Mise of Lewes

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Mise of Lewes
Settlement between King Henry III of England and oppositional magnates
LewesBattle Big.jpg
1964 monument to the Battle of Lewes [1]
Signed14 May 1264
Location Lewes, Sussex

The Mise [a] of Lewes was a settlement made on 14 May 1264 between King Henry III of England and his rebellious barons, led by Simon de Montfort. The settlement was made on the day of the Battle of Lewes, one of the two major battles of the Second Barons' War. The conflict between king and magnates was caused by dissatisfaction with the influence of foreigners at court and Henry's high level and new methods of taxation. In 1258 Henry was forced to accept the Provisions of Oxford, which essentially left the royal government in the hands of a council of magnates, but this document went through a long series of revocations and reinstatements. In 1263, as the country was on the brink of civil war, the two parties agreed to submit the matter to arbitration by the French king Louis IX. Louis was a firm believer in the royal prerogative, and decided clearly in favour of Henry. The outcome was unacceptable for the rebellious barons, and war between the two parties broke out almost immediately.

Henry III of England 13th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Henry III, also known as Henry of Winchester, was King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Aquitaine from 1216 until his death. The son of King John and Isabella of Angoulême, Henry assumed the throne when he was only nine in the middle of the First Barons' War. Cardinal Guala declared the war against the rebel barons to be a religious crusade and Henry's forces, led by William Marshal, defeated the rebels at the battles of Lincoln and Sandwich in 1217. Henry promised to abide by the Great Charter of 1225, which limited royal power and protected the rights of the major barons. His early rule was dominated first by Hubert de Burgh and then Peter des Roches, who re-established royal authority after the war. In 1230, the King attempted to reconquer the provinces of France that had once belonged to his father, but the invasion was a debacle. A revolt led by William Marshal's son, Richard, broke out in 1232, ending in a peace settlement negotiated by the Church.

Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester 13th-century Anglo-Norman nobleman and rebel

Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, sometimes referred to as Simon V de Montfort to distinguish him from his namesake relatives, was a nobleman of French origin and a member of the English peerage, who led the baronial opposition to the rule of King Henry III of England, culminating in the Second Barons' War. Following his initial victories over royal forces, he became de facto ruler of the country, and played a major role in the constitutional development of England.

Battle of Lewes 1264 battle of the Second Barons War

The Battle of Lewes was one of two main battles of the conflict known as the Second Barons' War. It took place at Lewes in Sussex, on 14 May 1264. It marked the high point of the career of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, and made him the "uncrowned King of England". Henry III left the safety of Lewes Castle and St. Pancras Priory to engage the Barons in battle and was initially successful, his son Prince Edward routing part of the baronial army with a cavalry charge. However Edward pursued his quarry off the battlefield and left Henry's men exposed. Henry was forced to launch an infantry attack up Offham Hill where he was defeated by the barons' men, defending the hilltop. The royalists fled back to the castle and priory and the King was forced to sign the Mise of Lewes, ceding many of his powers to Montfort.


The Mise of Lewes was signed on the day of Montfort's victory at the Battle of Lewes, though it is not known whether it happened during or after the battle. Neither are the terms of the document known, though it seems clear that they involved conditions for further negotiations. These efforts at a permanent settlement fell through, however, and the support for Montfort's government gradually eroded. Henry's oldest son, Edward – the later King Edward I  started a military campaign that ended in the Battle of Evesham in August 1265, where Montfort was defeated and killed. Parts of the baronial resistance still held out, but by the end of 1266 the final besieged garrison at Kenilworth Castle surrendered. The rebels were given pardons according to terms set out in the Dictum of Kenilworth.

Edward I of England 13th and 14th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Edward I, also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. Before his accession to the throne, he was commonly referred to as The Lord Edward. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved from an early age in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons. In 1259, he briefly sided with a baronial reform movement, supporting the Provisions of Oxford. After reconciliation with his father, however, he remained loyal throughout the subsequent armed conflict, known as the Second Barons' War. After the Battle of Lewes, Edward was hostage to the rebellious barons, but escaped after a few months and defeated the baronial leader Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham in 1265. Within two years the rebellion was extinguished and, with England pacified, Edward joined the Ninth Crusade to the Holy Land. The crusade accomplished little, and Edward was on his way home in 1272 when he was informed that his father had died. Making a slow return, he reached England in 1274 and was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 19 August.

