William Marshall

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William Marshall (the man)

William Marshal (1146-1219), also known as William the Marshal and Guillaume le Maréchal, was a man who was barely even noble, but who rose to become one of the most powerful people in the Angevin world. His skill at arms was one source of his renown, being particularly successful at Tourney. He was the son of John Fitzgilbert and one Aline Pipard, and the Marshal of England for a number of kings (as had been his father, his grandfather Gilbert, and his great-grandfather Geoffrey) and he fought in the Middle East as a Knight Templar. He is often held up to be a shining example of chivalry, but some historians claim that the evidence indicates that he was ruthless, pragmatic and manipulative.

He became chivalric lord to Henry II's son, the Young King, and was granted the fief of Cartmel in Lancashire in 1187. After the Young King died he went to the Holy Land, and on his return became Henry's Marshal. When Henry died, his son Richard recognized William's worth (despite Marshal having unhorsed him protecting Henry in France from a revolt of Richard's) and saw to his making a good marriage.

He married Isobel de Clare, inheriting thereby the de Clare lands of her father Richard 'Strongbow', in Pembroke and Striguil (English: Chepstow), and the Lordship of Leinster, in Ireland, through Isobel's mother, Aife, daughter of Dermot MacMurrough. He also split the Giffard barony with Richard de Clare, Earl of Clare and Hertford, with William taking the French lands, including Longueville. He improved the castles at Pembroke and Chepstow, as well as holding at least 6 more.

When Richard died, William wisely supported John Lackland, who made him Earl of Pembroke and confirmed to him the palatine powers he had inherited there from the de Clares. John, however, came to distrust William, but Marshal remained loyal and on John's death he was chosen as regent for the 9-year old Henry III, although William was to die 3 years later (being succeeded in Pembroke by his 5 sons, none of whom, however, themselves had issue, leading to the breaking up of his lands, and the passing of the title of 'Marshal').

His son, William II, had a biographical text of his father written, L' Historie de Guillaume le Marechal; he married Eleanor, daughter of King John. Another son, Gilbert, married Margaret, daughter of William I of Scotland. One of his daughters, Isabella, married Henry's brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall, and also 'King of the Romans' (the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire but never installed as such by the Pope). As well as 3 other sons, William also had 4 other daughters.

See also: "William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke" by Catherine Armstrong

William Marshal (event)

The William Marshall Memorial Tournament and Feast is an SCA event held in the Barony of Stormhold every year, usually on the first Saturday of December. It is in honour of William Marshall, the man. There is usually a chivalric weapons tourney, and a ransom melee followed by an elaborate feast with an early period theme. It is one of the two "high" events held annually in Stormhold, the other being Winter Feast.

It's the type of event that people who don't attend SCA events often come out of the woodwork for, and people wear try to wear their best garb, especially Angevin garb.