Marshal, William (d.1231) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

MARSHAL, WILLIAM, second Earl of Pembroke and Striguil (d. 1231), was eldest 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 he should marry Alice, daughter of Baldwin de Bethune (Charter Rolls, pp. 112b-13). After his father fell into suspicion on account of his homage to Philip Augustus in 1205, the young William was given as a hostage to the king (Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal, ll. 13272-3). Previously to August 1212 he was in charge of Robert FitzRoger(Cal. Rot. Pat. p. 94b), but soon afterwards he was released and put under the care of his father's squire, John d'Erlegh. The king wrote to the earl that his son was in need of horses and clothes, and offered to provide for him, at the same time he denied that it was intended to send the young William out of England (Cal. Rot. Claus. i. 133; cf. Histoire, ll. 14533-64). In 1214 Marshal married his bride, but the marriage does not seem to have been of long duration, though Alice was alive in September 1215 (ib. 11.14990-15015; Cal. Rot. Pat. p. 156). On coming to manhood Marshal at once joined the baronial party, and was present at the meeting at Stamford in February 1215. In June he was one of the twenty-five executors of Magna Carta, and was in consequence excommunicated by Innocent III on 11 Dec. On 9 April 1216 Marshal, being still in opposition to the king, had letters of safe-conduct to come to his father (ib. p. 175b). He did not, however, return to his loyalty, and when Louis of France landed in May, Marshal was one of those who rendered him homage. When the French prince made Adam de Beaumont marshal of his host, William complained that this office was his by hereditary right, and though his claim was conceded a feeling of bitterness perhaps remained (Hist. des Ducs de Normandie, p. 174). Nevertheless in July Marshal seized Worcester for Louis; but when Randulph earl of Chester came up on 17 July Marshal, forewarned as it is said by his father, took flight. Like others of his party the young Marshal resented the pride of the French nobles; he himself had a particular ground of complaint, because Marlborough, with which his family had been so long connected, was granted to Robert de Dreux. In consequence he abandoned Louis in the autumn of 1216, and retired to Wales, though he did not at once join the party of the young king (ib. p. 175). It was perhaps he and not his father who during 1217 captured Caerleon(Bruty Tywysogion, p. 303). In March 1217 Marshal, aided by William Longsword [q. v.], rose against Louis at Rye, and formally joined the royal party (Chron. de Mailros, p. 130, Bannatyne Club). From this time he supported his father actively, and fought with him at Lincoln on 20 May. He was put in charge of the lands of various members of the opposite party; so early as March 1217 he had received those of Earls Saher of Winchester and David of Huntingdon (Cal. Doc. Scotland, i. 666). He also held the castles of Marlborough and Ludgershall, Wiltshire, but his attitude seems to have caused the young king's advisers some anxiety. His wife was dead and he was proposing to marry a daughter of Robert de Bruce. As it was desirable to detach him from the northern lords and from the French, to whom his brother Richard's position in Normandy inclined him, he was promised the hand of the king's sister Eleanor (Shirley, i. 244).

Marshal was with his father at the time of his death in May 1219, and at once entered peacefully on his vast inheritance and earldom. The Norman lands also came nominally to him, but he surrendered them formally to his brother Richard by charter dated 20 June 1220 (Stapleton, Rot. Normanniæ, II. cxxxviii). In the summer of 1220 Llywelyn attacked Marshal's land in Pembroke, and wrought such mischief that the raid is said to have been more costly than Richard's ransom (Ann. Mon. iii. 61). The earl complained to the king, but for the time abstained from active warfare (Shirley, i. 143-4,150). However, two years later, when Marshal was absent in Ireland, Llywelyn took advantage to renew the war, and captured the earl's castles of Abertavy and Carmarthen. At this news Marshal returned from Ireland with a large host, landing at St. Davids on Palm Sunday, 9 April 1223. Abertavy was recovered on 24 April and Carmarthen two days later. Gruffydd ab Llywelyn (d. 1244) [q. v.] then encountered him near Kidwelly, and though the issue was doubtful the Welsh had to retreat through lack of provisions. After this the king and archbishop arranged a truce, and summoned Marshal to meet them at Ludlow. But their attempt to make peace failed, and the war broke out again. Llywelyn was aided openly by Marshal's Irish enemy Hugh de Lacy, earl of Ulster [q. v.], and less openly by Falkes de Breauté, against whom Marshal had for some time had serious cause of complaint (ib. i. 4, 175). Marshal on his side was supported by many English nobles. He again fought with Gruffydd at Carnwallon, according to the Welsh authorities, with doubtful success; but the English account makes Marshal defeat the Welsh at this time with great slaughter. Certainly Llywelyn had in the end to make terms, and leave Marshal in possession of the lands and castles which he had recovered.

