Connected Bloodlines

John, King of England

Male 1167 - 1216  (48 years)


Personal Information    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name John  
    Suffix King of England 
    Born 24 Dec 1167  Beaumont Palace, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died Oct 1216  Newark Castle, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • “JOHN, son of HENRY II King of England & his wife Eléonore Dss d'Aquitaine (Beaumont Palace, Oxford 24 Dec 1166 or 1167-Newark Castle, Lincolnshire 18/19 Oct 1216, bur Worcester Cathedral). The primary sources are contradictory regarding John´s year of birth. Robert of Torigny records the birth "1167…in vigilia Natalis Domini" of "Johannis filius regis Anglorum". Matthew of Paris records that “Alienor Anglorum regina” gave birth to “filium…Johannes”, stating neither the place nor the precise date but the passage is located in the middle of text which records events in 1166. The Annals of Burton record the birth of “Regina…Johannem filium suum” in 1166. The Annals of Dunstable record the birth of “Alienor…filium Johannemm” at the end of the paragraph dealing with events in 1165 and immediately before the start of the paragraph for 1167, although it is likely that 1166 was intended as the text includes no separate entry for that year.

      John was designated King of Ireland in 1177. Created Comte de Mortain 1189. His lands were placed under interdict by Baldwin Archbishop of Canterbury because of his first marriage. He succeeded his brother Richard I in 1199 as JOHN King of England, crowned London 27 May 1199 and again 8 Oct 1200 with his second wife at Westminster Abbey. The Continuator of Florence of Worcester records the coronation "VI Kal Jul" at Westminster Abbey in [1199] of "Johannes dominus Hiberniæ". The Continuator of Florence of Worcester records the death "XV Kal Nov" [1216] of King John and his burial "Wignorniæ". The Annals of Tewkesbury record the death “apud Newerk in crastino Sanctæ Luciæ virginis” in 1216 of “Johannes rex Angliæ”.

      Betrothed (Auvergne 1173 before 2 Feb) to ALIX de Maurienne, daughter of HUMBERT III Comte de Maurienne & his third wife Klementia von Zähringen (1166-1174). Her parentage is specified by Matthew of Paris when he records this betrothal. Although he does not give her first name, he calls her "filia primogenita". Benedict of Peterborough records the betrothal of "Humbertus comes de Mauriana…Aalis filiam suam majoram" and "rex…Johannis filii sui iunioris" at "Alvernium…Montem Ferratum" in 1173 before 2 Feb, and the agreement whereby John would inherit the county of Maurienne if Humbert had no sons by his wife.

      m firstly (Betrothed 1176, Marlborough Castle 29 Aug 1189, divorced before 30 Aug 1199) as her first husband, ISABEL [Avise] Countess of Gloucester, daughter of WILLIAM FitzRobert 2nd Earl of Gloucester & his wife Avise de Beaumont ([before 1176]-14 Oct or [18 Nov] 1217, bur Canterbury Cathedral Church). An anonymous continuation of the Chronicle of Robert of Mont-Saint-Michel records (in order) "Comitissa Ebroicensis…uxor Guillelmi Comitis de Clara, tertia…in manu Dei et domini Regis" as the three daughters left by "Guillelmus Comes Glocestriæ" when he died. The Chronica de Fundatoribus et Fundatione of Tewkesbury Abbey names “Mabiliam comiti de Evereis in Normannia nuptam…Amiciam…Isabellam” as the three daughters of “comes Willielmus” and his wife, adding that Isabel married “Henricus rex…Johanni filio suo”. Benedict of Peterborough records the betrothal in 1176 of "Johannem filium regis minimum" and "Willelmus filius Roberti filii regis Henrici primi comes Glooucestriæ…filiam ipsius comitis" and the agreement whereby John would inherit the county of Gloucester. Her marriage is recorded by Matthew of Paris, who specifies that it took place despite the prohibition of Baldwin Archbishop of Canterbury on the grounds of consanguinity, although he does not name her. Benedict of Peterborough records the marriage in 1189 of "Johannes frater ducis [Normanniæ]" and "filiam comitis Gloucestriæ" at "Marlebegam IV Kal Sep". The Chronicle of Ralph of Coggeshall records that "comes Johannes frater eius [rege Ricardo]" married "filiam comitis Glocestriæ". The primary source which confirms her name as Isabelle has not yet been identified. She was recognised as Ctss of Gloucester in her own right from her marriage in [1189]. Matthew of Paris records her divorce in 1199, when he calls her "Hawisa". The Annales Londonienses record the divorce in 1200 of King John and "Hawysiam filiam comitis Gloverniæ", stating that they were "in tertio gradu consanguinitatis". King John appears to have kept her as a state prisoner after their divorce, but retained her title even after her nephew Amaury de Montfort was installed as Earl of Gloucester in 1199. The Chronica de Fundatororibus et Fundatione of Tewkesbury Abbey records the second marriage of “Isabellam” and “Galfrido de Mandevile comiti Essexiæ”, and her third marriage to “Huberto de Burgo justiciario Angliæ”. Her lands and title were confiscated on the death of her second husband, who died a rebel. She married secondly ([16/26] Jan 1214) as his second wife, Geoffrey de Mandeville Earl of Essex, and thirdly ([Sep] 1217) as his second wife, Hubert de Burgh, who was created Earl of Kent in 1227. The Annals of Waverley record the death in 1217 of “Isabel comitissa Gloucestriæ”. The Annals of Dunstable record that “Johannam comitissam Gloucestriæ” died “paucos dies” after her marriage to “Hubertus de Burgo justiciarius Angliæ” and was buried “apud Cantuarium”.

