "its own sphere of authority and jurisdiction, separate from and independent of that of the lay ruler", in the words of historian Richard Huscroft.[161] After the 1140s, these principles had been largely accepted within the English Church, albeit with an element of concern about centralising authority in Rome.[162] These changes brought the customary rights of lay rulers such as John over ecclesiastical appointments into question.[162] Pope Innocent was, according to historian Ralph Turner, an "ambitious and aggressive" religious leader, insistent on his rights and responsibilities within the church.[163]

John wanted John de Gray, the Bishop of Norwich and one of his own supporters, to be appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, but the cathedral chapter for Canterbury Cathedral claimed the exclusive right to elect the Archbishop. They favoured Reginald, the chapter's sub-prior.[164] To complicate matters, the bishops of the province of Canterbury also claimed the right to appoint the next archbishop.[164] The chapter secretly elected Reginald and he travelled to Rome to be confirmed; the bishops challenged the appointment and the matter was taken before Innocent.[165] John forced the Canterbury chapter to change their support to John de Gray, and a messenger was sent to Rome to inform the papacy of the new decision.[166] Innocent disavowed both Reginald and John de Gray, and instead appointed his own candidate, Stephen Langton. John refused Innocent's request that he consent to Langton's appointment, but the Pope consecrated Langton anyway in June 1207.[166]

John was incensed about what he perceived as an abrogation of his customary right as monarch to influence the election.[166] He complained both about the choice of Langton as an individual, as John felt he was overly influenced by the Capetian court in Paris, and about the process as a whole.[167] He barred Langton from entering England and seized the lands of the archbishopric and other papal possessions.[167] Innocent set a commission in place to try to convince John to change his mind, but to no avail. Innocent then placed an interdict on England in March 1208, prohibiting clergy from conducting religious services, with the exception of baptisms for the young, and confessions and absolutions for the dying.[168]

Rochester Castle in Kent, one of the many properties owned by the disputed archbishopric of Canterbury, and an important fortification in the final years of John's reign
Rochester Castle in Kent, one of the many properties owned by the disputed archbishopric of Canterbury, and an important fortification in the final years of John's reign

John treated the interdict as "the equivalent of a papal declaration of war".[169] He responded by attempting to punish Innocent personally and to drive a wedge between those English clergy that might support him and those allying themselves firmly with the authorities in Rome.[169] John seized the lands of those clergy unwilling to conduct services, as well as those estates linked to Innocent himself; he arrested the illicit concubines that many clerics kept during the period, releasing them only after the payment of fines; he seized the lands of members of the church who had fled England, and he promised protection for those clergy willing to remain loyal to him.[169] In many cases, individual institutions were able to negotiate terms for managing their own properties and keeping the produce of their estates.[170] By 1209 the situation showed no signs of resolution, and Innocent threatened to excommunicate John if he did not acquiesce to Langton's appointment.[171] When this threat failed, Innocent excommunicated the King in November 1209.[171] Although theoretically a significant blow to John's legitimacy, this did not appear to worry the King greatly.[171] Two of John's close allies, Emperor Otto IV and Count Raymond VI of Toulouse, had already suffered the same punishment themselves, and the significance of excommunication had been somewhat devalued.[171] John simply tightened his existing measures and accrued significant sums from the income of vacant sees and abbeys: one 1213 estimate, for example, suggested the church had lost an estimated 100,000 marks (equivalent to £66,666 at the time) to John.[172] Official figures suggest that around 14% of annual income from the English church was being appropriated by John each year.[173]

Innocent gave some dispensations as the crisis progressed.[174] Monastic communities were allowed to celebrate Mass in private from 1209 onwards, and late in 1212 the Holy Viaticum for the dying was authorised.[175] The rules on burials and lay access to churches appear to have been steadily circumvented, at least unofficially.[174] Although the interdict was a burden to much of the population, it did not result in rebellion against John. By 1213, though, John was increasingly worried about the threat of French invasion.[176] Some contemporary chroniclers suggested that in January Philip II of France had been charged with deposing John on behalf of the papacy, although it appears that Innocent merely prepared secret letters in case Innocent needed to claim the credit if Philip did successfully invade England.[177]

Under mounting political pressure, John finally negotiated terms for a reconciliation, and the papal terms for submission were accepted in the presence of the papal legate Pandulf Verraccio in May 1213 at the Templar Church at Dover.[178] As part of the deal, John offered to surrender the Kingdom of England to the papacy for a feudal service of 1,000 marks (equivalent to £666 at the time) annually: 700 marks (£466) for England and 300 marks (£200) for Ireland, as well as recompensing the Church for revenue lost during the crisis.[179] The agreement was formalised in the Bulla Aurea, or Golden Bull. This resolution produced mixed responses. Although some chroniclers felt that John had been humiliated by the sequence of events, there was little public reaction.[180] Innocent benefited from the resolution of his long-standing English problem, but John probably gained more, as Innocent became a firm supporter of John for the rest of his reign, backing him in both domestic and continental policy issues.[181] Innocent immediately turned against Philip, calling upon him to reject plans to invade England and to sue for peace.[181] John paid some of the compensation money he had promised the Church, but he ceased making payments in late 1214, leaving two-thirds of the sum unpaid; Innocent appears to have conveniently forgotten this debt for the good of the wider relationship.[182]

Discover more about Later reign (1204–1214) related topics

Castle

Castle

A castle is a type of fortified structure built during the Middle Ages predominantly by the nobility or royalty and by military orders. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. This is distinct from a palace, which is not fortified; from a fortress, which was not always a residence for royalty or nobility; from a pleasance which was a walled-in residence for nobility, but not adequately fortified; and from a fortified settlement, which was a public defence – though there are many similarities among these types of construction. Use of the term has varied over time and has also been applied to structures such as hill forts and 19th-20th century homes built to resemble castles. Over the approximately 900 years when genuine castles were built, they took on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls, arrowslits, and portcullises, were commonplace.

Crossbow

Crossbow

A crossbow is a ranged weapon using an elastic launching device consisting of a bow-like assembly called a prod, mounted horizontally on a main frame called a tiller, which is hand-held in a similar fashion to the stock of a long firearm. Crossbows shoot arrow-like projectiles called bolts or quarrels. A person who shoots crossbow is called a crossbowman or an arbalist.

Knight

Knight

A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state or representative for service to the monarch, the church or the country, especially in a military capacity. Knighthood finds origins in the Greek hippeis and hoplite (ἱππεῖς) and Roman eques and centurion of classical antiquity.

Loire Valley

Loire Valley

The Loire Valley, spanning 280 kilometres (170 mi), is a valley located in the middle stretch of the Loire river in central France, in both the administrative regions Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire. The area of the Loire Valley comprises about 800 square kilometres (310 sq mi). It is referred to as the Cradle of the French and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards, and artichoke, and asparagus fields, which line the banks of the river. Notable for its historic towns, architecture, and wines, the valley has been inhabited since the Middle Palaeolithic period. In 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites.

Assize of Arms of 1181

Assize of Arms of 1181

The Assize of Arms of 1181 was a proclamation of King Henry II of England concerning the obligation of all freemen of England to possess and bear arms in the service of king and realm and to swear allegiance to the king, on pain of "vengeance, not merely on their lands or chattels, but on their limbs". The assize stipulated precisely the military equipment that each man should have according to his rank and wealth. The assize effectively revived the old Anglo‐Saxon fyrd duty. The Assize established restrictions on weapon possession by Jews, terms of inheritance, and prohibition of exports of arms, ships and timber.Every knight was forced to arm himself with a coat of mail, and shield and lance; every freeholder with lance and hauberk, every burgess and poorer freeman with lance and an iron helmet. This universal levy of the armed nation was wholly at the disposal of the king for defense. ... By his Assize of Arms Henry restored the Ancient Anglo-Saxon Militia System, and supplied the requisite counterbalance to the military power of the great feudatories, which, notwithstanding the temptation to avoid service by payment of scutage, they were still able and too willing to maintain.In all these measures we may trace one main object, the strengthening of the Royal power, and one main means, or directing principle—the doing so by increasing the safety and security of the people. Whatever was done to help the people, served to reduce the power of the great feudal baronage, to disarm their forces, to abolish their jurisdictions, to diminish their chances of tyranny.

English Channel

English Channel

The English Channel is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates Southern England from northern France. It links to the southern part of the North Sea by the Strait of Dover at its northeastern end. It is the busiest shipping area in the world.

Cinque Ports

Cinque Ports

The Confederation of Cinque Ports is a historic group of coastal towns in south-east England – predominantly in Kent and Sussex, with one outlier (Brightlingsea) in Essex. The name is Old French, meaning "five harbours", and alludes to the original five members. At its peak in the late middle ages, the confederation included over 40 members.

