Fitzalan, John (1223-1267) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


FITZALAN, JOHN II, Lord of Oswestry, Clun and Arundel (1223–1267), was the son of John I Fitzalan, one of the barons confederated against King John, and of his first wife Isabella, sister and finally one of the four coheiresses of Hugh of Albini, last earl of Arundel of that house. In his father's lifetime he was married to Matilda, daughter of Theobald le Butiler and Rohese de Verdun. In 1240 his father's death put him in possession of the great Shropshire estates of his house, of which the lordship of Oswestry had been in its possession since the days of Henry I, and that of Clun since the reign of Henry II. Until 1244, when he attained his majority, the estates remained in the ustody of John L'Estrange, sheriff of Shrophire, while in 1242 his father's executors were quarrelling with Rohese de Verdun, apparently about his wife's portion (Rot. Finium, i. 387). In 1243 he received his mother's share of one-fourth of the inheritance of the Albinis, including the town and castle of Arundel. In 1244 he entered into actual possession of all his estates.

In general politics Fitzalan's attitude was rather inconsistent. He was no friend of foreigners. In 1258 he quarrelled with Archbishop Boniface about the right of hunting in Arundel Forest, and in 1263 carried on a sharp feud with Peter of Aquablanca, the Poitevin bishop of Hereford. In the course of this he seized and plundered the bishop's stronghold of Bishop's Castle (Webb, Introduction to Expenses Roll of Bishop Swinfield, I. xxi-xxii. Camd. Soc.) In 1258 he seems to have adhered to the baronial party against Henry III, and so late as December 1261 was among those still unreconciled to the king. Yet in 1258 and 1260 he had acted as chief captain of the English troops against Llewelyn of Wales, who was on the baronial side. Finally he seems to have adopted the middle policy of his patron Edward, the king's son, whom in 1263 he attended in Wales, acting in the same year as conservator of the peace in Shropshire and Staffordshire. He joined Edward and other magnates in the agreement to refer all disputes to the arbitration of St. Louis (Fœdera, i. 433). In April 1264 he was actively on the king's side, and besieged with Earl Warenne in Rochester Castle (Leland, Collectanea, i. 321). After the king had relieved the siege, Fitzalan joined the royal army and was taken prisoner at the battle of Lewes (14 May). Next year Montfort's government required him to surrender either his son or Arundel Castle as a pledge of his faithfulness (Fœdera, i. 454). He died in November 1267, having in October made his will, in which he ordered that his body should be buried in the family foundation of Haughmond, Shropshire. He was succeeded (Calend. Geneal. i. 132) by his son John III Fitzalan (1246-1272), who in his turn was succeeded by his son Richard I Fitzalan [q.v.]

John Fitzalan is loosely described by Rishanger (p. 28, Rolls Ser.; cf. p. 25 Chron. de Bello, Camd. Soc.) as Earl of Arundel, but in all writs and official documents he is simply spoken of as John Fitzalan, and he never described himself in higher terms than lord of Arundel. His history does not, then, bear out the notion that the possession of the castle of Arundel conferred an earl's dignity on its holders (but cf. Tierney, Hist. Arundel, who holds the contrary view). His son John also is never spoken of by contemporaries as Earl of Arundel

[Rymer's Fœdera, i. 399. 412, 420, 434, 454; Rot. Finium, i. 387, 411, 417; Eyton's Shropshire, vii. 253-6; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 314-15; Doyle's Official Baronage, i. 68-9; Lords' Report on the Dignity of a Peer, pp. 411-15 (1819); Yeatman's Genealogical Hist. of the House of Arundel, pp. 334-5; Tierney's Hist. of Arundel, 193-200.]

T. F. T.