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J R Green "hell itself is defiled by the fouler presence of King John.” PowerPoint Presentation
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J R Green "hell itself is defiled by the fouler presence of King John.” - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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John was a tyrant not a King, a destroyer instead of a governor, crushing his own people and favouring aliens, a lion to his subjects bit a lamb to foreigners and rebels. He had lost the duchy of Normandy and many other territories through sloth , and was actually keen to lose the kingdom of England or to ruin it. He was an insatiable extorter of money; he invaded and destroyed his subjects property; and bred no worthy children but only such as took after their father. He detested his wife and she him. She was an incestuous and depraved woman, so notoriously guilty of adultery that the king had given orders that her lovers be siezed and throttled on her bed

J R Green "hell itself is defiled by the fouler presence of King John.”

Compare that to Tudors who under Henry VIII saw him as heroic but betrayed as he challenged the pope.


Roger of Wendover describes how he terrorised the clergy. Crushed an archdeacon under a cope of lead. Threatened to slit the noses of papal servants and to pluck there eyes out. How a Jew from Bristol had a tooth knocked out daily until he revealed where his treasure was.

Only problem is that Wendover is very dubious source. In his other chronicles he tells stories of baked bread pouring with blood because it was baked on the Sabbath. Of a woman who's washing was sucked dry by a small black pig as a punishment.

Why should we accept the former and reject the latter?


Wendover claimed in his chronicles that in 1208, at the height of the interdict that John said a highway man who had robbed and murdered a priest should be set free

“He has slain an enemy of mine, loose him and let him go”

There is doubt to the validity of this story as the royal records show that at this time the king ordered anyone injuring a member of the clergy by word or deed should be hanged from the nearest oak tree.


The crushing of the priest under the lead coping stone in 1209 can also be questioned.

Wendover writes; a royal servant, Geoffrey the archdeacon of Norwich, was talking over the excommunications of John by the Pope with some of his colleagues at the Exchequer. He held that it was not safe for men in holy orders to serve the king any longer. A report of his tender conscience reached the ears of John who, in a fury sent Sir William Talbot to arrest him. He was imprisoned in chains, clad in a cope of lead, and deprived of food, so that weakened and crushed he died an agonising death.

Geoffrey the archdeacon of Norwich became bishop of Ely in 1225!!!!!!!


Mathew Paris then adds to the works of Wendover and adds more colour, or even more elaborate lies. Adding speech and quote that he could not possibly have known.

Paris wasn't even born in Johns reign and warren describes him as no more than a malicious gossip and his terrible verdict is based upon crude legend.

Both Wendover and Paris represent baronial interests, of whom John was to be drawn into conflict with.

What is more important, to pick out the bias or search why people felt such hatred and bias?


Ireland Scotland and Wales all bowed to his nod a situation that none of his predecessors achieved. Could have been successful had it not been for the church curse.


Was seen as very insignificant in his youth as he was forth of four boys so way down the pecking order. Henry had a problem of how to keep his four healthy sons happy.

Henry the young King- was due to become King.

Richard- gained the Aquitaine

Geoffrey- overlord of Brittany.

John- given Ireland

According to Warren, The loss of Ireland. "at an age when Richard had cowed and crushed the proud barons of southern France, John had shown himself nothing more than a feckless waster".