Talk:John, King of England

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Featured article John, King of England is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
February 3, 2011 Good article nominee Listed
March 26, 2011 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject English Royalty (Rated FA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject English Royalty. For more information, visit the project page.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Biography / Military / Peerage and Baronetage / Royalty and Nobility (Rated FA-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the military biography work group (marked as High-importance).
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Peerage and Baronetage (marked as High-importance).
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Royalty and Nobility (marked as High-importance).
WikiProject Middle Ages (Rated FA-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Middle Ages, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the Middle Ages on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Military history (Rated FA-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions. Featured
Featured article FA This article has been rated as FA-Class on the quality assessment scale.


missing 2nd ephitet[edit]

It says: "During his lifetime John acquired two epithets. One was "Lackland" (French: Sans Terre), because, as his father's youngest son, he did not inherit land out of his family's holdings, and because as King he lost significant territory to France.[2]" Okay, where's the second epithet? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:19, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

"Softsword" seems odd to modern ears, in light of the string of illegitimate children he fathered and the mistresses / prostitutes with which he slept. -Ashley Pomeroy (talk) 17:02, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Alleged Illiteracy[edit]

Just seen a documentary (12 Books that Changed the World, ITV) by the renowned clever person Melvyn Bragg who, in discussing Magna Carta quite plainly stated "there is no evidence that King John could write". This contradicts the section on alleged illiteracy in this article (which in itself reads a bit like a polemic lifted from an earlier encyclopaedia). 23:10, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

I'd find it highly impropably that any child of the highly cultured Eleanor and Henry II would be illiterate or unable to write their own name. But that's my opinion.

Likely or unlikely isn't really good enough. In view of the fact that it has been positively asserted in the past that he was illiterate, it's worth mentioning that there is a lack of evidence: but if there is no firm evidence either way then it's highly irresponsible to claim he COULD write.

Melvyn Bragg is probably wrongif you look at the records of court cases in certain cases you can see that John has written (or at least it seems he has as he did it personally) in the margine changing the verdict and giving reasons why. This evidence shows that he could write along with the fact that he was educated by Henry 2nds most senior offical in england Ranulph Glenville. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tjm6169 (talkcontribs) 11:15, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Since there's only going to be one... ;-) JHK

I have heard that John's reputation was so bad that the name "John" was retired. English law decrees there shall never be another king named "John".

Sounds believable. For sure there's never been anyone in line to the throne called John. I just thought the rule was informal, like the rest of the Constitution. Saves having a rather odd "Article IX: No monarch of the realm shall be named John" stuck in there  : ) Wooster 13:20, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Not so. John's grandson, Edward I, named his second son John (the boy died young). Edward III also had a son named John of Gaunt, who was a very powerful nobleman and the de facto ruler of England for several years. A still later king (Edward VII I believe?) also had a son named John who also died young. The name John has an unfortunate history, that's all. Missi
Much like the name 'Arthur', which after John killed Arthur of Brittany just had bad luck attached to it - other 'Arthur's (Edward I's son, of Henry VII's son, for example) tended to die young. Not formally legislated against, merely, umm, unwise...Lutefish

The theory 'there's never been anyone else in line to the English throne named John' is pretty silly. Edward I's eldest son was called John, and died at the age of five in 1271. Of course, if he'd lived, he would have succeeded his father as King of England in 1307. The second son of Edward II was also called John (of Eltham) - he was born in 1316 and died in 1336. If anything had happened to his elder brother Edward III before 1330 (when Edward III's son and heir was born), he would have become King of England. Then, as someone mentioned, there was Edward III's son John of Gaunt. AlianoreD 07:35, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

On the other hand, the combined precedent of John of England, John Balliol and John II of France was enough to convince at least one Prince John - the eldest son of Robert II of Scots - that John was an unlucky name for a king. He therefore chose to be crowned as Robert III, despite the fact that he had a brother called Robert. (At the time of his christening, it was not expected that he would be King, because nobody thought that David II would die childless.)

The idea of the name being unlucky came after the death of Prince John (1905-1919), the younger son of George V and Mary of Teck, who was mentally handicapped and epileptic, and died young. The tradition of avoiding the name seems to have come into force after that, as Princess Diana supposedly wanted to name one of her sons John, but the royal family vetoed it. (talk) 12:50, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

The truth, however, is that he was no better or worse a king than his immediate predecessor or his successor (which is still not much of a compliment).

This is very POV. How can we reword this? -Kwertii

Quality of English kingship could be judged by contemporary popularity (which has to be carefully separated from posthumous popularity of course - making the previous incumbent look like a nasty incompetent piece of work so that you look good wasn't invented by politicians), the financial state of the country and level of civil strife (often effectively popularity among the barons, although they were often nasty pieces of work, so having them hate you might well indicate you were a more reasonable person). If you wanted to be terribly old-fashioned, politically incorrect and imperialistic you could include ability to kick the crap out of the Welsh/Scots/French/anyone the pope has said is fair game...Average Earthman 10:57, 30 Mar 2004 (UTC)

The truth is actually that though he had a lot of ill luck John was actually one of the best Angevin Kings or at least the most ruthless as J.C.Holt I think calls him. This can be seen through the fact that though he lost in Ireland in the 1180's he beat the Welsh and the Scottish and the was in which he ruled. He had one of the best administrations in Europe at that time and they were efficent. To understand why he had such bad luck and has such a lousy reputation we must in fact look to his father and brother Richard. His father Henry 2nd put down the barons rebellion of 1173 by taking their castles away and never giving them back. This came up again in Johns reign when the Barons were discontent. Fast forwarding to Richards reign and the troubles that he gave John. Firstly he bankrupted England building castles especally Castle Gaillard I think its spelt in Normandy. This meant that when John came to the throne and Philip attacked he didn't have the money to fight back whilst Philip who had used Richards money to go on the crusade rather than his own had much more money to fight him hence he won really. Even W.L.Warren who is not too kind to John admits that Richard wouldn't have been able to hold Normandy. Also the hearts of the Normans and the Aquatainians weren't really with the Angevins even during Henry 2nds reign the Norman like for their dukes was beginning to wane. They went down even further with Richard taking so much money from them and so when Philip broke through their borders in 1203/4 all most all of them surendered immediatly including alot of the castles. Further more he managed to stand up to the Pope all through the interdict, something Philp hadn't been able to do. England only became a Papal state because JOhn gave it to him willingly. It it thought that he did this to aleaviate some of his responsibilities to the Pope. This shows that though he was very inconsistant and unlike his father lacked winners gace 'He couldn't help but kick a man when he was down' he was ruthless and goverened well if just a little too harsh. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tjm6169 (talkcontribs) 11:33, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

I've changed the bit about 'threatened French invasion'. It wasn't just threatened, Louis (and his baronial supporters) had control of London at the time. It was when John died that the barons decided they'd rather have the infant Henry on the throne than Louis, and switched sides. Average Earthman 11:26, 30 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I think more needs to be written about this. Not necessarily in this article. I think few people, even people with a reasonable knowledge of history, are aware of this succesful invasion by the French. Mintguy (T) 12:32, 31 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Because it doesn't count :-) He only came because of the backing of the barons (without whom you don't have an army), and he got kicked out pretty sharpish when he lost it. And he never got much of the country (including Dover IIRC) The Dutch don't claim to have successfully invaded the British Isles because William of Orange got the throne... Average Earthman 12:57, 31 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Well it's a moot point. The English army deserted to Wiliam's side. How much fighting occured after Louis landed? Louis harldy ever gets a mention. He's a missing pretender. Mintguy (T)

The DOB has been changed to 1166 by - however, although both 1166 and 1167 are reported by Google, 1167 is the date used on the official British royal family webpage. Is there an original 12th century cite out there to determine which date is correct?Average Earthman 09:47, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)

1167 is impossible for one good reason -- King Henry and Queen Eleanor weren't together in March 1167, when John would have to have been conceived! They were, however, together in March 1166. Also, John was born in England on or around Christmas, and Henry and Eleanor spent Christmas 1167 together at Argentan in Normandy. Missi

The only way the 1167 birth date is possible is if Henry II wasn't Johns father. But it seems unlikely because Eleanor was a very honest woman and no affairs are ever recorded.

I removed one the images, a portrait from 1902, because A) it's probably not a very accurate depiction of the man, and B) the article is already rather picture-heavy. If the article grows some more, I'd support it being added back just to demonstrate historical depictions of him outside of his own time, as a minor point of interest, but I definitely don't think it needs to go at the top by the intro. Everyking 17:30, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Well, it's been replaced now. I think we should give precedence to images of a person from his or her own time to portraits done 700 years later, but I suppose that isn't how it shall be. Everyking 19:48, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

hey dude...this page is sweet!!

I'm a bit confused as to why the page is title John of England - I've never heard of King John referred to in this way.

It's the standard way in which we name articles on monarchs. See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (names and titles)#Monarchical_titles.
James F. (talk) 06:14, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Heh, could King John have been the inspiration for the Burger King of the Burger King Kingdom? He did kinda look like him, at least according to that illustration.

I've found documentation for two more illegitimate children! John was certainly a busy fellow. Besides his five legitimate offspring, he had at least twelve bastards by various and sundry women. At this rate, he's going to catch up with his notoriously fertile great-grandfather, Henry I of England, soon. John's illegitimate children I have found documentation for are:

  1. Richard ("Ricardus de Warenn' filius regis Johannis"), Curia Rolls
  2. Joan ("Johannes Rex anglie solutus te genuerit de soluta"), Register of Honorius III
  3. Oliver. Painter, S. Reign of King John, 1904
  4. Osbert. Painter, S. Reign of King John, 1904
  5. John. Painter, S. Reign of King John, 1904
  6. Henry ("Henricum filium le Rey"). Curia Rolls, Memoranda Roll, Pipe Rolls
  7. Eudes ("Eudoni filio regis"). Calendar Liberate Rolls, Cartulary of Launceston Priory
  8. Bartholomew. Calendar of Papal Registers
  9. Geoffrey ("Gaufrido filio nostro"). Curia Rolls
  10. Maud ("Dame Maud la file le Roy Jon"). Monasticon Anglicanum
  11. Isabel ("filie Regis Joh'is"). Herald and Genealogist 7, 1873
  12. Philip ("Philippum Fitz Le Rey"). Saltzman, L.F. Abstract of Feet of Fines Relating to the County of Sussex, 1908.

