Henry III. (England)

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Coronation of King Henry III. from England. (Illustration from the 13th century)

Henry III. ( English Henry III ; born October 1, 1207 in Winchester , † November 16, 1272 in the Palace of Westminster ) was an English king , Lord of Ireland and Duke of Aquitaine . His 56-year reign from October 28, 1216 to November 16, 1272 as King of England is according to George III. , Victoria and Elizabeth II the fourth longest reign of an English king. His rule can be divided into four periods of time. The first section is the 16 years in which he was still a minor or in which his advisors exercised rule. From 1232 to 1234 there followed troubled years in which the king began to take over rule himself, but was strongly influenced by his courtiers and nobles. In the third section from 1234 to 1258, the king rules independently. He finally recognized the Magna Carta as binding law, which limited his financial possibilities. This led to the fact that he was unable to regain the lost French possessions of his ancestors in the conflict with France. Heinrich's financial problems, exacerbated by temporary rivalries within the royal family and by Heinrich's unsuccessful foreign policy, led to a crisis in his rule in the 1250s. From 1258 there was therefore a serious conflict with an opposition aristocracy, which led to the Second War of the Barons . As a result of the domestic political crisis, Heinrich finally renounced the lost possessions in France in the Treaty of Paris in 1259 , but thereby secured the possession of Gascony . After the king had been defeated by the rebellious barons in the civil war, the political initiative increasingly passed to his eldest son Eduard , who was able to decisively defeat the rebels in 1265 and restored the rule of the king. However, Heinrich did not manage to finally end the conflict with the rebels until 1267. The consequences of the civil war strained his rule until his death. In relation to the Welsh princes, Henry had enforced English supremacy in 1247, which was then shaken off again by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd . Weakened by the civil war, Henry had to recognize Llywelyn as Prince of Wales in 1267 . Although he is therefore not counted among the successful and strong English rulers, he succeeded in consolidating the position of his family after the catastrophic rule of his father Johann Ohneland . In addition, Heinrich is considered one of the greatest European art sponsors of the 13th century. From 1245 he had Westminster Abbey rebuilt in the Gothic style.

Origin and childhood

Heinrich came from the Plantagenet dynasty . He was the eldest of the five children of King John Ohneland and his second wife Isabella of Angoulême . He got his name after his grandfather King Henry II. Because of his birth place he was also called Henry of Winchester . Little is known about his childhood. He rarely saw his father, who constantly roamed his kingdom without a permanent seat of government, but he had a close relationship with his mother. He later granted his wet nurse Ellen, the wife of William Dun , a generous pension in Havering . In 1209 his father swore his vassals on Henry as heir to the throne, and in 1212 his father entrusted Peter des Roches , the French bishop of Winchester , with the upbringing of his eldest son. Des Roches certainly promoted the veneration of Heinrich for his ancestors and for his family, especially Richard I and Eleanor of Aquitaine , and Heinrich is said to have spoken unusually seriously and dignified by the age of nine. In addition, the bishop promoted Heinrich's sense of art and his veneration of the Anglo-Saxon saints. Even as an adult, Heinrich was able to list the order of the holy English kings. The young prince's not particularly successful military training was provided by Philip d'Aubigny , a retainer of des Roches from Brittany. In contrast, Heinrich was considered a good rider, which he probably owed to his bodyguard Ralph of St Samson .

The underage king from 1216 to 1232

End of the Barons' War

The First War of the Barons from 1215 to 1217, which followed his father's non-recognition of the Magna Carta , was a formative event for the young prince. His father died suddenly on October 19, 1216 amid the war with the rebellious barons and with France. Nine months later, in July 1217, his mother, Queen Isabella, left her children and returned to her native southern France, where she took control of the county of Angoulême , her father's land. In spring 1220 she married the French Count Hugo X. von Lusignan von La Marche for the second time . Heinrich did not see her again until 1230.

After the death of his father, Henry, who was just nine years old, had become King of England. His succession to the throne was not assured, however, as his father's rule was contested by the rebellious barons. The rebels had offered the English crown to the French Prince Ludwig . Heinrich's father, however, had the support of the Pope, represented by the papal legate Guala Bicchieri , as well as a large part of the high clergy, so that his followers had young Henry crowned king immediately after John's death. Henry traveled from Devizes Castle to Gloucester , where William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke , who had been one of his father's closest confidants, knighted him on October 27th. The next day there was a hasty and unprepared coronation at Gloucester Abbey . Because the crown jewels had been lost or pawned by his father , Henry was crowned with a makeshift headband by the bishops of Winchester, Worcester, and Exeter . After the coronation, Heinrich immediately paid homage to the legate Guala, as his father had offered the kingdom to the Pope as a fief. Four days later, he vowed to take the cross . A self-appointed Regency Council ruled for the young king under the leadership of the 70-year-old William Marshal, who on November 12th recognized a slightly amended version of the Magna Carta . As a result of this and the death of King John, the reason for their rebellion ceased for many barons, so that they submitted to the young king. The remaining rebels and the troops of the French Prince Ludwig were defeated by Marshal at the Battle of Lincoln , and after Hubert de Burgh destroyed a French supply fleet in the Battle of Sandwich on August 24, 1217 , the war was decided. In September, Prince Ludwig had to renounce his claims to the English throne in the Peace of Lambeth and return to France. The defeated rebels were treated with leniency by Marshal. A further modified version of the Magna Carta was recognized again in October and November 1217 at a large council meeting in Westminster , and a new Charter of the Forest was recognized, which regulated the ownership rights of the royal forests more closely. King Alexander II of Scotland and the Welsh Prince Llywelyn from Iorwerth also made peace with England, although the Welshman was allowed to keep most of his conquests in Wales since 1211.

Heinrich's early reign

Legate Guala continued to discreetly support the regent William Marshal, through whose general high recognition and diplomatic skill the government slowly regained its authority. In November 1218, by general consensus, Ralph de Neville was appointed Keeper of the Great Seal . However, until the king came of age, confirmations of ownership and donations could not be definitively confirmed. When the aged William Marshal fell ill, he transferred the protection of the young king to the new legate Pandulf on April 9, 1219 and warned Heinrich not to follow his father's bad example. The next day, Bishop des Roches, as an educator, tried to gain guardianship over the young king during a council meeting in Reading and boldly attacked Heinrich. However, he was rejected by the other councils. William Marshal died a month later. There were now bitter quarrels within the Regency Council, especially between Des Roches, from France, and Justiciar Hubert de Burgh, from Norfolk, both of whom had been close followers of King John.

Power struggle in the Regency Council, wars in Wales and revolts

Second coronation of Heinrich in 1220. Illumination from the 13th century

A large council meeting in Oxford in April 1220 confirmed a three-member regency council, consisting of the legate Pandulf as the first counselor and leader of the kingdom, the Justiciar Hubert de Burgh and Peter des Roches as educator. Pandulf, however, actually allowed the Justiciar de Burgh to lead the government. Despite the continued tight royal cash situation, the now twelve-year-old king was crowned again in a solemn ceremony by Archbishop Stephen Langton of Canterbury on May 17, 1220 in Westminster Abbey , the traditional coronation site . Numerous imperial insignia had been newly made for this purpose. In the next few years, partly through bribery and partly violence, the rule of the government of the empire, which had been destroyed by the war of the barons, was restored. Pandulf resigned in July 1221, and in the fall of that year des Roches' job as educator was declared complete. From then on he had little influence, so that de Burgh became sole ruler and expanded his position over the next three years. The justiciar continued to treat young Heinrich like a child and is said to have even threatened him with a slap on the face. At a council meeting in June 1222, a large part of the royal property that had fallen into the hands of various barons during the civil war was confiscated, almost doubling the royal income. After Christmas 1222, de Burgh promised at Oxford that the king would recognize the Charters at a council meeting in Westminster in January 1223. In the next few months a war broke out in South Wales , in which William Marshal , the son of the late regent, who was allied with de Burgh, was able to conquer large parts of South West Wales against the Welsh prince Llywelyn from Iorwerth, thereby endangering his supremacy in Wales. De Burgh brought the king to Wales, on September 23, 1223, horrified Builth Castle, which was besieged by the Welsh, and founded Montgomery Castle . There Llywelyn submitted to Iorwerth on October 7th, restoring peace in the Welsh Marches . At the end of 1223, de Burgh was able to completely oust his adversary des Roches from the court. Archbishop Langton agreed on December 10, 1223 in Westminster with de Burgh that the king could formally carry his own seal, and then de Burgh forced the remaining supporters of des Roches to hand over the royal fiefs and castles they held.

Bedford Castle and the executed crew. Book illustration from the 13th century

Despite the widespread recognition of the underage king, some barons resisted the surrender of the castles and goods they had acquired during the civil war. While the rebellion of William de Forz was quickly put down in early 1221, the rebellion of Falkes de Bréauté , a former confidante of King John, could only be put down after fierce fighting. Bedford Castle , held by Falke's brother William, was not conquered until August 15, 1224 after eight weeks of siege. The young king was present during the conquest and, presumably influenced by de Burgh, ordered the execution of the entire 80-man crew of the castle by hanging .

Supremacy of Hubert de Burgh

Franco-English War and final recognition of the Magna Carta

After the armistice concluded in 1214 with France expired in March 1224, the French King Louis VIII , who as Prince Louis had claimed the English throne during the First Barons' War , attacked and conquered the English king's possessions in south-west France in May 1224 until August 1224 the Poitou and La Rochelle , then French troops occupied large parts of Gascony . De Burgh planned to recapture the lost territories, but initially lacked the financial means. In February 1225, he took advantage of rumors of an imminent French invasion by attempting to levy the fifteenth , a tax on the fifteenth part of movable property. At a large council meeting, the barons initially refused to approve this tax until the young king reaffirmed the Magna Carta in February 1225. The tax brought in the enormous sum of £ 40,000, which shows that the government had regained its authority after the Barons' War. Heinrich later publicly invoked the Magna Carta several times and admonished his barons to apply it to their vassals as well. The Magna Carta thereby acquired the force of law in the long term and became the guideline of royal rule. Above all, the knights and the lower nobility invoked the Magna Carta, which subsequently led to a revaluation of the royal jurisdiction and thus the royal authority, but also to the formation of a professional professional judiciary. In 1255 the king ordered the sheriffs to use the Magna Carta in all courts of justice and to punish failure to comply. At the same time, royal officials and judges took advantage of inconsistencies and ambiguities in the Magna Carta to circumvent it. Nevertheless, when Henry died it was clear that the written law also applies to the king.

In March 1225 Richard , the king's younger brother, and William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury , set out with an army for Bordeaux , from where they were able to quickly recapture large parts of Gascon. La Rochelle and the Poitou, however, remained in the hands of the French king. After the death of King Louis VIII in November 1226, his son and successor was Louis IX. still underage. Heinrich now renewed his claims to Normandy and Anjou . There, to Brittany and Poitou, he sent envoys to attract the local nobility to his side and to win back the territories. He was already allied with Peter Mauclerc , Duke of Brittany, and he was able to win the support of Hugo X. von Lusignan , his mother's second husband. In the spring of 1227, however, they submitted to the new French king, and Heinrich's plans had failed.

