Southern Anthology

Families on the Frontiers of the Old South

William III de Briouse, 4th Lord of Bramber[1, 2, 3, 4]

Male Abt 1144 - 1211  (~ 67 years)


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  • Name William III de Briouse 
    • Lord of Gower, Abergavenny, Brecknock, Builth, Radnor, Kington, Limerick, Glamorgan, Skenfrith, Briouze in Normandy, Grosmont, and White Castle.
    Suffix 4th Lord of Bramber 
    Born Abt 1144 
    Gender Male 
    Criminal Dec 1175  Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Abergavenny Massacre 
    Criminal ca. 1203  Rouen, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Assassination of Arthur of Brittany 
    Arrival ca. 1210 
    Exile to France 
    Residence Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence Brecon, Powys, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence Buellt, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence Briouze, Normandy Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence Bramber, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 9 Aug 1211  Corbeil-Essonnes, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Abbey of St. Victor, Paris, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • BRAOSE, WILLIAM de (d. 1211), rebel baron, was the descendant and heir of William de Braose (alias Braiose, Breause, Brehus, &c.), lord of Braose, near Falaise in Normandy, who had received great estates in England at the Conquest. The family fixed their seat at Bramber in Sussex, and were lords of its appendant rape. Through his grandmother, a daughter of Judhael de Totnes, lord of Totnes and Barnstaple, William had also a claim to one of those fiefs and through his mother, Bertha, second daughter of Miles and sister of Roger, earls of Hereford, he inherited the vast Welsh dominions of her grandfather, Bernard de Neufmarché [q. v.] He has been confused by Dugdale and Foss with his father and namesake; it was, however, as 'William de Braiose, junior,' that he made (as lord of the honour of Brecon) a grant to Walter de Clifford (Reports, xxxv. 2, but there wrongly dated), and that he tested a charter at Gloucester in 1179 (Mon. Angl. vi. 457), so that his father must have been then alive. It was probably, however, he, and not his father, who in 1176 invited the Welshmen to Abergavenny Castle, and there slew them, nominally in revenge for the death of his uncle Henry de Hereford the previous Easter (Matt. Paris, ii. 297), a crime avenged on Braose's grandson by Llewelyn in 1230 (Ann. Marg. 38). Under Richard I, though withstanding the royal officers on his own estates in Wales, he was sheriff of Herefordshire in 1192-9 (Rot. Pip.), and a justice itinerant for Staffordshire in 1196. In 1195 he was with Richard in Normandy, and in 1196 he secured both Barnstaple and Totnes for himself by an agreement with the other coheir. In 1198 he was beleaguered by the Welsh in Castle Maud (alias Colwyn) in Radnorshire, but relieved by the justiciary, Geoffrey Fitz Piers, who defeated the Welsh in Elvael (Roa. Hov. iv. 53; Matt. Paris, ii. 447). According, however, to the Welsh authorities, Castle Maud was taken, and he fell back on Pains Castle, where he had to save himself by a compromise (Brut y Tywysogion). On John's accession, William was foremost in urging that he should be crowned (Ann. Marg. 24). High in the king's favour, he accompanied him into Normandy in the summer of 1200 (Cart. 2 John, m. 31), and there had a grant of all such lands as he should conquer from the Welsh in increase of his barony of Radnor, and was made sheriff of Herefordshire for 1206-7 (Rot. Pip. 2 John). On 12 Jan. 1201 he obtained the honour of Limerick (without the city), as his uncle Philip had received it in 1172 from Henry II (Cart. 2 John, m. 15), for which he agreed to pay 5,000 marks at the rate of 500 a year (Obl. 2 John, m. 15). This was the origin of the misleading statement [see Butler, Theobald] that John sold him all the land of Philip de Worcester and Theobald Walter (Roe. Hov. iv. 152-3; Walt. Cov. ii. 179-80). He next received (23 Oct. 1202) the custody of Glamorgan Castle (Pat. 4 John, m. 8), and four months later (24 Feb. 1203) he had a grant of Gowerland, which he claimed as his inheritance (Plac. Parl. 30 Ed. I, 234). He was in close attendance on John at the time of Arthur's death, being at Rouen on 1 April (Cart. Ant. [Chancery] 20, 26), and at Falaise on 11 April 1203 (Cart. 4 John, m. 1), but he publicly refused to retain charge of the prince, suspecting that his life was in danger (Bouquet, xvii. 192), and it may have been in order to silence him that he received on 8 July 1203 a grant of the city of Limerick at ferm. He was still at the king's court on 18 Nov. (Cart. 5 John, m. 18). Three years later (16 Dec. 1206) he was placed in possession of Grosmont, Llantilio (or White Castle), and Skenfrith Castles (Cart. 7 John, m. 3), but shortly after his fall began. Its causes and details have always been obscure. The chief authority on the subject is an ex-parte statement put forward by John after William's ruin (i.e. circ. 1211), entered in the ' Red Book ' of the exchequer and printed in Rymer's 'F?dera' (i. 162-3). From this it would appear that the quarrel was pecuniary in its origin. Checking the king's assertions by the evidence of the 'Pipe Rolls,' it is clear that in 1207 (i.e. six years after obtaining the honour of Limerick), he had only paid up 700 marks in all (Pip. 8 John, rot. 6), instead of 500 a year. He was also in arrear for the ferm of Limerick itself, and Mr. Pearson (England in the Middle Ages, ii. 49), on the evidence of the Worcester Annals, holds him to have been suspected of conniving at the capture of the town in Geoffrey Marsh's rebellion: but that rebellion did not take place till later. On his becoming five years in arrear, the crown had recourse to distraint on his English estates. He had, however, removed his stock, and the king's bailiff was then ordered to distrain him in Wales. His friends, however, met the king at Gloucester (i.e. in November 1207), and on their intercession William was allowed to come to him at Hereford, and to surrender his castles of Hay, Brecknock, and Radnor in pledge for his arrears. But he still paid nothing further (Pip. 9 John, rot. 4, dors.), and upon the interdict being laid on England on 26 April 1208, his younger son Giles, bishop of Hereford (since 1200), was one of the five bishops who withdrew to France with the primate (Matt. Paris, ii. 522; Ann. Wig. 396). John, suspecting the conduct of the family, sent to demand hostages of William, but his wife (it is said against his advice) refused them (Matt. Paris, ii. 523-524). Thus committed to resistance, he strove to regain his three castles by surprise, and, failing in this, stormed and sacked Leominster. On the approach of the royal forces he fled with his family into Ireland (ib.; Ann. Wav. 261-2; Mon. Angl. i. 557), whereupon his estates were seized into the king's hands.

