Do you agree with Disney’s portrayal of King John?

Assessment lesson

Now that you have explored the reign of King John I of England from 1199 to 1216, it’s time for you to think: How far do you agree that John was a bad king?

Over the past five weeks, we have been exploring the key moments in King John’s reign, reflecting as we go on whether they have demonstrated King John to be a good king, a bad king, or an unlucky king.

Now it’s time for you to write your final piece as your assessment. The question you are answering is:

How far do you agree that King John I was a bad king? [16 marks + 4 marks for spelling and grammar]

To help you plan, structure and write your essay, please watch the video and read the information below.

Video guide
What makes a good medieval king?

As a class, we came up with the following qualities a medieval king needed to have to be a good king. They were:

  1. You must be smart.
  2. You must be tactical in dealing with situations.
  3. You must be patient when you rule.
  4. You must be highly religious.
  5. You must be able to be good at fighting.
  6. You must be loyal and tactical with your family.
  7. You must uphold the law and be fair to your people.
How should I structure my answer?

In your writing you should pick four things that make a good medieval king and assess how well John showed these qualities (see above). For example, you might want to assess (1) how smart John was, (2) how religious John was, (3) how good at fighting John was, and maybe finally (4) how fair John was.

Each quality should take up a paragraph of writing, where you assess both sides of the argument (see the structure guide below). So in total, your answer has four main paragraphs.

You will also need an introduction and a conclusion to sum up your overall argument.

Your overall structure may look something like this then:

Paragraph 1 (medieval king quality 1)
Paragraph 2 (medieval king quality 2)
Paragraph 3 (medieval king quality 3)
Paragraph 4 (medieval king quality 4)
Conclusion – what is your overall opinion?

Each paragraph should follow a structure like the one below to help you assess how well John demonstrated these key qualities:

A medieval king was expected to be ____. It was important for a medieval king to be this way because…

It could be seen as if John was ____ . This is because… [include 2-3 bits of clear evidence here to show that John had this quality].

However, it could also be seen as if John was not ___ . This is because [include 2-3 bits of clear evidence here to show that John had this quality].

Overall, John was/was not ____ . I believe this because …

Please watch the YouTube video for help with this.

What were the key events in John’s reign?

Remember to consider some key evidence that you picked out from the following events:

  • King John inherited the throne from Richard the Lionheart.
  • King John’s quarrel with Pope Innocent III.
  • King John’s wars in France.
  • The rebellion by his barons.
  • The signing of the Magna Carta.

To help you, I have attached a master info sheet here that puts all of the information from our lessons together. Use this to gather your evidence:

What websites can help me gather more evidence?

Useful links to help you:
Main events in King John’s life.
King John and the Magna Carta.
Was John a good king or a bad king?

You can also use these videos on YouTube:

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