Henry III of England (1 October 1207 - 16 November 1272) 

“A 13th century English king who came to the throne at an early age and whose reign was marked by strife with barons, led by Simon de Montfort.

Henry was born on 1 October 1207 in Winchester, the son of John. Henry was nine when his father died and he became king. The country was ruled by a series of regencies until 1234, when Henry took over. Problems began as early as 1237, when his barons objected to the influence of Henry’s Savoyard relatives. The marriage arranged in 1238 between Henry’s sister and English nobleman Simon de Montfort only made relationship between Henry and his leading nobles worse. In 1242, Henry’s half brothers involved him in a disastrously expensive military venture in France. This prompted parliament to demand new blood on the council to act as ‘conservators of liberties’ and oversee royal finances. But the king was able to exploit the differences between his opponents and little happened.

Finally, in 1258 a bungled deal with the Papacy threatened Henry with excommunication. This, together with defeats in Wales and local crises, brought about the main crisis of his reign. The Provisions of Oxford (1258) created a 15-member privy council, selected by the barons, to advise the king and oversee the entire administration. Parliament was to be held three times a year and the households of the king and queen were also to be reformed.

The settlement began to break down in 1260 with quarrels between the Earl of Gloucester and the ambitious Simon de Montfort. Civil war was inevitable. In May 1264, Simon de Montfort won a resounding victory at Lewes and set up a new government. In May 1265, Henry’s eldest son Prince Edward escaped captivity and rallied the royalist forces, defeating and killing de Montfort at Evesham before taking control of government from his weakened father.

The rest of the reign was occupied by resolving the problems created by the rebellion. Henry deprived de Montfort’s supporters of their lands, but the 'disinherited’ fought back until terms were agreed in 1266 for former rebels to buy back their lands. By 1270, the country was sufficiently settled for Edward to set off on crusade. Henry died on 16 November 1272. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, which he had largely rebuilt in the gothic style during his reign.”

Source: BBC

Magna Carta Originals Reunited for 800th Anniversary

Magna Carta Originals Reunited for 800th Anniversary

The four surviving original Magna Carta copies go on display together for the first time from Monday as Britain kicks off 800th anniversary celebrations for a contract with global significance.

Considered the cornerstone of liberty, modern democracy, justice and the rule of law, the 1215 English charter forms the basis for legal systems around the world, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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Great Scot!

The past few days have been spent touring around Scotland and getting myself out of the depressing rut. Money is not unlimited unfortunately and my traveling comes with a very strict budget. I went first to Inverness which is far north of Scotland. A rather pretty town, but there is not much to do apart from the drink and walking around.

However, the bus trip from Edinburgh to Inverness is spectacular. The Highlands are incredibly beautiful, serene and yet rugged in the same breath. The roads seem to flow with the landscape rather than against it. The next day I went to Stirling, which is where I am currently. The town is rather pretty as well, and it is where William Wallace is from and his monument is. I am currently sitting in the hostel with Iron Man in the background and a man who always wears a kilt. Today we talk about one of the other Provençal sisters. In alphabetical order, we are on to Eleanor of England.

Eleanor of Provence, Queen of England (1223-1291)

Eleanor was the second daughter of Beatrice of Savoy and Raymond Berenguer of Provence. When she was growing up, she was very close to her sister, Marguerite of Provence. She was considered very pretty by contemporary standards and was a leader of fashion. She was regarded as fairly learned, and skilled at poetry and writing.

She married Henry III of England at the age of about 12, and intially was greeted fairly well by the kingdom. However, due to her nepotism and favour towards her Savoyard family she grew to be very unpopular, especially amongst Londoners. One incident had the Londoners attack her barge on Thames as she was traveling. In return, Eleanor punished the Londoners by levying higher taxes. Another time she was pelted with stones, mud and rotten food and was rescued by the Mayor of London. While an apparently very loving father and brother, Henry III was seen as a very weak ruler. Often, he appeased his unruly relatives rather than punishing them as their due. His French half-brothers de Lusignans were a constant thorn in the side of the English crown as they were constantly grasping and begging for privileges but had no talent for politics.

