Henry III of England


May 25, 2022

Henry III of England (Winchester, 1 October 1207 - London, 16 November 1272) was king of England, Duke of Aquitaine and Gascony from 1216 until his death; from 1216 to 1258 he too was a pretender to the Duchy of Normandy and to the counties of Maine, Anjou, Touraine and Poitiers. He was the eldest son of King John Without Earth and Countess Isabella d'Angoulême. Forced to approve the Oxford Provisions in 1258 (first form of parliament), he annulled them in 1264, sparking the revolt of the barons led by Simon of Montfort, then crushed by his successor and son Edward I.


Henry, on the death of his father King John of England, in October 1216, became king at the age of only nine, during the war against the barons, and had as two tutors the legate pontiff sent by Pope Innocent III, the Vercelli cardinal Guala Bicchieri and Guglielmo il Maresciallo who also became regent (rector regis et regni) of the kingdom until 1219, the year in which he died. The rebels, at the beginning of 1216, had occupied London and had offered the throne to Louis, son of the French king Philip II Augustus. After invading England Louis was proclaimed king in May 1216 and then crowned in Saint Paul's Cathedral, receiving the homage of many nobles and even that of King Alexander II of Scotland.

The coronation and youth

Supporters of his father, John, on October 28, 1216, gathered in Gloucester, along with many other nobles of lower rank, from all over England and, deciding that the son should not have to pay for his father's sins, crowned the young Enrico. The rebels were apparently advantaged but the royalists had excellent commanders and eminent personalities in support of William the Marshal, while the papal legate, Guala Bicchieri, at the behest of Pope Honorius III, identified the cause of Henry as the cause of the Church. Luigi returned to France for two months (from February to April 1217) and when he returned he found the situation worsened. William the Marshal, with the support of Guala had managed to defeat the rioters but Luigi was not yet defeated; only at the beginning of the summer the French fleet was destroyed in a fierce battle, in the English Channel, for which Louis could no longer receive reinforcements and was forced to lock himself up in London. William then began negotiations and with the Lambeth treaty of 1217 signed with Luigi (the future Louis VIII) put an end to the first baronial war, and marked the definitive renunciation of Louis from the English throne, which with a secret clause was compensated with 10,000 marks; furthermore, all the fighters had to regain possession of their fiefs and Luigi's supporters had to swear allegiance to Henry. The couple Guglielmo il Maresciallo and Guala Bicchieri ruled in place of Henry, while the bishop of Winchester, Pietro de Roches, from the summer of 1217, following the return to Angoulême of Isabella d'Angoulême, Henry's mother, had become the keeper of the king's person. Guala was replaced, in September 1218, as papal legate by the bishop of Norwich, Pandolfo Verraccio, who, from the following year, due to the death of William the Marshal, governed with the collaboration of Pietro de Roches and the Grand Executor, Uberto of Burgh, who were left alone after Pandolfo's departure for Poitou in 1221. However, after Henry had reached his majority in 1223, Hubert remained the king's only adviser. The rebellions that occurred starting from that same year were probably fomented by Pietro de Roches, who did not like the excessive power of the Grand Executioner, who, however, despite some defeats, managed to hold his office and govern, in agreement with Henry.

Henry III and the Jews

During Henry's minority the condition of the Jews in the kingdom of England improved, but with the beginning of his personal rule