      Betrothed (early 1193) to ALIX de France, daughter of LOUIS VII King of France & his [second wife Infanta doña Constanza de Castilla] ([4 Oct] 1160-after 1200). Kerrebrouck states that Richard I King of England arranged the betrothal of Alix, to whom he had earlier been betrothed himself, to his younger brother John in early 1193, but the primary source which confirms this has not yet been identified. She returned to France in Aug 1195.

      m secondly (Bordeaux Cathedral 24 Aug 1200) as her first husband, ISABELLE d’Angoulême, daughter of AYMAR “Taillefer” Comte d’Angoulême & his wife Alix de Courtenay ([1187]-Fontevrault Abbey 31 May 1246, bur Fontevrault Abbey). The Continuator of Florence of Worcester records the marriage "IX Kal Sep" [1200] of King John and "Isabellam filiam Engolisimi comitis" and their coronation together "VIII Id Oct" in London. Matthew of Paris names her as "filiam comitis Engolismi" when he records her marriage. She was crowned Queen Consort 8 Oct 1200 at Westminster Abbey. She succeeded her father in 1202 as Ctss d’Angoulême, but was not formally recognised as such until Nov 1206. She married secondly (10 Mar/22 May 1220) Hugues [X] de Lusignan Comte de la Marche. Her origin is confirmed in the charter dated 1224 under which "Ugo de Leziniaco comes Marchiæ et Engolismæ et Ysabella uxor eius…regina Angliæ" confirmed rights granted by "bonæ memoriæ Ademaro comite Engolismæ patre eiusdem dominæ Ysabellæ" to Vindelle. Matthew of Paris records her death, when he specifies that she was the wife of Hugues Comte de la Marche.

      Mistress (1): --- de Warenne, daughter of HAMELIN d'Anjou Earl of Surrey & his wife Isabelle de Warenne . According to Given-Wilson & Curteis, one of the mistresses of King John was the "sister of William de Warenne" but the authors do not specify which sister she was. The primary source which confirms her relationship with John has not yet been identified.

      Mistress (2): CLEMENTIA, wife of HENRY Pinel, daughter of ---. The Annals of Tewkesbury names “reginæ Clemenciæ” as the mother of “domina Johanna Walliæ, uxor Lewelini, filia regis Johannis” when recording her daughter´s death. The primary source which confirms the name of her husband has not yet been identified.

      Mistress (3): HAWISE [de Tracy].

      Mistress (4): SUSANNA, daughter of ---. The primary source which confirms her relationship with John has not yet been identified. She was given a "tunic and super-tunic" in 1213.

      Mistresses (5) - (12): ---. The names of the other mistresses of King John are not known.

