Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fitzalan, William

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1046622Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 19 — Fitzalan, William1889John Horace Round

FITZALAN, WILLIAM (d. 1160), rebel, was the son and heir of Alan Fitzflaald, by Aveline or Adeline, sister of Ernulf de Hesding (Eyton, Shropshire, vii. 222-3). His younger brother, Walter Fitzalan (d. 1177), was 'the undoubted ancestor of the royal house of Stuart' (ib.) His father had received from Henry I, about the beginning of his reign, extensive fiefs in Shropshire and Norfolk. William was born about 1105 and succeeded his father about 1114 (ib. pp. 222, 232). His first appearance is as a witness to Stephen's charter to Shrewsbury Abbey (Monasticon, iii. 519) in 1136. He is found acting as castellan of Shrewsbury and sheriff of Shropshire in 1138, when he joined in the revolt against Stephen, being married to a niece of the Earl of Gloucester (Ord. Vit. v. 112-13). After resisting the king's attack for a month, he fled with his family (August 1138), leaving the castle to be defended by his uncle Ernulf, who, on his surrender, was hanged by the king (ib.; Cont. Flor. Wig. ii. 110). He is next found with the empress at Oxford in the summer of 1141 (Eyton, vii. 287), and shortly after at the siege of Winchester (Gesta, p. 80). He again appears in attendance on her at Devizes, witnessing the charter addressed to himself by which she grants Aston to Shrewsbury Abbey (Eyton, ix. 58). It was probably between 1130 and 1138 that he founded Haughmond Abbey (ib. 286-7). In June 1153 he is found with Henry, then duke of Normandy, at Leicester (ib. p. 288). With the accession of Henry as king he regained his paternal fief on the fall of Hugh de Mortimer in July 1155. He is found at Bridgnorth with the king at that time, and on 25 July received from his feudal tenants a renewal of their homage (ib. i. 250-1, vii. 236-7, 288). His first wife, Christiana, being now dead, he received from Henry the hand of Isabel de Say, heiress of the barony of Clun (ib. vii. 237), together with the shrievalty of Shropshire, which he retained till his death (Pipe Rolls, 2-6 Hen. II) which took place in 1160, about Easter (ib. 6 Hen. II, p. 27). Among his benefactions he granted Wroxeter Church to Haughmond in 1155 (Eyton, vii. 311-12), and, though not the founder of Wombridge Priory, sanctioned its foundation (ib. p. 363). He was succeeded by William Fitzalan the second, his son and heir by his second wife. By his first he left a daughter, Christiana, wife of Hugh Pantulf.

[Ordericus Vitalis (Societe de l'Histoire de France); Gesta Stephani (Rolls Ser.); Florence of Worcester (Engl. Hist Soc.); Monasticon Anglicanum, new ed.; Pipe Rolls (Record Commission and Pipe Roll Soc.); Eyton's Hist. of Shropshire.]

J. H. R.