This Day in History: 1215-07-23

On 23rd July 1215 King John wrote a strongly-worded letter, from a council at Oxford, to the men of Yorkshire, covering all ranks (and by implication John de Lacy, lord of Pontefract), to hand back possessions they had seized from the king, by the 15th August; the same date that London was to be returned to the king.  On the 16th July, at Oxford King John had demanded the restoration of his treasure from London plus the formal restoration of peace.  The  barons had sought to extend their power over institutions such as the Exchequer in addition to presenting further claims for restoration of lands from the king and intervening in the appointment of local officials to secure favourable terms.  Unsurprisingly the council ended abruptly with the Barons leaving “with great rancour”.