Second Barons’ War


The Second Barons” War was a military conflict fought from 1264 to 1267 between the English King Henry III and a noble opposition led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester. After the first battles had already taken place in the summer of 1262, an open civil war began in April 1264 and ended in August 1265 with a victory for the king”s supporters. However, further fighting continued until 1267. In the end, the king had to make concessions to the barons. After the First War of the Barons from 1215 to 1217, this was the second major struggle for power in the state between the English king and his barons.

Against the policy of King Henry III, a firm noble opposition was formed in 1257, whose goal was to reform the royal rule. The barons no longer agreed with the king”s closed and arbitrary government. They accused the king of no longer seeking their advice; instead, the king would trust only his own advisors and officials, some of whom were from French Poitou and related to him. These friends and relatives had become very influential in the royal court from 1247 onward, and the barons accused the king of favoring them over them. At the same time, he would abuse his rights as a feudal lord, especially in guardianships of minor heirs, in granting permission for marriages, and in other feudal duties. Above all, the king”s policies were no longer successful, and the barons felt that he was badly governed. They faulted his unsuccessfulness in fighting the Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, who in a few years had shaken off English suzerainty and established a supremacy in Wales and now threatened their holdings in the Welsh Marches. Ultimately, the king, influenced by Pope Alexander IV, planned the conquest of the Kingdom of Sicily for his son Edmund. For the implementation of this plan he invested large sums of money, without the plan appearing promising. In the end, the project failed completely. The Pope”s demands could not be satisfied, and the English barons refused both their military and financial support for this adventure, which they were entitled to do under the Magna Carta. In contrast to the noble opposition of 1215, which merely wanted to limit the king”s power by recognizing Magna Carta, the barons now demanded reform and, above all, participation in the king”s rule.

Beginning of the nobility opposition

Against the background of crop failure and famine, as well as the defeats in the war in Wales, especially after the disastrous defeat in the battle of Cymerau against the Welsh princes, and because of his debts to the Pope, because of which his relations with the English Church deteriorated, the king called a parliament to Westminster for the beginning of April 1258. He wanted to prepare a new campaign to Wales, for which he further planned an expedition to Sicily. Above all, the Sicilian adventure met with great protest. His hope for financial support was not fulfilled. The magnates were split into separate groups, a development that became apparent after his half-brother Bishop Aymer de Lusignan attacked John fitz Geoffrey, a deserving royal retainer and confidant of the queen in Surrey, on April 1. When FitzGeoffrey demanded justice, the king refused. Presumably with Queen Eleanor”s approval, a small group of influential magnates met on April 12. It included Peter of Savoy, an uncle of the king, Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, Richard de Clare, 5th Earl of Gloucester, Roger Bigod, 4th Earl of Norfolk, his brother Hugh Bigod, and John fitz Geoffrey and Peter de Montfort, who were friends of Montfort. They swore mutual support against the Lusignans, the king”s half-brothers, and because of the king”s unpopularity, the conspirators quickly succeeded in drawing almost the entire nobility to their side. When the king again called for support for the war in Wales on April 28, they stormed into Westminster Hall armed and led by the Earl of Norfolk and issued an ultimatum to the king. They demanded a reform of the reign, a reorganization of the royal finances, and respect for their ancestral rights. The barons proposed that the king form a committee of 24 members to advise the king, reform the realm by Christmas, and settle the king”s debts. Half of the members were to be appointed by the barons and half by the king. Faced with opposition at his own court and being under pressure because of the war in Wales, the king quickly relented and on May 2 vowed to accept the committee. In return, the barons made a vague promise to continue the war in Wales. This compromise was doomed to failure. Asked to fill half the committee, the king chose mainly his half-brothers, the Lusignans, and their supporters, yet he was so isolated that he could not get twelve members together. Another parliament was arranged for June, but in the meantime Henry”s objections to peace with France were overruled. On May 8, envoys, including Simon de Montfort, Peter of Savoy, and also the Lusigans, began negotiations with the French king, Louis IX, to make peace with France and end the dispute over English possessions in France. They were ready for a definitive renunciation of Normandy and quickly drew up the articles for a peace treaty.

