Earl Simon De Montfort LEICESTER, III
(Abt 1153-Bef 1188)
Countess Amicia De Beaumont LEICESTER
(Abt 1152-)
Count Simon De Montfort TOULOUSE, IV
(Abt 1165-1218)
(Abt 1208-1265)


Family Links

Duchess Eleanor England PEMBROKE

  • Henry De MONTFORT
  • Simon De MONTFORT, VI
  • Amaury De MONTFORT, V
  • Richard De MONTFORT
  • Eleanor Demoiselle De MONTFORT+


  • Born: Abt 1208, Montfort, Ile-De-France, France
  • Married: Abt 7 Jan 1237-1238, Chapel, St Stephen, Westminster, London, Middlesex, England
  • Died: 4 Aug 1265, Battle, Evesham, Worcestershire, England
  • Buried: Abbey, Evesham, Worcestershire, England

   Other names for Simon were ENGLISH PARLIAMENT Founder, GASCONY Seneschal and LEICESTER Earl.

   Ancestral File Number: 8XJ7-JK.

   General Notes:

Earl of LEICESTER 13 Aug 1231, Seneschal of GASCONY 1 May 1248, Founder of the English Parliament.

Kings and Queens of Great Britain, Genealogical Chart, Anne Taute and Romilly Squire, Taute, 1990: "Eleanor, Mar =2 Simon De Montfort Earl of Leicester, Killed in Battle of Evesham 1265."