On January 8, 1227, Henry declared himself of legal age at a council meeting in Oxford. The king's possessions were also checked, which led to extensive forest holdings falling back to the king or being reforested. Thereupon there was a revolt under his brother Richard, who had meanwhile been raised to the Earl of Cornwall . He was supported by seven other earls and threatened his brother with civil war, but was satisfied with the transfer of further possessions. The government initially remained completely with Hubert de Burgh, who was appointed Earl of Kent and on April 27, 1228 life justiciar. However, the king increasingly surrounded himself with his own household, which eventually included almost 70 knights. He now increasingly intervened in the government himself, which at times led to conflicts with the Justiciar. Nevertheless, he was far from being able to completely detach himself from de Burgh, who was for him father-like.

War in Wales and French campaign of 1230

In August 1228 there was new fighting in Wales when Llywelyn besieged Montgomery Castle from Iorwerth . To relieve the castle, de Burgh raised a shield money of two marks per knight's fee , and with a small contingent of the feudal army, de Burgh and Heinrich marched to Wales . Before the English army, the Welsh withdrew so that the English could relieve Montgomery Castle. Then de Burgh burned the nearby Cistercian Abbey of Ceri , which had served as a base for the Welsh people. Instead of the monastery, he began building a castle, but the poorly supplied English were attacked by the Welsh on the construction site, who destroyed the castle under construction and captured the Marcher Lord William de Braose . The king made no further advances and after three months had to make a shameful peace with the Welsh prince. Braose remained in the hands of the Welsh and had to negotiate a peace with Llywelyn from Iorwerth himself.

At Christmas 1228, Heinrich received again news from French nobles encouraging him to recapture his family's estates in France. Hubert de Burgh was initially able to prevent him from starting a new war with France, but against de Burgh's opposition, Heinrich finally set out on a campaign in France on April 30, 1230 . From Brittany he advanced to Anjou and on to Gascony without any significant fighting. In front of the superior army of the French king, he finally had to retreat to Brittany. In October he returned to England without having achieved any success.

The fall of Hubert de Burgh

Henry III. sails to Brittany. Illustration from the 13th century Chronicle of Matthew Paris

As de Burgh used his office to enrich himself and his family, his standing with the barons had declined sharply, as well as his unsuccessful policies in Wales and the failures in France. After his return from the unsuccessful French campaign, Heinrich began to seal his letters to the royal chancellor Ralph Neville himself, bypassing de Burgh. Nevertheless, de Burgh was initially able to maintain his supremacy. The king spent Christmas 1230 at de Burgh in Lambeth , and the king made rich gifts such as the administration of the lands of the late Gilbert de Clare, 4th Earl of Hertford and the guardianship of his underage son Richard . Heinrich's brother-in-law William Marshal died on April 15, 1231 . The king regretted his untimely death, and power struggles broke out again at court, while Llywelyn from Iorwerth took advantage of the death of the marshal, who was wealthy in Wales, and began new attacks . De Burgh convinced the king to deny William's younger brother Richard the inheritance, as he was a feudal man of the French king because of his possessions in Normandy. Thereupon Richard Marshal threatened the king, supported by Henry's brother Richard of Cornwall, a rebellion. Heinrich moved to Hereford with an army in the autumn , but achieved little except for the new building of Painscastle . In August he recognized Marshal as his brother's heir and as the Earl of Pembroke . Then de Burgh's bitter opponent Peter des Roches returned from his crusade to the Holy Land as a glorious hero. Together with his followers he was greeted by the king and gradually regained influence over the king. In late October 1231, at a council meeting in Westminster, Richard Marshal and the Duke of Brittany persuaded the king to change his plans to marry Marjorie , the youngest sister of the Scottish king. Instead he should marry Yolande , the daughter of the Duke of Brittany, in order to have better opportunities for a new campaign to France. For the first time since 1224, the king did not spend Christmas with Hubert de Burgh, but with Peter des Roches in Winchester.

The final overthrow of de Burgh began in January 1232 when Des Roches was made Baron of the Exchequer and promised financial reforms. These yielded little, but aroused high expectations in the heavily indebted king. The failed, expensive French campaign had revealed his tight financial situation, plus the costs of the campaigns to Wales and ongoing aid for his allies in France. Thanks to de Burgh's regain control, the king's annual income had risen from just £ 8,000 in 1218 to £ 24,000 in 1230, but even if inflation was ignored, that was only two-thirds of the income from King John at the beginning of the 13th century. Because of the concessions the king had to make during the civil war and in the Magna Carta, the king's options largely depended on obtaining additional funds during the major council meetings. Even his remaining income was not fully available to him, as corrupt bailiffs and sheriffs only partially passed on their income to the Chancellor of the Exchequer . In addition, royal real estate was sometimes only given out for low lease payments. Trying to remedy these abuses preoccupied the king during the 1230s and 1240s. However, improvements were only made intermittently until the mid-1240s. The cut in royal grants caused by the financial reforms led to political tension. Only a long period of peace could reorganize the royal finances. This financial limitation of his possibilities displeased the king, who could only partially implement his political goals. In addition, his tight financial situation meant a constant weakness of his rule.

On March 7, 1232, during a council meeting in Winchester, de Burgh's opponents rejected a new tax. The weakened government of the king had to start negotiations with Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, the prince of Gwynedd. In May de Burgh and the King set out for the Welsh Marches and reached Worcester on May 19 , where they attended the reburial of King John's body in a new, magnificent tomb in the cathedral . On May 23, there was an unsuccessful meeting with Lord Llywelyn in Shrewsbury . During their return, des Roches' relative Peter de Rivallis received the post of Treasurer of the King's Household from Heinrich for life , which shows Heinrich's conflict. He went on a pilgrimage to Bromholm in Norfolk , where he was hosted by de Burgh on July 2nd. The King de Burgh and his followers confirmed their offices for life. During the month, however, the king turned decisively against de Burgh. Des Roches accused him of planning a riot against Italian clergy appointed by the Pope in England. The king ordered the arrest of some of de Burgh's followers, whereupon there was a heated argument between the king and de Burgh in Woodstock and the king released him on July 29 as legal advisor.

The reign of Peter des Roches, 1232–1234

Punishment of Hubert de Burgh

Heinrich appointed Stephen of Seagrave as the new justiciar , but Peter des Roches became the leading figure on the Regency Council, who became another father figure for the king. His rule meant two years of political tension. Initially, des Roches shared his power with Richard Marshal and the Stewards of the Household . De Burgh not only lost his offices, but also his possessions and fled to church asylum . Presumably at the request of the king, he was supposed to answer to the other magnates in London in November, as prescribed in Article 39 of the Magna Carta. The king had hoped for the indulgence of the barons, but by a large majority they imposed further heavy penalties on de Burgh. He was imprisoned for an indefinite period in Devizes , his property was confiscated, but he was allowed to keep his title and property inherited from his father. In September 1232 a council meeting in Lambeth approved a new tax, the only one during the reign of Henry III. was approved without conditions. However, due to the poor harvest, she only made £ 16,500.

The tyranny of des Roches

Des Roches quickly took over government control. Although he originally wanted to reform the finances, he ruled tyrannically, persecuting his opponents and enriching his followers with offices and royal castles. Some of his followers came from France like himself, and he generously preferred his French allies. Nevertheless, he made no move to intervene in France, but above all enriched himself. In January 1233 Pope Gregory IX allowed . the king to reclaim granted crown rights. Heinrich used this to revoke de Burgh's donations from over 50 supporters. He gave the returned goods to supporters of des Roches. This favoritism aroused growing opposition to the rule of Roches.

The Richard Marshal Rebellion

First, des Roches fell out with Richard Marshal, who criticized the disadvantage of his followers compared to the followers of des Roches. In February 1233 he retired to Wales and Ireland, and in August he began an open rebellion. This began a six-month bitter civil war, which, however, was limited to the Welsh Marches. Although he fought as an Englishman against the foreign favorites, he only won the sympathy of the chroniclers and not the support of the other magnates , so that he was never supported by more than 60 knights. The king used foreign mercenaries against him and was able to capture Hay , Ewyas and Usk Castle between August 28 and September 8 . Despite this progress, the king then offered negotiations and called a council meeting in Westminster for October 2nd. The meeting was delayed by a week as de Burgh again fled to church asylum. Negotiations eventually failed and, incited by his relatives, Marshal continued the fight. He allied himself with Llywelyn from Iorwerth, while his henchman Richard Siward freed de Burgh from Devizes in a daring raid. On November 12th the king reluctantly set out for the Welsh Marches. He suffered a humiliating defeat at Grosmont Castle when its supplies fell into the hands of the rebels, and fighting ceased during the winter. The continuation of the fight was only prevented by Marshal's sudden retreat to Ireland, while Lord Llywelyn offered negotiations.

The situation was undecided and the king lacked the money to successfully complete the campaign. During the council meeting in Westminster on February 2, 1234, Edmund Rich , the newly elected Archbishop of Canterbury, aided by several other bishops, accused the government of calling for Roches to be removed from court. When the barons' resentment about the Roches regime increased, the king promised to follow the advice of the bishops, but initially fled on a pilgrimage to eastern England, during which he became seriously ill. On March 8, a council meeting in Northampton authorized the bishops to negotiate with Lord Llywelyn. The recovered king attended the installation of Edmund Rich as the new Archbishop of Canterbury on April 2. Des Roches sat next to him as Bishop of Winchester, but the other bishops demonstratively sat down on the opposite side of the choir. On May 9, Archbishop Edmund threatened the king with excommunication if the government was not changed. Thereupon the King des Roches ordered to retire to his diocese, while Peter de Rivallis and other relatives of des Roches were removed from their offices. Concessions were made to the rebels while the illegal land grants were reversed by des Roches. Richard Marshal was fatally wounded in battle in Ireland, which Heinrich deeply mourned. After the fall of des Roches, he took over the rule himself.

The reign from 1234 to 1258

Marriage and Achievement of Stable Reign, 1234–1242

Henry's own rule began successfully and he established a largely stable rule over the next 15 years. With des Roches, Stephen of Seagrave also lost his office as legal advisor, which Heinrich did not re-occupy in the following years. He trusted in followers who were not involved in the previous power struggles, especially John Mansel , Robert Passelewe , Henry of Wingham , Bertram de Criol, William de Cantilupe , John of Lexinton , Paulinus Piper and Robert Waleran . These men and their families formed a close community. Although they were favorites of the king, they did not attain the position that ministers had held during the king's minority. A new generation of magnates was also involved in peaceful participation in parliament . Under the influence of Archbishop Edmund Rich, the king made his peace with Peter des Roches and Hubert de Burgh, who were pardoned before their deaths in 1238 and 1243, respectively. Their followers had been reinstated in their positions by 1236. Since the king could not afford another war, Archbishop Edmund concluded a two-year armistice with Llywelyn from Iorwerth in June 1234, which was later extended until his death in 1240. To protect Gascony, another armistice was signed with King Theobald of Navarre in January 1235 . After the alliance between Henry and the Duke of Brittany was broken in November 1234 , a four-year armistice with the French King Louis IX was signed in August 1235 . agreed.