Henry had also angered his subjects by sending back gifts that his citizens had sent at the birth of his son, Edward I. Due to this and his favouritism of foreigners, he became unpopular. Once he was challenged for his crown by his brother-in-law, Simon de Montfort and Eleanor stoutly defended her crown and her husbands rights. While Eleanor’s nepotism was seen as something of a weakness, her uncles were men of considerable intellect and talent, her uncle Tomasso became the Archbishop of Canterbury (the highest church position in England). However, Tomasso proved to be very beneficial as he got Henry III and his son to come to a peace.

When Henry III died in 1272, Eleanor remained in England and took care of her grandchildren. Eventually she retired to a convent, and died in 1291.She was survived by her two sons, her two daughters both dying in 1275.


There are so many games that we all know where I’ve only recently thought to wonder about their origins. We all know Simon Says, a game that’s presumably supposed to teach kids to listen carefully. I checked the Internet to see if it said anything about the game’s origins, and this page says that it was originally called Cicero dicit fac hoc, or “Cicero says do this.” It was named in honor of…

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Concerning the Sister Queens Margaret and Eleanor of Provence...

I have some questions about them. I’ve been reading parts of “The Sister Queens” by Sophie Perinot and “Four Sisters, All Queens” by Sherry Jones and I’m quite confused about the historical accuracy/plausibility/realism.

First, did Margaret really have a passionate affair outside her marriage with one of her husband’s friends? Because in both books, it seems she really did carry on an affair with this guy named Jean who is her husband’s close friend, I think. Also, what exactly was her relationship with her husband Louis like? Was it as frosty and cold as portrayed in both books?

Aside from that, does anyone have a pretty sympathetic but also balanced idea of Henry and Eleanor’s relationship? I know in general it was happy, strong, and loving, and the two were loyal, devoted, and supportive of each other but it was far from perfect and surely had some tension, friction, and drama, right?

In January 1236, the young daughter of the Count of Provence landed with her escort at Dover in England. From there she travelled to Canterbury, where she married Henry III, then moved to Westminster to be crowned queen. Her coronation took place on January 20th (Howell, pp.15-16) with all the splendour such an occasion required; England had waited a long time for a queen, and she had finally arrived. The future looked promising for this girl of around twelve, but where had she come from, this new Queen Eleanor? What was her story so far?

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On This Day In History

20 May 1217

The Second Battle of Lincoln

The Second Battle of Lincoln occurred at Lincoln Castle on Saturday 20 May 1217, during the First Barons’ War, between the forces of the future Louis VIII of France & those of King Henry III of England. Louis’ forces were attacked by a relief force under the command of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke. The Comte du Perche, commanding the French troops, was killed & this heavy defeat led to Louis being expelled from his base in the southeast of England.

This event is known as “Lincoln Fair” after the looting that took place afterwards. The citizens were loyal to Louis so Henry’s forces sacked the city.

In 1216 the First Barons’ War of the English succession took a new turn when Prince Louis of France entered London & was proclaimed King of England. He was supported by various English barons who resisted the rule of King John. When John died in the middle of the war, his 9 year-old son Henry III was crowned.

Once John died, many barons were willing to change sides & fight for Henry against Prince Louis’ claim. The regent of Henry, a famous knight & excellent tournament fighter, William Marshal, had the power of the king’s command. Marshal ordered all nobles with a castle in England to a muster in Newark. Approximately 400 knights, 250 crossbowmen, & a larger auxiliary force of both mounted & foot soldiers were assembled. From there they would march to break a long siege by an army of Prince Louis at the city of Lincoln.

Medieval Lincoln was an ancient walled city with a Norman castle near its centre, straddling a crossroads of two important Roman-built highways: Ermine Street & Fosse Way. These trans-England routes were longtime staples of national trade &  government. It was thus a strategic location. There, 150 years earlier, William the Conqueror ordered the construction of Lincoln Castle, built on a hilltop over an old Roman fort.