      King John & his second wife had five children:
      1. HENRY (Winchester Castle 1 Oct 1207-Palace of Westminster 16 Nov 1272, bur Westminster Abbey). The Continuator of Florence of Worcester records the birth "die S Remigii" [1207] of "filium…Henricus" to "regina Isabel". His birth is recorded by Matthew of Paris. He succeeded his father 28 Oct 1216 as HENRY III King of England.
      2. RICHARD (Winchester Castle 5 Jan 1209-Berkhamstead Castle, Herts 2 Apr 1272, bur Hayles Abbey, Gloucestershire). The Chronicle of Ralph of Coggeshall records the birth in 1209 of "Ricardus secundus filius regis"[437]. His birth is recorded by Matthew of Paris. He was designated Comte de Ponthieu before 14 Aug 1225, and created Earl of Cornwall 30 May 1227.
      3. JOAN of England (22 Jul 1210-Havering-atte-Bower, Essex 4 Mar 1238, bur Tarrant Crawford Abbey, Dorset). The Annals of Worcester record the birth “die Sanctæ Mariæ Magdalenæ” in 1210 of “regi filia Johanna”. Matthew of Paris records her marriage, specifying that she was the sister of King Henry III. The Annals of Dunstable record that “regi Scotiæ” married “rege…sororem suam” in 1221, specifying that she was eleven years old at the time and had previously been betrothed to “Hugoni Brun”. The Annales Londonienses record the death in 1238 of "Johanna regina regis Scotiæ, soror regis Anglorum" while on a visit to her brother in England and her burial "IV Non Mar". The Annals of Tewkesbury record the death “apud Haveringes III Non Mar” of “regina Scotiæ soror regis Angliæ” and her burial “apud Tarentune monialium”. Betrothed to HUGUES [X] de Lusignan Comte de la Marche, son of HUGUES IX "le Brun" Sire de Lusignan, Comte de la Marche & his second wife Mathilde d'Angoulême (-1249 after 15 Jan, bur Abbaye de Valence). He succeeded in 1220 as Comte d'Angoulême. m (Betrothed York 1219, York Minster 18 or 25 Jun 1221) as his first wife, ALEXANDER II King of Scotland, son of WILLIAM I “the Lion” King of Scotland & his wife Ermengarde de Beaumont (Haddington, East Lothian 24 Aug 1198-Isle of Kerrara, Bay of Oban 6 Jul 1249, bur Melrose Abbey, Roxburghshire).
      4. ISABELLA of England (1214-Foggia near Naples 1 Dec 1241, bur Bari). Matthew of Paris records her marriage, specifying that she was the sister of King Henry III. The Annals of Dunstable record that “Fredericus imperator Alemanniæ” married “Ysabellam filiam Johannis regis Angliæ” in 1235, her dowry being 30,000 marcs of silver. The Annales Erphordenses record the marriage "1235 XVII Kal Aug" at Worms of "sororem Regis Anglie" and the emperor. Her marriage was arranged by her future husband to drive a wedge between England and the Welf faction in Germany, long time allies. She was granted the castle of Monte Sant'Angelo by her husband on her marriage, and crowned empress 20 Jul 1235 at Worms Cathedral. After her marriage, her husband confined her to one of his castles in Sicily where she was guarded by eunuchs. The Annales Londonienses record the death in 1241 of "Isabella imperatrix, soror regis Angliæ". The Annals of Tewkesbury record the death “circa festum sancti Nicholai” in 1241 of “Johanna imperatrix” and her burial “apud Barensem urbem”. She died in childbirth. m (Betrothed London Feb 1235, Worms cathedral 15 or 20 Jul 1235) as his third wife, Emperor FRIEDRICH II King of Sicily, son of Emperor HEINRICH VI & his wife Constanza of Sicily (Iesi, Ancona 26 Dec 1194-Castel Fiorentino near Lucera, Foggia, of dysentery 13 Dec 1250, bur 25 Feb 1251 Palermo cathedral).
      5. ELEANOR of England (1215- convent of the sisters of St Dominic, near Montargis 13 Apr 1275). The Annals of Dunstable record that “Willelmus Marscallus junior” married “sororem Henrici regis Angliæ” in 1225, recorded as the first event in thahat year. The Annals of Tewkesbury record the marriage in 1224 of “soror regis Henrici” and “juveni Marescallo”. She is recorded as "Pembrocensis comitissa" (not named), sister of Isabella, by Matthew of Paris. He names her as daughter of King John in a later passage which records her second marriage with "Simon de Monteforti", specifying that she was "relictam Willelmi Marescalli comitis de Penbrochia". The Annals of Tewkesbury record the marriage “XIX Kal Feb in parvula capella regis apud Westmonasterium” of “soror regis Angliæ uxor quondam junioris Marscalli” and “Symoni de Monteforti”. The Annales Cambriæ record that "Simon de Monteforti" married "Alienoram comitissam Penbrok" in 1238. She became a nun after the death of her first husband, taking a vow of perpetual celibacy. This was not a canonical impediment to her second marriage, her second husband obtaining Papal absolution in Rome for the marriage. She retired once more as a nun at Montargis (a cell of the abbey of Fontevraud) after her second husband was killed. m firstly (23 Apr 1224) as his second wife, WILLIAM Marshal Earl of Pembroke, son of WILLIAM Marshal Earl of Pembroke & his wife Isabel de Clare Ctss of Pembroke (Normandy [1190]-6 Apr 1231, bur 15 Apr 1231 Temple Church, London). No children. m secondly (King’s Chapel, Palace of Westminster 7 Jan 1238) SIMON de Montfort, son of SIMON de Montfort Earl of Leicester & his wife Alice de Montmorency (1208-killed in battle Evesham 4 Aug 1265, bur Evesham). He left in England for Rome in 1238, while his wife remained at Kenilworth.
      King John had one illegitimate son by Mistress (1):
