Genre: History, nonfiction
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Pub date: 31 March 2020
Description from Amazon
The ‘Montfortian’ civil wars in England lasted from 1259-67, though the death of Simon de Montfort and so many of his followers at the battle of Evesham in 1265 ought to have ended the conflict. In the aftermath of the battle, Henry III’s decision to disinherit all the surviving Montfortians served to prolong the war for another two years. Hundreds of landless men took up arms again to defend their land and property: the redistribution of estates in the wake of Evesham occurred on a massive scale, as lands were either granted away by the king or simply taken by his supporters. The Disinherited, as they were known, defied the might of the Crown longer than anyone could have reasonably expected. They were scattered, outnumbered and out-resourced, with no real unifying figure after the death of Earl Simon, and suffered a number of heavy defeats. Despite all their problems and setbacks, they succeeded in forcing the king into a compromise. The Dictum of Kenilworth, published in 1266, acknowledged that Henry could not hope to defeat the Disinherited via military force alone. The purely military aspects of the revolt, including effective use of guerilla-type warfare and major actions such as the battle of Chesterfield, the siege of Kenilworth and the capture of London, will all be featured. Charismatic rebel leaders such as Robert de Ferrers, the ‘wild and flighty’ Earl of Derby, Sir John de Eyvill, ‘the bold D’Eyvill’ and others such as Sir Adam de Gurdon, David of Uffington and Baldwin Wake all receive a proper appraisal.
I’ve read historical fiction about Simon de Monfort so was greatly interested to read this recently published account of the rebellions against Henry III and his son Edward.
I was surprised to learn how much conflict there was at this time and it seems to have spread all over England. Pilling does a great job of explaining who was who and the part they played in the rebellions and their possible reasons for continuing to rebel after being pardoned and released from prison.
Before reading this I was unaware so many nobles were involved and leading seperate rebellions against the crown. I found the writing style to be easy to follow especially for a topic I was not previously knowledgeable about. The text is fully referenced for those who wish to check sources.
I appreciated that Pilling continues to tell the fate of some of those who left England during the rebellions and how their actions may have been perceived by Henry III and Edward.
Overall, a very interesting book into the rebellions against Henry III and his son Edward.
Since reading this I’ve become aware that Pilling also has a historical fiction series around this era which I am now eager to read!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Pen and Sword for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my review.