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This Sceptred Isle

Henry III (oversees the building of churches)
Henry III (oversees the building of churches)
Henry III
Henry III was King for 56 years. He was nine years old on accession. William the Marshall became his guardian. England was in the middle of the barons' war. The barons had even invited Louis, the dauphin of France, to invade England hoping to make him their King.

Two years later William the Marshal died and Hubert de Burgh became the Justiciar, the chief officer of the realm. Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, believed in England for the English. Henry III, on coming of age in 1227, wanted to recover his domains in France. But de Burgh was against this.

On de Burgh's downfall, Peter des Roches the Bishop of Winchester filled the Court with French men. The barons once again became hostile. Richard the Marshal, second son of William, in alliance with Prince Llewellyn fought the King in the Welsh Marches and sacked Shrewsbury. In September 1234 Henry was forced to accept terms. Peter des Roche and his Poitevin officials were dismissed and de Burgh returned.

The barons wanted to control the Treasury and Chancellery. The Provisions of Oxford (1258) formed a Council of Fifteen - seven earls, five barons, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Worcester and one royal clerk. The King had to consult the Council in all state affairs. The Provisions of Oxford declared that the 15 should be chosen not by the King but by the Earl Marshal, Hugh Bigod, John Mansel and the Earl of Warwick.

HENRY III (1207-1272)

  • The eldest son of King John and Isabella of Angouleme
  • Succeeded in October 1216 at the age of nine and was King for 56 years
  • Declared himself of age in 1227
  • Married Eleanor of Provence in 1236
  • His reign was savaged by Civil War
  • Struggled constantly with the barons ending in the second Barons War
  • Defeated at Lewes in 1264 and was effectively dethroned by Simon de Montfort
  • Restored to the throne in 1265 by the victory of his son Edward (later I) at the Battle of Evesham
  • Neither a political nor military figure but enjoyed peace and quiet
  • Concentrated on the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey in the later years of his long reign

did you know?
The word Parliament was first used in 1258. It comes from the Norman French to parley. It was a direct development of the curia regis, the royal court of the Norman kings.

The Chancellor of England swore:
That he will not seal any writ except a writ of course without the order of the King and of the councillors who are present.

Nor will he seal a gift of great wardship or of a large sum or of escheats without the assent of the whole Council or of the greater part of it.

There are to be three Parliaments a year: the first on the octave of Michaelmas; the second on the morrow of Candelmas; the third on the first Holy day of June, that is to say, three weeks before St John's day. (6th October, 3rd February, 3rd June).

To these three parliaments shall come the chosen councillors of the King, even if they are not summoned, to view the state of the kingdom and to treat of the common business of the kingdom and of the King likewise . . .

And they (the 15) are to have authority to advise the King in good faith on the government of the kingdom, and authority to amend and redress all the things they see need to be redressed and amended. And authority over the chief Justiciar, and over all other people. And if they cannot all be present, what the majority does shall be firm and established.

Select historical period

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1214Alexander II, King of Scots
1215Barons force John to accept Magna Carta
1216John dies
Henry III becomes King of England
William the Marshal becomes regent
1217Louis VIII defeated at the Battle of Lincoln
1219William the Marshal dies
1221Alexander II King of Scots marries Joan daughter of King
1236Henry III marries Eleanor of Provence

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