Richard I and John I were brothers but while Richard was the famous “Lionheart”, John was probably more of a weasel.
When Richard returned from Crusade in 1192, he was captured and held hostage in Austria to ransom for a huge sum of money. Unmoved to help his brother, John saw this as his chance to claim the throne and seized it for himself.
When Richard was released, he returned to England with an army and marched on John’s remaining supporters. One of John’s last strongholds was Nottingham, which Richard besieged in March 1194, He oversaw the construction of a giant trebuchet to pound the walls. Fearing the worst, the castle’s garrison surrendered before the great siege engine could be used.
Richard died a few years later and John was crowned king. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t a great king and was forced by powerful lords and barons to eventually sign the Magna Carta, a document guaranteeing their rights and at the same time reducing the rights of the king. John is known as being one of the weakest kings in history and famously the adversary of Nottingham’s great hero, Robin Hood!
Connection:These brothers famously clashed at Nottingham Castle, fighting for the position of King of England.
Born: Richard – 8th September 1157, John – 24th December 1166
Died: Richard – 6th April 1199, John – 19th October 1216
Did you know? King John was hugely unpopular and spent the last months of his reign effectively on the run, even losing the Crown Jewels when he dropped them in the East Anglian fens! He died in nearby Newark in 1216 after apparently eating ‘a surfeit of peaches’.