King John ENGLAND
- Born: 24 Dec 1166, Kings Manorhouse, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
- Married (1): 29 Aug 1189, Marlborough, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
- Married (2): 26 Aug 1200, Cathedral, Bordeaux, Gironde, France
- Married (7): King Manor House, Oxford, England
- Died: 19 Oct 1216, Newark, Nottinghamshire, England
- Buried: Cathedral, Worcester, Worcestershire, England
Other names for John were "Lackland", "Sans Terre", ENGLAND King, IRELAND Lord, MAGNA CARTA Grantor, MORTAIN Count and NORMANDY Duke.
Ancestral File Number: 8XJ4-1K. User ID: 9454872.
"Sans Terre", "Lackland", Lord of IRELAND Reigned 1177-1199, Duke of NORMANDY Reigned 25 Apr 1199, Count of MORTAIN, King of ENGLAND Reigned 27 May 1199- 19 Oct 1216, Grantor of Magna Charta 15 Jun 1215.
The Political History of England, Vol II, George Burton Adams Longmans Green and Co, 1905, Ch XIX, p401:
"John is of all kings the one for whose character no man, of his own age or later, has ever had a good word. Historians have been found to speak highly of his intellectual or military abilities, but words have been exhausted to describe the meanness of his moral nature and his utter depravity. Fully as wicked as William Rufus,the worst of his predecessors, he makes on the reader of contemporary narratives the impression of a man far less apt to be swept off his feet by passion, of a cooler and more deliberate, of a meaner and smaller, a less respectable or pardonable lover of vice and worker of crimes. The case of Arthur exhibits one of his deepest traits, his utter falsity, the impossibility of binding him, his readiness to betray any interest or any man or woman, whenever tempted to it. The judgment ofhistory on John has been one of terrible severity, but the unanimous opinion of contemporaries and posterity is not likely to be wrong, and the failure of personal knowledge and of later study to find redeeming features assures us of their absence. As to the murder of Arthur, it was a useless crime even if judged from the point of biew of a Borgian policy merely, one from which John had in any case little to gain and of which his chief enemy was sure to reap the greatest advantage..."
Ch XXI, p446:  "...[John] insisted on going one stage further to Newark , although he had already recognized that his end was near. There three days later, on the 19th of October, he died. The teachings of the Church which he hadslighted and despised during his life he listened to as his end drew near, and he confessed and received the communion. He designated his son Henry, now nine years old, as his heir, and especially recommended him to the care of the Earl of Pembroke, and appointed thirteen persons by name to settle his affairs and to distribute his property according to general directions which he left. At his desire he was buried in Worcester cathedral and in the habit of a monk."
A History of the Plantagenets, Vol I, The Conquering Family, Thomas B Costain, 1949, Doubleday & Co, p47:
"The last child was a son, who differed from the other boys in having a dark cast of countenance and rather fine features, and who tended to a slight degree of fattishness. He was christened John..."
p102: "John had not lived up to Merlin's prediction of him, `Born of the fell fire-king, a sparklet prince shall dart his bold of icy fear to Erin's quaking heart...'"
p103: "...As a final step in fitting the futures of his children into his dream of empire, Henry arranged a marriage for John with the heiress of Maurienne...
p131: "When he came to the list of those who had conspired with Richard and who must now be forgiven, his voice dropped to a note of disbelief.
"`My lord,' he exclaimed, `it is impossible!'...
"`My lord,' whispered Geoffrey, `I must tell you that the first name given is- John Count of Mortaigne!'
"The King's eyes opened. `John?' he cried hoarsely. `John, my heart, my loved son! It can't be! He for whose sake I have suffered all this ! Has he also forsaken me!'
"`My lord, the name is here.'
"The broken man turned his face to the wall. `Let the rest go asit will,' he whispered. `Now I care not what becomes of me!'"
p136: "...[Richard] had been less careful in connection with John. He had brought that dangerous young man with him and had given him six earldoms and eight castles. John, making no promise and divulging none of the schemes which filled his covetous head, was likely to prove a contender with so much power. Richard would have been better advised to keep John out of England and allow Geoffrey a free hand..."
p176:"At the same time- although this did not become known until later- he was making proposals to John which fell on more fertile ground. Philip promised the English prince that he would ease his subjects of their oaths not to make war on Richard and would then attack Normandy. For his part John was to declare himself King in place of his brother and was to assume also another obligation of Richard's, the hand in marriage of Princess Alice. It happened that John had a wife already, having espoused Avisa, the beautiful daughter of the Earl of Gloucester, at the time of Richard's coronation. Both parties to the conspiracy took it for granted that this unfortunate lady could be disposed of without any difficulty.
"Word of all this was carried to Richard in his cell. He did not seem much disturbed. `My brother John,' he said with a sigh to the jailer who had been the bearer of the news, `was not made to conquer kingdoms.' The captive King was quite right. It developed that John's mission in life was to lose them.
p183: "John made his submission just as quickly. Queen Eleanor brought him into the presence of the King and asked that his transgressions be overlooked. She was, after all, his mother andhad always felt compassion without a doubt, for her landless young [son]...
"Richard had always been fond of his small brother, even though he understood him thoroughly. This was apparent when he told the kneeling John to get up. `I forgive you,' he said. `I wish I could as readily forget your offense as you will my pardon.'
p192: "The once landless prince who succeeded to the throne in spite of being the fourth of Henry II's stalwart and healthy sons was probably as bad as he has been presented, selfish, cruel, shameless, cynical, lustful, dishonorable, and utterly false. The available facts justify this far from pleasant portrait...
