Attempting to avert war

The date 23 January 1264 is remembered in medieval history for the Mise of Amiens, the judgment issued by King Louis IX of France on the reforms that had disrupted life in England for the past five years. The road to it began in Oxford, when King Henry III agreed to share power with a council of barons in return for funding for his Sicilian project. The immediate reforms were very productive, but certain barons, led by Simon de Montfort, sought to strip the king of prerogative and authority. In the summer of 1263, Simon seized power on a platform that demanded the expulsion of all foreigners from England. It so happened that Louis, at this same time, summoned his leading nobles to Boulogne to discuss a new crusade. As the duke of Aquitaine, Henry was also summoned, but Simon feared the consequences of French intervention. He went over with the king to present his own version of events which, along with his long-standing friendship with Louis, convinced the king of France that the reforms, collectively called the Provisions of Oxford, were not such a bad thing (Henry himself supported the reforms that touched local society). Although not an official ruling, Louis’s opinion elated the Montfortians. Henry, however, went back to England and, together with his son Edward, went on the offensive. Within a couple of months they had Simon and his cohorts cornered. To avert bloodshed, it was agreed by both sides that Louis could issue an official verdict on the Provisions. The king’s case was presented by his chancellor Walter Merton. Simon was supposed to make the appeal for his party, but broke his leg and had to stay home. His advocate argued that the Provisions were an offshoot of Magna Carta and therefore untouchable, but Louis was having none of it. He quashed them completely. Although Simon had sworn on the Bible to accept whatever decision Louis reached, he disregarded it and war erupted. By this point most of the barons were on the king’s side, so calling it the ‘Second Barons’ War’, as if a sequel to King John’s reign, has no basis in reality. It was called ‘Barons’ War’ among chroniclers because the name ‘Montfortians’ had yet to be invented. ‘Mise of Amiens’ is also a modern invention. Back then, Louis’s ruling was simply called ‘The re-establishment of peace between Henry, king of England, and the barons of his realm’.

One thought on “Attempting to avert war

  1. Henry III King in my family tree was a 21st great grandfather also Simon Montfort was a 2nd cousin 24x removed.

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