William Marshal Dies 1219

walwyn Fri, 02/08/2019 - 22:52
Tuesday, May 14, 1219

William Marshal, who was coinsidered to be the Greatest Knight, died on the 14th of May 1219. During his life he had served five English Kings: Henry the Young King, Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, John, and Henry III. On the 18th of May a large number of barons escorted his coffin to Westminster Abbey where a vigil and Mass were performed, Finally on the 20th of May he was buried in the Temple Church, London. The funeral was presided over by Stephen Langton the Archbishop of Canerbury.1

During the Anarchy in 1152, John Marshal a minor baron with alligience to the Empress Matilda, had during the war of the castles, started to build a fortification near Newbury in defiance of King Stephen. In John Marshal's absence Stephen besieged the castle and when John arrived he agreed to surrender the castle to Stephen and gave his son William as a hostage to his good intentions. Having regained the castle John Marshal reneged on his promise to surrender and Stephen threatened to hang the 5 year old William outside the castle walls. John Marshal declared that he had other sons and could make more if needed. Stephen was never known to purposefully harm a woman or child and eventually took the young William into his own household.2 Newbury fell to Stephen later that year,3 and William was returned to his family when a peace agreement was drawn up between Stephen and Matilda in 1153.4

Having spent some years earning prize money in tournaments William became part of the household of Henry II. In April 1168 he was escorting queen Eleanor with  Earl Patrick  of Salisbury on the road between Poitiers and Niort when they were attacked by a group led by Geoffrey and Guy Lusignan. Eleanor was sent off to safety whilst her guards defended the road. In the skirmish Earl Patrick was killed and a badly wounded William taken prisoner. His ransom was paid by Eleanor and because of his valour he was given horses, arms, money, and clothes appropriate for a knight in Eleano’s service 5

In 1170 following the coronation of Henry’s eldest son, William was appointed the Young King’s “tutor-in-arms”.6