On This Date…October 19th, 1216

At Newark Castle in Nottingham, England, the still-controversial King John of England – son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and brother to Richard I (the Lionheart) – died after a bout of dysentery he likely contracted in September of the same year.

England was in the midst of a civil war. John had been staging a series of battles against his nobles after the Magna Carta (signed in 1215) was broken by both the Crown and the Barons after its’ signing. Following his death, an escort of mercenaries transported the remains to Worcester Cathedral, where he was buried ‘in front of the altar of St. Wulfstan’. The sarcophagus – seen below – complete with effigy of the King was built in 1232. John’s body rests there today.   

His son, Henry III, was his successor.

Among the many actors who have portrayed John: Claude Rains (The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn), Peter Ustinov (voice actor for the Disney cartoon version of Robin Hood), Cinderella Man’s Paul Giamatti (Ironclad), and Oscar Isaac in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood.


The Tomb of John of England at Worcester Cathedral


Newark Castle as it appeared in 2008. King John of England died here after suffering from dysentery.


Claude Rains as Prince John (The Adventures of Robin Hood)






John as cowardly, thumb-sucking lion in Disney’s animated version of Robin Hood (voiced by Peter Ustinov)


Paul Giamatti in Ironclad


Oscar Isaac in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood


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