Colin Veach
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Royal v. aristocratic lordship: 1206-16
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The loss of Normandy in 1204 drove John to seek increasing funds to bankroll the reconquest of his continental inheritance. His abuse of royal lordship ultimately led to the English barons’ rebellion and Magna Carta in 1215. However, a well-regulated royal administration was useful to the relatively peaceful, and increasingly litigious, society in England. The English baronial reformers merely sought to standardise its application. The socially and politically fragmented realm of Ireland was a different matter. King John’s attempts to replicate English royal lordship in Ireland ignored the realities of frontier life, and set his Irish justiciar, Meiler fitz Henry, against the colony’s most powerful lords: William de Briouze, Walter de Lacy and William Marshal. The resultant Irish crisis of 1207 began in Munster, but soon enveloped the entire colony. This baronial revolt was successful, forcing King John to compromise with the Irish magnates who attended him in England. Only William de Briouze refused, and his 1208 destruction must be seen in this context. Two years later, King John’s 1210 Irish expedition was John’s revenge for 1207. The Lacy brothers, who were in negotiations with King Philip Augustus of France, were cut down and expelled from the Plantagenet Empire.

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Lordship in four realms

The lacy family, 1166-1241


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