Does King John deserve his terrible reputation and 'Bad' nickname? King John was the fourth son of the popular King Henry II and became monarch in 1199 after the death of his brother Richard ‘The Lionheart’. During his reign, which lasted until his death on 19 October 1216, he famously lost Normandy at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214 and was forced to sign ‘Magna Carta’ at Runnymede in 1215 by a group of discontented Barons. This document put explicit limits on the power of the King. Contemporary Chroniclers harmed John’s reputation, accusing him of wickedness, a lust for money and of murdering his nephew. Furthermore, his negative portrayal in numerous productions of Robin Hood has served to tarnish his standing in popular perception.
Was he really a ‘bad’ King? Versus History residents Elliott and Patrick argue that he was indeed a terrible King, while special guest Conal Smith (@prohistoricman) argues that he was a better King than history has given him credit for.