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Bad King John
Still Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know!

Matilda de Braose (Moll Wallbee) - © Nash Ford Publishing

King John signs the Magna Carta - © Nash Ford Publishing


  • William de Braose was one of the few people who knew King John had murdered his nephew to get hold of the Crown. Unfortunately, his wife, Matilda, had a big mouth. She starting telling people. John locked her and her son up in Windsor Castle and left them to starve to death. The desperate lady ate part of her dead son before she finally died too!
  • King John took Fulk FitzWarin’s lands and made him an outlaw in Windsor Forest, a bit like Robin Hood. This forest spread all the way to Newbury in those days. John often stayed in that town after a hard day’s hunting, when it became too late for him to get home before nightfall. He set up St. Bartholomew's Hospital there.
  • Fulk went off on lots of adventures but, later returned to Windsor disguised as a charcoal burner. He led John into an ambush and made him give him back all his lands.
  • King John gave the head of St. Philip to Reading Abbey, where pilgrims liked to visit it!
  • Because John passed lots of bad laws and raised taxes, the Barons rebelled against him. There were lots of Battles between the two sides. The Barons often met at Loddon Bridge (in Earley) to discuss their plans. King John managed to capture some of them and they were imprisoned at Sonning Bishop's Palace. However, he was often on the run himself and used to hide in Newbury with an old spinning woman!
  • Eventually they forced King John to promise to be good. He rode out from Windsor Castle and signed the ‘Magna Carta’ at Runnymede, near Old Windsor.
  • King John broke all his promises and the Barons asked the King of France to send an army to overthrow him. Windsor Castle was besieged again, but John died and the Barons made peace with the Earl of Pembroke who ruled for his son.

Click to find out What happened Before


    © Nash Ford Publishing 2004. All Rights Reserved.