Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Marshal, Richard

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MARSHAL, RICHARD, third Earl of Pembroke and Striguil (d. 1234), was second son of William Marshal, first earl of Pembroke [q. v.], by Isabella, daughter of Richard de Clare. The first mention of him occurs on 6 Nov. 1203, when it was arranged that in case of his elder brother's death he should marry Alice, daughter of Baldwin de Bethune (Cal. Charter Rolls, pp. 112 6-13). "When his father went to Ireland in February 1207 he had to give Richard to the king as a hostage (Histoire de Guillanme le Marichal, 11. 13376-7). Richard was released with his brother in J 212. He seems to have been rather a weakly boy, and for this reason his father would not consent to his going with the king to Poitou in 1214 (ib. 11. 145(54-75, 14708-18). His father apparently intended that Richard should succeed to his lands of Orbec and Longueville in Normandy, and it -was no doubt in pursuance of this inten- tion that Richard was at the French court when his father died (ib. 1. 19120). It was not, however, till June 1220 that his elder brother executed a deed of surren der (Stapleton, Rot. Normannia, n. cxxxviii). The next eleven years of Richard Marshal's life were spent in France, though from entries in the ' Calendar of Close Rolls ' it is clear that he held property in England, and occasionally visited his native land. Roger Wendover in one place speaks of him as having been well trained to arms in French conflicts (iii. 62). Previously to 1224 he married Gervase, daughter of Alan de Dinan, in whose right he became lord of Dinan and Viscount of Rohan in Brittany, and accordingly in 1225 he was present in an assembly of the nobles of that duchy at Nantes (Lobineau, Mist, de Breta<;ne, i. 217, ii. 341-2). One chronicler speaks of him as having been ' Marshal of the army of the King of France' {Ann. Mon. iv. 72). When his brother died, in April 1231, Marshal was still in France ; ho diet not come over to England till the end of July. The king had, by advice of Hubert de Burgh [q. v.], taken the earldom into his own hands, be- cause Richard was the liegeman of the king of France. When Marshal came to the king at Castle Maud in Wales, Henry refused him investiture and ordered him to leave the country. Marshal then crossed over to Ireland, intending to recover his inheritance, if need be, by force. Henry, to avert warfare, at length gave way. This is the narrative given by Wendover (iii. 13-14). But other authorities (Ann. Mon. iii. 127, iv. 72) do not imply that there was prolonged delay, and Marshal had certainly done homage and received full possession by 3 Aug. 1231 (Sweetman, i. 1905 ; Excerpta e Hot. Fin. i. 216). Moreover, when in October Henry contemplated marriage with a sister of the King of Scots, Marshal was one of those who opposed his project as derogatory, since an eider sister was already married to Hu- bert de Burgh. Soon afterwards Marshal certainly paid a visit to Ireland, returning to England by June 1232, when he met the king at Worcester, and made an arrangement as to the dower of his brother's widow ( Sweetman, i. 1950).

