Quiz about King of England Life and Reign of King John
Quiz about King of England Life and Reign of King John

King of England: Life and Reign of King John Quiz


"Too late to be known as John the First, he's sure to be known as John the Worst." - how fair is this rhyme from Disney's Robin Hood, about the real life inspiration for "Prince John the Phoney King of England"?

A multiple-choice quiz by LuH77. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
LuH77
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
407,050
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
20
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
13 / 20
Plays
142
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. In which former palace was the future King John born in 1166? Hint

Clarendon Palace
Beaumont Palace
Winchester Palace
Witley Court

2. King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine were John's parents. Which French king was his mother's husband before King Henry II, who later complicated John's war with France on a personal level? Hint

Louis VI
Philip II
Philip I
Louis VII

3. John was the youngest of the five sons. What was his nickname growing up, due to the expectation that he would never inherit any lands? Hint

John the Homeless
John Nolander
John, King of Peasants
John Lackland

4. John became King Henry II's favourite son due to the rebellion of his brothers. Which of these is NOT one of Henry II's sons, who took part in this rebellion? Hint

Henry
Richard
Geoffrey
William

5. John was the first English King to hold what other country in his royal title? Hint

Wales
France
Scotland
Ireland

6. Who was John's first wife? Hint

Margaret of Valois
Ingeborg of Denmark
Isabella of Gloucester
Agnes of Merania

7. King Richard I of England came to the throne in 1189. What title did he give John, mistakenly believing it would pacify him while Richard was away taking part in the Third Crusade? Hint

Count of Boulogne
Count of Hainaut
Count of Salvatierra
Count of Mortain

8. Which one of these men did John manage to hound out of England in 1191? Hint

Robert Sadington
Ranulf Flambard
Geoffrey de Muschamp
William de Longchamp

9. When Richard was absent on crusade for some time before returning in 1194, what was John's reaction? Hint

Have sexual relations with Richard's wife
Proclaim him dead
Change the state religion of England
Murder every noble who worked under Richard

10. John was crowned in Westminster Abbey on what day? Hint

Assumption of Mary
Shrove Monday
Pentecost
Ascension Day

11. What treaty did John sign alongside King Philip II of France in 1200? Hint

Treaty of Pont-à-Vendin
Treaty of Le Goulet
Treaty of Compiègne
Treaty of Angoulême

12. John's second wife was Isabella of Angoulême. To whom was she originally betrothed? Hint

Thierry de Loos
Hugh IX of Lusignan
Baldwin of Béthune
Romée de Villeneuve

13. A stain on the legacy of King John was his loss of Normandy. However, in what battle did John do particularly well, capturing 200 of Arthur's rebel leaders in 1202? Hint

Battle of Châteaudun
Battle of Mirebeau
Battle of Lesmont
Battle of Friedlingen

14. In 1203 Arthur of Brittany disappeared. The Margam Abbey Annals report that John killed him, and did what with his nephew's body? Hint

Had it sent to the Pope as proof to support his right to the English throne
Left it hanging overnight from a tree to make certain he was dead
Burned it at the back of Margam Abbey
Threw it in the Seine

15. In March 1204, which of these was the fort of John's that King Philip II captured, setting the stage for him to take Normandy? Hint

Château de Herrenstein
Château Gaillard
Château des Adhémar
Château du Landsberg

16. Pope Innocent III and John had a dispute in 1205 over who should be the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Pope wanted Stephen Langton for the position. Who did John want? Hint

Herbert Poore
Henry de Abergavenny
John de Gray
Walter Branscombe

17. The First Barons' War of 1215-1217 was a civil war in England against John. Who came to their aid from France? Hint

Louis VIII
Philip I, Count of Boulogne
Philip II
Marie, Duchess of Brabant

18. Due to John's increasingly authoritarian behaviour, the Magna Carta was issued in 1215. Where was it first signed? Hint

Wolvercote Common
Rivermead Island
Runnymede
Wheatley's Ait

19. How did King John die? Hint

Dysentery
Smallpox
Infected battle wound
Falling from a tower

20. Where is King John buried? Hint

Westminster Abbey
Chapel of St Peter Ad Vincula
Frogmore Royal Mausoleum
Worcester Cathedral


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. In which former palace was the future King John born in 1166?