      In Ireland he was harboured by William Marshall and the Lacys, who promised to surrender him within a certain time, but failed to do so till John's invasion of Ireland became imminent, when he was sent over with a safe-conduct to the court. He came, however, no nearer than Wales, where he harried the country till John's arrival at Pembroke in June 1210; he then offered 40,000 marks for peace and the restoration of his lands. But John declared he must treat with his wife, as the principal, in Ireland. William, refusing to accompany him, remained in Wales in rebellion. His wife, besieged by John in Heath (Matt. Paris, ii.530), fled to Scotland, but was captured in Galloway, with her son and his wife, by Duncan of Carrick, and brought back to John at Carrickfergus by the end of July. John extorted from her a confirmation of her husband's offer, and took her with him to England. William met them at Bristol on 20 Sept. 1210, and finally agreed to pay the 40,000 marks; but as neither he nor his wife would pay anything, he was outlawed in default, and fled from his port of Shoreham in disguise (' quasi mendicus ') to France (Ann. Wav. 265; Ann. Osn. 54). He died at Corbeuil the following year (9 Aug. 1211), and was buried the next day in St. Victor's Abbey, Paris (Matt. Paris, ii. 532), by Stephen Langton, the exiled primate (Ann. Marg. 31). His wife, Maud de St. Valerie, or De Haye, to whose arrogance his fall was largely attributed, was imprisoned, with her eldest son, by John in Windsor Castle, where they are said to have been starved to death (Ann. Wav. 265; Ann. Osn. 54). Matthew Paris (ii. 531) states, but erroneously, that the son's wife shared their fate, while Mr. Pearson (England in the Middle Ages, p. 53, n.} denies even the mother's death, on the ground that she appears as living in 1220 (Royal Letters, i. 136); but the Maud there mentioned was clearly her son's wife (as is proved by Coram rege roll Mich. 3 Hen. III, No. 1, m. 2, Sussex), who, with the third son Reginald, had escaped capture.