Missi 10:24, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I don't know anything editing, so I don't think I should attempt to fix this myself, especially since the portion in question is hyperlinked. But I did notice an error in this article:
The canon of Laon, writing a century later, states John was named after Saint John the Baptist, on whose feast day (December 27) he was born.
December 27 is the feast day of Saint John the Evangelist, not St. John the Baptist. That would be June 24. Perhaps the error lies with the original source (the canon of Laon), but it's an error nonetheless.

    • The quote from the chronicle in question, Chronicon universale anonymi Laudunensis, is: "quia circa festum beati Johannis natus fuit, Johannem eum appellaverunt" (John was named after the sainted John, because he had been born on the saint's feast day). St. John the Baptist's feast day was June 24, called "summer St. John's day", while St. John the Evangelist's feast day was December 27 called "winter St. John's day". We know John was born late in 1166, probably around Christmastime -- Queen Eleanor did not attend the Christmas court at Poitou that year, and instead stayed in England. This is understandable if she was heavily pregnant and had no wish to risk a winter crossing of the Channel. I must have confused the two saints John, and will correct in the article. Missi

First Marriage[edit]

The article says King John first married Avisa or Isabella, these being alternate names of a daughter of William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester. However, that page suggests that Isabella and Avisa were different daughters, and that it was Isabella who married the youg John. It also says that later, Isabella married Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent. But that page says Hubert married "Avisa... ex-wife of King John of England"!! I'm confused! ::Supergolden:: 10:14, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Lopsided nature of article[edit]

Given the immense body of scholarly work on John's reign, and the importance of the loss of Normandy and Magna Carta to English history, how come so much of the article is about literacy?

Because to be fair if we look at Magna Carta in its actual contxt then it really should have had no effect on the world. Contrary to how the Americans view it it was not a document of liberty as it gave liberty to only the Barons. When John signed it in 1215 he was signing it believing it to be a peace treaty. There was an artical (no'61) with in it that he could never accept and the Barons knew this, it stated that there wuld be a council of 25 knights whose job it would be to keep the king in check meaning that in effect they were above the King and this would be impossible for even the barons to accept under feudal law (which was in fact never writen down and in fact John when he levied all his taxes was merely using it to his advantage than going against them this is shown by one of the Chronicles as the writer studied law at boulogne and unlike the other chronicles never says anything about John using his administration to do anything illegal indicating that he was working with in his boundaries). John signed it hoping that this bit would be ignored (which in the end it was) and hoping that it would bring peace. It didn't the Barons had writen it up with the help of Steven Langton (though he didn't know it) to try and trap John. They hoped that he would react to it and hence give them a reason to rebel and gain power. Shown by the fact that they rebelled any way after John had signed it. So looking at it in context it had no more importance to history as it should have been than say the treaty of London i.e. of no importance but because of outside events in the Magna Carta's case Whig historians, it gained an importance it shouldn't have had. The power that it gained wasn't gained till well after his death as during the last part of his life it was all but forgotten, hence it doesn't feature much in this article. Litteracy however features prominently with in the article because at that time because up untill Henry 2nd Kings weren't generally literate and he forced his children to be taught so it was quite a strange thing. It is also important as if you were to look at the records that John kept and looked at his particulary in the margines of the court cases you will often see his hand where he has looked at a case involving children and you will find that he has reversed the charges claiming usually that they are younger than the age of reason. If he were illiterate and uneducated then he wouldn't have been able to do this nor keep such a good government. Hence his being able to write it quite important. Also sorry last thing, most of the scholarly work you're talking about comes from the chronices and to pull one out, Roger of Wendover, many of them weren't writing about John till after his death Roger didn't put pen to paper till 1225 or there abouts and Matthew of Paris till about 50 years after his death. So really the chroincles whilst they give us a more popular oppinion (though not interms of the peasents and workers who seemed to have liked him) tend to tell the gossip and such of John of which most of it seems to be unfounded. They say the loss of Normandy was due to his spending time with his wife telling his barons 'let him take my land I shall have it back one day', this is unture. To see what he was really up to we must look at the records which tell us where and what he was doing and for a lot of the time what Normandy was being lost he was in England not enjoying his wife (who at this point in time was only about 13 and he didn't acually cohabit with her it seems till she was a fair bit older) but going around the country collecting money. The article however seems to leave out alot about the records and focuses on the chronicles which cannot be entirely trusted except in so far as sensationalist papers today can be trusted and in many cases even less than them as they had very little access to the royal court the only chronicle that had anything close to this was the Margam Annals which were founded by William and Mathilda De Briouze who were close to John as any one was till 1208 when he hounded down and effectvily killed them. Sorry i've gone on lol just there's alot of background that needs to be explained to understand John most of before his coming to the throne. :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tjm6169 (talkcontribs) 10:57, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Can we please dispense with the all-too-frequent statements I find that say words to the effect "the Americans think" or "the republican Americans would like this" or, as stated above, "contrary to how the Americans view it". We do not all think the same, or know the same history, or have the same beliefs or misconception. I don't see Americans writing, "all the Brits think..." or "all the French believe..." so let's not make blanket statements about nationalities or peoples. They're usually not true anyway. RockStarSheister (talk) 06:55, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Lost crown jewels (Life, subsection Death)[edit]

From "One persistent legend is that he lost all his baggage train, including the Crown jewels in the marshy area known as the Wash in the county of Norfolk." The article treats this well-known story as fact. Is it? David Watson 19:28, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Well, the loss of some of John's treasures (but not necessarily the Crown jewels) is supposedly attested in Roger of Wendover's Flores Historiarum; that would probably be a good place to start checking. Choess 20:17, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Henry III had to be crowned with a bracelet, because the crown and adornments were lost in the Wash, that is correct --Tefalstar 19:39, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
We're not really sure exactly what Henry III was crowned with, but it was something belonging to his mother - it's been referred to as a circlet, a necklace, and even a "collar." At any rate, it was most certainly not St Edward's crown or even any "official" item belonging to the monarchy. He was crowned again later, but the main idea was to get SOMETHING on his head quickly so he could be proclaimed as the "crowned king of England." You see this often in the Plantagenet, Norman, and even pre-Conquest history, that he who got crowned first was one up on any other contenders. History Lunatic (talk) 20:46, 20 January 2013 (UTC)History Lunatic

Trivia: Bathing[edit]

I am bothered by the entry on John's baths in the trivia section. First, if those payments for baths every three weeks indicate "an elaborate and ceremonial affair," this implies (to me, at least) that these were not his basic baths, but rather something extra-ordinary. Logically, the statement as it stands does not hold. Second (and this is one of my pet peeves), bathing in the middle ages is not the same as it is today (and anyhow, how many people take a bath, in a tub, every day anymore?) - it meant going to a public bathhouse (often the equivalent of a modern "massage parlor"). It was more of a social event than just washing, and may have been like today's swimming pools (or swimming baths, as I have seen them called in England). As for the monks, of course they're not going to bathe frequently - in part because of the association of "bathing" with vice, and second, foregoing regular cleaning (at the baths or no) was part of their ascetic regime.

I suggest amending the entry to "According to records of payment made to King John's bath attendant, William Aquarius, the king bathed on average about once every three weeks, which cost a considerable sum of 5d to 6d each, suggesting an elaborate and ceremonial affair." It shortens the passage, eliminates problematic modern views, and emphasizes the special nature of the occassion. If anyone objects to the edit, please state why. Otherwise, if there is no further comment, I will make my suggested edit.

Ibnsanjil 22:47, 22 October 2006 (UTC)ibnsanjil

Because Bath houses died out with the Romans in england and so any bathing that would have gone on would have most likely have been done in private and if it comes from the records then it is safe to say that John had a bath every three weeks then. And as for monks John wasn't a monk and so his bathings will have been different. I believe that he would have bathed every three weeks because records show that he gave alot of money to his courtiers for them to look nice and took great pride in appearances. If this is so then it is likely that he did have a bath every three weeks.

1166 vs 1167[edit]

I agree that 1166 is probably the year of John's birth, especially if it was immediately before Christmas. Apparently, until the 14th century (1301-1400), the new year began on December 25 (the calendar was, from 1100 to 1299, seven days slow compared to the Gregorian calendar yet to be enacted, so if Gregorian had been in effect, December 24, 1166 Julian would have been December 31, 1167 Gregorian, with the new year starting on December 25). As of sometime in the 14th century, New Year moved to March 25, before changing to January 1 starting in 1753.

Thus, if John was born on December 24, he was born the day before 1166 ended, and if he was born after 6 p.m., it would have been December 25, 1167. GBC 02:28, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Actually, the new year began around Easter or 25 March. The arguments presented in prior sections, however, substantiate the 1166 birth.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 07:35, 18 January 2011 (UTC)


King John spoke French, born to parents born in France, and raised in French culture. Then wouldn't he have himself spelled his name Jean supposing he was literate? (I'm not asking for an argument I'd just like a simple answer with a reason why) -Working for Him 02:45, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

The usual spelling in French/Anglo-Norman was Iehan or Jehan. In Latin it was Iohannes or Johannes. He himself would have used forms like these in writing (others will know whether he actually did or not). As regards the article title, the English Wikipedia adopts the form currently (nowadays) used in English, so we have no problem. It would, no doubt, be appropriate to mention these medieval forms of the name somewhere in the article. Andrew Dalby 10:41, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Yeah but he had an english eduacation.So I supposed it isn't that strange that he spelled his name the english way! carla godfrey

Dispute with Arthur [I?][edit]

Arthur is called "I" in the heading (but nowhere else). He's Arthur I, Duke of Brittany, but the numeral isn't mentioned anywhere else in the article, so it looks funny in the heading. I've deleted it.Eldred 17:31, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

'the conflict with arthur had fatal consequences' is a VERY unusual statement. exactly what the hell does that mean? that it was a bad thing?i think we can take that for granted. that at least one person died as a result? likewise. it needs,at the very least, clarification, or, better still, to just be removed. this is an encyclopaedia, not an historical novel.Toyokuni3 (talk) 16:13, 7 June 2009 (UTC)


I am not really interested in the dispute about the birth year. Could we just say it is disputed, or "in 1167 or 1168" and leave it at that? New user here, hope I did this right. SedatedGodzilla 01:47, 15 June 2007 (UTC) = Since no one appears to object, I took out the birth year argument as it is somewhat distracting. If the author re-edited it in, I think it could be a topic further down in the article. SedatedGodzilla 16:09, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Here is the removed text for consideration:
King Henry and Queen Eleanor were not together nine months prior to December 1167, but they were together in March 1166. Also, John was born at Oxford on or near Christmas, but Eleanor and Henry spent Christmas 1167 in Normandy. The canon of Laon, writing a century later, states John was named after Saint John the Apostle, on whose feast day (27 December) he was born. Ralph of Diceto also states that John was born in 1166, and that Queen Eleanor named him. Eleanor was 44 years old at the time.
--Old Moonraker 16:22, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Guy de Lusignan and Isabella of Angoulême[edit]

In 1202, John was summoned to the French court to answer the charges one of which was his marriage to Isobel of Angouleme who was already engaged to Guy de Lusignan.

