The Second Barons' War (1264–1267) was a
A civil war or intrastate war is a war between organized groups within the same state (or country).
The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independence for a region, or to change government policie ...
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separated from continental Europe by ...
between the forces of a number of barons led by Simon de Montfort
against the royalist forces of King Henry III
, led initially by the king himself and later by his son, the future King Edward I
. The barons sought to force the king to rule with a council of barons, rather than through his favourites. The war also involved a series of massacres of Jews by de Montfort's supporters, including his sons Henry and Simon, in attacks aimed at seizing and destroying evidence of baronial debts. To bolster the initial success of his baronial regime, de Montfort sought to broaden the social foundations of parliament by extending the franchise to the commons for the first time. However, after a rule of just over a year, de Montfort was killed by forces loyal to the king at the Battle of Evesham
The reign of Henry III is most remembered for the constitutional crisis in this period of civil strife, which was provoked ostensibly by his demands for extra finances but marked a more general dissatisfaction with Henry's methods of government on the part of the English
Baron is a rank of nobility or title of honour, often hereditary, in various European countries, either current or historical. The female equivalent is baroness. Typically, the title denotes an aristocrat who ranks higher than a lord or knigh ...
, discontent which was exacerbated by widespread
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including war, natural disasters, crop failure, population imbalance, widespread poverty, an economic catastrophe or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accom ...
The French-born Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, had originally been one of the foreign upstarts so loathed by many lords as Henry's ''foreign councillors'', but having inherited through his mother the English title
Earl of Leicester
Earl of Leicester is a title that has been created seven times. The first title was granted during the 12th century in the Peerage of England. The current title is in the Peerage of the United Kingdom and was created in 1837.
Early creation ...
, he married Henry's sister Eleanor
without Henry's permission, and without the agreement of the English Barons (ordinarily necessary since it was a matter of state). As a result, a feud developed between de Montfort and Henry. Their relationship reached a crisis in the 1250s, when de Montfort was put on trial for actions he took as lieutenant of
Gascony (; french: Gascogne ; oc, Gasconha ; eu, Gaskoinia) was a province of the southwestern Kingdom of France that succeeded the Duchy of Gascony (602–1453). From the 17th century until the French Revolution (1789–1799), it was part ...
, the last remaining Plantagenet
lands across the
The English Channel, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" ( Cotentinais) or ( Jèrriais), (Guernésiais), "The Channel"; br, Mor Breizh, "Sea of Brittany"; cy, Môr Udd, "Lord's Sea"; kw, Mor Bretannek, "British Sea"; nl, Het Kan ...
De Montfort took advantage of rising
Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is hostility to, prejudice towards, or discrimination against Jews. A person who holds such positions is called an antisemite. Antisemitism is considered to be a form of racism.
for his own benefit. The alleged murder
Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln, O.Cart. ( – 16 November 1200), also known as Hugh of Avalon, was a French-born Benedictine and Carthusian monk, bishop of Lincoln in the Kingdom of England, and Catholic saint. His feast is observed by Catholics on 16 Novem ...
by Jews had led to the hanging of 18 Jews. Official anti-Jewish measures, sponsored by the
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
, combined with resentment about debts among the barons gave an opportunity for Montfort to target this group and incite rebellion by calling for the cancellation of debts owed to Jews.
[ 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."]
Henry also became embroiled in funding a war against the
The Hohenstaufen dynasty (, , ), also known as the Staufer, was a noble family of unclear origin that rose to rule the Duchy of Swabia from 1079, and to royal rule in the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages from 1138 until 1254. The dynasty ...
(man) it, Siciliana (woman)
, population_note =
, population_blank1_title =
, population_blank1 =
, demographics_type1 = Ethnicity
, demographics1_footnotes =
, demographi ...
, on behalf of
Pope Innocent IV
Pope Innocent IV ( la, Innocentius IV; – 7 December 1254), born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 25 June 1243 to his death in 1254.
Fieschi was born in Genoa and studied at the universitie ...
, in return for the Hohenstaufen title
King of Sicily
The monarchs of Sicily ruled from the establishment of the County of Sicily in 1071 until the "perfect fusion" in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1816.