      6. RICHARD FitzJohn or Fitzroy (-[1245/46]). The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified. Matthew of Paris records the deaths of "Ricardi filii Rogeri de Chilham, Ricardi de Dover filii eius" among those who died in 1245. He was a captain in King John's army during the baronial revolt. He fought the invasion of Louis de France in 1217. Lord of Chilham, Kent. m (1214) ROHESE [Rose] of Dover, daughter and heiress of FULBERT of Dover & his wife --- (-[1264/65]). The primary source which confirms her parentage and marriage has not yet been identified. Richard & his wife had [three] children:
      a) RICHARD of Chilham . Matthew of Paris records the deaths of "Ricardi filii Rogeri de Chilham, Ricardi de Dover filii eius" among those who died in 1245. Lord of Chilham. m (before 2 Dec 1247) as her third husband, MAUD Ctss of Angus, widow firstly of JOHN Comyn Earl of Angus, secondly of GILBERT de Umfreville Earl of Angus, daughter and heiress of MALCOLM 6th Earl of Angus & his wife Mary Berkeley. Lord Richard & his wife had two children:
      i) RICHARD of Chilham (-[1265/66]). The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified. Lord of Chilham.
      ii) ISABEL of Chilham (after 1245-Feb 1292). The primary source which confirms her parentage and two marriages has not yet been identified. She was heiress of her brother at Chilham. m firstly (before 1265) as his second wife, DAVID of Strathbogie Earl of Atholl, son of JOHN of Strathbogie Earl of Atholl & his wife Ada Hastings Ctss of Atholl (-Carthage 6 Aug 1270). He died while on Crusade in Tunisia. m secondly (shortly after 7 Nov 1270) Sir ALEXANDER Balliol of Cavers, co Roxburgh, son of Sir HENRY Balliol & his wife Lora [Lauretta] de Valoignes (-[19 Apr 1310/Jun 1311]). Lord of Chilham, by right of his wife. Chamberlain of Scotland 1287/1294. He was summoned to Parliament in 1300 as Baron Balliol.
      b) ISABEL (-7 Jul [1276/77], bur Abbey of St Augustine, Bristol). The primary source which confirms her parentage and marriage has not yet been identified. King Henry III granted her certain manors 10 Aug 1264 "out of compassion for the poverty of his niece". m (before 12 Jul 1247) MAURICE de Berkeley "the Resolute" feudal Lord of Berkeley, son of THOMAS Lord of Berkeley & his wife Joan de Somery (1218-4 Apr 1281, bur Abbey of St Augustine, Bristol).
      c) [LORETTE (-after 1248). In the Complete Peerage, she is described as the daughter of "Royce, daughter and heiress of Robert of Dover" who granted the manor of Luddington in 1248 to her daughter and son-in-law. The primary source which confirms her parentage has not yet been identified. m (1248) as his first wife, WILLIAM Marmion, son of ROBERT Marmion & his wife Avice de Tanfield (-27 Jul 1275). He supported the Barons against King Henry III, summoned to Parliament by Simon de Montfort, pardoned by the King 1 Jul 1267.
      King John had one illegitimate daughter by Mistress (2):
      7. JOAN (-30 Mar 1237). Her husband sent her to make peace with the king her father in 1211 when the latter was attacking North Wales. She was legitimated in 1226 by Pope Honorius III. She and her son David did homage to King Henry III in 1229. She allegedly had an affair with William de Briouze, Lord of Abergavenny, who was hanged by her husband 2 May 1230[469]. The Annales Cambriæ record the death in 1237 of "domina Johanna filia regis Angliæ et uxor Lewilini principis Walliæ" and her burial "apud Haber". The Annals of Tewkesbury record the death “III Kal Apr” in 1236 of “domina Johanna Walliæ, uxor Lewelini, filia regis Johannis et reginæ Clemenciæ”. m (1205) as his second wife, LLYWELLYN ap Iorwerth Fawr ("the Great") Prince of North Wales, son of IORWERTH Drwyndwyn ("flat nose") Prince of Gwynedd & his wife Marared of Powys ([1173]-1240).
      King John had one illegitimate son by Mistress (3):
      8. OLIVER (-killed at siege of Damietta 1219, bur Westminster Abbey). The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified. He fought against Louis of France during the latter's invasion in 1216/17. He was granted the castle of Tonge, the manor of Erdington and the estate of Hamedon by his half-brother King Henry III. He joined the Fifth Crusade in 1218.
      King John had eight illegitimate children by unknown mistresses:
      9. OSBERT Gifford (-1246). The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified. Matthew Paris records his death in 1245, although he does not specify his parentage.
      10. GEOFFREY FitzRoy (-1205). The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified. He held the honour of Perche. He headed a band of mercenaries who were embarking for Poitou from Dartmouth in 1205.
      11. JOHN FitzJohn or Courcy (-1242). The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified. A knight. Maybe a clerk at Lincoln.
      12. ODO FitzRoy (-[1242]). The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified.
      13. HENRY Fitzroy . The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified. He received land in Cornwall and married a minor heiress.
      14. RICHARD . The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified. Constable of Wallingford Castle.
      15. [MATILDA]. The primary source which confirms her parentage has not yet been identified. Abbess of Barking, Essex.
      16. [ISABELLA la Blanche . The primary source which confirms her parentage has not yet been identified.]”


