King John and Magna Carta
Richard I (1189-99) had reputation for being a great soldier but spent less than 6 months in the kingdom. He taxed the realm heavily in order to pay for his participation in the Third Crusade.
John inherited no land (hence the nickname, ‘lackland’) but also a throne that was in debt. Some of his barons wanted his nephew Arthur to become king so John had captured and imprisoned in a castle in France. He was never seen or heard again. There was rumour that John had him tied to a stone and thrown into the River Seine. The barons refused to help John defend the French lands and he lost them to Philip Augustus by 1204, for which he earned a new nickname – ‘soft-sword’.
In order to raise an army of mercenaries, John had to raise taxes and use fines and legal methods to take money and land from his barons.
At the same time, he fell into dispute with the pope over the appointment of Stephen Langton as archbishop of Canterbury, for which the kingdom was placed under an interdict in 1205 and John was excommunicated in 1209. The interdict meant that no Christian burials could take place or marriages – it meant that the whole country was effectively cut off from the sacraments and therefore from heaven. Understandably, all of this meant that the barons rebelled against the king. The result was forcing him to agree to Magna Carta at Runnymede.
A useful video about King John is found here.
See Historical Association Magna Carta lessons(tough for year 7! But contains useful resources that might be adapted).
BBC Bitesize has some useful summaries and video materials here.
Henry III and the evolution of Parliament
Robert Bartlett on Henry III
Another useful video about the reign of Henry III can be found here.