Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Montfort, Simon of (1240-1271)

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MONTFORT, SIMON of, the younger (1240–1271), second child of Simon of Montfort, earl of Leicester [q. v.], and Eleanor his wife, was born near Brindisi in the summer of 1240 (cf. Flores Histor. iii. 264, and Matt. Paris, Chron. Maj. iv. 7 and 44 note). On 13 Oct. 1260 he was knighted, with his brother Henry [q. v.], by the king's son Edward. At the opening of the barons' war (1264) he defended Northampton against the king, but was captured after a gallant fight on 5 April, and imprisoned at Windsor.

Released by his father's victory at Lewes, 14 May 1265, he was made 'custos pacis' in Surrey and Sussex (June) and constable of Porchester (24 Dec.) In September-November 1264 he unsuccessfully blockaded an alien garrison in Pevensey Castle; he was at the same task again in June 1265 when called away to help his father in the west. After wasting a month in collecting fresh troops in London, plundering Winchester, and making a triumphal progress to Oxford and Northampton, he reached Kenilworth on 31 July, only to be surprised and routed by Edward next morning. On 3 Aug. he set out again to join his father, but, owing to an unlucky halt at Alcester, he only reached Evesham in time to see from afar his father's head borne off on a spear-point as a trophy of the royalists' victory (4 Aug.) He withdrew again to Kenilworth; there the garrison, in their thirst to avenge the earl, were for slaughtering the king's brother Richard [see Richard, Earl of Cornwall], who was a prisoner in Simon's custody; Simon, however, withstood their demand, and on 6 Sept. set Richard at liberty. On 23 Nov., having fortified and victualled Kenilworth for a long siege, he went to join some of his father's friends who were entrenched in the Isle of Axholme. There, at Christmas, he was forced to accept Edward's terms, and submit himself to the judgment of king and council at Northampton. They pardoned him on condition that he would surrender Kenilworth and quit England for life, with a yearly pension of 400l. He was taken in the king's train to Kenilworth, but when he called upon the garrison to surrender, they refused, clearly with his connivance; he was led back to London, and thence, on the night of 10 Feb. 1266, escaped to Winchelsea. After acting for a time as leader of the Cinque Port pirates, he went over sea. On 18 May a proclamation was issued against his expected attempt to re-enter England by force, and he kept up a correspondence with Kenilworth till the eve of its surrender in December. In September 1267 King Louis of France was negotiating with Henry III for Simon's return to England, but he was still in France on 26 March 1268 (Bémont, Simon de Montfort, p. 251, note 4). Bartholomew Cotton (p. 146, Rolls ed.) says that Simon came over in 1271 to visit the graves of his father and eldest brother; the visit, if it took place, must have been a hasty and stolen one. On 13 March of that year he was at Viterbo, taking part with his brother Guy [q. v.] in the murder of Henry of Cornwall [q. v.], and was only saved from justice by his death in the same year, at a castle near Siena.

[Annales Monastici, vols. ii. iii. iv.; Flores Historiarum ('Matt. Westminster'), vol. iii.; Robert of Gloucester, vol. ii.; Royal Letters, vol. ii. (all in Rolls Series); Chronica Majorum Londoniarum, ed. Stapleton (with Liber de Antiquis Legibus), and Rishanger's Chronicle, ed. Halliwell (Camden Soc.); Rymer's Fœdera, vol. i. pt. i.; Patent Rolls 48 & 49 Hen. III; see also J. R. Green's article on the Ban of Kenilworth in Archæol. Journ. xxi. 277 et seq.]

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