"He had now developed into a broad and heavy man, almost squat, and with a square face which was showing more than a trace of jowl. His eyes were dark and he wore a black beard which avoided stringiness by a process of much curling and waxing. But in spite of not possessing that outward guise of nobility which the rest of the brood had and which sometimes concealed the lack of it within, John had a way of making friends. The facetious strain which had cropped out first in William Rufus had been handed on to him and, when he wished, he could be highly amusing. There is too often about men of the worst character a capacity to compel interest and sometimes admiration...There was something Mephistophe- lean about the new King. Men enjoyed his company, and he had a definite attraction for women. Those who yielded to this attraction always had reason to regret it...
"There was in him a noticeable tendency to model himself after the great brother in small ways. `By God's feet!' had been the invocation which Richard had rolled out in hisfine voice at moments of stress and anger. John, whose voice could be a little shrill, made his, `By God's teeth!'
"Strangely enough, he had more of a turn for scholarship than any of the kings from William the Conqueror down, including that so-called man of learning, Henry I. He was known to have read Hugh of St. Victor on the sacraments, the `Sentences' of Peter Lombard, `The Romance of the History of England', and `The Treatise of Origen', which was an extensive browsihng into the field of learning for a king in those days. He was a hard worker and a continuous traveler.
"Such, then, was the man. There is even less good to be said for him as a king. He ruled as though only his own interests and desires counted. He had no wisdom and not a trace of statesmanship, but on many occasions he showed a degree of political craft. If he failed in the resolution to fight an issue or a battle to a finish, he had some sagacity both in government and generalship. He possessed a keen capacity in money matters...
"It must be stated in fairness to this much-derided ruler that history has been too prone to saddle him with all the blame for the for the breaking up of the Angevin empire. The French possessions formed a ramshacle structure, joined together in the first place by such intangibilities as royal marriage ties, held by nothing more durable than the vows of the ruling families...The English had grown tired of shedding their bolld and emptying their pockets in the endless strife of ducal factions abroad. They had reached the point where they flatly refused to shoulder war burdens which brought nothing but a sense of importance to their kings.
"John was the complete tyrant, and the people of the island kingdom suffered injustice and deprivation under him. Inasmuch as his oppression led to the Magna Charta, however, he was the first and most noteworthy of the bad kings out of whose evil rule came good. The loss of Normandy and the Angevin provinces, although it humbled the pride of the nation, was another great benefit which grew out of disaster...It blew away the final trace of racial disunity in England. The Saxon and the Norman merged at last into the Englishman when the King ceased to be a colossus with one foot in London and one in Rouen.
p196: "The marshal stuck aggressively to his selection: John, whose faults were all known and who was wanted by the people of the island witha degree of unanimity hard to believe in view of the reputation the sole surviving son had acquired.
"Eleanor, naturally, chose her only remaining son. John had been much the favorite of Henry in the bitter last days that there had been restraint some- times in her attitude toward him. Now this was all swept away. Though she knew full well that John had great faults she was prepared to battle for him against the grandson who had been trained to hate her by his high-tempered mother.
"[John] was crowned duke by Walter of Rouen on April 25. The coronation was conducted with all the old Norman rites...The reception he received in England, where he went immediately after being crowned in Normandy, showed how correctWilliam Marshal had been in his estimate of the temper of the English people. They wanted him to be King, and not a single voice was raised in favor of the young prince. The coronation took place on Ascension Day, May 27, and Hubert Walter officiated..."
p205 "...[John] appeared at the coronation like a glittering Eastern potentate, bespangled with rubies and emeralds, and with sapphires sewed on his white gloves. John, in fact, was a dandy and loved to bedeck himself in this way..."
p245: "The barons were not backward in preparing for the struggle which lay ahead. Two thousand knights and their squires assembled at Brackley after Easter. A document termed `The Articles of the Barons' was sent to the King at Oxford with word that on thsi they would base their demands. The King brushed the paper aside. `Why don't they ask my crown at once?' he cried. `Do they want to make me their slave?'
"The time had passed for promises and threats, howver. The barons were in the field in great strength, and it was clear that they meant to have their way. Realizing that he was not strong enough to oppose them, he temporized by making a number of absurd suggestions, as for instance that the matter be left to the Pope to decide as suzerain of England. The barons broke off negotiations. They elected Robert Fitz-Walter as their leader in the civil war which now seemed inevitable. After a defeat at Northampton, the barons marched on London and were received warmly by the citizens. This success convinced John that he would have to grant their terms. He sent word to them to meet him on June 15 at a field called Running-Mead on the Thames within close range of Windsor.
"John had beenin every respect an oppressive king, swayed only by his own desire and will, disregarding his coronation vows and the dictates of decency and statesmanship. All the kings from the time of the Conquest, however, had been ruthless and dictatorial...Why, then, did the nation remain quiescent under the others and burst into such fiery resentment over the actions of John?
"There were two reasons. The first was that John inherited the resentment of a century, that he reaped where hispredecessors had sown. The breaking point was reached when he came to the throne and proceeded to put his own diabolical ingenuity into the performance of familiar tyrannies.
"The second reason was personal, the universal contempt in which he was held and the horror aroused by his cruelties. It was one thing for a great knight like Richard to toss aside his vows and make a travesty of government and justice, it was a vastly different matter when the prince, who had humbled England abroad and had made a personal enemy nearly every day of his life, followed the same course..."
p248: "Hatred and contempt for this man who ruled over them led the barons inevitably to the field which has come down in history as Runnymede.
