Montfort, Simon de

 Born     Born At  
 Died  4 Aug 1265   Buried At  
King John had confiscated the lands in Leicestershire from Simon de Montfort's father in 1207. Simon was granted the lands back by Henry III in 1231 and in January of 1238, Simon married Henry's sister Eleanor. As Earl of Leicester and a brother-in-law to the King, Simon held and important and powerful position. When Henry's attempts to retake Piotou failed in 1242, It was Simon who had to rescue the King. Simon's power grew and the king granted him castles including Kenilworth. in 1258, Henry's finances came under criticism as he was spending more money than he had and at a time when harvests had failed. A group of barons including Simon began to speak out against their king and they confronted Henry at Westminster and forced him and his son Edward (later Edward I) to comply with their wishes. There were seven main leaders of the Barons, Richard de Clare (Earl of Gloucester), John Fitz Geoffrey, Roger Bigod (Earl of Norfolk), Hugh Bigod (Roger's brother), Peter of Savoy, Peter de Montfort (not a relation of Simon), and finally Simon de Montfort. At Oxford in June of 1258, it was agreed that a council of fifteen would advise Henry on his finances. Unfortunately, the council could not agree amongst themselves and it disbanded allowing Henry to regain control. At this point, Simon left for France where he was safer.


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1207   Earl of Leicester loses land
 King John took the land of the Earl of Leicester (father of Simon de Montfort) and banished him from England.[1] 
1231 Aug 13  Simon de Montfort takes possession of his land
 Henry III ordered the sheriffs of Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire to give Simon de Montfort the possession of the lands of his father, the Earl of Leicester.[1] 
1236 Jan 4  King Henry marries Eleanor of Provence
 Henry married Eleanor, one of four daughters of Raymond count of Provence. Eleanor was 14 years old. Simon de Montfort, as Lord High Steward, took care of the banquet and kitchen arrangements. The ceremony took place at Canterbury Cathedral.[1] 
1238 Jan  Simon marries Henry's sister
 Simon de Montfort married Henry III's sister, Eleanor secretly. She had been married to William, Earl of Pembroke (son of William Marshal?), but he died early and left her with his wealth. The Barons were not happy with this arrangement as they were not consulted.[1] 
1239 Jun  Edward (I) is born
 Edward was the first son born to Henry III and Eleanor of Provence and was born at the Palace of Westminster. Simon de Montfort was chosen as his godfather by Henry III.[1] 
1242   Henry's finances are criticised
 Simon de Montfort is one a twelve man council who met to work out Henry's finances. Henry was criticised for his excesses.[1] 
   Henry tries to retake Poitou
 Isabella, Henry's mother persuaded Henry to mount an expedition to retake Poitou. Unable to get money directly from the barons, Henry resorted to extort money from them individually instead (how?). The expedition failed, and after being rescued the Earls of Leicester, Salisbury and Norfolk, Henry retreated to Bordeaux where they spent the winter.[1] 
1243 Spring  Simon de Montfort gets custody of Kenilworth castle
 Henry III bestowed the custody of Kenilworth castle to Simon de Montfort. Simon's wife Eleanor (Henry's sister) already owned Odiham Castle so Simon had two of the strongest fortresses in England under his control.[1] 
1258   Barons confront Henry
 The seven were joined by many more Barons and Knights and they confronted Henry III at Westminster. Although armed, the Barons did leave their weapons outside the hall. Henry and his son Edward were forced to take the oath to join the commune of Barons and to accept their wished. Henry agreed to meet again with the Barons at Oxford in June.[2] 
 Apr 12  Henry is opposed by the Barons
 For many years, Henry had been living beyond the means of the country and with the failure of both harvests and Henry's will to amend his ways, a group of Barons rose up against him. Seven Barons first signed an oath and formed a commune in which they swore to look after each others interests. The seven were Richard de Clare (Earl of Gloucester), John Fitz Geoffrey, Roger Bigod (Earl of Norfolk), Hugh Bigod (Roger's brother), Peter of Savoy, Peter de Montfort (not a relation of Simon), and finally Simon de Montfort.[2]

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
 Jun  Provisions of Oxford
 The barons and Henry III met at Oxford where fully armed, the barons showed Henry that he had no choice but to reform the way the country was being run. A council of fifteen members was set to advise the king. The fifteen were selected by a committee of four, two from the barons and two from the king. The new council was not to last long as the members could not agree amongst themselves on courses of action and by 1260 it had broken up. The reformers and royalists were to take up arms and meet in civil war.[1]

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
 Jun  Odiham and Kenilworth handed over to the King
 As an act of faith, Simon de Montfort handed over his castles at Odiham and Kenilworth as part of the proposals put forward in the Provisions of Oxford.

