• Wars of the Magna Carta Series

The Battle for England – Book One

Magna Carta 1215 – Although King John agreed the terms of Magna Carta and the barons renewed their oaths of allegiance, the settlement did not last long.

Aggrieved by the manner in which Magna Carta was to be enforced, John sent messengers to the Pope (the overlord of the kingdoms of England and Ireland) in the summer of 1215, requesting that the charter be annulled. In turn, the barons refused to surrender the city of London to the King until Magna Carta had been implemented.

Pope Innocent III was alarmed by the charter’s terms, and on 24 August 1215 he issued a document known as a papal bull, describing Magna Carta as ‘illegal, unjust, harmful to royal rights and shameful to the English people’, and declaring the charter ‘null and void of all validity for ever’.

In September 1215, civil war broke out between King John and his barons. The King raised an army of mercenaries to fight his cause, while the barons renounced their allegiance to him, and invited Prince Louis (1187-1226), son of the King of France, to accept the English crown. Louis invaded England in 1216, and England was still at war when John died of dysentery on the night of 18 October 1216.

In 1217 it appeared that the rebels, under the French Prince Louis, had the advantage and the last bastion of strength in England, Lincoln castle came under siege.

If Lincoln fell, England would soon follow.

Runneymede