Category: King John “Lackland”

John “Lackland” King of England.

John “Lackland”  King of England (the bad king) was born December 24, 1167 or 1177, to Henri II, King of England (1133-1189) and Eleonore  d’Aquitaine, Duchess d’Aquitaine (1122-1204). He was also the younger brother and successor to King Richard (the good king).
King John of England

King John painted c.1250-59 by Matthew Paris.

John was made King of Ireland in 1177, Comte de Mortain in 1189, and his reign as King of England began with his crowning in London on May 27, 1199 when he succeeded his brother Richard, who had left on crusade. He was crowned a second time October 8, 1200 at Westminster Abbey, with his second wife.

King John is seen as a villain, this impression having been fostered through the retelling of the legend of Robin Hood, who supposedly took up the cause of the people against King John’s exhorbitant taxes by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

In 1173, John was betrothed to Alix de Maurienne (1166-1174), daughter of Humbert III, Comte de Maurienne and his third wife Klementia von Zähringen, and an agreement was reached where John would inherit the county of Maurienne if Humbert had no sons by his wife.

He became betrothed to Isabel (Avise), Countess of Gloucester in 1176 and married her as her first husband on August 29, 1189 and they divorced (annulled on the grounds of consanguinity) before August 30, 1199. Isabel was the daughter of William FitzRobert II, Earl of Gloucester and his wife Avise de Beaumont. She remarried in 1214 to Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, and again in 1217 to Hubert de Burgh, who became Earl of Kent afterward, in 1227.  Isabel died in 1217.

He was then betrothed to Alix de France, daughter of Louis VII, King of France and his second wife Infanta doña Constanza de Castilla in 1193. The betrothal was arranged by King Richard, who himself had been betrothed to Alix de France at one time. Alix returned to France in Aug 1195.

Tomb of Isabelle d'Angoulême

Tomb of Isabelle d’Angoulême.

John’s second marriage was to Isabelle d’Angoulême on August 24, 1200 as her first husband. Isabelle was the daughter of Aymar “Taillefer”, Comte d’Angoulême and his wife Alix de Courtenay. She was crowned Queen Consort on October 8, 1200 at Westminster Abbey. King John and his second wife had five children: Henry  III, King of England (1207-1272); Richard, King of England and the Romans (1209-1272); Joan  of England (1210-1238); Isabella  of England (1214-1241); and Eleanor (1215-1275).

Newark Castle, Lincolnshire, England

Newark Castle in Lincolnshire, England.

After John’s death in 1216 in Newark Castle in Lincolnshire, she married again in 1220 to Hugues XI, de Lusignan, Comte de la Marche.

John also had numerous mistresses, the majority of whom were unknown. Those that were known were the daughter of Hamelin d’Anjou, Earl of Surrey and his wife Isabelle de Warenne; Clementia, the wife of Henry Pinel;  a woman named Hawise (possibly ‘de Tracy’); and a woman named Susanna, her origins unknown.

There were several children born to him of several of his mistresses, including: Joan “Joanna”  of England, Lady of Wales (1190-1237); Oliver  (    -1219); Osbert Gifford (    -1246); Geoffrey FitzRoy (    -1205); Sir John FitzJohn (    -1242); Odo FitzRoy (    -1242); Henry FitzRoy; Richard  Constable of Wallingford Castle; Matilda  Abbess of Barking; Isabella  la Blanche; Richard FitzRoy (    -1245).

Tomb of King John

Tomb of King John of England.

John died October 18 or 19, 1216 at Newark Castle in Lincolnshire and was buried at Worcester Cathedral, Worcestershire.

Effigy of King John.

Tomb effigy of John “Lackland”, King of England.

Up until 1944 King John was considered to be a horrid man and even worse king. In 1944, it was demonstrated that the main source for information about the reign of John was at best unreliable. These new findings caused a change in perception of King John, possibly resulting in a further skewed view of John on the positive side.

Those attempting to find a more accurate view of John are doing so through examination of the administrative records of the time. Even with these records, however, there is some doubt expressed about whether the records are to be taken at face value or whether John or his staff were able to skillfully produce records portraying him in a more positive light.

John’s energetic, fastidious nature belied his appearance, paunchy, 5′ 5″ tall with “erect head, staring eyes, flaring nostrils and thick lips set in a cruel pout.” It was said that “he prowled around his kingdom.” He was very clean, routinely taking numerous baths, enjoyed food and drink, gambled, and loved women.

Contradictory to the legend we have become accustomed to, he assisted the poor by providing the proceeds from the forest law and was generous to his servants.

His legend may in fact have been fueled by knowledge of his highly suspicious nature and enjoyment of intrigues and secrets. He also acted against his father, as he did against Richard while the latter was held captive in 1193.

Although John would not be considered a ‘good’ man, in different circumstances he could have been a great king.

King John was 24th great grandfather to my children.


