Simon de Montfort

(6th Earl of Leicester)


Simon de Montfort was a French noble who was held in very high favor by Henry III. He married Eleanor of England, the sister of the King, and served in his administration. He gained a reputation as a brave warrior both in the Crusades and also in battles in France. He was finally appointed governor of the King's French province of Gascony. During this time, the English Baron's were having great difficulties with the King. His father, John I, had signed the Magna Carta which guaranteed the Barons rights, and prevented him from taxing them without their consent, yet Henry III was fickle and did not keep his word in this regard.

Finally during the parliament of 1258, Simon de Montfort, who had served Henry III for many years, took the side of the Barons. He had also been frustrated with the king's duplicity. The king feared him and for several years, Simon actually ran the government and tried to institute many reforms. When Henry resisted he lead the Baron's War in opposition to him. During this time, both Henry III and his son Edward I were taken prisoner. Eventually Edward I escaped, and, after inducing many of the barons to take his side against Montfort, he attacked and killed him at the Battle of Evensham.

Although Montfort was killed in the battle, his cause was not lost. Edward I, who took charge of his father's government after this time, incorporated many of the reforms suggested by Montfort into his government.

Key events during the life of Simon de Montfort:

Birth of Simon de Montfort
Henry III ascends to the throne on death of John I.
Marriage to Eleanor of England, sister of Henry III.
Joined the sixth Crusade. Returned after two years.
Quit Seventh crusade to become Governor of Gascony.
Simon de Montfort joins the English Barons in opposition to Henry III.
Initiated the Barons War in opposition to Henry III.
Died a the Battle of Evensham.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Story of Prince Edward  in  Stories from English History  by  Alfred J. Church
Barons' Wars against Henry III  in  The Story of England  by  Samuel B. Harding
Simon of Montfort  in  Patriots and Tyrants  by  Marion Florence Lansing
Henry III of Winchester—Simon de Montfort  in  Our Island Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Simon de Montfort  in  Great Englishmen  by  M. B. Synge

Image Links

An early English Parliament
 in Patriots and Tyrants

The Barons pledging their faith
 in Patriots and Tyrants

Short Biography
Henry III Blundering king whose government lay largely in the hands of Simon de Montfort throughout his reign.
Edward I Competent and decisive king of England. Reformed government, pacified Wales and Scotland. Ruled 35 years.