      From Wikipedia:
      “John (24 December 1167 – 19 October 1216) reigned as King of England from 6 April 1199, until his death. He succeeded to the throne as the younger brother of King Richard I (known in later times as "Richard the Lionheart"). John acquired the nicknames of "Lackland" (French: Sans Terre) for his lack of an inheritance as the youngest son and for his loss of territory to France, and of "Soft-sword" for his alleged military ineptitude. He was a Plantagenet or Angevin king.
      As a historical figure, John is best known for acquiescing to the nobility and signing Magna Carta, a document that limited his power and that is popularly regarded as an early first step in the evolution of modern democracy. He has often appeared in historical fiction, particularly as an enemy of Robin Hood.
      Born at Beaumont Palace, Oxford, John was the fifth son and last of eight children born to Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Some authors, noting Henry's stay at Woodstock, near Oxford, with Eleanor in March 1166, assert that John was born in that year, and not 1167.
      John was a younger maternal half-brother of Marie de Champagne and Alix of France, his mother's children by her first marriage to Louis VII of France, which was later annulled. He was a younger brother of William, Count of Poitiers; Henry the Young King; Matilda, Duchess of Saxony; Richard I of England; Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany; Leonora, Queen of Castile; and Joan, Queen of Sicily.
      While John was his father's favourite son, as the youngest he could expect no inheritance, and thus came to receive the surname Lackland, before his accession to the throne. His family life was tumultuous, as his mother and older brothers all became involved in repeated rebellions against Henry. Eleanor was imprisoned by Henry in 1173, when John was a small boy.
      As a child, John was betrothed to Alys (pronounced 'Alice'), daughter and heiress of Humbert III of Savoy. It was hoped that by this marriage the Angevin dynasty would extend its influence beyond the Alps because, through the marriage contractt, John was promised the inheritance of Savoy, the Piemonte, Maurienne, and the other possessions of Count Humbert. King Henry promised his youngest son castles in Normandy which had been previously promised to his brother Geoffrey, which was for some time a bone of contention between King Henry and his son Geoffrey. Alys made the trip over the Alps and joined Henry's court, but she died before the marriage occurred.
      Gerald of Wales relates that King Henry had a curious painting in a chamber of Winchester Castle, depicting an eagle being attacked by three of its chicks, while a fourth chick crouched, waiting for its chance to strike. When asked the meaning oof this picture, King Henry said: “The four young ones of the eagle are my four sons, who will not cease persecuting me even unto death. And the youngest, whom I now embrace with such tender affection, will someday afflict me more grievously and perilously than all the others.”
      Before his accession, John had already acquired a reputation for treachery, having conspired sometimes with and sometimes against his elder brothers, Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey. In 1184, John and Richard both claimed that they were the rightful heir to Aquitaine, one of many unfriendly encounters between the two. In 1185, John became the ruler of Ireland, whose people grew to despise him, causing John to leave after only eight months.
      Henry II had at first intended that John would receive an appropriate education to enter into the Church, which would have meant Henry did not have to apportion him land or other inheritance. In 1171, however, Henry began negotiations to betrotth John to the daughter of Count Humbert III of Savoy (who had no son yet and so wanted a son-in-law.) After that, talk of making John a cleric ceased. John's parents had both received a good education — Henry spoke some half dozen languages, and Eleanor had attended lectures at what would soon become the University of Paris — in addition to what they had learned of law and government, religion, and literature. John himself had received one of the best educations of any king of England. Some of the books the records show he read included: De Sacramentis Christianae Fidei by Hugh of St. Victor, Sentences by Peter Lombard, The Treatise of Origen, and a history of England—potentially Wace's Roman de Brut, based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae.
      Schoolchildren have at times been taught that King John had to approve the Magna Carta by attaching his seal to it because he lacked the ability to read or write. This textbook inaccuracy ignored the fact that King John had a large library he treasured until the end of his life. It is unknown whether the authors of these errors knew better and oversimplified because they wrote for children or whether they were simply misinformed. As a result of this error, generations of adults remembered mainly two things about "wicked King John," both of them wrong; his illiteracy and his supposed association with Robin Hood.
      King John did actually sign the draft of the Charter that the negotiating parties hammered out in the tent on Charter Island at Runnymede on 15 June–18 June 1215, but it took the clerks and scribes working in the royal offices some time after eveveryone went home to prepare the final copies, which they then sealed and delivered to the appropriate officials. In those days, legal documents were made official by seals, not by signatures. When William the Conqueror (and his wife) signed ththe Accord of Winchester (Image) in 1072, for example, they and all the bishops signed with crosses, as illiterate people would later do, but they did so in accordance with current legal practice, not because the bishops could not write their own names.
      During Richard's absence on the Third Crusade from 1190 to 1194, John attempted to overthrow William Longchamp, the Bishop of Ely and Richard's designated justiciar. John was more popular than Longchamp in London, and in October 1191 the leadining citizens of the city opened the gates to him while Longchamp was confined in the tower. John promised the city the right to govern itself as a commune in return for recognition as Richard's heir presumptive.[7] This was one of the events that inspired later writers to cast John as the villain in their reworking of the legend of Robin Hood.
      While returning from the Crusade, Richard was captured by Leopold V, Duke of Austria, and imprisoned by Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor. Eleanor was forced to pay a large ransom for Richard's release. On his return to England in 1194, Richard forgave John and named him as his heir.