"History supplies no report of the weather which prevailed along the Thames on Monday, June 15, 1215, but a beneficent Providence would not have provided anything but a day of bright sunshine for this momentous occasion. Let us assume, then, that the sky was bright and clear, the sun so brilliantly warm that the gray of the water was shot through with gold, and that the wide meadow along the river was lushly green with patches and dots of yellow.
"But if the day was bright, there was nothing but blackness in the soul of John. For a month he had been at Windsor, following a visit to London, where hehad found the citizens a unit in refusing to back him in his struggle with the barons. He had been trying to discover a way out of his difficulties but without success. How had it happened that after his surrender to the Pope, a brilliant right-about-face which had brought him rhe support of the Pontiff, his fortunes had dipped so suddenly? He could notunderstand it. When the interdict was raised, it had seemed to him that the domestic situation was well in hand. He had felt safe in dealing arbitrarily with the barons, who were a quarrelsome lot and incapable, seemingly, of continuing long inone camp or fighting together in one cause. But some malign influence had held them together, after all, and thus had brought him to his present desperate pass.
"On his arrival at Windsor it had been crammed with his supporters. They hadfilled the first King's House and the Marshal's Tower and even the huge round Norman keep. Their iron heels had resounded in Beauclerc's Passage which ran under the King's House, and they had crowded the jousting grounds between conferences with a willingness for combat which they did not show in the King's cause. Gradually their number had decreased. It was nothing new for John to watch his support dwindle, but each desertion this time had thrown him into a deep and sullen dismay. When the day came that only seven knights remained at Windsor, he gave in and sent word to the Army of God and Holy Church, as the barons called themselves, that he would meet them again.
"Runnymede, to give it the modern spelling, was an extensive meadow on the south bank of the Thames near Staines where Oxford Street crossed the river. Here the barons had chosen to camp. Its selection had been deliberate, for this sometimes marshy stretch of land had been used by the Druids forceremonial purposes and later by the Anglo-Saxons for speech-motes. Opposite it was a wooded island of some size, now called Charter Island.
"On the appointed morning and at the time set, John rode out from Windsor and proceeded to a position on the north bank opposite the island. His pride was galled by the smallness of the train which followed him. Stephen Langton was at his right hand as surety for his appearance. The King would have been happy without him! On the other siderode Pandulfo, whose seat in the saddle was as bad as most clerks' and who jounced and groaned at the rapid pace set by the King. Behind the papal agent was Amaury, Grand Master of the Templars. William Marshal, whose stout old heart made it impossible for him to desert a king to whom he had sworn fealty, rode behind. His presence was a comfort, and yet it had seemed to the King that Pembroke wore a worried frown as they set out. There had been no doubt of the uncertain mood of theusually loyal half brother, William Long-Espee. The six lioncels of Salisbury flapped proudly in the breeze, but under them the hero of the sea battle at Dam wore a doubtful scowl, as though he did not like the way things were going. Beside theson of the Fair Rosamonde rode a cousin of the King, the Earl of Warenne. There were, farther back, a few bishops and a few knights.
"It was a miserable train for a king as arrogant as John."
p252: "The negotiations were conducted onCharter Island where a fine pavilion had been raised for the purpose. It was clear from the first that the fight had gone out of the King. He agreed to the general content of the document, the forty-eight articles and the `Forma Securitatis',before the end of the day...
"They realized, when the royal signature had been scrawled at the end, that it had been surprisingly easy. John had been listless, subject to sudden bursts of impatience, but always ready to concede a point when the barons insisted. It should have been easy enough to guess from his attitude that he was marking time and that, if his fortunes improved, he would not hesitate to break his word later...
"The leaders had not expected the negotiationsto last so long and certain difficulties arose...At the opening it was a matter of pride for the barons to keep in their saddle in heavy steel under the blazing sun while their leaders sat around in the cool blue-and-gold pavilion and debated with the obese and glowering King of the realm."
p261: "When all is said and done, however, the greatest thing about the Great Charter is that it was won by force from a hostile king. When John set down his signature at the bottom of this historic document, he was recognizing the right of the people to make demands and to have a hand in drafting the laws under which they lived and worked and had their being. The clauses are in most repects an amplification of the old laws, but the grow in stature and significance because the laws are here reduced to concrete form and sworn to as a covenant between ruler and people."
p272: "On the way from Sleaford the mind of the King was constantly on his loss. He had moaned andground his teeth and cursed the day he was born. But when they laid his sick bones on a bed in a tower from which there was a view of the Trent and of the country beyond, he subsided & had nothing more to say.
"The King was dying. The abbot of Croxton, who was a wise man with herbs & bloodlettings, was brought to attend him. After one glance at the inert form & the livid cheeks the abbot turned to the royal servants clustered in a silent group and shook his head. There was nothing to be done for John of England.
"Nature took a most active part in the last hours of the wicked King;s life. The storm promised by the scurrying Gray Monks had arrived the day befoe with flurries of wind and rain. Now it took the form of a gale, roaring down from the north and howling about the tower of the bishop's palace. Everyone know that such winds were sent for one purpose, to carry off couls, and the servants hastily bolted shutters over the linen frames in the windows. This did no good, for nothing could keep out the sound or conceal the purpose of the blasts from the ears of the dying King. John accepted the inevitable with more resignation than he had ever been known to show, speaking occasionally in a low voice and eagerly welcoming the bishop, who administered the last rites. He dictated a statement which was all he left in the way of a will, the only important clause it contained being the appointment to the guardianship of his son and heirHenry of the only man he thoroughly tusted, William Marshal...
p274: "The abbot embalmed the body and it was taken to Worcester. Here John was buried in accordance with his last instructions beside the bier of good St. Wulfstan, clothed inthe white robe and red cross of a Crusader. John had had no illusions about himself. He knew how sinful he ahd been and he believed, as all men did, that the devil prowled about new-made graves for the souls he could claim as his own. The deadKing wanted to be well desguised when the odor of brimstone filled his tomb and the long satanic fingers came prying at his winding sheet."
