enry became King of England in 1216 at the age of only ten after the death of his father King John and was crowned several later at the abbey of Gloucester. Being too young to rule, Henry was assisted by William Marshal and Hubert de Burgh. Marshal was a trusted knight who had already served under Henry II, King Richard and King John. Unfortunately for Henry, the country's loyalty was not as certain. In London and the south-east the French Dauphin Louis was in control and in the north, the barons were in control and opposed the new king. It was only the south-west and the Midlands that offered Henry any support. Battles at Lincoln and off the coast near Sandwich dealt with opposition from the Barons and the French, who were persuaded to leave the country. In 1219 after a long life dedicated to the English crown, William Marshal died and Hubert de Burgh took control.
In 1232 after many years of being King, but without any real power, Henry decided to run the country for himself and was persuaded to remove Hubert de Burgh from power. His successor was the Bishop of Winchester Peter des Roches, a Frenchman. It was not long before the barons who had been advising Henry were replaced by French who moved to England to share in the Bishop's powerful position. The barons rose up against the King and his French advisors in 1233/4 and forced the expulsion of Peter des Roches and his Poitevin friends. In 1236 Henry married Eleanor of Provence, the younger sister of the Queen of France and their first son Edward was to become the next king of England.
Art and Architecture
Henry can be remembered for his interest in art and architecture and one of his greatest legacies is Westminster Abbey which he had rebuilt to house the body of Edward the Confessor. During his reign many Cathedrals and Castles were rebuilt and improved. This rebuilding work cost money and Henry's lack of control on spending was to be the biggest problem of his reign.
Henry was not a good soldier or leader and even though he attempted to regain some of the territories lost in his father's reign, nothing was achieved. Henry spent large sums of money trying to get the kingdom of Sicily for Edmund, his second son, but again nothing came of that apart from being massively in debt to the Pope. Bad weather in the years of 1256 and 1257 resulted in poor harvests and a starving country. The King was not able to do anything because of his poor financial situation.
In 1258 the Barons rose up against Henry in an attempt to regain some control over their own country. In June of 1258, a series of meetings between the Barons and the King led to an agreement in which the King and the Barons chose a council of fifteen men to advise the king. The most famous member of the Barons' party was Simon de Montfort who was married to the King's sister. The council unfortunately did agree amongst itself as the best course of action and the King really didn't intend to abide by the council anyway. A series of conflicts between Henry and the Barons took place until in 1265, Henry defeated Simon de Montfort at Evesham and the Barons' revolt was over. Henry's son Edward took charge of running the country after the revolt and became king when Henry died in 1272.