      When Richard died, John failed to gain immediate universal recognition as king. Some regarded his young nephew, Arthur of Brittany, the son of John's late brother Geoffrey, as the rightful heir. Arthur fought his uncle for the throne, with the ssupport of King Philip II of France. The conflict between Arthur and King John had fatal consequences. By the May 1200 Treaty of Le Goulet, Philip recognised John over Arthur, and the two came to terms regarding John's vassalage for Normandy and the Angevin territories. However, the peace was ephemeral.
      The war upset the barons of Poitou enough for them to seek redress from the King of France, who was King John's feudal overlord with respect to certain territories on the Continent. In 1202, John was summoned to the French court to answer to certain charges, one of which was his kidnapping and later marriage to Isobel of Angouleme, who was already engaged to Guy de Lusignan. John was called to Phillip's court after the Lusignans pleaded for his help. John refused, and, under feudal law, because of his failure of service to his lord, the French King claimed the lands and territories ruled by King John as Count of Poitou, declaring all John's French territories except Gascony in the southwest forfeit. The French promptly invaded Normandy; King Philip II invested Arthur with all those fiefs King John once held (except for Normandy) and betrothed him to his daughter Marie.
      Needing to supply a war across the English Channel, in 1203 John ordered all shipyards (including inland places such as Gloucester) in England to provide at least one ship, with places such as the newly-built Portsmouth being responsible for seveveral. He made Portsmouth the new home of the navy. (The Anglo-Saxon kings, such as Edward the Confessor, had royal harbours constructed on the south coast at Sandwich, and most importantly, Hastings.) By the end of 1204, he had 45 large galleys available to him, and from then on an average of four new ones every year. He also created an Admiralty of four admirals, responsible for various parts of the new navy. During John's reign, major improvements were made in ship design, including the addition of sails and removable forecastles. He also created the first big transport ships, called buisses. John is sometimes credited with the founding of the modern Royal Navy. What is known about this navy comes from the Pipe Rolls, since these achievements are ignored by the chroniclers and early historians.
      In the hope of avoiding trouble in England and Wales while he was away fighting to recover his French lands, in 1205, John formed an alliance by marrying off his illegitimate daughter, Joan, to the Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great.
      During the conflict, Arthur attempted to kidnap his own grandmother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, at Mirebeau, but was defeated and captured by John's forces. Arthur was imprisoned first at Falaise and then at Rouen. No one is certain what ultimately happened to Arthur. According to the Margam Annals, on 3 April 1203: “After King John had captured Arthur and kept him alive in prison for some time in the castle of Rouen... when [John] was drunk he slew [Arthur] with his own hand and tying a heavy stone to the body cast it into the Seine.”
      However, Hubert de Burgh, the officer commanding the Rouen fortress, claimed to have delivered Arthur around Easter 1203 to agents of the King who had been sent to castrate him. He reported that Arthur had died of shock. de Burgh later retracted his statement and claimed Arthur still lived, but no one saw Arthur alive again. The supposition that he was murdered caused Brittany, and later Normandy, to rebel against King John.
      In addition to capturing Arthur, John also captured Arthur's sister, his niece Eleanor, Fair Maid of Brittany. Eleanor remained a prisoner until her death in 1241. Through deeds such as these, John acquired a reputation for ruthlessness.
      In 1203, John exempted the citizens and merchants of Bordeaux from the Grande Coutume, which was the principal tax on their exports. In exchange, the regions of Bordeaux, Bayonne and Dax pledged support against the French Crown. The unblocked ports gave Gascon merchants open access to the English wine market for the first time. The following year, John granted the same exemptions to La Rochelle and Poitou.
      When Archbishop of Canterbury Hubert Walter died on 13 July 1205, John became involved in a dispute with Pope Innocent III. The Canterbury Cathedral chapter claimed the sole right to elect Hubert's successor and favoured Reginald, a candidate out of their midst. However, both the English bishops and the king had an interest in the choice of successor to this powerful office. The king wanted John de Gray, one of his own men, so he could influence the church more.[9] When their dispute could not be settled, the Chapter secretly elected one of their members as Archbishop. A second election imposed by John resulted in another nominee. When they both appeared in Rome, Innocent disavowed both elections, and his candidate, Stephen Langton, was elected over the objections of John's observers. John was supported in his position by the English barons and many of the English bishops and refused to accept Langton.
      John expelled the Chapter in July 1207, to which the Pope reacted by imposing the interdict on the kingdom. John immediately retaliated by seizure of church property for failure to provide feudal service. The Pope, realizing that too long a period without church services could lead to loss of faith, gave permission for some churches to hold Mass behind closed doors in 1209. In 1212, they allowed last rites to the dying. While the interdict was a burden to many, it did not result in rebellion against John.
      In November 1209 John was excommunicated, and in February 1213, Innocent threatened England with a Crusade led by Philip Augustus of France. Philip had wanted to place his son Louis, the future Louis IX on the English throne. John, suspicious oof the military support his barons would offer, submitted to the pope. Innocent III quickly called off the Crusade as he had never really planned for it to go ahead. The papal terms for submission were accepted in the presence of the papal legate Pandulph in May 1213 (according to Matthew Paris, at the Templar Church at Dover);[10] in addition, John offered to surrender the Kingdom of England to God and the Saints Peter and Paul for a feudal service of 1,000 marks annually, 700 for England and 300 for Ireland.[11] With this submission, formalised in the Bulla Aurea (Golden Bull), John gained the valuable support of his papal overlord in his new dispute with the English barons.
      Having successfully put down the Welsh Uprising of 1211 and settling his dispute with the papacy, John turned his attentions back to his overseas interests. The European wars culminated in defeat at the Battle of Bouvines (1214), which forced the king to accept an unfavourable peace with France.