A History of the Plantagenets, Vol II, The Magnificent Century, Thomas B Costain, 1951, Doubleday & Co
p186: "Simon de Montfort was a Norman. The family name was derived from a small castle called Montfort l' Amauri in the lower corner of the duchy, but the importance of his ancestors was far greater than this might suggest. They traced descent back to Charles theBald, and one of the warrior counts (all the Montforts were great fighting men) had married an heiress of Evreux with wide possessions as well as illustrious connections...
"The only other surviving son of the Scourge of the Albigenses wasnamed Simon, the fifth of the line. It is not known where he was born, and although 1208 is accepted as the likely date of his birth, this is a conjecture. He grew up to resemble his father in person- a tall and powerfully built youth with thedark good looks of the South. It was difficult in times such as these to form early judgments of the sons of great families. They were almost certain, because of the privileges of their class, to be pleasure-loving, arrogant, even cruel...It was apparent from the first that he took after his famous father in other respects than the nobility of his countenance and the magnetic darkness of his eyes. He had early the strong will and soldierly ability which were so marked in the sire...
"Young Simon arrived in England, therefore, in 1229, as handsome and promising a soldier of fortune as ever set foot on English soil. He seems to have had some education but, naturally enough, he spoke no word of the native language. TheChester claims to Leicester had by this time the sanction of years, and the quest of the young claimant seemed hopeless. He had sold his birthright in France to his older brother for something less than a mess of pottage.
"Henry, a few years his elder, took an immediate fancy to him, however, and would have been happy to make a settlement in his favor. There could be no interference with the rights of such a powerful noble as Ranulf of Chester, and this the King realized, although he dropped a hint in the ear of the young stranger that the matter might be arranged to suit him at some later date...
"The following year Henry, in his shining armor, made his descent on the coast of Brittany which has already been described. Ranulf of Chester was one of the army leaders, and among the lesser members of the royal train was Simon de Montfort, ready and eager to display devotion to his new master...He met the old earl and made a plea for the return of the possessions of his immediate ancestors. Ranulf of Chester had on several earlier occasions displayed a rare degree of magnanimity, but his capacity for generosity now attained its highest peak. Perhaps he had been mellowing with the years or perhaps his possessions were so wide that he put small store in the honors of Leicester. Whatever the reason, he consented to step aside and allow the young stranger to secure his inheritance.
"Simon de Montfort described this incident as follows: `He consented, and next autumn took me with him to England, and besought the King to receive my homage for my patrimony, to which, as he said, I had more right than he; and he quit-claimed to the King all that the King had given him therein;and the King received my homage and gave me back my lands.' Ranulf seems to have been very thorough in his generosity, initiating each legal step necessary to confirm the transfer. It is certain that he had taken a liking to the Norman cadet,an easy thing to do because the newcomer had ingratiating manners and a way of making friends; most of whom as it developed, remained loyal to him through all his shifts of fortune and his political ups and downs.
"As a result of the Earlof Chester's compliance, Henry issued instructions on August 13, 1231, that Simon de Montfort was to have seizin on all the lands his fathers had held and which belonged to him by hereditary right. The gamble the younger son had taken had paidhim well after all. He was now a peer of England, in high favor at court, and presumably on his way to fortune.
"Young Simon soon discovered, however, that there was a worm at the core of his apple of content. The Leicester estates, spreading over a dozen counties, had been divided several generations back between Amicia and a young sister. To make matters worse, the men who had been in charge during the years when his land had been in royal hands had not only done well for theCrown but had feathered their own nests...The once proud demesne was now in a condition of impoverishment. Although not yet ranked a full earl, the new owner had to maintain a household of some size and dignity, and the revenue did not equal the cost...
"The one sure avenue of escape from this embarrassment was to marry an heiress. That Henry did not arrange one for him is proof that there was none of sufficient wealth available in England at the moment. Simon, in a condition ofmind which bordered on desperation, was on the point of wedding a middle-aged widow, Mahaut, the Countess of Boulogne, when fate in the guise of Louis of France intervened. Mahaut had broad lands and many castles and would gladly have marriedthe handsome young nobleman, but the French peers thought it would be a mistake to hand over such large estates to a man who had entered the service of England. Mahaut was forbidden to marry him.
"Simon then paid court to another widow, Joan, the Countess of Flanders..."
p191: "The other two were Simon de Montfort and Henry's youngest sister, Eleanor, his favorite sister, in fact. The young widow who, as it will be recalled, had been so heartbroken over the death of her first husband, William of Pembroke, that she had sworn an oath of perpetual widowhood had developed into a woman of great beauty and charm. a slender and vital young creature with dark hair and the bluest of Plantagenet eyes. She had regretted almost from the first the impulsive manifestation of her youthful grief which had bound her, in a sense at least, to the Church. Certainly she had regretted it from the moment her eyes had rested on the dark and expressive face of the tall youngNorman. The mutual attraction between them had deepened rapidly into a love which would continue throughout their lives, unchanged by swift alterations of fortune, never wavering when political considerations aligned them against the royal family.
"How the consent of the King had been obtained to their union is a matter of conjecture, of course, but the reasons for secrecy in the matter are quite plain. No member of the royal family was supposed to wed without the consent of theCouncil, and Henry had known only too well the storm which would have been evoked if he had told his barons he intended to give his lovely sister to a man so newly attached to his service, a commoner, moreover, who had not yet given any proofof special merit or unquestioned loyalty. There was also, of course, the matter of that vow. Henry had a well-grounded suspicion that the church leaders were going to raise a whirlwind of protest about his ears...
"The marriage of a royalprincess under such romantic circumstances, with the King himself playing the part of a stealthy cupid, could not be kept secret long, and so the storm was quick in breaking. It raged about the King, the bitterest protests coming, as had beenexpected, from churchmen. Eleanor had not taken the veil and since the death of her husband she had lived much at court, where she was a general favorite. The rest of the time had been spent at her own castle of Odiham, where she kept a miniature court of her own and maintained a normal and gay life. Still, she had taken the vow of chastity, and it was the opinion of all churchmen that the placing of the ring on her finger had bound her indissolubly to Christ. The archbishop declaredat once that the marriage was not valid. The barons joined in, adding as it were the rumble of secular anger to the treble of priestly disapproval. The objections of the laity were on two grounds: they had not been consulted and they were against the giving of such a supreme favor to a man of foreign birth. Richard of Cornwall was bitterly incensed and acted as spokesman for the nobility. Was this the result, he demanded to know, of all his brother's promises that he removed his owncountrymen from the Council, to replace them by aliens, that he deigned not to ask the assistance of his constitutional advisers before bestowing his wards in marriage on whomsoever her would?
"The news spread throughout the country, andthere was an almost univeral chorus of angry dissent. The barons were on the point of an armed uprising. London was filled with talk of intervention. Henry had known the wedding would stir up criticism, but he had not reckoned on anything likethis. He was bewildered and frightened and at the same time angry that he had been involved- innocently, he thought- in so much trouble. In his mind already he was blaming his sister and the man of her choice. In an almost abject mood he promised to have some form of arbitration of the matter, although what results might be expected from such a course was not very clear.
"The bridegroom was more realistic in the steps he took to counter the storm. He sought out Richard of Cornwall, with whom he had always been on friendly terms, and won him over by letting him see how much Eleanor's happiness had depended on the marriage. The princess was a radiant bride and ready to fight Church and State, Westminster and London andCanterbury and the whole nation if necessary, for the content she was finding in the union. The King's brother withdrew his objections. Since they lacked his support, the wrath of the barons fizzled out in a flurry of words.
"Simon then demonstrated his sound political sense. He collected as much gold as he could from tenants and friends and set off hurriedly for Rome to get a confirmation of the marriage from the Pope. Henry did what he could by writing to the Pontiff that hisdear brother and faithful servant, Simon de Montfort, was desirous of discussing matters touching his honor. Whether it was the groom's great gift for negotiation or the support he stirred up in the Curia by the judicious use of his gold, the result was that the Pope promised to pronounce sentence in his favor through his legate in England. The promise was carried out.
"Simon de Montfort returned to England in a jubilant frame of mind over the success of his mission. He went atonce to his castle of Kenilworth. In this immense stronghold, which covered eleven acres with its mighty walls, he had left his young wife. He was in time for the arrival of his first child, a son, who was given the name of Henry. The winds hadveered to a favorable direction and the royal weathercock had swung with them. The King not only acquiesced in the use of his name but acted as godfather of the child..."