Decree of the Provisions of Oxford

On June 11, Parliament reconvened at Oxford, along with a large army for a campaign by land and sea to Wales. The barons had to press the king hard to negotiate with Prince Llywelyn, who had also sent envoys. Against the background of a dispute over favors, the group of barons in the committee decided that the Lusignans had to leave the country. They questioned Parliament, promised a general reform of the rule, and made the Lusignans scapegoats for the failures of the royal rule. A collection of the barons” grievances was written up, and at Oxford”s Dominican Church the barons took a common oath against mortal enemies of the realm. The committee passed the Provisions of Oxford, according to which a council of state consisting of 15 people was established to advise the king. The commanders of the royal castles, as well as the chancellor, justiciar, and treasurer, were to be responsible to the Council of State. Three meetings called Great Concils or Parliaments were to be held each year, attended by the members of the Council of State with twelve other representatives of the barons. These parliaments were to be held at Candlemas on February 2, June 1, and Michaelmas on September 29.

The king”s rule disintegrated when the magnates reoccupied the long-vacant office of justiciar with Hugh Bigod to secure justice for all classes, while truces were made with Prince Llywelyn. On June 22 the king was forced to surrender his principal castles to castellans of the magnates, and on the same day four electors chose the fifteen members of the new royal council that took power. This council included Archbishop Boniface of Savoy of Canterbury, John de Plessis, 7th Earl of Warwick and the royal advisor John Mansel, but also the Earls of Norfolk, Hereford, Peter of Savoy, Peter de Montfort, John fitz Geoffrey, Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, James Audley and Bishop Walter de Cantilupe of Worcester, but especially Richard de Clare and Simon de Montfort.

First reign of the barons

With these provisions, the aristocratic opposition had seized power in England. Around June 28, in a foolhardy, defiant gesture, the Lusignans and the heir to the throne, Lord Edward, fled Oxford for Amyer de Valencia”s castle at Winchester. The magnates pursued them, and their resistance collapsed. On July 10, Lord Edward swore compliance with the Provisions of Oxford, and four days later the Lusignans left the realm, making the king”s defeat complete.

For the next 18 months, the fifteen-member royal council effectively ruled England, while royal power remained severely limited. It was further restricted by requiring each county on August 4, 1258, to collect complaints against royal and manorial officials through emissaries and report them to Parliament in October. To this end, the new Justiciar, Hugh Bigod, toured several counties, heard complaints himself, and quickly gained popularity. In this way, the royal council accommodated the knighthood, the yeomen and the bourgeoisie, who also demanded reforms at the local level in the areas of administration and justice. The Provisions of Westminster, issued in the fall of 1259, met the complaints and were an attempt to reform local administration and justice. As a result, Hugh Bigod and his successor Hugh le Despenser were able to further gain the confidence and support of the knights, yeomen, and burgesses. The Provisions of Westminster were intended to limit the judicial powers of the royal sheriffs and other officials, as well as the powers of the barons” bailiffs. To this end, the royal council conducted numerous day-to-day affairs, with the Justiciar and Montfort in particular taking the lead. However, Montfort”s attempt to dominate the Anglo-French negotiations at Cambrai in November failed because the French king did not recognize Montfort”s envoys and negotiated only with direct envoys of King Henry.

Power struggle between the king and the royal council

King Henry III had given in to pressure from the barons and had to accede to all the actions of the royal council during the parliament in October 1258. To do so, he ordered his officials to swear obedience to the Provisions of Oxford. The royal council now tried to get the pope”s approval for the Provisions of Oxford. To do this, they wanted to renegotiate the Sicilian succession with the pope as well as obtain his approval for the deposition of Aymer de Valence as bishop of Winchester. In December 1258, the Sicilian adventure of Henry”s son Edmund”s candidacy for the throne was finally aborted. With this, at the latest, the king had become an opponent of the royal council, which he regarded only as a means of redistributing his royal power among fifteen other people. Nevertheless, he remained largely passive for most of 1259, while the initial enthusiasm and support of the nobility for the work of the royal council waned. In particular, the investigation of grievances in the local administration of the barons caused unrest among them and led to tensions. The ideals of Montfort, who increasingly steered the royal council, were not shared by many barons, especially Richard de Clare, Peter of Savoy, and Hugh Bigod. The royal council thus divided into several camps. On November 14, 1259, the king sailed for France, accompanied by the queen, Peter of Savoy, Richard de Clare, and John Mansel. He paid homage to the French King Louis IX on December 4 for the possession of the Duchy of Aquitaine and recognized the Treaty of Paris, which achieved peace between England and France. His return to England was delayed first because of arbitrations and decisions on the details of the treaty, then because of illness. A crisis ensued in England after the Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd took advantage of the king”s absence, broke the truce, and raided the royal Builth Castle. On January 16, 1260, Henry III wrote to his justiciar that Parliament would fall out at Candlemas and that he should lead a relief army to Builth.

