Revised 09/02/2020




Recommended reading includes: "William Marshall, Knighthood, War and Chivalry, 1147-1219" (David Crouch, 1990).

[PEMB351] Gilbert strongbow de Clare (born 21st September 1100, 2nd son of Lord Gilbert FitzRichard, see HASTINGS (EU) FEUDAL LORDSHIP) married [BEAM363] Isabel (daughter of Count Robert of Meulan, see LEICESTER (BEAUMONT) EARLDOM). He supported King Stephen against the Angevin faction, and led an expedition against Exmes (1136). As his reward he was created 1st Earl of Pembroke (1138), and shortly afterwards rebuilt Haverfordwest Castle. Gilbert also acquired Pevensey during the reign of King Stephen, but after Gilbert rebelled against him (1147), the castle there against returned to the crown.

Throughout the ages Pevensey has been a strategic port in Pevensey Bay, defended by fortifications, firstly by the Romans (their outer stone wall of 290 CE remains practically intact), then the Anglo-Saxons, then William the Conqueror who landed here in 1066. The stone keep was built perhaps in the 12th Century, and the inner stone wall was added c.1250. The castle figured in various sieges and battle in later years, culminating in defence work installed in 1940 when Hitler realised, like William the Conqueror, that Pevensey was a short channel crossing from Normandy.


  Outer Roman wall
(3rd C)
(all photos 3 October 2011)
Norman Keep ruins
(12th C)
Inner defence wall
Slits in wall for
machine gun posts

Gilbert died c.1148-49, and Isabel died sometime after 1172.

[PEMB361] Richard strongbow (born c.1130, son of Gilbert), Lord of Goodrich, and became 2nd Earl of Pembroke (1149). He built a stone keep at Goodrich Castle (in lighter sandstone, perhaps from Yorkshire), whereas his successors (Marshal then Valence) added to it in darker sandstone (perhaps from Caen). He married Aoife Ni Diarmait aka Eva, Princess of Leinster.(daughter od Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster by his 2nd wife Mor Ni Tuathail aka Mor O'Toole. (The Brehon law of Ireland allowed a man to have two wives in a secular marriage.)

            Goodrich Castle
(24 August 2011)

At Usk, Richard founded the stone castle (c.1170) by adding a square keep to the original "motte and bailey" structure founded by William FitzOsbern, see HEREFORD (FITZOSBERN) EARLDOM, a century before. His stone castle was in turn afterwards improved upon by his descendants (see later on this page).

  Usk Castle
Great Keep

(26 June 2010)
Close-up of original
Norman window

(26 June 2010)

Defeated by the Irish Monarch Roderick O'Connor (1166), King Dermod MacMurrough of Leinster fled to England, to invoke the aid of King Henry II, offering to become his liegeman if Henry would assist him. On receiving Dermod's oath of allegiance, Henry granted a general licence to all his English subjects to aid Dermod in the recovery of his kingdom. Dermod then engaged in his cause Richard de Clare, commonly called strongbow, through whose influences an army was raised, headed by Robert FitzStephen, Myler FitzHenry, Harvey de Monte Mariso, Maurice Prendergast, Maurice FitzGerald (son of [WIND352] Gerald FitzWalter, see WINDSOR) and others. They landed at Bannow Bay, in the County of Wexford, a portion of Dermod's kingdom.

Richard sailed from Milford Haven to relieve FitzStephen, landing at Bannow Bay (23rd August 1170). Marching to the town of Wexford, through the barony of Idrone, he was confronted and briskly assaulted by O'Rian, chief of that territory. O'Rian was slain by an arrow, shot at him by Nichol the Monk, his troops scattered and many were slain. It was there that Richard's only son, a youth about seventeen years old, frightened with the numbers, ulutations, and prowess of the Irish troops, ran away from the battle and made towards Dublin.

At Waterford itself, Richard used unsubtle shock tactics to take the town. He ordered seventy citizens to have their legs broken and then thrown into the sea. The town was taken. Hearing of his father's victory, Richard's son came back to congratulate him. Richard however, first reproached him with cowardice, then caused him to be immediately executed, by cutting him off in the middle with a sword.

