King John, by Marc Morris

King John, by Marc Morris


I rediscovered these notes while looking for my Anglo-Saxon notes. So this was a little bonus discovery. I made these while planning the King John Scheme of Work and game which can be found at the main site – www.wolseyacademy.com please do take a look and enjoy – they took absolutely ages to make! They also feature cross-curricular French language acquisition, as you can see from the notes!



So, my take-away notes…


John - he was the youngest son of Henry II (who by all accounts was great. Restored peace after a civil war, married Eleanor and inherited a third of France). He agreed an inheritance plan with the King Of France, to assure him that no over mighty individual would remain on his doorstep.

· . William, the oldest, died in chilbirth.

· Henry would get England and Normandy.

· Richard would get his mum's lands.

· Geoffrey would get Brittany.

· John would get nothing. Hence his nickname 'John Lackland' (Sans Terre*) perhaps this could be


a cross-curricular codex exercise? French language. Especially if part of this world is set in France...

Later when arranging a marriage for John, Henry II said, spontaneously, that John would have three castles and their lands in Anjou, land promised to Henry (his elder brother).


Henry, furious, sailed to the court of Louis, King of France. Here is joined in rebellion by his mother Eleanor who had brought with her Richard and Geoffrey. So, Eleanor had rebelled against her husband in conjunction with Louis (her ex-husband) and her kids. Astonishing stuff.

There followed a period of limited scuffling as Henry put down the rebellion with ease, imprisoned his wife and bought off his sons.


A period of on-off rebellion occurred over a number of years in this uneasy arrangement with the young Henry, Richard and Geoffrey all at various times undercutting the other and running off to Paris


to seek Louis' support.


Eventually the young Henry dies from dynasty and young Geoffrey dies in a jousting tournament. Leaving Richard, the heir apparent and propelling John into the limelight.


While all that had played out, John had been given Ireland and Nottingham by his father and had visited Ireland once at the head of any army. It all very badly wrong, John was only ten, and his advisors had managed to 'pull the beards' of the Irish allies they had (literally, apparently) and made a hash job of military expeditions against their enemies. When John's men left almost all of Ireland, including the independent English lords that Henry II had put in Ireland at the start of his reign, were united


against John.


Meanwhile, back to the succession. Richard had teamed up with Louis. A large scale assault ensued.

Henry, who was getting sick, sued for peace. When he was read the list of barons that had betrayed him and switched to Richard's side it was said he was so heartbroken that he died - the final name being his favourite son, John.


Info on Richard. He left the Earl Ely, a man called William Longchamp as one of two justiciars to rule in Richard's absence. Longchamp arrested the other man, the Bishop of Durham and ruled by himself. Richard, not trusting John, said he had to stay out of England - but at his mother's insistence - he downgraded it slightly and said he could visit but only with Longchamps permission.

Longchamp was also made a papal legate. He then acted like a tyrant, filling crown and church posts with his followers and friends.




Richard had granted John a tonne of land (about 1/3 of it) before leaving on crusade. This was meant by Richard to ensure John's loyalty but was seen by many, including John, to be a sign that John obviously was the heir.