John, though often cruel and treacherous, was an excellent administrator, much concerned with rendering justice among his subjects. The basic cause of his conflicts with the barons was not that he was an innovator in trying to wield an absolute royal power, but that in so doing he ignored and contravened the traditional feudal relationship between the crown and the nobility. The modern hostile picture of John is primarily the work of subsequent chroniclers, mainly Roger of Wendover and Matthew of Paris.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.