Just like his father

September 1264 - December 1264
Clement IV
Clement IV

The legate’s interference put enormous pressure on the English prelates who had thrown in their lot with Montfort. With the threat of excommunication hanging over their heads, they went back and forth across the channel with overtures for a permanent settlement, but to no avail. The legate was still implacably hostile when he was forced to return to Rome upon the death of the pope in October. Elected the new pope, he continued his rant against Simon from the Holy See, calling him and his family “pestilence”. In an effort to demonstrate their independence, the bishops demanded and received redress for the losses they had incurred during the war, some of it notably at the hands of Gilbert de Clare. His men had wreaked havoc wherever they went, including slaughtering the Jews of Canterbury. The royalists had been equally depraved in their march through farms and hamlets, and the widespread disorder posed the greatest threat to the provisional government. Henry had always made it a point of pride that England enjoyed nearly fifty years of peace under his rule. Now he was a captive, reluctantly putting his seal to the decrees and ordinances placed before him as Montfort attempted to stabilize the situation. But the majority of magnates, none too pleased at being dictated to by one of their own, remained aloof or hostile. Clare grew disaffected when Simon thwarted his claim to Richard as a hostage, and more so when his insistence on Edward’s release was vetoed. He especially looked amiss at all the power and property Simon was concentrating in the hands of his family. Gilbert felt cheated out of the spoils, and slighted that he, the earl of Gloucester, should be marginalized in favor of the Montfort sons. “It’s ridiculous,” Clare declared, “that this alien should presume to subjugate the whole kingdom.” By reminding one and all that the government was in the hands of an alien, who he claimed was garrisoning royal castles with other aliens, Gilbert was attempting to promote himself as the true defender of the Provisions.

2 thoughts on “Just like his father

  1. Called Gilbert the Red on account of his hair, Clare was younger than the older Montfort sons. The generation gap between him and Simon no doubt fueled their subsequent break. Married at a tender age to Henry’s older, free-spirited niece, Gilbert had a nasty streak that included summarily executing anyone he didn’t like. To Simon, who had been betrayed by his father more than once, he became the “red dog”.

  2. Royalists tried to shake Simon’s hold on the public’s imagination by charging that he used his power to amass wealth and property for himself and his family. Typical was his train of knights, which numbered far more than Henry ever had (but then Henry never ruled during a constant state of unrest). His sons were accused of profiting from their connection to him, much like the Lusignans did with Henry, and a somewhat sympathetic chronicler has Montfort blaming them for their eventual demise.

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