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Why Did The Barons Rebel Against King John in 1216?
Transcript of Why Did The Barons Rebel Against King John in 1216?
Why did The Barons Rebel against King John in 1216?
King John was born on the 24th of December 1167. He was an English king who inherited the throne from his brother, Richard I, who inherited it from their father, Henry II. John’s father Henry was very famous for conquering land in France and his brother, Richard had continued this pattern. Richard died in battle in 1169 and, as John was his father’s favourite (yet youngest son) John became King. However, he lost most of the English land in France. (He didn't win any wars/battles either.) King John was married to Isabella, the countess of Gloucester and had two sons, his successor being Henry III.
King John had many problems as King, one of them being that he had an argument with the pope. Also, John had a threat to his throne, his nephew Arthur and so supposedly, got someone to murder his nephew! He also had the problem of the ‘Magna Carta The Great Charta’. The Magna Carta was created to restrain on the Kings ‘freedom in ruling’. This was a legal document stating different ‘clauses’ that suggested rules that the King had to follow. It was basically the first document insisting people’s rights. He signed it but King John didn’t like this, so he destroyed it and so his barons rebelled.
King John raised taxes on all his barons and made them pay a LOT of money. All this money he collected, so he could prepare an army to take over land in France. Every time he lost a battle, he needed more money to buy equipment and men. All this money was a waste, as King John didn’t actually win any of the wars and lost most of the English land in France. Everytime he raised taxes, he would times the original amount by 4. For example if it started with 28 pounds, it would then go up to about 110 pounds! If the nobles and barons wouldn’t pay up, King John would torture them until they gave everything they had.
Arguing with the Pope
King John also had an argument with the pope about who should be the Archbishop of Canterbury after Hubert Walter died. King John wanted one of his own men, John de Graham. If he was elected, King John could have an input on the church. However, the church agreed that it was sole right to choose Sir Walter’s successor. After this dispute couldn’t be settled, the Chapter (an association of clerics/priests) secretly elected someone from their group. Another election took place for another man and both of these men went to see Pope Innocent III. He didn't like any of them so he elected Stephen Langton. Stephen wasn’t approved by the King or the barons. The pope then excommunicated King John
Pope Innocent III
to the Church & Hiring Mercenaries
King John would not listen to the church either, because he only trusted his own hired men to give him advice. King John ignored most of the things the Barons told him about raising tax and fighting against the French. The barons also tried to tell King John not to fight with the pope but he didn’t listen to that either and so, got himself into a lot of trouble because he didn’t listen. King John liked hiring mercenaries (paid foreign soldiers). He felt that they trusted him and that he could trust them more. This would waste a lot of money especially since King John couldn’t exactly fight and lost all the English Land in France anyway.
After all this, and a lot more, the Barons just basically got sick of King John. They got together and made the Magna Carta. When they wanted King John to sign it, he refused. So the barons rebelled. The King ‘went into hiding’ for a few days The barons threatened to cut his throat and because he was a practical man, he gave in. He then met the barons at Runnymede and signed the Magna Carta to make peace with the barons.
The Baronial Rebellion
The Destruction Of The Magna Carta.
King John didn’t like most of the clauses in the Magna Carta.The Magna Carta stated things like:
- Every freeman has a right to a free trial
- The king is not allowed to demand money from his nobility
- The church had the final say on who should be appointed
- No widow will be forced to remarry
As he had only signed the document to make peace for a while, King John wanted to destroy the Magna Carta. So he did! The Magna Carta was destroyed!
One Too Many Peaches!
John died in his castle, in October, 1216. He died of Dysentery, from drinking too much cider, and eating too many peaches. As his heir, his nine-year-old son was too young to rule, the Earl of Pembrokeshire, William Marshall was appointed to govern. Marshal, to restore peace, revised and reissued the Magna Carta on November 12, 1216 and again on November 6, 1917. A strong test of the Magna Carta occurred in the 1600s when King James I, who ruled from 1603 to 1625, and Charles I, who ruled from 1625 to 1649, both of the House of Stuart, tried to rule with absolute power. They believed God gave them the right to rule rather than any earthly document. Parliament, a government body made up at the time of various English noblemen, continued to uphold the ideas of the Magna Carta and it came to be seen as a check or safeguard on royal power.