      The defeat finally turned the largest part of his barons against him, although some had already rebelled against him after he was excommunicated by the Pope. The nobles joined together and demanded concessions. John met their leaders at Runnymedede, near London on 15 June 1215 to seal the Great Charter, called in Latin Magna Carta. Because he had signed under duress, however, John received approval from his overlord the Pope to break his word as soon as hostilities had ceased, provoking the First Barons' War and an invited French invasion by Prince Louis of France (whom the majority of the English barons had invited to replace John on the throne). John travelled around the country to oppose the rebel forces, including a personal two month siege of the rebel-held Rochester Castle.
      Retreating from the French invasion, John took a safe route around the marshy area of the Wash to avoid the rebel held area of East Anglia. His slow baggage train (including the Crown Jewels), however, took a direct route across it and was lost to the unexpected incoming tide. This loss dealt John a terrible blow, which affected his health and state of mind. Succumbing to dysentery and moving from place to place, he stayed one night at Sleaford Castle before dying on 18 October (or ppossibly 19 October) 1216, at Newark Castle (then in Lincolnshire, now on Nottinghamshire's border with that county). Numerous, possibly fictitious, accounts circulated soon after his death that he had been killed by poisoned ale, poisoned plums or a "surfeit of peaches".
      He was buried in Worcester Cathedral in the city of Worcester.
      His nine-year-old son succeeded him and became King Henry III of England (1216–72), and although Louis continued to claim the English throne, the barons switched their allegiance to the new king, forcing Louis to give up his claim and sign the Treaty of Lambeth in 1217.
      King John's reign has been traditionally characterised as one of the most disastrous in English history: it began with defeats—he lost Normandy to Philip Augustus of France in his first five years on the throne—and ended with England torn by civvil war (The First Barons' War), the Crown Jewels lost and himself on the verge of being forced out of power. In 1213, he made England a papal fief to resolve a conflict with the Roman Catholic Church, and his rebellious barons forced him to sign the Magna Carta in 1215.
      As far as the administration of his kingdom went, John functioned as an efficient ruler, but he lost approval of the English barons by taxing them in ways that were outside those traditionally allowed by feudal overlords. The tax known as scutage, payment made instead of providing knights (as required by feudal law), became particularly unpopular. John was a very fair-minded and well informed king, however, often acting as a judge in the Royal Courts, and his justice was much sought after. Also, John's employment of an able Chancellor and certain clerks resulted in the continuation of the administrative records of the English exchequer - the Pipe Rolls.
      Medieval historian C. Warren Hollister called John an "enigmatic figure"...talented in some respects, good at administrative detail, but suspicious, unscrupulous, and mistrusted. He was compared in a recent scholarly article, perhaps unfairly, with Richard Nixon. His crisis-prone career was sabotaged repeatedly by the halfheartedness with which his vassals supported him—and the energy with which some of them opposed him.”
      Winston Churchill summarised the legacy of John's reign: "When the long tally is added, it will be seen that the British nation and the English-speaking world owe far more to the vices of John than to the labours of virtuous sovereigns".
      In 2006, he was selected by the BBC History Magazine as the 13th century's worst Briton.
      In 1189, John was married to Isabel of Gloucester, daughter and heiress of William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester (she is given several alternative names by history, including Avisa, Hawise, Joan, and Eleanor). They had no children, and since her paternal grandfather was the illegitimate son of Henry I of England, John had their marriage annulled on the grounds of consanguinity, some time before or shortly after his accession to the throne, which took place on 6 April 1199, and she was never acknowledged as queen. (She then married Geoffrey FitzGeoffrey de Mandeville, 2nd Earl of Essex as her second husband and Hubert de Burgh as her third).
      John remarried, on 24 August 1200, Isabella of Angoulême, who was twenty years his junior. She was the daughter of Aymer Taillefer, Count of Angouleme. John had kidnapped her from her fiancé, Hugh X of Lusignan.
      Isabella bore five children:
      King Henry III of England (1207-1272).
      Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall (1209-1272).
      Joan (1210-1238), Queen Consort of Alexander II of Scotland.
      Isabella (1214-1241), Consort of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.
      Eleanor (1215-1275), who married William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, and later married Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester.
      John is given a great taste for lechery by the chroniclers of his age, and even allowing some embellishment, he did have many illegitimate children. Matthew Paris accuses him of being envious of many of his barons and kinsfolk, and seducing theiheir more attractive daughters and sisters. Roger of Wendover describes an incident that occurred when John became enamoured of Margaret, the wife of Eustace de Vesci and an illegitimate daughter of King William I of Scotland. Eustace substituted a prostitute in her place when the king came to Margaret's bed in the dark of night; the next morning, when John boasted to Vesci of how good his wife was in bed, Vesci confessed and fled.
      John had the following illegitimate children (unless otherwise stated by unknown mistresses):
      Joan, Lady of Wales, the wife of Prince Llywelyn Fawr of Wales, (by a woman named Clemence)
      Richard Fitz Roy, (by his cousin, Adela, daughter of his uncle Hamelin de Warenne)
      Oliver FitzRoy, (by a mistress named Hawise) who accompanied the papal legate Pelayo to Damietta in 1218, and never returned.
      Geoffrey FitzRoy, who went on expedition to Poitou in 1205 and died there.
      John FitzRoy, a clerk in 1201.
      Henry FitzRoy, who died in 1245.
      Osbert Gifford, who was given lands in Oxfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Sussex, and is last seen alive in 1216.
      Eudes FitzRoy, who accompanied his half-brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall on Crusade and died in the Holy Land in 1241.
      Bartholomew FitzRoy, a member of the order of Friars Preachers.
      Maud FitzRoy, Abbess of Barking, who died in 1252.
      Isabel FitzRoy, wife of Richard Fitz Ives.
      Philip FitzRoy, found living in 1263.
      (The surname of FitzRoy is Norman-French for illegitimate son of the king.)” [1]
    Person ID I11798  Lowell&Block
    Last Modified 28 Mar 2018 

