Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester
|Simon de Montfort|
Earl of Leicester
1239 – August 4, 1265
|Preceded by||Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester|
|Born|| May 23, 1208|
|Died|| August 4, 1265|
|Children|| Henry de Montfort |
Simon de Montfort the Younger
Amaury de Montfort
Guy de Montfort
Joanna de Montfort
Richard de Montfort
Eleanor, Princess of Wales
Simon de Montfort (c. 1208 - 1265) 6th Earl of Leicester was one of the most divisive and controversial barons in medieval English history, both during his lifetime and after. He was a landless younger son of the 5th Earl of the same name. He arrived in England in 1230, talked king Henry III into granting him the lands and title taken from his father by King John over 20 years before, charmed the king’s sister into marriage (and the king into approving it) and in a very short time became the king’s steward and one of his main advisers.
He was away from England for most of the 15 years from 1340 - on crusade, then in Gascony campaigning with the king before being appointed governor there. However, by 1358 he was leading a disaffected group of barons agitating for reform in England and forced on the king the Provisions of Oxford, curtailing his powers and installing a council to oversee the government. Three years later Henry felt strong enough to declare himself free from the Provisions and after conciliation failed, war was declared.
At the Battle of Lewes in 1364 the king was captured, and forced to cede all but titular authority. Simon controlled England and sought to consolidate his power with the inclusion of commoners in parliament – a major event in English constitutional history. Simon's arrogance got away from him and he fell out with his most powerful ally, Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester. Gilbert joined prince Edward, Henry’s son, in the Welsh marches, and at the Battle of Evesham in August 1265 Simon’s army was annihilated and Simon was killed.
The monks of Evesham abbey recovered his mutilated body and buried him with full rites. His tomb in the abbey became the centre of a cult of those considering him to be a fighter for the common people against oppression. Controversy as to his role in the growth of parliamentary rule and his motives still occurs.
He declared himself king in 1264 yet he was not actually a king.