Shouldn't it be Hugh X of Lusignan? It says on both Isabella's page and Hugh's page that it was him or Hugh XI. Moreover, wasn't Guy de Lusignan dead for a few years in 1200/1202?

--Nakedophelia 23:38, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Robin Hood[edit]

I've changed "reworking of the legend of Hereward the Wake into Robin Hood, originally set 100 years before John's time" to "reworking of the legend of Robin Hood". The latter is accurate: the Robin Hood legend existed long before John was introduced into it, but he became a character as it was reworked. The former's assumption that Robin was in origin based wholly or largely on Hereward is at best massively POV and in my view downright inaccurate (Hereward's legend was certainly an influence, but that's a very different matter from being the principal source). The earliest references to Robin appear to be set AFTER John's time.

Further: the claim that schoolchildren used to be taught that Robin prevented John from embezzling Richard's ransom is extremely dubious. The ransom connection does not appear in fiction until the twentieth century, so far as I'm aware (and I've read a lot of Robin Hood literature), and I've never heard before of any school textbook describing Robin as real. In fact I think I'll remove it - if anybody can provide a citation for this claim they're welcome to reinstate it.

Pipe Rolls[edit]

This article credits John and his councillors with the creation of the Pipe Rolls; however, weren't the Pipe Rolls already in use much earlier, as far earlier as the 1130s? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:21, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes but they were very broken and not used in the way that John used them i.e. they were a bit crap, he changed the way in which they were writen and organised and, the biggest change, made sure that they were used and coppied so that he had one set and Westminster had the other. This meant that unlike before his reign the Pipe rolls survive almost completely —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tjm6169 (talkcontribs) 11:07, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was No consensus. --WoohookittyWoohoo! 10:56, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Requested move (old)[edit]

There has been considerable discussion on WT:NCNT about what we should do about monarchs who are commonly called by name alone, without Roman numeral. We have been calling this king John of England, but several users want to change to John, King of England for clarity. What does the wider community think?

Survey (old)[edit]

  • Weak support John of England sounds like a monk, like Matthew of Paris. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:47, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Incredibly weak mewling oppose John of England doesn't quite sound right, but neither does 'John, King of England', sounds a bit too...well...I can hear Brian Blessed saying it in my head, so, sticking with the guideline/MOS/thingy Narson (talk) 14:17, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Weak support, being as he's the only King John of England; although, I'm also content with John of England. -- GoodDay (talk) 16:43, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, because while I never thought of the name as the same sort of thing as Matthew of Paris, now that it's mentioned, I can't get it out of my head. And the image of John as a monk is just... wow. Almost nightmare time there. Ealdgyth | Talk 00:49, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Respectfully oppose. I can see the arguments on both sides but similar discussions have taken place at Richard I of England and Victoria of the United Kingdom and no consensus was reached for change to the current standard, which this article's name follows. As an aside, 'John of England' may not be ideal but I for one don't get visions of monks in my head when I hear it...! Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 03:15, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Support. We have Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor and Louis V, Elector Palatine, but John of England. That's silly: neither consistent, nor in line with usual indexing practices, nor even very clear to readers. Henry IV of England and all the rest are equally bad, but half a loaf, or even a few crumbs, is better than no bread at all. Angus McLellan (Talk) 23:59, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, not really because John has no ordinal but to enforce winning side of survey on Wikipedia talk:NCNT. And for everyone who cites the guidelines as reason to oppose, I will drown one sanity kitten. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 04:22, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I thought, from recent changes to the wording of the conventions, that we had settled on allowing John I of England, which I can just about accept. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Deb (talkcontribs)
  • Can you point to an example of the usage you propose in print, in English? I'm with PMA, only more so: your proposed title is a barbarism. "John, King of England", on the other hand, is good enough for the Library of Congress and the British Library, among others. Angus McLellan (Talk) 18:50, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose as it is within the guidelines. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 16:14, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
    There goes one kitten. R.I.P. Mittens! Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 16:22, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose I do not support creating exceptions on the basis of the lack of an ordinal. Charles 20:41, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Discussion (old)[edit]

This is in part a test vote, to see if a change of guidance would be supported by consensus. This is how we got here:

We now use Henry IV of England and Henry IV of France to disambiguate them. There is an argument that that should be changed, but that is another discussion. John of England is a mechanical application of this rule.


Should this move, however it is decided, be precedent for a general rule?

Which general rule depends on what we decide here, and how strongly. But should we decide this minor issue by a rule at all?

I'm really not sure, which is one reason I support weakly. This move would, I think, be worth it. On the other hand, Samuil of Bulgaria may be clear enough, (although he should have an e, as has been requested here); we have so few names of Bulgarians; so it's not clear that this should be a rule for all such cases. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 04:54, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

I think the result here should be adopted as a general rule for all lone-named monarchs. Keeping in mind though, different editors are involved with different monarch articles & so naturally differance of opinon on naming will arise. GoodDay (talk) 16:47, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Fourth Child[edit]

I have the documentary that was showed on Discovery Channel that CLEARLY says that King John was the fourth child, not fifth as stated in the article. Also, it says that he was born on Christmas Eve, on 1167, not Dec.24.1166. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:20, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

The confusion comes from the difference between "fourth child" and "fourth surviving child". Henry II's first son, William, died in infancy, but the next four survived to full age. John was therefore the fifth son, but the fourth surviving son. There were also at least three daughters, so all together he was the eight child; Discovery Channel is at best imprecise, at worst flat out wrong. The correct birth date is indeed 24 December 1167. Lampman (talk) 13:32, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Re: Legacy[edit]

Does anyone else think it worthy of note that one of the most common male names in the English language - John - was completely retired after Lackland and never used again? Seems to be an indication of how poorly he is viewed. - (talk) 18:39, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Claimants and members of the family were called John afterwards, it was just a coincidence of the line that certain names like Edward and Henry are often used and those of John and Stephen are not. --Tefalstar (talk) 19:03, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Lionheart - only used later?[edit]

The line '(known in later times as "Richard the Lionheart")' is at variance with Richard's own article, which says he was called that even before his own accession, let alone before his death and John's accession. I propose that we drop the "later times" business. Chris the speller (talk) 17:05, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Lionheart was used at least by his death, probably even before his coronation, so the later times thing should be dropped yes. --Tefalstar (talk) 19:01, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Date of death[edit]

Firstly, we’re being inconsistent. In the lead we say he died on "19 October" (with a footnote); in the Death section we say it was "18 October (or possibly 19 October)". So that needs to be sorted out. Better to be consistently inaccurate than speaking with 2 voices.

But it seems we can’t really pin it down to an exact date in any case, since the precise time he died during the night of 18/19 October wasn’t recorded. I think it’s best to stick to the known facts, and say "18/19 October" throughout the article, rather than arbitrarily picking one date for one section and a different date for a different section. -- JackofOz (talk) 04:42, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Seventeenth century image[edit]

The newly added seventeenth century "artist's impression" has no authenticity or historical validity: in fact having an "old-looking" picture in the infobox is actually misleading. The image it replaced may be equally fanciful but it has historical relevance and validity and is therefore of greater encyclopaedic value: it's from the correct era (reproduced from Henry of Huntingdon's Historia Anglorum of 1250-59) and could, by a stretch of the imagination, be a likeness. For historical authenticity the contemporary version should be reinstated. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:26, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

No complaints? Done. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:46, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
something seems seriously amiss with this attribution. the article on henry of huntingdon gives his dates as 1080-1160, and the date of completion for the last volume (of 8) of the historia to be between 1154 and says the last topic dealt with is the death of stephen. am i missing something?Toyokuni3 (talk) 05:46, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Fixed link. Thanks for pointing this out! --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:44, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

John and the NIMBYs[edit]

I read a story "some time ago" that there was a village whose inhabitants did not wish John to build a palace there and pretended to be so stupid he/his advisors decided to go elsewhere. Can someone provide more detail? Jackiespeel (talk) 18:41, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Here's the story. --Old Moonraker (talk) 08:52, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

is cool —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:30, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Scare quotes[edit]

Why does 'an early step in the evolution of limited government' in reference to the Magna Carta appear with scare quotes? See WP:INDCRIT for an explanation of why this is likely wrong. patsw (talk) 23:31, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

removed. patsw (talk) 23:59, 9 June 2010 (UTC)


Was in Worcester Cathedral earlier today & I discussed the slightly macabre isue of the removal of his corpse from Newark to Worcester. Both of us agreed that he probably would have beeen er er not in the most prisine condition when he arrived (even with lead-lined coffin). The guide said that his entrails were removed to an abbey near Newark where they were buried and only the shell of the body shipped to Worcester. Anyone know the truth of this? Which abbey? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:00, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

You probably already know or no longer care but they went to Croxton. Davedeslave (talk) 01:30, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Page moved to John, King of England  Ronhjones  (Talk) 21:54, 30 September 2010 (UTC)


John of EnglandJohn Lackland — According to an ongoing discussion here, the current title is a problem that must be resolved. I suggest that if it was good enough for Kate Norgate's biography of the subject, it's good enough for Wikipedia. (A previous request to re-title it "John, King of England" failed.) Srnec (talk) 22:16, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Is there any objection to refactoring this request so as not to specify a target name? (Since Lackland as currently proposed seems to have the proverbial snowball's chance, while consensus actually seems to be developing around the totallly different John, King of England.)--Kotniski (talk) 09:08, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
I object on the grounds that I'm not sure what refactoring a request means. If you want to make another move request that's your prerogative. PatGallacher (talk) 10:09, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
All right, close this one and open a new one without specifying a particular title (or specifying "John, King of England", since that seems to be by far the most likely contender).--Kotniski (talk) 10:22, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Or never mind, we can just leave the two sections of !votes as we already have - I think it will be clear enough.--Kotniski (talk) 06:19, 10 September 2010 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.

