Munchensi, William de (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 39
Munchensi, William de

by Charles Lethbridge Kingsford
Contains subarticle, Warine de Munchensi II (d. 1255).

MUNCHENSI, WILLIAM de (d. 1289), baronial leader, was son of Warine de Munchensi by his wife Dionysia. A Hubert de Munchensi occurs in the reign of Stephen; his son, Warine I, was by Agnes Fitz-John (d. 1224), father of Hubert, Ralph, and William. Warine de Munchensi II (d. 1255) would appear to have been a younger son or nephew of the last named, who died about 1205. He had livery of the family lands in 1214. In 1223 he served in Wales, and in Poitou in 1243, when he distinguished himself by his valour in the fight at Saintes (Matt. Paris, iv. 213). He had livery of the lands of his uncle Ralph in 1250, and died in July 1255. Matthew Paris describes him as one of the noblest and wisest of the barons of England, and a zealous defender of the peace and liberty of the realm. He left the, for that time, enormous fortune of two hundred thousand marks (ib. v. 504). He married, first, after 1219 Johanna, fifth daughter of William Marshal (d. 1219), and by her had a son, John, who predeceased him, and a daughter, Johanna, who married, 13 Aug. 1247, William de Valence [q. v.], the king's half-brother, and brought him her mother's large inheritance (ib. iv. 628-9; Flores Historiarum, ii. 339; Chartulary of St. Mary's, Dublin, ii. 144, 313); and secondly, Dionysia, daughter of Nicolas de Anesty, who was mother of William de Munchensi, and died in 1294, having founded Waterbeche Abbey for nuns of St. Clare in 1293.

William de Munchensi was a minor at his father's death, and was for a short time the ward of his brother-in-law, William de Valence, earl of Pembroke [q. v.] He had livery of his lands in 1256, and in 1258 was summoned to Chester for the Welsh war. Like many other young nobles who had been wards of the king's favourites, Munchensi joined the baronial party. In May 1263 he was present at the assembly of the barons in London, and was one of the barons who swore to abide by the decision of Louis IX in December. On 14 May 1264 he fought at Lewes in the division under Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester. He was present in the assembly at London in June, and was one of the witnesses to the agreement for the reform of the government. Munchensi was summoned by the baronial party to the parliament held in January 1265. When the quarrel broke out between Simon de Montfort and Gilbert de Clare, he was one of the arbiters appointed to decide the dispute on 12 May. Munchensi was with the younger Simon de Montfort at Kenilworth, and was taken prisoner there by Edward on 2 Aug. He would seem to have again taken up arms as one of the disinherited in 1266, and his lands were put in the possession of William de Valence. Through the intervention of his mother, he made his submission on 13 Jan. 1267, but a little later he appears as one of the advisers of Gilbert de Clare in his occupation of London. Munchensi did not receive full pardon till 1279. He served in Wales in 1277, 1282, 1283, and 1287 (Parl. Writs, i. 194, 223, 246, 250), and again in 1289 under Edmund, earl of Cornwall, when he was killed at the siege of Dyryslwyan Castle by the fall of a wall which had been undermined. Munchensi is described as ‘a valiant knight and wary in war’ (Bartholemew Cotton, p. 168), and as ‘a noble knight of great wealth in land and money’ (Ann. Mon. iv. 310). He left by his wife Amicia an only daughter, Dionysia, who married in 1296 Hugh de Vere, son of Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford; William de Valence attempted, unsuccessfully, to have her declared illegitimate (Rolls of Parliament, i. 16-17). At her death without children in 1314, Munchensi's lands passed to Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke [q. v.], his sister's son. A younger branch of the Munchensi family, the heads of which during the thirteenth century were also called William, was settled at Edwardstone, Suffolk.

[Matthew Paris, Annales Monastici, Bartholomew Cotton (all in the Rolls Ser.); Rishanger de Bellis apud Lewes et Evesham (Camden Soc.); Dugdale's Baronage, i. 561-2; Nicolas's Historic Peerage, ed. Courthope, p. 342; Calendarium Genealogicum (the references are chiefly to the Munchensis of Edwardstone); Blomefield's History of Norfolk.]

C. L. K.