Answer: Beaumont Palace

Beaumont Palace was built under the instruction of King Henry I in Oxford, and he came there to stay in 1133, mainly because it was close to the hunting lodge at Woodstock that he enjoyed. John's elder brother, the future King Richard I, was also born at Beaumont Palace in 1157. Henry II, John's father, was the grandson of Henry I, who had the palace constructed. John was born in the palace his father had inherited.

King Edward I, who reigned between 1272-1307, was the last king to use this building as a palace. By 1275 it was the private residence of an Italian lawyer, a gift from King Edward I for his legal advice and services.
2. King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine were John's parents. Which French king was his mother's husband before King Henry II, who later complicated John's war with France on a personal level?

Answer: Louis VII

In 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII were married in Bordeaux, at the Cathedral of Saint-André. The marriage was an unhappy one, fraught with disagreements, Louis' annoyance at Eleanor interfering in matters of state, and the lack of a male heir, with the marriage only producing two daughters. In 1152, they met at a castle in Beaugency to annul their marriage, about to do so because they were third cousins once removed, sharing a common ancestor of Robert II of France. John was very close to his mother, and heard all about Eleanor of Aquitaine's grievances and claims of mistreatment by Louis VII. Eleanor's scathing portrait of Louis certainly made it easy for John to go to war with his family.

When Louis VII died in 1180, he was succeeded by his son Philip II, who Louis had had with his third wife, Adela of Champagne. Philip never forgot what he heard about Eleanor of Aquitaine's treatment of his father, spurring a personal motive against Eleanor and her family, as well as a political one. Eleanor of Aquitaine supported John as King of England without question. Like John hearing of Louis VII's misgivings, Philip II had been painted a scathing portrait of John and his mother, making any war with them much easier to fight and less likely to be open to diplomatic negotiations (and vice versa).
3. John was the youngest of the five sons. What was his nickname growing up, due to the expectation that he would never inherit any lands?

Answer: John Lackland

An ironic nickname, considering that John would later inherit the Angevin Empire. John would become his father's favourite son after his other sons had rebelled against him. John was the youngest of four sons, which meant that he would ordinarily be at the bottom of the pecking order, had it not been for his brothers displeasing his father so much. This is where the assumption came from, that he would inherit no significant lands.
4. John became King Henry II's favourite son due to the rebellion of his brothers. Which of these is NOT one of Henry II's sons, who took part in this rebellion?

Answer: William

William was the second son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He died when he was around 2 or 3 in 1156. This was due to a siege at Wallingford Castle, where he was killed. He was buried Reading Abbey, placed at the feet of Henry I, his great-grandfather.

Henry the Young King was the eldest of the surviving sons of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was the only king since the Norman Conquest of England, to have been crowned during the reign of his father. He was crowned in 1170 at at Westminster Abbey during the feast of Saint Basil. However, Henry the Young King felt that his title was meaningless, having very little substantial autonomous power.

Henry the Young King was further outraged when Henry II gifted a young John three castles, which were in the territory of Young Henry's inheritance, as part of John's betrothal to the Count of Maurienne's daughter. Rebel members of the nobility saw an opportunity to topple Henry II, and encouraged the enraged Young Henry to rebel against his father.

Eleanor of Aquitaine was easy to convince to join the rebellion. She had been arguing with Henry II often, and her other sons Richard and Geoffrey followed in the rebellion, as did those who were upset at the death of Archbishop Thomas Becket at Henry's perceived orders in 1170. She found herself siding with her former husband, who had received Young Henry in France and sided with him, upon hearing the rage he had for his father. However, Louis' main motivation was to divide the Angevin dynasty, so that it would be less of threat to his own power.

The rebellion lasted around 18 months from 1173-1174. Towns were ransacked and many died. Around 20 castles were destroyed under the orders of King Henry II. Although King Henry II reconciled with his rebellious family once the revolt was over, John remained his favourite son from then after, as he was the only one of his sons who did not take part.
5. John was the first English King to hold what other country in his royal title?

Answer: Ireland

John became Lord of Ireland in 1177, 22 years before he became King of England. His father gave him this title at the Council of Oxford.

John took part in military expeditions to Ireland in the years of 1185 and 1210, making him one of the sole two English monarchs before Queen Victoria who had visited Ireland twice. John was 18 when he first came to Ireland in 1185, and almost immediately after docking and setting foot in Waterford, John and his court began to mock the native Irish, going as far as to pull on their long beards.