Simon de Montfort, who had also been in France since October 1259, returned to England in early 1260 and immediately disputed the king”s right not to convene Parliament. He prevailed upon Parliament to convene, but intensified the xenophobia when he also expelled Peter of Savoy from the Council of State because of his origin. He did, however, manage to win over to his side the heir to the throne, Edward, for whom his father”s concessions in the Treaty of Paris went too far. Rumor has it that Lord Edward wanted to depose his father, and to prevent this, the Justiciar and Richard of Cornwall, the king”s younger brother, intervened. Light skirmishes ensued, and the barons” reform movement had suddenly turned into a power struggle between Montfort and the king. In March 1260, King Henry III sent a letter to Richard de Clare, who had already returned to England, and to Hugh Bigod, requesting their support. He summoned a royal army to London for April 25. Richard de Clare and other barons now openly sided with the king. The king reached London on April 30, 1260, held for him by Richard de Clare and Philip Basset. He received increasing support from other barons, after which the rebellion of Montfort and Lord Edward collapsed. The king initially wanted to put Montfort on trial, and some of Montfort”s supporters lost their castles and their posts in the royal court. Through mediation by Richard of Cornwall and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the king reconciled with his eldest son Edward in May. However, having no means to pay his mercenaries longer than July, the king yielded to his advisors to reconcile at least superficially with Montfort and not openly repudiate the Provisions of Oxford. Instead, he now summoned an army for a campaign against Wales and appointed Richard de Clare and Montfort as its commanders. Before the army could set out for Wales, however, Richard de Clare renewed the truce of Montgomery after the capture of Builth Castle by the Welsh. In doing so, however, he had to go a long way toward accommodating the Welsh, and the king refused to ratify the agreement for several months.

After Lord Edward still supported Montfort during the October Parliament, he superficially reconciled with his father. He gave Bristol, the center of his possessions, to Philip Basset and, together with two of Montfort”s sons, left for France in October 1260, where they participated in tournaments.

Reclaiming the power of the king

At the end of 1260, Queen Eleanor and Peter of Savoy were able to persuade the king to take action against the restriction of power by the Provisions of Oxford. The king now tried to obtain from the pope the annulment of his oath to the Provisions and also asked the French king for help. He remained fickle, however, and entrenched himself in the Tower of London from February 9, 1261. While outwardly pretending to abide by the Provisions of Oxford, he simultaneously attempted to recruit mercenaries in Flanders. During the Parliament held in February and March, the king negotiated from the Tower until March 14, when the Royal Council agreed to hear his complaints. To avoid civil war, the council agreed to arbitration, but it failed in late April. In early May, the king suddenly left the Tower in an unguarded moment and occupied Dover Castle with the Cinque Ports. Papal letters reached him there, as well as a 100-man mercenary force, which he maintained until August. At the end of May he traveled to Winchester, where around June 12 he presented the papal bull absolving him of oaths to the Provisions. He then replaced Justiciar Hugh le Despenser with Philip Basset and shortly thereafter appointed new sheriffs and constables for the royal burghs.

This policy caused the king to again lose the support of many barons, and his actions led to confusion and disorder. Richard de Clare and Montfort allied again, and together with the Bishop of Worcester, the Earl of Hereford, the Earl of Surrey, they attempted to establish a kind of counter-government. They themselves appealed to Pope Alexander IV and to Louis IX for mediation, and in August summoned a parliament to St Albans, to which three representatives of the knighthood were to appear from each county south of the Trent. The king called a parliament at Windsor for the same day. He promised to free the counties from the dominance of the magnates, and since he had strong mercenary forces at his disposal, the barons relented. Richard de Clare and his supporters began negotiations with the king in Kingston, which were concluded on November 28. A compromise was reached over appointments to the sheriff”s offices, and a committee was to mediate other points of contention. If the dispute continued, Richard of Cornwall, who had returned from Germany, was to mediate; as a last resort, the French king could be called upon. Henry III left the Tower, where he had been since October, promising full pardon to all who recognized this treaty of Kingston. Montfort went into exile in France.