p195: "The marriage of Simon and Eleanor, in spite of temperamental disagreements, may be termed one of the great romances of the century. There can be no doubt that the princess was deeply in love with her commoner husband. She clung to him through thick and thin, through poverty and exile, a passionately devoted wife. Simon could not have failed of a corresponding devotion. Eleanor was hard to resist, a beauty even in this day of great pulchritude among the daughters of ruling families, coquettish, willful, capricious, in all her moods charming. She came to her second marriage with the faults still of a childhood during which she had been a general favorite. Love of fine clothes was a passion with her, and she spent much of her time in the adornment of her person and the dressing of herfine hair. She seems to have been subject to gusts of anger which were soon over. Adam Marsh, who wrote to her freely as he did to her husband, took her to task sometimes for this tendency to fly into tempers as well as for the extravagant taste she showed in matters of dress. In one note he urged her to `display all your industry and tact in putting an end to these irritating disputes.' The troubles which had evoked this piece of advice were not entirely of Eleanor's making, for their mentor proceeded to explain that by her sweetness and good advice she should be able to bring Simon to more prudent conduct. The quarrels of the lovers whose marriage had set all England by the ears were never serious and may be consideredto have been no more than the salt of a happily wedded life.
p201: "Following the birth of a child it was customary for the mother, after a specified period of purification, to go publicly to church and return thanks. On August 9, 1239, Simon de Montfort and Elanor, his wife, came to London for the ceremony of the Queen's churching.
"The young countess was in glowing health. Her own son Henry, who had been born eleven months after the secret marriage, thereby setting to rest (or so they thought) certain malicious rumors which had been going about, was now eight months old and a fine, healthy boy..."
p202: "...They were surprised, therefore, and most unpleasantly shocked to be received with angry looks when they put in an appearance at Westminster during the evening before the churching. The King indulged in a tirade of reproach...Simon, he declared, was excommunicate. What effrontery was this, that he dared to come into the royal presence?... "The explanation of this totally unexpected outburst was given bit by bit...Simon had owed a debt of 2.080 marks to Peter Mauclerc, the Duke of Brittany. When the crditor decided to go on the Crusades the collection of this debt was left to the courts of Rome. The papal officers had first threatened to lay an interdict on the lands of Leicester, then, finding it impossible to get bolld from a stone, had transferred the debt to Thomas of Savoy, the Queen's uncle, and in the second, it happened that Thomas of Savoy had married Joan, Countess of Flanders, after her betrothal to Simon had been broken, and this gave an edge of malice to his demands for payment. The King was furious that this trouble had risen to plague him andhe raved at the debtor...
"`You seduced my sister!' he charged. The habit of losing all restraint and permitting himself to say anything that came into his head had been growing with the years. Perhaps not fully aware of the effect his statement would have, but certainly not concerned, he proceeded at once to enlarge on it. `To avoid scandal I gave my consent to the marriage, in my own despite. You went to Rome and corrupted the Curia most wrongfully in my name.'
p204: "Richard of Cornwall was organizing a party of English knights to go to the Crusades, and Simon was pledged to take the cross with him. His return to England had been partly for the purpose of making the necessary arrangements...He did not leave with Richard of Cornwall but went first to get Eleanor, who was insisting on accompanying him as far as possible...
"The Crusade proved to be a fruitless effort because a truce had been arranged before they arrived. That Simon found some way of distinguishing himself is evident, however, from the fact that the `barons, knights, and citizens of the Kingdom of Jerusalem' wrote to Frederick of Germany requesting that he make Simon their governor pending the time when Conrad, the Emperor's son, would attain his majority and he be capable of assuming the reins. Nothing came of it but the incident that the young earl had displayed some of the qualities of leadership which were to be so magnificently proven in later years." p208: "On May 1, 1248, Henry appointed Simon de Montfort seneschal of Gascony. There was general approval of the move and a feeling that at last the right man had been found to curb the contentious Gascons and establish order in the land. At first Simon held back from accepting, knowing perhaps how much he would be hampered by the vacillation and the interference of the King. He demanded an absolutely free hand for seven years, a grant of two thousand marks a year, and the military support of fifty knights. Henry, unwilling to allow a subject so much authority, gave in with reluctance and agreed grumblingly to all the conditions. He kept none of them, of course, after the first few months."
p318: "[Battle of Evesham] Simon had no illusions about his own fate. His position was a desperate one. Ahead of him, covering the fifteen-hundred yard gap which divided the arms of the Avon, lay the army of Edward, twice the size of his own. His scouts had already reported the presence of Mortimer on the southeastern side of the river, which blocked any possibility of retreat. It was an evidence of Simon's greatness that his first impression was one of admiration for the troop dispositions of the prince. "`By the arm of St. James,' he cried, `they come one well!' With a sense of soldierly pride he added, `It was from me he learned it.'
"Then the hopelessness of their position caused him to say to those about him, including his sons Henry and Guy, `May God have mercy on our souls, for our bodies are theirs!' It did not enter his head to hoist a white flag or to throw himself on the mercy of the King...It is certain that Simon de Montfort preferred death to humiliation. "The old leader had reason to believe that his son Simon had reached Alcester, which was about ten miles away at the junction of the Alne and the Arrow rivers, and this dictated the course he elected to follow. He decided to form his men into awedge and drive up the hill into the center of the encircling forces of the prince. If Edward had tinned his line in spreading out to cover the whole gap, the desperate gamble of a frontal attack might conceivably be successful. The armed knights were directed to lead the drive, with the English foot soldiers following and the Welsh archers bringing up the rear. The order for the charge was given.
"At this moment the convulsion of nature which medieval writers demand for historic occasions came about in actual truth. A black cloud appeared in the sky above the elevation where the royal army stood, a grim and evil cloud which seemed at once to form a part of the menace facing the trapped barons. It did not move with the slow stateliness of casual clouds but as though in a mad hurry to blot out the light of the sun. The advance rack raced like cavalry scouts, tossing in the wind. The cloud brought anger and thunder but little rain, which added to its effectbecause it seemed unreal and contrary to nature. Men could see little of the faces of their neighbors, and back in Evesham Abbey the monks who, through sheer force of routine, paraded two by two into choir loft and stall to chant their perfunctory plain song while history was being hammered out in a din of steel a few hundred yards from the calm walls, could not read the words spread before them. It was believed later that the Lord had sent this black pall over the earth to hide thegrim tragedy being enacted on the slopes of Green Hill.
"The first shock of the baronial wedge carried them well into the royal line. But the line did not break; it bent, and, as often happens when column meets line, the wings closed in oneach side...He no longer had time to think that he himself must die, although the probability of that had come to him with his first glimpse of tossing plumes above Green Hill. He could not pause- and this was mercy indeed- to realize that here was the end of everything, that the cause of liberty was dying with him...
"It is certain that he did not know Henry was spared all share in the carnage. Someone on the royal side heard and identified the King's high-pitched and beseeching cry of `I am Harry of Winchester, your King; do not kill me!' A gauntleted hand- some say that of Edward himself, but this is too contrived for belief- seized the bridle of his horse and he was hurried guided out of danger.
"...`Such was the murder of Evesham, for battle it was not,' wrote Robert of Gloucester in his story of the event. Of the hundred and sixty knights who accompanied Simon on the field, only twelve survived. Hugh Despenser and Ralph Basset fell by his side.His son Guy was badly wounded and captured. Then Henry, his first-born, was cut down before his eyes.
"`It is time for me to die!' said the earl in great anguish of spirit.
"He made a final and desperate effort to cut his way throughthe circle of his foes. It failed and he was beaten down and slain, with a cry of `God's grace!' on his lips.
"The war had engendered so much hatred that the death of the great leader of the barons did not satisfy the thirst for revenge which his foes felt. The body of the dead earl was hacked to pieces as it lay on the ground. Roger de Mortimer who had crossed the river to join in the fighting, is supposed to have been the leader in this vandalism. The head was cut off, then the legs and arms were removed with savage blows. Even the trunk was mutilated...
"Silence fell slowly over the field of Evesham. The black cover rolled away and the sun came out. But there was no real sunshine in any part of England that day. The cause of liberty had been defeated with the great earl. Harry of Winchester rode back into Evesham with a loud blast of trumpets, the undisputed master of the realm, his mind filled with plans for the use of the power which had been restored to the fribblery of his hands...
"...[Edward] gave orders that what was left of the mutilated body of the baronial leader should be collected and buried at Evesham Abbey. As hostile as ever to his dead foe, he was too generous to condone the barbarities of his vengeful followers. He even went to the abbey and watched gravely as the shattered bones of Simon were laid away...
"He had not succeeded in recovering all of the body of the dead leader. The head of Simon de Montfort was carried to Wigmore Castle, where it was raised that night in the Great Hall, still on the point of the lance..."

A History of the English Speaking People, Winston S Churchill, Vol I, Dodd Mead & Co 1956 p267:
"Of all the leadersin this Crusade none surpassed a certain Simon de Montfort, `a minor lord of the Paris region.' He rose to commanding control in this war, and was acclaimed the effective leader. He was made Viscount of Beziers and Carcassonne `at the instanceof the barons of God's army, the legates and the priests present.' This capable, merciless man accomplished the bloody task, and when he fell at the siege of Toulouse he left behind him a son who bore his name, succeeded to his high station among the nobility of the age, and became associated with an idea which has made him forever famous."
p271: "In the last years of Grosseteste's life he had come to hope great things of his friend, Simon de Montfort. Simon had married the King's sister and had inherited the Earldom of Leicester. He had been governor of the English lands in Gascony for four years. Strong and energetic, he had aroused the jealousy and opposition of the King's favourites; and as a result of their intrigues he had been brought to trial in 1252. The commission acquitted him; but in return for a sum of money from the King he unwillingly agreed to vacate his office. Friendship between him and the King was at an end; on the one side was contempt, on the other suspicion. In this way, from an unexpected quarter, appeared the leader whom the baronial and national opposition had long lacked.
"There were many greater notables in England, and his relationship to the King was aspersed by the charge that he had seduced his bride before he married her...Behind him gradually ranged themselves most of the great feudal chiefs, the whold strength of London as a corporate entity, all the lower clergy, and the goodwill of the nation.A letter of a Court official, written in July 1258, has been preserved. The King, so it says, had yielded to what he felt was overwhelming pressure. A commission for reform of government was set up..."