In May 1235, Heinrich's sister Isabella married Kaiser Friedrich II. The king had to raise a dowry of £ 20,000 for this, but won an ally against the French king. At the beginning of the year Heinrich had planned a wedding with Johanna von Dammartin , the heiress of the French county Ponthieu , but the French king was able to convince the Pope to forbid the marriage because of too close relatives. Thereupon Heinrich turned to Raymond Berengar , the Count of Provence and asked for the hand of his eleven-year-old daughter Eleanor . Eleanor was not a rich marriage, and Heinrich had to fear that he would not receive any dowry at all. The finally agreed dowry of 10,000 marks was never paid in full. But the marriage brought excellent connections. Eleonore's older sister Margarete recently had Louis IX. married by France while her mother's family, the Counts of Savoy , ruled the western Alpine crossings and were therefore courted by both in the power struggles between the Pope and the Emperor. Through the marriage, Henry gained influence over the papal curia and significantly improved his relationship with the French king, who was now his brother-in-law.

The betrothal took place in Canterbury on January 14, 1236 and Archbishop Edmund married Eleanor and Henry on January 20 in Westminster Abbey. Her magnificent coronation set new standards for this ceremony. The clever and beautiful Eleanor quickly won Heinrich's love. Through her influence he was able to further break away from the influence of his old ministers and advisers, she herself had a mediating and reconciling influence on his politics. Her uncle William of Savoy , the elected Bishop of Valence , had accompanied her to England, and at the beginning of April Henry formed a council of twelve members in Windsor, which William presided over. Heinrich tried to reorganize his finances, which is why Wilhelm tried to increase the income from the royal property. He appointed local nobles rather than courtiers as sheriff of the counties , which actually increased the king's income by ten percent. William of Savoy also did not favor courtiers like Peter des Roches, but maintained relationships with all groups. He supported the lawyer and administrative reformer William Raleigh and maintained peaceful relations with Scotland and France.

Henry's brother Richard of Cornwall did not accept his brother's marriage and the threatened loss of his succession to the throne. He stayed away from court for the next two years and took the cross in June 1236. He found no support for his stance, however, and during a major council meeting in Westminster in January 1237 he was played off by William of Savoy and William Raleigh. On this occasion the king reaffirmed the Magna Carta, for which he was granted a tax on the 30th part of the movable property. It raised about £ 22,500 and was the last major tax granted to the King by parliaments for the next 30 years . William of Savoy was so sure of his position that he left the country from February to April 1237. In June 1237, the new papal legate, Oddone di Tonengo , arrived in England and succeeded in publicly reconciling Hubert de Burgh and Peter des Roches. In September, King Alexander II of Scotland, in the Treaty of York, gave up his old claims to the counties in northern England against other territories which brought him £ 200 a year in income. Wilhelm of Savoy's brother Thomas married Johanna , the Countess of Flanders, so that Heinrich's circle of allies increased.

The confirmation of the charters of 1237 was the culmination of an important legal development. In 1234 the Common bench , the local courts, had been strengthened vis-à-vis the Court of Justice, and in 1236 the Statute of Merton was issued, which regulated the rights of widows, access to the commons and the payment of debts of the deceased. However, the initiative for this process did not come from the king, but from his ministers and the judges. According to these laws, apart from a Jewish law 1253, there were hardly any new laws until 1258. In contrast to his father Johann Ohneland, Heinrich hardly interfered in the court proceedings and only rarely intervened in favor of his favorites. Nevertheless, there were numerous complaints against the royal judiciary, which was too complex, inaccessible or too expensive. Wealthy parties involved in the litigation were at an advantage because poorer parties could not afford the costs of a process. That is why efforts were made in the 1240s and 1250s to fill the office of Justiciars again in order to better monitor the judiciary.

William of Savoy was not in England again when Simon de Montfort , an aspiring courtier, began an affair with Eleanor , a widowed sister of the king. Heinrich wanted to cover up the affair and planned a secret marriage on January 7, 1238 in his private chapel in the Palace of Westminster . When Richard of Cornwall found out about this, he began a rebellion , supported by Eleanor's brother-in-law Gilbert Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke and the Earl of Winchester . They accused Montfort and other courtiers and condemned the marriage because the magnates did not advise on this marriage, as was actually customary with marriages of members of the high nobility. This argument found numerous supporters. On February 23, 1238, the rebels in Stratford-le-Bow, east of London, met the king armed, who withdrew to the Tower of London until March 2 . William of Savoy finally managed to defuse the crisis. Richard of Cornwall received 16,000 marks in support of his crusade , which was about half the income from the last tax, and remained loyal to the king afterwards. The reconciled brothers Heinrich and Richard visited their dying sister Johanna , Queen of Scots, in Havering-atte-Bower on March 4, 1238 .

In May 1238 William of Savoy set out for Italy in support of Emperor Friedrich II, where he died the following year. In June 1238 Heinrich tried to get him to succeed Peter des Roches as Bishop of Winchester, but since he had not consulted his council, the election failed. The monks had first endorsed William Raleigh . After the king's intervention, they eventually elected Lord Chancellor Ralph de Neville . The enraged king turned to the Pope and removed de Neville from office on August 28th. Heinrich finally gave in quickly and reinstated de Neville as Lord Chancellor, who then held the office until his death in 1244. Shortly thereafter, on the night of September 9, 1238, the king narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on him by a deranged official allied with William de Marisco and the pirates of Lundy at Woodstock Palace .

In November, Henry attended the christening of Eleanor's and Simon de Montfort's son Henry in Kenilworth . Montfort was thus again in the king's favor and was raised by Henry to Earl of Leicester in February 1239 . In April 1239, William Raleigh resigned as chief judge when he became Bishop of Norwich , whereupon royal estates and estates were taxed less heavily for the next several years. The royal finances were largely restructured and remained so for the next few years. The king drew his income from feudal taxes of his vassals, from taxes in the valley and from court fees . In addition he received the income from vacant bishoprics, especially from the bishopric of Winchester, which was vacant from 1240 to 1244, but also from Canterbury and London. The royal officials often enforced their claims to the utmost, especially with regard to forest rights. In addition, the king taxed the Jews extremely high, especially in the 1240s.

On June 17, 1239, a son was finally born in Westminster, who was baptized three days later by the papal legate Oddone in Westminster Abbey. Contrary to the Angevin tradition, his name was named after Edward the Confessor , the king's favorite saint, and his godparents were Richard of Cornwall and Simon de Montfort. The birth of an heir to the throne consolidated Eleanor's influence on the king. The king fell out at the funeral of Eleonore with Simon de Montfort, who then went into exile with his wife. In April 1240 they were reconciled, but de Montfort's influence on the king and their relationship was no longer the same as before. In 1240 the king profited from the death of Prince Llywelyn from Iorwerth, after which there was an inheritance dispute between his sons in Gwynedd . The king supported Dafydd , who was a nephew of his, against his half-brother Gruffydd . In a theatrical ceremony he knighted Dafydd in Gloucester on May 15, 1240 , after which Dafydd paid him homage . On June 10, he and legates in Dover bid farewell to Richard of Cornwall, who was setting out on his crusade. The queen brought Henry to a reconciliation with Simon de Montfort before he also set out on the crusade. On September 29, 1240, Margaret , the king's second child, was born, presumably named after Eleonore's sister, Queen of France.

The King spent Christmas 1240 with Legate Oddone in Westminster before he left England in January 1241. After the legate's departure, Eleonore's family from Savoy and Provence gained further influence. Another uncle of hers, Peter of Savoy , came to England and was ceremonially knighted on January 5th, 1241 at Westminster Abbey. He soon achieved a dominant position in the royal council, in which he advocated a more moderate policy. In April 1241 the king made him Earl of Richmond . In February 1241, another uncle of the Queen, Boniface , had been elected as the new Archbishop of Canterbury. On January 7, 1242, Richard of Cornwall returned from his crusade and was welcomed to Dover by Henry and Eleanor. On January 28th he ceremoniously entered London, which had been decorated in his honor. The courtiers feared new tensions between Heinrich and Richard, given the foreigners' favor, but Peter of Savoy quickly won Richard's favor.

The Saintonge War from 1242 to 1243

Fight between Heinrich III. and Louis IX. Illumination from the 14th century

Despite the failure of 1230, Heinrich continued to hope to be able to recapture the territories in France that his father had lost. In August 1241 he was able to put down a rebellion of Dafydd ap Llywelyn in Wales in a bloodless, only 14-day campaign , where he was supported by renegade Welsh princes and by unusually good weather. Lord Dafydd had to agree to a peace for which he held his brother Gruffydd and his son Owain hostage. When the French King Louis IX. When his brother Alfons was appointed Count of Poitou in 1241 , Heinrich immediately planned a counter-attack in the face of this provocation. The campaign of 1242, the so-called Saintonge War , was started hastily and prematurely and ended in failure. In the Battle of Taillebourg Heinrich was only just able to escape capture by the superior French troops. He had to retire to Bordeaux and on April 5, 1243 renew the armistice with France for five years. His French allies, including Hugo X. von Lusignan, his mother's second husband, had to submit to the French king again. In a letter to Emperor Frederick II in early 1243, Heinrich blamed the Poitevins' infidelity for his defeat, but his insufficient preparation, tight war chest, weak leadership and inactivity were more responsible for the fact that his allies had lost confidence in him . With no additional taxation that had to be approved by Parliament, he only had an income of around £ 40,000 a year at the time. This was too small compared to the equivalent of £ 70,000 that the French king had at his disposal to wage a successful campaign against him.

Even after the defeat of Taillebourg and the conclusion of the armistice, Heinrich remained in south-west France, as his wife had become the mother of a daughter on June 25, 1242 in Bordeaux, whom they named after Heinrich's mother-in-law Beatrix . This, Beatrix of Savoy , visited her in May 1243. In August 1243 Heinrich gave his wife a rich morning gift . He had become even more dependent on Eleanor, who favored her compatriots from Provence and Savoy. Heinrich got into an argument again with his brother Richard von Cornwell. Heinrich, thanks to Richard for saving him from capture in Taillebourg, had probably handed over the administration of Gascony to Richard. On the advice of his wife, who wanted to leave Gascony to her eldest son, he revoked this decision a few weeks later. Thereupon Richard of Cornwall returned prematurely to England in September 1242.

Given the few fighting, the cost of the failed campaign had remained relatively low. In total he had spent about £ 80,000 King on the war for which he had borrowed about £ 15,000. Nevertheless, he stubbornly stuck to his claims on Normandy and Poitou. On October 9, 1243, he reached Portsmouth , England.

The consequences of the failed campaign

The king consolidated his tarnished image through elaborate ceremonies. Four days after his return from Poitou, he entered Westminster in a solemn procession on October 13th. On October 18, his mother-in-law Beatrix of Savoy and her daughter Sancha arrived in Westminster. The splendid wedding of Sancha and Richard of Cornwall took place on November 23rd at Westminster Abbey. To celebrate the day, the king presented the abbey with a gold-woven banner in which his coat of arms and that of the Counts of Provence were interwoven. Heinrich gave his brother valuable gifts at the wedding and promised him possessions that would give him an annual income of £ 500. As the Queen listened to her son Edward's claims in Gascony, Richard's interests turned to Ireland. Beatrix of Savoy finally succeeded in reconciling Heinrich with Simon de Montfort and his wife. The king granted them 500 marks annually, in addition he gave Kenilworth Castle to Montfort. Beatrix of Savoy stayed in England until the beginning of 1244. The king gave her a mighty eagle adorned with precious stones and ordered that all the churches between London and Dover be illuminated in her honor on her return journey.