HMNB Portsmouth

HMNB Portsmouth

His Majesty's Naval Base, Portsmouth is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy. Portsmouth Naval Base is part of the city of Portsmouth; it is located on the eastern shore of Portsmouth Harbour, north of the Solent and the Isle of Wight. Until the early 1970s, it was officially known as Portsmouth Royal Dockyard ; thereafter the term 'Naval Base' gained currency, acknowledging a greater focus on personnel and support elements alongside the traditional emphasis on building, repairing and maintaining ships. In 1984 Portsmouth's Royal Dockyard function was downgraded and it was formally renamed the 'Fleet Maintenance and Repair Organisation' (FMRO). The FMRO was privatized in 1998, and for a time, shipbuilding, in the form of block construction, returned. Around 2000, the designation HMS Nelson was extended to cover the entire base.

Galley

Galley

A galley is a type of ship that is propelled mainly by oars. The galley is characterized by its long, slender hull, shallow draft, and low freeboard. Virtually all types of galleys had sails that could be used in favorable winds, but human effort was always the primary method of propulsion. This allowed galleys to navigate independently of winds and currents. The galley originated among the seafaring civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea in the late second millennium BC and remained in use in various forms until the early 19th century in warfare, trade, and piracy.

Forecastle

Forecastle

The forecastle is the upper deck of a sailing ship forward of the foremast, or, historically, the forward part of a ship with the sailors' living quarters. Related to the latter meaning is the phrase "before the mast" which denotes anything related to ordinary sailors, as opposed to a ship's officers.

Gascony

Gascony

Gascony was a province of the southwestern Kingdom of France that succeeded the Duchy of Gascony (602–1453). From the 17th century until the French Revolution (1789–1799), it was part of the combined Province of Guyenne and Gascony. The region is vaguely defined, and the distinction between Guyenne and Gascony is unclear; by some they are seen to overlap, while others consider Gascony a part of Guyenne. Most definitions put Gascony east and south of Bordeaux.

Alfonso VIII of Castile

Alfonso VIII of Castile

Alfonso VIII, called the Noble or the one of Las Navas, was King of Castile from 1158 to his death and King of Toledo. After having suffered a great defeat with his own army at Alarcos against the Almohads in 1195, he led the coalition of Christian princes and foreign crusaders who broke the power of the Almohads in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, an event which marked the arrival of a tide of Christian supremacy on the Iberian peninsula.

Failure in France and the First Barons' War (1215–1216)

The French victory at the battle of Bouvines doomed John's plan to retake Normandy in 1214 and led to the First Barons' War.
The French victory at the battle of Bouvines doomed John's plan to retake Normandy in 1214 and led to the First Barons' War.

Tensions and discontent

Tensions between John and the barons had been growing for several years, as demonstrated by the 1212 plot against the King.[183] Many of the disaffected barons came from the north of England; that faction was often labelled by contemporaries and historians as "the Northerners". The northern barons rarely had any personal stake in the conflict in France, and many of them owed large sums of money to John; the revolt has been characterised as "a rebellion of the king's debtors".[184] Many of John's military household joined the rebels, particularly amongst those that John had appointed to administrative roles across England; their local links and loyalties outweighed their personal loyalty to John.[185] Tension also grew across North Wales, where opposition to the 1211 treaty between John and Llywelyn was turning into open conflict.[186] For some the appointment of Peter des Roches as justiciar was an important factor, as he was considered an "abrasive foreigner" by many of the barons.[187] The failure of John's French military campaign in 1214 was probably the final straw that precipitated the baronial uprising during John's final years as king; James Holt describes the path to civil war as "direct, short and unavoidable" following the defeat at Bouvines.[188]

Failure of the 1214 French campaign

In 1214 John began his final campaign to reclaim Normandy from Philip. He was optimistic, as he had successfully built up alliances with the Emperor Otto, Renaud of Boulogne and Ferdinand of Flanders; he was enjoying papal favour; and he had successfully built up substantial funds to pay for the deployment of his experienced army.[189] Nonetheless, when John left for Poitou in February 1214, many barons refused to provide military service; mercenary knights had to fill the gaps.[190] John's plan was to split Philip's forces by pushing north-east from Poitou towards Paris, whilst Otto, Renaud and Ferdinand, supported by William Longespée, marched south-west from Flanders.[190]

The first part of the campaign went well, with John outmanoeuvring the forces under the command of Prince Louis and retaking the county of Anjou by the end of June.[191] John besieged the castle of Roche-au-Moine, a key stronghold, forcing Louis to give battle against John's larger army.[192] The local Angevin nobles refused to advance with John; left at something of a disadvantage, John retreated back to La Rochelle.[192] Shortly afterwards, King Philip won the hard-fought battle of Bouvines in the north against Otto and John's other allies, bringing an end to John's hopes of retaking Normandy.[193] A peace agreement was signed in which John returned Anjou to Philip and paid him compensation; the truce was intended to last for six years.[193] John arrived back in England in October.[193]

Pre-war tensions and Magna Carta

One of four surviving original copies of Magna Carta, agreed by John and the barons in 1215. British Library, London.
One of four surviving original copies of Magna Carta, agreed by John and the barons in 1215. British Library, London.

Within a few months of John's return, rebel barons in the north and east of England were organising resistance to his rule.[194] John held a council in London in January 1215 to discuss potential reforms and sponsored discussions in Oxford between his agents and the rebels during the spring.[195] He appears to have been playing for time until Pope Innocent III could send letters giving him explicit papal support. This was particularly important for John, as a way of pressuring the barons but also as a way of controlling Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury.[196] In the meantime, John began to recruit fresh mercenary forces from Poitou, although some were later sent back to avoid giving the impression that John was escalating the conflict.[195] The King announced his intent to become a crusader, a move which gave him additional political protection under church law.[197]

Letters of support from the Pope arrived in April but by then the rebel barons had organised. They congregated at Northampton in May and renounced their feudal ties to John, appointing Robert fitz Walter as their military leader.[198] This self-proclaimed "Army of God" marched on London, taking the capital as well as Lincoln and Exeter.[199] John's efforts to appear moderate and conciliatory had been largely successful, but once the rebels held London they attracted a fresh wave of defectors from John's royalist faction.[199] John instructed Langton to organise peace talks with the rebel barons.[199]

John met the rebel leaders at Runnymede, near Windsor Castle, on 15 June 1215.[199] Langton's efforts at mediation created a charter capturing the proposed peace agreement; it was later renamed Magna Carta, or "Great Charter".[200] The charter went beyond simply addressing specific baronial complaints, and formed a wider proposal for political reform, albeit one focusing on the rights of free men, not serfs and unfree labour.[201] It promised the protection of church rights, protection from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, new taxation only with baronial consent and limitations on scutage and other feudal payments.[202] A council of twenty-five barons would be created to monitor and ensure John's future adherence to the charter, whilst the rebel army would stand down and London would be surrendered to the King.[203]

Neither John nor the rebel barons seriously attempted to implement the peace accord.[203] The rebel barons suspected that the proposed baronial council would be unacceptable to John and that he would challenge the legality of the charter; they packed the baronial council with their own hardliners and refused to demobilise their forces or surrender London as agreed.[204] Despite his promises to the contrary, John appealed to Innocent for help, observing that the charter compromised the Pope's rights under the 1213 agreement that had appointed him John's feudal lord.[205] Innocent obliged; he declared the charter "not only shameful and demeaning, but illegal and unjust" and excommunicated the rebel barons.[205] The failure of the agreement led rapidly to the First Barons' War.[205]

War with the barons

John's campaign from September 1215 to March 1216
John's campaign from September 1215 to March 1216

The rebels made the first move in the war, seizing the strategic Rochester Castle, owned by Langton but left almost unguarded by the archbishop.[206] John was well prepared for a conflict. He had stockpiled money to pay for mercenaries and ensured the support of the powerful marcher lords with their own feudal forces, such as William Marshal and Ranulf de Blondeville, 6th Earl of Chester.[207] The rebels lacked the engineering expertise or heavy equipment necessary to assault the network of royal castles that cut off the northern rebel barons from those in the south.[208] John's strategy was to isolate the rebel barons in London, protect his own supply lines to his key source of mercenaries in Flanders, prevent the French from landing in the south-east, and then win the war through slow attrition.[206] John put off dealing with the badly deteriorating situation in North Wales, where Llywelyn the Great was leading a rebellion against the 1211 settlement.[209]

John's campaign started well. In November John retook Rochester Castle from rebel baron William d'Aubigny in a sophisticated assault. One chronicler had not seen "a siege so hard pressed or so strongly resisted", whilst historian Reginald Brown describes it as "one of the greatest [siege] operations in England up to that time".[210] Having regained the south-east John split his forces, sending William Longespée to retake the north side of London and East Anglia, whilst John himself headed north via Nottingham to attack the estates of the northern barons.[211] Both operations were successful and the majority of the remaining rebels were pinned down in London.[211] In January 1216 John marched against Alexander II of Scotland, who had allied himself with the rebel cause.[212] John took back Alexander's possessions in northern England in a rapid campaign and pushed up towards Edinburgh over a ten-day period.[212]