  1. Kings and Queens of England – The Normans, The Royal Family of England online [].
  2. Kings and Queens of England – The Angevins, The Royal Family online [].
  3. Early Scottish Monarchs, The Royal Family online [].
  4. Gary Boyd Roberts, The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants, (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1983).
  5. Funk & Wagnalls Inc., Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia (1983).
  6. David Faris, The Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth Century Colonists (English Ancestry Series, Vol. I, Second Edition; New England Historic Genealogy Society, 1999).
  7. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdon, Extant, Extinct or Dormant (G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I.).
  8. Britain’s Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy; Pimlico; 2Rev Ed edition (13 Jun 2002); London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999.
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Th.D., The Magna Carta Sureties, 1215, (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc.), 5th Ed., c1999.
  10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came To America Before 1700, 8th Edition (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 2004).
  11. Ernst-Friedrich Kraentzler, Ancestry of Richard Plantagenet and Cecily de Neville (Selp-published, 1978).
  12. Directory of Royal Genealogical Data, Brian Tompsett, Dept. of Computer Science, Hull University online [].
  13. Charles Mosley, Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, 106th Edition (1999).
  14. George Smith, Dictionary of National Biography, Vols. 1-21 (: Oxford Press, 1885-1990).
  15. John Fines, Who’s Who in the Middle Ages (New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1995).
  16. Call, Michel, Royal Ancestors of Some American Families (Salt Lake City, 1989, 1991).
  17. Foundation for Medieval Genealogy online [,%20Kings%201066-1603.htm#LoretteMWilliamMarmiondied1275].
  18. []


Family Tree Maker 2012 is winning me over.

When I started using it, I hated Family Tree Maker 2012.

I’m one who is very uncomfortable with change, especially if that change leaves me in an unfamiliar environment where I don’t know what to do or how to get around. I’m left feeling very frustrated and vulnerable – as was the case for the first little while with this software.

Initially, all I noticed were the glitches.

For whatever reason, when I initially installed this software, the web clip feature would not work. After several frustrated attempts, I counted to ’10’, and starting researching the issue online. There I found that others had experience the same issue and resolved it by uninstalling FTM 2012, installing an earlier version or FTM (I used FTM 9), uninstalling the new version and then reinstalling FTM 2012. I have no idea why this would be necessary, but it worked – sort of. Unfortunately, only the data clipping feature works. The web clipping feature for clipping images does not work to this day and I’m still trying to rectify that. If anyone knows the answer, I would appreciate it if you could enlighten me, PLEASE??

The interface is very different from that of RootsMagic and I had a hard time figuring out what to do. Each task I performed took substantially longer than it would have in RootsMagic because I had to use the help feature and/or the internet to learn how to do it in FTM 2012.
The basic functions of FTM 2012 are comparable to RootsMagic, but with a much more advanced interface. This can have its drawbacks, however, as I had to upgrade and buy a new computer as my old one could not run the software effectively, even though the specifications say it should have. I must say I love it on my new laptop. It was about time I upgraded, but I would have preferred to not spend the money at this time. Although the software runs well now, it frequently shuts down spontaneously. I found this rather alarming and disconcerting, but I always follow the advice upon reopening and compact the file (>Tools >Compact File), being sure to back up the software every time.

I’m not fussy about the media handling capabilities of FTM 2012 if the option of copying to the software’s own data folder is used. It seems to make multiple copies of the same file, sometimes making finding media to relink to other persons or facts very difficult. I have therefore started linking to media directly from my own genealogy media library and I’m much happier with the result.

All of this aside though, the sole reason I am staying with this software despite these very frustrating glitches is how the interface is built around a browser window in the center. It’s possible to switch between the browser window and the main ‘Person’ or ‘Family’ windows without losing my place or losing track of what I am doing. This makes it easy to compare more detailed data between ‘hints’ produced by the software and the persons already existing in my data file. With RootsMagic, it was very difficult to compare data. This was a real detriment when working with individuals in my database who did not have much information available to make a definite match with a hint. It would be all too easy to make a mistake – matching the wrong people. With FTM 2012’s browser interface, the ‘hints’ appear in a list and it’s easy to click on each link and compare the data in each hint all at once.

Let’s say I have an individual in my database for whom I have only the first name and birth date and their spouse’s name. In these cases, the information is so generic that numerous ‘hints’ can be produced. At first this looks discouraging but it’s actually a huge help. One can switch between hints in the list and compare to the data in my own database. Perhaps there’s an individual with the same name but a slightly different birth date and showing the names of both parents. Although it’s tempting to decide they’re one and the same person, there isn’t enough information to make the definite match. However, the next hint could show the individual’s name, the parents’ names and the spouse’s name. If the name of the spouse in the original data and that in the second hint open are the same, one can assume that the parents showing in the hint are the same parents if they match. With this comparison, it would be clear that all three hints refer to the same family and the data from the hints can be merged into the original database. Performing these same data comparisons in RootsMagic was very annoying and time consuming as I had to have multiple browser windows open and switch between windows, and without the benefit of the hints. I had to find my own hints, which could also be very time consuming and frustrating.

The final issue that convinced me to work with Family Tree Maker 2012 was the ability to use it on both my Windows laptop and Mac desktop. The process of converting the file is a bit ‘clunky’, but at least it’s possible – which it isn’t with RootsMagic. It’s a shame that after about ten years of using RootsMagic and numerous comments and requests that they come up with a Mac version, I had no choice but to switch. I’m not the only one who has been making this request. There are numerous entries in forums, blog posts and RootsMagic’s own forum requesting the same, only to be told to set up a virtual Windows environment on our Macs. I did so, trying every version of virtual Windows environment software available at great expense and frustration, never finding one that was ideal. The virtual desktop software are also not ‘user friendly’. If I hadn’t had a more advanced knowledge of my computers and software, I wouldn’t have had a hope of understanding it.

I look forward to the next updates where the issues I’ve mentioned above will hopefully be rectified. Once that happens, I will be 100% happy with this software.