The Battle of Evesham was one of the two main battles of 13th century England's Second Barons' War. It marked the defeat of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and the rebellious barons by the future King Edward I, who led the forces of his father, King Henry III. It took place on 4 August 1265, near the town of Evesham, Worcestershire.

Kenilworth Castle castle ruin in the town of Kenilworth, Warwickshire, England, UK

Kenilworth Castle is located in the town of Kenilworth in Warwickshire, England. Constructed from Norman through to Tudor times, the castle has been described by the architectural historian Anthony Emery as "the finest surviving example of a semi-royal palace of the later middle ages, significant for its scale, form and quality of workmanship". Kenilworth has also played an important historical role. The castle was the subject of the six-month-long Siege of Kenilworth in 1266, thought to be the longest siege in Medieval English history, and formed a base for Lancastrian operations in the Wars of the Roses. Kenilworth was also the scene of the removal of Edward II from the English throne, the French insult to Henry V in 1414, and the Earl of Leicester's lavish reception of Elizabeth I in 1575.


By 1264, the reign of Henry III was deeply troubled by disputes between the king and his nobility. The conflict was caused by several factors: the influence of foreigners at court, a wasteful war over the crown of Sicily, and a personal dispute between King Henry and Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. In 1258, Henry was forced to accept the so-called Provisions of Oxford, whereby he effectively surrendered control of royal government to a council of magnates. In 1259 the baronial program of reform was further elaborated upon in the Provisions of Westminster. [2] The provisions remained in effect for three years; it was not until 1261 that Henry was able to move against the opposition. Receiving the papal annulment of the provisions his emissaries had campaigned for, he re-assumed control of government. [3] Over the next two years, however, discontent re-emerged over Henry's style of government. He failed to be reconciled with Montfort, and he also alienated Gloucester's son and heir Gilbert. In April 1263 Montfort returned to England after a long stay in France, and reignited the reform movement. [4] On 16 July Henry was surrounded by rebel forces in the Tower of London, and once more forced to accept the conditions of the provisions. [5] Prince Edward the later King Edward I – now took control of the situation. In October Edward took Windsor Castle, and the baronial alliance started to break up. [6]

Sicily Island in the Mediterranean and region of Italy

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands, officially referred to as Regione Siciliana.

The Provisions of Oxford were constitutional reforms developed in 1258 to resolve a dispute between the English barons and King Henry III. They asserted the right of the barons to representation in the king's government and, like the earlier Magna Carta, demonstrated the ability of the barons to press their concerns in opposition to the monarchy.

The Provisions of Westminster of 1259 were part of a series of legislative constitutional reforms that arose out of power struggles between Henry III of England and his barons. The King's failed campaigns in France in 1230 and 1242, and his choice of friends and advisers, together with the cost of his failed scheme to make one of his younger sons King of Sicily and help the Pope against the Holy Roman Emperor, led to further disputes with the barons and united opposition in Church and State. Henry's position was not helped by the fact that his lifestyle was extravagant and his tax demands were widely resented. The King's accounts show a list of many charitable donations and payments for building works, including the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey, which began in 1245.

Henry III doing homage to Louis IX of France. As Duke of Aquitaine, Henry was a vassal of the French king. Henry3 LouisIX.jpg
Henry III doing homage to Louis IX of France. As Duke of Aquitaine, Henry was a vassal of the French king.

Cornered, Montfort had to accept a truce and agree to submit the issue to arbitration by the French king Louis IX. By the Mise of Amiens, Louis decided entirely in favour of Henry, and repudiated the provisions. [7] The settlement did not present a solution to the conflict, but rather a recipe for further problems. The one-sided decision for the king and against the barons left Montfort with little choice but armed rebellion. [8] Hostilities started already in February, when Montfort's sons, Henry and Simon the Younger, attacked the possessions of Roger Mortimer in the Marches. [9] Henry summoned the feudal army, and the royal forces won an important victory at Northampton, where the younger Simon was captured. [10] Montfort was still in control of London, as Henry regained control over Kent and Sussex. Montfort marched out of London to negotiate, but the terms involving maintaining the provisions were rejected by the king. [11] The only option remaining was to fight, and the two forces met at Lewes on 14 May 1264. In spite of inferior numbers, the baronial forces led by Simon de Montfort won the battle. Edward, commanding the right wing, quickly defeated the London forces. When he set out in pursuit of the fleeing soldiers, however, he left the rest of the royal army exposed. The baronial forces took advantage of the situation, and soon won the day. [12]

Louis IX of France 13th-century King of France

Louis IX, commonly known as Saint Louis, was King of France, and is a canonized Catholic and Anglican saint. Louis was crowned in Reims at the age of 12, following the death of his father Louis VIII; his mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled the kingdom as regent until he reached maturity. During Louis' childhood, Blanche dealt with the opposition of rebellious vassals and obtained a definitive victory in the Albigensian Crusade which had started 20 years earlier.