The rebel barons responded by inviting the French prince Louis to lead them: Louis had a claim to the English throne by virtue of his marriage to Blanche of Castile, a granddaughter of Henry II.[213] Philip may have provided him with private support but refused to openly support Louis, who was excommunicated by Innocent for taking part in the war against John.[213] Louis' planned arrival in England presented a significant problem for John, as the prince would bring with him naval vessels and siege engines essential to the rebel cause.[214] Once John contained Alexander in Scotland, he marched south to deal with the challenge of the coming invasion.[212]

Prince Louis intended to land in the south of England in May 1216, and John assembled a naval force to intercept him.[211] Unfortunately for John, his fleet was dispersed by bad storms and Louis landed unopposed in Kent.[211] John hesitated and decided not to attack Louis immediately, either due to the risks of open battle or over concerns about the loyalty of his own men.[211] Louis and the rebel barons advanced west and John retreated, spending the summer reorganising his defences across the rest of the kingdom.[215] John saw several of his military household desert to the rebels, including his half-brother, William Longespée. By the end of the summer the rebels had regained the south-east of England and parts of the north.[215]

Discover more about Failure in France and the First Barons' War (1215–1216) related topics

Battle of Bouvines

Battle of Bouvines

The Battle of Bouvines was fought on 27 July 1214 near the town of Bouvines in the County of Flanders. It was the concluding battle of the Anglo-French War of 1213–1214. Although estimates on the number of troops vary considerably among modern historians, at Bouvines, a French army commanded by King Philip Augustus routed a larger Allied army led by Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV in one of the rare pitched battles of the High Middle Ages and one of the most decisive medieval engagements.

First Barons' War

First Barons' War

The First Barons' War (1215–1217) was a civil war in the Kingdom of England in which a group of rebellious major landowners led by Robert Fitzwalter waged war against King John of England. The conflict resulted from King John's disastrous wars against King Philip II of France, which led to the collapse of the Angevin Empire, and John's subsequent refusal to accept and abide Magna Carta, which John had sealed on 15 June 1215.

Peter des Roches

Peter des Roches

Peter des Roches was bishop of Winchester in the reigns of King John of England and his son Henry III. He was not an Englishman, but rather a native of the Touraine, in north-central France.

Justiciar

Justiciar

Justiciar is the English form of the medieval Latin term justiciarius or justitiarius. During the Middle Ages in England, the Chief Justiciar was roughly equivalent to a modern Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, as the monarch's chief minister. Similar positions existed in continental Europe, particularly in Norman Italy and in the Carolingian Empire.

La Rochelle

La Rochelle

La Rochelle is a city on the west coast of France and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department. With 75,735 inhabitants in 2017, La Rochelle is the most populated commune in the department and ranks fifth in the New Aquitaine region after Bordeaux, the regional capital, Limoges, Poitiers and Pau. Its inhabitants are called "les Rochelaises" and "les Rochelais".

Magna Carta

Magna Carta

Magna Carta Libertatum, commonly called Magna Carta, is a royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Stephen Langton, to make peace between the unpopular king and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons. Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons' War.

British Library

British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and is one of the largest libraries in the world. It is estimated to contain between 170 and 200 million items from many countries. As a legal deposit library, the British Library receives copies of all books produced in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including a significant proportion of overseas titles distributed in the UK. The Library is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Northampton

Northampton

Northampton is a market town and civil parish in the East Midlands of England, on the River Nene, 60 miles (97 km) north-west of London and 50 miles (80 km) south-east of Birmingham. The county town of Northamptonshire, Northampton is one of the largest towns in England; it had a population of 212,100 in its previous local authority in the 2011 census. In its urban area, which includes Boughton and Moulton, it had a population of 215,963 as of 2011.

London

London

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a 50-mile (80 km) estuary down to the North Sea, and has been a major settlement for two millennia. The City of London, its ancient core and financial centre, was founded by the Romans as Londinium and retains its medieval boundaries. The City of Westminster, to the west of the City of London, has for centuries hosted the national government and parliament. Since the 19th century, the name "London" has also referred to the metropolis around this core, historically split between the counties of Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent, and Hertfordshire, which largely comprises Greater London, governed by the Greater London Authority.

Lincoln, England

Lincoln, England

Lincoln is a cathedral city, a non-metropolitan district, and the county town of Lincolnshire, England. In the 2021 Census, the Lincoln district had a population of 103,813. The 2011 census gave the urban area of Lincoln, including North Hykeham and Waddington, a population of 115,000.

Exeter

Exeter

Exeter is a city in Devon, South West England. It is situated on the River Exe, approximately 36 mi (58 km) northeast of Plymouth and 65 mi (105 km) southwest of Bristol.

Runnymede

Runnymede

Runnymede is a water-meadow alongside the River Thames in the English county of Surrey, and just over 20 miles (32 km) west of central London. It is notable for its association with the sealing of Magna Carta, and as a consequence is, with its adjoining hillside, the site of memorials. Runnymede Borough is named after the area, Runnymede being at its northernmost point.

Death

King John's tomb in Worcester Cathedral
King John's tomb in Worcester Cathedral

In September 1216, John began a fresh, vigorous attack. He marched from the Cotswolds, feigned an offensive to relieve the besieged Windsor Castle, and attacked eastwards around London to Cambridge to separate the rebel-held areas of Lincolnshire and East Anglia.[216] From there he travelled north to relieve the rebel siege at Lincoln and back east to Lynn, probably to order further supplies from the continent.[217] In Lynn, John contracted dysentery, which would ultimately prove fatal.[217] Meanwhile, Alexander II invaded northern England again, taking Carlisle in August and then marching south to give homage to Prince Louis for his English possessions; John narrowly missed intercepting Alexander along the way.[218] Tensions between Louis and the English barons began to increase, prompting a wave of desertions, including William Marshal's son William and William Longespée, who both returned to John's faction.[219]

Crown Jewels

John returned west but is said to have lost a significant part of his baggage train along the way.[220] Roger of Wendover provides the most graphic account of this, suggesting that the King's belongings, including the English Crown Jewels, were lost as he crossed one of the tidal estuaries which empties into the Wash, being sucked in by quicksand and whirlpools.[220] Accounts of the incident vary considerably between the various chroniclers and the exact location of the incident has never been confirmed; the losses may have involved only a few of his pack-horses.[221] Modern historians assert that by October 1216 John faced a "stalemate", "a military situation uncompromised by defeat".[222]

John's illness grew worse and by the time he reached Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire, he was unable to travel any farther; he died on the night of 18/19 October.[4][223] Numerous—probably fictitious—accounts circulated soon after his death that he had been killed by poisoned ale, poisoned plums or a "surfeit of peaches".[224] His body was escorted south by a company of mercenaries and he was buried in Worcester Cathedral in front of the altar of St Wulfstan.[225] A new sarcophagus with an effigy was made for him in 1232, in which his remains now rest.[226]

In his will, John ordered that his niece Eleanor, who might have had a claim to the throne of his successor, Henry III, never be released from prison.[227]

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Cotswolds

Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is a region in central-southwest England, along a range of rolling hills that rise from the meadows of the upper Thames to an escarpment above the Severn Valley and Evesham Vale.

Cambridge

Cambridge

Cambridge is a university city and the county town in Cambridgeshire, England. It is located on the River Cam approximately 55 miles (89 km) north of London. As of the 2021 United Kingdom census, the population of Cambridge was 145,700. Cambridge became an important trading centre during the Roman and Viking ages, and there is archaeological evidence of settlement in the area as early as the Bronze Age. The first town charters were granted in the 12th century, although modern city status was not officially conferred until 1951.

Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire is a county in the East Midlands of England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east. It borders Norfolk to the south-east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south-west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north-west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders Northamptonshire in the south for just 20 yards (19 m), England's shortest county boundary. The county town is the city of Lincoln, where the county council is based.

King's Lynn

King's Lynn

King's Lynn, known until 1537 as Bishop's Lynn and colloquially as Lynn, is a port and market town in the borough of King's Lynn and West Norfolk in the county of Norfolk, England. It is located 98 miles (158 km) north of London, 36 miles (58 km) north-east of Peterborough, 44 miles (71 km) north-north-east of Cambridge and 44 miles (71 km) west of Norwich.

Dysentery

Dysentery

Dysentery, historically known as the bloody flux, is a type of gastroenteritis that results in bloody diarrhea. Other symptoms may include fever, abdominal pain, and a feeling of incomplete defecation. Complications may include dehydration.

