William Marshal – 1st Earl of Pembroke | Temple Church
William Marshal was born around 1146, the second son of John the Marshal, a trusted knight of Norman ancestry, and of Sibyl, who was a sister of Patrick, Earl of Salisbury. Being a younger son, William did not inherit his Father’s titles or money and so becoming a knight was to be expected William was duly sent off to Normandy, to be trained by the hereditary Chamberlain of the region, William of Tancarville, and was eventually knighted in the year 1167. Three years later William Marshal was appointed head of the military household of Prince Henry, the young son of King Henry II of England. Unfortunately Prince Henry died in 1183. Now William was actually the man who knighted this young prince and as a result William became his ‘Lord in Chivalry’. William was a physically powerful man who fared well in the tournaments and his time with Prince Henry allowed him to increase his influence with those of the Court who would also prosper in the years that followed. So upset was William Marshal at the death of Prince Henry, he obtained permission from the King to take Henry’s Cross to Jerusalem. There he spent two years fighting for the King of Jerusalem, who at the time was Guy of Lusignan. It was almost certain that William Marshal became acquainted with the Knights Templar during his time in Jerusalem. In the year 1187, William was granted his first land – a ‘fief’ directly from the King. Upon accepting this gift, William Marshal declared his loyalty to Henry II and his rightful successors. This promise was never forgotten and is one of the reasons that William Marshall himself is still remembered to this day. When Henry II’s son, Richard I, came to the throne, William Marshal continued to prosper. He was a councillor, advisor, brother at arms and confidant of the new and vigorous king. So much did Richard trust his brother Templar that he bestowed upon him the hand of Isabel de Clare, who was the only surviving child of Richard Strongbow de Clare, Earl of Pembroke. With this marriage William Marshall became one of the most powerful Barons in England, with lands in England, Wales, Ireland and France. William ruled his lands well, but unlike many of the Barons of the time, he never forgot his oath of loyalty to his direct feudal lord, Richard I. Nor did William merely ’sit on’ his vast estates, but rather ran them efficiently. With the death of Richard the Lionheart, in 1199, England was thrown into ferment regarding the succession. William considered Richard’s brother John, to have the best claim to the throne, and duly bowed his knee to a man who was to use this loyal knight falsely. King John proved to have absolutely no ability to either ally himself with, or control, the by now powerful Barons of England, many of whom rebelled during John’s unfortunate reign. John took action against many, by either imprisoning them, confiscating their land, removing their titles and even murdering some. William Marshall stood strong and remained loyal to King John, even though the king did all he could to provoke him, – taking his castles, and even seizing his two sons as hostages.
- Published: 3 February 2022
- Location: London
- Duration: 13:33
- Photography – Stephen Robert Kuta / Yhana Kuta
- Written by – Stephen Robert Kuta
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