A Struggle between Church and Crown?
The National Curriculum calls it the ‘struggle between Church and Crown’ – but that’s over-simplistic, and rather unhelpful. The king needed a sort of civil service, and this was populated by churchmen: they were literate and they had independent incomes (their church lands/ benefices), so he didn’t have to pay them. The king was also a good Christian, and kings saw themselves as protectors of the Church. Similarly, churchmen felt themselves defenders of the kingdom – Archbishop Stephen Langton helped write Magna Carta; Edmund of Abingdon reconciled Henry III and his barons; Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham, led an army for Edward I!
Here are some cartoon pages describing
Henry III is really interesting for Merton Priory, for the development of parliament and for his relationship with the Church. More materials will follow!