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The Rochester Castle Under Siege In 1215

1353 words - 5 pages

The Rochester Castle Under Siege in 1215

When king John first became king in 1199 he owned nearly as much land
in France as he did in England. By 1204 john had lost much of his
French territory, including Normandy. This was partly the fault of
Richard the lionheart, who was the king before John. Richard had made
his nobles in France angry because he took so much money from them and
many of them were tired of being ruled by an English king. Some of
these nobles thought that a man called Arthur of Brittany would be a
better ruler or them than john.

The people in France who did not like the idea of john as their new
ruler soon went to war against him. At first things went well for john
in the struggle and he captured many of his enemies, including Arthur
of Brittany. After the death of Arthur the war began to go badly for
john. By 1204 he had abandoned Normandy and he was forced to flee back
to England.

Like his father, Henry II, john spent a lot of his time arguing with
the church leaders about how far the king should be able to tell the
church what to do. It was unfortunate for john that the pope of the
time, innocent III, was very strong-minded and thought that kings
should do as he told them. When the archbishop Canterbury died in
1205, king john and the pop argued about who should get the job next.
Both men were stubborn, and neither would give way. After three years
of angry disagreement the pope decided to take action. In 1208 he
ordered all the clergymen in England to stop work. The church strike
went on from 1208 to 1213. In an age when nearly everybody believed in
Christianity, and usually went to church, it was very upsetting for
most people and that the churches were shut for over five years. John
was not very religious and does not seem to have been very bothered
about the closed churches. In the end he decided to make his peace
with the pope only because he thought the pope might be able to help
him in his fight with the barons.

King john never really got over losing Normandy. He tried very hard to
get back his lands, but by doing so he annoyed his great nobles or
'barons' back in England. He wanted to get more money from them to
cross over the channel and help him personally in his wars. Most of
the barons had no wish to part with more money or to fight in France
but John raised the taxes so that John would get more money off them
and in some cases if John didn't like a certain baron he would tax him
more for no reason. In 1205 john met with his barons and tried to get
them to come and fight with him to regain his lands in France. After
losing Normandy, john began to distrust his barons. He gave more and
more important jobs to poor foreigners because he thought that they
would be grateful to him and not let him down. The barons expected to
get the best...

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