Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester

The carved and painted shield of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, can be seen in the north choir aisle of Westminster Abbey. The arms shows "gules, a lion with a forked tail, argent". This series of carved, and later painted shields, in the choir aisles and eastern part of the nave are traditionally of families or individuals who were benefactors to the building of Henry III's new Gothic Abbey. The original list was probably drawn up in about 1245 but the shields were not erected until about 1260. The inscription with his name above was probably painted, or re-painted, in the 16th century.

Simon (1208-1265) was a son of Simon de Montfort, Lord of Montfort in France, and his wife Alice. He came to England in about 1230 to pursue his inheritance and became close to Henry III. He married Eleanor (widow of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke) the king's sister. After a debt scandal, when he pledged the king's name for debt repayment, he fled abroad. He went on Crusade and was later reconciled with Henry. But he and other barons rose up against the king who was taken prisoner at the battle of Lewes where Simon and his followers were victorious. Montfort carried on the government until he was defeated and killed at the battle of Evesham. He was buried in the Abbey there.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

"The reign of Henry III" by David Carpenter, 1996

"The battles of Lewes and Evesham 1264/65" by David Carpenter, 1987

"Simon de Montfort" by C. Bremont, 1930

"Simon de Montfort" by J. Maddicott, 1994

"With all for all. The life of Simon de Montfort" by D. Baker, 2015


North Choir Aisle

Memorial Type


Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester
Simon de Montfort shield

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster