Monastic Wales.

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John (Lackland) , king of England, and lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and of Aquitaine, and count of Anjou

Born: 24 December 1167   Died: 18/19 October 1216   Active: 1199-1216   

John was disliked by his contemporaries. He levied heavy taxations, lost Norman and Angevin lands, quarrelled with the pope and provoked rebellion at home that resulted in the signing of Magna Carta.

John was the youngest son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was Henry's favourite son and the king was allegedly devastated to learn that John had joined his brother Richard's rebellion against him.
John succeeded to the throne following Richard's death in 1199. He was an unpopular monarch who was accused of plundering the country and failing in domestic and foreign affairs. Historians are now divided in their verdict. Some would argue John was more unlucky than incompetent, or that the situation he faced made defeat in France and fiscal oppression at home inevitable. Gillingham notes that John travelled extensively around the kingdom and knew England - but not necessarily the people - better than any other medieval monarch. However recent research on financial records in England and France has caused a swing back to the contemporary impression of John.

Sites associated with this person

Margam Abbey, Neath Port Talbot (Guest)

Neath Abbey, Neath Port Talbot (Guest)

Whitland Abbey, Carmarthenshire (benefactor)

Bibliographical sources

Printed sources

Bezant, Jemma, 'Travel and communication', in Monastic Wales: New Approaches, ed. Janet Burton and Karen Stöber (University of Wales: Cardiff, 2013), pp. 133-145

Jenkins, James, 'King John and the Cistercians', Monastic Research Bulletin, 17 (2011), pp. 16-18

Web links (open in new window)

Gillingham, John, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online - King John (View website) (Subscription reqd.)