King John of England 1166 – 1216

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King John


Father – Henry II
Mother – Eleanor of Aquitaine
Spouse – Isabella of Gloucester, Isabella of Angouleme
Children – Henry, Richard, Joan, Isabella, Eleanor
King of England – 1199 – 1216
Predecessor – Richard I
Successor – Henry III


1166 (24th December)
John was born to Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine at Beaumont Palace, Oxford. He was the couple’s eighth child.
1168 (during)
John’s parents began leading separate lives.
1168 (1st February)
John’s eldest sister, Matilda, married Henry V, the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria.
1170 (14th June)
John’s eldest brother, Henry, who became known as ‘The Young King’, was crowned at Westminster Abbey because their father was concerned about the succession.
1172 (during)
John’s brother, Richard, was created Duke of Aquitaine.
1173 (March)
Henry, The Young King, supported by his mother, Eleanor of Aqitaine, and his brothers, joined forces with Louis VII of France, gained the support of William (the lion) of Scotland and rose against Henry II.
1174 (13th June)
Battle of Alnwick
John’s father, Henry II, defeated and captured William (the lion) of Scotland. Scotland and its church became subject to rule by Henry.
1174 (8th July)
John’s mother, Eleanor, and his eldest brother, Henry, sailed from Harfleur to Southampton but when the ship reached England Eleanor was taken to Winchester and held under house guard.
1174 (September)
John’s sister, Eleanor, married Alfonso VIII, King of Castile at Burgos Cathedral Castile.
1174 (30th September)
The revolt against Henry II failed when Louis VII surrendered to Henry near Rouen
1176 (during)
Henry was now stronger than ever and forgave his sons for turning against him. He decided to make his lands a federation of self-governing states that would be ruled over by his sons on his death.

Henry the young king would rule England, Normandy and Anjou
Richard would rule Aquitaine
Geoffrey would rule Brittany
John would rule Ireland

