William DE BRAOSE, 11th Lord of Abergavenny
- Born: 1153, Bramber, Sussex, England
- Married: 1169
- Died: 9 Aug 1211, Corbeil, Marne, Champagne, France
- Buried: 10 Aug 1211, Abbey of St Victorie, Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Orthographic variation: DE BRIOUSE.
William de Braose inherited the large estates of his grandmother, Berta de Gloucester, and besides possessed the Honour of Braose, in Normandy. This feudal lord was a personage of great power and influence during the reigns of Henry II and Richard I, from the former of whom he obtained a grant of the "whole kingdom of Limeric, in Ireland," for the service of sixty knight's fees, to be held of the king and his younger son, John. For several years after this period, he appears to have enjoyed the favour of King John and his power and possessions were augmented by divers grants from the crown. In the 10th of the king's reign , when the kingdom laboured under an interdiction and John deemed it expedient to demand hostages from his barons to ensure their allegiance should the Pope proceed to the length of absolving them from obedience to the crown, his officers who came upon the mission to the Baron de Braose were met by Maud, his wife, and peremptorily informed that she would not entrust any of her children to the king, who had so basely murdered his own nephew, Prince Arthur. de Braose rebuked her for speaking thus, however, and said that if he had in anything offended the king, he was ready to make satisfaction according to the judgment of the court and the barons, his peers, upon an appointed day and at any fixed place without, however, giving hostages. This answer being communicated to the king, an order was immediately transmitted to seize upon the baron's person, but Braose having notice thereof fled with his family into Ireland.
This quarrel between de Braose and King John is, however, differently related by other authorities. The monk of Llanthony stated that King John disinherited and banished him for his cruelty to the Welsh in his war with Gwenwynwyn, and that his wife Maud and William, his son and heir, died prisoners in Corfe Castle. Another writer relates, "that this William de Braose, son of Philip de Braose, Lord of Buelt, held the lands of Brecknock and Went for the whole time of King Henry II, Richard I, and King John without any disturbance until he took to wife the Lady Maud de St. Walerie, who, in revenge of Henry de Hereford, cause divers Welshmen to be murthered in the castle of Bergavenny as they sat at meat; and that for this, and for some other pickt quarrel, King John banished him and all his out of England. Likewise, that in his exile, Maud his wife, with William, galled, Gam, his son, were taken and put into prison where she died the 10th year after her husband fought with Gwenwynwyn and slew three thousand Welch." From these various relations, says Dugdale, it is no easy matter to discover what his demerits were, but what usage he had at last, take here the credit of these two historians who lived near that time. "This year, viz. anno 1240," quoth Matthew of Westminster, "the noble lady Maud, wife of William de Braose, with William, their son and heir, were miserably famished at Windsor by the command of King John; and William, her husband, escaping from Scorham, put himself into the habit of a beggar and, privately getting beyond sea, died soon after at Paris, where he had burial in the abbey of St. Victor." And Matthew Paris, putting his death in anno 1212 (which differs a little in time), says, "That he fled from Ireland to France and, dying at Ebula, his body was carried to Paris and there honourably buried in the abbey of St. Victor." "But after these great troubles in his later days," continues Dugdale, "I shall now say something of his pious works. Being by inheritance from his mother, Lord of Bergavenny, he made great grants to the monks of that priory, conditionally, that the abbot and convent of St. Vincent, in Maine (to which this priory of Bergavenny was a cell) should daily pray for the soul of him, the said William, and the soul of Maud, his wife."
This great but unfortunate personage had issue by his wife, Maud de St. Walerie, I. William; II. Giles: III. Reginald; IV. Sir John; I. Joane; II. Loretta; III. Margaret; IV. Maud.
When the contest between King John and the barons broke out, Giles de Braose, bishop of Hereford, arraying himself under the baronial banner, was put in possession by the people of Bergavenny and the other castles of the deceased lord, and eventually King John, in the last year of his reign, his wrath then being assuaged, granted part of those lands to the bishop's younger brother and heir. 1
A manuscript which narrates the descents of the founders of Lanthony Abbey names “Willielmus, Egidius et Reginaldus” as the three sons of “Willelmo Brewes” and his wife “Berta…comitis Milonis secunda filia”, adding that William was disinherited by King John. The Red Book of the Exchequer refers to "Willelmus de Breose xxviii l de honore de Berdestaple" in Devonshire in [1186/87]. The Red Book of the Exchequer, listing scutage payments in [1190/91], records "Willelmus de Braosa" in Sussex. The Red Book of the Exchequer, listing scutage payments in [1194/95], names "Willelmus de Breose" among those granted delay in payment "per brevis" in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire. "Willelmus de Braiosa, Philippi filius" notified "filio suo" that he had donated "Armigetone mansionem" to the monks of Saint-Florent by charter dated to , witnessed by "Robertus frater meus…", later confirmed by "Willelmus dominus de Braiosa filius Philippi, avi mei filii Willelmi" witnessed by "Bertam conjugem meam, Philippum fratrem meum…". King John confirmed "honore de Limeric" to "Willo de Braos", as King Henry II had granted it to "Philipp de Braos avunculo predicti Willlemi", by charter dated 12 Jan 1201. "Willelmus de Braosa dominus de Brechen" donated property to Flaxley Abbey, Gloucestershire, for the souls of "uxoris meæ Matildis de Sancto Walerico et puerorum nostrorum", by undated charter, witnessed by "Willelmo et Philippo filiis meis". His lands were forfeited by King John in 1208. The 13th century Histoire des ducs de Normandie et des rois d’Angleterre records that "Guillaumes de Brayouse" fled from King John to France.
Matthew Paris records the death in 1211 “apud Curbulam vigilia Sancti Laurentii” of "Willelmus de Brause senior” who had fled Ireland for France. The Annals of Waverley record that “Willelmus…de Brausa” fled “apud Sorham” after his wife and son were captured and died in Paris soon afterwards. The Annals of Margan record the death in 1211 of “Willielmus de Breusa senior exul in Francia”. 2
William married Mathilde DE SAINT-VALÉRY, Dame de la Haye, daughter of Bernard IV DE SAINT-VALÉRY of Beckley & Horton and Maud (Matilda), in 1169. (Mathilde DE SAINT-VALÉRY was born in 1148 in Bramber, Sussex, England and died in 1210 in Corfe, Windsor, England.
This ordering of the children follows the Braose genealogy given in the 13th century MS (British Library, Cotton Julius D, x) on the history of the Lords of Brecon.