King Henry III (Henry of Winchester) | Reign 1216-1272

King Henry III ruled England from 19th October 1216 to 16th November 1272.

He also remained the Lord of Ireland and Duke of Aquitaine in the same time period. He was the son of the Medieval King, John of England, and Isabella of Angouleme.

Medieval King Henry III

King Henry III

Henry was only nine years old when he assumed the throne and it was in the middle of the First Barons’ War.

King Henry III Timeline

  • King Henry III was born on 1st October 1207 at the Winchester Castle, Hampshire.
  • He was the King of medieval England from 19th October 1216 to 16th November 1272.
  • His coronation took place on 28th October 1216 in Gloucester and 17th May 1220 at Westminster Abbey.
  • In January 1227, this Medieval King assumed formal control of the government.
  • A revolt, led by William Marshal, broke out in 1232.
  • Henry invaded Poitou in 1242 and as a result Battle of Taillebourg took place.
  • The Battle of Lewes was fought in 1262.
  • King Henry III married Eleanor of Provence in 1236.
  • He died on 16th November 1272 at Westminster, London.
Medieval King Henry III Portrait Image

Medieval King Henry III in ceremonial costume

King Henry III Coronation

King Henry III was one of those Medieval Kings that were crowned twice. He was initially crowned in 1216 after the death of his father King John. His loyalist leaders hurried into the coronation in order to reinforce his claim to the throne.

Bishops of Worcester and Exeter anointed King Henry III, and he was crowned by Peter des Roches. As the fortunes of Henry’s government began to improve in 1220 the Pope allowed his second coronation, which was intended to affirm the authority of the King.

King Henry III Wife and Family

King Henry III’s wife was Eleanor of Provence whom he married in 1236. Together they had five children. Eleanor was the daughter of Raymond-Berengar, the Count of Provence, and Beatrice of Savoy.

King Henry III’s children’s names were Edward I of England, Margaret of England, Beatrice of England, Edmund Crouchback & Katherine of England. This Medieval King had no illegitimate children.

What Kind of Ruler was King Henry III?

King Henry III was a good ruler with a good heart. He was a pious man and contributed a lot to religious causes.

But he was never considered an extraordinary King as he failed to rule in peace and harmony. There were revolts during his rule and the medieval Barons were always unhappy with him and his policies.

Henry III Medieval Kings

Medieval King Henry III In the second part of his reign he enjoyed full control over the government.

What was King Henry III Famous for?

King Henry III was famous for his public demonstration of piety and was genuinely devout. He used to attend the mass at least once a day and was very well known among his contemporaries for attending mass frequently.

According to some historians, it was believed that he attended mass thrice a day and in 1259 this medieval king stopped at almost every church, which came his way and was holding mass. King Henry III generously gave to religious causes.

King Henry III – Revolution & the Barons’ War

In 1258, some English barons revolted against King Henry III as the anger had grown due to King’s unpopular Sicilian policy, king’s officials, raising of funds, unfair treatment of the English Church, and Poitevin’s, influence in the court. The Welsh, who were already in the open revolt, allied themselves with Scotland.

Henry had an acute shortage of money and there was a strong feeling within Henry’s court that he wouldn’t be able to lead the country through these problems. Although King Henry III tried his best, the crisis never ended and in April 1264 the second Barons War broke out.

It was fought between the baron Simon de Montfort’s forces and Henry’s forces. De Montfort was part of the initial revolt and though he had some initial success, he was not unable to consolidate it and was killed at the Battle of Evesham. The war finally ended in July 1267 when the final rebels surrendered at the Isle of Ely.

Medieval King Henry III wife Eleanor of Provence

Medieval King Henry III was married to Eleanor of Provence

King Henry III – Invasion of France

King Henry III assumed formal control of the government in January 1227. Henry wanted to reclaim the family lands in France as these lands were very important to him. However, the French Kings were economically and militarily sound as compared to Henry III and had an advantage over him.

In 1226 Louis VIII of France died and left behind his twelve-year-old son Louis IX as heir to the throne. The young medieval king wasn’t in a strong position as several nobles in the court had their ties to the English.

There were several revolts taking place across the country. Henry invaded France in 1230. Although he made several attempts, but couldn’t achieve anything and returned to England in 1234 with empty hands after making a truce with Louis.

King Henry III – Religion

King Henry III was religiously very devoted and used to show his public demonstration of piety. During his rule, he promoted lavish and luxurious Church services and was known for attending the mass at least once a day. He became the patron of the Teutonic Order in 1235 and supported military crusading orders.

Medieval Germany Flag of the Teutonic Order

 Teutonic Order

He defended the mother church throughout his reign as the support of the Papacy in the earlier part of his rule had a lasting impact on his attitude towards Rome. In 1241 he paraded the Holy Cross throughout Europe.

Medieval King Henry III Effigy in cast iron

Medieval King Henry III Effigy the cast-iron tomb

King Henry III Death

King Henry III died on the evening of 16th November 1272 in Westminster. King Henry became ill after his son Edward left for the Eighth crusade in 1270.

He was concerned about the fresh rebellion and with his failing health he wrote to his son to return but he did not. King Henry III-like other Medieval Kings was buried in the Westminster Abbey. Edward returned in 1974.

King Henry III Summary

King Henry III’s rule could be divided into three parts. In the initial part, he was still young and the government was mostly run by his former tutors.

In the second part, he enjoyed full control over the government. In the third part, he remained busy in rebellion and civil war. Henry III inherited most of his problems from his Father King John and they weren’t created due to his own misrule.