William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, Magna Carta Surety

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William Marshal, 2nd Earl Pembroke (2nd creation), Surety of the Magna Carta

Also Known As: "the Marshall", "Earl of Pembroke", "Marshall", "le Mareschal"
Birthplace: Normandy, France
Death: April 06, 1231 (36-44)
Fawley, Berkshire, England
Place of Burial: Temple Church, London, Middlesex, England
Immediate Family:

Son of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke and Isabel de Clare, heiress of Pembroke
Husband of Eleanor of Leicester, Countess of Pembroke & Leicester and Alix de Bethune
Brother of Richard Marshal, 3rd Earl of Pembroke; Maud Marshal; Gilbert le Marshall, 4th Earl of Pembroke (Knight Templar); Isabel Marshal, Countess of Cornwall; Anselm Marshal, 6th Earl of Pembroke and 4 others

Occupation: Chief Justiciar of Ireland, Medieval English nobleman, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
Managed by: James Duane Pell Bishop III
Last Updated:

About William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, Magna Carta Surety

The eldest son of William Marshall, 1st Earl of Pembroke, and Isabel de Clare. Died without heirs.

An excellent biographical article on this family by Catherine Armstrong (1999) may be found here: http://www.castlewales.com/mar_chld.html. Some highlights include:

  • "During King John’s reign, William was a hostage for his father’s behavior in King John’s court from 1203-1212. William was in Roger fitz Roger’s custody for some of this time, and in John de Erley’s custody some of the time."
  • William married Alice de Bethune, daughter of Baldwin de Bethune, in September 1214. However, the marriage apparently did not last very long, perhaps due to Alice's early death.
  • During the rebellion of the Barons of 1215, the younger William allied with the rebels and was one of the sureties who signed the Magna Carta, even though his father was a signatory for the royal side. "King John, hoping that Marshal could persuade his son to join the royalist side, provided a safe conduct for the young William to meet his father on April 9, 1216, under the protection of Aimery St. Maur, master of the Templars. The meeting did not result in young William changing sides, and he was one of the first barons to do homage to Louis of France when Louis arrived in England in May 1216."
  • In the autumn of 1216 the young William abandoned Louis’ cause and withdrew to Wales, not fighting for any side. Yet his father was a central character in the royal circle. In October 1216, upon the death of King John, "the young Henry was knighted by Marshal and anointed and crowned King Henry III by Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester. William Marshal senior was elected regent for King Henry III at Winchester by the papal legate Gualo and the leading magnates of England. On November 12, 1216, at a great council in Bristol, Gualo, eleven bishops, Marshal, Ranulf of Chester, William de Ferrers, William of Aumale, and eighteen other leading barons re-issued the Great Charter under the seals of Gualo, as papal legate, and Marshal, as rector Regis et regni Angliae."
  • In 1217, William Marshall the younger and William I Longespee made arrangements with the senior William Marshall to be absolved from excommunication and returned to the loyalty of Henry III. William the younger faithfully served his father until William senior’s death in 1219, upon which he succeeded to his father’s lands and offices (and to his mother’s vast holdings upon her death the following year).
  • On April 23, 1224, William Marshal married King Henry III's 9-year-old sister, Eleanor. William was appointed Justiciar of Ireland to protect the king's interests in Ireland, an office which he held for two years,
  • In August 1230, he accompanied King Henry to Brittany. "William stayed in Brittany with Ranulf of Chester until February 1231, when he returned to England. In March of that year William arranged the marriage of his sister Isabel, widow of Gilbert de Clare, to Richard earl of Cornwall and brother to King Henry III. A few days after this marriage, William Marshal the younger died on April 6, 1231, at about the age of forty. There are no records of how William died, but Matthew Paris in his chronicles writes that later in King Henry III’s reign Hubert de Burgh, justiciar of England, was accused of poisoning William Marshal. There are no other sources that agree with this, and there are no other records or chronicles that give any additional information regarding William’s death. William was buried near his father in the Temple Church in London on April 15, 1231."


William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke (French:Guillaume) (1190 – 6 April 1231) was a medieval English nobleman, and the son of the famous William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke.

Early life

William was born in Normandy probably during the spring of 1190. He* was given as hostage to King John after his father paid homeage to King Philip of France in 1205 and was from 1205 to 1212 at the court of King John as a guarantee of his father's behaviour.[1] William married Alice de Bethune, daughter of his father's friend Baldwin de Bethune, in September 1214. The marriage ended before 1215 when Alice died of unknown causes.

During the baronial rebellion of 1215, William was on the side of the rebels while his father was fighting for the king. When Louis of France took Worcester castle in 1216, however, the younger William was warned by his father to withdraw, which he did just before Ranulph de Blondeville, 4th Earl of Chester retook the castle. In March 1217, he was absolved from excommunication and rejoined the royal cause. At the Battle of Lincoln he was fighting with his father.

Earl Marshal

At his father's death in 1219 he succeeded the elder William as both Earl of Pembroke and as Lord Marshal of England. These two powerful titles, combined with his father's legendary status, could not help but make William one of the most prominent and powerful nobles in England. In 1224, William married Eleanor of England, youngest daughter of King John and Isabella of Angoulême, thereby strengthening the family's connection with the Plantagenets.

In 1223, William crossed over from his Irish lands to campaign against Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, who had attacked his holding of Pembroke. He was successful, but his actions were seen as too independent by the young Henry III's regents. in 1224 Hugh de Lacy began attacking William's and the King's lands in Ireland. William was appointed Justiciar of Ireland, and managed to subdue Hugh. He founded the Dominican priory of the Holy Trinty in Kilkenny in 1225 and began construction of Carlow and Ferns castles.