On February 25, 1262, the king received a bull from the new pope, Urban IV, confirming Pope Alexander IV”s decision and continuing to release the king from his oath to the Provisions of Oxford and Westminster. He then declared them invalid on May 2, 1262, and threatened anyone who continued to promulgate them with imprisonment. In April, the king had recalled his half-brother William de Valence from France. After Lord Edward returned from France and his mother reconciled him with his father in late May, the magnates lacked a leader. Montfort was in exile, Richard de Clare was ill, and the majority of the barons were tired of political instability. In August, Lord Edward again left England and traveled to Gascony. Meanwhile, the king attempted to destroy Montfort. To this end, he traveled to France on July 14, 1262, to accuse Montfort, who was also a vassal of the French king, to the latter. The French king”s attempts at mediation failed completely, but he refused to condemn Montfort. Montfort returned to England in October, while Henry III fell ill in Paris with a plague to which many of his companions fell victim. The weakened king continued to stay in France before returning to England on December 20, 1262. However, weakened, he still spent the next three months in his palace in Westminster.

Unrest and first fights

Once again, a crisis had arisen in England during the king”s long absence. Richard de Clare had died shortly after the king”s departure for France. By denying his 19-year-old son Gilbert de Clare his inheritance because of his formal minority, by entrusting William de Valence with the administration of his lands, and by snubbing him for this purpose by assigning the inheritance to his mother, the king made an enemy of the latter. The case of Gilbert de Clare now served as a new example of the unjust way King Henry III interpreted feudal law. After Roger of Leybourne and other knights of the heir to the throne had already fallen out of favor with the queen and had to leave court, they occupied the royal Gloucester Castle in the summer of 1262, but were driven out again by royal troops shortly thereafter. Llywelyn ap Gruffydd had also again taken advantage of the king”s absence and attacked the Welsh Marches. In November 1262 he attacked Cefnllys Castle, a castle of Roger Mortimer of Wigmore. He captured the lordship by the end of the year, then attacked and brought under his control neighboring Brecknockshire, a lordship of Humphrey V de Bohun. He then laid siege to Abergavenny Castle, a castle of Lord Edward. Due to their dissatisfaction with the dismissal of Roger of Leybourne, many Marcher lords refused to help the Constable. Only thanks to the relief by Roger Mortimer of Wigmore the siege failed. The king”s inability to stop the Welsh attacks increased the barons” discontent with the government of King Henry III.

The revolt of 1263

After his return from France, the king wanted to accommodate the knighthood and the yeomen and recognized a new version of the Provisions of Westminster at the end of January 1263. The king summoned his barons to Westminster in March 1263, where they were to pay homage to his son Lord Edward as a sign of their loyalty. Gilbert de Clare refused, and a small group of barons turned to Montfort, who had returned to England on April 25, 1263. Led by Montfort, Gilbert de Clare, and the Earl of Surrey, the nobles” opposition held a council meeting in Oxford on May 20. Montfort succeeded in reuniting the noble opposition, which was joined by Henry of Almain, a son of Richard of Cornwall. The barons demanded that the king restore the Provisions of Oxford and declared all who refused to do so to be enemies of the state. At the same time, the king sought support for a campaign against Llywelyn ap Gruffydd to relieve the hard-pressed Marcher lords. He summoned the feudal army to Worcester for a campaign into Wales on August 1, 1263. On the other hand, he clearly refused to recognize the Provisions again, whereupon armed rebellions broke out in the Welsh Marches. Gilbert de Clare and Roger de Clifford seized Peter D”Aigueblanche, the Savoy Bishop of Hereford, and imprisoned him in Eardisley Castle. They then occupied Gloucester Castle. Further attacks by the rebels were directed directly against Queen Eleanor, her kinsmen and allies, in addition to the heir to the throne, Edward, who had allied himself with Roger Mortimer, and against Peter of Savoy and Archbishop Boniface of Canterbury. Montfort allied himself with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, and under his leadership the rebels moved east.

