Gilbert Gifford
John Marshal Marshal of the Horses
(-1165)
Sybyl of Salisbury
Sir William Marshal 1st Earl of Pembroke
(1140-1219)

 

Family Links

Spouses/Children:
1. Isabel Fitzgilbert De Clare

Sir William Marshal 1st Earl of Pembroke 1031

  • Born: 1140 1031
  • Marriage (1): Isabel Fitzgilbert De Clare in Aug 1189 1034
  • Died: 14 May 1219, Caversham, England at age 79 1031,1041
  • Buried: Temple Church, London, England 1041

  Noted events in his life were:

• Greatest Knight, 1146-1219. 1034 Sir William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke (1146 - 14 May 1219), also called William the Marshal (Guillaume le Maréchal), was an Anglo-Norman soldier and statesman. He has been described as the "greatest knight that ever lived" by Stephen Langton. He served four kings - Henry II, Richard I (the Lionhearted), John and Henry III - and rose from obscurity to become a regent of England, and so, one of the most powerful men in Europe. Before him, the hereditary title of Marshal designated head of household security for the king of England. By the time he died, people throughout Europe (not just England) referred to him simply as "the Marshal".

• Held captive, 1152. 1034 William's father, John Marshal, supported King Stephen of_England when he took the throne in 1135, but in about 1139 he changed sides to back the Empress Matilda in the civil war of succession between her and Stephen which led to the collapse of England into "the Anarchy".

When King Stephen besieged Newbury Castle in 1152, according to William's biographer, he used the young William as a hostage to ensure that John kept his promise to surrender the castle. John, however, used the time allotted to reinforce the castle and alert Matilda's forces. When Stephen ordered John to surrender immediately or William would be hanged, John replied that he should go ahead saying, "I still have the hammer and the anvil with which to forge still more and better sons!"

Subsequently there was a bluff made to launch William from a pierrière, a type of trebuchet towards the castle. Fortunately for the child, Stephen could not bring himself to harm young William. William remained a crown hostage for many months, only being released following the peace that resulted from the terms agreed at Winchester on 6 November 1153 that ended the civil war.

• Tournament Champion, 1170, France. 1237 William competed in tournaments all over France and, by 1170, was "one of the most accomplished and devoted of the tournament champions of his day". He gathered substantial wealth from his successes as well.

• Crusader, 1183-1185. 1238 William served as a crusader. Henry ("the Young King") had promised to be a crusader but died before he served. He asked William to fulfill his promise and William did.

• Marriage and lands, 1189. 1034 During King Henry II's last days he had promised the Marshal the hand and estates of Isabel de Clare (c.1172 - 1220), but had not completed the arrangements. King Richard however, confirmed the offer and so in August 1189, at the age of 43, the Marshal married the 17-year-old daughter of Richard de Clare,_2nd Earl of Pembroke (Strongbow). Her father had been Earl of Pembroke, and Marshal acquired large estates and claims in England, Wales, Normandy and Ireland. Some estates however were excluded from the deal. Marshal did not obtain Pembroke and the title of earl, which his father-in-law had enjoyed, until 1199, as it had been taken into the king's hand in 1154.

The marriage transformed the landless knight from a minor family into one of the richest men in the kingdom, a sign of his power and prestige at court. They had five sons and five daughters, and have numerous descendants. William made numerous improvements to his wife's lands, including extensive additions to Pembroke Castle and Chepstow Castle.

• Co-Justiciar, 1190. 1239 William was one of five co-Justiciars appointed by Richard when he left for the Third Crusade.

• Loyal to the King, 1215. 1034,1240 William was one of the few English earls to remain loyal to the king through the First Barons' War. It was William whom King John trusted on his deathbed to make sure John's nine-year-old son Henry would get the throne. It was William who took responsibility for the king's funeral and burial at Worcester Cathedral.

On 11 November 1216 at Gloucester, upon the death of King John, William Marshal was named by the king's council (the chief barons who had remained loyal to King John in the First Barons' War) to serve as protector of the nine-year-old King Henry III, and regent of the kingdom. William served as "Guardian of the Realm", in effect, Regent to the King for another 19 months.

• Magna Carta, 1215, Runneymede, England. 1241,1242 William remained loyal throughout the hostilities between John and his barons which culminated on 15 June 1215 at Runnymede with the sealing of Magna Carta. He served as King John's leading lay negotiator throughout the first half of 1215 but he also had sympathy for the baronial cause due to his history of difficulties with King John.

William was afforded a prominent position in the text of the Magna Carta of 1215 appearing as the first named English magnate. He is listed as giving "advice" to the King on terms agreed and to be one of those who remained a "loyal subject"

• Battle of Lincoln, 20 May 1217, Lincoln, England. 1243 On 11 November 1216 at Gloucester, upon the death of King John, William Marshal was named by the king's council (the chief barons who had remained loyal to King John in the First Barons' War) to serve as protector of the nine-year-old King Henry III, and regent of the kingdom.

To solidify Henry III's position, the forces of Prince Louis of France had to be defeated. William lead the royalist forces in the Battle of Lincoln which defeated the French. The English histoian David Carpenter has described this battle as "one of the most decisive battles in English history'.

William served as "Guardian of the Realm", in effect, Regent to the King for another 19 months.

• Descendants, 1219. 1034 During the civil wars in Ireland, William had taken two manors that the Bishop of Ferns claimed but could not get back. Some years after William's death, that bishop is said to have laid a curse on the family that William's sons would have no children, and the great Marshal estates would be scattered. Each of William's sons did become earl of Pembroke and marshal of England, and each died without legitimate issue. William's vast holdings were then divided among the husbands of his five daughters.

Through his daughter Isabel, William is ancestor to the both the Bruce and Stewart kings of Scots. Through his granddaughter Maud de Braose, William is ancestor to the last Plantagenet kings, Edward IV through Richard III, and all English monarchs from Henry VIII and afterward.


William married Isabel Fitzgilbert De Clare, daughter of Richard De Clare Strongbow Second Earl of Pembroke and Aoife (Eva) MacMurrough of Leinster, in Aug 1189.1034 (Isabel Fitzgilbert De Clare was born in 1172 in Pembrokeshire, Wales,1039 died in 1220 in Pembrokeshire, Wales 1039 and was buried in Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire, England 1039,1040.)




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