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John (1166 – 1216), also known as John Lackland, was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death. The third king of the House of Plantagenet, he was the younger brother and successor of Richard I of England. His rule was marked by the unsuccessful Fourth Crusade and the tumultuous First Barons' War, in which he led the English against the French forces commanded by Louis VIII. During his reign, he was secretly manipulated by the Templars.


John was born on 24 December 1166,[1] and like his brother Richard, was the son of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine.[2]

Coming to power after the death of his brother, John soon became embroiled in a series of border wars with the French, gaining and losing land along the French coastline. When several English barons rebelled against John in 1215 over his refusal to accept the Magna Carta, a document that had been crafted to limit John's powers, they joined the French and instigated the First Baron's War.[3]

Backed by members of the Templar Order, and even by the independent Assassin William of Cassingham, John attempted to keep the French in check. The rebellious barons, including the majority of the English Assassins and their leader Robert Fitzwalter, managed to push John's forces from the French mainland and even capture several castles on the English island. Over the next year, a stalemate would develop, with neither side gaining any significant advantage.[3]

However, by the fall of 1216, John had fallen seriously ill. He died on 18 October, and the war ended the following year, as the rebelling barons returned to England and swore fealty to John's son, Henry III.[3]


In October 2016, the Templar historian Simon Hathaway noted that John and the House of Plantagenet were nigh-legendary figures who had figured into the history of Chinon.[2]