Henry III (r. 1216-1272)
King John's son, was
only nine when he became king. By 1227, when he assumed power from his
regent, order had been restored, based on his acceptance of Magna Carta.
However, the king's failed campaigns in France (1230 and 1242), his choice
of friends and advisers, together with the cost of his scheme to make one of
his younger sons King of Sicily and help the Pope against the Holy Roman
Emperor, led to further disputes with the barons and united opposition in
Church and State.
Although Henry was extravagant and his tax demands were resented, the king's
accounts show a list of many charitable donations and payments for building
works (including the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey which began in 1245).
The Provisions of Oxford (1258) and the Provisions of Westminster (1259)
were attempts by the nobles to define common law in the spirit of Magna
Carta, control appointments and set up an aristocratic council. Henry tried
to defeat them by obtaining papal absolution from his oaths, and enlisting
King Louis XI's help. Henry renounced the Provisions in 1262 and war broke
out. The barons, under their leader, Simon de Montfort, were initially
successful and even captured Henry.
However, Henry escaped, joined forces with the lords of the Marches (on the
Welsh border), and finally defeated and killed de Montfort at the Battle of
Evesham in 1265. Royal authority was restored by the Statute of Marlborough
(1267), in which the king also promised to uphold Magna Carta and some of
the Provisions of Westminster.