Re the proposal to rename to John Lackland[edit]

  • Oppose John Lackland, although some people will have come across it, is not a particularly common cognomen. I suspect this is an artificial attempt to get round the "name of country" standard form for monarchs with no regnal number, I am happy to leave them there, but even if we don't we need to find a better approach than this, digging up any old cognomen. Take it to WP:NCROY talk page. PatGallacher (talk) 22:40, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose as too obscure outside of the specialist field. "John of England" is in the standard form for WP articles dealing with historical monarchs and consistency of style in an encyclopedia is a virtue. --Old Moonraker (talk) 05:59, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Except it's not when it becomes grossly inconsistent with what the real world does (see my comments below; I agree with you about Lackland though).--Kotniski (talk) 06:17, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
"John, King of England", as suggested by User:john k, wouldn't defy the convention too greatly. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:55, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose John Lackland, there's no way that could be considered the current common name of the guy who is mainly famous for signing the Magna Carta and for being one of Robin Hood's enemies in modern fiction. In both of these contexts the name John Lackland is obscure, so frankly this proposal is laughable. Agree that the current title is not ideal, it's not the common name in either context, either, but Lackland is far, far worse. Andrewa (talk) 16:03, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
    Pardon me for not reading enough Robin Hood fiction to know that this nickname is unused there. But see here and here. I don't believe it is obscure at all. Or are these sources obscure or too academic? Srnec (talk) 18:20, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
    See reply below. Andrewa (talk) 03:24, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Not the most recognized name for this individual, most people would search for "King John," "Prince John," or "John of England" rather than "John Lackland." While "John Lackland" is not as obscure as some posters above imply (a google search brings up a host of hits for King John), it is not the standard reference term. For the little it is worth, I asked three college educated friends who "John Lackland" was and they all guessed he was some modern politician or actor with the surname "Lackland." (Before someone says that these three are stupid, two of them knew the fairly obscure fact that U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's full name was "Thomas Woodrow Wilson.") Ultimately, "John of England" accurately describes the subject of the article and I see no good reason to move it. Johnwilliammiller (talk) 07:29, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, the fact that he's very rarely called that, and that it excludes the key word "King" that tells the public who the article subject is. If you don't have a mind tuned in to Wikipedia's idiosyncratic naming conventions, "John of England" could equally well refer to - well, me.--Kotniski (talk) 09:05, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Your proposal of "John King of England" could equally refer to an individual named "John King" who comes from England. "John King" is actually a fairly common name. The subject of this article is rarely called "John King of England." The more usual reference is to King John or Prince John (due to the Robin Hood connection). The question is whether the article should be renamed. We have a disambiguation page for King John and a redirect to this page under King John of England. A redirect from John, King of England or/and John King of England could also be created if you really think that would help people find the article. I remain of the belief that there is no good reason to move the article. Articles on kings are routinely listed under reign name followed by the country they ruled. "John of England" fits the pattern. Johnwilliammiller (talk) 06:25, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, and the pattern is wrong, for the reasons we keep stating (basically that it flies in the face of any kind of usage). Certainly this article isn't the only one whose article needs changing for the same reason. (And no-one's suggesting "John King..." without a comma.)--Kotniski (talk) 07:19, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose, as nicknames should be avoided. GoodDay (talk) 22:52, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
  • I am not a big fan of this proposed move. I don't like the current title, but I'd much prefer a move to John, King of England. Why are you doing this, rather than participating in the discussion at WP:NCROY? john k (talk) 22:30, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
    Because (i) I can't decide what to say at WP:NCROY, otherwise I would, and (ii) I don't think a consensus for change will be achieved in that venue, but since I believe even supporters of the current guidelines consider them suboptimal with respect to John et al., I thought I'd try to alleviate the problem as much as I could for now. I am not going to propose any moves that I don't actually support, however. Srnec (talk) 22:36, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
    I'm not a big fan of ad hoc solutions like finding not terribly well known nicknames and using them because we're "allowed" to use nicknames under NCROY but not the "X, King of Y" format. If John Lackland, why not Henry Beauclerc or Richard the Lion Heart or Edward Longshanks or Henry Bolingbroke? It's because those all have ordinals that work well, while John doesn't. Ideally, we should devise a system that works for all cases, not just cases where there happen to be minimally acceptable nicknames. john k (talk) 22:44, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
    I can honestly say that I thought this nickname was quite common. But I don't read too much English history. The present system "works" for all cases, even if the solutions are not preferred by everybody. (The same can be said of alternative systems.) Srnec (talk) 23:05, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
    It's not totally obscure, but I don't think it's that widely used either. I don't think it makes much sense to move this article when we haven't done so for much more common cognomens like Frederick the Great. john k (talk) 23:42, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose I guess I'd better make my "vote" clear. The name "Lackland" is not longer in much scholarly use, as it's a vestige of the age when English historians attempted to promote the use of nifty nicknames for most of the English monarchs. Most didn't take. Ealdgyth - Talk 11:40, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Re John, King of England or other possible titles[edit]

  • Support John, King of England first. Support John Lackland second, but don't believe the nickname is well established enough. Do think William I the Conqueror and William II Rufus are well established enough. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 22:40, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Prefer John, King of England, and really think John Lackland ... lacks. Althought Norgate may have used it...that was over a hundred years ago. Usually he's "King John", full stop, in works today. That's what Church, Turner and Warren call their works on him. Ealdgyth - Talk 22:57, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Support any of (in order of preference): King John - John, King of England - John (king of England) - King John of England. Definitely not the present title, and not Lackland either. This is a very well-known historical figure; the article needs a title that tells every reader who it's about, and doesn't lie to the reader about what he's usually called. --Kotniski (talk) 05:44, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
    • Comment: I would strongly oppose moving the article to King John. The page titled "King John" lists the names of four kings named John - that alone would be enough, but one also has to consider all the Johns that had monarchical ordinals. Two Johns of France, two Johns of Castile, two Johns of Aragon, six Johns of Portugal, three Johns of Poland, three Johns of Sweden, etc. Each of them is "King John". I highly doubt that John Lackland is called "King John" so exclusively that we should ignore his cca 23 namesakes. I also doubt that the case can be compared to Queen Victoria's (in case somebody would want to compare it); there have been only two queens named Victoria besides the British monarch and one of them is always referred to as an empress. That being said, I believe the proposed title is the best alternative to John of England. Surtsicna (talk) 13:43, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I actually do believe that this John is the primary topic for "King John". We could do one of those experiments if you like, but my intuitive feeling is that well over 50% (probably more like 90%) of users of English Wikipedia typing in "King John" are looking for the one that every English-speaking schoolchild (hopefully) learns about under that name. There are many other kings called John, true - but there are many Michael Jacksons too, and that doesn't stop us identifying one of them as primary.--Kotniski (talk) 14:30, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
That could be an example of systemic bias (see WP:BIAS). Scotland also had a King John, so it could be controversial to say that every English-speaking schoolchild ought to be taught that the English king is the primary meaning. PatGallacher (talk) 15:54, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
King John of Scotland is typically called "John Balliol", no? john k (talk) 16:26, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not saying (except in parenthetical asides) that anyone should be taught anything, particularly about primary meanings (unless we're educating them to be Wikipedia editors), just observing that this is the man I would empirically expect people to be searching for if they type "King John" in the search box. (That doesn't mean "King John" has to be the article title, but it would at least make that title available.)--Kotniski (talk) 16:35, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, John; I was surprised to see "John of Scotland" rather than "John Balliol". DrKiernan (talk) 10:18, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Support "John, King of England" as the clearest, shortest, unambiguous article name. DrKiernan (talk) 10:18, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose any move. "John of England" follows the pattern of names used for monarchs. If you change this article to "John, King of England" there will be a demand to move all the other monarch articles to "Name, Title." There are enough battles on wikipedia already, we don't need to start another one. Add a redirect at "John, King of England" to match the one already at "King John of England." There is no compelling reason to make a change. Johnwilliammiller (talk) 06:32, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, such a wholesale change is badly needed, and would be a Good Thing. Not necessarily for all monarchs, but certainly for those which have no numeral, like this John. There is a compelling reason for this change - the fact that the titles we give these articles are not normal usage and not even readily recognizable as referring to the people they refer to - they both confuse and misinform our readers.--Kotniski (talk) 07:24, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I don't like the way this has been refactored, since it is not clear what people are voting for. I'd hate to be the admin who has to close this one. I oppose a move to "John, King of England" unless the guidelines are changed first. I support my own proposal. Srnec (talk) 21:18, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment I am also unhappy with this discussion. It may be confusing some people, what are we discussing? I also oppose "John, King of England", not sufficient justification to deviate from the naming conventions, I think some people are adopting a strategy of guerilla warfare against these conventions. PatGallacher (talk) 21:28, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose In agreement with what I take to be the sense of PatGallacher's comment above, if there is a problem with the naming conventions, change them first and then bring articles into compliance. Personally, I do not agree with the argument that there is some sort of crisis with regard to the naming of "numberless rulers." Just my 2 cents. AaronTheTypoWarrior (talk) 06:57, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
There is a currently a move to change the relevant naming conventions - but recent past discussion has shown there is really no consensus (probably not even a majority) in favour of the current convention for monarchs of this type, so really we have no business following it, especially when it gives absurd results. Can you not address the substance of people's objections to the current title - that it promotes a very rarely used and hard-to-recognize name so as to give the impression that it's some sort of common or "proper" name?--Kotniski (talk) 08:45, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
After reading over this discussion, your comments addressed to anyone who disagrees with you, your other proposed moves, comments on other articles, etc., your argument seems to be that "John I of England" would be an acceptable article title but that "John of England" is "a very rarely used and hard-to-recognize name." So you maintain that an average person can recognize that "John I of England" is a king but will be bewildered if confronted with 'John of England." I think you underestimate people's intelligence." As a practical matter, if you type your suggested name (John, King of England) into the search window you will be redirected to this article. Are you suggesting that a person will type "John, King of England" into the search window and upon reaching the page name "John of England" become confused, unable to recognize that they have reached the page they were seeking, and give-up? If that is the case, I strongly disagree. Most people searching for "John, King of England" and being re-directed to "John of England" will assume that the redirect happened for a reason. It then takes but a second to look at the page and realize they are in the right place. There is no problem. As for promoting the idea that "John of England" is "some sort of common or 'proper' name," well none of the names proposed are proper. John spoke French as did almost everyone with whom he interacted. Legal documents were written in Latin. Hence it is extremely unlikely that John ever called himself or heard himself called by the English title "King of England." None of the proposed names are "proper" since they are not what John used. Whatever name is just will be misleading because it will lead 21st century readers to believe that a name chosen by modern people was actually used 800 years ago. (By the way, you do realize that Henry II of England was never called Henry II in his lifetime. The article named Henry II of England is promoting a name that is not proper.) As far as a "common name" is concerned, there is no such thing for John. There are some two dozen names regularly used for him including the name "John Lackland" that started this discussion. If you want to decide upon a common or proper name for John, the discussion will last forever. If it ever does end, someone else will come along in a few days and reopen the debate. As for the result of the naming conventions being "absurd" in John's case, that is a matter of opinion. In your opinion "John of England" is absurd. In my opinion it is absurd to argue about a "common or 'proper' name" for a man who died nearly 800 years ago. The only real issue is arranging the article so people can find it. That is accomplished by making sure the various names people might use are in the article so the search engine will pick them out, using redirects, and disambiguation pages. Since the wikipedia software requires that the article be at one page under one name with the others being redirects, the best solution for which name to use is to follow the naming conventions. The naming conventions produce a name which can be defended on the basis that it is the one dictated by the conventions. The alternative is to engage in endless debates to determine the "proper" name for someone who lived before the concept existed and a common name for a person who is commonly referred to be multiple names. You are seeking something that does not exist. Following the naming conventions offers the only hope that these debates might end and people might focus on the important work of improving the quality of articles. Frankly, this discussion is the exact reason why I walked away from wikipedia several years ago and why I will probably do so again. There are too many people who are convinced that they are right. On the question of names for historic figures, there is no right answer. They did not have birth certificates, driver's licenses, passports, credit cards, or any of the dozens of other documents that force ordinary 21st century people to have a single proper name and use it. Trying to pick out a proper name is just writing history backwards. I am sorry, we will never agree. You see "John of England" as a problem. To me the problem is endless, and pointless, arguments about renaming articles. (Look back over the history of biographical articles for royalty and see the number of times they have been moved.) Stop the insanity. I have to stop now and I do not have time to review this post, so that will make be cross all day. AaronTheTypoWarrior (talk) 10:58, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Very briefly: a "proper" name may be non-existent, but a "common" one is not - we can examine the sources to see what they call this man, and then tell readers what we've found. We want to present readers with facts about the world, not about Wikipedia conventions. (I only mentioned "proper" names because if a reader sees our title and knows it's not the common name, then the next thing he's likely to assume is that it is some sort of correct or official name.) If you think titles of articles don't matter (and they don't, much, as far as finding the articles is concerned) then don't worry about them, but that's no valid ground to oppose any proposed change.--Kotniski (talk) 11:08, 11 September 2010 (UTC)


