John, youngest son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine was born in Oxford on 24th December 1167. His nickname was John "Lackland". His brother Richard I died from an arrow wound on 6th April 1199 and John became King, his brother having forgiven him for scheming against him and naming him as his heir. The best known event of his reign was the sealing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede near Windsor on 15th June 1215, forced on him by the Barons due to his mis-government. While travelling with his army he attempted to cross the area of water in East Anglia known as the Wash but misjudged the tides and lost his crown and valuables.


His first marriage to Isabella of Gloucester, which took place on 29th August 1189, was annulled. He married secondly on 24th August 1200 Isabella of Angouleme.


He was crowned in Westminster Abbey on 27th May 1199 but his wife was not crowned with him. It seems he displayed "unseemly levity" during the ceremony and left before receiving the Sacrament. The coronation of his second wife took place in the Abbey on 8th October 1200.


He was so upset at losing his treasure that he became ill with fever, not helped by eating a great amount of peaches and drinking too much cider, and died on 18th October 1216 and was buried in Worcester cathedral, at his own wish.

Further reading

Queens Consort of Westminster Abbey

King John by W.L. Warren, 1961

Magna Carta by David Carpenter, 2015

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Account of the discovery of the body of King Worcester" by V. Green 1797

English Monarchs

Worcester Cathedral


24th December 1166


19th October 1216


27th May 1199

Tomb effigy of King John at Worcester Cathedral, the King wearing a crown
King John's effigy at Worcester Cathedral
Tomb effigy of King John with his bishops at Worcester Cathedral
Effigy of King John with his bishops at Worcester Cathedral