Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester

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Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, 1st Earl of Chester (23 May 1208? – 4 August 1265), sometimes referred to as Simon V de Montfort to distinguish him from other people called Simon de Montfort, was a French-English nobleman. He led the barons' rebellion against King Henry III of England during the Second Barons' War of 1263-4, and subsequently became de facto ruler of England. During his rule, de Montfort called the first directly elected parliament in medieval Europe. For this reason, de Montfort is regarded today as one of the progenitors of modern parliamentary democracy. After a rule of just over a year, de Montfort was killed by forces loyal to the king in the Battle of Evesham.


Family and early life

De Montfort was the youngest son of Simon de Montfort, a French nobleman and crusader, and Alix de Montmorency. His paternal grandmother was Amicia de Beaumont, the senior co-heiress to the Earldom of Leicester and a large estate owned by her father Robert de Beaumont, 3rd Earl of Leicester in England, but King John of England would not allow a French subject to take ownership of such an estate in England.

As a boy, de Montfort accompanied his parents during his father's campaigns against the Cathars. He was with his mother at the siege of Toulouse in 1218, where his father was killed after being struck on the head by a stone pitched by a mangonel. On the death of their father, de Montfort's elder brother Amaury succeeded him. Another brother, Guy, was killed at the siege of Castelnaudary in 1220. As a young man, Montfort probably took part in the Albigensian Crusades of the early 1220s.

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