Outmaneuvered and short of cash, the king retreated back to the Tower on June 19, whereupon Montfort advanced from the Midlands into southeastern England and seized control of the Cinque Ports, so that Henry III could expect no help from the French king. In addition, Montfort secured the support of London after a radical group overthrew the city oligarchs. Probably on the advice of Richard of Cornwall, the king offered Montfort concessions, which he refused. The heir to the throne plundered the treasures stored in the New Temple and retreated with his mercenaries to Windsor Castle; other courtiers fled abroad. The queen intended to leave the king in the Tower on July 13 and join her son, but was driven back to the Tower by an angry mob. On July 15, the rebels occupied the city, and a day later the king, confined in the Tower, accepted their demands: Restoration of the Provisions of Oxford, filling of offices with Englishmen only, and banishment of all foreigners with few exceptions. Henry III and Eleanor then moved back to the Palace of Westminster.

Second reign of the barons

Agents of the barons now took over the government in London as well as in the counties, but the real ruler of England was Montfort. Montfort”s main supporters were the clergy led by Walter de Cantilupe of Worcester; among the barons, he could rely primarily on Hugh le Despenser and Peter de Montfort. Of the barons, Gilbert de Clare, the Earl of Surrey, Henry of Almain, Henry Hastings, John fitz John, Roger of Leybourne, Nicholas Segrave, Geoffrey de Lucy, John FitzAlan, William de Munchensi, Roger de Clifford, John Giffard, John de Vaux, Hamo le Strange, James Audley, Reginald FitzPeter, William de Braose, and the northern English barons John de Vescy and Robert de Vipont supported Montfort in the spring of 1263. Most of his supporters were among the Marcher Lords and had joined him out of dissatisfaction with the rule of King Henry III and of Lord Edward. Influential barons such as the Earl of Norfolk, the Earl of Hereford, and Roger Mortimer, as well as many barons from northern England, remained on the king”s side.

Montfort”s government quickly concluded a truce with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, to whom it even offered a peace treaty in August. The Marcher lords in particular feared territorial losses from this alliance. Their loyalty began to waver, since Montfort, even as High Steward, had given lucrative offices and posts primarily to his own supporters; in addition, he did not keep his promise made at Parliament in September 1262 to compensate plundered possessions.

After the king was still forced to publicly acknowledge the Provisions of Oxford on September 9, 1263, Montfort, given the distribution of powers, agreed to an arbitration award from the French king on the legality of the Provisions and allowed the king to travel to France himself. On September 23, Henry III, Elenore, and two of their sons traveled to Boulogne, accompanied by Montfort and his supporters. They wanted to obtain a decision from King Louis IX and return immediately. Surprisingly, the latter initially agreed to the agreements reached in July and endorsed compensation for plunder. Eleanor and Lord Edmund, contrary to their promises, remained in France thereafter, while Henry and Edward returned to Westminster for the October Parliament. While the king demanded the appointment of his own nominees as ministers, Montfort”s supporters leveled accusations against each other, and their government broke apart. The heir to the throne then took the initiative, now assembling a strong royalist party.

Lord Edward”s resistance to Montfort”s rule

As early as August 1263, Lord Edward had reconciled with Leyburn and his followers, who had been expelled from his court by his mother 18 months earlier. On October 16, he occupied Windsor Castle, where the king followed him. Thereupon, by the end of the year, the Earl of Surrey, Henry of Almain, Roger de Clifford, John Vaux, Hamo le Strange, John FitzAlan, Reginald FitzPeter, James Audley, and William de Braose also sided with Lord Edward. On Montfort”s side remained mainly Nicholas Segrave, John FitzJohn and Henry de Hastings, in addition Montfort had been able to win the support of the Earl of Derby and the Earl of Oxford, as well as that of the younger Humphrey V. de Bohun. Nevertheless, Montfort was now forced to conclude a truce negotiated with Richard of Cornwall on November 1. According to this, the king would recognize the Provisions if the French king again agreed to them. In the meantime, Henry III moved to Oxford and dismissed the treasurer and chancellor appointed by Montfort. He was also able to regain Winchester Castle in early December, in addition to trying to gain Dover Castle. Montfort, on the other hand, was trapped in Southwark and had to be freed by the Londoners. To this end, Pope Urban IV, probably at the instigation of Queen Eleanor, appointed Gui Foucois as the new papal legate and charged him with restoring the king”s authority.

The Mise of Amiens

On December 28, the king traveled to France and met with the barons” envoys before Louis IX in Amiens. Both sides presented elaborate accounts of their claims. In his arbitration award on January 23, 1264, the Mise of Amiens, the French king this time firmly rejected the provisions and awarded Henry III the right to appoint his ministers according to his will. Contributing to this decision had been the queen”s diplomacy, the support of the pope, the certainty that the majority of magnates supported Henry III, and Louis IX”s indignation at the attacks by Montfort”s supporters on members of the clergy. Henry III had seemingly won a clear victory.