Nevertheless, the failed campaign depressed the king so much that he avoided major confrontations over the next few years. His wife, their relatives, and ministers like John Mansel continued to influence him. Despite the failure in south-west France, there had been no revolt in England like the one Johann Ohneland had to experience after his defeat in 1214. Most of the English magnates supported Heinrich despite his defeat. The king deliberately maintained good relations with his barons. He entertained them generously and gave them generous gifts, and only indulgently collected from them the fees due to the crown. Although his judges occasionally checked the barons' privileges, Heinrich took no steps to restrict these rights, but occasionally even extended them. He demonstrated his unity with his nobility through his buildings such as Westminster Abbey and Dublin Castle , whereby he incorporated delegations of the nobility. Criticism of his rule came only from merchants, the lower nobility and the lower clergy who were not involved in the government. From time to time the king took care of their complaints, but as long as the nobility were on his side, the king dominated the situation.

On the northern border of the empire there were tensions with Scotland, whose king Alexander II had married the French noblewoman Marie de Coucy after the death of Heinrich's sister Johanna in 1239 . As a result, he tried to break his close ties to England. Fearing a Scottish-French alliance, Henry raised an army, consisting mainly of foreign mercenaries, in the summer of 1244 to undertake a campaign in Scotland. The English barons, however, refused to go to war with Scotland, and Henry was eventually convinced that the Scottish king was not planning an alliance with France. In the Treaty of Newcastle , sealed on August 14, 1244, peace with Scotland was renewed. On August 15, 1244, Alexander II agreed that his three-year-old son and heir Alexander Margarete , the three-year-old daughter of Heinrich, should marry.

The king's finances had again become strained by the conflict with Scotland. The king's attempts to raise funds met with opposition and in November 1244 he was criticized by magnates and the clergy in the refectory of Westminster Abbey during Parliament . The king himself asked parliament for a larger grant of money, unwisely giving the reason for his debts from the campaign in Poitou. Parliament then elected a committee of twelve, composed mainly of courtiers, to respond to this request. Finally, similar to 1237, they demanded a mild concession for agreeing to a new taxation. On their advice, the king should again appoint a lord chancellor and a justiciar to conduct the daily business of the king. Heinrich, who did not want to be forced, refused, and further negotiations with Parliament were unsuccessful. The king then tried in vain to only impose taxation on the clergy. Ultimately, he was saved by the enormous income from the taxation of Jews, which brought him over 40,000 marks by 1249. When Parliament met again in London in February 1245, the king was able to reach a compromise with the nobility. With the birth of his second son Edmund , who was named after the East English saint Edmund , he had gained further sympathies. Parliament finally granted the king money for the marriage of his eldest daughter Margaret to the Scottish heir to the throne, while the king reaffirmed the Magna Carta. To this end, a tax was approved, albeit at a low rate, which was nevertheless sufficient to settle the king's debts. Heinrich himself rejected an attempt by the Pope to tax the English clergy.

War in Wales and influence in Italy

Since the summer of 1244, an alliance of the Welsh princes under Prince Dafydd ap Llywelyn rebelled against English suzerainty and attacked English possessions . In March 1245 the king made a pilgrimage to St Albans and Bromholm, but the ongoing war in Wales finally forced Henry to mobilize his feudal army for a campaign in Wales in June 1245. He arrived in Chester on August 13 , but did not set out with his troops until a week later and did not reach the River Conwy until the end of August . He camped there for two months. During this time he renewed Deganwy Castle , while dwindling supplies and Welsh raids demoralized his army. The soldiers reacted to their fear with brutal attacks, so that the king withdrew to Cheshire by the end of October without having achieved much. Because of the sudden death of Prince Dafydd in the spring of 1246, Heinrich was able to win the war for himself.

In January 1246, on the suggestion of his brother-in-law, Count Amadeus of Savoy , Heinrich accepted his homage for the most important of his castles and alpine crossings, in return he paid him 1,000 marks and an annual pension of 200 marks. Heinrich hoped to gain influence on the succession in Provence, since his father-in-law, Count Raimund Berengar, had no surviving sons. As Heinrich feared excommunication by the Pope, who had already excommunicated Emperor Friedrich II shortly before, he agreed to the taxation of the English clergy by the Pope despite the dissatisfaction of Parliament. Pope Innocent IV had approached the French king who wanted to occupy Provence, since his younger brother Karl von Anjou was also married to a daughter of the Count of Provence.

Christmas 1246 the king spent in Winchester with Bishop William Raleigh , who was now in his favor again. In April 1247, the Oxford Parliament passed a coin reform that included Ireland and Wales and that improved royal finances. The king asked his brother Richard of Cornwall to carry out this task. In addition, he was able to conclude the war in Wales victorious. The Welsh princes, weakened by internal disputes and a trade embargo with England, gradually submitted to him. In the Woodstock Treaty concluded on April 30, 1247 with the heirs of Prince Dafydd ap Llywelyn , Henry was able to smash the previous supremacy of Gwynedd in Wales and was himself recognized as the overlord of the Welsh princes. In addition, Cheshire in the northeast of the Welsh Marches fell to the crown.

The Lusignans in England

His biggest success that year was with his family. In May he married Edmund de Lacy, 2nd Earl of Lincoln , and Richard, the eldest son of Richard de Burgh of Connaught, both of whom were royal wardens , to two relatives of Queen Eleanor. Shortly afterwards he received four of his half-brothers and one half-sister, children from the second marriage of his mother, who died the previous year, in Westminster. He had invited them and three of them stayed in England: Aymer de Lusignan studied at Oxford and was elected Bishop of Winchester in 1250; William de Valence married Joan de Munchensi , an heir of the Marshal family, and thus obtained Pembroke and extensive estates in the Welsh Marches, and his half-sister Alice married John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey , who was also a minor and a ward of the king. This connection with the Lusignan family strengthened Heinrich's position in Gascony. The Lusignans were followed by about 100 other followers from the Poitou to England, they were called Poitevins after their origin. Not all of them stayed permanently in England, but they competed with up to 200 Savoyards and the other factions at court for influence on the king and the young heir apparent.

On October 13, 1247, the feast day of Edward the Confessor , Henry transferred in a solemn procession a blood relic of Jesus Christ, which he had received from the Princes of Outremer , from St Paul's Cathedral to Westminster Abbey, all spiritual and secular Magnates were present. He donated the relic to the abbey, and the bishops of Norwich and Lincoln stated in their homily that this relic was superior to the cross relic of the French king. After this ceremony, the King awarded numerous young men, including William de Valence and other Poitevins, the accolades at Westminster Hall .

Continuation of the conflict with France and tight finances

Despite the defeat in the Saintonge War , Heinrich held on to his claim to the French possessions his father had lost, but his policy towards France was wavering. On the one hand, he wanted to participate in the crusade of the French king , which is why he began to amass a pot of gold to finance the crusade. The Pope gave him permission to take part in the crusade with a contingent led by Guy de Lusignan , but Louis IX. objected to this. On the other hand, Heinrich planned to take advantage of Ludwig's absence to recapture his claimed territories in France. In February 1248, his attempt to get a new tax approved by parliament failed. Instead, many merchants and clergymen complained about the high tax burden, and there was again the demand that the holders of the three highest state offices should be elected. Henry adjourned Parliament, but the complaints and demands were raised again in the parliaments in Westminster in July and in January and April of next year.

The king's advisers hoped that a smaller campaign in Gascony would suppress the demands in parliament. After a pilgrimage to Walsingham and Bromholm, the king managed in May 1248 to persuade Simon de Montfort to postpone his planned crusade and instead to take up the post of lieutenant of Gascony , which was threatened by Alfonso of Poitiers and King Theobald of Navarre . The Queen supported Montfort's appointment, and in August he left for the south of France with a small army. The king's funds were insufficient for this campaign, which is why part of the Jewish tax was used and further loans from Richard of Cornwall had to be used. Even some of the royal silverware had to be sold. Montfort had considerable success with his armed forces, but in December the king tried to obtain loans from the most important abbots of England to finance his army, and he encouraged his sheriffs and royal bailiffs to earn the highest possible income. This financial pressure made the king unpopular with the population in the long run.

From this point on it became increasingly difficult for the king to observe the Magna Carta. The king's refusal to incriminate his magnates put a strain on the merchants and the lower nobility. The king made the forest laws strictly enforced, and the sheriffs, often not from the region in which they held their office, tried to raise new fees or to increase the old ones. Numerous merchants complained that they had to deliver goods to the royal household and his government without being paid. The sheriffs sometimes collected three to four times the sum of what was still common in the 1230s. There were major regional differences. In some counties, officials were much more lenient than in neighboring regions, while Alan de la Zouche , for example, in the recently conquered Northeast Wales, collected more than twice as much fees as his predecessors. In addition, corruption was widespread among civil servants. The king himself sold hundreds of exemptions from taxes and burdens during this time, which meant that the burdens were also very unevenly distributed socially. The king, however, ignored the discontent and tension and undauntedly held on to his private faith. On the advice of the Queen and Peter of Savoy, he transferred Gascony to the heir to the throne Edward in September 1249, and two months later he was so sure of his position in south-west France that he pardoned the rebel Gaston de Béarn .

Crusade plans and the Gascon crisis

The defeat of Louis IX. at al-Mansura in February 1250, Henry, spurred on by his apparent success in Gascony, suggested taking the cross in a great public ceremony on March 6th in Westminster under the direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury. According to his plans, the queen who supported this plan and most of the courtiers would accompany him. Based on the model of Louis IX. he reduced expenses for his court and more scrutinized the income from his property. The Pope granted the king a crusade tithe on the income of the English clergy for three years, and the king began again to raise a treasure to finance the crusade. He forbade his barons, even his half-brother William de Valence, to undertake a crusade on their own initiative. Even his court artists had to take on the crusade theme; Antioch Chambers were set up in his palaces in Winchester, Clarendon and Westminster . After confirming the establishment of Hailes Abbey in Gloucestershire by his brother Richard of Cornwall in November 1251, the King spent Christmas in York, where he renewed his alliance with Scotland in further preparation for the Crusade. The new Scottish King Alexander III. was married in a splendid ceremony to Heinrich's eldest daughter Margarete . Heinrich knighted Alexander, who paid him homage for his English possessions according to the Treaty of 1237.

In York the king received news of an uprising against the strict rule of Montfort in Gascony. Heinrich forbade Montfort, who was present in York, to return to south-west France, and it was only thanks to the Queen, who stood up for the interests of her eldest son in south-west France, that an open dispute was prevented. When Heinrich sent envoys to investigate Montfort's rule in Gascony, there were complaints there. On the advice of Peter of Savoy, he withdrew the transfer of Gascony to his son on April 28, 1252 in order to calm the opposition in Gascony, while Montfort had to face the allegations of leading nobles from Gascony in Parliament from May to June . Heinrich took the side of the Gascogner, so that there were some sharp exchanges between him and Montfort. Montfort accused Henry of undermining his authority, and only with the support of the Queen, Richard of Cornwall, and other powerful magnates did he avoid conviction. Nevertheless, he refused to resign as lieutenant in Gascony. In order to avoid another rebellion, Heinrich announced on June 13, 1252, that he would travel to Gascon himself before February 1253. At first he wanted to leave for France in October, but by then he had not yet completed his arrangements for his absence in England. Montfort, on the other hand, had already returned to Gascony, whereupon there were new unrest. Heinrich was forced to fire him in October and eventually buy him out of his contract by paying a large sum.