A History of the English Speaking People Winston S Churchill Vol I The Birth of Churchill Vol I The Birth of Britain Dodd Mead & Co p213:
"So it was to be. John, whom [Henry II] had striven to provide with an inheritance equal to that of his brothers, joined the final plot against him. In 1188 Richard, his eldest surviving son, after the death of young Henry, was making war upon him in conjunction with King Philip of France. Already desperately ill, Henry was defeated at Le Mans and recoiled to Normandy. When he saw the list of conspirators against him the name of his son Johnupon whom his affection had strangely rested, he abandoned the struggle with life. `Let things go as they will' he gasped. `Shame, shame on a conquered King.' So saying, this hard, violent, brilliant and lonely man expired at Chinon on July6, 1189..."
p235: "Early in 1193, at a moment already full of peril, the grave news reached England that the King was prisoner `somewhere in Germany.' There was general and well-founded consternation among the loyal bulk of his subjects. John declared that Richard was dead, appeared in arms, & claimed the crown. That England was held for Richard in his long absence against all these powerful and subtle forces is a proof of the loyalties of the feudal age. A deep sense of his heroic character and sacred mission commanded the allegiance of a large number of resolute, independent people whose names are unknown to history...the Queen-Mother with septuagenarian vigour stood by her eldest son; these dominated the Council, and the Council held the country. The coasts were guarded against an impending French invasion. John's forces melted. In April the strain was relieved by the arrival of authoritative news that Richard was alive. Prince John put the best face hecould upon it and stole away to France."
p242: "The character of the prince who now ascended the throne of England & became lord of Normandy, Anjou, Touraine, and Maine, claimant to Brittany and heir to Queen Eleanor's Aquitaine, was already well known. Richard had embodied the virtues which men admire in the lion, but there is no animal in nature that combines the contradictory qualities of John. He united the ruthlessness of a hardened warrior with the craft and sublety of a Machiavellian. Although from time to time he gave way to furious rages, in which `his eyes darted fire and his countenance became livid,' his cruelties were conceived and executed with a cold, inhuman intelligence. Monkish chroniclers have emphasised his violence, greed, malice, treachery, and lust. But other records show that he was often judicious, always extremely capable, and on occasions even generous. He possessed an original and inquiring mind, and to the end of his life treasured his library of books. In him the restless energy of the Plantagenet race was raised to a furious pitch of instability...but a study of his actions shows John gifted with a deep and persistent sagacity, of patience and artifice, and with anunshakable resolve, which he fulfilled, to maintain himself upon the throne while the breath was in his body. The difficulties with which he contended, on the whole with remarkable success, deserve cool and attentive study. Moreover, when 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; for it was through the union of many forces against him that the most famousmilestone of our rights and freedom was in fact set up.
"Although Richard had declared John to be King there were two views upon the succession. Geoffrey, his elder brother, had left behind him a son, Arthur, Prince of Brittany. It was already possible to hold that his grandson of Henry II of an elder branch had a prior right against John, and that is now the law of primogeniture. William the Marshal put the point before the Archbishop of Canterbury, but they both decided thatJohn had the right. Queen Eleanor stood by her son against the grandson, whose mother she had never liked. John was accepted without demur in England. In the French provinces however the opposite view prevailed...An evil omen sprang at the outset from his levity. When in Rouen he was handed the symbolic lance of the Dukes of Normandy he turned to make some jocular remark to his attendant courtiers and let the weapon fall to the ground."
p246: "...No one knows what happened to Arthur...That he was murdered by John's orders was not disputed at the time nor afterwards, though the question whether or not he was mutilated or blinded beforehand remains unanswered.
"Although high nobles and common people in large numbers were in those times frequently put to death without trial and for reasons of hate or policy, the murder by a king of an equal confirmed the bad impression which all the world had formed of John. Moreover, the odious crime did not prevent butrather hastened the loss of Normandy...
"...John, awake to his danger, poured in treasure and supplies to strengthen his defences. The military position was not yet desperate, and if John had not at the end of 1203 after a series of savagebut ineffectual raids precipitately quitted Normandy he might, drawing supplies from England, have held the duchy indefinitely. But, as Philip took fortress after fortress in Central Normandy, John's nerve failed, and the Normans, not unwilling to find an excuse for surrender, made English indifference their justification. In June 1204...the capital Rouen was taken, and Normandy finally became French.
"No English tears need have been shed over this loss...It rid the Island of adangerous, costly distraction and entanglement, turned its thought and energies to its own affairs, and above all left a ruling class of alien origin with no interest henceforth that was not English or at least insular. These consolations didnot however dawn on John's contemporaries, who saw only disastrous and humiliating defeat, and blamed a King already distrusted by the people and at variance with the nobility."
p250: "When John hardened his heart to the interdict and redoubled the attacks upon Church property, the Pope, in 1209, took the supreme step of excommunication...
