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Brookfield Ancestor Project - Surety Barons

Magna Charta Baron Page
William Marshall, Jr.
The Earl of Pembroke's Heir

Marshal Shield

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WURTS’ MAGNA CHARTA provided a brief accounting of the feudal headquarters of some of the Magna Charta Barons. Some of the castles have been badly damaged. Some have disappeared entirely. Often we can learn of them through Medieval and Renaissance accounts, and some of them require the discerning eye of the archeologist. Others await the evidence brought out with a shovel and pick, by the trained archeological historian.

A portion of the information concerning Surety Baron WILLIAM MARSHALL is as follows:

WILLIAM MARSHALL, the Surety, was sometimes as strenuous a supporter of the Baronial cause as his father was of the Royal interests; consequently he was excommunicated by the Pope. When the Dauphin came to London he was one of the prominent men who recognized him as King of England. Upon the death of King John, the Protector procured the consent of the Barons to the coronation of young Henry, requiring the allegiance of the Barons including his own son, William Marshall, Jr. When the rebels were finally conquered, he went back to the King's cause, profiting nicely at the expense of some of his slower former colleagues. In 1223/4 he returned from Ireland and gained a great victory over Prince Llewellyn and the Welsh who in his absence had taken two of his castles. He was made governor of the Castles of Caerdigan and Caermarthen and, in 1230, captain-general of all the King's forces in Bretagne. William Marshall succeeded as second Earl of Pembroke and died Z4 April 1 Z31, very wealthy but without issue.

The Marshall country is the tip end of the Welsh Peninsula. One of his finest Castles was Pembroke. It is situated on a singularly steep hill, while the town clings precariously to the slopes. Although the Castle is now a county jail, it still retains some of the atmosphere of the old fortress, for it dwarfs all else with its bulk. Externally it is one of the finest ruins in Wales. It was originally built by Arnulph de Montgomery at the close of the 11th Century. The buildings of the outer ward were added not earlier than the 14th Century. The great vaulted keep, erected by William Marshall about 1200, is almost intact. There is a handsome gateway with slender flanking turrets, and the Great Hall is well preserved. Beneath the banqueting hall there is a vast cavern, known as the "Wogan," giving access to the harbor.

The Castle has been restored. Early in the 20th Century it was strongly fortified and occupied by a small garrison. Barracks filled the Court. The keep is in excellent condition, with its walls twenty-three feet thick and a hundred feet high. Inside there are a Norman chapel and a three-hundred-foot wall which is said to have been dug by Harold

Appreciation is expressed to Reed M. W. Wurts, one of the Heralds of the Society for furnishing the Baron’s Shield on this page.

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