When, in September 1232, the first charges were brought against Hubert de Burgh, Marshal defended him ; and on 12 Oct. was one of the four earls who became sureties for him (Shirley, i. 408-10). The king still remained under the influence of Peter des Roches, who recognised in Marshal his most formidable opponent. Early in the following year, among other changes, Peter procured the dismissal of William de Rodune, Marshal's representative at the court, and displaced the king's former ministers by foreigners. Marshal at once came forward as the head of the English baronage, and appealed to the king to dismiss his foreign advisers, but to no purpose. During the earlier months of the year Marshal was engaged with his brother-in-law, Richard of Cornwall, in warfare with Liywelyn ab Iorwerth [q. v.] On 11 July 1233 an abortive conference was proposed to be held at Westminster, but the barons refused to attend. Peter des Roches then induced the king to enter on the lands of Gilbert Basset and Richard Siward, two of Marshal's chief supporters, and put them in charge of his son, Peter des Rievaux (Ann. Mon. iv. 74 ; Wendover, iii. 53) ; orders were also given to have the messengers whom Marshal had sent to France searched at Dover (Shirley, i. 417, 18 July). Marshal nevertheless endeavoured to make peace, and in- tended to be present at a further proposed conference on 1 Aug. With this purpose he had come as far as Woodstock, when his sister Isabella warned him that treachery was intended, and he accordingly went back to Wales. On 14 Aug. the king called another assembly, at Gloucester, and when Marshal again failed to appear, had him proclaimed as a traitor and deprived of his office as marshal. Thereupon Marshal made an alliance with Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, and the king, invading the earl's lands, besieged his castle of Usk. A truce was, however, soon arranged, under which the castle was surrendered to the king, and a further con- ference fixed for 2 Oct. at Westminster. The conference did not have the desired re- sult, and as the castle was not restored, Marshal at once laid siege to it. In the early days of October the earl and his Welsh allies captured the castles of Usk, Abergavenny, Newport, and Cardiff (21 Oct.) Henry collected an army with a view to active warfare; but meantime, on 30 Oct., Marshal's supporters, Siward and Basset, rescued Hubert de Burgh and carried him off to the earl's castle of Chepstow. Karly in November the king advanced to Grosmont. There, on 11 Nov., Marshal's adherents — for the earl himself would not attack the king in person — surprised the royal camp, and made a great booty. After this the king withdrew to Gloucester, while Marshal with a few followers attacked the foreign mercenaries at Monmouth on 25 Nov., and after defeating them with much slaughter, took the castle. The war still went on favourably to Marshal and his allies, some of whom plundered the lands of their opponents in the English marches, while others besieged Carmarthen. Early in January 1234 Marshal himself defeated the royal army under John de Monmouth or Monemue (q. v.], a connection of the Lacys, and followed up his success by a raid, in company with Llywelyn, which resulted in the sack of Shrewsbury. But Archbishop Edmund was now exerting himself actively to bring about an agreement ; and through his influence Peter des Roches and the king's other Poite- vin advisers were at length dismissed from the court on 9 April 1234; the archbishop would seem to have effected a truce some time earlier, and this was now prolonged to the end of July (ib. i. 433-4). But in the meantime Peter des Roches and his friends had stirred up the Lacys and Marshal's other opponents in Ireland, in- cluding Richard de Burgh and Geoffrey de Marisco, encouraging them to make war on the earl as a traitor, and to seize him alive or dead should he cross over to Ireland. In consequence of these machinations Marshal left Wales early in February, and on land- ing in Ireland was joined by Geoffrey de Marisco, who craftily pretended to be his friend. Urged on by Marisco, Marshal col- lected an army, and after taking Limerick recovered many of his castles, which had fallen into the hands of his enemies. The Lacys then sent the Templars to demand a truce, and Marshal in response proposed a conference to be held next day, 1 April, on the Curragh of Kildare. Marshal himself was in favour of granting terms, but Marisco treacherously advised him to demand the surrender of the remaining castles, hoping to thus make a conflict inevitable. This evil advice was accepted, with the result that Hugh de Lacy and his friends, knowing that Marshal's army was faithless, appealed to force. Marshal at length recognised the treachery of his false friend, but declared that he would rather ' die with honour for the sake of justice than flee from the fight and thus incur the reproach of cowardice.' Marshal had with him but fifteen faithful knights, against 140. Despite his desperate valour he was at length overpowered and his horse slain. While he strove to defend himself on foot he was wounded from be- hind, and so taken prisoner. His captors carried him to the castle of Kilkenny, where he was on the way to recovery when a clumsy or treacherous surgeon cauterised his wounds so roughly as to cause his death. Marshal died on 16 April 1234, and was buried imme- diately afterwards in the church of the Fran- ciscans at Kilkenny. Henry repented too late of his treatment of the son of the faithful regent, and, bitterly lamenting his sad end, declared that he had left no peer in England. Marshal seems to have inherited to the full his father's merits as a patriotic statesman and a skilful soldier. He was like his father also in the nobilitv of his personal character. Even the author of the 'Histoire de Guillaume le Mar6chal,' writing probably in 1225, praises him for his

proesce e sens e bealtez
E bons mors e gentillesce,
Charite, enor e largesse.

(11. 14884-6.)

This fully bears out the singularly concordant eulogy of those who, writing after his death, speak of him as ‘a man endowed with all honourable qualities, distinguished for his noble birth, well instructed in liberal arts, most vigorous in the exercise of arms, and one who kept God before his eyes in all his works’ (Ann. Mon. ii. 313). Though circumstances forced Marshal into the attitude of rebellion, there seems no reason to doubt the substantial truth of the history of his last years, as preserved in the annals of the time, or the explanation which he himself repeatedly gave of his conduct. This was to the effect that he desired to put an end to the evil influence of the king's foreign advisers; and that it was only when Henry under their guidance attacked him that he resorted to arms for the sake of justice, on behalf of the laws of England, and to secure the expulsion of the Poitevin favourites, who were ruining the land. If Marshal had lived it is not impossible that he might have averted much of the evil of the next twenty years; even as it was, the circumstances of his death confirmed for the time the good influence that Archbishop Edmund was able to exert. Two letters written to Marshal by Robert Grosseteste [q. v.] in 1231, have been preserved (Letters of Grosseteste, pp. 38-43, Rolls Ser.); they bear evidence to a familiar friendship between the earl and future bishop.

Marshal left no children, and he was succeeded in his titles and estates by his next brother, Gilbert [see under Marshal, William, first Earl of Pembroke].

[Matthew Paris, especially iii. 241-79, for the narrative of his struggle against the Poitevins, which is sometimes fuller than the narrative in Roger of Wendover; Annales Monastici, especially i. 90-3, ii. 313-15, iii. 136-8, iv. 7478; Annales Cambriæ; Brut y Tywysogion; Fleres Historiarum; Shirley's Royal and Historical Letters of the Reign of Henry III (all these are in the Rolls Series); Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal (Soc. de l'Hist. de France); Annals of the Four Masters, iii. 271-3; Calendars of Patent, Close, and Charter Rolls ; Sweetman's Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, 1171-1252; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 603-5; Stubbs's Constitutional Hist. ch. xiv.; Stokes's Ireland and the Anglo-Norman Church, pp. 296-306.]

C. L. K.