King John, having parted on good terms with his two female castellans, Nicholaa of Lincoln, and Matilda of Laxton, set off from Lincoln for Newark.
In the country the civil war was enjoined, his rebellious barons having invited a French prince to come and lead them in their revolt against John’s repudiation of the 1215 Magna Carta.
The unfortunate and in many ways, incompetent king, was not to survive that visit to Newark, he died there on the night of 18/19 October 1216, leaving his eldest son, Henry, to succeed him as King of England.
The problem was, that Henry, to be the third of that name, was merely nine years old, and a power vacuum loomed.
However, Henry, who personified the legitimacy of the monarchy, had friends and supporters, the backbone of which was William the Marshal, who’s words follow:
‘By God’s sword, your counsel is true and good, and goes so straight to my heart that if all the world should forsake the King, save myself, know you what I should do? I would carry him on my shoulders from one land to another, and never fail him, though I had to beg for bread.’
Spoken before the council of regency after the coronation when they were choosing a guardian for the young king.