Medieval England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales

Restored Documents & Photos    

Early Virginia Surnames 

Colonial Land Office Patents 

The First Virginia Girls

Fine Art Gallery

Officers of the Household


Medieval England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales 

William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke 
by Catherine Armstrong*

William Marshal

In a room of the Tower of London in August 1189, two people who were about to be married met for the first time. This twist of fate or act of destiny would have a far-reaching effect on English history. 

The young lady was Isabel de Clare, sole heiress of Richard Strongbow de Clare, Earl of Pembroke and Striguil, and Aoife, daughter of Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster. 


The man was William Marshal, the second son of John the Marshal and Sibyl, sister of Patrick, Earl of Salisbury. 

There are no accounts of this first meeting nor of their marriage ceremony, but this was the final step in the making of one of the greatest knights and magnates of medieval English history.

John fitz Gilbert (Marshal's father)

John fitz Gilbert was the father of William Marshal Earl of Pembroke. John was the son of Gilbert, the marshal of the royal household of King Henry I. The office of the marshal was part of the Curia, with a deputy in the Exchequer and one in the King's Bench, as well as one in the Court of the Marshals of the King's household. The office was subordinate to the office of constable of the royal household.. The office was responsible for everything connected to the horses of the royal household, the hawks and the hounds as well.

The Children of William Marshal and Isabel de Clare

William Marshal and Isabel de Clare were married in August 1189. He was about forty-three and she was seventeen years old. They had ten children; five sons and five daughters, and all of the children lived.

The parents of Isabel de Clare (Marshal's wife)

Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke and Lord of Leinster, was the father of Isabel de Clare, wife of William Marshal. Richard was the son of Gilbert fitz Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, and Isabel de Beaumont, sister to Waleran Count of Meulan and Robert Earl of Leicester.

At the age of thirty-eight and still unmarried due to a lack of royal favor, Richard was ready for the arrival and proposal of Dermot MacMurchada Lord of Leinster in 1168/69. 

Dermot offered Strongbow lands in Ireland, his daughter Eve in marriage, and the lordship of Leinster on Dermot's death. Dermot offered Strongbow a gamble, a chance, on winning lands, a royal wife, wealth, and knightly fame.

Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare, Strongbow (Marshal's father-in-law)

Strongbow's father was Gilbert fitz Gilbert de Clare, lord of Orbec and Bienfaite, lord of Striguil (Chepstow), and earl of Pembroke. Gilbert was a younger son of Gilbert fitz Richard de Clare, earl of Tonbridge and Clare and lord of Ceredigion, the Marcher lordship of Cardigan. 

Strongbow's mother was Isabel (Elizabeth) de Beaumont, sister to Robert earl of Leicester and Waleran count of Meulan. Isabel had been the youngest mistress of King Henry I, and their liaison resulted in a natural daughter, Isabel (Elizabeth), born c.1129/30. When Isabel de Beaumont married Gilbert in 1130, she took this daughter with her. Strongbow was born before the end of 1130; thus he was raised with the natural half-sister of the Empress Matilda.

Legend of Tintern Abbey

According to the legend, a group of young men had come to see the Abbey and decided to employ several laborers to dig in the orchard that adjoins the Abbey to see if they could discover some antiquities. They apparently discovered the remains of two human skeletons and decided to celebrate their discovery by having an evening feast held within the ruins of the Abbey (Beattie 108).

A Serendipitous Discovery at Tintern Abbey

For Aoife [princess of Leinster and widow of "Strongbow"] to be buried in Tintern Abbey, she must have died in Wales. Aoife was an Irish princess; "Strongbow," is buried in the Church of the Holy Trinity [Christ Church] in Dublin (Barnard 92; Diceto i 407). Common sense and the customs of the times dictate that only by dying in Wales would Aoife have been buried there. 

The discovery of Aoife MacMurrough’s [MacMurchada] burial place raises more questions than it answers. When did she return to Wales from Ireland? What was she doing in Wales? When did she die? Is this why her daughter Isabel de Clare and Isabel’s two youngest sons are buried at Tintern?

Tournaments and William Marshal 

William Marshal's tournament career reached its apex when he was appointed as head of the mesnie household of the young king Henry. Tournaments of Marshal's time were vastly different from the tournaments held in the late thirteenth century, and the majority of them were held on the continent because Henry II did not allow them to be held in England. The tournaments held on the continent were the training grounds for young men entering into knighthood. These young men could be noble heirs or second or later sons of nobles, barons, and/or magnates. These tournaments were the arenas through which the young males entered into the elite military order of the middle ages.