At the time of the battle in May 1217, the city of Lincoln had been taken by Louis’ forces. However, the castle remained intact. Its garrison—loyal to King Henry—continued to defend the important fortification from forces loyal to Prince Louis, led by the Count of Perche.

From the town of Stowe a few miles to the northwest of Lincoln, Marshal’s forces made their approach. Though the advance was known to the Count of Perche, his knights debated about intelligence on the strength of the enemy. Those who believed Marshal’s force was relatively small in number favoured an offensive plan: a meeting in an open battlefield at the base of the hill, before Marshal could reach the city gates. Those who believed Marshal had a dangerously large force favoured a more defensive plan: delay Marshal at the gates of the city wall, and at the same time press the siege, capture the castle, and occupy this much stronger position. The defensive plan was taken, though not without some continuing dissension.

Marshal proceeded to the section of the city walls nearest the castle, at the north gate. The entire force of Marshal’s crossbowmen led by the nobleman Falkes de Breauté assaulted and won the gate. Perche’s forces did not respond, but continued the castle siege.

The north gate was secured by Marshal’s main force, while Breauté’s crossbowmen took up high positions on the rooftops of houses. Volleys of bolts from this high ground caused rapid death, damage and confusion among Perche’s forces. Then, in the final blow, Marshal committed his knights and footsoldiers in a charge against Perche’s siege. Perche was offered a surrender, but instead fought to the death as the siege collapsed into a scattered rout. Those of Louis’ army who were not captured fled Lincoln out the south city gate, to London. The whole of the battle took about six hours

The city of Lincoln—on the pretence of being in league with Louis—was pillaged by the victorious army, in an event called the Lincoln Fair. To the south, inhabitants of towns between Lincoln and London ambushed and killed some French soldiers in the flight south to London.

The Battle of Lincoln was the turning point in the First Barons’ War. Many of Henry’s enemies—barons who had supported Louis, and who helped supply, organise and command his military forces—were captured at Lincoln. Reinforcements for Louis were then sent across the English Channel under the command of Eustace the Monk. However, the French ships were defeated by Hubert de Burgh in the Battle of Dover. This defeat of the French fleet greatly reduced the French threat to the English crown and so Prince Louis and his remaining forces had to return to France. In September 1217, the treaty of Lambeth forced Louis not only to give up his claim to the English throne but to eject Eustace’s brothers from the Channel Islands.