Roger of Wendover

Roger of Wendover

Roger of Wendover, probably a native of Wendover in Buckinghamshire, was an English chronicler of the 13th century.

The Wash

The Wash

The Wash is a rectangular bay and multiple estuary at the north-west corner of East Anglia on the East coast of England, where Norfolk meets Lincolnshire and both border the North Sea. One of Britain's broadest estuaries, it is fed by the rivers Witham, Welland, Nene and Great Ouse. It is a 62,046-hectare (153,320-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is also a Nature Conservation Review site, Grade I, a National Nature Reserve, a Ramsar site, a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area. It is in the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and part of it is the Snettisham Royal Society for the Protection of Birds nature reserve.

Quicksand

Quicksand

Quicksand is a colloid consisting of fine granular material and water. It forms in saturated loose sand when the sand is suddenly agitated. When water in the sand cannot escape, it creates a liquefied soil that loses strength and cannot support weight. Quicksand can form in standing water or in upward flowing water. In the case of upward flowing water, forces oppose the force of gravity and suspend the soil particles.

Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire

Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire

Newark Castle, in Newark-on-Trent in the English county of Nottinghamshire, was founded in the mid 12th century by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln. Originally a timber castle, it was rebuilt in stone towards the end of the century.

Sarcophagus

Sarcophagus

A sarcophagus is a box-like funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved in stone, and usually displayed above ground, though it may also be buried. The word sarcophagus comes from the Greek σάρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγεῖν phagein meaning "to eat"; hence sarcophagus means "flesh-eating", from the phrase lithos sarkophagos, "flesh-eating stone". The word also came to refer to a particular kind of limestone that was thought to rapidly facilitate the decomposition of the flesh of corpses contained within it due to the chemical properties of the limestone itself.

Effigy

Effigy

An effigy is an often life-size sculptural representation of a specific person, or a prototypical figure. The term is mostly used for the makeshift dummies used for symbolic punishment in political protests and for the figures burned in certain traditions around New Year, Carnival and Easter. In European cultures, effigies were in the past also used for punishment in formal justice, when the perpetrator could not be apprehended, and in popular justice practices of social shaming and exclusion. Additionally, "effigy" is used for certain traditional forms of sculpture, namely tomb effigies, funeral effigies and coin effigies.

Henry III of England

Henry III of England

Henry III, also known as Henry of Winchester, was King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Aquitaine from 1216 until his death in 1272. The son of King John and Isabella of Angoulême, Henry assumed the throne when he was only nine in the middle of the First Barons' War. Cardinal Guala Bicchieri declared the war against the rebel barons to be a religious crusade and Henry's forces, led by William Marshal, defeated the rebels at the battles of Lincoln and Sandwich in 1217. Henry promised to abide by the Great Charter of 1225, a later version of the 1215 Magna Carta, which limited royal power and protected the rights of the major barons. His early rule was dominated first by Hubert de Burgh and then Peter des Roches, who re-established royal authority after the war. In 1230, the King attempted to reconquer the provinces of France that had once belonged to his father, but the invasion was a debacle. A revolt led by William Marshal's son Richard broke out in 1232, ending in a peace settlement negotiated by the Church.

Legacy

Changes in Angevin and Capetian holdings in France
Changes in Angevin and Capetian holdings in France

In the aftermath of John's death, William Marshal was declared the protector of the nine-year-old Henry III.[228] The civil war continued until royalist victories at the battles of Lincoln and Dover in 1217. Louis gave up his claim to the English throne and signed the Treaty of Lambeth.[228] The failed Magna Carta agreement was resuscitated by Marshal's administration and reissued in an edited form in 1217 as a basis for future government.[229] Henry III continued his attempts to reclaim Normandy and Anjou until 1259, but John's continental losses and the consequent growth of Capetian power in the 13th century proved to mark a "turning point in European history".[230]

John's first wife, Isabella, Countess of Gloucester, was released from imprisonment in 1214; she remarried twice, and died in 1217. John's second wife, Isabella of Angoulême, left England for Angoulême soon after the king's death; she became a powerful regional leader, but largely abandoned the children she had had by John.[231] Their eldest son, Henry III, ruled as King of England for the majority of the 13th century. Richard of Cornwall became a noted European leader and ultimately the King of the Romans in the Holy Roman Empire.[232] Joan became Queen of Scotland on her marriage to Alexander II.[151] Isabella was Holy Roman Empress as the wife of Emperor Frederick II.[233] The youngest daughter, Eleanor, married William Marshal's son, also called William, and later the famous English rebel Simon de Montfort.[234] By various mistresses John had eight, possibly nine, sons—Richard, Oliver, John, Geoffrey, Henry, Osbert Gifford, Eudes, Bartholomew and probably Philip—and two or three daughters—Joan, Maud and probably Isabel.[235] Of these, Joan became the most famous, marrying Prince Llywelyn the Great of Wales.[236]

Historiography

Self-portrait of Matthew Paris, one of the first historians of John's reign
Self-portrait of Matthew Paris, one of the first historians of John's reign

Historical interpretations of John have been subject to considerable change over the centuries. Medieval chroniclers provided the first contemporary, or near contemporary, histories of John's reign. One group of chroniclers wrote early in John's life, or around the time of his accession, including Richard of Devizes, William of Newburgh, Roger of Hoveden and Ralph de Diceto.[237] These historians were generally unsympathetic to John's behaviour under Richard's rule, but slightly more positive towards the very earliest years of John's reign.[238] Reliable accounts of the middle and later parts of John's reign are more limited, with Gervase of Canterbury and Ralph of Coggeshall writing the main accounts; neither of them were positive about John's performance as king.[239] Much of John's later, negative reputation was established by two chroniclers writing after his death, Roger of Wendover and Matthew Paris, the latter claiming that John attempted conversion to Islam in exchange for military aid from the Almohad ruler Muhammad al-Nasir—a story modern historians consider untrue.[240]

In the 16th century political and religious changes altered the attitude of historians towards John. Tudor historians were generally favourably inclined towards the King, focusing on his opposition to the Papacy and his promotion of the special rights and prerogatives of a king. Revisionist histories written by John Foxe, William Tyndale and Robert Barnes portrayed John as an early Protestant hero, and Foxe included the King in his Book of Martyrs.[241] John Speed's Historie of Great Britaine in 1632 praised John's "great renown" as a king; he blamed the bias of medieval chroniclers for the King's poor reputation.[242]

John Foxe's Book of Martyrs, officially titled Acts and Monuments, which took a positive view of John's reign
John Foxe's Book of Martyrs, officially titled Acts and Monuments, which took a positive view of John's reign

By the Victorian period in the 19th century, historians were more inclined to draw on the judgements of the chroniclers and to focus on John's moral personality. Kate Norgate, for example, argued that John's downfall had been due not to his failure in war or strategy, but due to his "almost superhuman wickedness", whilst James Ramsay blamed John's family background and his cruel personality for his downfall.[243] Historians in the "Whiggish" tradition, focusing on documents such as the Domesday Book and Magna Carta, trace a progressive and universalist course of political and economic development in England over the medieval period.[244] These historians were often inclined to see John's reign, and his signing of Magna Carta in particular, as a positive step in the constitutional development of England, despite the flaws of the King himself.[244] Winston Churchill, for example, argued that "[w]hen the long tally is added, it will be seen that the British nation and the English-speaking world owe far more to the vices of John than to the labours of virtuous sovereigns".[245]

In the 1940s, new interpretations of John's reign began to emerge, based on research into the record evidence of his reign, such as pipe rolls, charters, court documents and similar primary records. Notably, an essay by Vivian Galbraith in 1945 proposed a "new approach" to understanding the ruler.[246] The use of recorded evidence was combined with an increased scepticism about two of the most colourful chroniclers of John's reign, Roger of Wendover and Matthew Paris.[247] In many cases the detail provided by these chroniclers, both writing after John's death, was challenged by modern historians.[248] Interpretations of Magna Carta and the role of the rebel barons in 1215 have been significantly revised: although the charter's symbolic, constitutional value for later generations is unquestionable, in the context of John's reign most historians now consider it a failed peace agreement between "partisan" factions.[249] There has been increasing debate about the nature of John's Irish policies. Specialists in Irish medieval history, such as Sean Duffy, have challenged the conventional narrative established by Lewis Warren, suggesting that Ireland was less stable by 1216 than was previously supposed.[250]