In a short time Richard had recovered Leinster, and the Normans and their Irish allies captured Dublin (September 1170). Richard's chief prize for assisting Dermod, was his daughter [MACM372] Eva (daughter of [MACM362] King Dermod of Leinster, see MacMOROUGH, whom he married at Waterford (August 1171). Through her he succeeded to the throne of Leinster (Dermod had died May 1171); which throne then became an English fief, and so began the subjection of Ireland to English rule.

King Henry II, now alarmed at the prospect of Norman power outside his jurisdiction, decided to visit Ireland. On the way he was met at Newham, Gloucs, by a submissive Richard, who offered Henry his Irish gains. To Richard, Henry granted the land of Leinster as a fief, but reserved the towns of Dublin, Waterford and Wexford for himself, as well as the kingdom of Dublin.

Henry arrived at Croch, near Waterford, (17th October 1171), bringing with him a papal bull from the (only) English Pope, Adrian IV, granting him the lordship of Ireland. Henry reached Dublin (11th November 1171) and made it the official capital city of the Ireland, appointing Hugh de Lacy to be Dublin's first Governor, and Viceroy of Ireland. During 1171-72 Henry received the submission of not only the Normans, but of every important Irish chief and King (except High King Rory O'Connor, who submitted later). Before leaving Ireland (17th April 1172) Henry confirmed Richard as King of Leinster and Hugh de Lacy as Earl of Meath.

By 1172 Richard granted Raglan in the lordship of Usk to Walter de Bloet which 200 years later passed to Sir James Berkeley on his marriage to Elizabeth Bloet. After James' death Elizabeth married 2. William ap Thomas (knighted by King Henry VI) though Raglan remained with the Berkeley family. However by 1432 Sir William was in a position to purchase the manor of Raglan and from this time commenced building Raglan Castle. Sir William died in 1445 and was succeeded by his eldest son William who took the surname Herbert, and afterwards became Earl of Pembroke. Raglan continued to be modernised by successive generations.

  Raglan Castle
(17 October 2016)

For the rest of the century and throughout the 13th, the Anglo-Normans proceeded to conquer the rest of Ireland, failing only to subdue the north-west and south-west by 1300.

Richard died at Dublin (about April-June 1176), leaving only one surviving child. Eva was styled Countess of Ireland (recorded 1185), and Countess of Strigoil (recorded 1186), and possibly around 1190.

[PEMB372] Isabel de Strigoil (see MARCHES) (born c.1173, only legitimate daughter of Richard) was a child when her father died, and was made a ward of King Henry II. She was suo jure Countess of Pembroke (by 1189), being heir of her unmarried brother, Gilbert, 2nd Earl. She married Henry's faithful knight [MARS371] Sir William (see PEMBROKE (MARSHAL) EARLDOM below).


[MARS351] Gilbert giffard [=chubby cheeks], apparently married [HAST432] Margaret de Venoix (daughter of Geoffrey de Venoix, see HASTINGS BARONY). Gilbert assumed the title "The Marshal".

[MARS361] John FitzGilbert the marshal (born c.1105) married 1. (1130) Aline de Pipard. John held lands in Wiltshire (originally of the Salisbury family), in Oxfordshire (of the Arsic family, see ARSIC) and in Herefordshire (of the Candos family). After the accession of King Stephen, John was granted custody of the royal town and castle of Marlborough, and other towns in Wiltshire, e.g. Cherhill and Wexcombe [Pipe Roll, 1156]. John also managed Ludgershall Castle on behalf of the king, which Patrick de Salisbury then tried to take back, but was beaten in the ensuing fight with John. However, John and Patrick came to an agreement whereby John divorced his wife Aline,  and then married 2. (1144) [SALI362] Sibyl (born c.1126, sister of [SALI361] Patrick who was by now (1143) 1st Earl of Wiltshire, see SALISBURY (SALISBURY) EARLDOM). Aline afterwards married 2. Stephen de Gai, see GAI OF WOOTTON BASSET. John continued to improve Ludgershall Castle, the work being continued later by King Henry II, then King John, and finally King Henry III, who presented it to his Queen, Eleanor of Aragon, on the occasion of their marriage (1236).