      The second son, the bishop of Hereford, returned to England with the primate on 16 July 1214, and paid a fine of 9,000 marks for his father's lands on 21 Oct. 1215 (Pat. VI John, m. 14). As he died very soon after, John allowed the lands to pass without further fine to the third son Reginald on 26 May 1216 (Pat. 18 John, m. 9), who also, under Henry III, recovered the Irish estates.

      William's daughter, Margaret, married Walter de Lacy, and on 10 Oct. 1216 received a license' to found a religious house for the souls of her mother Maud and her brother William, the victims of John's revenge.

      [Matthew Paris (ed. Luard); Annales Monastici (Rolls Series); Chronica R. Hovedeni (ib.); Brut y Ty wysogion (ib.); Shirley's Royal Letters (ib.); Pipe Rolls temp. John; Charter and Patent Rolls; Reports of the Deputy-keeper; Rymer's F?dera; Monasticon Anglieanum; Dugdale's Baronage; Genealogist, vol. iv.]

      J. H. R. [5]
    Person ID I11334  Dickinson
    Last Modified 7 Dec 2017 

    Father William II de Briouse, Lord of Bramber, Abergavenny and Brecon,   b. Bef 1096,   d. Aft 1175  (Age ~ 80 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Bertha of Hereford, Lady of Bramber 
    Relationship Birth 
    Family ID F3648  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mathilde de Saint-Valéry,   b. Abt 1155,   d. 1210, Corfe Castle, Corfe, Dorset Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 55 years) 
    Children 
    +1. Margery de Briouse,   d. Aft 1255  [Birth]
     2. Laurette de Briouse,   d. Abt 1266, Hackington, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location  [Birth]
     3. Eleanor de Briouse,   d. After 26 Jan 1241  [Birth]
    +4. William IV de Briouse,   d. 1210, Corfe Castle, Corfe, Dorset Find all individuals with events at this location  [Birth]
     5. Giles de Briouse, Bishop of Hereford,   b. ca. 1270,   d. 3 Nov 1215, Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [Birth]
     6. Philip de Briouse  [Birth]
     7. Maud de Briouse,   d. 21 Dec 1209  [Birth]
    +8. Reginald de Briouse, Lord of Brecon, Abergavenny, and Builth,   d. Jun 1228, Brecon, Powys, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location  [Birth]
    Last Modified 16 Apr 2014 
    Family ID F2988  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsCriminal - Abergavenny Massacre - Dec 1175 - Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsCriminal - Assassination of Arthur of Brittany - ca. 1203 - Rouen, Normandy, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Brecon, Powys, Wales Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Buellt, Wales Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Briouze, Normandy Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Bramber, Sussex, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 9 Aug 1211 - Corbeil-Essonnes, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Abbey of St. Victor, Paris, France Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. [S336463] Medieval Lands: A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families, Charles Cawley, (Online: The Foundation for Medieval Genealogy at http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/, 20XX), http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLISHNOBILITYMEDIEVAL3.htm#WilliamBriousedied1210B.

    2. [S336470] Wikipedia, (Online: https://en.wikipedia.org), "William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber" at http://bit.ly/2A0v6yb.
      "William de Braose, (or William de Briouze), 4th Lord of Bramber (1144/1153 - 9 August 1211), court favourite of King John of England, at the peak of his power, was also Lord of Gower, Abergavenny, Brecknock, Builth, Radnor, Kington, Limerick, Glamorgan, Skenfrith, Briouze in Normandy, Grosmont, and White Castle."

    3. [S164] King John and the Road to Magna Carta, Stephen Church, (New York: Basic Books, 2015), 163-170.
      "William de Briouze was a hard man of the Angevin regime, who had served Richard and John loyally and had been richly rewarded for his efforts on their behalf. He had started his career as sheriff of Herefordshire, a post that he held for a decade, during which time he regularly made war on his Welsh neighbors. He can be found on the continent in Richard's armies, and by one account, he played an important role in helping Count John to succeed to his brother's lands in 1199, after which William was in almost constant attendance on King John. The family did well out of royal service. * * * His fall from grace-given the heights to which he had risen-was, therefore, spectacular and, for many, became symptomatic of what was rotten at the heart of John's regime." Church, p. 165.

    4. [S20] The Knight Who Saved England: William Marshal and the French Invasion, 1217, Richard Brooks, (Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2014), 61-62.

    5. [S336351] Dictionary of National Biography, 63 volumes, Sir Sidney Lee, ed., (New York: McMillan and Company, 1885-1900), Public Domain., vol. 6, 229-31 [John Horace Round].