Most historians today, including John's recent biographers Ralph Turner and Lewis Warren, argue that John was an unsuccessful monarch, but note that his failings were exaggerated by 12th- and 13th-century chroniclers.[2] Jim Bradbury notes the current consensus that John was a "hard-working administrator, an able man, an able general", albeit, as Turner suggests, with "distasteful, even dangerous personality traits", including pettiness, spitefulness and cruelty.[251] John Gillingham, author of a major biography of Richard I, follows this line too, although he considers John a less effective general than do Turner or Warren, and describes him "one of the worst kings ever to rule England".[252] Bradbury takes a moderate line, but suggests that in recent years modern historians have been overly lenient towards John's numerous faults.[253] Popular historian Frank McLynn maintains a counter-revisionist perspective on John, arguing that the King's modern reputation amongst historians is "bizarre", and that as a monarch John "fails almost all those [tests] that can be legitimately set".[254] According to C. Warren Hollister, "The dramatic ambivalence of his personality, the passions that he stirred among his own contemporaries, the very magnitude of his failures, have made him an object of endless fascination to historians and biographers."[255]

Popular representations

Popular representations of John first began to emerge during the Tudor period, mirroring the revisionist histories of the time.[241] The anonymous play The Troublesome Reign of King John portrayed the King as a "proto-Protestant martyr", similar to that shown in John Bale's morality play Kynge Johan, in which John attempts to save England from the "evil agents of the Roman Church".[256] By contrast, Shakespeare's King John, a relatively anti-Catholic play that draws on The Troublesome Reign for its source material, offers a more "balanced, dual view of a complex monarch as both a proto-Protestant victim of Rome's machinations and as a weak, selfishly motivated ruler".[257] Anthony Munday's play The Downfall and The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington portrays many of John's negative traits, but adopts a positive interpretation of the King's stand against the Roman Catholic Church, in line with the contemporary views of the Tudor monarchs.[258] By the middle of the 17th century, plays such as Robert Davenport's King John and Matilda, although based largely on the earlier Elizabethan works, were transferring the role of Protestant champion to the barons and focusing more on the tyrannical aspects of John's behaviour.[259]

Nineteenth-century fictional depictions of John were heavily influenced by Sir Walter Scott's historical romance, Ivanhoe, which presented "an almost totally unfavourable picture" of the King; the work drew on 19th-century histories of the period and on Shakespeare's play.[260] Scott's work influenced the late-19th-century children's writer Howard Pyle's book The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, which in turn established John as the principal villain within the traditional Robin Hood narrative.[261] During the 20th century, John was normally depicted in fictional books and films alongside Robin Hood. Sam De Grasse's role as John in the black-and-white 1922 film version shows John committing numerous atrocities and acts of torture.[262] Claude Rains played John in the 1938 colour version alongside Errol Flynn, starting a trend for films to depict John as an "effeminate ... arrogant and cowardly stay-at-home".[263] The character of John acts either to highlight the virtues of King Richard, or contrasts with the Sheriff of Nottingham, who is usually the "swashbuckling villain" opposing Robin.[263] An extreme version of this trend can be seen in the 1973 Disney cartoon version, for example, which depicts John, voiced by Peter Ustinov, as a "cowardly, thumbsucking lion".[264] Popular works that depict John beyond the Robin Hood legends, such as James Goldman's play and later film, The Lion in Winter, set in 1183, commonly present him as an "effete weakling", in this instance contrasted with the more masculine Henry II, or as a tyrant, as in A. A. Milne's poem for children, "King John's Christmas".[265]

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Angevin kings of England

Angevin kings of England

The Angevins were a royal house of French origin that ruled England in the 12th and early 13th centuries; its monarchs were Henry II, Richard I and John. In the 10 years from 1144, two successive counts of Anjou in France, Geoffrey and his son, the future Henry II, won control of a vast assemblage of lands in western Europe that would last for 80 years and would retrospectively be referred to as the Angevin Empire. As a political entity this was structurally different from the preceding Norman and subsequent Plantagenet realms. Geoffrey became Duke of Normandy in 1144 and died in 1151. In 1152, his heir, Henry, added Aquitaine by virtue of his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Henry also inherited the claim of his mother, Empress Matilda, the daughter of King Henry I, to the English throne, to which he succeeded in 1154 following the death of King Stephen.

House of Capet

House of Capet

The House of Capet or the Direct Capetians, also called the House of France, or simply the Capets, ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328. It was the most senior line of the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians. Historians in the 19th century came to apply the name "Capetian" to both the ruling house of France and to the wider-spread male-line descendants of Hugh Capet. Contemporaries did not use the name "Capetian". The Capets were sometimes called "the third race of kings". The name "Capet" derives from the nickname given to Hugh, the first Capetian king.

Battle of Lincoln (1217)

Battle of Lincoln (1217)

The Second Battle of Lincoln occurred at Lincoln Castle on Saturday 20 May 1217, during the First Barons' War, between the forces of the future Louis VIII of France and those of King Henry III of England. Louis's forces were attacked by a relief force under the command of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke. Thomas, Count of Perche, commanding the French troops, was killed and Louis was expelled from his base in the southeast of England. The looting that took place afterwards is known as the "Lincoln Fair". The citizens of Lincoln were loyal to Louis so Henry's forces sacked the city.

Angoulême

Angoulême

Angoulême is a commune, the prefecture of the Charente department, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France.

King of the Romans

King of the Romans

King of the Romans was the title used by the king of Germany following his election by the princes from the reign of Henry II onward. The title predominantly amounted to being the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, a title long dependent upon coronation by the pope.

Joan of England, Queen of Scotland

Joan of England, Queen of Scotland

Joan of England, was Queen consort of Scotland from 1221 until her death. She was the third child of John, King of England and Isabella of Angoulême.

Isabella of England

Isabella of England

Isabella of England was an English princess of the House of Plantagenet. She became Holy Roman Empress, Queen of Sicily, Italy and Germany from 1235 until her death as the third wife of Emperor Frederick II.

Eleanor of England, Countess of Leicester

Eleanor of England, Countess of Leicester

Eleanor of England was the youngest child of John, King of England and Isabella of Angoulême.

Richard FitzRoy

Richard FitzRoy

Richard FitzRoy was the illegitimate son of King John of England and was feudal baron of Chilham, in Kent. His mother was Adela, his father's first cousin and a daughter of Hamelin de Warenne by his wife Isabel de Warenne, 4th Countess of Surrey.

Matthew Paris

Matthew Paris

Matthew Paris, also known as Matthew of Paris, was an English Benedictine monk, chronicler, artist in illuminated manuscripts and cartographer, based at St Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire. He wrote a number of works, mostly historical, which he scribed and illuminated himself, typically in drawings partly coloured with watercolour washes, sometimes called "tinted drawings". Some were written in Latin, others in Anglo-Norman or French verse.

Chronicle

Chronicle

A chronicle is a historical account of events arranged in chronological order, as in a time line. Typically, equal weight is given for historically important events and local events, the purpose being the recording of events that occurred, seen from the perspective of the chronicler. A chronicle which traces world history is a universal chronicle. This is in contrast to a narrative or history, in which an author chooses events to interpret and analyze and excludes those the author does not consider important or relevant.

Ralph de Diceto

Ralph de Diceto

Ralph de Diceto was archdeacon of Middlesex, dean of St Paul's Cathedral, and author of two chronicles, the Abbreviationes chronicorum and the Ymagines historiarum.

Issue

John and Isabella of Angoulême had five children:

  1. Henry III, King of England (1 October 1207 – 16 November 1272)
  2. Richard, King of the Romans (5 January 1209 – 2 April 1272)
  3. Joan, Queen of Scotland (22 July 1210 – 4 March 1238)
  4. Isabella, Holy Roman Empress (1214 – 1 December 1241)
  5. Eleanor, Countess of Pembroke (1215 – 13 April 1275)

John had several mistresses, including one named Suzanne.[266] His known illegitimate children are:

  1. Richard FitzRoy (c. 1190 – June 1246),[266] whose mother was Adela, John's first cousin
  2. Joan, Lady of Wales (c. 1191 – February 1237),[266] also known by her Welsh name of Siwan
  3. John (fl. 1201), who became a clerk[267]
  4. Geoffrey (died 1205), held the honour of Perche[266][267]
  5. Oliver fitz Regis (bef. 1199 – 1218/1219), whose mother was Hawise, sister of Fulk FitzWarin[266]
  6. Osbert Giffard[266][267]

Discover more about Issue related topics

Joan of England, Queen of Scotland

Joan of England, Queen of Scotland

Joan of England, was Queen consort of Scotland from 1221 until her death. She was the third child of John, King of England and Isabella of Angoulême.

Isabella of England

Isabella of England

Isabella of England was an English princess of the House of Plantagenet. She became Holy Roman Empress, Queen of Sicily, Italy and Germany from 1235 until her death as the third wife of Emperor Frederick II.

Richard FitzRoy

Richard FitzRoy

Richard FitzRoy was the illegitimate son of King John of England and was feudal baron of Chilham, in Kent. His mother was Adela, his father's first cousin and a daughter of Hamelin de Warenne by his wife Isabel de Warenne, 4th Countess of Surrey.