Great Tower of
Ludgershall Castle
(28 June 2013)

Part of accompanying plan
at Ludgershall Castle
(weather scarred)
depicting head of King Henry III

John the marshal died 1165, and his lands were divided between his two surviving eldest sons, Gilbert by his first wife Aline, and John by his second wife Sibyl. Gilbert died two months later, leaving the Marshal inheritance to his half-brother John.

[MARS372] Margaret FitzGilbert (daughter of John & Sibyl) married [SOME451] Sir Ralph de Somery (see SOMERY).

[MARS371] Sir William I marshal (born c.1146, 4th son of John, but 2nd son of John by Sibyl), being a younger son with little hope of inheriting wealth, travelled to France in his teens where he entered the household of a relative, William de Tancarville, Chamberlain of Normandy. He was Knighted by Tancarville (under whom he distinguished himself against the Flemings) at Drincourt, Neufchatel-en-Bray (1166). William was present when his uncle, Patrick, 1st Earl of Salisbury, was killed at the Battle of Poitou (April 1168), and William himself wounded and captured by the Poitevins. His ransom was surprisingly paid for by Queen Eleanor, consort of King Henry II. This brought him into the royal circles, and his future success was secure. William remained with the Queen until June 1170, when he was transferred to the household of her eldest surviving son, Prince Henry, or to be more accurate the "young" King Henry as he was crowned King of England that month. William had a particular talent at Tournaments, and became "young" Henry's military tutor. In June 1183 "young" King Henry died of a fever (removing the complication of dual-kingship), and towards the end handed his cloak to William to take to the holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. William stayed about two years in the Holy Land, and on his return (1186) he found service in the military household of the "old" king himself. At about this time he had grant of the royal estate of Cartmel (Lancashire) stretching between Morecambe Bay and Lake Windermere, and also the wardship of Helwise de Lancaster (see KENDAL FEUDAL LORDSHIP), heiress of the barony of Kendal (Westmorland), which adjoined the Cartmel estate. It seems he could have married his ward had he wished, which would have brought him great lands. King Henry II died in July 1189 and immediately afterwards, as a reward for his services, the new king Richard licensed William (now age 43 or thereabouts) to marry (at London, August 1189) [PEMB372] Isabel de Strigoil (see PEMBROKE (CLARE) EARLDOM above), who was then age 16, and through her William acquired the vast de Clare inheritance. William had to relinquish his claims on Kendal to a younger friend Gilbert (son of Roger FitzReinfrid), who in due course married Helwise de Lancaster.




Cartmel Priory Church
(28 October 2009)



One of William's first acts after his marriage was to found Cartmel Priory, in the Lordship of Lancaster, commemorated in a plaque in the present day Priory Church.








For supporting King John's accession to the throne, William was rewarded by becoming 4th Earl of Pembroke (1199), gaining extensive new lands, including Chepstow Castle, and the Patronage of nearby Tintern Abbey. He invaded Wales and captured Cilgerran Castle (1204), previously occupied by Rhys ap Gruffudd (see SOUTH WALES PRINCES).

Pembroke Castle
(11 March 2006)


He commenced the stone reconstruction of Pembroke Castle (c.1205), replacing the original Norman timber castle dating from 1093.




William also made improvements to Usk Castle, in particular the circular Garrison Tower (c.1209) which described as being "a military master-piece", see "Usk Castle" (Usk Castle Ltd, 2004). Later still, the Treasure (North) Tower dates from 1289 whilst under the care of his descendant Gilbert de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester & Hertford, see HERTFORD (CLARE) EARLDOM. and his wife Joan of Acre.