Events 5.21

0143 Earliest known date in America-pre Mayan king Harvest-Bergvorst installed
0685 Battle at Nechtansmere: Picten beat Northumbrians
0996 Pope Gregory V crowns his cousin Otto III German emperor
1040 King Henry III gives Utrecht the Groninger currency
1216 French crown prince Louis enters England
1420 Treaty of Troyes-French King Charles VI gives France to English
1471 King Edwards IV enters London
1502 Portuguese Admiral Da Nova discovers St Helena
1526 Sermon of Bathe, Aargau: TC evangelical theology
1553 English Lady Jane Grey marries Guildford Dudley
1602 Martha’s Vineyard 1st sighted (Captain Bartholomew Gosnold)
1674 General John Sobieski chosen King of Poland
1683 West Indian Company sells 1/3 of Suriname
1793 Curaçao Island Council forbids criticism on House of Orange
1804 Lewis & Clark Expedition begins
1809 Battle at Aspern-Essling: Austrian arch duke Karl beats Napoleon
1819 1st bicycles (swift walkers) in US introduced in NYC
1825 Prince Willem FK marries Louise AWA of Prussia
1832 1st Democratic National Convention (Baltimore)
1840 New Zealand became a British colony
1846 1st steamship arrives in Hawaii
1856 Lawrence KS captured, sacked by pro-slavery forces
1861 North Carolina is 10th state to secede from Union
1861 Richmond VA is designated Confederate Capital
1863 Siege on Port Hudson, Louisiana begins
1864 GEN David Hunter takes command of Department of West Virginia
1866 1st-class debut of G F Grace aged 15 years 159 days
1871 French regular troops attack Commune of Paris; 17,000 die
1878 4th Kentucky Derby: Jimmy Carter aboard Day Star wins in 2:37¼
1879 Battle of Iquiquw
1881 American Red Cross founded by Clara Barton
1881 US Nation Lawn Tennis Association is formed
1886 14th Preakness: S Fisher aboard Bard wins in 2:45
1891 Boxers Peter Jackson & Jim Corbett fight to a draw in 61 rounds
1892 Ruggiero Leoncavallo’s opera “I Pagliacci” premieres in Milan
1897 Yerkes Observatory 40" (1 meter) refractor used for 1st time
1898 US Assay Office in Seattle WA authorized
1904 Federation Internationale de Football Association (Soccer) forms in Paris France
1906 Louis H Perlman patents a demountable tire carrying rim for cars
1907 32nd Preakness: G Mountain aboard Don Enrique wins in 1:45.4
1908 1st horror movie (Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde) premieres in Chicago
1908 Bill Burns has no-hitter broken up with 2 outs in 9th
1914 39th Preakness: Andy Schuttinger aboard Holiday wins in 1:53.8
1914 Greyhound Bus Company begins in Minnesota
1916 Britain begins “Summer Time” (Daylight Savings Time)
1917 Leo Pinckney, 1st American drafted during WWI
1918 House of Representatives passes amendment allowing women to vote
1921 Oldest radio station west of Mississippi River licensed in Greeley CO
1922 “On the Road to Moscow” is 1st cartoon to receive a Pulitzer Prize
1922 Colonel Ruppert buys out Colonel Huston interest in New York Yankees for $1,500,000
1922 Pulitzer prize awarded to Eugene O'Neill (Anna Christie)
1924 Leopold and Loeb kidnap Bobby Franks for fun
1925 Canadians allow to beer sales
1925 George Lloyd of Dolobran becomes British High Director of Egypt
1925 Roald Amundsun leaves Spitsbergen with 2 seaplanes to North Pole
1926 White Sox Earl Sheely hits a record 6th consecutive double
1927 Lindbergh lands in Paris France, after 1st solo air crossing of Atlantic
1929 Automatic electric stock quotation board installed, NYC
1929 Sergei Prokoviev’s ballet “Prodigal Son” premieres in Paris France
1930 Max Bishop draws 8 walks in a doubleheader
1930 New York Yankee Babe Ruth hits 3 consecutive homers
1931 Belgian Government of Jaspar falls
1932 1st Curtis Cup: US, 5½-3½
1932 1st transatlantic solo flight by a woman (Amelia Earhart) lands
1933 Mount Davidson Cross lit by FDR via telegraph
1934 Oskaloosa IA, becomes 1st US city to fingerprint its citizens
1938 Bradman scores 143 Australia vs Surrey, 198 minutes, 11 fours
1940 Allied counter attack at Atrecht North-France
1940 AVRO-chairman Willem Vogt fires all Jewish employees
