Cousinicide

The de Montfort family of the 13th century held lordships from Wales to the Holy Land. That gave them ample opportunity to pack up and revive their fortunes elsewhere as needed. Such was the case after Simon VI was killed at Evesham in 1265. His children Simon VII and Guy IV found service under their second cousin Philip II in Italy, where Philip led the forces of conquest under Charles of Anjou.

Guy distinguished himself so well that he rose to become Charles’s chief lieutenant in Tuscany. In 1270, Philip joined the crusade of Charles’s brother Louis IX in Africa and, like the king, died of dysentery there. Guy and Simon did not join that crusade because there was an English contingent led by Lord Edward and his cousin Henry of Almain, who were also cousins of Guy and Simon. The bloody slaughter at Evesham made any contact between these cousins ill advised.

In 1271 Henry of Almain went to Italy on a mission of reconciliation but Guy was still vengeful and hacked him to death in a church. Initially that ruined the glorious career Guy had in front of him, but through John III, the son of Philip II, he was rehabilitated and fought on until captured and dying in prison.

It was also through John III that Amaury VIII, the priest, lawyer and doctor of the family, became the tutor of the two daughters Guy left behind in Italy. This was after Amaury had spent six years doing hard time in England after Edward, now the king, snatched him and his sister Eleanor on their way to Wales.

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