Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

The Weak Rule of Henry III

Henry III., called Henry of Winchester from his birthplace, was far too young to govern, so the Earl of Pembroke became regent of the kingdom. As the crown had been lost with the rest of John's treasures, the new monarch was crowned with a plain gold circlet. He was very gentle and merciful, but unfortunately very weak in character, and as untruthful as his father. This latter fact was the cause of many troubles.

Pembroke began his rule by ratifying the Great Charter. Most of the barons, hearing of this, now joined Henry, forsaking the cause of the French prince. But the latter had landed with an army, and would not give up all hopes of the English crown without striking a blow. So the civil war went on until the French troops were defeated at Lincoln, when they gave up the struggle and went home.

Pembroke, having rid the country of the French, now ruled so wisely that he was sorely missed when he died three years later. Other noblemen took his place, but they were not so able as he, and often made trouble.

Not long after the king was declared old enough to rule alone, he sent all his advisers away. He was so young and so far from clever that he made a very poor ruler. His foreign favourites were always asking for money, so he spent more than he should. Whenever he ran short of funds he called the barons together, and the assembly of these noblemen, called Parliament, supplied him with new sums in exchange for new privileges.

The barons finally became so angry at the greediness of the foreigners that the Archbishop of Canterbury advised Henry to dismiss them if he would not lose the confidence of his people and of the pope. Henry obeyed; but not long after he married a French wife, who brought many of her friends over to England. They soon won the favour of the weak king, and, seeing that all the money given to the king was spent foolishly, Parliament refused to let him have any more. Henry now tried to get it by borrowing, by extorting it from the Jews, by selling his plate and jewels, and finally by benevolences, as he called the gifts of money which he forced his rich subjects to bestow upon him. The priests also claimed a large part of the money in England, and sent it to the pope as the tax due to him as head of the church.

These heavy taxes grew so unbearable that the barons, headed by Simon de Montfort (a clever French nobleman who had married the king's sister and had become a good Englishman) marched into Parliament, arms in hand, determined to end this bad government. When the king saw their grim faces he was frightened, and tremblingly asked, "Am I your prisoner?"

"No; you are our sovereign," answered Simon de Montfort; but he went on to explain that they were ready to obey him and give him money, only if the kingdom were governed properly. New plans were made by the Parliament; but as they brought about greater confusion, it is known in history as the Mad Parliament.