This gave Montfort the opportunity to rally his supporters around him, who were otherwise left with the unrestricted restoration of royal authority as an alternative. Even before that, his supporters had convincingly spread the claim that the king was no longer capable of ruling without the supervision of a council of state: he had consistently tried to exalt himself above the laws, had broken his oaths to the Provisions, had pursued disastrous and unwanted policies such as the Sicilian adventure, had violated the freedom of the church and abused the crusading idea, had welcomed many strangers to his court and squandered his resources, had tolerated the abuse of office by his officials, and had allowed his minions in the country. An armed struggle was now imminent between the two camps. To this end, Montfort reaffirmed his alliance with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd.

Beginning of the open civil war

No sooner had the Mise of Amiens become known than Montfort gave the signal for rebellion by having his sons attack their enemies in the Welsh Marches early in 1264, presumably with the connivance of Prince Llywelyn. Lord Edward left France and managed to sack Gloucester. The king returned to England on February 14 and raised an army within three weeks. He made his headquarters at Oxford, but characteristically remained passive until the end of Lent in early April 1264. He rejected Montfort”s offer to accept the Mise of Amiens in return for granting offices only to Englishmen as a limitation on his power. A group of younger barons, many of whom had previously been exploited during their minority under the king”s tutelage, sided with Montfort.

The battles until the Battle of Lewes

The first battles were successful for the king. Supported by the Marcher Lords, Lord Edward was able to conquer Huntingdon, Hay and Brecknockshire. Then he captured Gloucester Castle, marched east and united with his father”s army. Surprisingly, they appeared before Northampton and managed to capture the town and Northampton Castle by April 7, taking Simon de Montfort the Younger prisoner. He then captured Nottingham and Leicester. Gilbert de Clare, who had so far awaited developments at Tonbridge Castle, joined Montfort in laying siege to Rochester Castle from April 18. The castle was sacked by the king and by Lord Edward, who had moved southeast in a hasty march. They then captured Tonbridge Castle after Gilbert de Clare had retreated to London. In the Weald, the rebels attempted to ambush the king. As a result, on May 2, on the advice of his brother Richard of Cornwall, he had 315 peasant archers beheaded at Ticehurst. He then occupied the Cinque Ports and prepared a blockade of London. When Montfort was thus forced to leave the capital, he moved south. The king reached Lewes on May 11, where Montfort and his army also arrived on May 12, 1264. After negotiations failed, the Battle of Lewes took place on May 14, in which Montfort decisively defeated the king”s supporters. Lord Edward, Henry of Almain, and others fell into captivity and served as hostages for the followers of the king”s supporters. Montfort had once again become the de facto ruler of England.

Third reign of the barons

After his defeat at Lewes, King Henry III had to officially amnesty Montfort and Gilbert de Clare. Montfort now wanted to continue his reforms and convened a parliament for the end of June. The June 23 parliament decided to make sweeping changes to the government. Instead of the 15-member Council of State, a three-member committee was formed that included Montfort, Gilbert de Clare, and Bishop Stephen Bersted of Chichester. This committee was to elect a nine-member Council of State to advise the king. However, the real power rested with the three-member committee and especially with Montfort, who appointed the ministers and dignitaries of the court. The king was left with only symbolic power, in that he had to approve Montfort”s actions. Despite the victory of Lewes, however, there was still no peace in the realm, as Montfort failed to gain general recognition for his rule. The royal castles were supposed to surrender to his government, but the garrisons of several castles such as Pevensey or Gloucester Castle did not surrender. A number of the king”s supporters, such as the Earl of Pembroke, continued the struggle and eventually fled into exile. In Wales, Montfort and Clare, with the help of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, who captured several castles, were able to force the Marcher lords into the Montgomery truce on August 25, 1264. They agreed to release their prisoners, surrender more castles, and stand trial. Nevertheless, the Marcher lords were not defeated, and soon they revoked the truce because they did not accept Montfort”s cooperation with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. A first attempt to free the captive Lord Edward was repulsed by Guy de Montfort at Wallingford. A government campaign forced the Marcher lords to submit Worcester in December 1264, and Lord Edward was forced to surrender Cheshire and City and Bristol Castle to the government in return for compensation in England. Roger de Mortimer, Roger de Clifford and their allies were exiled to Ireland for a year. Another threat was Queen Eleanor, who had remained in France. She gathered a mercenary army in Flanders, but eventually she refrained from the planned invasion of England and was content to hold Gascony for her husband.