Political History of England 1216-1377,Vol III, T F Tout, AMS Press, 1905,
p55: "...[By 1236] England was now the hunting-ground of any well-born Frenchmen anxious for a wider career than they could obtain at home. Among the foreigners attracted to England to prosecute legal claims or to seek the royal bounty came Simon of Montfort, the second son of the famous conqueror of the Albigenses. Amice, the mother of the elder Simon, was the sister and heiress of Robert of Beaumont, the last of his line to hold the earldomof Leicester. After Amice's death her son used the title and claimed the estates of that earldom. But these pretensions were but nominal, and since 1215 Randolph of Chester had administered the Leicester lands as if his complete property. However, Amaury of Montfort, the Count of Toulouse's eldest son, ceded to his portionless younger brother his claims to the Beaumont inheritance, and in 1230 Simon went to England to push his fortunes. Young, brilliant, ambitious and attractive, henot only easily won the favour of the king, but commended himself so well to Earl Randolph that in 1231 the aged earl induced to relax his grasp on the Leicester estates. In 1239 the last formalities of investiture were accomplished. Amaury renounced his claims, and after that Simon became Earl of Leicester and steward of England. A year before that he had secured the great marriage that he had long been seeking. In January 1238 he was wedded to the king's own sister, Eleanor, the childless widow of the younger William Marshal. Simon was for the moment high in the affection of his brother-in-law. To the English he was simply another of the foreign favourites who turned the king's heart against his born subjects."
p66:"...[1244] At last a committee of twelve magnates was appointed to draw up a plan of reform. The unanimity of all orders was shown by the co-operation on this body of prelates such as Boniface of Savoy with patriots of the stamp of Grossetesteand Walter of Cantilupe, while among the secular lords, Richard of Cornwall and Simon of Leicester worked together with baronial leaders like Norfolk and Richard of Montfichet, a survivor of the twenty-five executors of Magna Carta..." p70: "...[1249] In this extemity Henry made Simon of Montfort seneschal or governor of Gascony, with exceptionally full powers and an assured duration of office for seven years. Simon had taken the crusader's vow, but was persuaded by the king to abandon his intention of following Louis to Egypt. He at once threw himself into his rude task with an energy that showed him to be a true son of the Albigensian crusader. In the first three months he traversed the duchy from end to end;rallied the royal partisans; defeated rebels; kept external foes in check, and administered the law without concern for the privileges of the great...but the seneschal utterly disregarded impartiality or justice. He soulght to rule Gascony by terrorism and by backing up one faction against the other...The lesser barons had to acknowledge Simon their master..."
p71: "...[1248] Complaints from the Gascon estates soon flowed with great abundance into Westminster. For the moment Henry paid little attention to them. His son Edward was ten years of age, and he was thinking of providing him with an appanage, sufficient to support a separate household and so placed as to train the young prince in the duties of statecraft. Before November, 1249, he granted to Edward all Gascony, along with the profits of the government of Ireland, which were set aside to put Gascony in a good state of defence. Simon's strong hand was now more than ever necessary to keep the boy's unruly subjects under control. The King therefore continued Simon as seneschal of Gascony, though henceforth the earl acted as Edward's minister...For the moment Leicester's triumph seemed complete, but the Gascons, who had hoped that Edward's establishment meant the removal of their masterful governor, were bitterly disappointed at the continuance of his rule. Profiting by Simon's momentary absence in England, they once more rose in revolt. `Bravely,' declared he to his brother-in-law, `hast thou fought for me and I will not deny thee help. But complaints pour in against thee. They say that thou hast thrown into prison, and condemned to death, folk who have been summoned to thy court under pledge of thy good faith.' In theend Simon was sent back to Gascony, and by May, 1251, the rebels were subdued..."
"Next year...while Simon was in England, deputies from the Aquitanian cities crossed the sea and laid new complaints before Henry. A stormy scene ensued between the king and his brother-in-law. Threatened with the loss of hisoffice, Simon insisted that he had been appointed for seven years, and that he could not be removed without his own consent. Henry answered that he would keep no compacts withtraitors. `That word is a lie,' cried Simon; `were you not my king it would be an ill hour for you when you dared to utter it.' The sympathy of the magnates saved Leicester from the king's wrath, and before long he returned to Gascony, still seneschal, but with authority impaired by the want of his sovereign's confidence. Though the king hence forth sided with the rebels, Simon remained strong enough to make headway...Before long, however, Leicester unwillingly agreed to vacate his office on receiving from Henry a sum of money. In September, 1252, he laid down the seneschalship and retired into France. While shabbily treated by the king, he had certainly shown an utter absence of tact or scruple..."
p77: "...a fresh assembly was convened in April [1254]...Nothing came of the meeting save fresh complaints. The Earl of Leicester became the spokesman of the opposition. Hurrying back from France he warned the parliament not to fall into the `mouse-traps' laid for them by the king...
p80: "...Simon still deeply resented the king's ingratitude for his services, and had become enough of an Englishman to sympathise with the national feelings. Since his dismissal in 1253 he had held somewhat aloof from politics. He knew so well that his interests centred in England that he declined the offer of the French regency on the death of Blanche of Castile. He prosecuted his rights over Bigorre with characteristic pertinacity, and lawsuits about his wife's jointure from her first husband exacerbated his relations with Henry. It cannot, however, be said that the two were as yet fiercely hostile. Simon went to Henry's help in Gascony in 1254, served on various missions and was nominated onothers from which he withdrew..."
p98: "[1258]...[Henry]'s son had been forced to pawn his best estates to William of Valence, and the royal exchequer was absolutely empty.
"On April 2 the chief men of Church and State gathered together at London. For more than a month the stormy debates went on. The king's demands were contemptuouly waved aside. His exceptional misdeeds, it was declared, were to be met by exceptional measures. Hot words were spoken, and William of Valencecalled Leicester a traitor. `No, no, William,' the earl replied, `I am not a traitor, nor the son of a traitor; your father and mine were men of a different stamp. An opposition party formed itself under the Earls of Gloucester, Leicester, Hereford, and Norfolk..."
p99: "...On June 11 [1258] the magnates once more assembled, this time at Oxford. A summons to fight the Welsh gave them an excuse to appear attended with their followers in arms. The royalist partisans nicknamed the gathering the Mad Parliament, but its proceedings were singularly business-like. A petition tion of twenty-nine articles was presented, in which the abuses of the [Henry III] administration were laid bare in detail. A commission of twenty-four was appointed who were to redress the grievances of the nation, and to draw up a new scheme of government. According to the compact Henry himself selected half this body. It was significant of the falling away of the mass of the ruling families from the monarchy, that six of Henry's twelve commissioners were churchmen, four were aliens, three were his brothers, one his brother-in-law, one his nephew, one his wife's uncle...
"...In strong contrast to these creatures of court favour were the twelve nominees of the barons. The only ecclesiastic was Walter of Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester, and the only alien was Earl Simon of Leicester. With him were three other earls Richard of Clare, Earl of Gloucester, Roger Bigod, earl marshal and Earl of Norfolk, and Humphrey Bohun, Earl of Hereford. Those of Baronal rank were Roger Mortimer, the stronest of the marchers, Hugh Bigod, the brother of the earl marshal, John FitzGeoffrey, Richard Grey, William Bardolf, Peter Montfort, and Hugh Despenser.
"...The twenty-four drew up a plan of reform which left little to be desired in thoroughness. The Provisions of Oxford, as the new constitution was styled, were speedily laid before the barons and adopted...For the first time in our history the king was forced to stand aside from the discharge of his undoubted functions, and suffer them to be exercised by a committee of magnates. The conception of limited monarchy, which had been foreshadowed in the early struggles of Henry's long reign, was triumphantly vindicated, and, after weary years of waiting, the baronial victors demanded more than had ever been suggested by the most free interpretation of the Great Charter..."
p105: "...[1259] Earl Simon's wife Eleanor and her children refused to waive their very remote claims to a share in the Normand and Angevin inherit- ances, which her brother was prepared to renounce. As ever, Montfort held to his personal rights with the utmost tenacity, and the self-seeking obstinacy of his of the chief negotiator of the treaty caused both bad blood and delay. At last he was bought off by the promise of a money payment...There were great festivities on the occasion of the meeting of the two kings, but once more Montfort and his wife blocked the way. Not until the very morning of the day fixed for the final ceremony were they satisfied by Henry's promise to deposit on their behalf a large sum in the hands of the French..."
p107: "...[1260] Yet, abroad as at home, he could not be said to act as a free man. It was not the king so much as Simon of Montfort who was the real author of the French treaty. Indeed, it is from the conclusion of the Peace of Paris that Simon's preponderance becomes evident. He was at all stages the chief negotiator of the peace and, save when his personal interests stood in the way, he controlled every step of the proceedings. If in 1258 he was but one of several leaders of the baronial party in England, he came back from France in 1260 assured of supremacy..."
"...Before leaving for France, Earl Simon violently quarrelled with Richard, Earl of Gloucester. It was currently believed that Gloucester had grown slack, and Simon rose in popular estimationas a thorough-going reformer who had no mind to substitute the rule of a baronial oligarchy for the tyranny of the king. His position was strengthened by his personal qualities which madehim the hero of the younger generation; and his influence began to modify the policy of Edward, the king's son..."
p119: "...[1264] In this assembly [following the Battle of Lewes] the final conditions of peace were drawn up, and arrangements made for keeping Henry under control for the rest of his life, and Edward after him, for a term of years to be determined in due course. Leiscester and Gloucester were associated with Stephen Berkstead, the Bishop of Chichester, to form a body of three electors. By these three a Council of Nine was appointed, three of whom were to be in constant attendance at court; and without their advice the king was to do nothing..."
p120: "[1264] The later constitution shows some recognition of the place due to the knights of the shire and their constituents. It is less closely oligarchical than the previous scheme. This may partly be due to the continued divisions of the greater barons, but it is probably also in large measure owing to the preponderance of Simon of Montfort. The young Earl of Gloucester and the simple and saintly Bishop of Chichester were but puppets in his hands. He was the real elector who nominated the council, and thus controlled the government. Every act of the new administration reflects the boldness and largeness of his spirit..."
p121: "On the day after the signature of the treaty, Henry, who accompanied Simon to the west issued from Worchester the writs for a parliament that sat in London from January to March in 1265. From the circomstances of the case this famous assembly could only be a meeting of the supporters of the existing government. So scanty was its following among the magnates that writs of summons were only issued to five earls and eighteen barons, though the strong muster of bishops, little to shake the fidelity of the clergy to Montfort's cause. The special feature of the gathering, however, was the summoning of two knights from every shire, side by side with the barons of the faithful Cinque Ports and two representatives from every city and borough, convened by writs sent, not to the sheriff, after later custom, but to the cities and boroughs directly. It was the presence of this strong popular element which long caused this parliament to be regarded as the first really representative assembly in our history, and gained for Earl Simon the fame of being the creator of the House of Commons..."
p127: "...[1265] Evesham, like Lewes, stands on a peninsula. It is situated on the right bank of a wide curve of the Avon, and approachable only by crossing over the river, or by way of the sort of isthmus between the two bends of the Avon a little to the north of the town. Edward occupied this isthmus with his best troops, and thus cut off all prospect of escape by land. The other means of exit from the town was over the bridge which connects it with its south-eastern suburb of Bengeworth, on the left bank of the river. Edward, however, took the precaution to detach Gloucester with a strong force to hold Bengeworth, and thus prevent Simon's escape over the bridge. The weary and war-worn host of Montfort, then, was out generalled in such fashion that effective resistance to a superior force, flushed by recent victory, was impossible. Simon himself saw that his last hour was come; yet he could not but admire the skilful plan which had so easily discomfited him.
By the arm of St. James,' he declared,
they come on cunningly. Yet they have not taught themselves that order of battle; they have learnt it from me. God have mercy upon our souls, for our bodies are theirs.'
"Edward and Glooucester both advanced simultaneously to the attack. A storm broke at the moment of the encounter and the battle was fought in a darkness that obscured the brightness of an August day. Leicester's Welsh infantry broke at once before the charge of the mail-clad horsemen, and took refuge behind hedges and walls, where they were hunted out and butchered after the main fight was over. But the men-at-arms struggled valiantly against Edward's superior forces, though they were soon borne down by sheer numbers. Simon fought like a hero and met a soldier's death. With him were slain his son Henry, his faithful comrade Peter Montfort, the baronial justiciar Hugh Despenser, and many other men of mark. A large number of prisoners fell into the victor's hands, and King Henry, who unwillingly followed Simon in all his wanderings, was wounded in the shoulder by his son's followers, and only escaped a worse fate by revealing his identity with the cry:
Slay me not! I am Henry of Winchester, your King.' The marchers gratified their rage by massacring helpless fugitives, and by mutilating the bodies of the slain. Earl Simon's head was sent as a present to the wife of Roger Mortimer; and it was with difficulty that the mangled corpse found its last rest in the church of Evesham Abbey...His work survived the field of Evesham and the reaction which succeeded it. His victorious nephew learnt well the lesson of his career, and the true successor of the martyred earl was the future Edward I..."