Catherine Armstrong

Catherine Armstrong has Master's degree in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia . Her field is medieval English history. Her specific field is William Marshal, his fiefs and "familiares". Her concentration is on the lands and people bound to Marshal by blood and marriage, by feudal tenure, and by "affinity". 

Ms Armstrong's essays form a complementary 4-part series focusing on the life and times of William Marshal and his father-in-law Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare two of the most powerful and influential men of their time. Each essay is accompanied by an extensive and valuable bibliography.

She can be reached via e-mail at:

Welsh Castles

"In a country with relatively few great churches and abbeys, and even fewer unfortified manor houses, the Castles of Wales form the most imposing group of monuments left from the Middle Ages. In terms of grandeur they are second only to the dramatic landscape." Adrian Pettifer ~ Welsh Castles

Castles Location Map
Wales (Traditional Counties) - This map is clickable.

Pembrokeshire Castle, South-West Wales

Early Medieval Wales
Castles of Wales
Early Medieval Wales
Abbeys & Religious Sites
Historical Essays 
The Castles of Wales in Art
Essay about the Buck brothers castle drawings of the Castles of Wales
Internet Medieval Sourcebook
Medieval and Renaissance Queens, Rulers, Empresses
Knighthood and Orders of Chivalry
The Black Death
Old English Pages
Internet Women's History Sourcebook

Caldicot Castle, Monmouthshire, South Wales

Carew Castle  

Built in the 13th century by Sir Nicholas de Carew, whose family had made money in their forays into Ireland. He probably built Carew's three towers, the chapel and the massive west front. 

  • Boudicca's Rebellion, 61 AD
    A contemporary account by the Roman historian, Tacitus, about the nearly-successful British uprising led by Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni.
  • The Confession of St. Patrick
    A statement of faith in his own words (believed to be authentic) of the famous British missionary to Ireland.
  • De Excidio Britanniae, c.540
    Sixth century diatribe written by the monk, Gildas, giving some insight into darkage Britain and the situation that gave rise to the legend of Arthur.
  • Riothamus to the Rescue, 467 AD
    Excerpt from Jordanes' sixth century "Gothic History" telling of a vain attempt on the part of the King of the Britons and 12,000 men to help the Roman Emperor, Anthemius
  • The Battle of Llongborth, c.480
    An English translation of a sixth century Welsh poem, called "Elegy for Geraint," which mentions Arthur.
  • The Coming of St. Augustine
    Account of the coming of Roman Christianity to the island of Britain in 597, by the 8th century historian, the Venerable Bede.
  • Pope Gregory's Letter to Bishop Mellitus
    A letter of instructions to Bishop Mellitus, who was joining Augustine's mission in England, on how to handle the jold religious customs of the newly converted pagans.
  • The Synod of Whitby
    Bede's account of the council in 664, at which the Roman church established its primacy over the Celtic church. At issue was the method by which Easter should be dated.
  • Historia Brittonum
    Nennius' ninth century entertaining, but questionable, collection of the facts, myths and fables covering the early history of Britain. Special emphasis on Arthur.
  • Peace of Wedmore
    Ninth century agreement between the English and Danes, establishing the Danelaw.
  • Asser's Life of King Alfred
    The earliest known biography of Alfred the Great, written by a Welshman from St. David's, who served the king as Bishop of Sherbourne.
  • Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
    Fascinating (and massive) 52-part account of history covering the years 1 through 1154 AD from the point of view of the Anglo-Saxons. This is the COMPLETE TEXT.
  • Annales Cambriae, c. 970
    The tenth century Annals of Wales containing two interesting references to King Arthur, which have been taken by some to be proof of his historicity.
  • The Battle of Hastings, 1066
    William of Malmesbury's description of William of Normandy's conquest of England
  • Laws of William the Conqueror
    The civil laws instituted by the new King William I and his barons for control of their new land.
  • William II, Rufus
    Peter of Blois' description of the Conqueror's son, from a twelfth century chronicle.
  • Henry I
    Excerpt from a contemporary chronicle illuminating one of the great medieval kings.
  • The Charter of Henry I
    The document on which Magna Carta was based.
  • King Stephen
    Henry of Huntingdon documents the unfortunate reign of Stephen, the worst king England ever had.
  • Constitutions of Clarendon, 1164
    Henry II's attempt to reestablish royal prerogatives after the disastrous reign of Stephen.
  • Assize of Clarendon, 1166
    Concerns the establishment of judicial procedure in order to check the power of the baronage, in the reign on Henry II. 

