Lecture: Simon de Montfort and England’s First Revolution

at Alban Room, Chapter House, St Albans Cathedral , Sumpter Yard , St Albans , AL1 1BY

In 1258, a band of nobles seized power from King Henry III and established a council to govern England in his name, with the help of parliament (as described by the St Albans chronicler, Matthew Paris). Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, soon emerged as leader of this radical movement and went on to win an astounding victory against the king at Lewes in 1264. He held the ‘first House of Commons’ in the early months of 1265, before he and his men were annihilated on the battlefield at Evesham. Throughout the course of his career, Simon drew inspiration from his father, who had led the Albigensian Crusade, and he would transform the revolution into a holy war, fighting and dying on the battlefield as a sworn crusader.

Dr Sophie Thérèse Ambler is Lecturer in Later Medieval British and European History and Deputy Director of the Centre for War and Diplomacy at Lancaster University, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Her research explores political ethics and war in the central and later Middle Ages in Europe and the Crusades. Her new book, The Song of Simon de Montfort: England’s First Revolutionary and the Death of Chivalry, is out now with Picador.

Attendance costs £10. Enquiries to friends.events@stalbanscathedral.org, or visit www.stalbanscathedral.org/Event/simondemontfort for more details and booking arrangements.

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