However, John's time in Ireland was not all futile. He built castles at Lismore, Tybroughney, and Ardfinnan, setting up points to exploit the native rivalries the Irish dynasties had with each other. John was also partial to watching his barons fighting during his reign, taking pleasure in seeing them turn against and attack each other until they rose up against him in unison.
6. Who was John's first wife?

Answer: Isabella of Gloucester

Henry II had John bethrothed to Isabella of Gloucester since 1176. John and Isabella were both great-grandchildren of Henry I, and were half-second cousins. This upset the pope at the time because family was forbidden from marrying family. He refused to agree to the marriage. Nevertheless, John and Isabella of Gloucester were married at Marlborough Castle in Wiltshire (which no longer stands) in 1189. The pope was eventually persuaded to agree to the marriage, but only on the condition that the newly married couple never have sexual relations.

Shortly after John became king in 1199, he acquired an annulment of their marriage. He was able to use the fact that they were cousins in order to achieve the approval of the bishops of Lisieux, Bayeux, and Avranches. John kept all of Isabella of Gloucester's lands in the separation, and she did not argue.
7. King Richard I of England came to the throne in 1189. What title did he give John, mistakenly believing it would pacify him while Richard was away taking part in the Third Crusade?

Answer: Count of Mortain

Richard was interested in crusading before he became king, but was worried that Henry II would name John heir to the throne in his absence. Richard and Philip II of France fought together against Henry II, and by 1189 the king had promised his son, Richard, the throne. At first, John once again took his father's side in this conflict, but once it became apparent that Richard would win, he sided with him instead. Henry II died shortly after John's betrayal in 1189. Perhaps this final shock was what made the king's health decline to the point of no return.

Richard was now king, but he recognised John's ambition. He granted him the title Count of Mortain (which was in Normandy), but excluded his brother from any shares or real power in the government. When Richard made his way to the Third Crusade, John did everything he could to seize power, opposing Richard's chancellor at every opportunity while his brother was away.
8. Which one of these men did John manage to hound out of England in 1191?

Answer: William de Longchamp

William de Longchamp (birth date unclear, died in 1197) was Bishop of Ely, as well as Lord Chancellor of England, in King Richard I's absence. Because he was from Normandy, did not speak much English and tended to demean English officials in favor of appointing officials from Normandy to run the business of England. This made him unpopular. From the year 1190, John's relationship with William de Longchamp worsened. A castellan of John's, Anglo-Norman landowner Gerard de Camville, refused to submit to William de Longchamp as an authority, and was loyal in his allegiance to John. This led to De Longchamp attacking Lincoln Castle, where De Camville was castellan. In response, John besieged two castles, Tickhill and Northampton.

The conflict between John and William de Longchamp continued to cause the latter such grief that he tried to leave England several times, sometimes in disguise. Once he was reported to have tried to leave England by the coast in disguise as a prostitute. He was reportedly beaten up by a fisherman, who was fooled by his disguise and thought he was assaulting a prostitute uninterested in his advances. In October 1191, William de Longchamp finally escaped England and its constant disagreements with the future King John.

Part of the deal regarding John being made Count of Mortain included a condition that John would stay out of England for 3 years, whilst Richard was on crusade. Eleanor of Aquitaine however, convinced Richard to allow John to be present in England in his absence.
9. When Richard was absent on crusade for some time before returning in 1194, what was John's reaction?

Answer: Proclaim him dead

Richard was on his way back to England when he was captured by Leopold V, Duke of Austria. He sent him to Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI who held him for ransom. When John realised his brother was alive, he still saw this as an opportunity to seize power, and went to Paris to ally with King Philip of France. Eleanor of Aquitaine had previously advised against him doing this. While negotiating with Philip, he agreed to cast aside his wife, Isabella of Gloucester and marry French princess, Alys of France, Countess of Vexin. However, these wedding plans never came to fruition, as forces loyal to Richard overwhelmed John's army, forcing John to agree to a truce. John's forces surrender fully when Richard returned to England in 1194.

John fled to Normandy, but Richard found him. John threw himself at Richard's mercy, and Richard proclaimed that John was no more than a misled child, taking bad advice from unscrupulous people and manipulated by them. This was all despite that fact that John was a 27 year old man by this point. Richard did, however, confiscate John's lands, apart from Ireland. John remained seemingly loyal to his brother and accepted him as king, right up until Richard I's death in 1199.
10. John was crowned in Westminster Abbey on what day?