On December 14, 1265, Montfort convened what was later called De Montfort”s Parliament for January 20, 1265, which included not only the barons and bishops but also, for the first time, four elected representatives from each county of South of Trent and is thus considered the founding institution of today”s House of Commons. This shows how little he could rely on the support of the magnates, whereas over a hundred abbots and bishops met at the Parliament.

Renewed Civil War and Battle of Evesham

However, Montforts increasingly lost the support of the barons. He had given his sons lucrative offices and also other supporters fiefdoms from defeated enemies. In the process, his government fell out over the distribution of booty, ransoms of captives, and other points of contention. Ultimately, Montfort”s quasi-autocratic rule was also disputed. In February, Montfort fell out with the Earl of Derby and ordered his arrest. In May, the Earls of Surrey and Pembroke landed in Pembrokeshire, and Gilbert de Clare switched sides and joined them. Montfort then moved with Lord Edward and the king to Hereford, which he reached on May 24. With the help of Thomas de Clare, Gilbert de Clare”s brother, Lord Edward escaped on May 28. He reunited with Roger Mortimer at Wigmore, who had not gone into exile in Ireland, and with Gilbert de Clare at Ludlow. Gilbert and Edward blocked the crossing of the Severn at Gloucester, trapping Montfort west of the Severn. Montfort did renew his alliance with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in the Treaty of Pipton-on-Wye on June 19, 1265, recognizing him as prince of Wales, but the royal forces outnumbered his. Gilbert de Clare and Lord Edward were first able to defeat Montfort”s son Simon at Kenilworth on August 1, and shortly thereafter the decisive battle took place at Evesham on August 4, in which the royal party decisively defeated Montfort”s supporters. Montfort fell in the battle.

Continuation of the civil war

The king did not succeed in stopping the thirst for revenge of his son and his followers. Immediately after the victory of Evesham, Gilbert de Clare, the Earl of Surrey and also Lord Edward had large estates of the defeated rebels occupied. Then the king and Lord Edward tried to restore royal authority. In September they demanded Bristol Castle and the other remaining castles in the hands of Montfort”s supporters to submit, whereupon most of the castles surrendered. A parliament was summoned to Winchester for mid-September to decide the fate of Montfort”s remaining followers. Montfort”s surviving sons and his widow were to leave England by early 1266. On October 1, King Henry III announced the annulment of all the measures he had been forced to do after the Battle of Lewes in Montfort”s grip. Parliament decided that all possessions of the rebels, including those already occupied, must be handed over to the king, including the revenues due on Michaelmas. At the same time, all stolen possessions and all stolen livestock were to be returned to their respective properties. The clarification of the distribution of the occupied lands was left by the king to his supporters on the advice of his secretary Robert Waleran. As a result, the lands of 254 knights and barons considered rebels were seized and distributed to 71 of the king”s minions. The lion”s share went to members of the royal family, knights of the household and the officials. Confronted with their dispossession and ruined, hundreds of knights and their supporters started a guerrilla war that prolonged the civil war, which had actually already been decided, for two years. The rebels who had been driven from their estates, the so-called disinherited, joined together to form bands of robbers. Due to the change of ownership and the continued looting, the next two years saw a collapse of the administration and the economy in large parts of the country. Against this resistance, the king”s supporters, led by Lord Edward, acted ruthlessly, but the final suppression of the rebellion progressed slowly. Lord Edward initially succeeded, together with the Cinque Ports, in curbing piracy on the south coast of England, which had severely damaged trade. Together with Roger de Leyburn, he then succeeded in defeating the rebels in eastern England, and Henry of Almain defeated a rebel group at the Battle of Chesterfield in May 1266, in which the former Earl of Derby was captured. Nevertheless, the rebel resistance was not yet broken. A group of rebels under John de Deyville occupied the Isle of Ely, continuing the struggle in eastern England. At Kenilworth Castle, Simon de Montfort the Younger, who should have left the country by January 1266, had entrenched himself with a strong rebel force. As a result, the king began a siege of the castle in June 1266. The siege was difficult, and after several attacks were repelled by the strong garrison, the king ordered the blockade and starvation of the castle.