1940 Reynaud forms French Government
1941 1st US ship sunk by a U-boat (SS Robin Moore)
1941 German airforce occupies airport at Maleme Kreta
1941 Singer Johan Heesters visits Dachau concentration camp
1942 Great-Britain convoy PQ16 departs to Russia
1943 Fastest 9 inning American League baseball game (89 minutes), White Sox beat Senators
1944 Hitler begins attack on English/US “terror pilots”
1945 Australia Services win 1st Victory Test Cricket at Lord’s by 6 wickets
1945 German war criminal Heinrich Himmler captured
1945 Lauren Bacall & Humphrey Bogart wed
1948 New York Yankee Joe Dimaggio hits for the cycle (single, double, triple, homerun)
1950 Vietnamese troops of Ho Chi-Minh attack Cambodia
1952 Brooklyn Dodgers score 15 runs in 1st inning & beat Cincinnati Reds, 19-1
1952 Dutch Queen Juliana opens Amsterdam-Rhine Canal
1953 French Government of Mayer resigns
1954 Amendment to give 18-year-olds right to vote is defeated
1955 “House of Flowers” closes at Alvin Theater NYC after 165 performances
1955 1st transcontinental round-trip solo flight-sunrise to sunset
1955 WFRV TV channel 5 in Green Bay WI (ABC/NBC) begins broadcasting
1956 Jordan government of Said el-Mufti forms
1956 US explodes 1st airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll
1956 WITI TV channel 6 in Milwaukee WI (CBS/ABC) begins broadcasting
1957 French Government of Mollet resigns
1958 Indonesian paratroopers reconquers Morotai Island
1958 US performs nuclear test at Bikini Island (atmospheric tests)
1959 “Gypsy” opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 702 performances
1959 Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Children’s Petting Farm opens
1960 86th Preakness: Bobby Ussery aboard Bally Ache wins in 1:57.6
1961 Governor Patterson declares martial law in Montgomery
1962 3 more Cleveland homeruns set American League record for most homeruns (26) over 8 games
1964 1st nuclear-powered lighthouse begins operations (Chesapeake Bay)
1964 Fire in Wégimond Belgium resort, kills 19
1964 US begin intelligence flights above Laos
1966 “Downtown” by Mrs Miller hits #82
1966 “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen reentered the chart & hits #97
1966 “Time for Singing” opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 41 performances
1966 92nd Preakness: Don Brumfield aboard Kauai King wins in 1:55.4
1966 Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) TKOs Henry Cooper in 6 for heavyweight boxing title in London
1967 “Sing, Israel Sing” closes at Brooks Atkinson NYC after 14 performances
1967 Marilynn Smith wins LPGA Babe Didrikson-Zaharias Golf Open
1968 Cubs Billy Williams sets outfielder record of 695 straight game
1968 Paul McCartney & Jane Asher attend an Andy Williams concert
1968 US nuclear-powered sub (Scorpion), with 99 men, reported missing & is later found at the bottom of the ocean off Azores
1968 USSR performs nuclear test (underground)
1968 WEKW TV channel 52 in Keene NH (PBS) begins broadcasting
1969 After 9,015 at bats Hank Aaron is lifted for a pinch hitter, Mike Lum, who doubled in a 15-3 victory over the New York Mets
1969 Robert Kennedy’s murderer Sirhan Sirhan sentenced to death
1969 Slovan Bratislava wins 9th Europe Cup II in Basel
1970 National Guard mobilized to quell disturbances at Ohio State University
1970 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
1971 Chelsea wins 11th Europe Cup II in Athens
1971 National Guard mobilized to quell riot in Chattanooga TN
1972 “Heathen!” opens & closes at Billy Rose Theater NYC for 1 performance
1972 “Lost in the Stars” closes at Imperial Theater NYC after 39 performances
1972 Kathy Cornelius wins LPGA Bluegrass Golf Invitational
1975 Borussia Mönchengladbach wins 4th UEFA Cup at Enschede
1975 Lowell W Perry confirmed as chairman of the Equal Opportunity Commission
1975 Trial against Baader-Meinhof-group begins in Stuttgart
1977 “Fiddler on the Roof” closes at Winter Garden NYC after 167 performances
1977 103rd Preakness: Jean Cruguet aboard Seattle Slew (undefeated) wins in 1:54.4