Any additional comments:

From survey above: Pardon me for not reading enough Robin Hood fiction to know that this nickname is unused there. But see here and here. I don't believe it is obscure at all. Or are these sources obscure or too academic? Srnec (talk) 18:20, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't think it's especially obscure, it's just not especially widely used, either. john k (talk) 17:56, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

A quick look at the incoming links to this article shows that there are many fictional characters based on this historical character, to the point that these fictional representations are probably better known than the historical. See List of films and television series featuring Robin Hood for example... I just looked at those before 1960 and came up with the following that do feature him as a casted, on-screen character:

and if anything this public profile will have increased more recently on account of Prince John (Disney).

The only thing that rivals this enormous public profile as a fictional character is his involvement in the Magna Carta, and again in this context I think he's almost universally known as King John. Interested in other views on this last point, though. Andrewa (talk) 03:38, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't disagree. Are you suggesting that King John is an appropriate title for this article? With that I disagree. Srnec (talk) 04:00, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Unsure of the best article name as yet, but what I'm saying is that we can eliminate any variation of Lackland, which is unfortunate because if it did have greater usage it would answer an otherwise difficult question. On the positive side, the article name needs to include John and probably England explicitly, and King either explicitly or implicitly. It may even be that this article needs to be an exception to the normal naming conventions, as the circumstances of his fame and popular image are unusual, even unique. Andrewa (talk) 06:45, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Other important historical figures appear as legendary or fictionalized figures quite frequently. I'm not sure John is unique in that. (Cardinal Richelieu comes to mind as a figure similarly better known, among English-speakers at least, for his role in fiction than for his actual historical role.) The lack of the ordinal is the key annoying feature here. He shares it with other monarchs who are not particularly well known for their portrayal in fiction - Queen Anne, for instance. john k (talk) 18:02, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Most people here in England call him "King John". I see nothing wrong with John, King of England. "John of England" means nothing: there have been countless people named John here in England. I have only seen him called "John Lackland" once, and that was in an alternate history science-fiction publication. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 10:38, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Overuse of the word "King"[edit]

I count 45 instances of the word "king" in the main text of this article as of 9/11/2010. That does not count "king" when it appears in the titles of references or in the footnotes. I also excluded instances of "king" as part of another word such as "kingdom" or "kingly." Putting aside the ongoing debate about moving the article, it seems to me that using "king" so many times in such a short article is unnecessary. For instance, once King Henry II is introduced with his full title, would it not be adequate to refer to him as "Henry II" or just "Henry" in the rest of the article? The same point applies to other monarchs. In the case of King John, it really seems unnecessary to constantly to refer to him as "King John" when no other John is mentioned. The reader is not likely to think that a reference to "John" in an article about "John of England" is meant to indicate someone else. I realize that there are a few instances of "John" appearing without his title in this article but the vast majority of references read "King John." Normally, I would just start changing things, but in view of the current naming dispute, I thought it better to see if anyone would object to removing a few of the "king"s. I believe that would make the article read better. To be clear, I am not talking about removing every instance of the word “king,” just those where it is unnecessary for context or clarity. [I apologize for any typos, as I note on my talk page, I try to fix typos but that does not make me immune for creating a few myself.] AaronTheTypoWarrior (talk) 06:48, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm not seeing that many overuses of "King" - it seems he's mostly called John - but there are certainly a few instances where such improvements could be made (I'll do the one's that I spotted).--Kotniski (talk) 11:12, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
I certainly agree that he should normally just be called "John" in the text of the article. john k (talk) 14:19, 11 September 2010 (UTC)


I've gone through the article and given it a bit of an expansion and a thorough scrub for references etc. One of the features of the historical literature on John is the different interpretations given by different historians. I've tried to go for a balance of references from several of the key commentators, but I've also tried to avoid excessively quoting one historian against another; in places that's become unavoidable, because the interpretations are so different. The King John Conference held in 1997 (written up in King John: New Interpretations) seems to be the last major academic volume produced on John (other than reprints of existing works); I've tried to reference some more recent journal articles, but anything further would no doubt bring this article even further up to date. I'm sure it'll need a decent copy edit etc.Hchc2009 (talk) 10:37, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

I've removed the bit about "Here Be Dragons", as it isn't backed by a reliable published source ( isn't really such a source). Although John may be a character in "Here Be Dragons", none of the published books/articles I've seen written about John in popular culture makes any reference to these books as being particularly significant (NB: I'm happy to be proved wrong though). The books are in the lists in the sub-article Cultural depictions of John of England though. Hchc2009 (talk) 20:11, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:John, King of England/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Shimgray | talk | 10:02, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
I've been summoned away this afternoon, so I'll have to put off a full check of the content until later - I'll try to get it done tonight, though. Shimgray | talk | 14:25, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
...and that took longer than planned! A couple of minor notes:
  • According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, John was recognised as heir presumptive by 1197 and named as heir sometime early in 1199 - there's no mention of this in the text.
  • I really like the fact that you've included a footnote explaining that giving modern currency values would be silly! If only more editors were confident enough to do this :-)
  • Some more on his involvement with Wales,- Scotland & Ireland would be nice - it's not an essential requirement, but it's something that seems to be lacking in detail compared to other sections of the article. (Perhaps an avenue for future expansion?)
  • Overall, I think you give an appropriate amount of weight to Magna Carta in the article; we don't treat it as the single big event of his reign, which is good. However, I think a good chunk of people will be looking for it when skimming - would it be worth adjusting the headings so that it's explicitly mentioned in some way?
  • "Much of John's later reputation was established by two chroniclers writing after the king's death, Roger of Wendover and Matthew Paris." - I think it might be worth being explicit here that Wendover and Paris were both very negative about him; it's a bit ambiguous as it stands.
  • Otherwise, historiography all looks fair and balanced. The ODNB article tends to suggest that "he was a bad king after all" is gaining ground, but I think the current text gets this across with a bit more nuance.