Answer: Ascension Day

Despite protests that Arthur, son of John's deceased brother Geoffrey, was the rightful heir to the throne by some, John was crowned in 1199. He was 32 years old and was crowned by Hubert Walter, the then Archbishop of Canterbury. When he came to the throne, he had the full backing of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, as well as most of the English and Norman nobility - at first. Judging from the ensuing wars John had with the barons over the years, and his loss of lands to France, those who initially supported John likely later regretted their decision.
11. What treaty did John sign alongside King Philip II of France in 1200?

Answer: Treaty of Le Goulet

In this treaty, Philip recognised John as Richard's legitimate successor. Philip II had originally supported Geoffrey's son Arthur, claiming he was the rightful heir to the throne and going as far as to invade Normandy. However, when John's military campaigns became more and more successful, as well as negotiating with William des Roches (an influential Anjou nobleman and knight), and persuading him to switch support from Arthur to John, Philip II understandably thought again about supporting Arthur.

This came at a heavy price, however, for John. He had to pay 20,000 marks as relief for his succession, and accept Philip as feudal overlord for the lands John had acquired in France. For his weak negotiating skills, especially in comparison to the more aggressive haggler Richard, John received the nickname "John Softsword" from several English chroniclers.
12. John's second wife was Isabella of Angoulême. To whom was she originally betrothed?

Answer: Hugh IX of Lusignan

Isabella of Angoulême married John in 1200. She was the sole daughter of Aymer Taillefer (the last Count of Angoulême from the House of Taillefer) and French noblewoman Alice of Courtenay. She was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London in 1200 in an extravagant ceremony.

Hugh IX le Brun, Count of Lusignan, was an important noble, the grandson of the Count of La Marche. Because John had the audacity to steal Isabella away from Hugh, Philip II of France was enraged, insulted, and incredulous. He repaid John's behaviour by confiscating his lands in France. It did not help that rather than try to negotiate some sort of compensation for Hugh, John was hostile and rude to him, showing him nothing but contempt. Armed conflict broke out finally in 1202, when John refused to be summoned to the court of King Philip II to explain himself.
13. A stain on the legacy of King John was his loss of Normandy. However, in what battle did John do particularly well, capturing 200 of Arthur's rebel leaders in 1202?

Answer: Battle of Mirebeau

In 1202, John got word that Arthur and his forces had threatened his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, at the castle of Mirebeau. Arthur was around 15 years old at the time and had aligned himself with Hugh IX de Lusignan. John reacted quickly, enlisting the help of William de Roches. Both Arthur and Hugh de Lusignan, as well as 200 others, were captured by John's army. Arthur's sister, Eleanor, was captured in this battle and sent to England as a hostage, where she died a prisoner in 1241.

Although John was victorious in this battle, his treatment of his prisoners caused great anger amongst those captured. He was also discourteous and disrespectful to the man who had helped him so much in battle, William de Roches. This resulted in considerable parts of John's Angevin Empire turning against him, and allying with Philip II.
14. In 1203 Arthur of Brittany disappeared. The Margam Abbey Annals report that John killed him, and did what with his nephew's body?

Answer: Threw it in the Seine

Arthur was sent to Rouen in 1203. He was under the care of William de Braose, a favourite court member of John. Although there is no concrete evidence of Arthur's fate, modern historians generally agree that he was murdered by John.

Margam Abbey was a Cistercian monastery in Margam, now part of modern-day Port Talbot, Wales. The annals that detail Arthur's murder are written in Latin, and begin in 1066 with the death of Edward the Confessor, and end with Henry III's dispute with Hubert de Burgh in 1232. Regarding Arthur's death, the annals state that John kept him alive in the tower for some time. John then got drunk and aggressive, then "he slew him with his own hand" before tying a large stone to Arthur's body, and throwing him into the Seine River. John's unpopularity soared after Arthur's death, with many people suspecting that he was responsible.
15. In March 1204, which of these was the fort of John's that King Philip II captured, setting the stage for him to take Normandy?

Answer: Château Gaillard

The siege of Château Gaillard lasted for 8 months until King Philip II conquered it completely. Located on the Seine River of France, Château Gaillard was established by John's brother, King Richard I. It had 17 towers, and was surrounded by ditches and moats.

