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Simon de Montfort IV (1168-1218)
Duke of Narbonne
Count of Toulouse
Earl of Leicester
Viscount of Beziers and Carcassone
Lord of Montfort

The elder Simon de Montfort was a renowned soldier. His family had controlled all of the land west of Hurepoix since the 10th century. The de Montfort’s were one the principle vassals of the King of France, who at this time was Phillip II.

Simon IV inherited the Earldom of Leicester though his mother, Amicie de Beaumort, sister of Robert de Leicester. However, he rarely, if ever, visited Leicester.

He took part in the Forth Crusade the Holy Land, but he returned to France after refusing to join the Venetians to conquer Constantinople (now called Istanbul). Back in France, he heeded the call of Innocent III, the Pope, to wage a crusade against the heretical Albigensian Cathars in the Languedoc. It was in this war that he made his name.

After the massacre at Bezier, and the Capture of Carcassone, he was elected Leader of the Crusade in 1209. Under his leadership, the French crusaders were victorious at the Low Wall in 1213, against Pedro II of Aragon, and Raymond VI of Toulouse, the King’s cousin. Raymond was stripped of his titles. Two years later, the Lateran Council in Rome granted Simon IV the titles of Count of Toulouse, Duke of Narbonne, Viscount of Beziers and Carcassone (a title taken from the Trencavel family).

During a Languedocien Uprising in 1218, Simon IV was killed at the Siege of Toulouse, leaving three sons behind: Amaury, Guy and Simon V. Amaury and Guy fought on in the Albigensian Crusade, only to loose all of their southern lands. In 1229, at the age of 21, Simon V came to England to claim his title as Earl of Leicester.

 Thomas Williams