Mise of Amiens 1264 settlement between King Henry III of England and Simon de Montfort

The Mise of Amiens[miz ɒv a.mjɛ̃] was a settlement given by King Louis IX of France on 23 January 1264 in the conflict between King Henry III of England and his rebellious barons, led by Simon de Montfort. Louis' one-sided decision for King Henry led directly to the hostilities of the Second Barons' War.

Henry de Montfort English noble

Sir Henry de Montfort was the son of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, and with his father played an important role in the struggle of the barons against King Henry III. Henry's mother was Princess Eleanor of England, a daughter of King John, whose marriage to Simon further increased the foreign influence begun by the king, which was to result in great hostility by those very barons who later revolted against the king.


Since no documents exist to confirm the content of the Mise of Lewes, there has been much debate among historians over its content, and the circumstances under which it was written. Noël Denholm-Young, in an article published in 1933, made a conjecture on what the main points of the agreement were. The first point, according to Denholm-Young, was that Prince Edward and his cousin, Henry of Almain, should be given over to the barons as hostages. Secondly, those of the baronial party who had been taken hostage at Northampton were to be released. Thirdly, those who had taken hostages from the royalist party at the Battle of Lewes were to receive ransom. Finally, it was agreed that a committee of French clergy and nobles should arbitrate over a permanent settlement. [13] This interpretation has been largely followed by later historians. [14] [15]

Noël Denholm-Young was an English historian. He was a Fellow and archivist of Magdalen College, Oxford specialising in the political history of late medieval England. He worked as keeper of Western manuscripts at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and later in the faculty of the University College of North Wales, Bangor. Among his publications was an edition of the chronicle Vita Edwardi Secundi.

Henry of Almain English noble

Henry of Almain was the son of Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall and his first wife Isabel Marshal. His surname is derived from a vowel shift in pronunciation of d'Allemagne, so called by the elites of England because of his father's status as the elected German King of the Romans.

One contentious point in Denholm-Young's article was his assertion that there was no mention of the Provisions of Oxford in the Mise of Lewes. [16] This was an idea that John Maddicott strongly contested in a 1983 article. According to Maddicott, the provisions had been at the centre of Montfort's opposition over the last six years, and it was unlikely that he would give them up so easily. [17] Nevertheless, Montfort showed willingness to negotiate the terms of the provisions. As such, the Mise of Lewes was a moderate document; Montfort wanted to avoid a repetition of the situation after the Mise of Amiens. Rather it was external circumstances outside of Montfort's control that led to the eventual failure of the negotiations between the royalists and the barons. [18]

John Robert Lewendon Maddicott, FBA, FSA is an English historian who has published works on the political and social history of England in the 13th and 14th centuries, and has also written a number of leading articles on the Anglo-Saxon economy, his second area of interest. Born in Exeter, Devon, he was educated at Worcester College, Oxford. He has written a biography of Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, and one on Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester. In Hilary term 2004, he delivered the Ford Lectures, the most prestigious history lectures in Oxford University, on the topic of the genesis of the English Parliament. He taught at the University of Manchester and was a fellow and tutor in history at Exeter College, Oxford from 1969 until 2006. A fellow of the British Academy, he was also joint editor of the English Historical Review from 1990 to 2000.