Joan, Lady of Wales

Joan, Lady of Wales

Joan, Lady of Wales and Lady of Snowdon, also known by her Welsh name often written as Siwan was the illegitimate daughter of King John of England, and was the wife of Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Wales, effective ruler of all of Wales. Joan or Siwan in Welsh has been referred to as both "Lady of Wales" and "Princess of Wales".

Oliver fitz Regis

Oliver fitz Regis

Oliver fitz Regis or Oliver Fitzroy was an illegitimate son of John, King of England.

Fulk FitzWarin

Fulk FitzWarin

Fulk FitzWarin, variant spellings, the third, was a prominent representative of a marcher family associated especially with estates in Shropshire and at Alveston in Gloucestershire. In young life, early in the reign of King John (1199–1216), he won notoriety as the outlawed leader of a roving force striving to recover his familial right to Whittington Castle in Shropshire, which John had granted away to a Welsh claimant. Progressively rehabilitated, and enjoying his lordship, he endured further setbacks in 1215–1217.

Genealogical table

Norman English and early Plantagenet monarchs and their relationship with rulers of Western Europe[268]
 : Red borders indicate English monarchs
 : Bold borders indicate legitimate children of English monarchs
Baldwin II
King of Jerusalem
Fulk IV
Count of Anjou
Bertrade of MontfortPhilip I
King of France
William the Conqueror
King of England
r. 1066–1087
Saint Margaret of ScotlandMalcolm III
King of Scotland
Melisende
Queen of Jerusalem
Fulk V
King of Jerusalem
Eremburga of MaineRobert CurthoseWilliam II
King of England
r. 1087–1100
Adela of NormandyHenry I
King of England
r. 1100–1135
Matilda of ScotlandDuncan II
King of Scotland
Edgar
King of Scotland
Alexander I
King of Scotland
David I
King of Scotland
Sibylla of AnjouWilliam ClitoStephen
King of England
r. 1135–1154
Geoffrey Plantagenet
Count of Anjou
Empress MatildaWilliam AdelinMatilda of AnjouHenry
of Scotland
Margaret IPhilip of Alsace
Count of Flanders
Louis VII
King of France
Eleanor of AquitaineHenry II
King of England
r. 1154–1189
Geoffrey
Count of Nantes
William FitzEmpressMalcolm IV
King of Scotland
William the Lion
King of Scotland
Baldwin I
Latin Emperor
Isabella of HainaultPhilip II
King of France
Henry the Young KingMatilda
Duchess of Saxony
Richard I
King of England
r. 1189–1199
Geoffrey II
Duke of Brittany
EleanorAlfonso VIII
King of Castile
JoanWilliam II
King of Sicily
John
King of England
r. 1199–1216
Louis VIII
King of France
Otto IV
Holy Roman Emperor
Arthur I
Duke of Brittany
Blanche of Castile
Queen of France
Henry III
King of England
r. 1216–127
Richard of Cornwall
King of the Romans
Joan
Queen of Scotland
Alexander II
King of Scotland

Discover more about Genealogical table related topics

Family tree of English monarchs

Family tree of English monarchs

This is the family tree for monarchs of England from Alfred the Great to Elizabeth I of England. The House of Wessex family tree precedes this family tree and the family tree of the British royal family follows it.

Baldwin II of Jerusalem

Baldwin II of Jerusalem

Baldwin II, also known as Baldwin of Bourcq or Bourg, was Count of Edessa from 1100 to 1118, and King of Jerusalem from 1118 until his death. He accompanied his cousins Godfrey of Bouillon and Baldwin of Boulogne to the Holy Land during the First Crusade. He succeeded Baldwin of Boulogne as the second count of Edessa when he left the county for Jerusalem following his brother's death. He was captured at the Battle of Harran in 1104. He was held first by Sökmen of Mardin, then by Jikirmish of Mosul, and finally by Jawali Saqawa. During his captivity, Tancred, the Crusader ruler of the Principality of Antioch, and Tancred's cousin, Richard of Salerno, governed Edessa as Baldwin's regents.

Fulk IV, Count of Anjou

Fulk IV, Count of Anjou

Fulk IV, called le Réchin, was the Count of Anjou from 1068 until his death. The nickname by which he is usually referred has no certain translation. Philologists have made numerous very different suggestions, including "quarreler", "rude", "sullen", "surly" and "heroic". He was noted to be "a man with many reprehensible, even scandalous, habits" by Orderic Vitalis.

Bertrade of Montfort

Bertrade of Montfort

Bertrade de Montfort was Queen of France by her marriage to Philip I of France. Initially married to Fulk IV, Count of Anjou, she left him and married Philip. Later she founded a daughter house of Fontevraud Abbey at Haute-Bruyeres.

Fulk, King of Jerusalem

Fulk, King of Jerusalem

Fulk, also known as Fulk the Younger, was the count of Anjou from 1109 to 1129 and the king of Jerusalem with his wife from 1131 to his death. During their reign, the Kingdom of Jerusalem reached its largest territorial extent.

Eremburga of Maine

Eremburga of Maine

Ermengarde or Erembourg of Maine, also known as Erembourg de la Flèche, was Countess of Maine and the Lady of Château-du-Loir from 1110 to 1126. She was the daughter of Elias I, Count of Maine, and Mathilda of Château-du-Loire, daughter of Gervais II, Lord of Château-du-Loir. She was grandmother of King Henry II of England

Adela of Normandy

Adela of Normandy

Adela of Normandy, of Blois, or of England, also known as Saint Adela in Roman Catholicism, was a daughter of William the Conqueror and Matilda of Flanders who later became the countess of Blois, Chartres, and Meaux by marriage to Stephen II of Blois. Her husband greatly benefited from the increased social status and prestige that came with such a marriage. She brought with her not only her bloodline but a dowry of money and other movable goods from the prodigious store of Anglo-Norman wealth. She was regent of Blois during the absence of her spouse in 1096–1100 and 1101–02, and during the minority of her son from 1102 until 1120. Adela was the mother of King Stephen of England and Bishop Henry of Winchester.

Henry I of England

Henry I of England

Henry I, also known as Henry Beauclerc, was King of England from 1100 to his death in 1135. He was the fourth son of William the Conqueror and was educated in Latin and the liberal arts. On William's death in 1087, Henry's elder brothers Robert Curthose and William Rufus inherited Normandy and England, respectively, but Henry was left landless. He purchased the County of Cotentin in western Normandy from Robert, but his brothers deposed him in 1091. He gradually rebuilt his power base in the Cotentin and allied himself with William Rufus against Robert.

Duncan II of Scotland

Duncan II of Scotland

Donnchad mac Máel Coluim was king of Scots. He was son of Malcolm III and his first wife Ingibiorg Finnsdottir, widow of Thorfinn Sigurdsson.

Edgar, King of Scotland

Edgar, King of Scotland

Edgar or Étgar mac Maíl Choluim, nicknamed Probus, "the Valiant", was King of Scotland from 1097 to 1107. He was the fourth son of Malcolm III and Margaret of Wessex but the first to be considered eligible for the throne after the death of his father.

Alexander I of Scotland

Alexander I of Scotland

Alexander I, posthumously nicknamed The Fierce, was the King of Scotland from 1107 to his death. He succeeded his brother, King Edgar, and his successor was his brother David. He was married to Sybilla of Normandy, an illegitimate daughter of Henry I of England.

David I of Scotland

David I of Scotland

David I or Dauíd mac Maíl Choluim was a 12th-century ruler who was Prince of the Cumbrians from 1113 to 1124 and later King of Scotland from 1124 to 1153. The youngest son of Malcolm III and Margaret of Wessex, David spent most of his childhood in Scotland, but was exiled to England temporarily in 1093. Perhaps after 1100, he became a dependent at the court of King Henry I. There he was influenced by the Anglo-French culture of the court.

Source: "John, King of England", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John,_King_of_England.

