National Army Museum

Sean McGlynn

Magna Carta was born of the loss of King John’s French territories and his increasingly desperate – and expensive – attempts to regain them, argues Sean McGlynn.

Attempts to rehabilitate ‘Bad’ King John always come up against a major stumbling block: the verdicts of his contemporaries.

Sean McGlynn reconsiders the origins of the popular myth and suggests a new contender for the original folk hero; not an outlaw from Nottingham but a devoted royal servant from Kent, who opposed the French invasion against King John in 1216.

How dangerous was life in the Middle Ages? Sean McGlynn gets to grips with the level of violent crime, and the sometimes cruel justice meted out to offenders.

‘See us fight this battle
And reap rich harvest in the field of Cressy
Then go to England, tell them how we fight
And set all
...

Sean McGlynn puts the present-day European Union into historical perspective.

At the siege of Château Gaillard in 1204, the non-combatants caught up in the conflict were forced by the rival commanders out into the cold to endure appalling hardships. Sean McGlynn retells their story and explains the logic of war that made such things possible.

  • The Knight and Chivalry by Richard Barber (Boydell & Brewer xvi + 415 pp.)
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