Overall I don't think any of these changes are significant enough to hold up passing it; it's an excellent article and a pleasure to read. Shimgray | talk | 01:22, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Many thanks! I've just made a couple of those changes, and will fish out the reference books in a bit and tackle the others. Hchc2009 (talk) 10:11, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
Just covered off the 1197/9 bit - I think its less clear cut; Turner thinks that Richard was in the process of clarifying the succession before his death, and I've added this into the text. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:17, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Before he had issue who was his heir apparent?[edit]

Arthur? Eleanor? Henry of Palatine? I'd rather regard children of Geoffrey as his heir, at least their claims were better than any maternal grandson of King Henry II.Heinrich ⅩⅦ von Bayern (talk) 13:03, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

He did not have an heir apparent until his son was born. While Arthur and Eleanor had better claim than John himself according to standards that would be established much later, they were both imprisoned after John's accession and I doubt they were regarded as heirs presumptive. Henry of Bavaria, John's sororal nephew was living in England at that time and was probably de facto heir presumptive to the throne. Surtsicna (talk) 13:34, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
To be accurate, add something.... Before he had legitimate issue. In fact his relatively good treatment to Eleanor makes me doubt whether she was his heiress, and some other source suggests that "until the birth of a legitimate heir, a potential heiress to John, who might well have preferred her to the possibility of a Capetian succession via Blanche of Castille. In such circumstances he would have been unlikely to make an early and crude decision to confine her for life."Heinrich ⅩⅦ von Bayern (talk) 12:16, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Date of Coronation[edit]

During a history lesson one day i was looking up king John and i found this page. The page is mostly acurate but the year of his coronation clashed entirely with what my history teacher was saying . The page states that the year was 1166 and my teacher says 1199. I've checked lots of other websites about John and they all agree with my teacher. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zeddi123 (talkcontribs) 14:06, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

I think you may have misread the article; 1166 is the year John was born, which is what the article says. He was crowned in 1199 after the death of his brother, Richard the Lionheart. Nev1 (talk) 14:09, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Actually he was born in 1167 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zeddi123 (talkcontribs) 16:30, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

Slight grammar correction needed[edit]

In the section "Death", 1st paragraph, end of 7th line, there is a repetition of the verb, "to take". "Taking" would be preferable. "Took" is not needed and reads very awkwardly. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nfcopier (talkcontribs) 04:07, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Fixed, thanks. Using the {{edit semi-protected}} template makes a bigger splash on the talk page, but you shouldn't need one of these for long. --Old Moonraker (talk) 06:20, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Ditto, thanks! Hchc2009 (talk) 18:36, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

hanging data[edit]

In the section on the year 1199 there are a few sentences of disquisition on the uses of feudal vs mercenary forces but you never do anything with the information. If these were important factors in John's campaign, then say which type of forces he had and give the source. (talk) 23:01, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

I thought the final sentence, where it noted that the commanders were "drawing on larger numbers of mercenaries" covered this - do you think this needs to be drawn out further in the next paragraph? Hchc2009 (talk) 06:52, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Minor details[edit]

Robin Hood cannot have fought for King Richard and against King John as the longbow hadn't been invented at this early date. Richard usually fought with the sword or battle axe.

John also seems to have employed the first female english civil servant. This was one Florence who was resposible for laundering the kings clothes. As the usual reaction is to put on clean clothing after a bath so perhaps the three weekly bathing habits of King john may not seem too unlikely.

Is the description "Constitution of England" correct? The UK still doesn't have a constitution.AT Kunene (talk) 08:42, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Historians often talk about the "unwritten constitution" of the UK, as opposed to a "written constitution". I suspect that Florence may not have been the first servant employed by an English king. I don't think this article refers to the longbow. Hchc2009 (talk) 10:18, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

is it accurate to say that England lost Normandy[edit]

Is it accurate to say that England lost Normandy? It seems that after William the Conqueror and England was a possession of the Duke of Normandy, and not the opposite? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:15, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

Alternatively, after the invasion of Normandy in 1106 by the King of England, you could see it the other way around... :) It's the way the literature portrays it, anyway. Hchc2009 (talk) 06:41, 2 May 2011 (UTC)
The Kingdom of England were originally meant to be separated after William's death, with Normandy going to the Conqueror's first son Robert and England to the second son William II. When William II died, his younger brother Henry became king, since the oldest brother Robert was on a Crusade. Later, Henry, as King of England, reunited the duchy to the kingdom when he defeated his brother Robert in Normandy. Emerson 07 (talk) 10:34, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

Sheriff material...[edit]

Plucas58, I've removed the latest additions from the lead about John being the Sheriff of Somerset and Dorset for now. There are a couple of issues here:

  • A minor one: the lead shouldn't contain anything that's not also in the main text. In this case, incidentally, I'd argue that the sheriff point isn't significant to be in the lead and should only be in the main text.
  • The major point though is that the fact is not referenced. You'll need to explain the reliable source of where the information on this has come from (e.g. did it come from a book, or a reliable website, etc.?) There's some more information on how to do this here, but if you need any help with this, I'm very happy to assist - drop me a message either here on on my talk page. Hchc2009 (talk) 18:37, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Crossing the Wash[edit]

I have amended the para in the Death section of the Article, to read that John lost some of his baggage train while crossing one of the estuaries which empties into the Wash, and not while crossing the Wash itself, which no one has ever suggested he did. The exact estuary has never been identified, but is thought by most scholars to have been the Wellstream, now called the river Nene. ( (talk) 18:14, 16 June 2011 (UTC))


I've undone a good faith edit with the picture of the coin. The website it is from explicitly states that copyright belongs to Dirty Old Coins, LLC and that written consent from the company is required for reproduction of the image. You'll need to ensure that the copyright is released by the company and recorded on the image page before we can use it here. Judging by the user name, you may well be associated with the company, but the release authority would have to come from LLC itself as the company is claiming the copyright. Hchc2009 (talk) 16:36, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

The coin, labelled ″A silver King John penny″, has the name ″henri″ on it. Does the provider of this picture have another one with John′s name on it (or a good reason why John would mark henri on his coins)?AlexsandraSmart (talk) 17:30, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Might be worth your leaving a message on the uploader's talk page.Hchc2009 (talk) 17:53, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I've also left a message over at the Numismatics project page.Hchc2009 (talk) 18:59, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Mystery solved. Apparently all the English coins issued between 1189 and 1216 had Henry II's name on them (including Richard and John's coins). Hchc2009 (talk) 16:23, 12 November 2011 (UTC)


Couple of queries.

  • My understanding is that the effigy isn't contemporary either - Danziger and Gillingham date it to the 1230s. Do you think it is more likely to be an accurate reflection of him? (NB: I'm not necessarily disagreeing!) If we're going to go with it, would it be better to get a colour photograph, rather than the pen and ink version?
  • Marriage - agree, the word "betrothed should have been used" ("...the latter [John], betrothed his infant daughter Joan to Alexander...", Carpenter, p.277.) Will correct in a moment.
  • Softsword - wasn't my original bit of writing, but it occurs in the usual biographies, and I'd argue we should keep it in. Hchc2009 (talk) 22:18, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Thank God - you sound reasonable, I feared I had stumbled into an article guarded by an iron-willed Cerberus! Re point 1: If you are correct (Danziger is splitting hairs, it's not possible to date sculpture of this period to within 14 years on stylistic grounds alone, unless he has found documentary evidence of payment of sculptors etc., which I doubt) then it is still 20-29 years more contemporary than the Matthew Paris drawing, which is not even an attempt at portraiture. I could not find a photo on Commons - but often a line drawing is actually better as it emphasises the features without play of light, shadows etc. If you consider how fashion & hair styles etc. have changed in the last few decades today, it is better to give the reader the most contemporary portrait which exists, namely the effigy. Point 2: Not even betrothed. She was betrothed to Hugh de Lusignan as an infant & brought up in his court. When he decided to marry her mother Isabel instead Henry III had a job retreiving Joan from Hugh to effect his proposal to marry her to Alex II. The sentence was plain wrong. You quote Carpenter, who is also my source, but from his (later? corrected?) 1990 book on the Minority of H III (p.196). I have in my possession a copy of the Patent Rolls of 4 H III (1220) quoted by him which announces the betrothal of Joan "primogenitam sororem nostram" (our eldest sister) to Alex II, "si eam habere poterimus" (if we can get hold of her!). He sent a posse of household knights to de Lusignan to recover her! The WP article Joan of England, Queen of Scotland is correct. Point 3: Softsword. This is not mentioned in any of the sources I am familiar with, and I suspect may be a "discovery" of modern historians keen to find a new angle. It has been mentioned elsewhere in the body of the text, so I am not proposing its deletion, but I simply feel it is given too much credibility in bold in the opening of the intro. (Lobsterthermidor (talk) 23:08, 25 August 2011 (UTC))
  • OK, on the betrothed, I think I've squared the circle. A. A. Duncan's recent chapter on John and Scots has a bit in which he cites Matthew Paris as suggesting Alexander later claims the betrothal took place (and therefore giving him a claim to Northumberland...) - but Duncan isn't convinced he was telling the truth or that, if he was, whether John was ("New Interpretations", p.264). I suspect that this source is what Carpenter used the first time around, and then corrected himself. How about we delete the sentence, but go for a footnote in its place giving this sequencing and note the doubts?
  • Worcester's fairly close to me - I'm tempted to make a run up there at the weekend. There are some Flickr pictures that have almost got the right look to them. In the meantime, shall we revert to the pen and ink then? I'd recommend then losing the Historia Anglorum image though, as the article's would look packed with it in as well, and I think the castle shot gives a bit more contextualisation.
  • I'd personally keep "softsword", but I don't feel that strongly on it - unless there's a third voice out there, let's be bold and remove it, as the lede's reasonably long already. Hchc2009 (talk) 06:04, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Changes made as per the above discussion. I've sent off some emails to try and get a decent colour photo of the effigy. Cheers, Hchc2009 (talk) 07:09, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Almohad Caliphate[edit]

There appears to be some disagreement on whether or not this section should be included in the article, per WP:UNDUE. Moving the section here for discussion, let's please figure it out, rather that just edit-warring? Thanks. --Elonka 18:36, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Relationship with the Almohad caliphate[edit]

In the early 13th-century, King John was under pressure after a quarrel with Pope Innocent III led to England being placed under an interdict, by which all forms of worship and other religious practices were banned. John himself was excommunicated, parts of the country were in revolt and there were threats of a French invasion.