Unfortunately, the rebellion in Gascony escalated when Gaston de Béarn, despite his recent pardon, encouraged Alfonso X of Castile to revive his old claims on Gascony. Heinrich had failed to ask parliament for a tax in October, so he needed a deferment. The clergy, led by Bishop Robert Grosseteste , resisted the papal crusade tithe because they believed it was calculated incorrectly, and the laity refused to tax unless the clergy were also taxed. To finance the expedition, Heinrich used his £ 20,000 savings that were actually intended for the crusade. There was also confusion about the goals of the king's trip to France. Heinrich secretly hoped for an easy success in regaining the Angevin possessions while France was captured by Louis IX. was weakened. In June 1252 Heinrich wrote a rude letter to Louis IX in Acre , in which he offered to set out on his crusade earlier than 1256 if Louis returned the lands of the Angevin Empire to him.

Now, however, Heinrich ran into serious political problems in England. Frustrated by developments in Gascony, he quarreled publicly with his wife, who sympathized with Montfort, for the first time since 1236. Her differences weighed on her for the whole year. After his half-brother Gottfried de Lusignan intervened in Gascony in February and negotiated a truce, Heinrich built on the military might of his half-brothers. The political influence of the Lusignans grew, but their arrogance made them unpopular. On November 3, 1252, Gottfried even undertook an attack on the palaces of Eleanor's uncle Archbishop Boniface of Canterbury, trusting the military support of the English king. The tensions turned into a serious crisis reminiscent of the crisis 20 years earlier. The royal court split into individual camps and four earls were on the verge of becoming involved in the armed conflict. Under these circumstances, Heinrich and Eleanore settled their dispute and, through the mediation of the bishops, were able to pacify the individual camps in January 1253. In spring Eleanor was probably pregnant again for the first time in eight years. The well-attended parliament in May was open to the king's problems, and the threat to Gascony from Alfonso of Castile strengthened the king's position. The king immediately tried to get a new tax approved, but Parliament only granted him support for the accolade of the heir to the throne, in accordance with the provisions of the Magna Carta. In the presence of the King, the Magna Carta was confirmed in Westminster Hall on May 3, 1253. The funds granted, however, by no means covered the costs of an expedition to Gascony, which was only made possible by exploiting all available funds, including income from Ireland, taxation of the Jews and making high profits from the king's property. However, the king still had a crusade in mind and imposed further restrictions on the Jews in January. In May, the clergy granted the king a church tithe for three years, with the condition that the magnates supervised its use.

On July 1, 1253, the king made his only surviving will. He gave his wife the reign of the empire and the guardianship of the children until the heir to the throne came of age, for this she should continue his crusade. He gave her an enlarged Wittum. During her husband's absence, she was now the official regent, aided by Richard of Cornwall and a council. Heinrich probably hoped to be able to pacify Gascon quickly. In May he negotiated a marriage of the heir to the throne with Alfons half-sister Eleonore . His departure was delayed by adverse winds and poor preparation. He did not leave Portsmouth until August 6, 1253, and reached Bordeaux around August 24. He regretted leaving his pregnant wife behind and had Alexander III in July. asked by Scotland to send his wife Margarete back to England during his absence so that she could keep her mother company.

Heinrich's expedition in Gascony

Henry's expedition to Gascony was unpopular in England. About 300 knights belonged to his army, the majority of whom belonged to the royal household. His appeal to his vassals for military success had been neglected, and many of the magnates had arrived late. In the army there were numerous disputes and even desertions. In Gascony, the Lusignans reinforced Heinrich's army with around 100 knights. The king's strategy was cautious, and fortunately, potential enemies like the kings of France and Castile did not attack. Bordeaux and Bayonne were loyal and the Dordogne valley was quickly secured. Only in the valley of the Garonne was there serious resistance, which could only be broken after a year - with a break in winter. At the beginning of July 1254 Bergerac was conquered, then La Réole in August . After that Heinrich was able to retire to Bordeaux. In order to gain allies, Heinrich behaved in a conciliatory manner towards the rebels. If they surrendered, they were pardoned and allowed to keep their possessions. Heinrich granted his vassals pensions and concessions. He appointed Stephen Bauzan as the new Seneschal . In February 1254 Heinrich even offered to mediate in the dispute between Simon de Montfort and Gaston de Béarn, but Gaston refused. Alfonso de Poitiers received £ 3,000 in compensation, and the Lusignans were also given generous donations from the king. So it wasn't surprising when Heinrich ran out of money at Christmas 1253. He had to borrow money in Bordeaux before the Queen could send him new funds from England.

A peace with Alfonso of Castile was decisive for securing Gascony. In February 1254, John Maunsel and Peter D'Aigueblanche , the Savoy bishop of Hereford, negotiated further about the marriage of the heir to the throne Eduard with Alfons half-sister Eleanore. In the same month Heinrich gave his son an enormous appanage consisting of Gascon, Ireland , Chester with parts of Wales and the Channel Islands , which brought him annual income of over £ 6,000. At the end of March Heinrich received rumors of a planned Castilian attack, whereupon he asked for help from England. Queen Eleanor had called a parliament in February for April 26th, which included two MPs from each county and representatives of the parish clergy. However, a planned tax did not need to be approved when Montfort arrived with the news that King Alfonso of Castile had proposed a peace on March 31st. In return for the marriage alliance and for Henry's help in a crusade to North Africa, he renounced his claims to Gascony. Queen Eleanor arrived in Bordeaux on June 11th, after she had recovered from the birth of her daughter Katherine on November 25th, 1253, accompanied by her sons Eduard and Edmund and by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Prince Edward traveled to Burgos with a modest entourage . To Henry's disappointment, since he had wished a solemn ceremony for his son in England, he was knighted there by King Alfonso. On November 1st, Edward married the Castilian princess in the Abbey of Las Huelgas . Three weeks later, the heir to the throne returned to Gascony with his wife, where he remained as governor until the next summer.

The Sicilian Adventure

When Heinrich was waiting to conquer La Réole in 1254, he was already thinking on a larger scale. Pope Innocent IV had declared the Kingdom of Sicily confiscated after the death of Emperor Frederick II, but in practice it was ruled by the emperor's sons. On February 12, 1254, after Richard of Cornwall and Charles of Anjou had withdrawn their claims to Sicily, Henry sent envoys to Pope Innocent IV to claim the throne for his younger son Edmund . The Pope was ready to appoint Edmund King of Sicily, but in return he demanded that the conquest be carried out by the English. Influenced by his relatives from Savoy, the king accepted this offer, and in May 1254 he received confirmation from the Pope. In March, Henry had planned that Westminster Abbey would be consecrated in October 1255 before he left for his crusade to the Holy Land. Now he hoped to lead a crusade to Sicily instead.

Approach to Louis of France

Henry III's elephant Illumination from the 13th century

After pacifying Gascony from Bordeaux from August to October, the king returned to England. From King Louis IX. he received permission to cross France, on the one hand to avoid the long sea voyage, but mainly to befriend the French king and thus secure the Gascony. Accompanied by his wife, his son Edmund, Archbishop Bonifatius, William de Valence and others, he crossed the Poitou and Anjou in November. On November 15 he reached Fontevrault , where he ordered the transfer of his mother's grave to the abbey. He then made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Edmund Rich in Pontigny . In Chartres he admired the cathedral and finally met King Louis of France. At the beginning of December he made a one-week state visit to Paris, where he first lived in the Temple and then in the royal palace on the Île de la Cité . In Paris the king zealously visited all the churches, especially the Sainte-Chapelle . The Parisians admired him for the generosity with which he fed the poor in the Temple, for his splendid state banquet with King Louis and the King of Navarre, and for his gifts to the French nobility. The visit strengthened the relationship between Heinrich and Ludwig, which had developed through their marriage. In addition to the two queens Margaret and Eleonore, their mother Beatrix of Savoy and their daughter Beatrix were also present, the fourth sister Sancha from Cornwall traveled from England to complete the family. Also Thomas of Savoy was in Paris. He was intended to be in command of Heinrich's expeditionary army to Sicily. King Ludwig agreed to this Sicilian plan. Heinrich hoped that he could spend Christmas in England, but bad weather prevented the crossing and he had to stay in Boulogne . On December 27, 1254 he was able to translate and on January 5, the feast of St. Edward , he was back in Westminster. A few months later Ludwig sent him an elephant as an impressive gift, the first elephant seen in England was kept in the Tower.

Increasing opposition in England

Henry had not only spent his treasure intended for the crusade in Gascony, but returned to England even further in debt. His finances were in disarray. While he was able to dispose of £ 40,000 annually in the 1240s with more effective administration, his annual income had fallen to just £ 20,000 in the mid-1250s. The reversal of large fiefdoms and large guardianship had become rare. The Jews, on whom he had imposed high taxes for years, were impoverished, so that Henry gave the tax rights to Richard of Cornwall in 1255. The demand for freedoms and city rights also fell. Nevertheless, Heinrich cared for many relatives with indulgence, and he had financial obligations towards the heir to the throne Lord Eduard, the Savoy, the Lusignans and Simon de Montfort, which led to tensions within the royal family. Beyond his relatives, he was almost unable to give any favors, so that his court was again split into several factions. The successes of the Lusignan appendix, which Heinrich believed had helped him in Gascony, drove the Queen and the Savoy to action. It was from them that the Sicilian adventure and rapprochement with the French king was pursued.

Despite the tense financial situation, the king made no savings, and he lacked the will to have taxes approved by parliament. Instead, he lived to himself, increasing financial pressures on his whereabouts, fueling corruption among his officials, and resorting to occasional incomes such as the valley location , a property tax that in February 1255 in London, for example, yielded £ 2000. He also borrowed money from his family, for example Richard of Cornwall lent him £ 5000 in February 1255 to cover the costs of his court. Despite this tense situation, he did not change his policy and continued to pursue the Sicilian adventure. This increased his dependence on his family and his senior courtiers, towards whom he became more and more indulgent. In doing so, he overlooked their increasing arbitrariness and allowed them ever greater freedoms, while at the same time limiting his possibilities to respond to complaints about their abuses and misconduct.

In April 1255, a large parliament, in which prelates, magnates and perhaps other members of parliament were represented, refused aid for servicing the king's debt. In return, Heinrich denied parliament responsibility for the three major state offices. His trump card was the crusade to Sicily, which he hoped the clergy and magnates could not oppose. He bought the pledged Sicilian crown jewels from Emperor Frederick II from his small savings, which he had accumulated again for the crusade. In June 1255 he negotiated an extension of the armistice with Louis of France. The successor of Pope Innocent, Alexander IV , desperately sought help in the fight against the Hohenstaufen. He, too, committed himself to Edmund as king, but demanded more than 135,000 marks from the king as compensation for his previous expenses in the battle for Sicily. For this he allowed the transfer of Heinrich's crusade vows to a crusade in Sicily. In October 1255 the agreement with Pope Alexander, which Heinrich and his council had already decided, became known in parliament. Henry's announcement that he would pay the Pope 135,000 marks by Michaelis 1256 under threat of excommunication, and his vision of leading an army overland through France to Sicily, met with an icy silence in parliament. However, no effective opposition was formed to these plans, and Edmund was installed as King of Sicily by Bishop Giacomo Boncambi of Bologna. In addition to his planned expedition to Sicily, Heinrich considered supporting Alfonso of Castile in his planned campaign to North Africa. In April 1256 he ordered all landowners with an annual income of more than £ 15 to do military service or pay shield money. This further increased the discontent of the landed gentry, and the king's plans were also viewed critically in parliament, which met at the end of April. The magnates doubted Heinrich's suitability as a military leader and tried to dissuade him from the project. Despite the concerns of his barons, Henry remained optimistic and planned to have his brother Richard of Cornwall elected Roman-German king . After months of negotiations, the Archbishop of Cologne, Konrad von Hochstaden , traveled to Westminster at Christmas 1256 and offered Richard the candidacy. Encouraged by his brother and the Lusignans, Richard accepted the offer.