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Micropaedia, Vol VI, p1022, Montfort Simon de (Earl of Leicester): "Born Abt 1208 Montfort Ile-de-France, Died 4 Aug 1265 Evesham Worcestershire, the leader of the baronial revolt against King Henry III of England. Simon moved to England in 1229 and acquired the Earldom of Leicester, which had formerly belonged to the family of his father's mother. Expelled from England by Henry III...Allying himself with baronial rebels against Henry, he inflicted a military defeat on the King and assumed power but was defeated and killed by a force led by Henry's son, Edward."

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Micropaedia, Vol IV, p1024, Henry III: "...He lacked the ability to rule effectively. The breach between King and barons began as early as 1237, when the barons expressed outrage at the influence exercised over the government by Henry's Savoyard relatives. The marriage arranged (1238) by Henry between his sister, Eleanor, and his brilliant young French favourite, Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, increased foreign influence and further aroused the nobility's hostility...they quarrelled among themselves, and Henry seized the opportunity to renounce the provisions (1261). In April 1264 Montfort who had emerged as Henry's major baronial opponent, raised a rebellion; the following month he defeated and captured the King and his eldest son, Edward, at the Battle of Lewes (14 May 1264), Sussex. Montfort ruled England in Henry's name until he was defeated and killed by Edward at the Battle of Evesham, Worcestershire, in August 1265. Henry, weak and senile, then allowed Edward to take charge of the government. After the King's death, Edward ascended the throne as King Edward I."

