King John and Magna Carta: Stephen Church at the Henley Literary Festival

King John and Magna Carta: Stephen Church at the Henley Literary Festival
  • Henley Town Hall
    Henley Town Hall
    ,
  • 02/10/2015 14:30 - 02/10/2015 14:30

The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta is the perfect time to reflect on King John. As the youngest of Henry II's five sons, the future offered little for him until his older brother Richard died and he succeeded to the throne in 1199. But by his death in 1216, he had lost almost all that he inherited and had come perilously close to losing his English kingdom. Stephen recounts John's story, drawing on thousands of contemporary sources. It moves from accession to rebellion and civil war, reveals exactly why John's reign went so disastrously wrong, and tells how John's failure led to the great cornerstone of Britain's constitution: Magna Carta.

Stephen Church is professor of medieval history at the University of East Anglia, and widely acclaimed as an expert on twelfth-century kingship, especially the reign of King John. He is a member of the council of the Society of Antiquaries and was actively involved in the national commemoration of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta in 2015. He is the author of King John: England, Magna Carta and the Making of a Tyrant and lives in Norwich.