Philip had his men mine under the corner tower under protective screens, and eventually the tower partially collapsed. His army then entered through the garderobes (latrine) holes and were able to lower the draw bridge to the main keep. However, it is also reported that they entered through the chapel (destroying it in the process) and a story was concocted about entering through the latrines to avoid the wrath of the Church. Philip's taking of Château Gaillard meant the loss of Normandy for John. Philip had taken Normandy completely from him of August 1204, and also had his sights set on Poitou and Anjou.
16. Pope Innocent III and John had a dispute in 1205 over who should be the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Pope wanted Stephen Langton for the position. Who did John want?

Answer: John de Gray

England was in need of a new Archbishop of Canterbury when Hubert Walter died in 1205. John de Gray was Bishop of Norwich, and had been involved in the affairs and service of Prince John many years before he became king. John felt he could trust John de Gray, but Pope Innocent III, likely feeling De Gray was too close to John, asserted that he would prefer Stephen Langton to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury. John was defiant and refused to recognise Stephen Langton as the authentic archbishop. The Pope reacted to this denial of his authority by excommunicating John from the Catholic Church. John retaliated by confiscating lands from the Churches in England, forcing priests to leave their parishes and imposing a heavy tax.

When Pope Innocent III consecrated Stephen Langton as the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1207, an 8 year feud began between King John and the pope. John exiled so many bishops and clergy members during his feud with the Pope that by 1209, John de Gray, and the Bishop of Winchester, Peter des Roches, were the only living bishops in England that were not in exile.
17. The First Barons' War of 1215-1217 was a civil war in England against John. Who came to their aid from France?

Answer: Louis VIII

The First Barons' War was born out of frustration at John's leadership and his catastrophic wars against Philip II of France that lost England so much land. John was stubborn and would not listen to the complaints of his subjects. Faced with such a stubborn king, the barons turned to Prince Louis VIII of France, King Philip's son. Louis decided to help the barons against his father's advice, in 1216. Pope Innocent III was also firmly against it.

Louis was of great help to the barons, capturing Winchester, and was soon in command of a substantial part of the English kingdom. In London on 2 June 1216, some rebellious barons saw fit to name Louis as king of England. He was never crowned. The pope had excommunicated him by them, which probably helped Louis decide to renounce his claim. Louis was never going to be king of England, regardless. When John died in 1216, the barons overwhelming supported John's son, Henry III of England, who was 9 years old at the time. Louis was driven back to France in 1217, although he did not come to harm after being defeated in the Battle of Lincoln that year. He was paid to give up his claim and return to his homeland.
18. Due to John's increasingly authoritarian behaviour, the Magna Carta was issued in 1215. Where was it first signed?

Answer: Runnymede

The Magna Carta translates as "great charter" in Latin, and was the first document sealed in writing, that declared that the King nor his government were above "the law of the land." The Magna Carta also promised the protection of churches from extortion, with limited feudal payments to the Monarchy.

Runnymede is around 20 miles (32 km) west of Central London. Little is known about why Runnymede was chosen to be the place where the Magna Carta was signed. It was an obscure field, and now exists as a water-meadow - that is, a grassland with frequent and controlled irrigation for the purpose of agriculture.
19. How did King John die?

Answer: Dysentery

Dysentery is caused by the gut having parasites, but there were rumours that John had been poisoned. He had certainly upset enough people in his time in power. Written in the late 13th century, the Brut Chronicle states that, in October 1216, John imposed himself on Swineshead Abbey, demanding hospitality. His bags had been lost during the treacherous route, including apparently the Crown Jewels in a bog, and John was likely in a terrible mood. He asked one of the monks how much a loaf of bread cost, and when the answer came "a halfpenny" John quipped that if the monk should live, in half a year's time the same loaf would cost 20 shillings. The horrified monk swore to himself that he would rather die than see John put England through famine. The monk fetched a poison toad from the garden, poisoned John's drink with it, and drank from the same cup as John (who was paranoid about being poisoned). The monk was happy to die, in order to save England from the tyrant king.

However, this chronicle can be highly legendary, and has a particularly scathing view of John. Modern historians agree generally that John contracted dysentery, and died at Newark Castle, where he had traveled to after dining at Swineshead Abbey.
20. Where is King John buried?

Answer: Worcester Cathedral

King John requested before his death in 1216 that his tomb to be in Worcester Cathedral. Located in the West Midlands region of England, Worcester is the county town of Worcestershire, in England. He is buried as requested between the shrines of St Wulfstan and St Oswald. His tomb features the Plantaganet badge, and is the oldest royal effigy in England.
Source: Author LuH77

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