"John however was not at the end of his devices, and by a stroke of cunning choice enough to be called political genius he turned defeatinto something very like triumph. If he could not prevail he would submit; if he submitted he would repent; if he repented there must be no limits to his contrition. At all colst he must break the closing circle of his foes...He offered to make England a fief of the Papacy, and to do homage to the Pope as his feudal lord. Innocent leapt at this addition to his worldly dignities. He forgave the penitent King; he took him and the realm of England under his especial protection. He accepted the sovereignty of England from the hamds of John, and returned it to him as his vassal with his blessing.
"This turned the tables upon John's secular enemies. He was now the darling of the Church. Philip Augustus, who at heavy expense had gathered his armies to invade England as a Crusader for his own purposes, thought himself ill-used by the sudden tergiversation of his spiritual ally...The barons also found meagre comfort in this transformation. Their grievances remained unredressed, their anger unappeased...King John, who had lain at Dover, quaking but calculating, may have laughed while he pulled all these strings and threw his enemies into confusion."
p252: "...The war with the French king was continued, and John's demands in money and service kept the barons' anger hot...Here again was the opportunity of the King's domestic enemies. They formed plans to restrain the rule of a despotic and defeated King, and openly threatened revolt unless their terms were accepted...
"But John had still one final resource. Encouraged by the Pope, he took the vows of a Crusader and invoked sentence of excommunication upon his opponents. This was not denied him. The conditions of 1213 were nowentirely reversed. The barons, who had thought to be Crusaders against an excommunicated King, were now under the ban themselves..."
p253: "...After forty years' experience of the administrative system established by Henry II the men whonow confronted John had advanced beyond the magnates of King Stephen's time. They had learned to think intelligently and constructively. In place of the King's arbitrary despotism they proposed, not the withering anarchy of feudal separatism, but a system of checks and balances which would accord the monarchy its necessary strength, but would prevent its perversion by a tyrant or a fool. The leaders of the barons in 1215 groped in the dim light towards a fundamental principle. Government must henceforward mean something more than the arbitrary rule of any man, and custom and the law must stand even above the King. It was this idea, perhaps only half understood, that gave unity and force to the barons' opposition and made the Charter which they now demanded imperishable.
"On a Monday morning in June, between Staines and Windsor, the barons and Churchmen began to collect on the great meadow at Runnymede. An uneasy hush fell on them from time to time. Many hadfailed to keep their tryst; and the bold few who had come knew that the King would never forgive this humiliation. He would hunt them down when he could, and the laymen at least were staking their lives in the cause they served. They had arranged a little throne for the King and a tent. The handful of resolute men had drawn up, it seems, a short document on parchment. Their retainers and the groups and squadrons of horsemen in sullen steel kept at some distance and well in the background. For was not armed rebellion against the Crown the supreme feudal crime? Then events followed rapidly. A small cavalcade appeared from the direction of Windsor. Gradually men made out the faces of the King, the Papal Legate, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and several bishops. They dismounted without ceremony. Someone, probably the Archbishop, stated briefly the terms that were suggested. The King declared at once that he agreed. He said the details should be arranged immediatelyin his chancery. The original `Articles of the Barons' on which Magna Carta is based exist today in the British Museum. They were sealed in a quiet, short scene, which has become one of the most famous in our history, on June 15, 1215. Afterwards the King reutrned to Windsor. Four days later, probably, the Charter itself was probably engrossed. In future ages it was to be used as the foundation of principles and systems of government of which neither King John nor his nobles dreamed.
"At the beginning of the year 1216 there had seemed to be every chance that John would still defeat the baronial opposition and wipe out the humiliation of Runnymede. Yet before the summer was out the King was dead, and the Charter survived the denunciation of the Pope and the arbitrament of war... Thus was created the glorious legend of the `Charter of an Englishman's liberties.'
p256: "...The reign of Henry II, according to most respected authorities, initiates the ruleof law. But the work as yet was incomplete: the Crown was still above the law; the legal system which Henry had created could become, as John showed, an instrument of oppression..."
p258: "King John died in the toils; but he died at bay. The misgovernment of his reign had brought against him what seemed to be an overwhelming combina- tion. He was at war with the English barons who had forced him to grant the Charter. They had invited Louis, son of the implacable Philip, King of France, into the country to be their liege lord, and with him came foreign troops and hardy adventurers. The insurgent barons north of the Humber had the support of Alexander, King of Scots; in the West the rebellion was sustained by Llewellyn, the powerful Prince of North Wales...
"On the other hand, the recreant King had sacrificed the status of the realm to purchase the unswerving aid of the Papacy...Some of the greatest warrior-nobles, the venerable William the Marshal, and the famous Ranulf, Earl of Chester, with a strong following of the aristocracy, adhered to his cause... John himself, after a lifetime of subtleties and double-dealing, of illegal devices and sharp, unexpected twists of religious policy, showed himself possessed, in the last months of his life, of a warlike energy and resource which astonished friend and foe. It was at this moment that he died of dysentery, aggravated by fatigue and too much food and drink. Shakespeare has limned his final agony:
And none of you will bid the winter come
To thrust his icy fingers in my maw....
I beg cold comfort, and you are so strait
And so ungrateful, you deny me that.'
"The death of the King in this convulsion of strife changed the conditions of the conflict without ending it. The rival interests and factions that were afoot had many purposes beyond the better government of England. Louis was in the Island and fighting. Many had plighted him their faith, already once forsworn. The rebel lords were deeply involved with their Scottish and Welsh allies; none was in the humour for peace. Yet the sole reason and justification for revolt died with John..."