This interpretation was challenged by David Carpenter two years later, in 1985. Montfort had no intention to compromise with the royalists at all, according to Carpenter. [19] In Carpenter's version of events, the Mise of Lewes was written while the battle was still ongoing, not after the battle was over, as previously assumed. [20] This put Montfort in a situation where concessions were necessary, in order to bring hostilities to a halt as soon as possible. Once the battle was over and government in Montfort's hands, he had no longer any interest in reaching a compromise with the royalists, and that was why hostilities continued. [21] This dating of the document, however, has later been disputed by D. W. Burton, who maintains that the document was in fact signed after the battle was concluded. [22]


The government led by Montfort soon ran into problems; he faced poor finances, general disorder, and the threat of invasion from exiled royalists in France. [23] It was decided since the French arbitration committee had come to nothing to set up a provisional administration, consisting of Montfort, the young Earl of Gloucester, and the Bishop of Chichester. These three were to elect a council of nine, to govern until a permanent settlement could be reached. [24] By the Peace of Canterbury in August, Henry and Edward were forced to accept even stricter terms than those of the Mise of Lewes. According to this new agreement, the current form of government was to remain in force throughout the reign of King Henry, and into that of Edward. [25] To keep the borders safe, Montfort had been forced to release Roger Mortimer and other royalist Marcher lords after the Battle of Lewes. [26] In December, Montfort forced Mortimer, Roger de Clifford and Roger de Leybourne to promise to leave the country for Ireland. [27] Then, in January, he summoned a parliament at Leicester which became known as Montfort's Parliament, including representatives from the shires and boroughs; an innovation in English government. Here Montfort secured the support of the community of the realm for his continued reign. [28]

Medieval manuscript showing Simon de Montfort's mutilated body at the field of Evesham Montfort Evesham.jpg
Medieval manuscript showing Simon de Montfort's mutilated body at the field of Evesham

Montfort's success was illusory, however. The terms of the Peace of Canterbury were rejected by a papal legate in negotiations at Boulogne. [29] Meanwhile, the Marcher lords did not leave the country, and remained a thorn in the side of the regime. [30] The triumvirate at the head of government broke up when the Earl of Gloucester defected to the royalist side. [31] In May, Edward was able to escape captivity, with Gloucester's help. [32] Edward started on a campaign of re-conquest, while Montfort was forced to suppress a rebellion in the Marches. He succeeded only by making large concessions to Llewelyn, and then moved east to join forces with his son Simon. [33] Edward, however, routed the younger Simon at Kenilworth Castle. On 4 August 1265 Montfort found himself trapped at Evesham, forced to give battle with a much smaller army than the royals. [33] The battle soon turned into a massacre; Montfort himself was killed and mutilated on the field. [34] Even with Montfort dead resistance remained, particularly at the virtually impregnable Kenilworth Castle. In October 1266 the Dictum of Kenilworth set down terms by which the rebels could obtain pardons, and by the end of the year the garrison surrendered. [35]


a. ^ A "mise" in this context is a settlement by agreement. The use of the word in this sense is very rare in English, and is normally reserved for the Mise of Lewes and the Mise of Amiens from earlier the same year. It is the feminine past participle of the French verb mettre (to put), and is pronounced /ˈmz/ . [36]

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  1. "Battle monument". The Battlefields Trust. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
  2. Prestwich 1997 , pp. 25–30
  3. Prestwich 2007 , p. 110
  4. Maddicott 1994 , p. 225
  5. Ridgeway 2004
  6. Prestwich 1997 , p. 41
  7. Powicke 1962 , p. 183
  8. Prestwich 2007 , p. 113
  9. Powicke 1962 , pp. 185
  10. Powicke 1947 , pp. 459–60
  11. Powicke 1962 , p. 189
  12. Sadler 2008 , pp. 55–69
  13. Denholm-Young 1933 , pp. 559–61
  14. Maddicott 1983 , pp. 591–2
  15. Treharne 1973 , p. 48
  16. Denholm-Young 1933 , p. 560
  17. Maddicott 1983 , p. 596
  18. Maddicott 1983 , pp. 600–1
  19. Carpenter 1985 , p. 2
  20. Carpenter 1985 , p. 4
  21. Carpenter 1985 , p. 11
  22. Burton 1993 , p. 319
  23. Maddicott 1994 , p. 283
  24. Powicke 1962 , pp. 191–2
  25. Powicke 1962 , pp. 193–4
  26. Powicke 1962 , p. 190
  27. Prestwich 1997 , p. 47
  28. Maddicott 2004
  29. Powicke 1962 , p. 195
  30. Maddicott 1994 , p. 329
  31. Powicke 1962 , pp. 200–1
  32. Prestwich 1997 , pp. 48–9.
  33. 1 2 Powicke 1962 , pp. 201–2
  34. Sadler 2008 , pp. 105–9
  35. Prestwich 2007 , p. 117
  36. "mise, n.2" . Oxford Dictionary of English . Retrieved 2009-08-05.


Further reading