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
1263   Edward joins Simon de Montfort
 At this time, Edward (to become Edward I), met up with Simon de Montfort and came under his influence. Edward, knights Simon's two eldest sons. This friendship was not to last.

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
 Jun  Simon's forces do much damage
 Moving firstly westward from the stronghold of one of Henry's supporters to another, Simon de Montfort's forces did much damage, even though Simon had ordered that no sacred place should be attacked. Simon then moved towards the south east coast ports to secure them. By the end of June he had reached Dover, its inhabitants welcoming him.[1]

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
1264   Pevensey Castle siege
 Following the defeat at the Battle of Lewes, Henry III's supporters fled and took refuge in Pevensey Castle. Simon de Montfort's son, laid siege to the castle, but could not take it.

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
   Army at Barham Down
 At a camp near Canterbury, called Barham Down, the supporters of Simon de Montfort gather an army and hold it there to fend off a possible invasion from Henry III's supporters. 
   Siege of Rochester Castle
 A force led by Simon de Montfort besieged Rochester Castle for several days but the castle did not fall. He left a small number of men to continue the siege but they were attacked and fled.[3]

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
   Beeston Castle occupied
 During this year forces belonging to Simon de Montfort occupied and controlled the important Beeston Castle.[4] 
 May  Henry's war with the Barons
 The civil war between Henry III and the barons. The barons wanted to limit Henry's power and to sort out his finances which were a drain of the barons' resources. The cause was led by Simon de Montfort.

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
 May 14  Battle of Lewes
 Simon de Montfort surprises Henry III and Edward (I), with early movements of his troops on the hills above the castle. Henry and Richard of Cornwall defend the centre and left of the castle, but Edward attacks the lighter armed Londoners to the right and forcing them to flee, follows them off the battle site. When he returns, he finds that Henry is trapped in the priory and gives himself up in exchange for his father's release. After the battle Simon de Montfort marched on London but the drawbridge on London Bridge had been raised by the Lord Mayor. But Simon had the support of the Londoners who managed to lower the drawbridge allowing Simon into the city,[5]

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
 Jun  Simon summons Parliament
 From a provisional administration consisting of Simon himself, the Earl of Gloucester and the Bishop of Chichester, a council of 9 were chosen to advise the king. From these 9, 3 were to be with the king at all times.[1]

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
1265 Jan 20  Ordinary people's Parliament
 Simon calls a Parliament where for the first time ordinary people were brought to represent the country.[1]

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
 Feb  The Barons split
 The Earl of Gloucester, Gilbert de Clare organised a tournament where Simon's sons were invited to attend. Angry that de Clare could put his sons in a position of danger where a murderer could take advantage, he stopped the games. Simon and Gilbert fall out and Gilbert moves his allegiance to the king causing a split in the Barons loyalties.[1]

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
 Summer  Armies march
 Simon's son was sent to London to raise money and troops. He diverted back through Winchester which was loyal to the king and then moved through Oxford and Northampton. Edward (I) moved from Worcester to Bridgnorth destroying bridges and means of allowing Simon who was on the Welsh side of the Avon from crossing back. The people of Bristol, friendly to Simon's cause sent ships to Newport to help Simon cross, but they were intercepted and destroyed by Edward.[1]

Episode: The Second Barons' War  
 Aug 1  Younger Simon attacked at Kenilworth
 Simon's son was attacked at Kenilworth during the night being taken completely by surprise and having no chance to defend himself. They had decided to stay in the village rather than in the castle. The younger Simon managed to reach the safety of the castle. 
 Aug 4  Battle of Evesham
 Using the banners of Simon's son captured at Kenilworth, Edward (I) approached Simon's position at Evesham. Simon was hemmed in the bend of the river Avon and forced to fight. Simon was defeated and killed. Simon's youngest son took refuge in Kenilworth castle , where prepared for a long siege, managed to hold out until December 1267.[1]

Episode: The Second Barons' War  

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