The Oxford Book of Royal Anecdotes, Elizabeth Longford, 1991, Oxford Univ Press, pxix: "Normans and Plantagenets Genealogy: John Lackland, mar (1) Hadwiga of Gloucester, mar Isabella of Angouleme, reigned 1199-1216."
The Political History of England 1216-1377, Vol III, T F Tout, 1905, AMS Press, p3: "...The situation was saved by the wisdom and moderation of the papal legate, and the loyalty of William Marshal, who forgot his interests as Earl of Pembroke in his devotion to the house of Anjou. From the moment of John's death at Newark, the cardinal and the marshal took the lead. They met at Worcester, where the tyrant was buried, and at once made preparations for the coronation of Henry of Winchester..."
The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, Antonia Fraser, 1975, Alfred Knopf, p25: "John Lackland, 1167-1216, mar (1) Isabelle de Clare (Div), mar (2) Isabelle of Angouleme..."
The Wall Chart of World History, Edward Hull, 1988, Studio Edition, England 1199: "King of England 1199-1216,
Lackland', Granted Magna Carta 1215..."
The Story of Civilization, Will Durant, Vol IV, The Age of Faith, Book V, The Climax of Christianity, Ch XXV, The Recovery of Europe, Sec 3, Magna Carta, p672: "Richard I the Lion-Hearted [Coeur de Lion who had] succeeded without challenge to his father's throne...crowded a century of romance into his forty two years...[He] died in his forty third year in a dispute over a mess of gold. His brother John (1199-1216), nicknamed Lackland because, unlike his elder brothers, he had not received from his father any appanage on the Continent, succeeded him after some opposition and distrust... The French feudal court declared his possessions in France forfeited...[When] Philip invaded Normandy, John was too busy honeymooning at Rouen to lead his troops; they were defeated; John fled to England; and Normandy, Maine, Anjou, and Touraine passed to the French crown...The nobles sent him a deputation demanding a return to the laws of Henry I, which had protected the rights of the nobles and limited the powers of the king...At Runnymeade on the Thames, near Windsor, the forces of the aristocracy encamped opposite the few supportes of the King. There John made his second great surrender and signed (1215) Magna Carta, the most famous document in English history...The Great Charter deserves its fame as the foundation of the liberties today enjoyed by the English-speaking world...it defined and safeguarded basic rights; it established habeas corpus and trial by jury; it gave to an incipient Parliament a power of the purse that would later arm the nation against tyranny; it transformed absolute into limited and constitutional monarchy...Everywhere outside of mercantile London John was victorious, and merciless. Then, amid the energy and fury of his triumph, he was struck down by dysentery, made his way painfully to a monastery, died at Newark in the forty-ninth year of his age..."
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Micropaedia, Vol I, p372, Angevin Empire: "...Henry's plans to divide his
empire' among his sons led to many quarrels and wars, which the French King eagerly fostered. Only Richard and John survived their father's death (1189), and although John was confirmed as Lord of Ireland, which he had hels since 1177, he was subject to Richard, who therwise held all his father's possessions. Early in John's reign (1199-1216) the French King Philip II Augustus wrested from him Normandy, Anjou, Maine, and Touraine..."
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Macropaedia, Vol X, p236, John of England: "One of the most unpopular monarchs in his country's history, John, king of England from 1199 to 1216, aroused widespread hostility among barons, prelates, and commoners alike. His reign ended in a baronial rebellion that forced him to issue Magna Carta, the most important constitutional instrument in English history. Yet he was one of the most astute politicians and energetic administrators of the Plantagenet line of kings. A subject of controversy throughout his life, he was born at Oxford on 24 Dec 1167, the youngest son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Henry's plan (1173) to assign to his favourite son (whom he nicknamed Lackland) extensive lands upon his marriage with the daughter of Humbert III, count of Maurienne (Savoy), was defeated by the rebellion the proposal provoked among John's elder brothers. Various provisions were made for him in England (1174-76), including the succession to the earldom of Gloucester. He was also granted the lordship of Ireland (1177), which he visited from April to late 1185, committing youthful political indiscretions from which he acquired a reputation for reckless irresponsibility. Henry's continued favour to him contributed to the rebellion of his eldest surviving son, Richard I (later called Coeur de Lion), in June 1189. For obscure reasons John deserted Henry for Richard.
"On Richard's accession in July 1189, John was made count of Martain (a title that became his usual style), was confirmed as lord of Ireland, was granted lands and revenues in England worth 6,000Lb a year, and was married to Isabella, heiress to the earldom of Gloucester. He also had to promise (March 1190) not to enter England during Richard's absence on his crusade. But John's actions were now dominated by the problem of the succession, in which his nephew, the three-year-old Arthur I Duke of Brittany, the son of his deceased elder brother Geoffrey, was his only serious rival. When Richard recognized Arthur as he heir (October 1190), John immediately broke his oath and returned to England, where he led the opposition to Richard's dictatorial chancellor, William Longchamp. On receiving the news in January 1193 that Richard on his way back from the crusade had been imprisoned in Germany, John allied himself with King Philip II Augustus of France and attempted unsuccessfully to seize contro of England. In April 1193 he was forced to accept a truce but made further arrangements with Philip for the division of Richard's possessions and for rebellion in England. On Richard's return, early in 1194, John was banished and deprived of all his lands. He was reconciled to Richard in May and recovered some of his estates, including Mortain and Ireland, in 1195, but his full rehabilitation came only after the Bretons had surrendered Arthur to Philip II in 1196. This led Richard to recognize John as his heir.
