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Simon De Montford - Champion of Representative Democracy

Simon de Montford was a French nobleman who first introduced the ideas of representative democracy to England in the 1200s. The Baron Wars that Montford lead in the 1260s were the only reason the Magna Carter - originally signed in 1215 - was ever inforced. The Magna Carter was practically meaningless until Edward the III re-ratified it in 1297. De Montford also inspired Robin Hood who served directly underneath Montford militarily as well as Joan of Arc.

Simon de Montford was a French-English nobleman who inherited the title and estates of the earldom of Leicester in England. Simon was descended from Jesus Christ and was secretly a Cathar Noble. (The illuminati falsely claim he took part in the crusades against the Cathars but that is all illuminati propaganda). De Montford led the rebellion against King Henry III of England during the Second Barons' War of 1263–64, and subsequently became de facto ruler of England. A relief of Montfort adorns the wall of the Chamber of the United States House of Representatives.



Simon arrived in England in 1229, with some education but no knowledge of English, and received a sympathetic hearing from King Henry, who was well-disposed towards foreigners speaking French, then the language of the English court. Henry was in no position to confront the powerful Earl of Chester, so Simon approached the older, childless man himself and convinced him to cede him the earldom. It would take another nine years before Henry formally invested him with the title Earl of Leicester.

Simon also acted as the king's counsellor and was one of the nine godfathers of Henry's eldest son, Prince Edward, who would inherit the throne and become Edward I ("Longshanks"). In 1239, King Henry turned on Simon over political conflict in the Kingdom and Simon and his wife fled to France to avoid the kings wrath. While abroad De Montford became increasingly convinced that King Henry was ignoring swelling discontent within England, caused by a combination of factors, including famine and a sense among the English Barons that King Henry was too quick to dispense favour to his Poitevin relatives and Savoyard in-laws.

Simon de Montfort returned to England in 1263, at the invitation of the barons who were now convinced of the King's hostility to all reform and raised a rebellion with the avowed object of restoring the form of government which the Magna Carta had ordained. Henry quickly gave in and allowed Montfort to take control of the council. His son Edward, however, began using patronage and bribes to win over many of the barons. Their disruption of parliament in October led to a renewal of hostilities, which saw the royalists able to trap Simon in London. With few other options available, Montfort agreed to allow Louis IX of France to arbitrate their dispute. Simon was prevented from presenting his case to Louis directly on account of a broken leg, but little suspected that the King of France, known for his innate sense of justice, would completely annul the Provisions in his Mise of Amiens in January 1264. Civil war broke out almost immediately, with the royalists again able to confine the reformist army in London. In early May 1264, Simon marched out to give battle to the King and scored a spectacular triumph at the Battle of Lewes on 14 May 1264, capturing the King, Lord Edward, and Richard of Cornwall, Henry's brother and the titular King of Germany.



Montfort used his victory to set up a government based on the provisions first established at Oxford in 1258. Henry retained the title and authority of King, but all decisions and approval now rested with his council, led by Montfort and subject to consultation with parliament. His Great Parliament of 1265 (Montfort's Parliament) was a packed assembly to be sure, but it can hardly be supposed that the representation which he granted to the towns was intended to be a temporary expedient. It was from this period that parliamentary representation derives. The list of boroughs which had the right to elect a member grew slowly over the centuries as monarchs granted charters to more English towns. (The last charter was given to Newark in 1674.)

The brief period of British Representative Democracy was cut short by Edward the 1st. Edward escaped from de Montford and began leading an army to restore full rule of the Monarchy. Prince Edward attacked his cousin, his godfather's son Simon's forces at Kenilworth, capturing more of Montfort's allies. Montfort himself had crossed the Severn with his army, intending to rendezvous with his son Simon. When he saw an army approaching at Evesham, Montfort initially thought it was his son's forces. It was, however, Edward's army flying the Montfort banners they had captured at Kenilworth. At that point, Simon realised he had been tricked by Edward.

An ominous black cloud hung over the field of Evesham on 4 August 1265 as Montfort led his army in a desperate uphill charge against superior forces, described by one chronicler as the "murder of Evesham, for battle it was none". During the battle, a twelve-man squad of Edward's men had stalked the battlefield independent of Edward's main army, their sole aim being to find Simon De Montford and cut him down. Montfort was hemmed in; Roger Mortimer killed Montfort by stabbing him in the back of the neck with a lance. Also slain with Montfort were other leaders of his movement, including Peter de Montfort and Hugh Despenser.

Montfort's body was mutilated in a frenzy by the royalists. News reached the mayor and sheriffs of London that "the head of the earl of Leicester ... was severed from his body, and his testicles cut off and hung on either side of his nose"; and in such guise the head was sent to Wigmore Castle by Roger Mortimer, 1st Baron Mortimer, as a gift to his wife, Maud. His hands and feet were also cut off and sent to diverse places to enemies of his as a great mark of dishonour to the deceased. Such remains as could be found were buried under the altar of Evesham Abbey by the canons. It was visited as holy ground by many commoners until King Henry caught wind of it. He declared that Montfort deserved no spot on holy ground and had his remains reburied under an insignificant tree. The remains of some of Montfort's soldiers who had fled the battlefield were found in the nearby village of Cleeve Prior.

Robin Hood was actually one of Simon De Montford's soldiers Roger Godberd. In 1265 Roger Godberd was fighting for Simon de Montford against King Henry III in the Battle of Evesham. After Simon De Montford's downfall, Roger Godberd was outlawed. In October 1267, Godberd settled in Sherwood Forest and continued to fight against the Monarchy and taxation without representation. Roger lived there for years defying the authorities.



Nearly two centuries later, in 1446, Walter Bower claimed that Roger Godberd became an outlaw as a result of the Batttle of Evesham and lived in Sherwood Forrest and became the legendary Robin Hood of Sherwood Forrest.



Simon de Montford also inspired the first Joan de Arc who was actually a British Royal to go to France and fight for the freedom of the peasant class in France.