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Notes
  1. ^ Historians are divided in their use of the terms "Plantagenet" and "Angevin" in regards to Henry II and his sons. Some class Henry II as the first Plantagenet king of England; others refer to Henry, Richard and John as the Angevin dynasty, and consider Henry III to be the first Plantagenet ruler.
  2. ^ The term Angevin Empire originates with Victorian historian Kate Norgate.[6]
  3. ^ Henry II also bit and gnawed his fingers; extreme rage is considered by many historians to be a trait of the Angevin kings.[20]
  4. ^ Nonetheless, the treaty did offer Arthur certain protections as John's vassal.[62]
  5. ^ Angoulême and Limoges were strategically located counties that had traditionally exercised a high degree of autonomy. They formed a key route for communications between Anjou and Gascony. Many of the details surrounding these counties during this period are uncertain and subject to historical debate, but it would appear that both the English and French dynasties had been attempting to apply influence and build alliances with the key families in the region for many years before the flash point in 1202.[65]
  6. ^ This interpretation has been challenged by John Gillingham, whose minority view is that Richard, unlike John, successfully defended Normandy with a similar level of military resources.[71]
  7. ^ Although all modern biographers of John believe that he had his rival, Arthur, killed, the details of the Margam Abbey account can be questioned; as Frank McLynn points out, the Welsh monks appear "curiously well-informed" about the details of the incident in France.[72]
  8. ^ For positive interpretations of John's military skills in the campaign see Kate Norgate, who argues that John's attempt to relieve Château Gaillard was a "masterpiece of ingenuity"; Ralph Turner terms his performance as a general "capable"; Lewis Warren places the blame on John's inability to inspire loyalty amongst the local nobles, rather than a simple lack of military skill. Frank McLynn is more damning, describing the military aspects of the campaign as a "disastrous failure".[75]
  9. ^ David Carpenter provides an accessible summary of Power's argument on the collapse of Normandy.[78]
  10. ^ The degree to which John was a genuine innovator in financial matters, as opposed to simply embracing expediency, has been contested. Frank Barlow, for example, argues that he was exercising a policy of expediency rather than genuine reform.[98]
  11. ^ One consequence of this was an expansion of the wine trade with the Continent. In 1203, the citizens and merchants of Bordeaux were exempted from the Grande Coutume, which was the principal tax on their exports. In exchange, the regions of Bordeaux, Bayonne and Dax pledged support against the French Crown. The unblocked ports gave Gascon merchants open access to the English wine market for the first time. The following year, John granted the same exemptions to La Rochelle and Poitou.[102]
  12. ^ Medieval financial figures have no easy contemporary equivalent, due to the different role of money in the economy.
  13. ^ Both the mark and the pound sterling were accountancy terms in this period; a mark was worth around two-thirds of a pound.
  14. ^ The most notable piece of evidence for any later royal affairs is the famous entry on the fine roll of Christmas 1204 involving Hugh de Neville's wife. This entry notes that de Neville's wife offered the King 200 chickens if she could spend a night with her husband, Hugh. This is conventionally interpreted as implying that she was having an affair with the King but in this case wished to have sex with her husband instead – thus the humorous fine. An alternative explanation is that she was tired of Hugh being sent away on royal service and the fine was a light-hearted way of convincing John to ensure that her husband remained at court for a night.[125]
  15. ^ These estimates are based on chronicler accounts, the date of Isabella's parents' marriage and on the date of birth of her first child.[126]
  16. ^ William's son, Alexander II of Scotland, would later state that he had been betrothed in 1212 to John's daughter Joan. Current scholarship considers Alexander's claim unreliable.[152]
References
  1. ^ Norgate (1902), pp. 1–2.
  2. ^ a b Bradbury (2007), p. 353.
  3. ^ Turner, p. 23.
  4. ^ a b Fryde, Greenway, Porter and Roy, p. 37.
  5. ^ a b Warren, p. 21.
  6. ^ Norgate (1887), p. 169.
  7. ^ Barlow, p. 275; Warren, p. 23.
  8. ^ Barlow, p. 284.
  9. ^ a b Barlow, p. 305.
  10. ^ Warren, p. 27.
  11. ^ Barlow, p. 281.
  12. ^ a b c Turner, p. 31.
  13. ^ a b Warren, p. 26.
  14. ^ Turner, p. 31; Warren, p. 26.
  15. ^ McLynn, pp. 27, 77.
  16. ^ Warren, p. 140.
  17. ^ Warren, pp. 139–40; McLynn, p. 78
  18. ^ a b McLynn, p. 78.
  19. ^ Warren, p. 139; McLynn, p. 78; Danziger and Gillingham, p. 26.
  20. ^ a b McLynn, p. 78, 94; Turner, p. 30.
  21. ^ a b Carpenter (2004), p. 223; Turner, p. 35.
  22. ^ McLynn, p. 36.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h Turner, p. 36.
  24. ^ a b Carpenter (2004), p. 223.
  25. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 243.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i Turner, p. 37.
  27. ^ a b Warren, p. 35.
  28. ^ a b Warren, p. 36.
  29. ^ a b Warren, p. 37.
  30. ^ Turner, p. 39; Warren, p. 38.
  31. ^ Turner, p. 38.
  32. ^ a b c d Warren, p. 38.
  33. ^ Warren, pp. 38–39.
  34. ^ Warren, pp. 39–40.
  35. ^ Barlow, p. 293; Warren p. 39.
  36. ^ a b c Warren, p. 40.
  37. ^ Warren, p. 39.
  38. ^ Warren, p. 41.
  39. ^ Warren, pp. 40–41.
  40. ^ Inwood, p. 58.
  41. ^ Warren, p. 42.
  42. ^ a b c Warren, p. 43.
  43. ^ a b c d Warren, p. 44.
  44. ^ a b Warren, p. 45.
  45. ^ a b Warren, p. 46.
  46. ^ Warren, pp. 46–47.
  47. ^ a b c d Warren, p. 47.
  48. ^ Fryde (2007), p. 336.
  49. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 264.
  50. ^ Barlow, p. 305; Turner, p. 48.
  51. ^ a b Warren, p. 53.
  52. ^ Warren, p. 51.
  53. ^ Barrett, p. 91.
  54. ^ Warren, pp. 57–58; Barlow, p. 280.
  55. ^ Warren, p. 57.
  56. ^ Warren, p. 59.
  57. ^ Huscroft, pp. 169–170.
  58. ^ Huscroft, p. 170.
  59. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 264; Turner, p. 100.
  60. ^ a b Warren, p. 54.
  61. ^ a b c d Turner, p. 98.
  62. ^ a b Warren, p. 55.
  63. ^ Warren, p. 63.
  64. ^ a b c d e f g Turner, p. 99.
  65. ^ Vincent, pp. 168–182.
  66. ^ Turner, pp. 98–99.
  67. ^ a b c d e Turner, p. 100.
  68. ^ Turner, pp. 100–101.
  69. ^ a b c d e f Turner, p. 101.
  70. ^ Holt (1984), p. 94; Turner, p. 94; Bradbury (1998), p. 159; Moss, p. 119.
  71. ^ Gillingham (1994), p. 76.
  72. ^ a b McLynn, p. 306.
  73. ^ a b Warren, p. 83.
  74. ^ a b c d e f g h Turner, p. 102.
  75. ^ Norgate (1902), p. 96; Turner, p. 98; Warren, p. 88; McLynn, p. 473.
  76. ^ Power, pp. 135–136.
  77. ^ Power, p. 135.
  78. ^ Carpenter (2004), pp. 264–265.
  79. ^ Turner, pp. 102–103.
  80. ^ Turner, p. 103.
  81. ^ a b c d e Turner, p. 149.
  82. ^ Warren, p. 178; Turner, p. 156.
  83. ^ Warren, p. 127.
  84. ^ Bartlett, p. 200.
  85. ^ Warren, p. 130.
  86. ^ a b Warren, p. 132.
  87. ^ Warren, p. 132; Huscroft, p. 171.
  88. ^ Huscroft, p. 182.
  89. ^ Huscroft, p. 184.
  90. ^ McLynn, p. 366; Hunnisett, pp. 1–3.
  91. ^ a b Warren, pp. 143–144.
  92. ^ Warren, p. 144.
  93. ^ McLynn, p. 366.