"In 1199 the doctrine of representative succession, which would have given the throne to Arthur, was not yet generally accepted, and following Richard's death in April 1199 John was invested as Duke of Normandy and crowned King of England in May. Arthur, backed by Philip II, was recognized as Richard's successor in Anjou and Maine, and it was only a year later, in the Treaty of Le Goulet, that John was recognized as successor in all Richard's French possessions, in return for financial and territorial concessions to Philip. Meanwhile, John successfully resisted Scottish claims to the three northern counties and conducted a vigorous overhaul of local administration in England.
"The renewal of war in France was triggered off by John's second marriage. His first wife, Isabella of Gloucester, was never crowned, and in 1199 the marriage was dissolved on grounds of consanguinity, both parties being great-grandchildren of Henry I. John then intervened in the stormy politics of his county of Poitou and, while trying to settle the differences between the rival families of Lusignan and Angouleme, himself married Isabella (August 1200), the heiress to Angouleme, who had been betrothed to Hugh IX de Lusignan. This politically conceived marriage provoked the Lusignans into rebellion the next year; they appealed to Philip II, who summoned John to appear before his court. In the general war that followed his failure to answer this summons, John had temporary success at Mirebeau in August 1202, when Arthur of Brittany was captured, but Normandy was quickly lost (1204). By 1206, Anjou, Maine and parts of Poitou had also gone over to King Philip.
"These failures, foreshadowed under Henry II and Richard, were brought about by the superiority of French resources and the increasing strain on those of England and Normandy. Nevertheless, they were a damaging blow to John's prestige, and, equally imprtant, they meant that John resided now almost permanently in England. This factor, coinciding with the death (1205) of the chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury, Hubert Walter, gave his government a much more personal stamp, which was accentuated by the promotion of members of his household to important office. His determination to reverse the continental failure bore fruit in ruthlessly efficient financial administration, marked by taxation on revenues, investigations into the royal forests, taxation of the Jews, a great inquiry into feudal tenures, and the increasingly severe exploitation of his feudal prerogatives. These measures provided the material basis for the charges of tyranny later brought against him.
"John's attention was diverted and his prestige disastrously affected by relations with the papacy. In the disputed election to the see of Canterbury following the death of Hubert Walter, Pope Innocent III quashed the election John's nominee in procuring the election of Stephen Langton (December 1206). John, taking his ground on the traditional rights of the English crown in episcopal elections, refused to accept Langton. In March 1208, Innocent laid an interdict on England and excommunicated John (November 1209). The quarrel continued until 1213, by which time John had amassed more than 100,000Lb from the revenues of vacant or appropriated sees and abbeys. But such a dispute was a dangerous hindrance to John's intention to recover his continental lands. In November 1212 he agreed to accept Langton and the pope's terms. Apparently at his own behest, he surrendered his kingdom to the papal nuncio at Ewell, near Dover, on May 15, 1213, receiving it back as a vassal rendering a tribute of 1,000 marks (666Lb, 13s, 4d) a year. He was absolved from excommunication by Langton in July 1213, and the interdict was finally relaxed a year later. John thus succeeded in his aim to secure the papacy as a firm ally in the fight with Philip and in the struggle already pending with his own baronage. But his treatment of the church during the interdict, although arousing little if any opposition among the laity at the time, angered monastic chroniclers, who henceforth loaded him with charges of tyranny, cruelty, and with less reason, of sacrilege and irreligion.
"In August 1212, recurrent baronial discontent had come to a head in an unsuccessful plot to murder or desert John during a campaign planned against the Welsh. Pope Innocent's terms had included the restoration of two of those involved, Eustace de Vesci and Robert Fitzwalter, and although the barons soon lost papal support, they retained the protection of Stephen Langton. John, skillfully isolating the malcontents, was able to launch his longplanned campaign against the French, landing at La Rochelle in February 1214. He achieved nothing decisive and was forced to accept a truce lasting until 1220. Returning to England in October 1214, he now had to face much more widespread discontent, centred mainly on the northern, East Anglian, and home counties. After lengthy negotiations in which both sides appealed to the Pope, civil war broke out in May 1215. John was compelled to negotiate once more when London went over to the rebels in May, and on June 19 at Runnymede he accepted the baronial terms embodied in Magna Carta, which ensured feudal rights and restated English law. This settlement was soon rendered unworkable by the more intransigent barons and John's almost immediate appeal to Pope Innocent against it. Innocent took the King's side, and in the ensuing civil was John captured Rochester castle and laid waste the northern counties and the Scottish border. But his cause was weakened by the arrival of Prince Louis (later Louis VIII) of France, who invaded England at the baron's request. John continued to wage war vigorously but died at Newark on October 18-19, 1216, leaving the issues undicided. His death made possible a compromise peace, including the restoration of the rebels, the succession of his son Henry III, and the withdrawal of Louis.
"John's reputation, bad at his death, was further depressed by writers of the next generation. Of all centuries prior to the present, only the 16th, mindful of his quarrel with Rome, recognized some of his quality. He was suspicious, vengeful, and treacherous; Arthur I of Brittany was probably murdered in captivity, and Matilda de Braose, the wife of a recalcitrant Marcher baron, was starved to death with her son in a royal prison. But John was cultured and literate. Conventional in his religion rather than devout, he was remembered for his benefactions to the church of Coventry, to Reading Abbey, and to Worcester, where he was buried and where his effigy still survives. He was extrtaordinarily active, with a great love of hunting and a readiness to travel that gave him a knowledge of England matched by few other monarchs. He took a personal interest in judicial and financial administration, and his reign saw important advances at the exchequer, in the administration of justice, in the importance of the privy seal and the royal household, in methods of taxation and military organization, and in the grant of chartered privileges to towns. If his character was unreliable, his political judgment was acute. In 1215 many barons, including some of the most...
