Sosa : 151,261,274

  • Born in 1105 - Pembroke,Wales
  • Deceased about 1165 , age at death: possibly 60 years old


 Spouses and children



Individual Note

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 KingHenry I. The office of the marshal was part of the Curia, with a deputyin the Exchequer and one in the King's Bench, as well as one in the Courtof the Marshalsea of the King's household. The office was subordinate tothe office of constable of the royal household.. The office wasresponsible for everything connected to the horses of the royalhousehold, the hawks and the hounds as well. He had the general duty ofkeeping order in the royal court/household, arranging for the billetingof members of the court, keeping tallies and other vouchers of theexpenditures of the household, keeping rolls of all who performed theirmilitary service there, and being responsible for the imprisonment ofdebtors. The 'Constitutio Domus Regis' gives the duties of the mastermarshal for King Henry I.

Both John and his father are found in the king�s court before 1130 wherethey maintained [probably by trial by battle] their office of master ofthe king�s marshalsea against William de Hastings and Robert de Venoiz.On the pipe roll of 1130 John is found paying twenty-two pounds forseisin to his father�s lands and ministerium and forty marks for theoffice of marshal of the court. In this same year John married thedaughter and heiress of Walter Pipard, a minor Wiltshire landholder. Johnwas a loyal and trusted royal official and attested to at least twelveroyal acts of Henry I between 1129-1135, most of them in England but somein Normandy.

When Stephen (depicted right) took the English throne on the death ofHenry I in 1135, John continued to serve in the office of marshal andaccompanied Stephen to Normandy in 1137. In 1138 John took possession ofthe castles of Marlborough and Ludgershall in Wiltshire as castellan andproceeded to strengthen both. During the early years of the war betweenKing Stephen and the Empress Mathilda, John was more or less content towait and watch, increasing the number of knights bound to him andfortifying his castles. He used his position in Wiltshire to attack andravage the lands of those opposing King Stephen, though according to someof the chronicles of the times, John was not too particular about whom heattacked.

Below: Lincoln Castle

In February 1141, King Stephen was captured at the battle of Lincoln byRobert of Gloucester, natural brother to the Empress. This eventapparently convinced John that he should be on the Empress�s side in thecivil war, and he actively supported her from this time forward. John waswith the Empress at Reading in May, Oxford in July, and at the siege ofWinchester in August 1141. When Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester andbrother to King Stephen, brought troops to relieve the siege ofWinchester, it was decided that the Empress would flee to John�s castleof Ludgershall with John while Robert of Gloucester continued the battle.At the village of Wherwell, John sent the Empress on to his castle withBrian fitz Count, and he stayed with some men to defend her retreat atthe River Test. At the end of this struggle at the river, only John andone of his knights were left standing. They retreated to the church ofWherwell Abbey, and the enemy set fire to it. The enemy departed fromWherwell thinking that John had perished, but he survived and made it tohis castle of Marlborough, losing one eye from melting iron in the fire.

The rising and falling fortunes of neither side in this civil war greatlyeffected fitz Gilbert�s prosperity; he used his position and his castlesin Wiltshire to continue to attack the lands of Stephen�s supporters. Oneof his frequent victims was Patrick constable of Salisbury, who was KingStephen�s man. After several years of this warfare, both men had hadenough of the deprivations resulting from their attacks on each other.They worked out a compromise in 1141; John fitz Gilbert would put asidehis first wife and marry Patrick�s sister Sibile [Sibyl], and Patrickcame over to the Empress�s side. This compromise gave Patrick peace andrelief as well as the later title and lands of the earldom of Salisbury.John nullified his most dangerous enemy and definitely increased his ownsocial position by marrying into one of the great feudal families ofEngland. It hurt neither man that they could both now raid the lands ofStephen�s supporters in Wiltshire, Berkshire and Hampshire.

