This Day in History: 1216-01-02

On 2nd January 1216, King John was at Pontefract on his northern ‘crusade’ to revenge himself against the northern barons (of Magna Carta) and Alexander II, King of Scotland, who had sided with the rebels. The king forced John de Lacy and another member of the 25 (Magna Carta) rebel barons, Roger de Montbegon to submit. John de Lacy stated: ‘If I have sworn an oath to the King’s enemies, then I will not hold to it, nor will I adhere in any way to the charter of liberties which the lord king has granted in common to the barons of England and which the lord pope has annulled‘. This threat came soon after the king had persuaded William d’Aubigny’s (another rebel baron) garrison at Belvoir to surrender on pain of starvation and two days before York’s terrified citizens had offered the king £1000 (£1.95 million in today’s money) to avoid its ransacking.