King John: Treachery and Tyranny in Medieval England: The Road to Magna Carta
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A rousing and authoritative new biography of the notorious King John, by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Marc Morris.
King John is familiar to everyone as the villain from the tales of Robin Hood―greedy, cowardly, despicable, and cruel. But who was the man behind the legend? Was he truly a monster, or a capable ruler cursed by bad luck? In this new book bestselling historian Marc Morris draws on contemporary chronicles and the king's own letters to bring the real King John vividly to life.
John was dynamic, inventive and relentless, but also a figure with terrible flaws. In two interwoven stories, we see how he went from being a youngest son with limited prospects to the ruler of the greatest dominion in Europe, an empire that stretched from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees. His rise to power involved treachery, rebellion and murder. His reign saw oppression on an almost unprecedented scale: former friends hounded into exile and oblivion; Wales, Scotland and Ireland invaded; the greatest level of financial exploitation since the Norman Conquest. A quarrel with the pope led to the king being excommunicated and England being placed under Interdict. John's tyrannical rule climaxed in conspiracy and revolt, and his leading subjects famously forced him to issue Magna Carta, a document binding him and his successors to behave better in future. The king's rejection of the charter led to civil war and foreign invasion, bringing his life to a disastrous close.
Authoritative and dramatic, Marc Morris's King John offers a compelling portrait of an extraordinary man, whose reign marked a momentous turning point in the history of Britain and Europe. 16 pages of color and B&W illustrations
Garrisons unmolested during the winter despite the expiry of the earlier truce, now abandoned their pragmatic caution and renewed their attack on his castles.57 Most had already surrendered by the time Richard landed in England on 13 March (news of his arrival reportedly caused one of John’s supporters, the keeper of St Michael’s Mount, to die of fright). Only at Nottingham did the defenders hold out until the king himself appeared outside the walls, eventually capitulating on 28 March. Three.
Election,’ wrote Henry II to the monks of Winchester Cathedral in 1172, ‘but we nevertheless forbid you to elect anyone except Richard, our clerk.’ Six years into his reign, by similar if perhaps more subtle means, John had generally been successful in getting the bishops he wanted.3 The complicating factor at Canterbury was that it was an archbishopric: whoever was appointed to that particular role had authority not just over his own diocese but over almost all the other bishops in England.
That objective had been achieved. Accordingly, on 26 October, a two-year truce was sealed. Both kings agreed to maintain the territorial and political status quo, and in the meantime to permit travellers and merchants to move freely between their dominions.29 With the truce in place, John returned to La Rochelle in early November, then moved to the adjacent Ile de Ré, from where he set sail in the middle of the month. After several weeks carefully negotiating the treacherous coast of Brittany,.
With the task in Lincolnshire. In each district, every local man had to appear before them and swear to the value of his rents and moveable goods; the justices made a record of the amount of tax due, which was then passed to the sheriff for collection. Penalties for evasion were harsh: those found guilty of making false declarations, or otherwise concealing their wealth, were to be cast into prison and have all their goods confiscated for the king’s use.8 One magnate, in fact, did dare to.
The early conquistador whose ambition and success had caused so much anxiety to both Henry II and John down to his death in 1186. Despite John’s initial opposition Walter had succeeded to his father’s lordship in Meath, as well as other lands in England, Wales and Normandy. After his marriage to Margaret, he and Briouze had come to a reciprocal arrangement, whereby he looked after the Briouze lands in Ireland and his father-in-law did the same for the Lacy estates in England and Wales.9 When the.