In 1226 he was ordered to surrender the custody of the royal castles of Cardigan and Carmarthen, that he had captured from Llywelyn, to the crown. He was also removed from his role as justiciar in 1226 for his oppositon to the treatment of Aodh O'Connor during a campaign in Connacht.

William accompanied the king to Brittany in 1230, and assumed control of the forces when the king returned to England. Then, in February 1231, William also returned to England. Here he arranged the marriage of his sister Isabel, widow of Gilbert de Clare, to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, brother to King Henry III. William died 6 April 1231. [nb 1]


William had no heirs, and his titles passed to his younger brother, Richard.

During his lifetime, William Marshal commissioned a biography of his father to be written, called L'Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal. He was buried in the Temple Church in London, next to his father, where his effigy may still be seen.


From Medlands:

WILLIAM Marshal(Normandy [1190]-Fawley, Buckinghamshire 6 Apr 1231, bur 15 Apr 1231 Temple Church, London). The Chronicle of Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire, names (in order) ”Willihelmus, Richardus, Gilbertus, Walterus et Ancellimus” as sons of “Willielmi Marescalli comitis Penbrochiæ”, adding that each succeeded in turn as earl of Pembroke and died without children[1082]. He was one of the 25 Barons elected to ensure the execution of the provisions of Magna Carta. In May 1216, he joined Louis de France [the future King Louis VIII] who had invaded England, but in Autumn 1216 deserted Louis, retired to Wales. In Mar 1217, he joined a revolt against Louis at Rye, and 20 May 1217 fought at the battle of Lincoln[1083]. He succeeded his father in 1219 as Earl of Pembroke, hereditary Master Marshal. The Annales Cambriæ record that "Willielmus Marescallus junior" arrived in Ireland in 1220, recording in the following passage that "Willielmus comes iuvenis filius Willielmi Marescalli comitis" returned to South Wales from Ireland in 1221 and acquired "castella Kermerdin et Aberteiui", and in a later text that he returned to Ireland in 1222, was appointed "justiciarum totius Hiberniæ" and subjugated "filios Hugonis de Lacy"[1084]. “Willielmus mareschallus Angliæ, comes Penbrochiæ” founded Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire, for the souls of ”bonæ memoriæ Walteri filii Ricardi filii Gilberti Strongbowe avi mei, et Willelmi Marescalli patris mei, et Ysabellæ matris meæ”, by charter dated 22 Mar 1222[1085]. He was appointed Justiciar of Ireland 2 May 1224, invested at Dublin [20] Jun 1224, but resigned 22 Jun 1226[1086]. Matthew of Paris records that he died just after the marriage of his sister Isabel to Richard Earl of Cornwall[1087]. The Annals of Tewkesbury record the death “apud Falle juxta Merlawe…VII Id Apr” in 1231 of “Willelmus Mariscallus junior” and his burial “apud Novum Templum Lundoniæ juxta patrem suum”[1088]. The Annales Cambriæ record the death "VII Id Apr" in 1230 of "Willelmus Marescallus"[1089]. The Annals of Dunstable record that “Willelmus Marescallus” died in 1231[1090]. The Annales Londonienses record the death in 1231 of "Willelmus Marescallus comes de Pembrok" and his burial "apud Novum Templum"[1091].

m firstly (1214) ALIX de Béthune dame de Choques, daughter of BAUDOUIN de Béthune Comte d'Aumâle & his wife Hawise d'Aumâle (-[1216], bur London, St Paul's Cathedral). The 13th century Histoire des ducs de Normandie et des rois d´Angleterre records that "Bauduins li cuens d´Aubemalle…[et] Havy la contesse sa feme" had "une fille…Aalis" who married "Guillemin le frère Guillaume le mareschal le conte de Pembroc"[1092].

m secondly (23 Apr 1224) as her first husband, ELEANOR of England, daughter of JOHN King of England & his second wife Isabelle Ctss d'Angoulême (1215-convent of the sisters of St Dominic, near Montargis 13 Apr 1275). The Annals of Dunstable record that “Willelmus Marscallus junior” married “sororem Henrici regis Angliæ” in 1225, recorded as the first event in that year[1093]. The Annals of Tewkesbury record the marriage in 1224 of “soror regis Henrici” and “juveni Marescallo”[1094]. She is recorded as "Pembrocensis comitissa" (not named), sister of Isabella, by Matthew of Paris in 1236[1095]. He names her as daughter of King John in a later passage which records her second marriage with "Simon de Monteforti", specifying that she was "relictam Willelmi Marescalli comitis de Penbrochia"[1096]. She became a nun after the death of her first husband, taking a vow of perpetual celibacy. She married secondly (King’s Chapel, Palace of Westminster 7 Jan 12381096) Simon de Montfort, her vows of chastity not being considered a canonical impediment to her second marriage, her second husband obtaining Papal absolution in Rome for the marriage[1097]. The Annals of Tewkesbury record the marriage “XIX Kal Feb in parvula capella regis apud Westmonasterium” of “soror regis Angliæ uxor quondam junioris Marscalli” and “Symoni de Monteforti”[1098]. She retired once more as a nun at Montargis (a cell of the Abbey of Fontevrault) after her second husband was killed[1099].



Explanation of the numerous creations of the title "Earl of Pembroke" and the holders of the title:




Courtesy of fantastically full family tree cf.:

Hughes of Gwerclas 1/2/3/4:





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William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, Magna Carta Surety's Timeline

May 1190
Normandy, France
April 6, 1231
Age 40
Fawley, Berkshire, England
April 15, 1231
Age 40
Temple Church, London, Middlesex, England
February 3, 1932
Age 40
February 3, 1932
Age 40
February 3, 1932
Age 40
February 3, 1932
Age 40
February 3, 1932
Age 40