Prior to the battle of Lewes fought on the 14th May 1264 the two opposing sides exchanged letters setting out their view of the conflict. The text of these letters is derived from Matthew of Westminster who reproduced the texts in his work The Flowers of History.
A: Letter of Simon de Montfort and Gilbert de Clare sent to Henry III setting out their justification for their rebellion.
To the most excellent lord Henry, by the grace Of God, king of England, etc.
The barons and others, his faithful subjects, wishing to observe their oaths and the fidelity due to God and to him, wish health, and tender their lawful service with all respect and honor. As it is plain from much experience that those who are present with you have suggested to your highness many falsehoods respecting us, intending all the mischief that they can do, not only to you but also to us, and to your whole kingdom, we wish your excellency to know that we wish to preserve the safety and security of your person with all our might, as the fidelity which we owe to you demands, proposing to overthrow, to the utmost of our power, all those who are not our enemies but yours too, and the foes of the whole of your kingdom; and if any other statement is made to you respecting these matters, do not believe it; for we shall always be found your faithful subjects.
And we, Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, and Gilbert de Clare, at the request of the rest, have, for us and for them too who are here present, affixed our seals. Given at," etc.
B: The king's response to Simon de Montfort and his followers;
Henry, by the grace of God, king of England, etc, to Simon de Montfort and Gilbert de Clare, and their partisans.
Since, from the war and general confusion existing in our kingdom, which has all been caused by you, and by the conflagrations and other lawless mischiefs, it is distinctly visible that you do not preserve the fidelity which you owe to us, and that you have in no respect any regard for the safety of our person, since you have wickedly attacked our nobles and others our faithful subjects, who have constantly preserved their fidelity to us, and since you still design to injure them as far as in your power, as you have signified to us by your letters, we consider their grievances as our own, and look upon their enemies as ours; especially since those our faithful subjects before mentioned are manfully standing by us and maintaining their fidelity in opposition to your disloyal conduct, and we do not care for your safety or for your affection, but defy you, as the enemies of us and them.
Witness my hand, at Lewes, on the twelfth day of May, in the forty-eighth year of our reign.
C: The response sent jointly by Richard of Cornwall, the king's younger brother, and his nephew Edward (later Edward I);
Richard, by the grace of God, king of the Romans, always Augustus, and Edward, the illustrious eldest son of the king of England, and all the other barons and nobles who constantly with the labors of sincere good faith and devotedness have adhered to the aforesaid king of England, to Simon de Montfort, Gilbert de Clare, and each and all the others who are accomplices in their treason.
By your letters which you have sent to the illustrious king of England, our dearest lord, we understand that we are defied by you, although a verbal defiance of this kind was long ago sufficiently proved to us by actual reality, through your hostile pursuit of us, your burning of our properties, and general devastation of our possessions; we, therefore, wish you to know that you are all defied by each and all of us, as public enemies, and that we are your enemies; and that we will labour with all our might to the damage of your persons and property, whenever any opportunity of injuring either is offered to us. But as to what you falsely charge us with, that we give neither faithful nor salutary counsel to the king your master, you do not at all say the truth; and if you, Simon de Montfort or Gilbert de Clare, choose to assert this same thing in the court of our lord the king, we are prepared to procure a safe conduct and to come to the said court, and to prove the truth of our innocence in this particular, and your falsehood as perfidious traitors, by another who is your equal in nobleness and blood.
And we are all content with the seals of the lords above mentioned, namely, of the king of the Romans and the lord Edward. Given as above.