The origins of the Sicilian monarchy lie in the Norman conquest of southern Italy which oc ...
for his second son Edmund
. That made many barons fearful that Henry was following in the footsteps of his father King John
and needed to be kept in check like John. When Henry's treasury ran dry, Innocent withdrew the title, and by bestowing it to
Charles of Anjou
Charles I (early 1226/12277 January 1285), commonly called Charles of Anjou, was a member of the royal Capetian dynasty and the founder of the second House of Anjou. He was Count of Provence (1246–85) and Forcalquier (1246–48, 1256–85 ...
, in effect negated the sale.
Simon de Montfort became leader of those who wanted to reassert the
(Medieval Latin for "Great Charter of Freedoms"), commonly called (also ''Magna Charta''; "Great Charter"), is a royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215. First drafted by t ...
and force the king to surrender more power to the baronial council. In 1258, initiating the move toward reform, seven leading barons forced Henry to agree to the Provisions of Oxford
, which effectively abolished the absolutist Anglo-Norman
monarchy, giving power to a council of twenty-four barons to deal with the business of government, and providing for a great council in the form of a
In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries. T ...
every three years, to monitor their performance. Henry was forced to take part in the swearing of a collective oath to uphold the Provisions.
Seeking to restore his position, Henry in 1259 purchased the support of King
Louis IX of France
Louis IX (25 April 1214 – 25 August 1270), commonly known as Saint Louis or Louis the Saint, was King of France from 1226 to 1270, and the most illustrious of the Direct Capetians. He was crowned in Reims at the age of 12, following the ...
by the Treaty of Paris
, agreeing to accept the loss of the lands in France that had been seized from him and from his father King John
by Louis and his predecessors since 1202, and to do homage
for those that remained in his hands. In 1261 he obtained a papal bull
releasing him from his oath, and set about reasserting his control of government. The baronial opposition responded by summoning their own Parliament and contesting control of local government, but with civil war looming they backed down and de Montfort fled to France, while the other key opposition leader, Richard de Clare, Earl of Hertford and Gloucester
, switched over to the King's side.
Under the Treaty of Kingston
, an arbitration system was agreed upon to resolve outstanding disputes between Henry and the barons, with de Clare as the initial arbiter and the option of appealing his verdicts to Louis IX. However, continued Poitevin influence and the failures and renewal of provocative policies by Henry's government soon inflamed hostility once more. The King's position was further weakened by the death of Richard de Clare and the succession of his son Gilbert
, who sided with the opposition, and by the reversal of the papal annulment of his oath to uphold the Provisions.
In April 1263, Simon de Montfort returned to England and gathered a council of dissident barons at Oxford. Fighting broke out in the
The Welsh Marches ( cy, Y Mers) is an imprecisely defined area along the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The precise meaning of the term has varied at different periods.
The English term Welsh March (in Medieval Latin ...
, and by the autumn, both sides had raised considerable armies. De Montfort marched on London and the city rose in revolt, trapping the King and Queen at the
Tower of London
The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separa ...
. They were taken prisoner and de Montfort assumed effective control of government in Henry's name. However, his support soon fractured, and Henry regained his liberty.
With violent disorder spreading and the prospect of all-out war, Henry appealed to Louis for arbitration, and after initial resistance, de Montfort consented. In January 1264, by the Mise of Amiens
, Louis declared in Henry's favour by annulling the Provisions of Oxford. Some of the barons who had opposed Henry acquiesced in the verdict, but a more radical faction led by de Montfort prepared to resist any reassertion of royal power, and they and the king gathered their forces for war.
Course of the war
Fighting resumed in February 1264, with attacks by Simon de Montfort's sons Henry
and Simon the Younger
on royalist supporters in the Welsh Borders
. Cancellation of debts (owed to Jews) was part of Montfort's call to arms.
A series of attacks on Jewish communities followed, organised by key allies of Montfort, hoping to gain by destroying the records of their debts to moneylenders.] These pogroms killed the majority of Jews in Worcester, in this case led by de Montfort's son Henry and Robert Earl Ferrers.
