From irate legate to forgiving pope

As of 22 November 1263, crimes of all sorts were being committed in England. This was the report of the papal legate appointed by Urban IV to sort out the mess created by ‘the chief disturber of the realm’, Simon de Montfort. The pope had been informed of Montfort’s takeover of Henry III’s government and gave the legate, Guy Foulquois, wide ranging powers to evict him, but Montfort refused to allow him to enter. Guy’s legateship ended when Urban died, but he got a better job as the next pope. Now Clement IV, he appointed another legate to ‘pluck that pestilent man and all his offspring out of England’. One month later, Montfort was chopped up at Evesham. Clement could afford to be forgiving and accepted one of the offspring, third son Amaury, as a papal clerk. In September 1266, at Amaury’s request, Clement lifted the excommunication he pronounced against Simon two years earlier while standing on the shores of the English Channel, frustrated in his attempts to catch a boat over. He never saw England.

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