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King John and royal control in Ireland: Why William de Briouze had to be destroyed

Veach, Colin



This article re-examines King John’s persecution and eventual destruction of his former friend, William de Briouze, a signal example of John’s tyranny on the eve Magna Carta. Approaching the episode from the transnational perspective of the two men involved, the study uncovers the roots of their dispute in King John’s attempts to introduce English-style royal rule to Ireland. Desperate to extract what he could from his insular possessions following the loss of Normandy in 1204, John’s attempts to increase his authority in Ireland provoked a violent response from its greatest magnates in 1207. John lost this lesser-known baronial revolt, but the most prudent of his barons soon came to terms with him. Not so William de Briouze, who, we are told, had his Irish honour of Limerick seized for refusing a summons to court. From that point Briouze’s fall was sudden and violent. King John hounded him across England and Wales, forcing him into a desperate rebellion and exile in Ireland. But 1207 had shown the limit of John’s power, and Briouze was sheltered for two years by his fellow Irish magnates. King John’s expedition to Ireland in 1210 was to finish the business of 1207, and firmly stamp English royal control on Ireland.


Veach, C. (2014). King John and royal control in Ireland: Why William de Briouze had to be destroyed. English Historical Review, 129(540), 1051-1078.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 10, 2014
Online Publication Date Oct 20, 2014
Publication Date Oct 1, 2014
Deposit Date Jul 11, 2018
Journal English Historical Review
Print ISSN 0013-8266
Electronic ISSN 1477-4534
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 129
Issue 540
Pages 1051-1078
Public URL
Publisher URL