  94. ^ a b Carpenter (2004), p. 273.
  95. ^ Turner, p. 79.
  96. ^ Lawler and Lawler, p. 6.
  97. ^ McLynn, p. 288.
  98. ^ Barlow, p. 331.
  99. ^ a b c Turner, p. 87.
  100. ^ a b c Carpenter (2004), p. 272.
  101. ^ Hodgett, p. 57; Johnson, p. 142.
  102. ^ Johnson, p. 142.
  103. ^ Turner, p. 95.
  104. ^ Turner, p. 148.
  105. ^ Danziger and Gillingham, p. 44.
  106. ^ Bolton pp. 32–33.
  107. ^ Stenton, p. 163.
  108. ^ Bolton, p. 40.
  109. ^ Barlow, p. 329.
  110. ^ Turner, pp. 144–145; Church (1999), p. 133.
  111. ^ Turner, p. 144.
  112. ^ Turner, p. 147.
  113. ^ a b Turner, p. 145.
  114. ^ Barlow, p. 326.
  115. ^ Huscroft, p. 70.
  116. ^ a b Huscroft, p. 170; Mason, p. 128.
  117. ^ a b Warren, p. 184.
  118. ^ Warren, p. 185.
  119. ^ Warren, p. 184; Turner, p. 23.
  120. ^ a b Warren, p. 185; Turner, p. 169.
  121. ^ Turner, p. 139.
  122. ^ a b c Turner, p. 166.
  123. ^ Turner, p. 166, Vincent, p. 193.
  124. ^ Vincent, p. 193.
  125. ^ Vincent, p. 197, attributing the original idea to a private communication from Sir James Holt.
  126. ^ a b Vincent, pp. 174–175.
  127. ^ Vincent, p. 175.
  128. ^ Vincent, p. 184.
  129. ^ Vincent, p. 196.
  130. ^ Turner, p. 98; Vincent, p. 196.
  131. ^ Jordan, cited Turner, p. 12.
  132. ^ McLynn, p. 290.
  133. ^ McLynn, pp. 78, 290.
  134. ^ Turner, p. 120.
  135. ^ Turner, p. 120; Carpenter (2004), p. 276.
  136. ^ Warren, pp. 171–172.
  137. ^ a b c d e f Turner, p. 106.
  138. ^ a b c d e Turner, pp. 106–107.
  139. ^ a b c d e f Turner, p. 107.
  140. ^ a b Barlow, p. 336.
  141. ^ a b Warren, p. 123.
  142. ^ Turner, p. 106; Warren, p. 123
  143. ^ Turner, pp. 107–108.
  144. ^ a b c d e Turner, p. 108.
  145. ^ a b c Turner, p. 109.
  146. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 224.
  147. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 255.
  148. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 277; Duncan, p. 251.
  149. ^ Duncan, p. 252.
  150. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 277; Duncan, p. 260
  151. ^ a b c Carpenter (2004), p. 277.
  152. ^ Carpenter, p. 277; Duncan, p. 264.
  153. ^ Duncan, p. 268.
  154. ^ a b Carpenter (2004), p. 278.
  155. ^ Carpenter (2004), pp. 278–279.
  156. ^ Carpenter (2004), pp. 280–281.
  157. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 282; Duffy, pp. 242–243.
  158. ^ Carpenter (2004), pp. 282–283.
  159. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 283.
  160. ^ a b Carpenter (2004), p. 284.
  161. ^ Huscroft, p. 190.
  162. ^ a b Huscroft, p. 189; Turner, p. 121.
  163. ^ Turner, p. 119.
  164. ^ a b Turner, p. 125.
  165. ^ Turner, pp. 125–126.
  166. ^ a b c Turner, p. 126.
  167. ^ a b Turner, p. 127.
  168. ^ Turner, p. 128; Harper-Bill, p. 304.
  169. ^ a b c Turner, p. 128.
  170. ^ Poole, pp. 446–447.
  171. ^ a b c d Turner, p. 131.
  172. ^ Harper-Bill, p. 306.
  173. ^ Harper-Bill, p. 307.
  174. ^ a b Harper-Bill, p. 304.
  175. ^ Harper-Bill, pp. 304–305.
  176. ^ Turner, p. 133.
  177. ^ Bartlett, pp. 404–405; Turner, p. 133.
  178. ^ Turner, p. 133; Lloyd, p. 213.
  179. ^ Turner, p. 133; Harper-Bill, p. 308.
  180. ^ Turner, pp. 133–134.
  181. ^ a b Turner, p. 134.
  182. ^ Harper-Bill, p. 308.
  183. ^ Turner, pp. 173–174.
  184. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 273, after Holt (1961).
  185. ^ Church (1999), p. 154.
  186. ^ Rowlands, pp. 284–285.
  187. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 287.
  188. ^ Turner, pp. 173–174; Holt (1961), p. 100.
  189. ^ Barlow, p. 335.
  190. ^ a b Carpenter (2004), p. 286.
  191. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 286; Warren, p. 221.
  192. ^ a b Warren, p. 222.
  193. ^ a b c Warren, p. 224.
  194. ^ Turner, p. 174.
  195. ^ a b Turner, p. 178.
  196. ^ Turner, p. 179.
  197. ^ Warren, p. 233.
  198. ^ Turner, pp. 174, 179.
  199. ^ a b c d Turner, p. 180.
  200. ^ Turner, pp. 180, 182.
  201. ^ Turner, p. 182.
  202. ^ Turner, pp. 184–185.
  203. ^ a b Turner, p. 189.
  204. ^ Turner, pp. 189–190.
  205. ^ a b c Turner, p. 190.
  206. ^ a b Turner, p. 192.
  207. ^ Turner, p. 191.
  208. ^ Turner, p. 191; Barlow, p. 354.
  209. ^ Rowlands, pp. 286–287.
  210. ^ Turner, p. 192 citing Brown, pp. 10–11; Turner, p. 193.
  211. ^ a b c d e Turner, p. 193.
  212. ^ a b c Duncan, p. 267.
  213. ^ a b Turner, pp. 191–192.
  214. ^ Barlow, p. 356.
  215. ^ a b Turner, p. 194.
  216. ^ Turner, p. 194; Warren, p. 253.
  217. ^ a b Warren, p. 253.
  218. ^ Turner, p. 194; Duncan, p. 267; Warren, p. 253.
  219. ^ McLynn, p. 455; Warren, p. 253.
  220. ^ a b Warren, p. 254.
  221. ^ Warren, pp. 284–285; Barlow, p. 356.
  222. ^ Turner, p. 195; Barlow, p. 357.
  223. ^ Warren, pp. 254–255.
  224. ^ Given-Wilson, p. 87.
  225. ^ Warren, p. 255; McLynn, p. 460.
  226. ^ Danziger and Gillingham, p. 270.
  227. ^ Tuten, Belle S.; Billado, Tracey L. Feud, violence, and practice: Essays in medieval studies in honor of Stephen D. White, p.280-285
  228. ^ a b McLynn, p. 460.
  229. ^ Danziger and Gillinham, p. 271; Huscroft, p. 151.
  230. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 270.
  231. ^ Vincent, p. 206.
  232. ^ Carpenter (1996), p. 223.
  233. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 344.
  234. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 306.
  235. ^ Richardson, p. 9.
  236. ^ Carpenter (2004), p. 328.
  237. ^ Gillingham (2007), p. 2.
  238. ^ Holt (1963), p. 19, cited Gillingham (2007) p. 4.
  239. ^ Warren, p. 7; Gillingham (2007), p. 15.
  240. ^ Warren, pp. 11, 14.
  241. ^ a b Bevington, p. 432.
  242. ^ Gillingham (2007), p. 4.
  243. ^ Norgate (1902), p. 286; Ramsay, p. 502.
  244. ^ a b Dyer, p. 4; Coss, p. 81.
  245. ^ Churchill, p. 190.
  246. ^ Galbraith, pp. 128–130, cited Gillingham (2007), p. 1.
  247. ^ Turner, pp. 22–23.
  248. ^ Warren, pp. 11–16.
  249. ^ Huscroft, p. 174; Barlow, p. 353.
  250. ^ Duffy, pp. 221, 245.
  251. ^ Bradbury (2007), p. 353; Turner, p. 23.
  252. ^ Gillingham (2001), p. 125.
  253. ^ Bradbury (2007), p. 361.
  254. ^ McLynn, pp. 472–473.
  255. ^ Hollister, p. 1.
  256. ^ Curren-Aquino (1989a), p. 19.; Harris, p. 91.
  257. ^ Curren-Aquino (1989a), p. 19; McEachern, p. 329; Bevington, p. 454.
  258. ^ Potter, p. 70.
  259. ^ Maley, p. 50.
  260. ^ Tulloch, p. 497.
  261. ^ D'Ammassa, p. 94.
  262. ^ Aberth, p. 166.
  263. ^ a b Potter, p. 210.
  264. ^ Potter, p. 218.
  265. ^ Elliott, pp. 109–110; Seel, p. 7.
  266. ^ a b c d e f Warren, p. 189n
  267. ^ a b c Painter, p. 232
  268. ^ Turner, Ralph V.; Heiser, Richard R. (2000). The Reign of Richard Lionheart, Ruler of the Angevin empire, 1189–1199. Harlow: Longman. pp. 256–257. ISBN 978-0-582-25659-0.; Seel, Graham E. (2012). King John: An Underrated King. London: Anthem Press. Figure 1. ISBN 978-0-8572-8518-8.
Bibliography
John, King of England
Born: 24 December 1166 Died: 19 October 1216
Regnal titles
Preceded by Duke of Normandy
1199–1204
Vacant
Title next held by
John II
Count of Maine
1199–1204
Vacant
Title next held by
John Tristan
King of England
1199–1216
Succeeded by
New title Lord of Ireland
1185–1216
Preceded by Duke of Aquitaine
1199–1216
with Eleanor (1199–1204)
Count of Poitou
1199–1204
with Eleanor
Vacant
Title next held by
Alphonse
Preceded by Count of Angoulême
1202–1216
with Isabella
Succeeded by
Categories

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