Macropaedia, Vol XII, p408: "...Son of Simon de Montfort l'Amaury, leader of the crusade against the heretical Albigenses...came to England in 1229... obtained the honour of Leicester and did homage to Henry III in 1231...He speedily became one of Henry's favourites...Henry arranged for his sister Eleanor to marry Simon on 7 Jan 1238, thus breaking Eleanor's earlier vow of chastity and offending the English noblemen who were not consulted. Henry's brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, led an angry baronial protest, and Henry, alarmed, turned against Simon and Eleanor, driving them from England (Aug 1239). Simon went on crusade (1240-1242) with Richard, with whom he was now reconciled, and won great prestige among the lords of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem..."
"Henry's behaviour...though not wholly unjustified, convinced Simon that Henry was unfit to rule...Discussions with Grosseteste, Marisco, and other Franciscan intellectuals had fired Simon's mind with visions of a new order in both church and state, and he joined the other leading English barons in forcing upon Henry the revolutionary Provisions of Oxford (June 1258). The reformers began well, but by Oct 1259 divisions appeared between the conservative wing, led by Richard de Clare Earl of Gloucester, that sought only to limit abuses of royal power, and the radical element, led by Simon, that sought to bind the entire baronage to observe the reforms forced upon the king and his officers...In Apr 1263 Simon led a rebellion that restored the Provisions in Jul 1263,...but Simon was forced to accept arbitration by Louis IX in Dec 1263. By the Mise of Amiens (Jan 1264) Louis totally annulled the Provisions and all consequent reforms: Simon rejected the award and after unsuccessfully attempting direct negotiations, defeated Henry at Lewes (14 May 1264), capturing Henry and his son, the Lord Edward."
"Simon then governed England by military dictatorship, striving unsuccessfull for a legal basis of consent, both by negotiations with Henry's supporters and by calling representatives of both shires and boroughs to Parliament (1265) to counterbalance his lack of baronial support. But his monopolization of power alienated his chief ally, the young Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, who secured the Lord Edward's escape at Hereford (May 1265). By rapid and skillful manoevering, Edward isolated Simon behind the Severn, destroyed at Kenilworth (1 Aug 1265) the large army coming to his rescue, and trapped Simon's little force at Evesham (4 Aug 1265), slaying Simon and most of his followers."
"The most outstanding English personality of his day, Simon is remembered as an early advocate of a limited monarchy, ruling through elected councillors and responsible officials, and of parliaments inculding county knights and burgesses as well as the great nobles."