At London, one of his key followers John fitz John, led the attack and is said to have killed leading Jewish figures Isaac fil Aaron and Cok fil Abraham with his bare hands. He allegedly shared the loot with Montfort. 500 Jews died. Attacks occurred in Winchester
Winchester is a cathedral city in Hampshire, England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, at the western end of the South Downs National Park, on the River Itchen. It is south-west of Lon ..., led by the younger Simon de Montfort. Anti-Jewish violence spread to Lincoln and Cambridge, [ Jewish communities were also targeted at Canterbury, led by Gilbert de Clare,] and Northampton. [
In April, the elder Simon de Montfort, in control of London, assembled his forces at ] St Albans
St Albans () is a cathedral city in Hertfordshire, England, east of Hemel Hempstead and west of Hatfield, north-west of London, south-west of Welwyn Garden City and south-east of Luton. St Albans was the first major town on the old Roman r ... and marched to relieve Northampton
Northampton () is a market town and civil parish in the East Midlands of England, on the River Nene, north-west of London and south-east of Birmingham. The county town of Northamptonshire, Northampton is one of the largest towns in England; ..., which was under siege by the royalists, but he was too late to prevent the town's capture by betrayal. He then moved into Kent
Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River Thames; it faces t ... and laid siege to the royal stronghold of Rochester Castle, but on hearing reports of a royal advance on London he withdrew most of his forces from the siege to confront this threat. King Henry, however, bypassed the capital and the rebel army and raised the siege of Rochester, before he captured Tonbridge and Winchelsea
Winchelsea () is a small town in the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex, within the historic county of Sussex, England, located between the High Weald and the Romney Marsh, approximately south west of Rye and north east of Hastings. Th ... from the rebels.
Moving into Sussex
Sussex (), from the Old English (), is a Historic counties of England, historic county in South East England that was formerly an independent medieval Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Sussex, kingdom. It is bounded to the west by Hampshi ..., Henry was confronted by de Montfort, who had led his army out from London in pursuit. In the Battle of Lewes
The Battle of Lewes was one of two main battles of the conflict known as the Second Barons' War. It took place at Lewes in Sussex, on 14 May 1264. It marked the high point of the career of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, and made hi ... on 14 May, Henry was defeated and taken prisoner by de Montfort, along with his son Prince Edward and his brother, Richard of Cornwall. While Henry was reduced to a figurehead king, de Montfort broadened parliamentary representation to include groups beyond the nobility, members from each county
A county is a geographic region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ... of England and many important towns. Henry and his son Edward remained effective prisoners. Around this time, Montfort announced the cancellation of all debt owed to Jews. [
The radicalism of de Montfort's subversion of traditional order once again led to a fracturing of his brittle base of support.
In May 1265, Prince Edward escaped from de Montfort's custody at Hereford and assembled a new royalist army at Worcester. He attracted defectors from the baronial cause, most importantly Gilbert de Clare, de Montfort's most powerful ally. Simon was blocked from moving east from Hereford by royalist control of the crossings of the River ] Severn
, name_etymology =
, image = SevernFromCastleCB.JPG
, image_size = 288
, image_caption = The river seen from Shrewsbury Castle
, map = RiverSevernMap.jpg
, map_size = 288
, map_c ..., completed by Edward's capture of Gloucester
Gloucester ( ) is a cathedral city and the county town of Gloucestershire in the South West of England. Gloucester lies on the River Severn, between the Cotswolds to the east and the Forest of Dean to the west, east of Monmouth and east of t .... Moving into Wales
Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the ..., de Montfort forged an alliance with the Welsh Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (c. 1223 – 11 December 1282), sometimes written as Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, also known as Llywelyn the Last ( cy, Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf, lit=Llywelyn, Our Last Leader), was the native Prince of Wales ( la, Princeps Wall ..., who provided him with soldiers. An attempt by Simon to ship his forces across the Severn estuary from Newport was thwarted when his transports were destroyed by royalist warships, and he returned to Hereford.
Prince Edward meanwhile attacked de Montfort's seat at Kenilworth Castle
Kenilworth Castle is a castle in the town of Kenilworth in Warwickshire, England managed by English Heritage; much of it is still in ruins. The castle was founded during the Norman conquest of England; with development through to the Tudor pe ..., where the younger Simon de Montfort had been gathering forces to assist his father. The baronial army was caught asleep in camp by a surprise attack in the early hours of 1 August and massacred. The survivors took refuge inside the castle and Edward initiated the long Siege of Kenilworth. The elder Simon had taken advantage of Edward's move to Kenilworth to cross the Severn at Kempsey and was on his way to join his son when he was intercepted and decisively defeated by the royalists at the Battle of Evesham on 4 August. Simon and his son Henry were killed in the fighting, and King Henry, whom de Montfort had taken into battle with him, was freed.
