Tag Archives: King John of England
A younger son of a minor nobleman who became a notable tourneyer and warrior, a comrade to princes and kings, a powerful landowner and, ultimately, the regent of England and preserver of the Plantagenet dynasty, William Marshal’s career perhaps best typifies the breadth of the world of the knight.
When Richard the Lionheart was killed by a crossbow bolt in France in April 1199, a French chronicler, no friend of the English monarch, wrote: “God visited the kingdom of the French, for King Richard died.” Richard had been a feared and victorious enemy of France, and few believed that his younger brother and successor, John, would be a match for the formidable and experienced French king Philip II, known as Augustus.
King John’s surrender of his realm in 1213 was symbolised by his agreement to pay an annual tribute to the pope of 1,000 marks (666 pounds). This tribute was paid, albeit irregularly, into the 1290s. However, king Edward I and Edward II, John’s grandson and great-grandson, found themselves increasingly at odds with the papacy, partly over their rights to collect their own taxes from the English church and also over the pope’s partisan support for the king’s of France.
Magna Carta (Latin for “Great Charter”) is one of the most celebrated documents in English history. At the time it was the solution to a political crisis in Medieval England but its importance has endured as it has become recognised as a cornerstone of liberty influencing much of the civilized world.