The First English Parliament
The Famous Parliament


Henry III, 1207-1272 (r.1216-1272), was the son of John who had granted the Barons their wish for a new charter and issued the first Magna Carta. Henry became king under a regency and was granted full powers of kingship in 1227. He then rescinded the Baron's charter.

In 1230, against the advice of the chief justiciar, Hubert de Burgh, he led an unsuccessful expedition to Gascony and Brittany. He dismissed Hubert in 1232 and began a reign of extravagance and general incapacity, spending vast sums on futile wars in France.

Henry's absolutism, his reliance on French favorites, and his subservience to the papacy aroused the hostility of the barons. His attempt to put his son, Edmund, earl of Lancaster, on the throne of Sicily (given to Henry by the pope) eventually led to the BARONS' WAR.

Simon de MONTFORT, the barons' leader, won at Lewes and summoned (1265) a famous PARLIAMENT, but Henry's son EDWARD I led royal troops to victory at Evesham (1265), where de Montfort was killed. By 1267 the barons had capitulated, Prince Edward ruled the realm, and Henry was king in name only.

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