Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Montfort, Henry of

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MONTFORT, HENRY of (1238–1265), eldest son of Simon of Montfort, earl of Leicester [q. v.], and his wife Eleanor of England, was born in Kenilworth Castle in December 1238 (Matt. Paris, Chron. Majora, iii. 518). Henry III was his godfather (ib. p. 498). He was partly brought up in the household of Bishop Grosseteste (Adam Marsh, Epp. pp. 110, 129, 163). In June 1252 he accompanied his father to Gascony (ib. p. 129). When the king's half-brothers were expelled from England in 1258, Henry of Montfort secretly followed them to Boulogne and stirred up his father's friends to besiege them there (Matt. Paris, Chron. Majora, v. 703). On 1 Jan. 1259 he was in France with his father, and with his own hand wrote his father's will (Bémont, Simon de Montfort, App. p. 330). On 13 Oct. 1260 he and his brother Simon [see Montfort, Simon, the younger] were knighted by their cousin, the king's son Edward [see Edward I, king of England], and afterwards went with him to a tournament in France (Flores Hist. ii. 456). In January 1264 Henry was one of the deputies sent to represent the barons at the Mise of Amiens (Halliwell, Notes to Rishanger, p. 122). When the Mise was set aside he commanded a body of troops despatched to secure the Welsh border. On 28 Feb. he stormed and sacked Worcester (Ann. Worc. p. 448), and soon afterwards took Gloucester, but on Edward's approach he made a truce with him and retired to Kenilworth (Ann. Dunstable, pp. 227-8: cf. Rishanger, p. 21). With his brother Guy [q.v.] he led the van at the battle of Lewes, 14 May 1264 (Hemingford, i. 315). After the victory, on 28 May, he was made constable of Dover Castle, governor of the Cinque ports, and treasurer of Sandwich (Fœdera, i. i. 441). In this capacity he gained the nickname of "the wool-merchant," by enforcing the prohibition laid by the new government on the export of wool so strictly that he was accused of seizing the wool for his own profit (Ann. Wykes, pp. 158-9). As constable of Dover he had for some time the custody of his captive cousin Edward (ib. p. 153). He fought and fell at Evesham, 4 Aug. 1265, by his father's side, and was buried with him in the neighbouring abbey.

[Letters of Adam Marsh (Monumenta Franciscana, vol. i.); Matt. Paris, Chronica Majora; Flores Historiarum ('Matt. Westminster'), Ann. Dunstaple (Annales Monastici, vol. iii.), Ann. Worcester and Wykes (ib. vol. iv.), all in Rolls Series; Rishanger's Chronicle, ed. Halliwell (Camden Soc.); Walter of Hemingford (Engl. Hist. Soc.)]

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