"...causing little if any opposition among the laity at the time, angered monastic chroniclers, who henceforth loaded him with charges of tyranny, cruelty, and with less reason..."
John Plantaganet, Lackland, born December 24, 1166, the youngest legitimate son of King Henry II. In 1185 Prince John was appointed King of Ireland, but before the end of 1186 he was driven from the Ireland and all was left in confusion. . . . John Plantaganet, Lackland, King of England (1199-1216), the fifth and favorite son of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor, was born at Oxford on December 24, 1166, and he died at Newark Castle, Notts, October 19, 1216, and was buried at Worcester Cathedral. He was named Lackland by his father because he was the youngest son, meaning he had little land inheritance. He married on August 29, 1189 (1) Isabella (Hawisa), Countess of Gloucester, daughter of William, Earl of Gloucester, by whom he had no children. She was previously married to Hugh of Lusignan. John divorced her in 1199 after ten years of marriage and married (2) Isabella of Angouleme, daughter of Aymer (Adhemer) de Taillefer, Count of Angoulesme, the swordsmith, who died in 1246, who may possibly have descended from Taillefer, who was supposed to be the court jester of Duke William of Normandy, sister and heir of Amyer Taillefer, Earl of Angoulesme. Henry of Huntington in his Chronicle states that Taillefer, who was supposed to be the jester of Duke William, before the armies closed for the fight at the Battle of Hastings, "sportively brandishing swords in front of the English troops, while they were lost in amazement at his gambols, slew one of their standard-bearers. A second time one of the enemy fell. The third time he was slain himself." On the other hand Wace says that Taillefer called to Duke William, "A boon, sire. I have long served you and you owe me for all such service Today, so please you, you shall repay it. I ask as my guerdon and beseech you for it earnestly that you will allow me to strike the first blow in the battle." To which the Duke replied, "I grant it." Then Taillefer put his horse to a gallop, charging before all the rest. Isabella was the mother of all his legal children, she was only 12-years of age when she was married. She married (2) Hugh X. of Lusignan, by whom she had the following children: Henry, Count of La Manche; William of Valence, died in 1269, father of Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke (1307-1324); Guy of Valence: Geoffrey of Lusignan; Aymer, Bishop of Winchester, died in 1280; and Alice le Brun, who married John de Warenne. Isabella died in 1246. King John, who reigned as King of England from 1199 to 1216, traveled extensively in England, as few of his predecessors had done, often dealing with mundane financial and legal matters. He reluctantly signed the Magna Charta, permitting basic rights to the barons and landowners, a landmark document in the history of western civilization. [Editor's Note: Of interest from a genealogical standpoint is the fact that the majority of barons opposed to King John all became common ancestors as the royal family and the baronial families intermarried in the following several generations. The specific baronial families who had signers of the Magna Carta are detailed in Volume II. of this genealogical record.] According to the Plantaganet Chronicles, "John was a great prince but scarcely a happy one, experiencing the ups and downs of Fortune. He was munificent and liberal to outsiders but a plunderer of his own people, trusting strangers rather than his subjects, wherefore he was eventually deserted by his own men and, in the end, little mourned." ("The Genealogy of Homer Beers James", V1, JANDA Consultants, © 1993 Homer James)
FAMILY SEARCH ANCESTRAL FILE
Ancestral File Ver 4.19 8XJ4-1K.
World Ancestral Chart No. 31759 Ancestors of Warren Cash 1760.
World Ancestral Chart No. 17779 James Carl Romans.
World Ancestral Chart No. 125360 Ancestors of Patricia Ann Kieffer.
John married Countess Isabel Mortain GLOUCESTER, daughter of Earl William Fitz Robert GLOUCESTER and Countess Hawise De Beaumont GLOUCESTER, on 29 Aug 1189 in Marlborough, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. The marriage ended in divorce. (Countess Isabel Mortain GLOUCESTER was born about 1167-1170 in , Gloucestershire, England, died on 14 Oct 1217 in , Kent, England and was buried in Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England.)
John also married Queen Isabella De Taillefer ENGLAND, daughter of Count Aymer De Taillefer ANGOULEME and Countess Alix De Courtenay ANGOULESME, on 26 Aug 1200 in Cathedral, Bordeaux, Gironde, France. (Queen Isabella De Taillefer ENGLAND was born about 1187-1188 in Angouleme, Charente, France, died on 31 May 1245-1246 in Abbey, Fontevrault, Maine-Et-Loire, France and was buried in Abbey, Fontevrault, Maine-Et-Loire, France.)
John also married Matilda GIFFORD. (Matilda GIFFORD was born about 1185 in , , England.)
John also had a child with Agatha De FERRERS, daughter of Earl William Ferrers DERBY and Sybil De BRAOSE. (Agatha De FERRERS was born about 1168 in Charltey, Staffordshire, England.)
John also married Concubine I Hawisa Fitz Warin England.
John also married Concubine II England John.
John also married Concubine England John Plantagenet , X, daughter of Hamelin PLANTAGENET and Isabel De WARENNE, in King Manor House, Oxford, England. (Concubine England John Plantagenet , X was born about 1170 in , , England.)