    Father Henry II, King of England, Duke of Normandy & Aquitaine,   b. 5 Mar 1132/3, Le Mans, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Jul 1189, Château de Chinon, Chinon, Indre-et-Loire, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 56 years) 
    Mother Eleonore, Eleanor or Aliaenor, of Aquitaine,   b. 1122,   d. 1 Apr 1204, Fontevraud Abbey, Fontevraud-l’Abbaye, Maine-et-Loire, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Family ID F4096  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Isabel, Countess of Gloucester 
    Married 1189 
    Last Modified 29 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F4488  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Isabel or Isabella, of Angoulême 
    Married 24 Aug 1200 
    Children 
    +1. Henry III, King of England,   b. 1 Oct 1207, Winchester Castle, Winchester, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Nov 1272, Palace of Westminster, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 65 years)
     2. Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall,   b. 5 Jan 1209, Winchester Castle, Winchester, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Apr 1272, Berkhamstead Castle, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years)
     3. Joan, Queen Consort of Scotland,   b. 22 Jul 1210,   d. 4 Mar 1238  (Age 27 years)
     4. Isabella, Consort,   b. 1214,   d. 1 Dec 1241  (Age 27 years)
     5. Eleanor, of England, Countess of Leicester,   b. 1215,   d. 13 Apr 1275  (Age 60 years)
    Last Modified 29 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F4095  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 ? DE WARENNE 
    Children 
     1. Richard FITZJOHN,   d. 1245/46
    Last Modified 29 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F4602  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 4 Clementia 
    Children 
    +1. Joan, Lady of Wales,   d. 30 Mar 1237
    Last Modified 29 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F4244  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 5 Hawise 
    Children 
     1. Oliver
    Last Modified 29 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F4603  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 6 Susanna 
    Last Modified 29 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F4604  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 7 Unknown MISTRESSES 
    Children 
     1. Osbert GIFFORD
     2. Geoffrey FITZROY
     3. John FITZROY
     4. Odo FITZROY
     5. Henry FITZROY
     6. Richard, Constable of Wallingford Castle
     7. Matilda, Abbess of Barking
     8. Isabella, la Blanche
    Last Modified 29 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F4605  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 24 Dec 1167 - Beaumont Palace, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Oct 1216 - Newark Castle, Lincolnshire, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Sources 
    1. [S87] Foundation for Medieval Genealogy., Foundation for Medieval Genealogy Trustees.