King John died in 1216 – 800 years ago. A few years after his death, the medieval chronicler Matthew Paris wrote about him that ‘foul as it is, Hell itself is made fouler by the presence of King John’.
His reputation has not improved over the centuries: King John is seen today as a cardboard villain – the archetypal Bad King – remembered chiefly for being such a tyrant that his barons rebelled and forced him to grant Magna Carta. But why does John have this terrible reputation? And is it fair?
We’re hosting a free panel event to discuss King John’s career and reputation, featuring three world experts on him. The event is in Kew at 18:00 on Tuesday 18 October – the 800th anniversary of the day on which John died. Continue reading »