Writing two decades after the events, Matthew Paris, a St Albans chronicler of the early thirteenth century, claims that, in desperation, John sent envoys to the Almohad caliph Muhammad an-Nasir asking for his help. In return John offered to convert to Islam and turn England into a Muslim state. Among the delegates was Master Robert, a London cleric. An-Nâsir was said to be so disgusted by John's grovelling plea that he sent the envoys away. Some historians have cast doubt on this story, due to the lack of other contemporary evidence.[1][2][3]

It's utterly undue. It's devoting almost as much space to this incident as to the events of 1214 - a hugely pivotal year in John's life. The two book length biographies of John that I own do not name the caliph, and devote a paragraph at most to the event, noting that it's utterly improbable. Warren's work uses it as an example of Paris' biases, not as an illustration of John at all. Turner's biography is discussing the use of Paris as a source and mentions this anecdote in passing as: " The mid-thirteenth century chronicler [Paris] add an implausible account of an embassy supposedly sent by John to the sultan of Morocco and Spain to express his willingness to submit to him and convert to Islam." That's the sum total of the discussion, and it's clear that Turner regards this story as completely fabricated and useful only in terms of what it tells us about Paris, not what it supposedly says about John. The way it's presented in these edits here is undue weight and gives it too much credence as it only "some historians have cast doubt" .. it's not some, it's all that have studied John. It might be of interest in the article on Matthew Paris, as an example of the lengths that Paris was willing to go to make up stories to cast discredit on folks, but it's not likely to have happened and sheds no light on John himself. We already discuss the fact that John's attitude towards religion was a bit irreverent, so a made up story two decades after John's death tells us nothing about John himself. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:48, 27 October 2011 (UTC) (Added additional information).
I, for one, think this should be included. Let us try to reach a consensus. (talk) 18:47, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
The thing is, Wikipedia emulates the best sources on a subject, in this instance that means high-quality academic sources. It allows editors to judge how much emphasis should be placed on a single event or the like. The article is already very substantial at over 12,000 words, and since the main biographies of John don't dwell on the subject I don't think we can fit it in. Nev1 (talk) 18:55, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
As a sidenote, (talk · contribs) may be editing anonymously to avoid ArbCom restrictions (see Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/PHG#Motions)., you said that you were going to edit while logged-in,[1] but then you went right back to edit-warring? Please login if you wish to continue with this discussion, otherwise I will be taking this to AE to seek a block. --Elonka 19:04, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Undue, FRINGE and counter to HQRS as noted by Ealdgyth and Nev1. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:42, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree entirely with Ealdgyth and Nev1. An improbable event should not be in a featured article-or any article for that matter. The page on King John is excellent; it doesn't need to be sullied with fabricated myths.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 06:07, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
The original insertion (thanks, WikiBlame) was much briefer, but a lot of UNDUE material was piled up recently. Should the result be "Keep", the heavy qualification, later removed from the article text, should be reinstated:

"This tale originates from an account by Matthew Paris, who was trying to bring the king further into disrepute, and may well have been fabricated."[4]

--Old Moonraker (talk) 07:37, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Remove it from here, but put it into our article on Paris, as revealing much about his bias. Incidentally, if the coverage of 1214 is that length and it's a pivotal year for John, it urgently needs to be expanded, otherwise on FA standards, it's probably breaching undue the other way. --Dweller (talk) 12:50, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Actually, for a summary article, the coverage of 1214 is fine, especially compared to the bigger events. I was just using 1214 as section that was approximately the same length in the article to show how skewed this insertion was - not as an example of any problem with the rest of the article. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:31, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Ealgyth, Nev1 and Jeanne B. Current historians are very clear that this was an invented story by a single chronicler and barely mention it. If it was a famous invented or semi-historical episode (e.g. "burning the cakes", or "telling the tide to turn back", or "being shot in the eye with an arrow"), I'd feel differently about it, but in this case it's not even that. I suspect that - carefully referenced - it could have a place in Paris's article, which could do with being fleshed out. Hchc2009 (talk) 16:32, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

  1. ^ Ronay, Gabriel (1978). The Tartar Khan's Englishman. London: Cassel. pp. 28–34. ISBN 1-84212-210-X. 
  2. ^ Stewart, Graham. The king who wanted Sharia England The Times, February 16, 2008
  3. ^ Derbyshire, John. United States of Islam National Review Online, October 12, 2001
  4. ^ Church, Stephen (1999). The household knights of King John. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 66. ISBN 9780521553193. As an accurate account of an event the story has little value 


Reigen, I've reverted for your last edit, for similar reasons to Ealdgyth. I've had a look through a few of the modern biographies of John just to check, and the 1836 interpretation of John's actions isn't mentioned in them. To be honest, few early 19th century volumes are likely to be reliable sources for this sort of article - there are real difficulties in using older histories for medieval kings, as the availability and use of sources and events has moved on considerably, even in the last few years. Hchc2009 (talk) 07:19, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Historiography section: Matthew Paris & Foxe's Book of Martyrs imgs both wrong, on iPad only[edit]

The image for The Foxe's Book of Martyrs t.p. shows Richmond Castle, on my iPad. I've looked at the markup and can't figure out why: the underlying image link appears correct, and when I click the image itself -- the incorrect Richmond Castle image -- it links to the correct Book of Martyrs image. But on the article page itself it still shows Richmond Castle, same image 2d time in this article, where the Book of Martyrs t.p. image should appear.

Weird!? Someone pls help? I just checked my iPhone and both this one and the Matthew Paris image in this same section show up there OK. On the iPad tho both show up wrong. So it's the iPad... Maybe the thumbnail function is doing it? Addressing looks right. Kessler (talk) 02:45, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Weird - they're looking fine on the system here. Worth reporting up as a bug? Hchc2009 (talk) 07:30, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Is this trivia and/or should it be removed?[edit]

The text and link below were removed from this article. Two editors think it should be removed because it's trivia. I think it's interesting and doesn't fit the WP:trivia definition. Neither does the guideline say that trivia should be removed. What do other editors think? WCCasey (talk) 05:57, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

"John has also been discovered to be the common ancestor of 42 of 43 American presidents, the exception being George Washington.(source:"
The guidelines under WP:IINFO suggest that "information cannot be included solely for being true or useful"; in particular, they should follow the weighting given by good secondary sources. In the case of John, I can't recall any biography that makes any reference to this. The reason is because most people are related in some way to 12th century ancestors from their region due to the intervening 24 generations of intermarriage etc. (I'm almost certainly related to John, for example!) - it's not newsworthy unless its taken out of context, which is why biographers don't quote the fact. BridgeAnne d’Avignon, the twelve year old student whose work is presented by the website, has done a great job of encouraging folks to take an interest in their heritage, but as the most royal candidate theory article suggests, it misses the statistical likelihood of the event. Hchc2009 (talk) 06:17, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
It's an interesting tidbit, sure, but not the sort of thing I'd expect to see included in a Featured Article -- sorry. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 07:17, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
LIkewise - trivia that doesn't tell us anything about John - because most everyone who has ancestry from England will descend from John - and there are a bunch of other common ancestors for the American presidents. Ealdgyth - Talk 13:50, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Er, what? Almost everyone with ancestry from England with descend from King John? I think you mistyped something. Johnny "ThunderPeel2001" Walker (talk) 21:17, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
There's a fair bit of statistical work on common ancestors; there's a 1999 paper from Chang at Yale on this at; there's also a nice commentary on the same findings at which is a bit easier to read. Hchc2009 (talk) 03:06, 6 April 2014 (UTC)


You Can Act Like A Man, hi! On the first quote, "At one stroke, he would gain the loyalty of the house of Angoulême, secure the vital passages of Angoumois, break up the threatening alliance of Aymer and Hugh the Brown, and take himself a captivating child bride.", it's largely already covered, I think, in the previous paragraph - the captivating child bit is disputed by plenty of more recent historians (see the results of the last major international conference on King John in 1997, for example, and Nicholas Vincent's piece on Angouleme), thus the wording in the main para.

I think you've misunderstood the second quote. Your proposed text reads that "This move has been called "the most effective single step to easing" the political crisis by regaining Papal political goodwill." I think that what Lloyd actually says is "He needed a reduction, not an increase, in his problems, and the most effective single step to easing them at home and abroad would be to regain the goodwill of Innocent." It's in the conditional tense: Lloyd doesn't say that it was the most effective single step, rather that John believed it would be. In fact, of course, it didn't help to ease it very much at all. The new bit of information that isn't already in the para is the sense that the driver was the mounting political tensions - which I've added in using Lloyd as a reference. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:20, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

I'd welcome any adjustments in language you want, it's a fair point. But quoting is a good encyclopaedic policy. Congrats on reading the Loyd book BTW Face-wink.svgBasket Feudalist 17:43, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
I know you haven't actually said this - so I'm not trying to put words in your mouth! - but I'm not sure that quotations are always best practice, unless they're better than a paraphrased version (e.g. because they're controversial etc.) or add additional value in the way that they're phrased (which sometimes they can be, of course).
In terms of the article, though, in the Angouleme bit, is there anything in the previous paragraph that you feel needs to be added to, that's contained in the quote? We could add an explanation of the (um, painful...) regional Aymer-Hugh politics in a footnote for example, and I've some sources that could add to this, although I'd argue that the local politics is probably too detailed for the main text.
On the second, Papal, item, with the addition of the political tensions point (which is now at the start of the para, referenced to Lloyd), is there anything contained in the quote that you feel isn't already reflected in the text? I'm not sure that the quote itself adds much to the existing material, but that might just be me! Hchc2009 (talk) 18:15, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Yep no probs Basket Feudalist 19:05, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Cheers. Just to confirm my understanding of the plan, if everyone's content, tomorrow I'll get on and: a) write a footnote on the Angouleme local politics, including Aymer, Hugh etc.; b) remove the direct quote in the Angouleme section, as it will then have all been paraphrased; c) retain the existing paraphrased sentence starting "Under mounting political pressure...", with Lloyd as the reference, and d) remove the direct quote in the Papal section, as it should all be reflected in the paraphrased text. Hchc2009 (talk) 16:38, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Done. Hchc2009 (talk) 15:42, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

Story about attempted conversion to Islam[edit]

The famous story of John's attempted conversion to Islam is not mentioned here. Whether the account is true or not, it should be discussed to some extent. To totally avoid it is not encyclopedic and raises questions about nationalistic bias. --IronMaidenRocks (talk) 14:51, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

I'd disagree - it's a good example of WP:Fringe - its simply been rejected by modern historians for many years, and isn't even infamous in the literature any more. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:14, 28 July 2013 (UTC)
And what is the objection to covering the subject from the point of view that it is documented to be false? Fringe Theory covers discussing a fringe idea in the light of it being true, and does not apply to documenting a common misconception. If modern historians reject it, then they surely must have covered the subject to some degree. --IronMaidenRocks (talk) 06:59, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
When it comes up, its usually as an example of Paris making things up; I've added a quick reference from Warren into the historiography section - see what you think. Hchc2009 (talk) 07:19, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Genealogy section?[edit]

I read that 42 of our 43 presidents can be traced to King John's bloodline, the exception being Martin Van Buren. Perhaps someone can do some research and add that to the wikipedia page, because it is interesting enough to mention (the King who was responsible for the Magna Carta is the grandfather of American presidents) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:31, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Worth reading the discussion on the same topic above. Hchc2009 (talk) 06:31, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Contemporary opinion?[edit]

"Historian Jim Bradbury has summarised the contemporary historical opinion of John's positive qualities".

Does this sentence indeed mean "contemporary"? Or does it, as the subsequent context appears to indicate, mean "modern"?