Heinrich's plans collapsed within a few months. The Welshman Llywelyn ap Gruffydd had won sole supremacy in Gwynedd in June 1255 at the Battle of Bryn Derwin. In November 1256 he began a widespread revolt in Wales and in a few weeks overran the four cantrefs of Lord Eduard in north-east Wales and other areas of the Marcher Lords, so that Henry's supremacy in Wales collapsed. In the meantime, Richard's electoral ambitions suffered a setback when Alfonso of Castile claimed the Roman-German crown, and he again threatened Gascony. Also Louis IX. of France was concerned about a possible Anglo-German alliance, and Heinrich tried to negotiate to keep him from an alliance with Alfonso of Castile. In addition, Heinrich's hopes for the crusade stalled when his ally Thomas of Savoy was defeated in Italy and taken prisoner. In January 1257 a meeting of Cistercian abbots refused to support the king, while in March Richards of Cornwall's election as Roman-German king caused concern in parliament. The magnates were critical of his involvement in Germany, as they valued his moderating influence in the State Council, and they also knew that his wealth kept the king solvent. In February 1257 Heinrich had planned to accompany his brother to Germany for the coronation. When Heinrich and the Bishop of Messina theatrically presented Edmund to Parliament in Apulian costume and again demanded a tax for the crusade, there was an uproar. Magnates and prelates compiled a list of why they considered the project to be impracticable, and accused the king of not having asked them enough for their advice. The clergy granted the king £ 52,000 on condition that it was used to pay the king's debts to the Pope. At the same time, however, they increased their resistance to Heinrich's plans. In the face of this opposition, Heinrich began to give in and asked the Pope to extend the deadline in order to meet his conditions.

Richard of Cornwall was crowned Roman-German King in Aachen on May 17, 1257. On April 10, Heinrich tried desperately to keep his household solvent. The treasurer could no longer make payments even at the personal orders of the king. In addition, the king had to cope with the death of his three-year-old, sick daughter Katherina on May 3rd . The queen was sick with grief, and the king also suffered from a long fever. The little princess received a splendid burial at Westminster Abbey.

There were further disappointments in Wales. Llywelyn ap Gruffydd turned against Gower and Glamorgan after his successes in North East Wales . An English army under Stephen Bauzan suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Cymerau in June 1257 , after which the Welsh uprising spread further. Heinrich tried to counter the threat with a two-pronged counter-attack. While Richard de Clare made progress against the Welsh in South Wales, the campaign led by the King himself from Chester against North Wales failed. On September 4th, at the first signs of winter, Heinrich broke off the campaign so that all of North Wales remained in the hands of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. He began to call himself the Prince of Wales , and under his leadership almost all Welsh princes formed an alliance against England in early 1258. In addition to money for the conquest of Sicily, the king now also needed money for a better prepared campaign against Wales, which he planned for May 1258. In Scotland, the Scottish nobles overthrew Alan Durward's guardianship government established two years ago and formed an alliance with the Welsh people. Londoners complained about the overvalued and impractical gold standard Henry introduced in August 1257, while Archbishop Boniface disregarded a royal prohibition and called for the first time a gathering of prelates and the lower clergy to protest against the collection of royal and papal taxes. The hopes of an agreement with the French king on the return of properties in France yielded nothing. The deterioration in relations with France again favored the faction of the Lusignans at the royal court, who fought for the favor of the king against the group from Savoy and with the powerful magnates such as Simon de Montfort, Richard de Clare, Roger Bigod and Humphrey de Bohun . After Richard left Cornwall for Germany, the king found it difficult to keep the balance between the camps. Since Heinrich needed the loans from the Lusignans, they were the main beneficiaries of his policy. The setback in Wales made the king financially dependent on them. The rivalry between the courtier factions grew to the point of hatred, and the strict administrators of the Lusignan estates were also hated by the landed gentry and the population. The heir to the throne, Lord Eduard, who had previously been on the side of the Savoy, now tried to become more politically independent. He exposed the senior counselors to the king and queen for their inability to face the threat in Wales and allied with the Lusignans. In April 1258 a small but influential group of magnates and courtiers, including Roger Bigod, Simon de Montfort and Richard de Clare, formed an alliance against different interests, partly to achieve a reform of the rule, partly to secure their position the Lusignans.

Rebellion and civil war

1258 crisis

Given the defeats in Wales, a crop failure that led to famine in much of England, and his finances due to his debts to the Pope, Henry called a parliament in Westminster for April 1258. His hopes for financial relief were disappointed, however, instead, on April 28, a group of armed magnates led by Roger Bigod, 4th Earl of Norfolk, stormed into the palace and demanded a reform of the rule. In view of the widespread support this aristocratic opposition found at his court, the king gave in quickly and agreed to the appointment of a 24-member committee to work out reform proposals. When asked to fill half of this committee, the king chose mainly the Lusignans and their followers, but he was so isolated that he could not get twelve men together. Parliament met again in Oxford in June to consider the committee's proposals. This parliament passed the so-called Provisions of Oxford , which placed large parts of government power in the hands of a new, 15-member royal council. The king's power fell apart when the magnates again elected a justiciar in Hugh Bigod , while Henry's half-brothers, the Lusignans, had to leave England in July.

This new council curtailed the king's powers, but in contrast to the rebellion against Heinrich's father Johann in 1215, there was initially no civil war. At first the king remained isolated and accompanied the new justiciar until October 1258. During Parliament in October 1258, Henry agreed to all the actions of the Council of State and took an oath of compliance with the Provisions of Oxford. After that, the Justiciar Bigod acted independently while the king took refuge in his faith. He was still treated with honor, his building projects continued and he was allowed to continue living in his palaces. On September 30th he attended the consecration of the new Salisbury Cathedral. In November and December he visited St Albans , Bury St Edmunds and Waltham Abbey , still mourning the death of his daughter Katherine . The new Council of State, headed by Heinrich's brother-in-law Simon de Montfort , quickly consolidated its power to prevent the Lusignans from returning, and for the next few years dominated the three-yearly parliaments. A new ordinance, listing misdeeds by royal sheriffs and promising improvements, was published not only in Latin but for the first time in English and French, making it effective propaganda for the new government. The Provisions of Westminster issued in the fall of 1259 supplemented the Provisions of Oxford.

Peace with france

The Treaty of Paris of 1259

Heinrich remained passive for most of 1259, even when tensions arose within the new government. His attempt in August to confirm a new papal nuncio to demand the reinstatement of his half-brother Aymer de Valence as bishop failed due to resistance from his council. It was not until November that the king tried to regain some freedom of action when he traveled to France with the Queen, Peter of Savoy, the Earl of Hertford and a few other councilors to conclude the peace treaty with the French king. Justiciar Bigod and the other council members stayed behind to protect the empire. On November 26th, the king reached Paris, where he was led by Louis IX. and the Queen was warmly welcomed. On December 4th, the Peace of Paris was proclaimed, in which Heinrich formally renounced all the lost territories of the Angevin Empire, in return he received Gascony with territorial concessions as a fief and the promise of the French king, probably for a crusade 500 knights two years long to finance.

After spending Christmas in Paris, Heinrich stayed in France for another three months. He spent January mainly praying in Saint-Denis . The sudden death of the French heir to the throne Ludwig shook him badly. At the funeral in Royaumont on January 14, 1260, he served as pallbearer. The French king and his wife returned this gesture on January 22nd with their presence at the wedding of Heinrich's daughter Beatrix to Johann , the heir of Brittany in St. Denis. Shortly afterwards, news reached Heinrich from England that Llywelyn ap Gruffydd had broken the armistice and was besieging Builth Castle in Wales. But instead of returning to England immediately, he went to Saint-Omer on the Channel coast and stayed there for another three months. In letters to the legal advisor, he justified his further stay with further diplomatic negotiations. In March he fell ill with marsh fever and the French king visited him during Holy Week. Presumably he did not deliberately delay his return trip in order to evade a summoning of parliament, but was held up at his court by illness and by the conflicts between the opposing camps. While Richard de Clare was trying to support the king's rule in England, Simon de Montfort, aided by Lord Eduard, who rejected the Treaty of Paris, prepared a rebellion. Finally, the king and Eleanor returned to England, protected by a 100-strong mercenary escort financed by a loan from the French king. They landed in Dover on April 23rd and reached London on April 30th. The Montfort rebellion largely collapsed.

In view of his tight finances, Heinrich had to make a superficial reconciliation with Montfort despite his success. Some of Montfort's supporters lost their offices in the royal court, but the king did not reject the Oxford Provisions. Richard de Clare concluded an armistice with the Welsh prince, which Heinrich found so shameful that he refused to recognize it until March 1261. In October 1260, Montfort and Lord Eduard were still working together in Parliament. They successfully prevented an indictment against Montfort, but at the same time the Provisions of Oxford were reformulated and amended. After the changes, the State Council was no longer allowed to appoint new sheriffs and the barons were again given the right to punish their officials. Heinrich knighted his son-in-law Johann von der Bretagne , but he joined the heir apparent Eduard, and the two young men traveled with two sons from Montfort to France, where they took part in tournaments. A newly elected council remained in office until the end of the year, undermining the position of Peter of Savoy. Heinrich's only consolation in the face of his powerlessness was the visit of his daughter Margerete at the end of October, who was pregnant and together with her husband Alexander III. from Scotland visited her father. In December 1260 Heinrich learned that his half-brother Aymer de Valence had died in exile in Paris.

Regaining the rule of the king

The King spent Christmas 1260 in Windsor. Then he tried again to take action against the restriction of power through the commission. After the attempt at arbitration with his opponents had failed in the spring of 1261, he received in May from Pope Alexander IV the confirmation of the cancellation of his oaths on the commission, with which he could publicly repeal them on June 12th. He then appointed Philip Basset as the new justiciar, who, as a follower of Richard of Cornwall, was a willing official and did not act independently of the king. He appointed Walter of Merton as the new Lord Chancellor . In the following power struggle with the royal council, the king was largely able to assert himself until November of that year. Montfort went into exile in France. In the spring of 1262 the king consolidated his regained power. The commissions had found little approval abroad. The new Pope Urban VI. confirmed the cancellation of the commission, and the French and Scottish kings also supported Henry. By the end of May 1262, the king had regained the ability to appoint the sheriffs himself, and he declared the spread of the commission to be punishable. The king owed his victory above all to the advice of Queen Eleanor, Peter of Savoy and Richard of Cornwall, as well as his old ministers John Mansel and Robert Waleran. After the heir to the throne returned from France in spring 1262 and his mother reconciled him with his father at the end of May 1262, the magnates lacked a leader. Tired of political instability, the majority of the barons supported the regaining of power as Henry had possessed after 1234. In April 1262 Heinrich was even able to bring William de Valence and the remaining Lusignans back to England. The king's victory seemed so complete that Richard of Cornwall traveled back to Germany in June.