1977 Albert Innaurato’s “Gemini” premieres in NYC
1977 Fire in hotel Duc de Brabant Brussels, kills 19
1977 San Diego Padres beat Montréal Expos, 11-8, in 21 innings
1978 118 Unification church couples wed in England
1978 Nancy Lopez wins LPGA Coca-Cola Golf Classic
1978 Yamada Mumon Roshi appointed head of Zen Rinzai Sect
1979 Dan White convicted of manslaughter death of San Fransisco mayor Moscone
1979 Elton John becomes 1st western rocker to perform live in the USSR
1979 National Volksraad installed in Namibia
1979 Stanley Cup: Montréal Canadiens beat New York Rangers, 4 games to 1
1980 “Empire Strikes Back” premeires
1980 Eintracht Frankfurt wins 9th UEFA Cup at Frankfurt
1980 Ensign Jean Marie Butler is 1st woman to graduate from US service academy
1981 François Mitterrand becomes President of France
1981 Kim Seelbrede, (Ohio), crowned 30th Miss USA
1981 Stanley Cup: New York Islanders beat Minnesota North Stars, 4 games to 1
1982 British troops lands on Falkland Islands
1983 “Bang The Drum All Day” by Todd Rundgren hits #63
1983 109th Preakness: Donald Miller Jr on Deputed Testamony wins in 1:55.4
1983 Challenger moves to Vandenberg Air Force Base, for mating for STS-7 mission
1983 David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” single goes #1
1986 Atlanta Brave Rafael Ramirez hits 4 doubles in a game
1986 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1987 Military coup in Fiji Islands under Lieutenant Colonel Sitivani Rabuka
1987 Xignals PC Board BBS begins in Alabama
1988 “Da'Butt” by EU hits #35
1988 “Fat” by Weird Al Yankovic hits #99
1988 114th Preakness: Eddie Delahoussaye aboard Risen Star wins in 1:56.2
1988 Jane Powell weds Dickie Moore
1988 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1989 35th Mazda LPGA Championship won by Nancy Lopez (her 3rd LPGA championship)
1990 Dow Jones average hits a record 2,844.68
1990 Last episode of “Newhart” airs on CBS-TV; It was all a dream
1991 Ethiopia’s Marxist president (Mengistu Haile Mariam) resigns
1992 China People’s Republic performs nuclear test at Lop Nor People’s Rebublic of China
1992 New Jersey senate overrides Governor Florio’s veto & lowers sales tax to 6%
1993 Dayanara Torres, 18, of Puerto Rico, crowned 42nd Miss Universe
1993 Opposition leader Xanana Gusmao of East-Timor sentenced to life
1993 Robin Smith scores 167 in England Texaco Trophy loss vs Australia
1993 Venezuela president Carlos Andrés Pérez fired
1994 “Best Little Whorehouse” closes at Lunt-Fontanne NYC after 16 performances
1994 120th Preakness: Pat Day aboard Tabasco Cat wins in 1:56.4
1994 Burger King spokesman Dan Cortese (26) weds Dee Dee Hemby (26)
1994 Country singer Trisha Yearwood (29) weds Robert Reynolds (32)
1994 Reds bat out of order against Dodgers in 2nd inning
1994 South Yemen secedes from Yemen
1994 Sushmita Sen, 18, of India, crowned 43rd Miss Universe
1995 Chris Johnson wins Star Bank LPGA Golf Classic
1996 Blackout in many areas of Queens NY
1996 Ken Griffey Jr, 26, is 8th youngest to hits 200 homeruns
1996 Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens beats Yankees for his 200th win
1997 Emmy 24th Daytime Award presentation - Susan Lucci loses for 17th time 


Simon de Montfort - Kingmaker

Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester (c. 1208 – 4 August 1265), also called Simon de Munford and sometimes referred to as Simon V de Montfort to distinguish him from other Simons de Montfort, was a French nobleman who inherited the title and estates of the earldom of Leicester in England. He led the rebellion against King Henry III of England during the Second Barons’ War of 1263–64, and subsequently became de facto ruler of England. During his rule, de Montfort called two famous parliaments. The first stripped the King of unlimited authority, the second included ordinary citizens from the towns. For this reason, Montfort is regarded today as one of the progenitors of modern parliamentary democracy. After a rule of just over a year, Montfort was killed by forces loyal to the King in the Battle of Evesham.