Braose, William de (DNB00)

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 'Fœdera' (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 Fœdera; Monasticon Anglieanum; Dugdale's Baronage; Genealogist, vol. iv.]

J. H. R.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.35
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
229 ii 24f.e. Braose, William de: for (alias Colwyn) read (or Pains Castle)
19f.e. after Castle Maud insert (or Pains Castle)
18f.e. omit fell back . . . where he