Medieval Resources Directory


Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence
John, Baron Beauchamp of Warwick
Thomas Beauchamp, 3rd Earl of Warwick
Thomas Beauchamp, 4th Earl of Warwick
Sir Nicholas De La Beche
Sir Edmund De La Beche
Edward the Black Prince
Humphrey De Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford
William De Bohun, Earl of Northampton
Sir Bernard Brocas
Robert the Bruce, King of Scots
Sir Geoffrey Chaucer
Hugh Junior, Baron Courtenay
Hugh Le Fitz, Baron Courtenay
Sir Peter Courtenay
Sir Ivo FitzWarin
Sir William FitzWarin
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster
Henry of Grosmont, Duke of Lancaster
Robert, 1st Baron Holland
Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent
Edmund Langley, Duke of York
Sir Thomas Malory
St. Margaret, Queen of Scots
John, Baron Mohun of Dunster
Geoffrey of Monmouth
John Montacute, Earl of Salisbury
William Montacute, 2nd Earl of Salisbury
Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March
Margery Poynings
Miles, 1st Lord Stapleton
Sir Miles Stapleton
Sir William Trussell Senior
Sir William Trussell Junior
Sir Thomas Wale
Gerald of Wales
John Wycliffe

Monarchs of Britain - Bios, lists, more
Legendary Kings of Britain - Geoffrey of Monmouth
King Arthur - The greatest legend of all!
Church History - The dark age to the Reformation
Biographies - The lives of famous Britons
Documents - Original sources & texts of history
Magna Carta - King John's finest hour
Anglo Saxon Chronicle - Victor's-eye view of history
Timelines - History in chronological order
Rule Britannia! - The story / words to the song
Stonehenge - The full story
Stonehenge's Bluestones - Where they came from
England - A narrative history by Peter Williams, Ph.D.
Wales - A narrative history by Peter Williams, Ph.D.
Scotland - A narrative history by Peter Williams, Ph.D.
London - A narrative history by David Nash Ford
Geoffrey Ashe - An exclusive interview
Early British Kingdoms - Britain in the 5th-7th C.
Prehistoric Britain - Index of period resources
Roman Britain - Index of period resources
Anglo Saxon England - Index of period resources
Medieval Britain - Index of period resources
Reformation & Restoration - Index of resources
Age of Empire - Index of period resources
Modern Britain - Index of period resources
Historical Maps - Aids to visualizing history
The Gunpowder Plot - Guy Fawkes and others
Magical History Tour - A joyride through history
Country Houses - England's grand estates
The Medieval Coroner - by Bernard Knight, CBE
Europe in Retrospect - by Raymond F. Betts, Ph.D.
The English Castle - A survey by David Dawson
Vikings & Norman Conquest - by Geoff Boxell
The Lost Admiral - from Bill Abbot
Mistresses of Charles II - by Brenda Ralph Lewis
Agard Anthingham Appleton Appulton Apulton Bacon Banyard Bardolf Barrington Beaufort Bedingfeld Bernard Bigod Bodley Bokel Boyvill Brews Brewse Broughton Burden Burgate Burgoyne Calthorpe Cheney Cheyney Clere Clifford Crane Crofts d'Amory d'Avilliers Dacre de Beauchamp de Brewse de Clavering de Criol de Gisburn de Grandison de Hedersett de Ingham de Knightley de la Pole de Langford de Marney de Norwich de Percy de Peyton de Pierpont de Poynings de Rokesley de Ros de Rougham de Stanhow de Ufford de Welles Denstan Dingley Douglas Drury Empson Fermour Fitz Alan Fitzwarin Flydene Foljambe Franke Garneys Gedding Gernon Gisburn Goddard Green Hasilden Heath Hewett Hoo Hopton Hungate Jenks Jenny Jermyn Johnson Joseph King Kirton la Zouche Layman le Gross le Rich le Strange Leech Leveson Lovel Lovell Ludham Malchter Mallory Mautby Maxwell Mayne Melton Mills Morley Mortimer Muschet Neville Osborne Page Parris Perte Peyton Pilkington Plantagenet Plumpton Poynings Quapladde Randes Read Rich Richards Rokewood Rotenheryng Rushbrook Savile Scrope Skipwith Sotehyll Sothill Southwell Spring St.Omer Stafford Stapleton Stewart Stubbs Sulyard Sutton Swynford Thorp Tillot Vavasour Walsshe Warhgham Wellinore Wentworth Wickham Wickingham Wingfield Wyllenhall Wythe Yelverton Yerde

Carol Noell
LQ Archivist & Researcher
Photo Record Document Restorations


Surname Studies are researched, compiled & archived by Carol Noell

Published by the Noell-Turpin Family History Society
© Copyright 2005  All rights reserved

Mary Noell 
Genealogical Researcher & Historian