In the next two years, however, the king made several serious misjudgments. At times he even wanted to revive the Sicilian adventure, which was however declared over by Pope Urban IV in July 1263. At Heinrich's court there were further disputes about his favor, which further divided the court. In early 1262, the Queen disgraced Roger of Leybourne and other knights of the heir to the throne, creating trouble for the future. Richard de Clare died in July 1262, and the king refused his son Gilbert the inheritance while he was nominally still a minor. By giving parts of the inheritance to his half-brother William de Valence to manage, he drove Gilbert de Clare to rebellion in 1263.

Above all, the king failed to reconcile himself with Montfort. On July 14, 1262, he sailed with the Queen of Dover to France, in order to finally destroy Montfort, who was also a vassal of the French king, by decision of the French Queen. Sure of victory, he listed every small point of conflict with Montfort, but the negotiations that had begun in Paris in August remained fruitless. The French king's attempts to mediate failed completely, but he refused to condemn Montfort. In September, an epidemic spread at the French court in Paris, which killed around 60 of the king's companions. Heinrich also fell ill and fought for his life. On October 8th he reported to the legal advisor to England that the negotiations had failed. The still weakened king made a pilgrimage to Reims in November , although a new uprising threatened in Wales and Montfort had already returned to England in October. Heinrich did not return to England until December 20th. He spent Christmas in Canterbury and arrived at Westminster in early January 1263. There he remained ill for another three months in his palace, which was partially destroyed by fire in January. In January he announced a new version of the Provisions of Westminster of his own free will. At the same time, he urged Louis IX to make an attempt to reconcile him and Montfort, but this failed. On March 22nd, he gave orders to swear allegiance to his son Eduard as his heir. The monks of Tewkesbury took this as news of the king's death, which led to disorder and rumors.

Power struggle with Montfort and Mise of Amiens

In May 1263, Montfort led a revolt begun by Leybourne and other former knights of Lord Edward's household. They demanded the re-recognition of the commission by the king and resisted the influence of foreigners on the king, for which they were again supported by numerous barons. Heinrich was outmaneuvered by the rebels. Trapped in the Tower of London , he had to accept the rebels' demands on July 16. He then retired to the Palace of Westminster with Queen Eleanor while the rebels took over government again. However, the new government did not meet with approval from all the barons. Montfort now allowed Heinrich to address the French king personally.

On September 23, Heinrich, Elenore and two of their sons traveled to Boulogne, accompanied by Montfort and his supporters. They wanted a decision from King Ludwig IX. and return immediately. Surprisingly, the latter initially agreed to the agreements concluded in July and advocated compensation for the looted. Eleanor and Prince Edmund then stayed in France, contrary to their promises, while Heinrich and Eduard returned to Westminster for the October Parliament. While the king demanded the appointment of his own candidates for office, Montfort's supporters made mutual accusations and their government fell apart. Thereupon the heir to the throne took the initiative, who now put together a strong, royalist party. The king became increasingly dependent on his son's advice and action, while he became more uncompromising towards Montfort. Regardless of his mother's feelings, Edward was reconciled with Leybourne and the other knights who had been expelled from his household 18 months ago, and on October 16 he occupied Windsor Castle , where the King followed him. As a result, many supporters left Montfort, who was thereby forced to conclude an armistice negotiated with Richard of Cornwall on November 1st: the king would recognize the commission if the French king agreed to them again. In the meantime, Heinrich moved to Oxford, where he dismissed the treasurer and lord chancellor appointed by Montfort. He was also able to win back Winchester Castle in early December by trying to win Dover Castle . To this end, Pope Urban IV appointed Gui Foucois as the new papal legate , presumably at the instigation of Queen Eleonore, and instructed him to restore the king's authority.

On December 28th, the king traveled to France, where on January 23rd, 1264 he met the ambassadors of the barons before Louis IX. met in Amiens . In his arbitration award, the Mise of Amiens , this time the French king resolutely refused the commission and granted Heinrich the right to appoint his ministers according to his will. Supported by his wife and the Pope, Heinrich had apparently won a clear victory over Montfort.

The Second War of the Barons

Hardly was the decision of Louis IX. became known, Montfort gave the signal for rebellion. The king returned to England on February 14th and started the second civil war during his reign. Characteristically, he remained passive until the end of Lent in early April. After the initial success of the king's supporters, the Battle of Lewes took place on May 14th . Within a few hours, Montfort defeated the numerically superior army of the king. The following day, King Gilbert de Clare, who had fled to the monastery of Lewes, surrendered and accepted Montfort's rule, while his son Eduard was held hostage.

With that the rule passed completely to Montfort, the king was completely eliminated. Officially, a nine-member Council of State ruled, but this and the dignitaries of the court state were appointed by Montfort. The king was left with dignity and a certain comfort, but humiliatingly had to approve of Montfort's actions and took refuge in his religiosity. Queen Eleanor, who had remained in France, secured rule over Gascony for him. However, Montfort did not succeed in gaining general recognition for his rule. His convocation of De Montfort's Parliament in early 1265 with the new representation of knights and citizens showed that he could only rely on a handful of magnates. In the next few months he lost more supporters. He fell out with Gilbert de Clare, who went over to the opposition and at the end of May made it possible for Lord Eduard to escape. To suppress the rebellion, Montfort moved to the Welsh Marches, where he was trapped by supporters of the king and Lord Eduard. On August 4th the battle of Evesham took place , in which Montfort fell. Henry, who was in his retinue, got into the middle of the battle and was wounded by his own followers, who did not recognize him, before he was recognized and saved by Roger of Leybourne .

It is unlikely that Heinrich ordered the killing of Montfort's surviving companions or the desecration of Montfort's body after the battle. According to some sources, on the contrary, he is said to have ordered an honorable funeral for Montfort. While he himself worried about the welfare of the widows and orphans of the killed supporters of Montfort, he could not contain his son Eduard and his supporters, who demanded vengeance even after the victory of Evesham. As a result, the barons' basically decided war continued for another two years. The Winchester Parliament's decision in September to expropriate the rebels drove them into guerrilla warfare, which was ruthlessly put down by Lord Edward over the next two years. The king was glad that his son had taken on this task and led the numerous campaigns. He himself returned to London at the beginning of October 1265 and celebrated the solemn festival of Edward the Confessor in Westminster on October 13, wearing the royal crown as a token of his victory. At the end of October Heinrich was able to welcome his wife Eleanor in Canterbury, who came to England with her compatriot Cardinal Ottobono Fieschi , the new papal legate. Heinrich appointed his son Edmund Earl of Leicester, the forfeited title of Montfort, and appointed him Steward of England , in addition to which he transferred all of Montfort's possessions. He allowed Montfort's widow, his sister Eleanor , to vacate Dover Castle and to retire as a nun in a monastery in France.

The suppression of the remaining rebels was slow. At the end of June 1266, the king himself took charge of the siege of Kenilworth Castle , the last stronghold of the rebels. At the end of August the king commissioned a committee of magnates and bishops to draft a peace plan. On October 31, 1266, he announced the result, the so-called Dictum of Kenilworth . It was an unprecedented declaration by royal authority, but it allowed the rebels to repurchase their goods after their submission under set conditions. After the surrender of Kenilworth at the end of 1266, the king wanted to subdue the remaining rebels in eastern England in February 1267. His financial resources were now so exhausted that he even had to mortgage the jewels of St Edmund's shrine in Westminster Abbey. In April, however, Gilbert de Clare sided with the remaining rebels. Together with them he occupied London. To avoid a new civil war, a compromise was reached in June in which Heinrich made further concessions to the rebels. On July 1, the remaining rebels submitted. Through the mediation of Cardinal Ottobono, the King concluded the Treaty of Montgomery with Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd on September 29 , in which he granted Llywelyn the title of Prince of Wales, which has been claimed since 1258, while the Welsh in return recognized Henry as his overlord. This compromise demonstrated the king's war weariness. The Statute of Marlborough , which was passed on November 18 by a Parliament in which the Commons may also participate, endorsed the Cartas, the Dictum of Kenilworth and a modified version of the Provisions of Westminster, which ended the Civil War in arbitration.

The end of the rule

Heinrich's last years were overshadowed by family tensions, illnesses and bereavement. The civil war did not bring about any drastic changes in the distribution of land holdings, but it did leave a great deal of discontent, which was exacerbated by the indebtedness of many knights and barons. The royal officials remained unpopular, and the peace in the country was threatened by outlaws and feuds among the barons. The king's income continued to be low, and a taxation of the clergy approved by the Pope in 1266 was just enough to pay off the king's debts.

In June 1268, Lord Eduard announced that King Louis IX was on the new crusade. to participate. His son's crusade plan forced the king to ask parliament for a new tax in the fall of 1268. The parliament acted hesitantly and only after long negotiations was a twentieth, a tax on the 20th part of movable property, approved on April 27, 1270. The clergy continued to oppose the levying of the tax several months later, and in return the King had to grant the City of London all the freedoms it had before the Barons' War. In early 1269, Henry gave Edward control of London, seven royal castles, and eight counties to increase his son's income. The king's finances were further strained by the weddings of his second son Edmund Crouchback with Aveline de Forz and those of his nephew Henry of Almain with Constance de Béarn, both in the spring of 1269. At the end of 1269, however, he was luckier. In August Richard of Cornwall returned with his new bride Beatrix von Falkenburg . Two months later, on October 13th, Heinrich made his greatest dream come true when the body of Edward the Confessor was transferred to his new shrine in Westminster Abbey. The church was still unfinished, but Heinrich feared that further delays would prevent him from experiencing this triumph.

On August 4, 1270, Lord Edward said goodbye to his father in Westminster and set out on the crusade. To safeguard Edward's interests, a five-member committee was appointed, headed by Richard of Cornwall, including Philip Basset, Roger Mortimer , Robert de Walerand and Archbishop Walter Giffard of York. This committee should also advise the king. From this point on it is difficult to assess how much influence Heinrich still had on the government. Perhaps he was already seriously ill, because on March 7, 1271, due to illness, he transferred the protection of the kingdom to his brother Richard of Cornwall, and the Privy Council asked the heir to the throne to return home. In April 1271 Heinrich had recovered and vowed to go on a crusade himself. However, his advisers let the royal income flow directly to the treasury, so that the king no longer had direct access to them. From now on the king stayed almost permanently in Westminster, he himself did not attend the funeral of Henry of Almain in Hailes Abbey on May 21st, nor did he attend the funeral of his grandson John, the eldest son of the heir apparent, in Westminster Abbey on May 8th August 1271. Another stroke of fate struck him when Richard of Cornwall suffered a severe stroke on December 12, 1271, of which he died on April 2, 1272.

Henry spent Christmas 1271 in Winchester, ill, and only after the Epiphany did he return to Westminster. In May 1272 he apologized to the new French king Philip III. that because of his illness he could not pay homage to him for his French possessions. In August he planned to travel to France, but postponed this trip after the cathedral was burned down during a riot in Norwich . Parliament met in Norwich in September, during which Henry severely punished the rebels. After a pilgrimage to Walsingham and Ely , he returned to Westminster in early October. At the beginning of November he became seriously ill and died on November 16, presumably in the presence of his wife, in Westminster, after 56 years and 20 days of rule.