1176 (during)
John was betrothed to Isabella, daughter of William Earl of Gloucester.
1177 (during)
John became ruler of Ireland.
1177 (13th February)
John’s sister, Joan, married William II, King of Sicily
1181 (July)
John’s brother, Geoffrey, married Constance, daughter of Conan IV, Duke of Brittany and Earl of Richmond.
1183 (11th June)
John’s brother, Henry, the Young King died at Martel Castle, Turenne, France, from dysentery
1186 (19th August)
John’s brother, Geoffrey, duke of Brittany, son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine died after being trampled by his horse at a tournament.
1189 (6th July)
Death Henry II died in France. He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, John’s brother, Richard.
1189 (20th July)
John’s brother, Richard became Duke of Normandy
1189 (29th August)
John married Isabella, daughter of William of Gloucester at Marlborough Castle. John took possession of the Earldom of Gloucester.
1189 (after 29th August)
Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke against the marriage saying that they were too closely related (they shared the same great grandfather). John promised the archbishop that he would seek a papal dispensation but he never did.
1189 (3rd September)
Richard was crowned King of England. He named his nephew, Arthur, son of his brother Geoffrey, as heir to the throne.
1190 (4th July)
Richard and Phillip II of France embarked on a Third Crusade to the Holy land.
1190 (After July)
John was annoyed that Richard had made his nephew Arthur heir to the throne and decided to try to take the throne for himself while his brother was away on Crusade.
1191 (12th May)
John’s brother, Richard married Berengaria of Navarre in Cyprus.
1191 (11th July)
Richard defeated Saladin at Acre
1191 (7th September)
Richard defeated Saladin at the Battle of Arsuf
1191 (November)
Richard took control of Jaffa
1192 (September)
Richard was unable to take Jerusalem and so Richard negotiated a three-year truce with Saladin that stipulated that Christians should be granted access to the holy city at all times.
1192 (December)
On his return from Crusade, Richard was captured by Duke Leopold V of Austria and held to ransom.
1194 (February)
The ransom of 150,000 marks was paid and Richard returned home to England.
1194 (February)
Richard was annoyed that John had tried to take the throne during his absense and as punishment took all of his property. John was allowed to retain the Lordship of Ireland.
1194 (March)
Richard left England for Normandy to defend it from attacks by Phillip II
1199 (26th March)
While walking round the castle of Chalus, John’s brother, Richard, was shot by a crossbowman. Although the bolt was removed it was not cleanly done and the wound quickly festered.
1199 (6th April)
Richard died. On his deathbed he nominated John rather than Arthur to succeed him.
1199 (25th April)
John was created Duke of Normandy at Rouen.
1199 (27th May)
John was crowned King at Westminster Abbey. His wife Isabella of Gloucester was not crowned Queen.
1200 (early)
John divorced his wife Isabella of Gloucester and made her his ward. It is likely he did this to retain control of her large inheritance.
1200 (22nd May)
Treaty of Le Goulet
John and Philippe of France reached an agreement where Philippe would gain The Vexin and a cash payment and John would remain overlord of his lands in France.
1200 (24th August)
John married Isabella of Angouleme, the 12year old daughter of the Count of Angouleme, who had been betrothed to Hugh IX, Count of Lusignan.
1200 (after 24th August)
Hugh IX Count of Lusignan was furious when John failed to compensate him financially for marrying his betrothed.
1201 (May)
John and Isabella took up residence in Normandy.
1202 (28th April)
John annoyed Philippe of France when he failed to attend a meeting to discuss the ongoing dispute between John and the Lusignan family. John was declared a rebel and his lands in Aquitaine, Poitou and Anjou were given to Arthur of Brittany, son of John’s deceased elder brother, Geoffrey.
1202 (1st August)
Arthur of Brittany put Mirabeau Castle where John’s mother Eleanor was in residence, under siege. John launched a mission to relieve the siege and free his mother. Arthur of Brittany was captured and imprisoned in Falaise Castle.
1203 (3rd April)
Arthur of Brittany was murdered, probably on the orders of John.
1204 (Spring)
Peace talks with Philippe of France broke down.
1204 (1st April)
John’s mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine died. He promised his wife, Isabella, his mother’s lands in Poitou.
1204 (June)
Philippe of France took control of Normandy.
1205 (during)
John wanted to raise an army to take Normandy back but he did not have the support of his barons.
1205 (13th July)
Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, died.
1206 (7th June)
John went to Aquitaine to defend his lands.
1206 (December)
Pope Innocent III declared that Stephen Langton should be the new Archbishop of Canterbury. John did not agree with the appointment and was threatened with excommunication by the Pope.
1207 (during)
John introduced a new tax based on income. The new income tax was very unpopular with the barons and the church.
1207 (August)
The Pope told John that if he did not accept Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury immediately he would serve an interdict (the banning of all church services) on the country.
1207 (1st October)
A son, Henry, was born to John and Isabella at Winchester Castle.
1208 (24th March)
As John had not agreed to the appointment of Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury he was served an interdict on England. John confiscated all church property causing many churchmen to flee abroad.
1209 (5th January)
A son, Richard, was born to John and Isabella at Winchester Castle.
1209 (November)
King John was excommunicated by Pope Innocent III.
1210 (June)
John travelled to Ireland to receive homage from the Irish chieftains.
1210 (July)
John captured Carrickfergus Castle in Ireland.
1210 (22nd July)
A daughter, Joan, was born to John and Isabella.
1210 (November)
John demanded that all Jews in England should pay a sum of money to the crown. Those that refused were imprisoned until the money was paid. Many Jews left the country.
1212 (during)
John and William of Scotland reached agreement. William’s son, Alexander was sent to England as hostage.
1212 (November)
John finally agreed that Stephen Langton could take up the appointment of Archbishop of Canterbury.
1213 (20th July)
The Pope lifted the excommunication served on King John.
1213 (November)
John held a meeting with his rebellious barons to try to reach an agreement.
1214 (during)
A daughter, Isabella, was born to John and Isabella.
1214 (2nd February)
John went to France to deal with a new conflict with Philippe.
1214 (29th June)
The interdict on England was lifted
1214 (27th July)
Battle of Bouvines
John was defeated by Philippe of France.
1214 (15th October)
John returned to England where he was facing a rebellion by his barons.
1215 (during)
A daughter, Eleanor, was born to John and Isabella.
1215 (January)
John met with the barons in London.
1215 (4th March)
To gain favour with the Pope, John swore an oath to go on Crusade.
1215 (April)
The Pope ordered the barons to stop their rebellion against the King.
1215 (27th May)
The rebellious barons took control of London.
1215 (15th June)
King John met a deputation of barons and Stephen Langton at Runnymede. John was forced to sign a charter, called Magna Carta, which met the baron’s grievances and limited the power of the King. Magna Carta contained 61 clauses which included:

The freedom and rights of the church should be guaranteed
That the King was not above the law of the land.
That no free man should be arrested, imprisoned, dispossessed, outlawed or exiled except by the lawful judgement of his peers and by the law of the land.

1215 (13th September)
After complaining to the Pope that he had been forced to sign Magna Carta, the Pope declared that the agreement was null and void.
1215 (October)
The Baron’s War
War broke out between the barons and King John after the annullment of Magna Carta.
1215 (October)
John took Rochester Castle from the barons.
1216 (February)
John took control of East Anglia.
1216 (February)
A French fleet reached London to support the barons. Philippe had sent forces after the baron’s had promised to make his son, Louis, King of England.
1216 (21st May)
Prince Louis of France landed in Kent and re-took Rochester Castle for the barons.
1216 (June)
Prince Louis of France took Winchester. At the same time Windsor and Dover Castle were put to siege by the barons but they managed to hold out.
1216 (18th October)
John died at Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire. He was succeeded by his son, Henry.



Published Oct 17, 2015 @ 14:30 – Updated – Jul 26, 2019 @ 1:43 pm


Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2016). King John of England 1166 – 1216. Available: Last accessed October 23rd, 2019


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