Study an extract from the Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1258
We need to consider...why have the barons rebelled against Henry III? Why don’t you start by exploring the document and reading the transcript...
In this year (1258) was held the Mad Parliament at Oxford. At this Parliament certain earls and barons of England ordered that those bad customs, which had developed in the reign of the king, should be abolished because they oppressed and aggrieved the country. The King agreed, though reluctantly, and made promise to that effect. And to carry out this matter, there were chosen the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Bishop of Worcester, Sir Roger Bigod, Marshal, [and] Earl of Norfolk, Sir Richard de Clare Earl of Gloucester, Sir Simon de Montfort Earl of Leicester, Sir Humphrey de Bohun Earl of Hereford, the Earl of Warwick, the Earl of Albemarle, Hugh de Bigot, Peter de Saveye, Peter de Montfort, Roger de Mortimer, James de Audeleye, [and] John Maunsel… It should also be known, that in the aforesaid Parliament at Oxford, a Justiciar over the whole of England was elected by the Barons, in the person of Hugh Bigod, brother of the Marshal (Sir Roger Bigod), and the Tower of London was delivered into his hands.
My good friend, the chronicler of the Mayor of London has written an excellent description of what has become known as the ‘Mad Parliament’. A lot of people seem to agree with the action taken by Simon de Montfort and the barons. They set out a new form of government in a document known as the Provisions of Oxford. Because of this document, King Henry III has been forced to rule with the advice of 24 councillors, but 12 of these councillors are chosen by the barons rather than the king. They have elected Hugh Bigod as a Justiciar, a chief minister who represents the power of the King when he is absent.
Extract from the Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1258
London Metropolitan Archives
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What do the barons want abolished?
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You’re right! Indeed, the barons want to abolish bad customs they believe have oppressed and aggrieved the country...
Why have the barons rebelled against Henry III?
Is it because Simon de Montfort is an ambitious traitor who wants power for himself? Is he not really interested in the liberties granted by Magna Carta and is acting like a revolutionary dictator by seizing power?
Or is it Henry who cannot be trusted? Has he ruled the kingdom badly and he is also trying to get out of commitments he has made to rule according to Magna Carta and the Provisions of Oxford?
It is the view of this chronicle that the barons have rebelled against King Henry III because…
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