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The NorthernersA Study in the Reign of King John$
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J. C. Holt

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203094

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203094.001.0001

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The Northern Knights

The Northern Knights

(p.35) IV The Northern Knights
The Northerners

J. C. Holt

Oxford University Press

The knights were divided in the 1215 rebellion and their support was sought both by the King and the rebel barons. A superficial glance at the Magna Carta might suggest that most of them were staunch supporters of the rising, for it benefited them in numerous ways. Moreover, part of the baronial programme depended on the knights for its execution and simply assumed their co-operation, as in cap. 48 of the Charter, which arranged for local inquiries by juries of knights; and in the writs of 19 and 27 June, which provided for these inquiries and for the seizure of the estates of those who refused to take the oath to the Twenty-Five. But this is not the whole story. Some of the concessions to the knights in the Magna Carta point to possible differences with their lords. Furthermore, King John, not the barons, was the first to make an open appeal for knightly support in his famous writ summoning four knights from each shire to a council at Oxford in November 1213. He too assumed that he could rely on the knights for support, even those who held their fees of the great rebel lords. Many knights simply followed their lords, either against or for the King.

Keywords:   knights, rebellion, northern barons, King John, Magna Carta

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