Usk Castle Garrison Tower
(26 June 2010)


Treasure Tower
(26 June 2010)


Close-up of Treasure
Tower door

(26 June 2010)


William Marshall acted as King John's negotiator at the signing of the Magna Carta (1215). He was Regent of England (1216-19) during the minority of the young King Henry III. He routed the French troops and the rebel barons at the Battle of Lincoln (20th May 1217); and some months later he besieged London. William died at Caversham (May 1219) and on his deathbed was accepted into the Knights Templar. He was buried at the Temple Church, London, where there is (allegedly) a tomb effigy of him (damaged during the Blitz in the 1939-45 War). Photographs taken at Temple Church 10 September 2004.




Fortunately a cast was made of the tomb in the 19th century, which therefore does not bear the war-time scars. This is in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.


Photographs taken at V & A Museum
(15 April 2005)

William replica

close-up replica


After her death, Isabel was buried at Tintern Abbey.

William was succeeded in turn by his five sons, none of whom left male issue, and eventually the vast inheritance was shared between the descendants of their five sisters, thus fulfilling the (alleged) curse of Bishop Albinus of Ferns (Ireland), who had had two of his manors appropriated by the 4th Earl:

Marshal's name shall be rooted out in one generation, and his inheritance scattered.

These five brothers and five sisters were as follows:

William II (5th Earl, 1219) married 1. (1214) Alice (daughter of Baldwin de Bethune, by Countess Hawise of Aumale, her 3rd husband). (Hawise had previously married 1. William de Mandeville, 3rd Earl of Essex; then 2. William de Foz). After Hawise died, William later married 2. (April 1224) Eleanor (younger daughter of King John by Isabel). After William died, Eleanor married 2. (at Westminster, January 1237-38) Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester.

Richard (6th Earl, 1231) married (1227) Gervaise (widow of Juhel de Mayenne, and daughter & heir of Alan de Dinan by his 1st unnamed wife).

Gilbert (7th Earl, 1234) married (at Berwick, August 1235) Margaret (daughter of King William the lion of Scotland, by Ermengard, daughter of Robert, Vicomte of Beaumont). Gibert also acquired Pevensey Castle, which had been held a century earlier by his forebear Gilbert de Clare, see earlier. Afterwards the castle passed to Peter of Savoy.

Walter (8th Earl, 1241) married (c. January 1241-42) Margaret (daughter & heir of Robert de Quency, and widow of John de Lacy, see LINCOLN (LACY) EARLDOM), 7th Earl of Lincoln. After Walter died he was buried at Tintern Abbey. Late Margaret married 3. Richard de Wiltshire.

Anselm (9th Earl, 1245) married Maud (daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, 6th Earl of Hereford and 7th Earl of Essex). Anselm died before actually taking office (1245) and was buried at Tintern Abbey. Afterwards Maud married 2. Roger de Quency, 2nd Earl of Winchester. So ended the male line of the Marshal family.

[MARS389] Maud (eldest daughter of William I) married 1. (c.1207) [NORF451] Earl Hugh (see NORFOLK (BIGOD) EARLDOM), who thereby inherited Chepstow Castle; then 2. (before October 1225) [SUR2471] Earl William (see SURREY (WARENNE) EARLDOM). After her death (1248), Maud was buried at Tintern Abbey.

[MARS382] Isabel (born at Pembroke Castle, 9th October 1200, 2nd daughter of William I married 1. (at Tewkesbury Abbey, October 1217) [HERT471] Earl Gilbert (see HERTFORD (CLARE) EARLDOM); then 2. (at Fawley, Bucks. March 1231) Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall.

Sibyl (3rd daughter of William I) married William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby.

[MARS386] Eve (4th daughter of William I) married [ABER391] Lord William (see ABERGAVENNY (BRIOUZE) BARONY). Eve acquired Cilgerran Castle, which therefore passed to the Briouze family.

[MARS389] Joan (5th daughter of William I) married 1. Warin de Munchensy, Lord of Swanscombe. They had a child Joan; then apparently after the death of Warin, Joan (now Lady Swanscombe) married 2. [STAN461] Sir Philip Stanton, Lord of Stanton, as his first wife (see STANTON). Later, Joan's daughter Joan by her first husband Warin married (August 1247) Aymer de Valence, who much later became 10th Earl of Pembroke (1307).