John was in high favor with the Empress, and she appointed his brotherWilliam as her chancellor. John himself witnessed at least four chartersof the Empress, and there are two writs addressed to John in Wiltshire byher. He also witnessed five charters of Duke Henry in Normandy. October25, 1154, King Stephen died and on December 19, 1154, Henry was crownedKing Henry II of England. Henry II gave to John the manors ofMarlborough, Wexcombe, and Cherhill in Wiltshire; they yielded eight-twopounds annually in revenues. He retained the office of marshal of theroyal household. Along with these lands and the lands of his father, Johnheld seven other knights� fees: land of the bishop of Winchester, of thebishop of Exeter, of the bishop of Winchester, of the abbot of Abingdon,of Richard de Candos[Chandos], of Manasser de Arsic, and of Geoffrey deMandeville. He held Tidworth in Wiltshire by serjeanty of his office asmarshal and possibly Hampstead in Berkshire. The 'Cartae Baronnum' showshim holding Wigan in Oxfordshire, and Inkberrow in Worcestershire mayhave been originally John fitz Gilbert�s. John was still a minor baron incomparison to the great magnates, but he had increased the inheritanceleft to him by his father by a great deal.

John fitz Gilbert was a clever and ruthless baron who had more than hisshare of daring, energy, and ambition. He was known for his ability as asoldier/knight and for his cunning and love of military stratagems. The'Gesta Stephani' describes him as 'a limb of hell and the root of allevil.' It accuses John of building adulterine castles [probably Newburyin Berkshire], taking the lands of both laity and clergy, and of forcingpayments from the church. He put aside his first wife without a qualm inorder to better himself and his position. In 'L�Historie de Guillaume leMarechal', the chanson de geste written as a history of the life ofJohn�s son William, there is a story told of the siege of John�s castleof Newbury by King Stephen in 1152. King Stephen held John�s son Williamas hostage for his father�s good behavior during a granted truce. Johnignored the truce; he used the time to re-fortify and supply his castle.When King Stephen called John to the castle�s walls and reminded Johnthat his son�s life was forfeit for John�s own actions, John said that,'he had the anvils and the hammer to forge still better sons.' This was aruthless warrior and only the gentle nature of King Stephen protected thelife of the five-year old William.

John fitz Gilbert died 1164/1165 while his son William was in Normandybeing trained as a squire by his cousin William de TancarvilleChamberlain of Normandy. Of the two sons by John�s first marriage, theoldest, Gilbert, died within a year of John�s own death, and theyoungest, Walter, died before John. By the lady Sibile [Sibyl], John hadfour sons and two daughters; John as the eldest son inherited hisfather�s lands and the office of marshal. John fitz Gilbert�s second son,William Marshal, would inherit nothing tangible from his father, but hewould be heir to his father�s standing in respect to the confidence andfavor of King Henry II. John fitz Gilbert, unlike others in the warsbetween King Stephen and the Empress, changed his allegiance only once.When he joined the Empress� side in the war, he not only served her andher son loyally and faithfully, but he placed his own life in jeopardyprotecting and defending her. This was a debt that Henry II rememberedand paid. John�s son William would do the same for King Henry�s wifeEleanor near the castle of de lusignan in Poitou at the end of 1167. Twoof the de lusignan brothers attacked and killed William�s unarmed uncle,Patrick earl of Salisbury, while Patrick, Queen Eleanor, and William wereriding near the castle of de lusignan. William was wounded and takenprisoner while defending the Queen�s retreat into the castle and tryingto avenge his uncle�s murder. William might have inherited some of thephysical strength and knowledge of military strategy from his father, butas a second son, he would become in his own right and by his ownabilities, skills, and sense of honour the best of chivalric knighthood,a 'familiaris Regis,' the Earl of Pembroke and regent of England
GEDCOM File : David Peter Family6.ged

Family Note

1 REFN M11444

  Photos and archival records

{{ media.title }}

{{ media.short_title }}
{{ media.date_translated }}

 Family Tree Preview

Richard Fitzgilbert de Clare ca 1035-ca 1090   Rohese Giffard ca 1035-1113/   Hugh de Clermont ca 1030-ca 1101   Margaret de Roucy ca 1035-
| | | |

| |
Gilbert Fitzrichard de Clare ca 1066-ca 1116   Adelaide de Clermont ca 1070-1117/
| |

John Fitzgilbert Marshall, Marshall 1105-ca 1165

  1. gw_v5_tour_1_title


  2. gw_v5_tour_2_title (1/7)


  3. gw_v5_tour_3_title (2/7)


  4. gw_v5_tour_3bis_title (2/7)


  5. gw_v5_tour_4_title (3/7)


  6. gw_v5_tour_5_title (4/7)


  7. gw_v5_tour_6_title (5/7)


  8. gw_v5_tour_8_title (6/7)


  9. gw_v5_tour_7_title (7/7)


  10. gw_v5_tour_9_title