The Dictum of Kenilworth

In order to end the war, Gilbert de Clare had already tried in the spring and summer of 1266 to reach a settlement together with Lord Edward and the papal legate Ottobono Fieschi. With the help of Richard of Cornwall, the Dictum of Kenilworth was finally drawn up, passed by Parliament in Northampton and proclaimed by the king in the encampment outside Kenilworth on October 31, 1266. This program sought a comprehensive settlement, but even this Dictum of Kenilworth did not bring final peace. The garrisons of Kenilworth and Ely continued to refuse to surrender because some of their leaders were excluded from the terms or because they lacked the means to buy back their estates. They also doubted the benevolence of the king and his courts. With no hope of relief and after using up their last supplies, the castle finally had to surrender on December 14, 1266.

End of the war of the barons

The Isle of Ely had thus become one of the last bases of the rebels. In February 1267, the king moved to Bury St Edmunds to undertake a campaign against the rebels of Ely. However, the campaign was interrupted in April by Gilbert de Clare. The latter felt that he had not been sufficiently rewarded for his services during the civil war and now lobbied for more lenient terms for the disinherited. In the spring of 1267, he had first retreated to Glamorgan, which he had recently been able to acquire from his mother”s will, and raised an army there. He now demanded that the king return to the disinherited their possessions. The king, who was in Canterbury, refused this demand. Gilbert de Clare now sent followers to London and to Ely, and together with the rebels from Ely, his troops occupied London in early April 1267, which again sided with the rebels. On April 8, de Clare reached London and prepared to fight the king for the city. Henry III assembled troops at Windsor and at Stratford in Essex in early May, plus he sent Roger de Leyburn to France to recruit more troops. But by April 20, de Clare had begun negotiations with Richard of Cornwall and Philip Basset, who also opposed the full dispossession of the disinherited. Under the mediation of Cardinal Ottobono Fieschi, a peaceful agreement was reached. On May 13, de Clare and his troops retreated to Southwark, and on June 16, 1267, he reached an agreement with the king. An amnesty was granted to him and all his followers, and the Dictum of Kenilworth was amended to allow the rebels to reacquire their possessions and to raise the penalty payment from the revenues of their estates. To this end, commissions were to be formed to resolve legal disputes, and Cardinal Ottobono promised financial support from the clergy to the disinherited. On June 18 the king reentered London, and on July 1 Deyville and several other disinherited were offered the reacquisition of their estates in accordance with the Dictum of Kenilworth. Lord Edward moved with an army against the last remaining rebels on the Isle of Ely. Due to the dry summer months, the army was able to overcome the surrounding marshes, and after the heir to the throne threatened them with execution, the last disinherited surrendered. Thus ended the Second War of the Barons, and peace returned to southern England for the first time since 1263.

Peace with Prince Llywelyn and Statute of Marlborough

Having run out of funds for a campaign against Wales after the exhaustive war, the king had already begun negotiations with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in February 1267. When these faltered, the king himself went to the Welsh Marches in August to negotiate with the Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. It was ultimately Cardinal Ottobono who negotiated the Treaty of Montgomery in September, in which the king recognized the Welsh conquests and Llywelyn”s rank as prince of Wales, while Llywelyn paid homage to the king as overlord. This compromise proved the king”s war weariness. The Statute of Marlborough, passed on November 18 by a parliament that may have included Commons, confirmed Magna Charta, the Dictum of Kenilworth, and a modified version of the Provisions of Westminster, ending the civil war in conciliation.


  1. Zweiter Krieg der Barone
  2. Second Barons” War
  3. Michael Altschul: A baronial family in medieval England. The Clares. The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore 1965, S. 80.
  4. ^ Norgate 1894
  5. ^ a b c d Jacobs 1906
  6. ^ a b Mundill 2002, p. 254 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFMundill2002 (help) says “Simon de Montfort … used the cancellation of Jewish debts to his own advantage and had managed to convince followers that it was worth rebelling for.”
  7. ^ a b c Mundill 2010, pp. 88–99
  8. ^ Mundill 2002, p. 42 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFMundill2002 (help)
  9. H. Eugene Lehman. Lives of England”s Reigning and Consort Queens. — Author House, 2011. — P. 118—119.
  10. William Chester Jordan, 2011, pp. 80—90.
  11. Conduit, Brian. Battlefield Walks in the Midlands. Sigma Leisure. pp. 12.
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