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Macropaedia, Vol VI, p434, Edward I of England:
"...Edward fell under the influence of Simon de Montfort, his uncle by marriage, with whom he made a formal pact. Montfort was the leader of a baronial clique that was attempting to curb the misgovernment of Henry.
"Edward reluctantly accepted the Provisions of Oxford (1258), which gave effective government to the barons at the expense of the king. On the other hand, he intervened dramatically to support the radical Provisions of Westminster (October 1259), which ordered the barons to accept reforms demanded by their tenants. In the dangerous crisis early in 1260 he supported Montfort and the extremists, though finally he deserted Montfort and was forgiven by Henry (May 1260). He was sent to Gascony in October 1260 but returned early in 1263. Civil war had now broken out between Henry and the barons, who were supported by London. Edward's violent behaviour and his quarrel with the Londoners harmed Henry's cause. At the Battle of Lewes (May 14, 1264) his vengeful pursuit of the Londoners contributed to Henry's defeat. Edward surrendered and became a hostage in Montfort's hands. He escaped at Hereford in May 1265 and took charge of the royalist forces, penned Montfort behind the River Severn, and, by lightning strategy, destroyed a large relieving army at Kenilworth (August 1). On August 4 he trapped and slew Montfort at Evesham and rescued Henry..."

The New Columbia Encyclopedia, 1975, p235, Barons' War: "between King Henry III and his barons. In 1261 Henry III renounced the Provisions of Oxford (1258) and the Provisions of Westminster (1259), which had vested considerable power in a council of barons, and reasserted his right to appoint councilors. The barons led by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, finally resorted to arms in 1263 and forced the king to reaffirm his adherence to the Provisions. In 1264 a decision in favor of the crown by Louis IX of France as arbitrator led to a renewal of war, but Montfort defeated Henry's forces in the battle of Lewes, and the king once again submitted to government by council. Early in 1265, Montfort summoned his famous representative Parliament to strengthen his position, which was threatened by the possibility of an invasion by Henry's adherents abroad. The invasion did not take place, but an uprising against Montfort of the Welsh
Marchers' (Englishmen along the Welsh border) led to his defeat by the king's son (later Edward I) at Evesham. Montfort was killed in the battle, but some baronial resistance continued until 1267. The barons had failed to establish their own control over the crown, but they had helped prepare the way for the constitutional developments of the reign of Edward I."

Ancestral File 8XJ7-JK Mar Jan 1237, 8WKP-RQ Mar Jan 1239, EBMacro and TPHE Mar Jan 1238, Ancestral File Ver 4.10 8XJ7-JK Mar 7 Jan 1237/1238.

   Marriage Information:

Simon married Duchess Eleanor England PEMBROKE, daughter of King John ENGLAND and Queen Isabella De Taillefer ENGLAND, about 7 Jan 1237-1238 in Chapel, St Stephen, Westminster, London, Middlesex, England. (Duchess Eleanor England PEMBROKE was born in 1215 in Winchester, Hampshire, England, died on 13 Apr 1274-1275 in Montargis, Loiret, France and was buried in Montargis, Loiret, France.)

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