Grave of Henry III.

On November 20, 1272 he was buried in a splendid funeral in Westminster Abbey in the old coffin of Edward the Confessor. According to his last will, his heart was to be buried in Fontevrault in France, the old burial place of his family. However, it was only given to the nuns of the monastery in December 1291, after the death of Queen Eleonore. His son and successor Eduard commissioned a new splendid tomb adorned with Cosmati for his father, in which the body was reburied in a simple nocturnal ceremony in May 1290. The grave was not finally completed until 1291.

The person of the king


There is no contemporary description of the king's appearance. His grave was opened in November 1871, but no detailed report has been received. Judging by the length of his grave, he was, like his father, small to medium-sized and thus much shorter than his son Eduard. He was in good health until middle age, but fell ill frequently in his later years.

The contemporary chroniclers described Heinrich as a simple, uncomplicated and often naive man. He was strictly religious and generally peace-loving, although Dante and the Franciscan Salimbene described him as unworldly. His demeanor was open and approachable, and he could easily be moved to tears. He was chivalrous and considerate towards his enemies, including their children and wives, and he was generous towards state prisoners such as his cousin Eleanor of Brittany and Gruffydd ap Llywelyn of Gwynedd. His outbursts of anger, which were relatively rare, were mostly brief and could be soothed quickly. Politically, he could easily be influenced by his ministers and advisers. Many of his counselors were able officials, but he was even more influenced by his family. He stubbornly stuck to some goals, such as his planned crusade, without considering the consequences. Although he had numerous castles built, he was not a military man and hated campaigns. He also showed little interest in tournaments and hunting. His love of peace led to the fact that he wanted to avoid conflict and tried to please his relatives and courtiers with gifts and offices.

Heinrich III., Statue on his grave monument

Marriage and offspring

As a youth, Heinrich was considered chaste, and there were even rumors of alleged impotence. He married relatively late, at the age of 29. However , he was happily married to his wife Eleanor of Provence , and it was not until the 1250s and 1260s that there were more frequent differences with her. At least until 1263, his wife had a great influence on him. In contrast to his father and grandfather, he was faithful to her out of religious conviction, as one of the few English kings Heinrich probably had no illegitimate children. He was a caring father to his children. His eldest son Eduard broke away from him at an early age and acted politically independently from 1263 at the latest. He was lenient towards his relatives, especially towards his brother Richard and his half-siblings. However, his family in particular contributed to the crisis from 1258, in which Heinrich lost control of his government.

He had nine children with his wife, but the last five of them died in childhood:

The religiosity of the king

In contrast to his father, Heinrich was religious and pious out of conviction. He was influenced by monks, especially by his confessors who belonged to the Dominican order . Above all, he took the Anglo-Saxon King Eduard the Confessor from the 11th century as a model, who was considered wise and holy and who also had to ascend the throne as a youth. Heinrich attended mass every day, and as in the private sphere, he also valued pomp and splendor in the religious sphere. The two feast days of Edward the Confessor in January and October of each year were celebrated extensively and at great cost, making them important events where barons and other dignitaries came together. Heinrich gullibly assumed that his religiosity brought him success, and he was influenced by sermons. He was generous towards the poor, in the 1240s he is said to have fed 500 poor people in one day. He supported the construction of numerous churches, monasteries and hospitals, as well as vestments and books for his clergy. Together with his wife, he was interested in church reforms. For the Franciscans and Dominicans, Heinrich was the most generous sponsor in England to date. The Dominican Settlement at Canterbury, the Carmelite Settlement at Oxford, and the Franciscan Houses in Reading , York , Shrewsbury, and Norwich were built almost entirely at his expense. Other monasteries but does not donated, only identified by his tutor Peter des Roches donated Netley Abbey , he took over the patronage. His largest building was the new building of Westminster Abbey , which he had built from 1245 at his own expense as a royal burial place in place of Fontevrault in France. He spent nearly £ 50,000 on its construction. Especially in times of crisis he went on pilgrimages, especially to Bromholm , Walsingham and St Albans .

Despite this personal piety on the part of the king, royal politics inevitably led to clashes with parts of the Church. There were numerous reasons for disagreement with the clergy. The clergy expected the king to protect them from taxation by the Pope, which he demanded from 1226. Heinrich could not do without the support of the Pope and finally agreed to taxation in 1246. According to the first article of the Magna Carta, the Church was free, but the king needed the episcopal offices to provide for faithful servants, and given his tight financial situation, he needed income from vacant dioceses and taxes from the clergy. During the enforcement of these royal rights, there was therefore a dispute with the clergy, whereby Heinrich, unlike his predecessors, proceeded much more hesitantly to get his way through. Since church reformers like Bishop Robert Grosseteste of Lincoln wanted more independence and higher standards for the church during his reign , tensions arose. This earned the king many enemies from the 1240s when his lawyers enforced royal rights over church freedoms. Heinrich had the support of the popes, but among the English monks he had numerous opponents, as the hostile image given by the chronicler Matthew Paris of him shows. During the Second War of the Barons in the 1260s, a large part of the clergy supported the opponents of the king under Simon de Montfort and some of them were themselves among the most relentless and vocal opponents of the king.

In the first years after his death, miracles are said to have occurred at Heinrich's temporary grave. These reports were supported by Heinrich's widow Eleonore and by some bishops. His son Eduard, however, remained skeptical, he saw his father as pious, but not as a saint, and suppressed the veneration of Heinrich. The cult of alleged miracles at the grave ebbed in the late 1280s.

The king as a patron of the arts

Because of the new construction of Westminster Abbey and its other buildings, Heinrich is considered one of the greatest European art patrons of the 13th century and, up to Charles I in the 17th century, the most generous royal patron in England. On the one hand, his fanatical piety drove him when building Westminster Abbey, on the other hand, the church symbolized Henry's idea of ​​the majesty of the king. Heinrich took Ludwig IX. and Emperor Friedrich II as role models, he wanted to surpass these powerful rulers at least in art. Westminster Abbey was built in the French Gothic style as a deliberate response to the royal Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. During the construction of Westminster Abbey, the King himself took care of the details and showed artistic expertise in the rich decoration of the church. In addition to a new, magnificent shrine for Edward the Confessor in Westminster, Henry also commissioned new shrines for the saints tombs of Canterbury and Walsingham.

In addition to the churches, he also built several royal palaces, most notably the Palace of Westminster . Unlike his father and ancestors, he did not roam the country, but made Westminster his headquarters. He spent about half of his reign there instead of traveling. In the Palace of Westminster there was a solemn ceremony, but also pomp with the magnificent murals depicting Edward the Confessor and other saints, and the stained glass windows and carpets that adorned the rooms. In addition, Heinrich also lavishly expanded other palaces, including the Tower of London, Winchester, Rochester and Gloucester Castle . Personally, he loved luxury and comfort, which he regarded as the symbol of the king's rank. He collected jewels, jewelry and precious clothes that he wore personally but also used as gifts. In contrast to his son, he was a supporter of scholars and artists, although he himself was certainly not highly educated.

Heinrich's picture in history

In contrast to most other English rulers, no contemporary chronicle of the reign of Henry III. composed. Roger von Wendover and Matthew Paris are his most reliable chroniclers, other chronicles written after 1260 are often strongly partisan. William Prynne and William Dugdale examined his rule as early as the 16th and 17th centuries , but the liberal-nationalist historians of the 19th century in particular influenced the history of Heinrich for a long time. His government was of interest to them primarily because of the establishment of parliament . William Hunt , who wrote Heinrich's entry in the Dictionary of National Biography , William Stubbs and James Ramsay took the medieval chronicles as sources and thus adopted the nationalist view of the king's opponents. Besides his notorious father and his successful, warlike son, the person of the king was treated rather marginally. Heinrich was assumed that his sense of pomp should represent his conception of an absolutist royalty . It was only with the publication of numerous medieval documents from 1900 onwards that the view of Heinrich's time changed, but historians such as TF Tout continued to judge him negatively as a weak ruler. The most important biography of Heinrich to date was written by Maurice Powicke in 1947, it determined the view of Heinrich III for thirty years. and the 13th century in England. David Carpenter wrote a book on the king's minors in 1990 and a collection of articles on the king's rule in 1996, and RC Stacey wrote a study of the royal finances in 1987, but a new biography has not yet been published. These books as well as the biographies of Michael Prestwich about Edward I (1988), John Maddicott about Simon de Montfort (1994), Nicholas Vincent about Peter des Roches (1996) and Margaret Howell about Eleanor of Provence (1998) have been modified the view of Heinrich's rule.

According to this view, the transition from the Angevin Empire to the Kingdom of England took place under Henry, and under him the change from a feudal to a nation state began, so that the political identity of England emerged. The Gascony, on the other hand, became a relic of the Angevin Empire as a side country. In today's research, not only the importance of politics in Heinrich's time is taken into account, but also the person of the king, who despite his weakness was a diplomatic and artistic monarch. The view that the crisis from 1258 onwards was caused by Henry's autocratic rule and his preference for foreign favorites is now considered outdated, as it was based on the propaganda of the king's opponents, including the chroniclers who were authoritative at the time. Heinrich himself had a strong idea of ​​his supremacy, which increased in the 1240s, and did not want his right to choose his own advisers to be forbidden. Nevertheless, in practice he adhered to requirements, which were not least represented by the Magna Carta, and he did not try to rule the parliament by force. Henry's pomp as king was not a sign of autocratic rule, but wanted to tie his magnates to him. Due to his relative poverty, his government remained weak, and his inconsistency towards his barons eventually led to the crisis of 1258.


  • David A. Carpenter: The reign of Henry III. Hambledon, London 1996, ISBN 1-85285-137-6 .
  • David Carpenter: The minority of Henry III. University of California Press, Berkeley 1990, ISBN 0-520-07239-1 .
  • Stephen Church: Henry III. A Simple and God-Fearing King (Penguin Monarchs). Allen Lane, London 2017, ISBN 978-0141977997 .
  • John Paul Davis: The Gothic King. A Biography of Henry III . Peter Owen, London - Chicago 2013.
  • Robert C. Stacey: Politics, policy, and finance under Henry III, 1216-1245. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1987, ISBN 0-19-820086-2 .
  • FM Powicke: King Henry III and the Lord Edward. 2 volumes. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1947.
  • FM Powicke: The Oxford History of England. Vol. 4: The Thirteenth Century. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1953.

Web links

Commons : Heinrich III.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


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  12. Nicholas Vincent: Henry III. In: History Today. 2002 (52), June 6, 2002. Retrieved October 25, 2015 .
  13. Hanna Vollrath; Natalie Fryde (ed.): The English kings in the Middle Ages. From William the Conqueror to Richard III. Beck, Munich 2004. ISBN 3-406-49463-3 , p. 110
  14. Hanna Vollrath; Natalie Fryde (ed.): The English kings in the Middle Ages. From William the Conqueror to Richard III. Beck, Munich 2004. ISBN 3-406-49463-3 , p. 127
predecessor Office successor
Johann Ohneland King of England
Edward I.
Johann Ohneland Lord of Ireland
Edward I.
Johann Ohneland Duke of Aquitaine
French crown domain
( Louis VIII. )
Johann Ohneland Count of Poitou
French crown domain
( Louis VIII. )
French crown domain
( Louis IX. )
Duke of Guyenne
Edward I.