Paul Magnussen (talk) 21:29, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

Well spotted. It was modern - I'll change in a moment. Thanks, Hchc2009 (talk) 07:48, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
It's ambiguous, since it can legitimately be taken to mean contemporary with John or contemporary with Bradbury. But I see the question is being dealt with already. --Andreas Philopater (talk) 08:45, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

Alleged poisoning by monks[edit]

"Foxe's Book of Martyrs" alleges (as if fact) that King John was poisoned by the monks at Swinstead Abbey in Lincolnshire, a copy of the original book I saw only yesterday on display at Hereford Cathedral shows pictures depicting the plot, ending with the king's body laid out in (Tudor style costume). Was there any historical evidence for his staying at the abbey? This would have existed and been dissolved in the lifetime of Foxe, who was born in Boston, also in Lincolnshire, in about 1518. It is rather interesting that the controversial king seems to have been viewed as a victim of the Roman Church (then deeply unpopular among Foxe's fellow protestants) on the same plane as the Marian martyrs. This article states the book mentions King John in a positively pro-protestant light but does not elaborate or mention the alleged poisioning.Cloptonson (talk) 19:07, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

All this could be refed to Breay +1 on Magna Carta. The poisoning legend was pretty generally accepted by the late MA it seems, and is illustrated in chronicle manuscripts. Shakespeare has it (but doesn't mention Magna Carta at all - later productions often invented a scene for it). We could have more on this. Johnbod (talk) 12:09, 5 September 2015 (UTC)



My concern with the inserted material is that:

a) It gives undue weight to one author's views. In a summary paragraph, we shouldn't be giving undue weight to any single author unless their views are particularly unusual, and I think that starting three sentences with "Turner says..." and quotes is falling into this trap. b) It repeats information that is already in the paragraph.

I've taken a stab at a compromise text - see what you think. Hchc2009 (talk) 11:24, 5 September 2015 (UTC)

Wrong date in lead[edit]

John was excommunicated in November 1209, as stated in both the article body and the source beside the incorrect date in the lead (click on the link and look at page 304). Please change 1208 in the lead to 1209. I did tell the editor who inserted the wrong date this morning that it was wrong, but he's refusing to change it or reply for some unknown reason. (talk) 10:55, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Done. They may simply not yet have seen your message - not replying is not necessarily a refusal.--Andreas Philopater (talk) 13:25, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. (talk) 13:27, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
It's fixed. You're quite demanding for someone who is contributing anonymously... Huangdi (talk) 22:23, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Popular representations...[edit]

Andreas, couple of queries..

a) would you be up for expanding the sentence so that it says something about John? At the moment it just quotes a line of poetry. Do the secondary sources say anything more than the line of poetry, which doesn't tell the reader a lot? (i.e. why are we quoting the line? What does it tell us about the popular image of John? What's the "so-what"?)

b) could you fill out the rest of the citations? (ideally in the style of the rest of the article, but if you can give the locations and ISBN numbers, which are currently missing, I don't mind doing the reformatting). Hchc2009 (talk) 12:55, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Andreas, the addition that "his well-known children's poem has further shaped modern representations of the king through its influence on some twentieth-century performances of Shakespeare's King John." isn't covered by either of the proposed citations... Hchc2009 (talk) 13:18, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you can be objecting to. If it influenced the characterisation of the king (and the secondary literature cited refers to both programmes and reviews to that effect) then ipso facto it influenced the representation of him. As to your other questions a) we seem to have cross-posted; b) in a word, no, I cannot. I wouldn't know where to start and have no time now to find out. --Andreas Philopater (talk) 13:33, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
My concern is that I'm not convinced the poem has shaped modern perceptions of John significantly. The sentence you've added runs: "This well-known children's poem has further shaped modern representations of the king through its influence on some twentieth-century performances of Shakespeare's King John." That's then got two citations, from Schafer and Cousin.
Schafer only mentions that the quote is one of numerous others mentioned in a programme from an educational-outreach production to schools and colleges of Shakespeare's play in 1970; there's no statement or implication that the quote influenced the performance or its direction etc. (which may well have been settled long before the programme was printed, especially given the productions anti-political thesis), or that this then shaped modern representations of the king.
Cousin notes that a review of the same 1970 educational production in the New Statesmen used the quote. Again, no statement or implication that the quote influenced the performance or that it has shaped modern perceptions to any extent.
In terms of the publication location and ISBN number, it should be fairly straightforward - they'll be at the beginning of the volumes you've just added, typically on page 2 or 3. As I've said, I'm happy to do the editing make the style compliant with the rest of the article, but I don't know which volumes you've actually looked at (and the ISBN etc. is specific to the individual version). Hchc2009 (talk) 13:59, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Of the others, Seel seems to be the only only that draws out the significance of the poem; I've deployed what he said, and added the volume to the biblio. Hchc2009 (talk) 16:23, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm happy with that. Perhaps I should clarify that I know what an ISBN is (real world knowledge), but you were asking me to rewrite the footnotes in a format I am unfamiliar with (Wikipedia knowledge). It is in the latter that I am at a disadvantage. --Andreas Philopater (talk) 19:16, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 28 February 2016[edit]

Please change: " Following the battle of Bouvines, John lost the duchy of Normandy to King Philip II of France..." to "In 1204, John lost the duchy of Normandy to King Philip II of France...". Philip took Normandy in 1204. Bouvines was in 1214, and marked the end of John's attempted reclamation of his lost continental lands, and was not where the initial loss occurred. Even something like "Bouvines marked the end of the Angevin Empire..." may work. Thanks! (talk) 12:10, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: please provide reliable sources that support the change you want to be made.  B E C K Y S A Y L E 05:49, 15 March 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 27 May 2016[edit]

Zulkiflinoorh (talk) 14:21, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. Sir Joseph (talk) 14:29, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

Funny Google blurb[edit]

When I Google this man, the sidebar says "John lost the Duchy of Normandy to King Philip II of France, which resulted in the collapse of most of ... Wikipedia". Is this true for everyone else? If so, I'll suggest never changing this or the sentence before it. InedibleHulk (talk) 08:44, August 10, 2016 (UTC)

Connection to Presidents of the United States[edit]

Every President of the United States since the nation's founding is descended from King John. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:29, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

First, you need a reliable, academic source for this, because despite the plethora of genealogies that are circulating around, a number of the genealogies are dubious at best. Second, the statement is false because Martin van Buren, derived from almost pure Dutch descent, was not from Plantagenet stock, as has been proven by multiple historians. So either way, this interesting statement needs to be qualified and cited by a reliable source if you want it to appear in the article.  – Whaleyland (Talk • Contributions) 07:49, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
You'll also find it isn't at all unusual from a statistical perspective; after 800 or so years and 32 intervening generations, most people in England, or Anglo-Saxon Americans for that matter, are very likely to be related to any given individual in the 12th century. It's the kind of fact that gets rolled out every so often, but isn't hugely significant. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:00, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

He does have a line of descent to Edward I, who was the son of Henry III, who was the son of King John. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:18, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Another line to King John. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:24, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Per the about page, Geni is a user-generated site, and thus not at all reliable. There are so many bogus pedigrees rolling around on the net, you shouldn't trust anything on the net about ancestries without seeing the proof. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:28, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
And as mentioned above, even if it was true, it would not be at all remarkable. Pinkbeast (talk) 14:36, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

"The" Magna Carta - recent edits[edit]

No, this isn't a British v. American thing. (I'm not American). Pedants say "Magna Carta"; everyone else says "the Magna Carta". British newspapers say "the Magna Carta", the BBC says "the Magna Carta". So should we. Pinkbeast (talk) 15:39, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

This is not really the appropriate place to have this conversation since the topic relates to another article. However, see Magna Carta#cite ref-4 and the debate on the 2004-5 topic at Talk:Magna Carta/Archive 1#Usage. As has been pointed out, Wikipedia is not a venue for popular history, but intended to be an academic resource, and as such Magna Carta, without the definite article, is the most common and official usage according to Oxford English Dictionary and most British academic resources, as well as at least half of the articles on relating to the topic. Note, too, that the article on Magna Carta only uses the definitive article in two instances to describe its subject matter.  – Whaleyland (Talk • Contributions) 23:35, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
Very well. I sha'n't stop you declaring that the tide is not coming in. Pinkbeast (talk) 03:45, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
Both versions are "correct", albeit for different reasons, although I'd go in favour of "Magna Carta" here. Hchc2009 (talk) 06:35, 3 September 2016 (UTC)

reign start date[edit]

I'm changing the start dates of the reigns of the Norman and Angevin kings to match with their coronations. My source for this is Bartlett (2000) England under the Norman and Angevin Kings which has a section on the Interregnal Period. "The Norman and Angevin kings did not claim to succeed to the royal title immediately upon the death of their predecessor, as was the case in later English history. It was coronation that made a king and kings dated their regnal years from the day of that ceremony" p.123 To use the earlier date therefore misses the particular significance of the coronation ceremony in this period even if in cases where the monarch is de facto king --Jhood1 (talk) 13:59, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Two things. 1) Please don't make any wholesale changes to many articles before discussing them at a central place 2) I think you're misunderstanding what regnal years are, but that discussion belongs at the central location I just mentioned, not here. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 15:08, 19 September 2016 (UTC)
As I pointed out on Talk:Henry I of England - we're not concerned with what the contemporaries might have dated things by - but by what modern historians list each reign as starting with. It's a bit more complicated than just going by coronation and assuming that historians apply that convention. We need to see sources for each king, not just synthesizing that because Bartlett says there was a general rule, that the general rule applies in all instances. When we take a statement like Bartlett's and then apply it to a specific reign without consulting sources on the specific reign - we're doing WP:OR and WP:SYNTH. This applies to ALL of the articles that have been recently changed. A simple solution might be to instead of using "reign begin" in the infobox, use "coronation" and leave off the "reign begin". Infoboxes are supposed to be for simple facts - if it requires a lot of explication about why it doesn't fit the "normal view" - it's probably not a good idea to have it in the infobox.

I suggest this discussion is held at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject English Royalty, publicised at all the talkpages of all affected articles and at other appropriate WikiProjects. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 15:42, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Yes, thanks Dweller sorry for spreading the same message across all the talk pages I didn't know a good location to put a general discussion.Jhood1 (talk) 16:10, 19 September 2016 (UTC)