Henry III The Rise to Power and Personal Rule, 1207-1258 David Carpenter

The English Monarchs Series
Publication date:
12 May 2020
Yale University Press
576 pages: 235 x 156mm
21 color illus. + 4 maps + 4 figures
Sales territories:


Buy this eBook

You can purchase this title from a number of online retailers:

The first in a ground-breaking two-volume history of Henry III’s rule, from when he first assumed the crown to the moment his personal rule ended

Nine years of age when he came to the throne in 1216, Henry III had to rule within the limits set by the establishment of Magna Carta and the emergence of parliament. Pacific, conciliatory, and deeply religious, Henry brought many years of peace to England and rebuilt Westminster Abbey in honor of his patron saint, Edward the Confessor. He poured money into embellishing his palaces and creating a magnificent court. Yet this investment in "soft power" did not prevent a great revolution in 1258, led by Simon de Montfort, ending Henry's personal rule.

Eminent historian David Carpenter brings to life Henry's character and reign as never before. Using source material of unparalleled richness—material that makes it possible to get closer to Henry than any other medieval monarch—Carpenter stresses the king’s achievements as well as his failures while offering an entirely new perspective on the intimate connections between medieval politics and religion.

David Carpenter is professor of medieval history at King's College London. He has published widely on the reign of Henry III and in 2015 wrote a new study of Magna Carta for the Penguin Classics series.

“Professor Carpenter is one of Britain’s foremost medievalists…No one knows more about Henry, and a lifetime of scholarship is here poured out, elegantly and often humorously. This is a fine, judicious, illuminating work that should be the standard study of the reign for generations to come.”—Dan Jones, The Sunday Times

“[A] monumental, awesome yet highly readable book…Carpenter is the foremost scholar of England’s 13th century, and his spectacular erudition shines on every page… Above all, he has narrative gifts that root this history of our medieval country in reality rather than in romance, and makes the lives of our distant forebears feel as comprehensible as our own.”—Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph

“You are in for a colourful ride…Yale University Press is to be congratulated on allowing Carpenter to explore so many aspects of 13th-century English government at such length. The glorious details — lamprey cooking included — are what make it a pleasure.”—Dominic Selwood, Spectator

"[A] major new biography"—BBC History Magazine

“Outstanding. Through sustained scholarship Carpenter provides the reader with all sorts of insights into the decisions and daily experience of this ambitious and complex medieval king.”—Michael Clanchy, author of England and its Rulers

“This brilliant study by a leading historian of medieval England brings together a lifetime of research in a masterly way. Henry III is treated with humane understanding while his political failings and absence of a proper sense of priorities are emphasised with admirable clarity. Vivid and highly readable, this is a book of major significance.” —Michael Prestwich, author of Edward I

“Rooted in his unrivalled understanding of the primary sources, Carpenter has created a sparkling and compelling narrative of this little-known English king.”—Stephen Church, author of Henry III

“A monumental achievement. Never before has England’s place in the wider history of medieval Europe been revealed on quite this epic scope, and with so sharp an eye for personalities. Revisiting fifty years of history, Carpenter reveals Henry III – a supposedly ‘non-descript king’ – as one of the more fascinating failures ever to have sat on the English throne.”—Nicholas Vincent, author of A Brief History of Britain 1066-1485