Marmion, Robert (DNB00)

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MARMION, ROBERT (d. 1218), justice itinerant and reputed king's champion, was descended from the Lords of Fontenay le Marmion in Normandy, who are said to have been hereditary champions of the Dukes of Normandy. Wace mentions a Robert or Roger Marmion as fighting at Hastings (Roman de Rou, 13623, 13776). In 'Domesday Book ' (i. 368 b) a 'Robertus Dispensator' occurs as holding Tamworth Castle and Scrivelsby, together with other lands which afterwards belonged to the Marmion family. But the exact connection of these early Marmions with one another or with the later family is not quite clear, and, except for the untrustworthy 'Battle Abbey Roll,' there is no English record of a Marmion till the reign of Henry I, when Roger Marmion (d. 1130) appears as the holder of Tamworth and Scrivelsby. Roger's son, Robert Marmion (d. 1143), was a warlike man, who in the days of the anarchy under Stephen had no match for boldness, fierceness, and cunning (Newburgh, i. 47). In 1140 Geoffrey of Anjou captured his castle of Fontenay in Normandy, because he held Falais against him (Robert de Torigny, iv. 139). Three years later he expelled the monks of Coventry, and made a castle of their church. Soon after, on 8 Sept. 1143, he engaged in a fight with the Earl of Chester outside the walls of his strange fortress. Being thrown from his horse between the two armies, he broke his thigh, and as he lay on the ground was despatched by a cobbler with his knife. He was buried at Polesworth, Warwickshire, in unconsecrated ground as an excommunicated person (Newburgh, i. 47; Ann. Mon. ii. 230). Dugdale says his wife was Matilda de Beauchamp, but her true name seems to have been Melisent. Robert restored the nuns to Polesworth, of which they had been dispossessed, and began the foundation of the monastery of Barberay in Normandy. His son Robert (d. 1185) married Elizabeth, daughter of Gervase, count of Rethel, who was brother to Baldwin II, king of Jerusalem. Robert Marmion the justiciar was his son.

The justiciar, who was probably the sixth baron of Tamworth, appears first as a justiciar at Caen in 1177. He was one of the justices before whom fines were levied in 1184, and in 1186 was sheriff of Worcester. He was a justice itinerant for Warwickshire and Leicestershire in 1187–8, Staffordshire in 1187–92, Shropshire in 1187–94, Herefordshire in 1188–90, Worcestershire in 1189, Gloucestershire in 1189–91 and 1193, and Bristol in 1194. Marmion had taken the vow for the crusade, but purchased exemption. In 1195 he was with Richard in Normandy, and in 1197 witnessed the treaty between Richard and Baldwin of Flanders. During the early years of John's reign he was in attendance on the king in Normandy. In 1204-5 he was again one of the justices before whom fines were levied. He sided with the barons against the king, but after John's death rejoined the royal party. He died on 15 May 1218. He gave a mill at Barston, Warwickshire, to the Templars, and was a benefactor of Kirkstead Abbey, Lincolnshire.

Marmion was twice married, first, to Matilda de Beauchamp, by whom he had a son, Robert the elder, and two daughters; secondly, to Philippa, by whom he had four sons: Robert the younger; William, who was dean of Tamworth; Geoffrey, who was ancestor of the Marmions of Checkendon, Stoke Marmion, and Aynho, to which branch Shackerley Marmion [q. v.] belonged; and lastly Phllip (d. 1276). Robert Marmion the younger was father of William Marmion, who was summoned to parliament in 1264, and ancestor of the Lords Marmion of Witrington, summoned in 1294 and 1297-1313.

Robert Marmion the elder served under John in Poitou in 1214. He married Juliana de Vassy, and had a son, Philip Marmion (d. 1291). This Philip was sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire in 1249, and of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1261. He served in Poitou in 1254, and was imprisoned when on his way home through France at Pons (Matt. Paris, v. 462). He was one of the sureties for the king in December 1263, and fighting for him at Lewes, on 14 May 1264, was there taken prisoner. Philip Marmion married, first, Jane, daughter of Hugh de Kilpeck, by whom be had two daughters, Jane and Mazera; and secondly, Mary, by whom he had another daughter Jane, who married Thomas de Ludlow, and was by him grandmother of Margaret de Ludlow. Tamworth passed to Jane, daughter of Mazera Marmion, and wife of Baldwin de Freville, and Scrivelsby eventually passed with Margaret de Ludlow to Sir John Dymoke [q. v.], in whose family it has since remained.

Scrivelsby is said to have been held by the Marmions by grand serjeanty on condition of performing the office of king's champion at the coronation. But this rests purely on tradition, and there is no record of any Marmion having ever performed the office. The first mention of the office of champion occurs in a writ of the twenty-third year of Edward III (1349), where it is stated that the holder of Scrivelsby was accustomed to do this service. From this it may perhaps be assumed that Philip Marmion at least had filled the office at the coronation of Edward I. For the later and more authentic history of the office of king's champion held bv the Dymokes of Scrivelsby as representatives of Philip Marmion, see under Sir John Dymoke (d. 1381).

[Chronicles of William of Newburgh and Robert de Torigny in Chron. Stephen, Henry II, and Richard I; Annales Monastici; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 375; Eyton's Itinerary of Henry II; Foss's Judges of England, ii. 95-7; Banks's Hist. of the Marmion Family; Palmer's Hist. of the Marmion Family.]

C. L. K.