The victory at Evesham left the royalists in a dominant position, but the rebels continued to defend their strongholds, most notably Kenilworth, and the war dragged on. In 1266, the King was persuaded to seek a compromise settlement, and a commission of bishops and barons drafted a proclamation, known as the Dictum of Kenilworth, issued on 31 October. It set terms under which rebels could secure a pardon and regain their confiscated lands on the payment of a heavy fine. The proposal was initially rejected by the rebels, but on 14 December, hunger finally compelled the defenders of Kenilworth to surrender and to accept the terms of the Dictum.
In April 1267, Gilbert de Clare turned again to revolt and occupied London. He was reconciled with Henry by a negotiated settlement in June, which eased the terms of the Dictum, enabling repentant rebels to regain their lands before rather than after paying their fines. That summer also saw the negotiated surrender of the last group of defiant rebels, who had been holding out in The Fens at the Isle of Ely. The total casualties of the war are estimated at 15,000.
* 1263 – April – Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, returns to England and gathers opposition forces.
* 1263 – October – Revolt in London leads to King Henry's capture by de Montfort, but he subsequently regains his freedom.
* 1264 – 23 January – Louis IX of France, invited to arbitrate on the dispute, issues the Mise of Amiens, annulling the Provisions of Oxford.
* 1264 – February – Warfare begins in the Welsh Marches. Massacre of the Jews in Worcester.
* 1264 – Easter week – Massacre of 500 Jews in London by Montfort's ally John fitz John [
* 1264 – April – The rebels are defeated at ] Northampton
Northampton () is a market town and civil parish in the East Midlands of England, on the River Nene, north-west of London and south-east of Birmingham. The county town of Northamptonshire, Northampton is one of the largest towns in England; ....
* 1264 – 14 May – Simon de Montfort defeats King Henry III in the Battle of Lewes
The Battle of Lewes was one of two main battles of the conflict known as the Second Barons' War. It took place at Lewes in Sussex, on 14 May 1264. It marked the high point of the career of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, and made hi ... in Sussex
Sussex (), from the Old English (), is a Historic counties of England, historic county in South East England that was formerly an independent medieval Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Sussex, kingdom. It is bounded to the west by Hampshi ..., capturing the king and his son Prince Edward.
* 1264 – After Lewes – Simon de Montfort annuls all debts owed to Jews.
* 1265 – 20 January – The first English Parliament conducts its first meeting in the Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parli ....
* 1265 – 28 May – Prince Edward escapes captivity at Hereford.
* 1265 – 1 August – Prince Edward destroys the army of Simon de Montfort's son Simon at Kenilworth.
* 1265 – 4 August – Prince Edward defeats and kills the elder Simon de Montfort in the Battle of Evesham in Worcestershire
Worcestershire ( , ; written abbreviation: Worcs) is a county in the West Midlands of England. The area that is now Worcestershire was absorbed into the unified Kingdom of England in 927, at which time it was constituted as a county (see Hi ....
* 1265 – Attacks on Jews in Lincoln by the "Dispossessed" rebel Barons, book keeping records destroyed [
* 1266 – Attacks on Jews in Cambridge by the "Dispossessed", book keeping records stolen and taken to Ely] [
* 1266 – 15 May – The royalists defeat the baronial forces of the Earl of Derby at Chesterfield.
* 1266 – 31 October – Henry issues the Dictum of Kenilworth, offering terms to repentant rebels.
* 1266 – 14 December – The rebels at Kenilworth Castle surrender.
* 1267 – May – Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, seizes London.
* 1267 – June – King Henry and Gilbert de Clare agree more lenient terms of submission for rebels.
* 1267 – Summer – The last rebel forces surrender at the Isle of Ely.
*Powicke, Frederick Maurice (1947) ''King Henry III and the Lord Edward'', Oxford: Clarendon Press
* Prestwich, Michael (1988) ''Edward I'', London: Methuen
*Maddicott, J. R. (1994) ''Simon de Montfort'', Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
*Carpenter, D. A. (1996) ''The reign of Henry III'', London: Hambledon
Simon de Montfort 2014
Wars of the Middle Ages
Civil wars in England
1260s in England
13th-century military history of the Kingdom of England
Rebellions in medieval England
Henry III of England
Antisemitism in England