Heritage > Rulers

John 1199-1216

John was born in 1167. He married Hadwisa (Isabella) of Gloucester, whom he divorced and Isabella of Angouleme, who survived him. His children were all from his second marriage: Henry, Richard, Joan, Isabella and Eleanor.

John was a very spoilt and selfish person. He continually conspired against the people who cared for him and treachorously conspired with the King of France to bring about his brother, Richard's downfall.

His father called him Lackland, due to the fact that by the time he was born, the King had already apportioned out all his lands to the elder children. John managed to retain that name, through his reign, by losing the land of Normandy through incompetence. A military defeat in Flanders lead to such a weakening of Englands position, that the Barons were forced to call in the armies of the Dauphin of France. A civil war followed and it was then that John truly lost his crown and his treasures.

He is famed for the signing of the document, the 'Magna Carta'. This legendary paper has the significance of phrases enshrining general principles of justice. The signing of it was a major event.

John divorced his first wife, and a year after his succession to the throne, chanced upon the 12 year old Isabella of Angouleme. She was already betrothed but he managed to persuade her to marry him and she was later crowned Queen of England. Their children were all married off to people of great distinction, whatever regard they may have held for King John. His wife was later to betray him politically, and after his death went to marry her first love.

John died of dysentry, and his son Henry came to be his successor at the age of nine.

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