In the spring of 1224 Hugh de Lacy recommenced his warfare in Ireland. The king's representatives could make no head against him, and so on 2 May Marshal was appointed justiciar of Ireland with full power to take into the king's peace all but Hugh de Lacy and the other prominent rebels (Sweetman, i. 1185-7). Marshal landed at Waterford on 19 June, and proceeding to Dublin was invested as justiciar. He then besieged William de Lacy in Trim Castle, and sent his cousin William Grace or Le Gras against Hugh de Lacy at Carrickfergus. Trim Castle and William de Lacy's crannog of O'Reilly were both captured about the end of July (ib. i. 1203-4; Shirley, i. 500-2). After Marshal had compelled Hugh, king of Connaught, and the other Irish chiefs to lend him their aid, Hugh de Lacy was compelled to make terms, and surrendered in October. The earl himself went back to England for a time in November (Sweetman, i. 1224), but he must have soon gone back to Ireland, where he remained as justiciar till 22 June 1226, when he surrendered his office to the king at Winchester (ib. i. 1380). It was not long, however, before he was again in Ireland, not altogether with the king's goodwill, and he soon appeared in opposition to the new justiciar, Geoffrey de Marisco [q. v.] (ib. i. 1440, 1443). Marshal was still in Ireland in the following spring, when he gave his protection to Hugh of Connaught at Dublin (Four Masters, iii. 243). But in May he returned to England, and on the 21st was with the king at Westminster (Sweetman, i. 1518). He seems to have spent most of the next three years in England (ib. 1680, 1789, 1812), and was high in Henry's favour. Still in 1227 he supported Richard of Cornwall in his demand for justice against the king. On 30 April 1230 Marshal accompanied Henry on his expedition into Brittany, and when the king returned the earl was one of those who were left behind with Randulph Blundevill, earl of Chester [q. v.], and took part in the raids into Normandy and Anjou. Marshal came home in February 1231. A month later he gave his sister Isabella in marriage to Richard of Cornwall, but died within a few days after the wedding on 6 April 1231. At a later time Hubert de Burgh was accused of having had him poisoned (Matt. Paris, iii. 223). Marshal was buried by his father in the Temple on 15 April. One of the recumbent effigies still preserved there is supposed to be his; it is engraved in Gough's ‘Sepulchral Monuments’ (i. 24), but is there described as his father's.

Marshal was a brave and successful soldier, but had no opportunity of showing how far he inherited also his father's statesmanlike qualities. The author of the ‘Histoire’ calls him simply ‘chivaliers beals & buens’ (l. 14882). Matthew Paris says that Henry III had a peculiar affection for him, and in his grief for the earl's death exclaimed: ‘Alas! is not the blood of the blessed Thomas the Martyr yet avenged?’ (iii. 201). The Waverley annalist has the following distich:

  Militis istius mortem dolet Anglia, ridet
    Wallia, viventis bella minasque timens.

Marshal had married his second wife Eleanor on 23 April 1224. Even at his death she was only a girl of sixteen, and though it was at first pretended she was pregnant, Marshal left no children. His widow took the veil, but eventually became the wife of Simon de Montfort [q. v.]

[Roger of Wendover, Matthew Paris, Annales Monastici, Annales Cambriæ, Brut y Tywysogion, Shirley's Royal and Historical Letters of the Reign of Henry III, Annals of Loch Cé (all these are in the Rolls Series); Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal and Histoire des Ducs de Normandie (Soc. de l'Hist. de France); Calendars of Charter, Close, and Patent Rolls; Sweetman's Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. i.; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 602–3; Stokes's Ireland and the Anglo-Norman Church.]

C. L. K.