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Henry de Montfort: Wikis

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Sir Henry de Montfort (November 1238 – 1265) was the son of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, and with his father played an important role in the struggle of the barons against King Henry III. Henry's mother was Princess Eleanor of England (daughter of King John), whose marriage to Simon further increased the foreign influence begun by the king, which was to result in great hostility by those very barons who later revolted against the king.

Henry's father, Simon de Montfort, had traveled from his home in France to England in 1229 to reclaim the estate of his father, Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester. The estate had been lost because the elder Simon de Montfort had fought in France against England, and had been banished from England by King John in 1207. Simon de Montfort then seduced and married Princess Eleanor, the sister of King Henry. To appease the monarch, when their eldest son was born Simon and Eleanor named him Henry, after his royal uncle. Though he became his brother-in-law, the younger Simon de Montfort led a revolt against Henry III in a conflict to become known as the Second Barons' War. Henry de Montfort took part in this struggle as well.

When the siege of Gloucester began in 1263, Henry de Montfort, his brother Simon, and Humphrey de Bohun, along with the King and the Prince Edward (later Edward I) as prisoners, spent two weeks fortifying the town and castle. Henry then accompanied his father on the disastrous march to Evesham, where they intended to rendezvous with Henry's younger brother, Simon the younger de Montfort. Instead they found themselves facing an army led by Prince Edward who had used stolen Montfort banners to lure them into a trap. "Your presumption and the pride of your brothers has brought me to this end," Simon de Montfort said to Henry before the battle began.

"The final act was played out in a monstrous summer storm, (in) 'such a downpour of rain, such thunder and lightning, ...the darkness was so profound, that though it was dinner-time those who sat down to eat could scarcely see the food before them'. The first of the nobles to fall in battle was Henry de Montfort, 'first born son and heir, in full view of his father, perished, split by a sword.'"

Aftermath for Henry's family:

"‘Thus the whole weight of the battle fell upon the earl of Leicester, who was an old and shrewd warrior. He stood the shock like a strong tower; but, surrounded by few followers, and overcome by numbers, he fell, and thus terminated an hereditary prowess, rendered famous by many glorious deeds'".

Henry's brother Simon arrived at Evesham in time to see his father's head mounted on a spear. Another brother, Guy de Montfort, was captured during the battle and imprisoned. The rest of the Montfort family fled England for refuge in France.

Sources

  • Maddicott, J.R. Simon de Monfort, 1996
Preceded by
Roger de Leybourne
Lord Wardens of the Cinque Ports
1264
Succeeded by
Matthew de Hastings
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